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.380 vs 38

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by Phillyfan, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. Phillyfan

    Phillyfan Oregon City, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    So my friend was talking about getting a concealed carry firearm for his wife. I suggested a .380 and he scoffed saying that the caliber was too light, and that he wanted to get her a 38 snubby. He felt that it was a stronger caliber and that the simplicity of a revolver was perfect for a novice in distress. My thinking is that the .380 has the same, if not better, ballistics out of a short barrel, and that if you keep a round chambered they are just as easy to shoot. Especially if you have something with no safety like a P3At. Safety wise it is the same, do to the long trigger pull. And the fact that it is lighter, and thinner she will tend to carry it more often. Any thoughts?
     
  2. n47587

    n47587 creswell Member

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    While the small .380's are nice for concealment, you can throw a much heavier bullet out of a .38. I carry a J frame smith with 158 gr hp while my .380 throws an 85gr hp. As for a carry weapon for the wife, I would judge on how proficient she is with the weapon and is she ableto recognize and clear feeding issues with the .380 in a defense condition.
     
  3. claypigeon

    claypigeon Salem Member

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    Most of the info I have read on snubnose 38 are less impressive than 380. I was under the impression that they were using a 4" barrel on the 380. I am not sure if it would be the same as comparing a P3AT or LCP to a S&W 642 with the shorter barrels on those 380's.
     
  4. keystir

    keystir Hillsboro, OR Active Member

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    Either one would be a fine choice for CCW. Check out the box-o-truth web page I believe they did some testing with smaller caliber ammo and snubby .38 special.
     
  5. enjr4

    enjr4 Renton, WA Active Member

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    I must be missing something.
    If you are being accosted by the average bad guy (not someone out to kill you in the first place) a double tap with either one is going to ruin their day. I don't know how many of you have been shot, but a couple of hollow points from anything will take the fight out of you very quickly. Very quickly, you just want the world to go away and leave you alone.

    Revolver, first pull is hard, second pull the same. Pistol, safety off, hammer down, first pull is hard, second not so much. It all takes practice.
     
  6. soberups

    soberups Newberg Well-Known Member

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    A .38+P 158 gr. JHP or SWC is a far more effective SD round than anything coming out of the barrel of a 380.

    Reliability is another issue to be concerned with. The current crop of pocket 380's (Ruger LCP, Keltec 3AT, Taurus TCP etc.) are all known to have feeding issues right out of the box. If you are going to rely upon one of these guns for protection you should run at least 200 rounds of the ammo you will be carrying thru it to ensure reliable operation when you need it most.

    Premium defense ammo for the 380 usually runs at least a dollar per round if not more so in many cases you will wind up spending more on ammo than you did on the gun by the time you get it dialed in and ready to rely on for daily carry.

    With an airweight .38 snub you just practice with cheap ammo and then run 5 or 10 rounds of the expensive stuff thru it to see where it hits, and you are good to go.

    My Ruger LCR lives in a pocket holster in the front pocket of my shorts all summer long and I hardly even know its there. You cant beat it for simple, reliable and easy concealed carry.
     
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  7. soberups

    soberups Newberg Well-Known Member

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    Two things;

    1. People who are hopped up on drugs or alcohol or adrenaline quite frequently dont even know that they have been shot. They will often continue on with their criminal behavior until they bleed out which can take several minutes, even with good shot placement.

    2. The current crop of subcompact 380's are all DAO with no manual safety. The trigger pulls are typically long and heavy, and being DAO they do not change after the first shot.
     
  8. CHLChris

    CHLChris Portland Metro East Love me some guns! Bronze Supporter

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    Isn't this an apples/oranges thing?

    Fact: Hold a .380 95gr JHP against a .38spl+p 158gr LSWCHP and the .380 looks like a toy. I wouldn't want to be shot by either, but there is very little comparison.

    Fact: Comparing the LCP (and any comparable .380 pocket weapon) and the LCR (and any comparable snubbie) isn't truly helpful. Does the shooter prefer the revolver platform or the semi-auto platform?

    THAT question must be answered first. THEN choose the most appropriate firearm.

    Personally, my family has BOTH. I prefer the LCP and my wife prefers the LCR. Actually, I prefer my Colt 1911 in .45acp, but that's a different discussion.
     
  9. glockguy

    glockguy Albany Oregon Well-Known Member

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    have you ever been shot?
     
  10. UncalledForGabe

    UncalledForGabe Aloha Or. Member

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    Either one puts a hole in the bad guy. I prefer the p3at because its tiny. I can put it in any pocket without anyone noticing and its been 100% reliable so far.
     
  11. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    I guess it would depend on what she can shoot best - if she can't hit the broad side of a barn with gun X, then it doesn't really matter what caliber it is. A trip to the rental range or borrow some friends is a good investment.

    Personally, I shoot my 642 better than my P3AT and I have more confidence in the .38spl round - so, the 642 gets carried more often.
     
  12. Izzy

    Izzy Oakridge Active Member

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    +1:thumbup:

    I don't think the caliber of a weapon is near as important as how comfortable the shooter is with that weapon. Take her to a range, have her shoot various weapons of various calibers & let her decide!!!
     
  13. tlfreek

    tlfreek Vancouver WA Active Member

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    I have...

    sixth grade. In the knee by a bb gun.

    it hurt like ****. I just wanted to go home and have a pepsi.:thumbup:
     
  14. enjr4

    enjr4 Renton, WA Active Member

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    Yes, I was 16. A buddy of mine. Don't ever want to go there again. Didn't hurt much for the first few seconds, just burned, but after that . . . After we figured out I wasn't dead, we a towel in the hole and went to the ER. After that, all he** broke loose. His folks, my folks, giving us he**. What a mess.
     
  15. Izzy

    Izzy Oakridge Active Member

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    .410, 40yards, NOT FUN!!!!
     
  16. waltermitty

    waltermitty seattle Active Member

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    (9mm ricochet off metal plate (25 yds) to the middle of forehead. n..n...na..nu...no side effects)

    when considering 380 v 38 spl, also factor in clothing. Eastern OR or WA, in
    Winter, one thick layer of wool will seriously moderate the effects of a 380
    at center mass. so as always, consider your environment and conditions
    before trying to argue simplistically.

    at the lower end of the spectrum, the ballistics can be so marginal that it
    doesn't take much to turn performance to mediocre.
     
  17. n47587

    n47587 creswell Member

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    When I was younger and stupid (now I'm old and stupid) I tripped and fired a pump style pellet gun into my foot. Actually hurt more when they had to carve holes in the bone to extract the pellet.
     
  18. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I no longer own a .38 snubby so I don't have one handy. I know this is an either/or question, but how much bigger and heavier is a Kel-Tec PF-9 Than the snubby? Why am I limited to a .380 if the snubby is also an option, and why isn't the 9mm an option here? Or a Kahr in about the same size...

    If size and weight is the issue, then go with a .380. If it isn't everything, then may I please have a compact 9mm?

    Just saying. ??
     
  19. PinkhamR

    PinkhamR Altus, Oklahoma MSgt, USAF (Retired)-FFL Lifetime Supporter

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    At the CCF http://concealedcarryforum.com/forum/ we consider a .380 as a 'bug gun' and not adequate for real self protection. FBI tests reflect that. Go with the .38 or something larger .... JMO
     
  20. PinkhamR

    PinkhamR Altus, Oklahoma MSgt, USAF (Retired)-FFL Lifetime Supporter

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    Take a look at the Kel-Tec PF9/P11 or the new Kahr 9MM ... :thumbup:
     
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