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Thread: .380 as a defensive caliber?

  1. #1
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    .380 as a defensive caliber?

    opinions? facts?

  2. #2
    McX
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    thought about it, threaded it once, and came to the conclusion; just not enough, requiring many. but contemplate it, i am not an expert. i have a thang for .40 and .45. I hear tell you can get some pretty small guns in that category, and still slap the criminal into next week when needed.

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    Regular Member Optimus Prime's Avatar
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    It's the smallest I would personally use, and only with the right load. That being said, if we ever get concealed carry here, I'm sure I'd get one or two for use as a BUG or days like today when I just don't have enough on to hide something bigger.

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    I bought a ruger lcp for edc with remington golden saber hollow points

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    Quote Originally Posted by tronson View Post
    I bought a ruger lcp for edc with remington golden saber hollow points
    I got one too. When I can, I carry it in my back pocket in a low profile holster that is indistinguishable from my wallet. It is undoubtedly the most comfortable carry I own and it shoots straight too! lol

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    Regular Member CUOfficer's Avatar
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    I also have one that I will be carrying during my trip to Florida! I have in IWB holster and it fits comfortably! As for the knockdown power, a well-placed shot will make the difference.

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    McX
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    pics of the evil little snot rockets?

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    ill bring it on the 25th. my lcp has become my favorite carry gun. so comfortable and compact.

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    $309 at shooters

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    While I prefer the .40 S&W or the .45 ACP, I would in some cases carry a small pistol in .380 if I had one. I do not own one at present but have thought about it.

    I would not dismiss it as too small because a .380 in your pocket is better than the .45 back home in your gun safe if you need a gun.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tronson View Post
    opinions? facts?
    In whose hands? The characteristics of the shooter is a far greater factor than that of the firearm or ammunition.

    .380 may a logical choice for someone who cannot shoot a more powerful round well, or when a very small gun is needed. Although there are trade-offs involved. The tiny .380s have more recoil than a larger and heavier 9mm, so if you go with one of the larger .380's then you have a gun that's comparable in size and weight to many 9mms. If you carry a gun that size, then why not in 9mm? The difference in recoil won't be substantial, in my opinion, when you're comparing .380 and 9mm Makarov-sized guns, like a Glock 19 or CZ-83. If shooting under stress, (i.e., to save your life) you probably won't be aware of recoil anyway. To me, the smallness of many .380 guns is the major attraction to that caliber. Small size is tends to be more of a concealed carry issue. The tiny .380's are nice to carry comfortably and discreetly. I do carry one as a BUG-- at times-- loaded with Winchester Silvertip.

    You'll have a much greater selection of ammo in 9mm. And it will be easier to find in any store that sells handgun ammo, whereas not every store will stock .380.

    Although I generally prefer my primary handgun and BUG to be of the same caliber and manufacturer-- e.g., Glock23 or G35 with G27 as backup. Same ammo for both guns, the larger Glock mags fit the G27 too, same manual of arms. Even the holsters are interchangeable. Hard to beat that.

    So if the unthinkable happened and my Glock stopped working, the BUG is 100% compatible with the ammo and mags from the primary gun. Keeps it simple and efficient.

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    Regular Member metalman383's Avatar
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    Works better than a sharp stick, or a rock! I prefer my .45, or .40, but I do love my little LCP.

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    Regular Member comp45acp's Avatar
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    The first rule of gun fighting is "Have a Gun". I would much rather have a .380 in my hand than an empty hand.
    I am going to take a serious look at the new S&W Bodyguard 380 when they get around the gun stores. Very neat little package with an integral laser. Not that it will be carried much as I prefer my .45acp or 9mm but it is a pretty neat little package for those times when very discreet carry is the only socially acceptable option.

    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...layErrorView_Y

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    ill stick with my lcp I love it accurate reliable small. try one out.

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    in the hot summer sun its nice to have an easily carryable gun. in my opinion with a good hot .380 load you can defend you life if neccesary. thats based on pure speculation of course.

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    are any of you leo with viable experience with the .380?

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    Quote Originally Posted by McX View Post
    pics of the evil little snot rockets?



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    In defense of what?

    Country - Poor
    Land - Poor
    Others - Fair
    Home - Average
    Property - Average
    Ones Life - Good

    I consider this rating to be highly subjective but also fair and balanced in the hands of a skilled shooter. I have owned .380 semiautomatic handguns and handguns of even smaller calibers and feel relatively secure in my ability to defend myself and my home against most standard threats with them. That said as a defensive handgun increases in size and caliber up to certain levels it will provide better ratings across the board. Considering that unless you have a need for a handgun bordering on almost, or being, too small there are many great options in larger calibers. You can also now purchase handguns in larger calibers that are similar in size and weight to earlier .380 handguns if that is a real priority. I know some people that are just enamored by small handguns. I think that is quite understandable and I find nothing wrong with having such a fascination. I also think pocket computer phones, mini-cameras, and mp3 players are neat but I wouldn't try to use them as desktop supercomputers, large format photography, and public address systems.

    If you are considering a small .380 for ease of carry or appearance and it will be your only or your first defensive handgun, then it is in my opinion a very poor defensive round and a foolish choice in that circumstance. Some of these small guns have a limited lifespan of how much ammo should be shot through them. They are all difficult to learn basic shooting skills on, have poor sights if any sights at all, substantial recoil and muzzle flip, difficult triggers, expensive ammunition hindering adequate range experience, and take a extremely skilled shooter to put into action effectively. Even a skilled rifle or shotgun shooter has no business trying to learn the skills necessary to deploy a defensive handgun with a small .380 handgun.

    You should want to learn with a full sized or semi-compact handgun and once you are skilled you can consider your need for a smaller, lighter, more convenient handgun. To deploy such a gun would only make a .380 a dangerous caliber for everything around your intended target and become a liability to you and those around you. I don't know what your situation is but I hope this helps any one who thinks that handguns are like gadgets and smaller is better. You are being mislead in the most dangerous of ways.

  19. #19
    Campaign Veteran GlockMeisterG21's Avatar
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    I like my Walther PPK/S .380 acp. With a good holster (like mine, see below) it just disappears. Is it adequate for self-defense? Only you can answer that. I'm confidant enough that I'm comfortable carrying it but I'd still rather have my .45 in a fight. I load mine with either MagSafe or Hydra-shoks.





    “The 1911 pistol remains the service pistol of choice in the eyes of those who understand the problem. Back when we audited the FBI academy in 1947, I was told that I ought not to use my pistol in their training program because it was not fair. Maybe the first thing one should demand of his sidearm is that it be unfair.” — Col. Jeff Cooper, GUNS & AMMO, January 2002

  20. #20
    Regular Member goforlow's Avatar
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    I carry a KelTec P32 (32 ACP), as a BUG. This round it smaller than the 380, but some reviews show it has better penetration than the 380.

    Yes, I would trust my life to this gun. If I didn't, I wouldn't carry it! It has gone "bang" every time I pulled the trigger, and that is about 250 times so far. And, I got the gun for under $250.

    Check out this site: http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot26.htm
    Lots of other good info also.
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  21. #21
    Regular Member hardballer's Avatar
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    I agree with Uziel gal. If I had the choice, I would not have anything less than a nine and I don't really have much confidence in that caliber. The .40 does seem like a fair compromise from the .45acp. I only carry a .45 and would not feel fully confident with a smaller caliber. I'd make do, but I wouldn't like it.

    I do not recommend carrying anything less than 45ACP. The debate as to whether a .380 is sufficient or what load should be used is moot. The round does not perform. This is not conjecture it is fact. If you carry one, you are putting your life and your loved ones lives in danger. Just read the stats.

    Sure it will send lead down range but a target is not pumped up with crack or meth or booze and a target is not running toward you. It takes 1.5 to 2 seconds for a perp to cover 21 feet. It takes 1.5 to 2.5 seconds for the average COP to engage the perp. Hmmmmm. Already doesn't sound too good for the diminutive .380.

    Add to that, crack, meth, hunger or whatever and now we really make it hard on the lilliputian .380. More than one perp, winter clothing (hollow-points tend to fill in and then the bullet passes right through) Plus, in the winter, velocities are down. Depending on powder, significantly. Sounding less and less attractive.

    Lets try this with the .45ACP. Can't do much about the perp and closing speeds but if you do get a shot off and make it a good one, it likely will slow him considerably or statistically they will be measuring him for a casket. The .45ACP will stop the average meth-head in his tracks if you are competent shot. As for velocities, the .45ACP +P will run 990 fps while standard loads are more docile at 890 fps. Weather doesn't slow this truck down much at all. Still a man stopper at lower temps.

    That thar is the the whole shootn' match if ya ask me. Man stopper. If'in I didn't already have one, I'd have tah git me one of them. Yup. To tell the truth, I never did have much respect for those smaller calibers but if that's all you can afford, or it is all you have, fine. Do the best you can. I would save up enough to trade that little bitty gun in on a decent 1911 in .45ACP If'in it were me.

    Ultimately, situational awareness and shot placement will do you the most good. Whether you carry a .22 or a .45.
    Last edited by hardballer; 07-22-2010 at 07:57 AM.

  22. #22
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    Depends on skill of the operator. A .380 in the center of the chest is more deadly than a .40 in the shoulder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Nemo View Post
    Depends on skill of the operator. A .380 in the center of the chest is more deadly than a .40 in the shoulder.
    Very true.

    In the Women's Pistol classes that I teach, most are interested in getting a handgun for self defense. The advice I typically give is they should choose the largest caliber that they can comfortably and confidently shoot. For some of the students this means a .22 LR, for some this means a .45 ACP, most are somewhere in between.

    A few years ago I brought a .454 Casull to one of the classes for one of the instructors to try after the class. When the women in the class found out it was there, a few wanted to try it out. In no time all 100 rounds were gone. A young woman who was about 5' tall and weighed around 110 lbs shot it a lot and was putting her rounds consistently into about 2" at 20 yards.

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    There is also an old saying to consider for those that switch from one firearmto another depending on circumstances. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that. I understand the reasons. The old saying reads "Beware of the man that only owns one firearm. He probably knows how to shoot it very well".

  25. #25
    Regular Member TyGuy's Avatar
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    .380 with you is better than a 357 at home. If I am wearing dress clothes then it's the LCP only, but other than that it's the LCP on the ankle and the Glock 19 on the hip.

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