The lowly .380

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I had a thought about the lowly little .380 acp. We've all seen the studies in recent years regarding the real world efficacy of handgun calibers, and how "modern technology" has made the 9mm as effective as the .40 S&W, and even the mighty .45 acp.

These studies are interesting, what they indicate about the statistical effectiveness of different rounds, and especially how little difference there is. Everyone talks about how comparatively effective the 9mm is, but what I don't hear anyone talking about is how the lowly little .380 comes off as nearly as effective as much bigger rounds.

I'm not saying we should all ditch our 9mms and .45s for mouse guns; I just thought it was a fascinating statistical quirk. It also makes me feel a little better about occasionally carrying a .380.
 
I wouldn't feel "under gunned" with a good quality .380, but my experience has been that caliber plays second fiddle to shot placement. I've posted on here a number of times regarding the fact that the 1911 has bailed me out of more than a few desperate situations, but I attribute that more to my ability to put shots on target while under duress than I do to the caliber of the pistol.

Back when I was traveling for my consulting business I carried a .380 daily and never thought twice about it.
 
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The issue is what gun the 380 pill is coming out of. My only 380s are teeny pocket guns. Even a little Kahr PM9 is not as small as my itsy bitsy P380.

When I can carry a 9, I do. But when I need a diminutive pistol, I have to accept a 380. It is just Tradeoff City. I would never choose a 380 as my go-to everyday sidearm.
 

Alexx1401

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A LARGE part of the "less than stellar" outcomes with .380 has a lot to do with the pistol. Many of the pistols people use this round in are VERY small. Very little grip area, short sight radius. This makes it hard to many to be nearly as accurate with them. So the old line about shot placement. Size and power does nothing if you miss. Of course there are some great .380's that are larger, so far easier to use but, then you get into a gun that is the same size as many 9's. I carry a .380. Ruger LCPII. Great little pistol. So small and light I can keep it always. Occasionally it's the only gun I have on me. Would of course rather have something much larger if I needed it but, the old line that having a gun, any gun, beats the better one at home. :D
 

Pete F

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I carry my 1973 Walther PPK/s semi-often, but it is showing its age and I want to preserve it's value. Usually it is a quick trip to the local/rural store. I trade off with my Taurus .32 H&R magnum. I don't feel under gunned with either, especially using Federal HST's or Hornady Critical Defense in the Walther.

I recently purchased a SCCY CPX 1 to replace both. I just ordered some trigger modifications to shorten the pull and take up over travel. When it is done, it will be my short trip gun. PDX and Metro is a whole different story.
 

bgdawgrr

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My first C C Pistol was the Colt Pocketlite in .380. Still have the pistol. Don't carry it much any more although it still has its uses.
Was my primary pocket carry for a couple decades. It became a safe queen as the value kept going up with collector value. Got a Kimber to replace it, but now my M&P Shields does it’s job and more. Feel better with 9mm than 380, but those little ones still have their place.
ironically for me, it seems the hydra shocks I started carrying with still outperform more modern rounds in that caliber.
 
The issue is what gun the 380 pill is coming out of. My only 380s are teeny pocket guns. Even a little Kahr PM9 is not as small as my itsy bitsy P380.

When I can carry a 9, I do. But when I need a diminutive pistol, I have to accept a 380. It is just Tradeoff City. I would never choose a 380 as my go-to everyday sidearm.
Agreed. I had a Makarov in .380 and it's the pistol I shot best. I had a Bersa Thunder too and liked the way it felt in the hand but I didn't shoot it very accurately. CZ83, I loved the way it felt but I couldn't shoot it for bubblegum. Same with a PPK my dad had. The Makarov was just a great shooter. My daughter slayed target potatoes with that thing too.
 
I’ve carried a PPK in .380 for over 30 years. It’s by no means a fighting handgun and as I’ve termed it much more of an anti-mugger piece. But it’s easy to conceal and shoot well.

Now, that said, my .45 ACP is readily available to strap on as conditions dictate. And lately conditions indicate a fighting handgun is soon to become the required carry piece.
 
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Agreed. I had a Makarov in .380 and it's the pistol I shot best. I had a Bersa Thunder too and liked the way it felt in the hand but I didn't shoot it very accurately. CZ83, I loved the way it felt but I couldn't shoot it for bubblegum. Same with a PPK my dad had. The Makarov was just a great shooter. My daughter slayed target potatoes with that thing too.
Bersa Thunder was one of the first I owned. It was as accurate as I was, but it did have a problem with the sights coming lose. I always liked the mouse guns. just an affection. Easy to CC fun to shoot.
 
For those of you who have watched "Homicide Hunter" with Joe Kenda, of the Colorado Springs PD, his one comment about 32 and 380 ACP was something like this: "People shot in the chest with the small caliber guns are usually found dead on site. The bullet enters the rib cage, doesn't have enough power to get out, bounces around and liquefies the insides of the victim."
 

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