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Cutter
11-27-2012, 9:44 PM
i have acquired a colt 380 and wondered what the CG tribe thought of this round for self-protection....I have always been proponent of a 9mm/.38 as the minimum caliber for self protection....

Thanks for your input,
Cutter

DNA
11-27-2012, 9:56 PM
380 is fine. Just get quality ammo... Like some of the Winchester SXTs or some of the Hornaday critical defense ammo.

Plenty of folks have bought into the 380 as a modern day SD round. And police agencies in Europe have carried 380s as primary arms.

Dan

Virus55
11-27-2012, 9:57 PM
Get some hollow points and call it good

drifter2be
11-27-2012, 10:14 PM
.380, especially with modern ammunition, is more than adequate as a self-defense gun. I have two that I carry in rotation with a .38 special and 9mm, don't feel undergunned with any of them...if you are worried about penetration carry FMJ. I personally carry Winchester PDX-1 in my carry mag and 95gr FMJ in my backup mag. But I do that with all my semi-auto carry guns (backup mag of FMJ)

JeremyS
11-27-2012, 10:29 PM
Buffalo Bore and Underwood make some excellent .380 ammo. I'd personally also have some FMJ rounds in mine just in case HP's aren't getting the job done due to their lower penetration. The .380 bullets aren't very heavy and aren't moving all that fast. Plenty of people will say I'm crazy and/or stupid, but in this caliber I'd run the first half of my mag JHP and the second half FMJ. Both ammo, of course, having been proven reliable in my gun.

LexLuther
11-27-2012, 10:37 PM
Shot placement counts more than size.

TANK1135
11-28-2012, 6:06 AM
Shot placement counts more than size.

+++1 Yup before the 9mm and 45 fans jump in.Those cals aren't death rays you still need shot placement.Stagger fmj and hp if you are worried about penetration.BB bore makes some hot ammo that compares to the 38 ballistics.

MIAMIbaseballer
11-28-2012, 6:09 AM
There's been countless tests on ammo for the 380.... Buffalo Bore 100 gr HCFN +p is the way to go if your gun can handle +p loads....

SDM44
11-28-2012, 7:11 AM
Shot placement counts more than size.

That's true. But on most .380 handguns (LCP, Kahr, S&W Bodyguard, Kel-Tech, Sig, etc), they are all very small handguns, some even called 'mouse' guns. And those mouse guns aren't the easiest or friendliest to shoot accurately, not without lots of practice.

To answer the OP's question, yes the .380 is a viable round for SD. However, the ammo costs a lot more than say 9mm, and most 9mm handguns are bigger so they're easier to grip and shoot more accurately.

I have a LCP with Winchester PDX bonded JHP (awesome stuff for the .380), and a Glock 26 with Federal HST JHP. The Glock is much easier to shoot accurately over the LCP, especially if you're new to both platforms.

Just something to consider.

Horton Fenty
11-28-2012, 7:42 AM
If it's in a package that compliments the cartridge, small and easily concealed, then I think 380 is a fine self defense round.

Mr310
11-28-2012, 7:44 AM
Glock 25 time!

davbog44
11-28-2012, 7:49 AM
i have acquired a colt 380 and wondered what the CG tribe thought of this round for self-protection....I have always been proponent of a 9mm/.38 as the minimum caliber for self protection....

Thanks for your input,
Cutter

Based on your mention of being a "proponent" of 9MM / .38 as minimums, does this mean you have other handguns (already) in those calibers?

I own one .380 (Beretta 85) and while I'd use it if I needed too, I have other pistols I think are better, in my case my personal protection / home defense pistol is a .40S&W SIG P226. I guess I am saying, all other things being equal, I personally prefer a larger caliber. But I wouldn't be one of those who argues a .380 is too little gun.

I know folks on gun boards like to state the obvious; shot placement matters most. While true on its face, there are a lot of variables, and a lot of chaos in a deadly force encounter. Obviously, the better you shoot, the better for you (and the worse for who you're shooting at) but given the spit second timing, your elevated stress levels, and someone who probably isn't giving you the cleanest target, I think caliber could become a factor. Otherwise we'd all keep .22's and just shoot 'em between the eyes.

FLIGHT762
11-28-2012, 8:38 AM
i have acquired a colt 380 and wondered what the CG tribe thought of this round for self-protection....I have always been proponent of a 9mm/.38 as the minimum caliber for self protection....

Thanks for your input,
Cutter

If given a choice, I will not use a .380 as a #1 self defense gun. 9MM minimum in an autoloader and .38 Special +P in a revolver.

Very early in my career, I witnessed a person who shot himself in the chest with a Walther PPK in .380 using FMJ ammo. I took him to the hospital. The E/R Doc put a bandaid on the entrance and told him to go see a surgeon in the next couple of days to remove the bullet. It didn't crack into the chest cavity.

Could be a few variables, but that's my opinion on the .380. With all of the new pistols out there that are very compact in 9MM, I don't understand why anyone would use a .380. Why not? Like I said, If given a choice, the .380 would not be my first choice.

For those that don't believe me or scoff at my opinion, Here is a snipet from a recent L/E terminal ballistics update I received from Dr. Gary Roberts regarding the use of a .380. He's a well respected expert on the subject.

The terminal performance of .380 ACP JHP's is often erratic, with inadequate penetration and inconsistent expansion being common
problems, while .380 ACP FMJ's offer adequate penetration, but no expansion. All of the .380 ACP JHP loads we have tested, including CorBon, Hornady, Federal, Remington, Speer, and Winchester exhibited inconsistent, unacceptable terminal performance for law enforcement back-up and off duty
self-defense use due to inadequate penetration or inadequate expansion.

Stick with FMJ for .380 ACP, or better yet, don't use it at all. The use of .380 ACP and smaller caliber weapons is really not acceptable for law enforcement use and most savvy agencies prohibit them.



Since you asked for opinions, that's my .02.

Cutter
11-29-2012, 10:12 PM
Thank you all for your input...verdict is still out. leaning toward larger cal small weapon...Flight762 made some good points regarding larger cals and others made good ones about modern ammo...i have the firearm and will try various ammo at the range to check control ability...the colt is small, light and very concealable.

Thanks again for the input. Very appreciated.

Cutter

Saym14
11-29-2012, 10:16 PM
If u do then use high quality modern ammo, However if I had a choice to grab one for self defense I would grab a 9 before the 380

Red Devil
11-30-2012, 12:55 PM
W/ good JHP ammo like the 90 gr. Gold Dot... bottom of the bucket, but still in there.

Puts a premium on Marksmanship... so practice. (a lot)

pyromensch
11-30-2012, 9:55 PM
i use on occasion, my browning bda. given it has 13 rds, but i have the buffalo bore 100gr hard cast FP, that run 1100fps. it is less concealable than your colt, but has it's use.

den888
11-30-2012, 10:26 PM
.380 auto would be the smallest caliber I would use for HD/SD.

SilverTauron
11-30-2012, 10:50 PM
The caliber engraving on the barrel is irrelevant . Bad guys are stopped by shot placement, not the size of the bullet.

sirgiles
11-30-2012, 11:29 PM
better than nothing.
if your concern is caliber, there is the s&w 500. even if you are behind the pistol, you will feel the concussion wave 10 feet away.

stix213
11-30-2012, 11:56 PM
Not as good as 9mm

Better than nothing

My LUCC pistol is a .380, and is carried out of state.

For home protection though, where size isn't as critical, I'd go 9mm or better.

a1fabweld
12-01-2012, 3:23 AM
Remingtom 102 grain Golden Sabre's & good shot placement is my recipe.

artoaster
12-01-2012, 6:04 AM
It'll work in many cases it's just that the percentages for successfully stopping someone intent on murdering you change for the worse.

XDRoX
12-01-2012, 6:23 AM
380s fine but ball is the better option.
Any caliber in 380 or smaller, ball is superior. You need to worry about penetration with these smaller calibers.

JustEd
12-01-2012, 6:30 AM
That small frame and quick sharp recoil can cause them to jam if you are not holding the weapon correctly. Try to get a lot of practice with it including clearing jams.

Jcastaneda1105
12-06-2012, 8:17 AM
I have a 380 for HD loaded with the Glaser Blue tip ammo as well as Hornady HP. Haven't had to use it, and hope I never do. Looking at a second HD gun and possibly going for a Tauraus 85. On sale at Turners for $300 right now.. going to need to think about that one.

jessegpresley
12-06-2012, 11:08 AM
Have you tried firing those fancy Glaser rounds from your gun? How do you know they will cycle properly in your moment of need? .380 is better than a sharp stick, but you really need a 9mm/.38 or above.

drifter2be
12-06-2012, 2:25 PM
i have acquired a colt 380 and wondered what the CG tribe thought of this round for self-protection....I have always been proponent of a 9mm/.38 as the minimum caliber for self protection....

Thanks for your input,
Cutter

The first thing you need to realize, when asking questions like this, is less than half the people on calguns even carry, and the percentage of people that reply these threads that have permits is even less. I have a feeling that a high percentage of the people on CG that talk crap on the .380acp as a defensive round do not have a carry permit/have never carried a handgun for self-defense. No caliber short of a 12 gauge with a slug is going to absolutely guarantee you as one shot stop, not even the highly venerated .45acp

Personally, I trust .380acp to get the job done, I used to carry a KelTec P32, so the .380 PPK I use for pocket carry is a step up from that. Once you have proven your gun to be reliable with the ammunition you are feeding it, it really comes down to your personal accuracy, and how comfortable it is to carry, because carrying something that isn't comfortable will tempt you to leave it at home. With .380 what I used to do is carry a mag of hollow points and a backup mag of ball. Now what I do is carry my mags staggered with ball and hollow point ammo. That way if the first two rounds of critical defense aren't getting the job done, the next to rounds of 100gr FMJ should penetrate a lot better.

Granted my PPK isn't my first choice for carry, but there are times that my PPS being carried IWB isn't as practical as throwing my PPK into my pocket. At a minimum I am armed at all times. I suspect that none of the guys talking crap on the .380 as a defensive round would have the balls to try to attack someone they knew was carrying one...just sayin':D

chrisf
12-06-2012, 3:04 PM
+++1 Yup before the 9mm and 45 fans jump in.Those cals aren't death rays you still need shot placement.Stagger fmj and hp if you are worried about penetration.BB bore makes some hot ammo that compares to the 38 ballistics.
You failed to mention the .40 fanboys (myself) get a fotay!

Matt P
12-06-2012, 5:52 PM
The first thing you need to realize, when asking questions like this, is less than half the people on calguns even carry, and the percentage of people that reply these threads that have permits is even less. I have a feeling that a high percentage of the people on CG that talk crap on the .380acp as a defensive round do not have a carry permit/have never carried a handgun for self-defense. No caliber short of a 12 gauge with a slug is going to absolutely guarantee you as one shot stop, not even the highly venerated .45acp

Personally, I trust .380acp to get the job done, I used to carry a KelTec P32, so the .380 PPK I use for pocket carry is a step up from that. Once you have proven your gun to be reliable with the ammunition you are feeding it, it really comes down to your personal accuracy, and how comfortable it is to carry, because carrying something that isn't comfortable will tempt you to leave it at home. With .380 what I used to do is carry a mag of hollow points and a backup mag of ball. Now what I do is carry my mags staggered with ball and hollow point ammo. That way if the first two rounds of critical defense aren't getting the job done, the next to rounds of 100gr FMJ should penetrate a lot better.

Granted my PPK isn't my first choice for carry, but there are times that my PPS being carried IWB isn't as practical as throwing my PPK into my pocket. At a minimum I am armed at all times. I suspect that none of the guys talking crap on the .380 as a defensive round would have the balls to try to attack someone they knew was carrying one...just sayin':D

One of the better efforts to interject some sense into another cartridge debate.
I would also ask of those who have promoted this or that cartridge how many of them have actually used it in lawful self defense of themselves or another?
Having carried a firearm duty LE/Off work/CCW/firearms instructor for maybe 20 years and having never shot anyone, I can say that having a firearm WITH YOU will always be more important.
9-10 times mere presentation will be enough to make the problem go away.
The magical one shot stop will be much more of an issue of luck then the cartridge you are armed with.
Find an handgun sized so that you always can carry it. That teeny tiny handgun and cartridge will always be better on you than the perfect defensive sized handgun that is just too big to wear with everything.
When will you need a handgun for self defense?
We normally do not know as someone else may dictate that need for us and at a time when we least expect it.
All we can do is be PREPARED for it.
Gauge your needs for cartridge and sized handgun based on how many times you have needed to fight with it.
Oh..... Never been in one of those?... No worries. Get anything on you. That alone will be the overwhelming majority of your success in surviving a possible fight for your life.
I suggest 90% of your success in a fight for your life will come from how well you are armed in that thing on your shoulders. Your brain.
Equip yourself with a dedicated mindset to survive no matter what. Always look to run away/get away (If no family to protect) before hanging out and fighting it out.
Check out Jeff Coopers Color Code of Mental Awareness........

Cause knowing is half the battle!!

All the above just my opinion...

oddjob
12-06-2012, 11:02 PM
I think most folks will agree the .380 is on the lower end of the "carry scale". Just know the limitations of the cartridge and the shooting platform (gun). I carry 95 grain ball ammo (Rem or W-W). I have shot into ballistic gel and ball penetrates better than the JHP's (I was a LEO rangemaster for 27 years). I also found most JHP's just don't have the "umph" to expand reliably and thus become ball ammo anyways. I decided to stay with ball more for reliability in my guns than penetration to be honest. I shot the gel back 8 years ago or so. I know newer/better ammo has appeared since, but I haven't shot any yet.

Most street thugs will turn and run at the sight of a gun let alone getting a round (or two) fired at them. These are the suspects you are more likely to meet. It will probably be at least two to three suspects. Look at videos of different robberies where people have shot back. The suspects don't stick around. I know an officer who carries a Beretta 32 acp Tomcat off duty. He likes it because its easy to carry and so he will carry it. He lives in an area that gets hot and wears a T-shirt and shorts most of the time. I asked him about the .32 and he told me his plan is to fire and run (suspect in one direction and him the other!). My point is if a smaller .380 allows you to carry then by all means use it. Its better than harsh language! Nothing wrong with running away either!

Shot placement is tougher than it seems. Remember your target will probably be moving (and maybe shooting) and so will you. The odds of you having a full on 90 degree shot is slim.

Just a FYI...I carry a Colt Goverment .380 in a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster most of the time. It fits the way I dress and my life style. I plan to bump up to a 9mm, but haven't decided which one yet.

Good Luck!

JTROKS
12-06-2012, 11:59 PM
A 380ACP is better than your bare hands. I have one and I don't feel it's inadequate as a pocket gun. Marksmanship is the key and at that its easy to place all my shots on a playing card at 7 yards due to low recoil. I have not tried the Buffalo Bore loads and sounds like that might make it recoil more.

BigRich
12-07-2012, 3:02 AM
I have a 380 for HD loaded with the Glaser Blue tip ammo as well as Hornady HP. Haven't had to use it, and hope I never do. Looking at a second HD gun and possibly going for a Tauraus 85. On sale at Turners for $300 right now.. going to need to think about that one.

In my opinion, using the Glaser round is going in the wrong direction with a 380. You will get big surface wounding but no penetration to speak of. I think you would be better off replacing the Glasers with a ball round that is accurate in your gun. The assumption is that ball will be reliable. You don't have a large energy package with the 380 so practice making fast ACCURATE shots. Familiarize yourself with human anatomy and learn the parts that you have to break.

MossbergMan
12-07-2012, 5:41 AM
One of the better efforts to interject some sense into another cartridge debate.
I would also ask of those who have promoted this or that cartridge how many of them have actually used it in lawful self defense of themselves or another?
Having carried a firearm duty LE/Off work/CCW/firearms instructor for maybe 20 years and having never shot anyone, I can say that having a firearm WITH YOU will always be more important.
9-10 times mere presentation will be enough to make the problem go away.
The magical one shot stop will be much more of an issue of luck then the cartridge you are armed with.
Find an handgun sized so that you always can carry it. That teeny tiny handgun and cartridge will always be better on you than the perfect defensive sized handgun that is just too big to wear with everything.
When will you need a handgun for self defense?
We normally do not know as someone else may dictate that need for us and at a time when we least expect it.
All we can do is be PREPARED for it.
Gauge your needs for cartridge and sized handgun based on how many times you have needed to fight with it.
Oh..... Never been in one of those?... No worries. Get anything on you. That alone will be the overwhelming majority of your success in surviving a possible fight for your life.
I suggest 90% of your success in a fight for your life will come from how well you are armed in that thing on your shoulders. Your brain.
Equip yourself with a dedicated mindset to survive no matter what. Always look to run away/get away (If no family to protect) before hanging out and fighting it out.
Check out Jeff Coopers Color Code of Mental Awareness........

Cause knowing is half the battle!!

All the above just my opinion...

Very astute observations and comments. I have carried like Matt a little longer :oji: and having awareness, a gun, skill at arms and above all the mindset to win your fight it really doesn't matter what caliber you carry.

Please do not "candy cane" (alternate loads) your magazine(s). Murphy's Law will strike and you'll have an FMJ in the chamber when you really needed a hollow point and vice versa.
I'm a fan of hollow points for the primary magazine and FMJ for the spare. Reasoning is by the time I empty my gun, everyone left standing will be behind cover/concealment and I might just have to punch through something to hit my asssailant(s).

John Steinbeck has a great quote for this thread.
"The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain, all else is supplemental"

Amen.

Jcastaneda1105
12-07-2012, 9:09 AM
In my opinion, using the Glaser round is going in the wrong direction with a 380. You will get big surface wounding but no penetration to speak of. I think you would be better off replacing the Glasers with a ball round that is accurate in your gun. The assumption is that ball will be reliable. You don't have a large energy package with the 380 so practice making fast ACCURATE shots. Familiarize yourself with human anatomy and learn the parts that you have to break.

Appreciate the feedback. Based on what I had read the Glaser's were cause a bit more damage than a ball round. I do have I believe 2 Glasers/1 hollow point /2 glasers / 1 HP..etc loaded in the magazine.

I am planning a trip to the desert with a buddy to practice stress situations. he is a certified instructor and has shared the same feedback of fast accurate shots.

Looking at a revolver as a 2nd HD gun. One for the bedroom, and one for the office. :)

DaveFJ80
12-07-2012, 9:52 AM
I have a LCP with .380 bonded Winchester PDX rounds, that I carry with me (when I can).

I've done testing with the ammo, so I know what it can do compared to other .380 and my 9mm JHP ammo, and I'm completely confident with carrying & using that gun & caliber.