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Thread: .380 or .38spl versus 9mm for carry

  1. #1
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    just got a new taurus tcp .380, I was looking at the p3at and the Ruger lcp but my local shop had just received a tcp, i liked how the slide locked back when the mag was empty, which is something the other 2 do not.

    Anyway I have been carrying a millennium pro 9mm for about a yearbut found myself leaving it in my car or not taking at all at times when i could not use my vest holster. the millennium was just too bulky and uncomfortable for me to carry in a inside the pants holster.

    open carry is legal in the state of Washington but i spend alot of time at work/school and alot of businesses around here have that wonderful sign in the window to keep all us LAC as well as the criminals from taking weapons inside, so in my case open carry in not an option most of the time I am out of my house.

    The tcp is extremely light fullty loadedand compact and will fit well in a pocket holster and has a capacity of 9 rounds with the extended magazine. Ruger does have the LCR which is a bit bigger and a revolverbut shoots a .38spl round.Does anyone have andadvice?



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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Grapeshot wrote:
    I have looked at the P3AT and the LCP (and LCR for that matter) out of curiousity for their obvious ease of concealment. While they look okay, my comfort level drops immediately when I pick it up and consider firing them in self-defense situations.

    My regular carry is a CZ-40 (4.25" bbl., 12 round mag, alloy frame) in an SOB holster when concealed and a simple Uncle Mike when OC.It's comfortable but Bulky and occasionally I still bump a door frame or shelving unit while out and about but it's always there. I also have a couple of .380's (Sig P230 - 7 shot and a Bersa - 9 shot) which I use if it's too warm for the SOB/concealed or we go someplace where I don't want the hassle of OC.

    Recently, I have been looking with increasing interest at the Bersa Plus which they equipped with a double-stack, 15 round magazine as the lower bulk CC. That's looking increasingly like a better option.

    I also like the S&W 64X and 44X revolvers in .38 spl, but only as a last-ditch backup or possibly the hammerless models for carry in a pocket.

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    Regular Member UtahJarhead's Avatar
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    I took my LCP up to some BLM land to break it in a bit more. This is just south of Avon, near the Liberty shooting range. The fence posts look like the ones below. I put some pop cans on the top of them and did some 15m distance shooting. A few times, I hit the metal posts and while it didn't pierce the metal, it did hit it hard enough to split it away from the perpendicular supporting metal. It tore it for about 2 inches vertically and this stuff is steel that's almost 1/8" thick. If it was doing that to metal, I feel safe using it for self defense. It'll penetrate far enough to do what I hope I won't need it to do.

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    'Small and light" are really useful in keeping it OC but not obvious. That Tarus is a nice piece but useless against body armor and cars, and lacks effectiveness against really determined attackers and those on drugs. Someone on PCP will laugh at that 380 unless its a head or spine shot.

    The small bores dont have a lot of stopping power, a 9mm hydro-shock is about the minimum for real take down power. The smaller the bore, the more accurate one must be. Of course, I dont necessarily want to kill someone with one shot either.

    And the firearm itself isnt the end of the question, must consider the round too. Low power practice rounds, high power hollow point, tracer, ... lots of options.

    PS-es


    Whats this:

    " open carry is legal in the state of Washington"

    No, its Constitutional. Law has no hold on open carry except to make some UnConstitutional restrictions on places like Court Houses... Thats a critical point, because once Law gets hold of something, it tends to abuse it.

    There is NO provision of RCW that "allows" open carry. Thats a deliberate fabrication by the Media.

    Open carry is a RIGHT, a right to posess something.

    -----------

    "businesses around here have that wonderful sign in the window to keep all us LAC as well as the criminals from taking weapons inside"

    Not in WA to my knowledge. Cant prohibit you from carry except to claim trespass and you have a defense in RCW. Ohio has that, but unless someone slipped something in recently Im not aware of, WA businesses open to the Public cannot do that.

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    Capn Camo wrote:
    ...SNIP
    The small bores dont haveĀ* a lot of stopping power, a 9mm hydro-shock is about the minimum for real take down power. The smaller the bore, the more accurate one must be. Of course, I dont necessarily want to kill someone with one shot either.
    SNIP ...
    Lets see here ...

    The bullets used for .380 Auto (9mmx17mm) are nominally .355" in diameter. The bullets used for 9mm (9x19) are nominally .355 in diameter. Bullets used for .38spl are nominally .357. Which of these are you calling "Small bore"?

    The bore measurements are so close that the there is no practical difference at the target end of the equation. In fact a lot of people use the bullets interchangeably in different weights to load all three kinds of ammo, especially in the case of cast lead bullets. The big difference is the amount and type of powder used in the three different rounds and therefore the energy they each develop. In shooting everything depends on imparting energy to the target.

    As for the need for accuracy, this is true with ANY firearm. Caliber has little to do with that requirement. There is no way that anyone will ever convince me that a shooter needs to be less accurate with a .45 caliber bullet than with a 9mm because the bullet is fatter. Now I suppose you could make that argument for the difference between say a 9mm bullet and a 120mm howitzer round. But it does not wash for any small arms bullets in common civilian usage.

    Since all three of these calibers use the same diameter bullets the major difference lies in the weight of the bullets and the speed they are launched. The .380 auto uses the lightest bullets at speeds comparable to the .38spl. The 9mm is typically loaded to speeds near or just above the speed of sound so it is the fastest of the three. Speed equals energy so the 9mm packs the most energy into the smallest package. Common 9mm loads do impart more energy to the bullet than the typical .380 auto and .38 spl loads, the difference is significant but not massive.

    Since the .38 spl is a revolver round and the other two are typically autoloading handgun loads, once you decide to use the .38 spl you might as well go to a .357 magnum. The magnum case is slightly longer than the .38 spl case to prevent loading a magnum round into a .38 revolver, but in the magnum revolver the cartridges are interchangeable. Basically the same bullet, but loaded to much higher speeds and therefore more energy.

    So in short ... You can use any of these rounds for self defense carry, but actual shooting reports would dictate that for these three the 9mm would be the proper choice. But as I said before, if you want to carry a revolver, then go withe the .357 magnum.

    Regards
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
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    Regular Member SlowDog's Avatar
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    I really like the Corbon +p's in the 380. Bought the Bersa Thunder 380 Plus for my wife to try out and I fell in love with it as a great B.U.G. The thing is great to shoot. It fits my big paws almost like my 1911 does and the PLUS comes in 15+1 stacked mag so you get plenty of power.
    Those Corbon's push a 95 grn. JHP bullet to 1040fps. The tests show they are a decent defensive load and for my wife....well....she'll do just fine. <if I let her have it back> Probably gonna have to get another one...:celebrate:celebrate
    Only two have offered their lives for you. A Soldier and Jesus....

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    There are too many good 9mm pistols to go with 380 Auto.

    The only exception I can think of is the Ruger LCP in 380 Auto. It's the size of the small Kel-Tec and is almost identical except that it has much better workmanship. A buddy of mind has one and really likes it.

    The Kahr PM9 can be finicky. It's prone to jamming if the shooter has weak wrists. A friend's wife could not hold the gun tight enough to prevent this problem. The LCP doesn't mine limp-wristing and continues to run.

    As for 38 Special, make sure to get a gun rated for +P ammunition. There are many good choices from S&W, Ruger, Taurus and Rossi. Just make sure the gun is reliable and that you can handle the recoil. You'll need to spend a bunch of time on the range with the gun and do lots of dry fire to get used to the trigger and get good at reloading it. It's worth the extra work since they carry very well.

    You may find the Glock 19 and Browning Hi-Power to be very good choices. Both are very concealable. The Glock 26 is even better than the Glock 19; perceived recoil is less (due to the double spring mechanism and shorter slide) and it's still very accurate. The advantage of the Glock 19 is the excellent balance between capacity, concealability and shootability. If you don't know what to get, just get the Glock 19...you can always easily sell it later if you find something better.
    Does anyone here actually believe that the Founders were sitting around in John Adams' tavern UNARMED because they believed a bar should be a gun free zone?

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    Hawkflyer wrote:
    Capn Camo wrote:
    ...SNIP
    The small bores dont have a lot of stopping power, a 9mm hydro-shock is about the minimum for real take down power. The smaller the bore, the more accurate one must be. Of course, I dont necessarily want to kill someone with one shot either.
    SNIP ...
    Lets see here ...

    The bullets used for .380 Auto (9mmx17mm) are nominally .355" in diameter. The bullets used for 9mm (9x19) are nominally .355 in diameter. Bullets used for .38spl are nominally .357. Which of these are you calling "Small bore"?

    The bore measurements are so close that the there is no practical difference at the target end of the equation. In fact a lot of people use the bullets interchangeably in different weights to load all three kinds of ammo, especially in the case of cast lead bullets. The big difference is the amount and type of powder used in the three different rounds and therefore the energy they each develop. In shooting everything depends on imparting energy to the target.

    As for the need for accuracy, this is true with ANY firearm. Caliber has little to do with that requirement. There is no way that anyone will ever convince me that a shooter needs to be less accurate with a .45 caliber bullet than with a 9mm because the bullet is fatter. Now I suppose you could make that argument for the difference between say a 9mm bullet and a 120mm howitzer round. But it does not wash for any small arms bullets in common civilian usage.

    Since all three of these calibers use the same diameter bullets the major difference lies in the weight of the bullets and the speed they are launched. The .380 auto uses the lightest bullets at speeds comparable to the .38spl. The 9mm is typically loaded to speeds near or just above the speed of sound so it is the fastest of the three. Speed equals energy so the 9mm packs the most energy into the smallest package. Common 9mm loads do impart more energy to the bullet than the typical .380 auto and .38 spl loads, the difference is significant but not massive.

    Since the .38 spl is a revolver round and the other two are typically autoloading handgun loads, once you decide to use the .38 spl you might as well go to a .357 magnum. The magnum case is slightly longer than the .38 spl case to prevent loading a magnum round into a .38 revolver, but in the magnum revolver the cartridges are interchangeable. Basically the same bullet, but loaded to much higher speeds and therefore more energy.

    So in short ... You can use any of these rounds for self defense carry, but actual shooting reports would dictate that for these three the 9mm would be the proper choice. But as I said before, if you want to carry a revolver, then go withe the .357 magnum.

    Regards
    Actually the 380acp is a 9x18 but hey....close enough.

    Instead of a ugly PollyGun just egt what brought us here....1911 in a 10mm or 45acp. You won't be sorry.:celebrate:celebrate
    Only two have offered their lives for you. A Soldier and Jesus....

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    SlowDog wrote:
    Hawkflyer wrote:
    Lets see here ...

    The bullets used for .380 Auto (9mmx17mm) are nominally .355" in diameter. The bullets used for 9mm (9x19) are nominally .355 in diameter. Bullets used for .38spl are nominally .357. Which of these are you calling "Small bore"?


    Regards
    Actually the 380acp is a 9x18 but hey....close enough.

    Instead of a ugly PollyGun just egt what brought us here....1911 in a 10mm or 45acp. You won't be sorry.:celebrate:celebrate
    Ruger/Parabellum 9mm--> 9X19

    Makarov 9mm ---> 9x18

    .380 aka 9mm short ---> 9x17

  11. #11
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    I will say this, if you don't mind carrying a revolver, .38 Special kicks butt.

  12. #12
    McX
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    cruising through, and stopped to read. saw the .380 being discussed.

  13. #13
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    9MM, Kel-Tec P-11, many rounds of a capable round and RELIABLE. Don't underestimate the Kel-Tec's, they are a great value and IMO the P-11 is Top Notch. I specify the P-11 over their others because for one, I own one and it is RELIABLE, can use S&W large capacity mags, you can get Flush Fit 12 rd, mags for it, did I say RELIABLE, Concealable for those who want that too. You can tweak on them too and not void a Lifetime Warranty and Customer Support is First Rate. DAO. Potent. Color/Finish options too. MSRP is very reasonable, you can find real good prices looking around and worth consideration. I do not own KT stock other than one P-11 right now, but I WILL own more of them.

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