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Thread: in praise of the .380

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    It is my opinion that the 380 cartridge is NOT adequate for self defense! It lacks adequate penetration and expansion capabilities.
    Perhaps if you would use a real computer you wouldn't have to apologize for not being able to do so many things on the internet!

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    .380 ACP is an ok round for self defense.

    You aren't going to BLOW your assailant away with .380 ACP but you'll severely injur or kill them anyway.

    If you have someone with body armor on, you're not penetrating it generally with any common handgun ammunition.

    I'm sure, if you talk to coroners and medical examiners, they have collected .380 ACP from plenty of bodies throughout their careers.


    If anything, with semi-autos, stick with 9x19mm, .40, or larger. I don't know about where you live, but .380 ACP guns are easy to find and CHEAP but finding ammunition is like finding long lost treasure.

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    I own two .380s, a Ruger LCP and a Colt Mustang Pony. From what I've been reading in gun magazines, the .380 has become so popular that .380 ammunition has been improved and is now equal to older 9mm ammunition. Also, almost everyone is out of stock of .380 ammo right now. I know because I tried to order some.

    I admit I sometimes carry a .380, when I go out wearing shorts, but normally a .380 is my second gun, usually on an ankle or in a pocket.

    I don't know how many here have read of the "Strasbourg" tests, in the past. From what I recall, a large number of sheep (I think.) needed to be slaughtered so a group of people took the oportunity to test ammunition on killing the animals. They tested various calibers and different manufacturers of ammunitions. They shot the animals in the same area and timed how long it took for the animal to die. It sounds cruel but consider what goes on in slaughter houses around the country.

    One thing that I got out of the studies was that a .380, using MagSafe ammunition, was more effective than a .45 hollow point, that wasn't MagSafe. This is an old test and I haven't heard of anyone repeating the study, but when I heard of it years ago - I switched to MagSafe ammunition for all of my handguns. I thought if that was true, imagine what a .45 or 10mm in magsafe could do.

    You never hear of MagSafe being tested against other, newer, ammunition. So, I don't know where it stands now. It is a pre-fragmented load that is also supposed to disperse all of its energy in whatever it hits, so it is a "safer" ammunition. I also think (hope) that the name would go a long way in a court room than some other ammo names I have heard of.

    So, I prefer to carry a .380 as a second gun, but a .380 is better than no gun and it is better than .22 and .25, so it isn't the worst choice you could make. Isn't it so confusing when trying to settle on a caliber, the manufacturer, the type ammunition to carry, whether a smaller caliber with more rounds is beter than a .45 with 7 rounds, etc, etc.!

    Maybe that is why I have so many guns, different brands of ammunitons, several holsters per gun, etc. I have to admit that I still haven't settled on a primary gun that will always be the one I carry. If I wear shorts, then I carry a smaller gun, if jeans, then a bigger gun, if a coat, then a bigger gun, with several extra magazines and a back-up. Confusing, huh? At least for a highly analytical person like myself. I envy people who buy one gun, one holster, some ammo. and never question it or desire another gun. But, then it is fun to have an excuse to buy more guns!!

    The best ammo of all time was the "Devastator." But then some nut had to use it on Regan and Brady. The ammo was banned and then the Brady laws resulted from that shooting. The ammo was hollow points with a rifle primer inserted into the cavity. I tested it in .45 and it was indeed devastating.



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    The .380 is also know as the 9mm short (9x17). I have a CZ 82 that uses the Makarov 9x18 round. It has a slightly longer casing than the .380. The Ruger/Parabellum 9mm (9x19) has a slightly longer casing than the Mak round.

    I've only shot one .380, a borrowed one I used for the range part of the handgun safety course I took. I wasn't use to semi-autos but was surprised at how well I did with it, accuracy wise. It was a Beretta Cheeta, I believe.

    I dang sure wouldn't want to be shot with a .380! :what:Or a .22 either, for that matter. It would hurt like hell, and I don't like hurt.

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    I loved the .380 that I used to own (and carry). It was a Grendel P12, and was a very reliable little gun. I trusted it with my life when I carried it as a primary defense gun, but to be honest, most of the time it was a BUG to my Colt Delta Elite 10mm...

    The fact is--all posturing and "studies" aside--that ANY round can be effective for self-defense, if used appropriately and effectively.

    If you are armed with a .45acp loaded with +P high-tech, massively expanding hollowpoints but you don't hit near anything vital, an attacking BG can take a whole standard-issue 1911 magazine worth of hits and still keep coming at you. But if you shoot him in the heart or the temple with a single round of high-velocity .22LR, he will stop pretty quickly.

    What I'm getting at, is that it's ALL about shot placement.

    Any argument for ANY specific caliber, bullet weight, powder charge, muzzle velocity, depth of penetration or hydrostatic shock analysis is nothing more than an excuse for sloppy shooting.
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
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    Dreamer wrote:
    I loved the .380 that I used to own (and carry). It was a Grendel P12, and was a very reliable little gun. I trusted it with my life when I carried it as a primary defense gun, but to be honest, most of the time it was a BUG to my Colt Delta Elite 10mm...

    The fact is--all posturing and "studies" aside--that ANY round can be effective for self-defense, if used appropriately and effectively.

    If you are armed with a .45acp loaded with +P high-tech, massively expanding hollowpoints but you don't hit near anything vital, an attacking BG can take a whole standard-issue 1911 magazine worth of hits and still keep coming at you. But if you shoot him in the heart or the temple with a single round of high-velocity .22LR, he will stop pretty quickly.

    What I'm getting at, is that it's ALL about shot placement.

    Any argument for ANY specific caliber, bullet weight, powder charge, muzzle velocity, depth of penetration or hydrostatic shock analysis is nothing more than an excuse for sloppy shooting.
    I have a SA.45LC revolver and I was thinking the other day of maybe trading it in for a .22 LR/Mag SA. I'm a fair shot with the .45 but I'd be more accurate with the .22.

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    McX wrote:
    i've been scrounging around the net; and here's what i've found so far; the .380 is called a "marginal" self defense round. and the firearm sizes don't seem to get large unless you go up into the $500 plus range. stock rounds are available, but they seem to need, and push "pumping it up" with hotloads, or hollowpoints. the capacity seems to be around 7. Maybe I should consider looking into a compact .40 cal, so i could retain stopping power? Opinions welcome on what I have found. I'd like to see a pic of a .380 cartridge "standing next to" a .40 cartridge, if anyone can come up with one. i'd rather discuss options here, in the forum, before I go out shopping.
    For a compact .40 S&W, consider a Glock 23 or even smaller, a Glock 27.

    There are other options such as compact S&W M&P.

    As for bullet comparisons:

    http://www.landentactics.com/images/...itionComp4.png

    http://www.landentactics.com/bulletReference.php

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    McX wrote:
    i've been scrounging around the net; and here's what i've found so far; the .380 is called a "marginal" self defense round. and the firearm sizes don't seem to get large unless you go up into the $500 plus range. stock rounds are available, but they seem to need, and push "pumping it up" with hotloads, or hollowpoints. the capacity seems to be around 7. Maybe I should consider looking into a compact .40 cal, so i could retain stopping power? Opinions welcome on what I have found. I'd like to see a pic of a .380 cartridge "standing next to" a .40 cartridge, if anyone can come up with one. i'd rather discuss options here, in the forum, before I go out shopping.
    Sorry for the quality, took it on my cell phone



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    Back in the early days, before effective medical treatment for gunshots, being penetrated by any type of bullet was pretty much a death sentence. Anyone shot by anything in any major part of the body could look forward to long periods of agony at the minimum. This is not counting infection, fever, and the possibility of bleeding to death.

    Getting shot = agonizing slow death.

    It didn't really matter WHAT you got shot with, the general idea was to avoid it....or die. Therefore, small calibers were just as an effective deterrent as large ones.

    Modern medicine has advanced since that time. Getting shot is no longer a probable death sentence.

    There are two types of criminals (for this particular example). #1: Those who desire to commit their crimes without injury. #2: Those who just don't care.

    Now that modern medicine can probably save a person who isn't immediately killed or suffering from major organ damage, the .380 is still effective for those who wish to commit their crimes without injury....

    ...but do you trust it to STOP the ones who don't care?

    I'm not sure about you, but when I want a criminal to stop trying to assault me, I want him to stop NOW. While I can probably deter a criminal wishing to rob me with any type of round, how do I deter a criminal who is loaded up on PCP and has the desire to end my life at any cost?

    With asnap or twofrom a .380?

    It all depends on what you trust your life with. Personally, I'm not gamblingwith what might work. I'm going with something I believe will work.....

    .....on any type of criminal.

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    Superlite27 wrote:
    Back in the early days, before effective medical treatment for gunshots, being penetrated by any type of bullet was pretty much a death sentence. Anyone shot by anything in any major part of the body could look forward to long periods of agony at the minimum. This is not counting infection, fever, and the possibility of bleeding to death.

    Getting shot = agonizing slow death.

    It didn't really matter WHAT you got shot with, the general idea was to avoid it....or die. Therefore, small calibers were just as an effective deterrent as large ones.

    Modern medicine has advanced since that time. Getting shot is no longer a probable death sentence.

    There are two types of criminals (for this particular example). #1: Those who desire to commit their crimes without injury. #2: Those who just don't care.

    Now that modern medicine can probably save a person who isn't immediately killed or suffering from major organ damage, the .380 is still effective for those who wish to commit their crimes without injury....

    ...but do you trust it to STOP the ones who don't care?

    I'm not sure about you, but when I want a criminal to stop trying to assault me, I want him to stop NOW. While I can probably deter a criminal wishing to rob me with any type of round, how do I deter a criminal who is loaded up on PCP and has the desire to end my life at any cost?

    With asnap or twofrom a .380?

    It all depends on what you trust your life with. Personally, I'm not gamblingwith what might work. I'm going with something I believe will work.....

    .....on any type of criminal.
    It still comes down to bullet placement, no matter what cal. you use.

    As for stioppong a perp that is doped up on drugs, it won't matter if you put every round your weapon holds right through their heart. They'll still be able to attack for at least 30 seconds before they blackout from lack of blood flow to the brain. An attacker could unload any double stack firearm he may be carrying in that amount of time.

    I believe that it has been reported on these forums that more people are killed annually by small cal. (.22) than any other cal. round.

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    Task Force 16 wrote:


    I believe that it has been reported on these forums that more people are killed annually by small cal. (.22) than any other cal. round.
    I have no doubt of it. The .22 has probably killed more people than any other round in history (I don't know if this is a fact, just my humble opinion). However, I have no interest whatsoever in the lethality of any particular caliber. I have never had any intention of killing anyone at any time, and I doubt I ever will.

    On the other hand, I have a large interest in calibers that may stop a person from threatening my life. I am completely uninterested in lethality. I am fully interested in stopping power.

    (Off topic: "Stopping Power" is largely a myth. See below)

    "Killing" and "stopping" are two very different animals. I have no intention of killing anyone I would ever need to fire my sidearm at. I have every intention of making that person stop doing whatever it is that threatens my life.

    Just about a year ago, there was a guy here in St. Louis that foiled a hold-up at a fast food restaraunt. After being shot three times (with a .380) he shot the robber once in the chest with a 9mm. Luckily, the perp was the one who stopped shooting first. (The citizen was in intensive care, but survived.)

    I'm sure he was probably glad the robber didn't use a larger caliber.

    Shooting someone with a small caliber and having them die lateris of no use to me. I don't want them to die at anytime. I want them to stop......now.

    (Above: According to Urey W. Patrick in this: http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi-hwfe.pdf, shot placement is the key. Using this study, it makes sense to me that a caliber that causes a larger permanent wound channel would be more effective at "stopping" a criminal. Logically larger caliber = larger permanent wound channel = faster "stop".)

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    Any one of the below wil be lethal when used correctly. The .50 BMG is a lot more powerful. Then step up to the 20mm.....then atomic. I'm sure you know what I mean.

    L to R: 7x65 (.32)......9x17 (.380)......9x18 (Makarov round)......9x19 (9mm)



    :celebrate

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    Superlite27 wrote:
    SNIP Shooting someone with a small caliber and having them die lateris of no use to me. I don't want them to die at anytime. I want them to stop......now.
    What Superlite27 said.

    The muzzle-energy on a .380 is pretty puny to begin with. And most of those are probably (I'm thinking) measured out of a 4-5" test barrel. Chop that down to a 2" LCP/P3AT barrel or some other small carry gun, and the muzzle energy goes even lower.

    If I were lowering my profile, I'd find a narrower gun in a larger caliber. Say a single-stack.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    McX wrote:
    thanks for the pics guys, they help alot. damn that .380 shell looks alot like a .32. kinda like a baby .40. i just hate to sell the little guy out short, but i'm leaning toward a compact .40. i want a whack, a guarenteed whack, not just a thump. I hear the .22 mag. is a nasty little critter, and invite comments as such, as we discuss further here.
    .22 cal bullets come in about 40 grns range. Usually a higher muzzle velocity than any other handgun round. They can penetrate rather well,often timespassing clear through if they don't it large bones, but leave a smaller impact canal

    Someone had posted a SD story awhile back about a lady (competetive shooter) who used her .22 semi-auto competition target pistol to take down a convenience store robber. Fired about 4 or 5 quick rounds off in a tight grouping COM. Robber stood stunned for a moment, then collapsed dead. Coroners report said that he had a perferated heart.

    The 30 round .22 mag Kel Tec is coming out with sounds interesting.

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    McX wrote:
    but taskforce, the .22 mag. would have to be "multishot' to be effective? what does this do to the rule of '2 to the chest'? they got .22 mag autos out? i saw a pic of i think one on the forum here somewhere.
    Not necessarily. It all has to do with shot placement. All it takes is one shot that penetrates to the spine and you cut a perps legs out from under him, even if he is hopped up on dope.

    If two to the chest don't stop the threat there's still the rest of that rule, "and 1 to the head." When I took my handgunsafety course, they actually had us do that drill a couple of times. The instructors (both LEO) said that there may be a chance that an assailant could be wearing body armor. They told us that if 2 or 3 rounds to COM doesn't slow them down, go for the melon.



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    a few comparison photos

    .45 Long colt and .22 Long Rifle

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    sorry DP

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    Makarov 9x18 - .45LC - .30 M1 Carbine



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    Regular Member Superlite27's Avatar
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    I've searched and searched, but am unable to find the story of the gentleman that used an eight shot .22 revolver as a "travel gun".

    An elderly gentleman and his wife were on a trip and came across a vehicle that had slid into a ditch. Seeing a man standing by the side of the road, the elderly man pulled over to ask if the guy needed assistance. As his wife rolled down the window on her passenger side, the man opened the door, pulled a knife, and began stabbing her. The elderly gentleman reached into the map pocket of his driver's door, grasped his .22 caliber eight shot revolver, exited his vehicle....

    .....and emptied the revolver into the assailant.

    The assailant then ran around the rear of the vehicle and stabbed the man repeatedly before running away.

    I believe both the assailant and the man's wife died and the gentleman was critically injured.

    I believe it was found that the man hit the assailant with six of the eight rounds fired from his pistol.

    SIX ROUNDS.

    Does anyone honestly believe that the man would have walked around the rear of the vehicle and continued his bloody assault had the elderly man hit him with sixrounds of .45 ACP? Heck, since the man evidently preferred a revolver, what do you think about six rounds of .357 magnum?

    Yes, the assailant died. But he did it after he finished his evil crime.

    I want something a little more reliable at making them stop before they accomplish their goal.

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    Superlite27 wrote:
    I've searched and searched, but am unable to find the story of the gentleman that used an eight shot .22 revolver as a "travel gun".

    An elderly gentleman and his wife were on a trip and came across a vehicle that had slid into a ditch. Seeing a man standing by the side of the road, the elderly man pulled over to ask if the guy needed assistance. As his wife rolled down the window on her passenger side, the man opened the door, pulled a knife, and began stabbing her. The elderly gentleman reached into the map pocket of his driver's door, grasped his .22 caliber eight shot revolver, exited his vehicle....

    .....and emptied the revolver into the assailant.

    The assailant then ran around the rear of the vehicle and stabbed the man repeatedly before running away.

    I believe both the assailant and the man's wife died and the gentleman was critically injured.

    I believe it was found that the man hit the assailant with six of the eight rounds fired from his pistol.

    SIX ROUNDS.

    Does anyone honestly believe that the man would have walked around the rear of the vehicle and continued his bloody assault had the elderly man hit him with sixrounds of .45 ACP? Heck, since the man evidently preferred a revolver, what do you think about six rounds of .357 magnum?

    Yes, the assailant died. But he did it after he finished his evil crime.

    I want something a little more reliable at making them stop before they accomplish their goal.
    My first observation of the incident you mention, I have to ask,why the elderly gentleman didn't open fire from within the vehicle, rather than wasting time exiting before shooting the perp?

    Another queston I have is how much alcohol/drugs did the assailant have in his system. He must have been impaired, since he ran his car off the road. This would also suggest that he was impervious to pain at the time he was shot. I would contend that if this was the case, even 6 rounds of .45 acp or LC wouldn't have stopped the slasher. Unless you hit the right spot.

    It sounds to me like the elderly gentleman in this scenarion was a poor shot. Only hitting his target 6 out of 8 times at close range? Perhaps his lack of accuracy with his weapon of choice cost his wife her life. Had his first couple of rounds been aimed at the assailants head and found their mark there, the attack would have been stopped much sooner.

    I would suggest that it isn't the size of the bullet that stops a threat, but rather the pain that its impact and penetration inflicts on the person being shot. Granted, being shot with a .22 vs .45 would be like getting an injection with a 20 gauge needle vs 14 gauge. The smaller bullet/needle won't hurt as bad as the larger bullet/needle. If the BG is anethisized by drugs/alcohol/adreneline he may not feel any pain regardless of what cal you shoot him with. Therefore, it may be necessary to go for the head shot if rounds to COM don't slow/stop the BG.

    That is why I believe, and many on this forums will agree, that shot placement/accuracy may be more important than cal of gun used for SD.

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