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You will get a different answer from almost everyone. The most important thing is the ammo being reliable in your gun so make sure to test it.
Here would be my top choices.
DPX, Gold Dot, Critical Defense, PDX1.
 

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So far, it's been a Blazer branded, brass shell 90gr in a wh/bl box labeled 'Independence'.

Bottom of the barrel on price but no problems in feed or extraction.
 

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for the p3at the best ammo is what your gun likes and shoots the best. for me it is fmj ball ammo. feeds everytime and will go through two wet large phone books. gold dot and hydro shock did not go all the way through during my wet phone book test.
 

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You will get a different answer from almost everyone. The most important thing is the ammo being reliable in your gun so make sure to test it.
Here would be my top choices.
DPX, Gold Dot, Critical Defense, PDX1.
That would be my response.
 

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right now I'm carrying Fed LE HydraShok. Spare mag with Speer GoldDot. Both performed well in my last wetpack test with excellent penetration and decent expansion.
Don't use the Fed HS "PD" type since got jacket separation with it. The LE type is "bonded" ammo as is the Speer GD. The LE HydraShok is not available locally and had to order it online at AmmunitionToGo.
Both fire very well in the P3AT.
og
 

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I don't have a P3AT but an LCP (my KT is a P32). My preference in these little guns is FMJ, better penetration and more reliable feeding. I'll accept that they might do less damage than JHP ammunition. Life is about trade-offs.

Were I to carry a larger .380 ACP like a Beretta 84, I'd use Remington Golden Sabre 102 grain, but in the tiny guns I prefer FMJ.
 

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I predominantly used regular brass FMJ (like Federal, etc).

But for carry there are so many pros/cons with the lil 380 between FMJ and hollow....so I choose:

In a 6 round magazine top to bottom:

Federal Hydra shok (because thats the hollow I have right now)
Buffalo Bore (cuz it hits hard)
Regular FMJ
and then again
Fedral hydra shok
Buffalo bore
regular FMJ

That way I have it all covered, I have 2 expanding bullets starting with the first time the trigger is pulled. The buffalo bores are there to follow up in case penetration is an issue, and the FMJs to keep thinkgs moving smoothly.

Since you don't really know if your defensive situation will require more "penetration" vs "expansion" I picked both.

I've shot them in that order a couple of times rapidly to make sure it all feeds well, it does....of course you can always tell when the Buffalo bore get chambered, a lil more kick.

If those 6 combo shots don't get it done I count on being faster than most people in my sneakers...especially someone who's leaking from a few gunshots.

A.
 

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I've been carrying Critical Defense and I shoot them on a monthly basis for reliability testing, going on 100 w/o any issues.

for my regular practice I've used a few hundred lead reloads & Armscor FMJ, no problems either.
 

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I use the Federal Hydrashok PD. I am not worried too much about jacket separation as, iirc, even in OG's wetpack test (thanks, OG for all the tests you have done) the core still got plenty of penetration even without the jacket.

I stick with the Federal HS because I have already spent the cash to test it for reliability/functionality in my gun and because I do think it will work well if I ever need it. Eventually, I probably will spend the $$$ to test Winchester PDX1 in it as that is the type of ammo I carry in my P95 and my 642, it seems to be good ammo and because it is easy to find (I can buy it at Walmart) while Hydrashok is becoming sometimes difficult to find locally.
 

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Here are some .380acp tests performed by tnoutdoors9. He uses sim-test gel and 4 layers of denim for his tests. Note that he uses a Bersa Thunder, not a shorter barreled gun like the P3AT.
http://www.youtube.com/user/tnoutdoors9/videos?query=.380+gel

Also, here are the finding from brassfetcher.com
http://www.brassfetcher.com/380ACP ammunition performance in ballistic gelatin.pdf

I like the results of the Hornady Critical Defense, but at times the red inserts act like little rubber brake pads in my mags and the rounds seem to want to stick or rub on the frame causing the mag to not drop freely. This can be a problem if you need to drop the mag before it is empty in order to insert a new mag.
 

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I have noted in the past that the published velocities seem higher for hollow point loads compared to the american FMJ loads. Some of the off shore FMJ ammo seems to be hotter based on published loads. I have not done any measurements myself. I am now tending towards magtec ammo FMJ.
 

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Here are some .380acp tests performed by tnoutdoors9.
Thanks for those links, diamond. Based on his results, I still feel very comfortable with Federal Hydrashoks as my load for the P3AT. That said, I'd feel comfortable with Hornady Critical defense and with Winchester PDX1, as well. I saw that the PDX1 'only' reached 8 inches of penetration but let's face it - I am not LEO, FBI or so on. The P3AT is a close range, self defense pistol. There isn't much likelihood that I will be shooting through barriers, etc. with a pistol that is more or less a belly gun. If I were LEO, FBI or so on I would not carry a P3AT or any .380 as my primary, duty weapon. However, to me, the needs and requirements are different. Personally, I would feel fine carrying a round that would penetrate to 'only' 8 inches and expand to over half an inch. Heck, I am a pretty 'thick' guy and 8 inches would still be nearly all the way through the thickest part of my torso. If someone is so obese that 8 inches won't reach their vitals then hopefully even I could outrun them - especially after emptying a P3AT into their COM. If on the other hand, someone is just so massively muscular that 8 inches won't reach their vitals then I doubt that any handgun load will stop them. Probably need a bazooka - or at least a 12 gauge. The lesson here, then, would be, "Don't seriously pi** off any Sumo wrestlers."
 

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Thanks for those links, diamond. Based on his results, I still feel very comfortable with Federal Hydrashoks as my load for the P3AT. That said, I'd feel comfortable with Hornady Critical defense and with Winchester PDX1, as well. I saw that the PDX1 'only' reached 8 inches of penetration but let's face it - I am not LEO, FBI or so on. The P3AT is a close range, self defense pistol. There isn't much likelihood that I will be shooting through barriers, etc. with a pistol that is more or less a belly gun. If I were LEO, FBI or so on I would not carry a P3AT or any .380 as my primary, duty weapon. However, to me, the needs and requirements are different. Personally, I would feel fine carrying a round that would penetrate to 'only' 8 inches and expand to over half an inch. Heck, I am a pretty 'thick' guy and 8 inches would still be nearly all the way through the thickest part of my torso. If someone is so obese that 8 inches won't reach their vitals then hopefully even I could outrun them - especially after emptying a P3AT into their COM. If on the other hand, someone is just so massively muscular that 8 inches won't reach their vitals then I doubt that any handgun load will stop them. Probably need a bazooka - or at least a 12 gauge. The lesson here, then, would be, "Don't seriously pi** off any Sumo wrestlers."
To me, when I consider 12" of penetration, I would think that the FBI is definitely wanted this depth because they ARE potentially shooting through barriers. As a civilian, I will never be doing that. That would be a sure ticket to the slammer.

But also think about the possibility of hitting bone. Meeting the 12" penetration criteria would mean that if you struck bone, the bullet would still possible help to stop the bad guy and save your wife and kids and yourself.

So, don't just think of 8" or 12" of soft ballistics gel, think of the human anatomy with some interior armor (ie bones) protecting many of the vitals.
 

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I have done water jug tests at 21 feet and the two rounds that came out on top were #1 BB 100gn Hard Cast Lead and #2 BB 95gn Gold Dot (when they were loading them with GD).

Most of the other personal protection type hollow points stopped at the second jug which I feel is not enough to do serious damage to the vitals.

I practice and shoot IDPA with my P3 and it has never stumbled since it's break in days.

BTW, if I am not carrying my P3AT, I am carrying my Kahr P9 which is loaded with the same type ammo as the P3.

Regards,
 

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I have been using WWB and Federal FMJ's in my P3at since I got it. The previous owner gave me a box of WWB with it and I haven't had any FTF's or FTE's since I traded for it.

You know, when I took my CCW they warned us about using the +P's that were made for LEO's. Apparently some prosecutors like to use this against you saying you were out to do as much damage as possible, not just defending yourself. I don't agree with this but thought I would share what I learned.



Randy
 
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