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Thread: Is .380 an adequate self defense round?

  1. #1

    Is .380 an adequate self defense round?


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    I always hear "shot placement" is more important than caliber. I'm sure this is true in most cases. With that in mind, do you think .380 is adequate for EDC and home defense?
    If you carry a .380, which one and what SD round do you use?
    “Truth is treason in the empire of lies." - Ron Paul

  2. #2
    I personally think that it is too small. 9mm is the smallest caliber that I carry. There are many that disagree with me though. If I were to carry I 380 I think that I would alternate rounds in the mag from FMJ to a good hollow point. To be sure to get enough pentration. That is the 380's downfall with HP bullets. The bullets will expand but then they might not penetrate enough.

  3. #3
    The "adequacy" of any round is determined to some degree by the threat. Some threats may absorb a few .45's and not be deterred sufficiently. Others, drilled with just a single .22 LR round, may lose the "will to fight" instantly.
    Lotta hogwash concerning "suitable" rounds. In the end, theres always a element of conjecture involved, and conjecture by it's nature, has no accurate answer.

  4. #4
    Can 'O' worms and my (very) humble opinion..... .380 is a decent "warm" weather CCW caliber or bug since you're dealing with mostly pocket guns.

    For home defense, I'd go at least 9mm. Cheaper, faster, more accurate and easier to find.

    As for which round, here's a cool site.
    http://www.handloads.com/misc/stoppingpower.asp

  5. #5
    Is .380 an adequate self defense round?
    Yes.

  6. #6
    Is .380 an adequate self defense round?
    And no.

  7. #7
    Not Subscribed Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by wally592 View Post
    Yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by wally592 View Post
    And no.
    Well that about sums it up....

  8. #8
    Beats throwing rocks....


    That being said, I have one I occasionally carry.

  9. #9
    Here's a little info that may help shed some light.

    http://hunting.about.com/od/guns/l/aast9mmv380a.htm

  10. #10
    Uncle Alwah summed it up best. There is NO magic bullet and people have been known to survive after being hit with a .50BMG.

    I occassionaly carry a .380 with confidence, however I also know that there truly is no such thing as "too much" gun. They all have their limitations.

  11. #11
    Staff - Purveyor of Kydex Shootist Classified Feedback: 148 rantingredneck's Avatar
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    I'd damn sure hate to get shot with one, and I'm almost certain that applies to most folks. Whether it'll quickly stop a threat is up for debate and is largely dependent on the determination of the threat and shot placement.

    I occasionally carry an LCP as either a primary or a BUG. It's equipped with a laser for rapid target acquisition in low light. It's loaded with Hornady CD bullets. I figure if they expand, great, if they don't it's a FMJ.
    The answer to this question is straightforward: The purpose of having citizens armed with paramilitary weapons is to allow them to engage in paramilitary actions. The Second Amendment is not about Bambi and burglars — whatever a well-regulated militia is, it is not a hunting party or a sport-clays club. It is remarkable to me that any educated person — let alone a Harvard Law graduate — believes that the second item on the Bill of Rights is a constitutional guarantee of enjoying a recreational activity. - Kevin D. Williamson, National Review







  12. #12
    Not Subscribed Gunslinger Socom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Alvah View Post
    The "adequacy" of any round is determined to some degree by the threat. Some threats may absorb a few .45's and not be deterred sufficiently. Others, drilled with just a single .22 LR round, may lose the "will to fight" instantly.
    Lotta hogwash concerning "suitable" rounds. In the end, theres always a element of conjecture involved, and conjecture by it's nature, has no accurate answer.
    So very true, you'll never know, till the times comes, and let's hope it never doe's... :blink: Myself, I would not go below a 9mm... :90:

  13. #13
    Not Subscribed Pistoleer Classified Feedback: 1
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    No handgun caliber that will fit into an easily portable package is adequate when somebody is shootin' at us.

    The problem with the sub-caliber carry guns is that people expect too much of them, or they assume that their moment of truth will be an active gunfight at 25 yards...or more...when the reality is that it'll more likely happen at touching distance against a knife, club...or just a plain, old fashioned beatdown by Mongo the Mauler.

    Those situations are the venue of the pocket pistol or revolver, and their intended role.
    A snub nosed .38 firing standard pressure 158-grain round nose lead ammo is the subject of much scorn and ridicule from the Romp'em/Stomp'em crowd...but it will do when the muzzle is pressed against his belly or groin and emptied as fast as the trigger can be pulled. I expect that the .380 auto would do about as well.

  14. #14
    The .380 round is not ideal, unless properly placed, it might not stop an assailant in his tracks or even slow him down. However, it is much better than not carrying anything. Most people logically presume that a gun can kill you, as they should... and only the most idiotic of criminals would say , oh well it's only a .380 or .22 for that matter. In that case, merely having a firearm in sight will prevent a crime, and you'll never have to fire a shot. But, you don't want to get into a firefight with this caliber obviously. There is a more imminent threat when someone else has a gun and is firing upon you. in the heat of the moment, most .380 and even 9mm shots will not stop the threat.. (disable the opponent from firing upon you.)
    But I don't carry anything on my person currntly on a day to day basis, only when I'm in a sketchy area and that's a ruger SR9c or a officers 1911, but I don't like carrying them because I am 6'4" and 190lbs and most of my clothes fit tighter since I am too cheap to buy new ones to accommodate carrying a firearm. I had a .380 keltec, and felt pretty comfotable having it in my pocket, but it was a HORRIBLE shooting gun... but still better than "throwing rocks" and I hoped that the sight of a firearm would do it's job in any situation I'd get myseld into.
    I carry a .45 1911 in my glove box, or a the 17rd mag in my SR9. I have mixed feelings, 17rd mags vs 8 rd mags... and hopefully I'll be near that if (and hopefully i am not) Im even in a fire fight.
    You should never use .380 for home defense, if somone has broken into my house, I take it as a threat on my families safty and will stop that threat as it is fit, but you might not be able to do so with a .380 unless you've got a large capacity magaizine.

    Get a small 9mm at least if you feel that you'll actually carry it, it wont do you any good at home. Kahr makes a really small .40 which would be great, ruger has the SR9c with 10 and 17 rd mags, there are several subcompact 9-.45 cal pistols that are easiy concealed. if you must have a pocket pistol I'd ot with the PF9, smallest one I know of.

  15. #15
    Here's my take on it. For home defense where CC is not an issue, why not get a larger caliber? Or shotgun. I typically carry a 9mm. But situations force me to carry a .380 sometimes. The worse part for me is lesser amount of rounds. Not as much the caliber itself. In a lot of situations the sight of a firearm or the sound of the discharge may end the situation immediately. I don't like to rely on that idea though. But it seems to be the case in some situations. I read an account of a one shot stop with a .380 recently. If I find it I'll post it here.

    One of the most important issues is to find a gun you shoot well. Or in some cases, a gun you can shoot period. Then do what you have to with that.

  16. #16
    Any gun is better than no gun. A pistol is definitely not the ideal choice for a gunfight. NO pistol is capable of knocking a man down- the bullets may cause injuries that incapacitate, but "knockdown power" in a handgun is a myth. I would much rather have a long gun if I know a violent encounter is likely.

    That being said, I will not go any lighter than 9mm in a semiauto, and .38 in a revolver for carry or HD. We have a .380 at the house, but it is in a location in the house that I will most likely not be in if I need to access a firearm- if it is needed, it is there to allow me to fight my way to a better weapon.

    Shot placement is key, but I also want something with somewhat reliable terminal ballistics that will penetrate deeply enough to cause permanent wound cavitation (pistol bullets generally do not have enough energy to creat temporary wound cavity) in something that is vital to my assailant staying alive or staying in the fight.

    YMMV.

  17. #17
    Put most any round into a man's gut and he will change his mind about assaulting you. Put most any round into a man's cranium and he will go down. I have carried a 380 and will again. In fact I now carry a Makarov (9X18) which is a hair below a 380. I call these slow movers "mini 45s" because more than likely their entire energy load will be dumped into the assailant. I still carry 45s occasionally and always have one nearby. My 1911 is within arm's reach right now with a ten round mag and three others in a mag carry. Nothing wrong with the mini 45s.

  18. #18
    If you are dealing with people that don't want to get shot a single shot .22 pistol is enough. The people you need to worry about are the ones that don't care if you shoot them. The army found out that a .38 LC wasn't enough to deter a person that didn't care if they were shot. A lot of law enforcement departments have found that a 9 m/m is not enough so they went to a .40. As I have said many times, just because you don't think you are under gunned don't make it so. In the real world you probably won't ever need a pistol so it doesn't matter what kind or whether or not you have one. Also remember this advice is worth what it cost. Larry

  19. #19
    Why use .380 when you can use 9x18 Makarov? :thumbup:


  20. #20
    Stafmedewerker

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    Quote Originally Posted by old confederate View Post
    If you are dealing with people that don't want to get shot a single shot .22 pistol is enough. The people you need to worry about are the ones that don't care if you shoot them. The army found out that a .38 LC wasn't enough to deter a person that didn't care if they were shot. A lot of law enforcement departments have found that a 9 m/m is not enough so they went to a .40. As I have said many times, just because you don't think you are under gunned don't make it so. In the real world you probably won't ever need a pistol so it doesn't matter what kind or whether or not you have one. Also remember this advice is worth what it cost. Larry
    I agree. Odds are, you'll never need to have to pull out a CCW or home defense weapon, thank the Lord. IF you have to pull it out then the odds are STILL strongly in your favor against having to pull the trigger. (Most of the time the presence of the firearm will stop the threat or get them to run like heck.) Now, if you're having a REALLY unlucky day, those 6-7 rounds of .380 may not be enough, but if your day is THAT bad, you may need an airstrike...

    And I'd like to also ponder out loud that police departments can switch because its OUR money they use to buy those fancy-schmancy new .40's and .357 sigs. For 100 years before that, 9x19mm, 9x18mm or .45 seemed to do the trick for most folks.

    So I'm in the "whatever you like to practice a lot with" camp.
    "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." - Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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