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Old 01-11-2009, 09:39 PM
soup soup is offline
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Default Is a .380 good for self defense?



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I am thinking of getting a .380 to practice shooting and also to carry. I have not heard much about this caliber and I am fairly new to pistals and the ammo. I thought it was a .38 special but I guess the ammo is different? I do alot of hunting with shotguns mainly but pistals are a new area for me. Is the ammo fairly cheap compared to other calibers? Any tips are welcomed. thanks
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:51 PM
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Not powerful enough
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:52 PM
Charlie Brown Charlie Brown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soup View Post
I am thinking of getting a .380 to practice shooting and also to carry. I have not heard much about this caliber and I am fairly new to pistals and the ammo. I thought it was a .38 special but I guess the ammo is different? I do alot of hunting with shotguns mainly but pistols are a new area for me. Is the ammo fairly cheap compared to other calibers? Any tips are welcomed. thanks
if it were me, and it is as im also in the market for a pistol. though mine will be used for daily carry. i plan on buying a 9mm. ammunition is much less expensive that .380, and as i dont have a whole lot to throw around that is important to me. also its in plentiful supply everywhere.
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soup View Post
I am thinking of getting a .380 to practice shooting and also to carry. I have not heard much about this caliber and I am fairly new to pistals and the ammo. I thought it was a .38 special but I guess the ammo is different? I do alot of hunting with shotguns mainly but pistals are a new area for me. Is the ammo fairly cheap compared to other calibers? Any tips are welcomed. thanks
>380 is a 9 mm Kurtz, 9mm short, also know as 9mmX17mm, it is not the 9X19mm ie 9mm Luger. James Bond carried a .380 Walther. Im sure the morgues have been full of people who have fallen victim to this round in one form or another over the years. I just sold my .380 Bersa Thunder to updgrade to a bigger caliber. A .38 Special is a different round than a .380....it is usually a revolver round, a .380 is usually a semi auto round. The price in Western WA is about $300 per 1000 rounds, with my last trip to buy a few at Walmart with in the last week.
Old 01-11-2009, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soup View Post
I am thinking of getting a .380 to practice shooting and also to carry. I have not heard much about this caliber and I am fairly new to pistals and the ammo. I thought it was a .38 special but I guess the ammo is different? I do alot of hunting with shotguns mainly but pistals are a new area for me. Is the ammo fairly cheap compared to other calibers? Any tips are welcomed. thanks
Your generally accepted minimum defensive chambering's for handguns are the 9mm Luger (parabellum etc), and the .38 Special.

It's hard to go wrong with either choice as long as defensive ammo is used as such and target ammo is relegated for target use.
Ball or roundnose ammo is pretty much the worst choice for defensive uses.

The .380 is generally considered underpowered and is normally chambered in weapons that are small and compact, read that as hard to control and with more recoil than is comfortable.
Ball or roundnose ammo is normally all that you will find unless your local store is fairly well stocked. And it's generally more expensive than better choices. Accuracy in most .380's is fair to good but almost never excellent.

In todays weapons designs, the 9mm has pretty much taken over the place that the .380 used to hold, with the 9mm being a much more available and better choice despite them being the same diameter. The 9mm bullet weighs more and moves much faster increasing it's effectiveness.
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:45 PM
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A .380 is better than nothing! A .22lr will do the job in capable hands.
Old 01-11-2009, 11:11 PM
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Why pay the same price for a .380 as you could for a 9mm? 9mm wins the effectiveness battle here.
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:15 PM
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There are volumes written and researched on this and volumes of opinions to go with it.

.22, 25, 32, .380, 38sp, 9mm, .40, 45, 12 ga etc. are simply tools to do the job. .380 may not be the most effective but not the least effective either. "Borderline" may be a good description. Better than nothing... absolutely!

The Mrs. and I have Ruger LCP .380's as our primary CCW weapons but we also carry both Glock and S&W 9mm and .40 compacts as well. We find the LCP .380 to be the easiest to carry and thus we carry with them most often.

We certainly prefer our larger "compacts" but they're still fairly large and weigh about 30 ounces loaded compared to around 12 ounces for the LCP loaded. The LCP or something that size is so easy to carry and conceal in about any season and attire. I've tried the Glocks and Smith compacts for CCW but they are bulky and heavy for my daily routine / lifestyle / wardrobe.

Stopping power is not just about ballistics; it's about shot placement, who you're shooting, their size, what their mindset / motivation is and what drugs they may or may not be on.

Would I prefer to have my .40 with 14 rounds over the .380 with seven? You bet and I do carry the .40 when the situation permits or calls for it. On the other hand, I don't want to deal with carrying the .40 every day, nor is it practical for my lifestyle. My #1 preference would be to carry my Mossberg 590A1 12 ga with 00 buckshot but that's neither practical or realistic unless TSHTF.

While the .380 may not be ideal and I certainly wouldn't want to try a hostage rescue headshot from 7 yards with it, I'm happy to have it as an option. WTSHTF, I'll probably carry the .40 and the .380 as my BUG.

I'll also +1 the comment on comfort / recoil of the smaller weapons. After the first six shots with the LCP, I put on a pair of shooting gloves and it still sucked. The thought of putting a few hundred rounds through the LCP to break it in and practice was unappealing at best. By the same token, in a self defense shooting you'll never feel the recoil.

Just like any toolbox you have different tools for different needs and situations. You don't always have the need or room to swing a sledgehammer when something smaller is more appropriate or all you have on your tool belt.
Old 01-11-2009, 11:17 PM
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.380 will work, if you have practiced and have it ready when you need it. .38 spec revolver would be better for beginner.


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Old 01-12-2009, 04:40 AM
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.380 = 9x17
9mm mak = 9x18
9mm para = 9x19

usually the .380 is used as a back up gun.

if you are smaller or like the idea of a smaller gun for carry the .380 is the lowest ive heard you should go. Practice with it (but thats the same with any gun)

my theory is 3 well placed holes of most any cal will stop them.

ymmv

T
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:53 AM
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Sure, a .22 will kill a human.

BUT:
A badguy is about to point a .45 at you, do you want to have a .380 in your hand, or something with more knock-down power?
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whirlibird View Post
It's hard to go wrong with either choice as long as defensive ammo is used as such and target ammo is relegated for target use.
Ball or roundnose ammo is pretty much the worst choice for defensive uses.
Very true and I'm sorry for hijacking the thread, but from what I've seen recently a box of 50 9mm hollow points is over $30 and hard to find while you can easily get a box of 100 Winchester targets rounds at ChinaMart for less than $20. Hard not to stock up on that bulk target ammo. It seems like every time I leave ChinaMart I have a box in my cart.

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Old 01-12-2009, 07:02 AM
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I believe that a .380 with a hollow point still has pretty decent stopping power. No-one can deny that a 9mm or a .38 has more power, but I believe .380 is not that bad either.
Old 01-12-2009, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Kregener View Post
Why pay the same price for a .380 as you could for a 9mm? 9mm wins the effectiveness battle here.
Because the .380's tend to be smaller guns, lighter weight and easier to conceal. For instance the smallest 9mm runs about 12oz (Rohrbaugh R9S) and costs $900. The smallest .380 weighs 7oz and costs around $300 (Kel-Tec P-3AT and Ruger LCP). The cheapest 9mm (Hi-Point) run about $200 and weigh in around 32 oz or so and are generally too large to be easily concealled.

Some will say a 9mm is the bottom of the ladder round for self-defense, others will say a .380 or even a .32acp.

I'm in the .380 camp. I've carried a .380 as primary self-defense gun in the past and do not feel "un-armed" when I carry a .380 now.

The high performance .380 ammo has similar ballistics to the low-end .38spl but in a much smaller package so the .380 is nothing to sneeze at.

Allan
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfe View Post
I believe that a .380 with a hollow point still has pretty decent stopping power. No-one can deny that a 9mm or a .38 has more power, but I believe .380 is not that bad either.
.380 auto is the bare minimum. .25 and .22 are too small. A .22 mag would be OK, but it is generally available in revolver.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:35 AM
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"What gun / caliber to carry for self defense" is a debate that goes on ad infinitum, with no resolution. The only real answer is to carry whatever YOU feel confident with: provided you're GOING TO CARRY IT.

The .45 automatic or .41 magnum revolver is a better self defense gun than a .22 derringer or .25 automatic. That's not even debatable! The real question is, based on your lifestyle, dresssing habits, etc., are the bigger guns going to be there, with you, on your person, when the need arises?

If so, then they're the ones to carry!

If not, then the little gun in your pocket surely bets the more effective one in your glove compartment or dresser drawer.

Jim
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whirlibird View Post
...Ball or roundnose ammo is pretty much the worst choice for defensive uses...
Again not to hijack the thread, but FMJ vs JHP is an issue that is debated endlessly in every gun forum on the net. The advantage of FMJ/ball ammo is that it's inexpensive enough that you'll practice AND, more importantly, run enough of it thru your pistol that you're sure it works EVERYTIME you pull the trigger. In addition the FMJ tends to be a better penetrator all things being equal. The advantage of the JHP is that, assuming there is sufficient velocity, the hollow point will open up when it hits soft flesh and will create a larger wound channel. The penetration is less, which may or may not be an issue in any particular shooting incident.

To say that "Ball or roundnose ammo..." is the "worst" choice is simplistic at best and not necessarily true. Personally I carry JHP in my .45, but FMJ in my .380 (I want that light little bullet to have all the penetration advantage it can muster from what is a very short barrel - i.e. low velocity.)

Now back to our regular programming...

Allan
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
... James Bond carried a .380 Walther...
Bond's Walther PPK was in .32acp, not .380acp...

Allan
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:48 AM
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my sentiments exactly birdman
Old 01-12-2009, 08:55 AM
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A 380 uses the same bullet as a 9mm. The 380 case is smaller then a 9mm and the 380 moves a little slower then a 9mm. Where a 9mm mostly uses 115 grain bullet, I think a 380 uses a 90 grain grain as its standard load.

Years ago gun magazine writers recommended 380s for people with small hands and women. I dont know about right now, but 10 - 20 years ago a lot of cops carried a 380 as a back up.

I dont see anything wrong with the 380. Its not my first choice, but thats just me.

What the 38 special is to the 357 magnum, the 380 is to the 9mm.
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