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.380 vs .38spl in a small EDC thinking out loud

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by Mark W., Dec 6, 2013.

  1. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I been looking at a couple of the small .380 EDC type autos and thinking about adding one to the kit.

    In doing this it would be another option then the current small frame .38spl revolver I carry.

    so to compare available ballistics:

    .380 ACP Self defense type load

    Hornady Critical Defense Ammunition 380 ACP 90 Grain Flex Tip 1000fps with 200ftlbs at the muzzle

    Speer Gold Dot Ammunition 380 ACP 90 Gr. J H P 900fps with 196ftlbs at the muzzle

    Winchester Super-X Ammunition 380 ACP 85 Gr. Silvertip HP 1000fps with 189ftlbs at the muzzle

    All of which would be something to hold on to in a pistol the size of a Ruger LCP or Kel Tec P3AT


    .38spl. +P Self defense load

    Hornady Critical Defense Ammo 38 Special +P 110 Gr. Flex Tip 1090fps with 290ftlbs at the muzzle

    Hornady Critical Defense Ammo 38 Special 110 Gr. Flex Tip 1010fps with 249ftlbs at the muzzle

    Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel Ammo 38 Special +P 135 Gr. JHP 860fps with 222ftlbs at the muzzle

    Winchester Super-X Ammo 38 Special +P 158 Gr. Lead HP SW 890fps with 278ftlbs at the muzzle

    I've shot +P ammo in my small .38 no problems holding on to it or getting back on target quickly though the muzzle flash can be amazing.

    The small autos hold 6+1 and are quick to reload with real long hard to control trigger pulls Striker only. Alloy or Polymer frames.

    The small revolver holds 5 rds is slower to reload with speed loaders has a short crisp DA and a tight lt wt SA trigger exposed hammer so even the first round can be SA. Stainless steel throughout.

    The autos weigh less and are thinner but both styles conceal about as well as the other.

    In speed they appear to be a match (of course with many different loads available they can be matched up just about any way I tried to show very similar loads) in energy the .38spl has a marked advantage with about as much as a 31% advantage in the Hornady +P load and even in the std .38 spl load theres a 18.5% advantage.

    So it would seam to me the ballistic stopping power advantage would have to go to the .38spl
    The advantage for the small auto is the capacity and reload time. MUCH bigger chunk of copper and lead can come flying out of the .38spl up to a 75% bigger slug with the common 158gr offerings.

    The functional advantage would have to go to the small revolver with almost no chance of a jam, the advantage of the shorter trigger pull and the advantage of the target like trigger in SA. off set by the more fiddly loading characteristics.

    And here's one you might not think of a small revolver does not spray brass all over the area.

    So lots to think about as I shop for a small auto.
     
  2. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    They're so little just carry both.
     
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  3. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    That is for a quick reload too. Just pull the second one out, your ready to go.
     
  4. 2Wheels4Ever

    2Wheels4Ever Central Oregon Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer

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    P238. Better trigger than both a revolver and a DOA semi, and can hold 7+1. Buffalo Bore .380 +p is at 288 ft lbs. Great night sites, and disappears no matter where you put it.
     
  5. cookie

    cookie THE SOCIALIST STATE OF KALI - FORNIA Well-Known Member

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    38 special in a j frame type. If you need more a 9mm double stack compact. But then how many people have we been shooting lately?
     
  6. 2gr8dgs

    2gr8dgs oregon Active Member

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    I would have to go with one of the tiny 9mm autos over any 380. to me there just isn't enough difference in size to go with the lesser cartridge.
    I would also chose a lightweight j frame s&w over any 380. My $.02
     
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  7. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    9MM +P is the way to go for deep concealment primary. While I would never carry one as a primary, I like our new Beretta Nano BUG that we are testing

    A Browning Hi Power Detective 9MM with 15 shot mag is the least I will carry as a primary
     
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  8. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    .380's are fun and viable.. I don't currently have one but whatever you do, keep that .38 snubnose!
    My favorite .380 load, for whatever purpose, is a Lee 105 grain SWC.. cast of Lyman #2 recipe and driven pretty hard.
     
  9. 2Z4

    2Z4 Milwaukie Active Member

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    A .380 is better than being unarmed. Faster reloads, sure, that makes sense. But the 38 has more going for it - more loads out there and a heavier bullet. Less chance of a malfunction in a revolver too. If you're keeping yours, just get another small j-frame type revolver and carry that too. Either one of those guns is a close quarters self defense pistol, realistically. The 38 revolver has the advantage there. Oh, and I've carried both.
     
  10. PuddleMonkey

    PuddleMonkey Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I carry both from time to time but definitely feel better about the J-Frame 38+P. Just a superior round.

    I equate 380 to be similar to flicking someone in the ear, you're just gonna piss a perp off shooting 'em with that.
     
  11. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I do not sell firearms I only buy firearms I want so there is no keep one or sell one in my debate. I buy it its mine until its one of the kids.

    This debate has brought up something else I was wondering about.

    Wouldn't it be interesting to know how many times (out of how many years or per 100,000 CHL's etc) a EDC has been fired more then twice during one instance of self defense.

    Pretty sure you would never find the statistic's but it would sure be enlightening when the debate comes up about how many rounds you need in your magazine or cylinder.

    In my personal case I have carried for nearly 25 years and in that time I have felt the need to chamber a round twice and hold my pistol in my hand maybe 5 times. Typically inside a pocket sometimes till in the holster but, at least once along side my leg out of sight. I have never pointed it nor shown it to anyone as an act of self defense. And the only time I have fired it was in practice.

    90% of the time I have carried a Bauer .25 Auto with 6 rounds of RN ammo in the magazine nothing in the chamber and a spare mag of the same in the holster. I can cycle the pistol with one hand if need be. I also carry (more recently) a Charter Arms Undercover Stainless in 38+P with 125gr HP reloads with pretty middle of the road powder charge. And have at times carried a Star Model B 9mm and a few times an Astra A90 18+1 9mm. The big pistols were nothing but a PITA.
     
  12. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    A 4" model 29 is a pain in the *** to carry concealed. They sure work good though.
     
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  13. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Piss them off = getting return rounds.. no thanks, enough chance of that with a blaster
     
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  14. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Wait till you have drawn one against a pair of crazed illegal alien serial shooters with a sawed off 12 ga on a back HWY with no help near while defending your pretty young wife. You will wish you had a 40MM grenade launcher
     
  15. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    And the chances of that are? First my current wife would be a lot bigger problem then the two beaners.
     
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  16. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Happened to me, sir, that was my point
     
  17. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I'd pick the .38 Special over the 380, but have to admit it's much easier to carry (and hide) the flat auto instead of the much thicker in the middle revolver. My wife has both and prefers to carry the 380 because it's easier to stash.
    I've had a Taurus TCP for a few years and it's too easy to stuff it in a pocket with a pocket holster. However I recently purchased a Kahr 9mm that has taken it's place. The overall size is not much bigger, but it's quite a bit thicker and heavier.
    I've shot the Speer out of my TCP and it's not hard to hold onto.
     
  18. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Leave the drive bys out and the statistics were 2.5 rounds in a gun fight.
    Now chances are we won't be hanging out in East LA and need 25 rounds but there is a rise in multiple assailants.Look at the knock out guys. They run with 4-5 guys. And there are plenty of stories of drugged out POS' taking multiple rounds before dropping.
    I'm just not a 380 fan. I have been handling some of the ultra small ruger 380 LCPs and the Taurus TCP . Small small,so deep concealable but still a 380.
    I would rather go with a 22mag revolver than a 380. Remember the 22mag has as much or more speed and energy as a 38spc at the muzzle.Penetration would be better than a 380 with most clothing.
    But the 38s are cheaper to shoot than the 380 and the guns more available than the 22mag revolvers.5 shot airweight is pretty easy to hide

    JMO
    Mike


    PS I carry a 1911 or a g20
     
  19. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    I used to have a P3AT and a 642. Sold the P3AT, kept the 642, but mostly carry a PM9 these days. My P3AT was always reliable and very easy to carry, but I wasn't as accurate with it and never trusted the round. I'd get rid of the 642, but there are times it conceals better than the PM9 and I like it for other reasons.

    In terms of reloads - I don't carry them if I pocket carry. I pocket carry because I can't carry a bunch of other junk with me easily. Packing an extra magazine or whatever kind of defeats the purpose.

    Just my two-bits - don't have all the answers.
     
  20. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    A good .38 round will generate right at 400fpe and that's not even a +P+.
    Generally, .22 magnum ballistics out of a pistol will be the equivalent of .22lr ballistics out of a rifle.. and that's not much.
    And then it's a rimfire.. rimfires aren't noted for their reliability of ignition compared to centerfire.
     
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