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I have had different calibers for self defense even before I got my carry permit. I had a taurus judge, ruger p90 and a p95. All were nice handguns, all were nice shooters.
After I got my permit, carrying and concealing them became more of a concern. The size and weight were factors.
One caliber that I have stayed with is the 38 special, primarily in a snubnose. It was a (I said was) s&w 642 small and light, about 14oz if I remember correctly. But I tried a s&w bg 38 with a Crimson trace laser on it. Lighter, maybe slightly. But the recoil was much better,,,, ok, just better.

I have been reading the caliber war papers and all the comments. While most are supportive of the modest. 380, but there are some out there that just won't give it the time of day.
I for one wouldn't want to take a shot from a .380, 22 or anything else for that matter. And neither would anyone else I imagine. Not willingly.

My thoughts are, its most likely that I will never need to shoot in defense let alone even pull it on someone. But if that ever does happen I wouldn't be to supprised if they or it were to run off. That would be the best outcome.

I might be old fashioned but I believe that you should work for what want, if in need ask for help but never take what isn't yours.
Thats the reason I chose to carry, I just don't want to have someone with entitlement issues taking what's mine or harming a loved one or myself.

I carry both the p3at and the bg38, sometimes together. Don't feel "under gunned" with either.
Carry a speed strip or a extra magazine, which ever applies.

So do I think a .380 or 38 is enough? Yes.
 

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I carried a 380 and its twin 9x18 for many, many years. My current 9mm is smaller than my Makarov was and only the smallest bit bigger than my 380 was. There are a lot of micro 9s out there now that are amazing, and the 380s are getting smaller too ... I agree for the most part but comparing calibers is one thing, comparing a huge 9 vs a small 380 exaggerates the size weight issue though. The 380 and mak were both much, much easier to shoot, the micro 9s come with a recoil price.
 

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I carry 380 on a rare occasion but I don't feel outgunned when I do. Too many meth heads and crazies out there so I pretty much follow plink wth 9MM, carry 40, and defend home turf with 45.
 

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It all depends on just what situation you find yourself in when you have to repel boarders as it were. .380s and other pocket pistols mainly shine in their hide ability and their ease of carry in every day life.

Most times you aren't going to have to stop a charging fullback sized attacker, but more and more often you can expect thugs to come in twos or threes.

As someone who has rocked a KelTec P32 for nearly seventeen years as a BUG and very occasionally a main armament, I can attest. Mouse guns do have their niche.

As to heavy duty stopping power? In most cases, a .32 or .380 is going to do the job for most everyday folk, even if they have to discharge the weapon with malice as most people don't like to leak. However. If you find yourself facing a hard charging aggressor intent on murder or doing serious injury, a 'mouse gun' will often come up short.

All in all. For the average guy or gal, I think it is better to have a gun you will carry every day and to be proficient with it. Use the hardest hitting modern ammo your gun will function with. Practice bringing that gun into play in the shortest time you can manage, and a .380 should serve well in most reasonable S/D situations.

However. Remember that those who have gone into and survived serious S/D situations routinely carry the biggest caliber and the largest ammo stash they can manage, with extra magazines and a back up gun (or two), also in a serious caliber. Anything under a .38/9mm is usually carried as a 3rd gun.

Just a few random thots.


"We don't hold grudges. We remember the facts."

Gray_Fox
Old Secessh
 

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The KT .380 is carried because it fits in a pocket with a tucked in shirt. No other gun I've found will do that, not even the Kahr CM9. When I have a cover garment I carry a belt gun in 9x19 but that is a rare case.
 

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As Gray_Fox put it immediately above me, "it all depends on just what situation you find yourself in." If a Beretta 21A in either .22 LR or .25 ACP is what you have when things go sour, that's what you're using. You can wish all you want for the P3AT or the Glock 36 you have back in your safe at home; it's not going to change the fact that you have a Beretta 21A in your hand. You'd better be able to end the fight with it.

As for me, I've got a SIG P238 and a KelTec P32. The P32 is almost a quarter-inch thinner and a whole lot lighter, plus has one more round. I tend to carry the P32 more (when I do carry) for those reasons. Sure, the sights on the P32 are pretty close to nonexistent, where the sights on the P238 are excellent. But, we're talking 'social work' ranges that I'd consider actually drawing and firing the weapon, so the lack of sights are no real problem to me.
 

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Well, the .38 cal family includes .357 magnum, .38 special, 9mm Parabellum, .380 (or 9mm Kurtz/short), and 9mm Makarov. Minimal differences in diameter. The big differences are bullet weight and amount of propellant. IMHO, all work well as self defense loads, the more power and weight the better.
 

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I used to carry a P32 and then a P3at full time, for the past 5 or 6 years it's been a PF9. I never felt under gunned with the 32acp or 380 but given the choice is prefer 9mm.

If you think about it all pistols are some level of compromise. I know if I knew I was getting into a fight I'd bring a long gun and friends with long guns. So basically, find a pistol that you can carry all the time, shoot well, are comfortable with and the largest caliber that meets the other requirements. It's better to be very capable with a 22lr than nearly useless with a 44mag.
 

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Concealed carry is less about the gun and more about the clothing.

I choose what to carry based on what my clothing is going to be.

The default "anywhere, anytime" choice is a .380 - in my case a S&W Bodyguard, w/out laser. But it may as well be a P3AT. This class of .380 is more or less fungible. I have had total reliability with 2 of these pistols (one w/laser, one naked). It drops into the pocket of every pair of pants I own, shorts included.

Now, for very lightweight dress pants, weight can be an issue so given the same size, I sometimes opt for a P-32.

If dress allows for IWB, I used to wear a S&W Shield 9. I also have a Shield 40 which itself is awesomeness. But I went with the 9 for the extra round.

Now, it's a Shield .45. Same size as the 9 and 40. Same capacity as the .40. For me, the .45 changes the math around an extra round and tips the scales away from the 9.

As far as the Shield goes, in 9mm, it is fungible with the LC 9s, and pretty much every other single stack ultacompact 9, including the PF-9. The Springfield .45 was awful compelling but I never got around to it, and when the .45 appeared, that sealed it for me.

All my BG's and Shields are operationally identical, ie. w/safety for consistency.

The same spectrum can be had with P-32, P3AT, PF-9. You just don't have a PF-45 option.

To me, the P11/P40 being double-stacks puts them in a class with the Glock 26/27, not the single-stacks. An animal all their own.

SA .380's and 9's have no interest for me, as IMO you can't (shouldn't) carry a SA cocked and locked in a pocket. IWB sure, but pocket no.

TL;DR version: .380 is probably what I carry most often, and I scale up/down based on what I can get away with due to dress.
 

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I just don't agree with Pin on the SA pockets. My sig 380 and 9mm are just fine cocked and locked in my pocket. The safety has a positive click and stick / ball and socket and does not move off without being pushed, kind of like a trigger. The trigger isn't target quality and has a little weight to it. Carried this setup for many years now and have yet to take the gun out of my pocket at night and find the safety taken off. Zero issues. To fire, something has to move the safety off and then pull the trigger and then the exposed hammer can't get bound up in the pocket material or holster which is now loose in your pocket to expose the trigger that had to be pulled. I don't disagree that a trigger that can't be pulled is safer, but the 1911 style is also safe. These guns are very popular and I haven't seen a recall or warning about people having incidents.
 

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I have been carrying since the '70s and a .380 has always been in the rotation.

I have always carried a spare mag when I carry one of the .380s.

My mindset when carrying a .380 is that in the rare case where I have to use it, I will, almost certainly, expend all 7 rounds and reload prior to reassessing my situation.

FWIW.
 

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I just don't agree with Pin on the SA pockets. My sig 380 and 9mm are just fine cocked and locked in my pocket. The safety has a positive click and stick / ball and socket and does not move off without being pushed, kind of like a trigger. The trigger isn't target quality and has a little weight to it. Carried this setup for many years now and have yet to take the gun out of my pocket at night and find the safety taken off. Zero issues. To fire, something has to move the safety off and then pull the trigger and then the exposed hammer can't get bound up in the pocket material or holster which is now loose in your pocket to expose the trigger that had to be pulled. I don't disagree that a trigger that can't be pulled is safer, but the 1911 style is also safe. These guns are very popular and I haven't seen a recall or warning about people having incidents.
My objection has nothing to do with the safety or trigger, just that the exposed hammer on SA's are typically snagomatics. This is, of course a generalization, so any given gun, but...

I feel the same way about DA snubbies. Go hammerless or shrouded for pocket carry. Exposed hammer for IWB/OWB with a retention strap behind the hammer.
 

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Ah. The ones I have (sig series) are bobbed and rounded. When locked back, it is less of a problem than the sights. The sights probably should have been a low profile design. They are rounded too, but they like to catch a little.
 

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do I think the 380 is enough?

Yes. In a close up situation.
Some time back I did some penetration test with my 380 s using hard ball ammo. They penetrated better than I ever thought they would. Lately I have been watching videos on the 380 shot into ballistics gel. Three loads did very well in the test. I have recently switched from hard ball to hollow points because of the concern of over penetration.
Let me ask you this: Who do you know that could take a close range hit in the face with either a JHP or FMJ, and not give up the fight?.
 

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There are stories of Israeli air marshals dropping heavily armed terrorists in action with their .22lr berettas.

http://www.tactical-life.com/firearms/israeli-mossad-22-lrs/#mossad-22-lsr-beretta-70

Then there are stories of failures with almost any caliber, even in the "major" handgun calibers.

While its almost never a disadvantage to have a high capacity pistol chambered in a major caliber (9mm,.40,.45,etcetc), I don't feel undergunned with a .380.

Especially since I know my .380 or my .38 snubnose is more likely to be with me most of the time when compared to my much larger double stack .45 or any of my other current or former handguns of larger size.

I think that when it comes down to it, those that advocate multiple fast hits have it right. Today its the "if you shoot them once, shoot them twice, if you shoot them twice then shoot them three times" and "shoot them to the ground" concepts and so on, when once upon a time it was the "double tap", which as doctrine (as far as I understand it) was that if you pulled the trigger once, you automatically pulled it twice, all the time. Never just one shot, always two, every time you needed to shoot. Then the "Mozambique" and so on....

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM4h4TsEDqE"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM4h4TsEDqE[/ame]



Modern medical science correlates a dropping percentage rate of chances of survival to those suffering multiple gunshot trauma vs. single shot, so I think that all advocates of such shooting are on to something. And, its really common sense that it increases YOUR chances of survival, to get multiple hits on target fast, no matter the caliber of weapon you are using.

"foom foom" :)

Anyway, I do believe that IRL at least one of the Mossad agents that were active in Op Wrath of God chose to move away from the .22lr, to the .380acp......from the Beretta to the Walther- so there ya go.
 

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I can't remember where I read this, or who's video I watched; but it has stuck with me since I began to carry a .380 pocket gun.

It takes a lot of training to be fired upon with any gun, regardless of the caliber and not immediately flee or stop the activity that caused someone to fire upon you. The average person will disengage and retreat once the other person begins to shoot at them. Now, the real problem you may find your self with; is being in a situation where upon shooting at said assailant, they don't flee but continue to attack. In which case you have bigger problems than what caliber you are carrying. You have more than likely broken the "stupid" rules. Avoiding stupid people doing stupid things in stupid places. ie...why are you in an area with violent criminals in the first place?

The caliber of the pistol and its capacity is probably less important than situational awareness and preparedness/training to use such a pistol.
 

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Last weekend we heard a bump in the night.... Actually, it wasn't a bump. It was our security system indicating that the back door had opened. We were all upstairs for the night but hadn't gone down to set the alarm yet. I have bigger guns with higher capacity for home defense, but I had packed those up for a range trip the next day. That left me with the lowly P3AT to go down and investigate. In all honesty, on the way down the stairs, I was wishing for something bigger and better and wasn't looking forward to the idea of having to shoot it out against any well armed thugs, especially with a 7 shot .380. That being said... I didn't feel unarmed. I did go investigate, whereas I would've cowered upstairs and settled for 911 as my only defense if I had no gun at all. Pocket guns are a trade-off but I look at all things in relative terms. My P3AT or P32 are often the closest gun to me, even when my bigger guns aren't in a case, unloaded. The bump in the night turned out to be a malfunction of my alarm system, but I was fully prepared to dump 7 Gold Dots and hope for the best.
 
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