grain of bullet and nose

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by hideit, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. hideit

    hideit New Member

    Oct 3, 2007
    the threads and replies on "favorite ammo for P3AT" left me cold
    i didn't come away with a good feeling on what grain of bullet and FMJ or JHP

    do readers use one bullet for practice and carry with another grain and style of bullet?
  2. paulpetricas

    paulpetricas New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    not really i use at range the ammo that i carry but in winter the last 3 rounds in my gun are fmj the rest are hp gold dot

  3. Welcome to the club  hideit!

    Most of us consider the issue the same as:


    Bottom line for me, I did my own research and decided on what I would do.  One size will not fit all, no matter how much the GURU's try to convince you on their point of view.

    BTW.... If you don't do like me and pack the mag full of Carbon DPX, along with a spare mag full of DPX you might as well bring this to the gun fight:  ;)

    Unless of course this is what the bad guy looks like:

    Then you will need these bullets:

    Mitch... On a VERY SLOW Friday afternoon!
  4. Bobo

    Bobo Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 13, 2005
    Bullet grain is not too important to me.
    I'm not very concerned with "numbers" as far as ammunition is concerned. I have seen too many tests where the test results ran in the face of the numbers. Numbers may be an "indication" of an actual result, but not a very good one from what I have seen.

    I prefer actual tests under similar conditions with various rounds.

    I base my choice of .380 ACP ammo in my P3-AT mainly on actual tests using a P3-AT in various simulations.

    I don't discount numbers entirely; it's just that they're not the primary reason for my choices.

    A good example of this is the comparison between Cor-Bon DPX and Remington Golden Saber in .380.
    They both are very close in actual performance in most tests, one beating the other by a hair from test to test. But they are far different in numbers. The first is light and fast, the second is heavy and slow, yet they both perform similarly.
    Cor-Bon DPX -- 80 GR .- 1050 FPS - 196 FTLBS
    Remington Golden Saber -- 102 GR. - 940 FPS - 200 FTLBS

    Another example… I have seen tests that seem to prove that there is such a thing as “over-velocity”. Where an expanding bullet reaches a certain velocity, then the expansion begins to actually diminish. Essentially making the round LESS effective at HIGHER velocities, going in the face of what the numbers might initially suggest. Most would assume - “The higher the velocity the better!” ----- WRONG!!!!

    So, to pick an expanding round based on velocity may be a big mistake.

    This is the reason I have studied so many actual tests, under various conditions, in various test media, using a sample of .380 ammunition in the P3-AT as well as similar .380 pistols to come to my personal conclusions for carry ammo. During my study I compiled a list of URLs to these tests which the Forum Administrators have been kind enough to make a sticky at the top of the “P3-AT” section.

    I do for one...
    For carry I a mix of Remington Golden Saber JHP and Santa Barbara TCMJ. My life depends on my carry ammo so cost is not much of a factor. I want the best performing round(s) I can get!;
    For range I use the least expensive (cost is important here) round I can find than runs reliably, fairly cleanly, and is "combat" accurate - out of MY gun.

  5. brotherjethro

    brotherjethro New Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Hi Bobo,

    Was that Golden Saber velocity number for a longer barrel? I have read that we only should expect 866 fps from a P3AT, which gives only 170 ft-lbs.

    Either way, GS & DPX both appear to be solid performers in the P3AT. I alternate the two, figuring I'll take both sides of the light-and-fast vs slow-and-heavy debate. ;)
  6. wheelguy

    wheelguy New Member

    May 4, 2007
    I have seen many comparisons of wet pack vs water vs gelatin for .38 and .357 magnum tests. The volume of testing done on those loads is much greater than 380, and clearly shows that it is very important to do the test with clothing in gelatin. So, to me, a "credible" test must use 10% gelatin (the special "ballistic" type - from Vise, for example) with clothing in front.

    Bobo's compilation is great, but if you read through all of it, there is only 1 brand of ammo that was performed with a P3AT using off the shelf ammo in gel with clothing that actually worked: and grain Federal Personal Defense Hydra-Shok.html and

    Here's a quote...
    Cartridge : Federal 90gr Personal Defense Hydrashok
    Firearm : Kel-Tec P3AT with 2.75" barrel length
    Notes: The front of the block was covered in 1 layer of 100% cotton, new and unwashed, fruit-of-the-loom T-shirt material. This material was chosen after reviewing several 100s of mugshot photos of violent criminals and their choice of upper body clothing. It also is representative of clothing worn most of the time in the southern US, where I lived at the time of the test.
    Average penetration was 12.0" (5 shots)
    Average expansion was 0.476"

    Similar "credible" tests all show inadequate penetration performance with DPX: and
    Here's a quote...
    Cartridge: .380ACP 80gr. Cor-Bon DPX
    Firearm: Kel-Tec P3AT with 2.75" barrel length
    Notes: Single shot fired into gelatin block penetrated to 9.4" (corrected). Expanded diameter was 0.558". Testing was halted due to the underwhelming penetration depth.

    Bottom line: At least one of your rounds should include Hydrashok. To ensure that all rounds expands fully, do the "smiley mod". The P3AT, with this setup, is good for warm weather use, but may not be for winter when heavy clothing is used.