The 380 argument revisited

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by oldgranpa, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. oldgranpa

    oldgranpa New Member

    628
    Sep 23, 2004
    I continue to read arguments, on other sites mostly, that 380 isn't good enough. Most of this is based on years old articles by fuzzy headed gunzine writers, like this one....
    http://hunting.about.com/od/guns/l/aast9mmv380a.htm

    With newer 380 ammo available now that gets the full FBI penetration and expansion like a 45ball round, as far as I'm concerned our pocket carry P3AT's are plenty good.

    What's your gut feeling??

    og
     
  2. torrent

    torrent New Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    I carry mine almost all the time in the warmer months and then switch to a bigger primary carry as it turns cooler and the BGs start putting on heavier clothes. Even then, if the P3AT is all I'm carrying I don't really feel under gunned at all. To each his own I guess.
     

  3. huckle

    huckle New Member

    270
    Jan 15, 2010
    If the PF-9 was the size of the P3AT, I'd carry the 9mm - cheaper ammo if nothing else. But, for me, the P3AT is going to be easier to pack.
     
  4. low-side

    low-side New Member

    96
    Jan 9, 2010
    A 380 isn't in the same league as a 9mm, but that doesn't mean it isn't effective. You can't build a 9mm as small and light as a P3AT. The Rohrbaugh is about as small, but it weighs over twice as much. As far as power, a 380 is almost as powerful as a 38 special. In the close quarters these guns are meant to be used, you'll be well prepared either way.
     
  5. Hikerman

    Hikerman New Member

    51
    Jun 5, 2009
    I carry my p3at in the warmer weather always............I'm outside a lot so I have a back-up too but my 380 is the go to gun.
    I do not feel under powered one bit! I carry my p3at as a back-up in cooler weather :cool:
     
  6. Ape

    Ape New Member

    Jul 16, 2008
    Colorado
    The caliber debate for personal carry is all a bunch of rambling brew ha ha IMO.

    My stand by answer for anyone condeming a smaller caliber for effectiveness is this.....

    "Stand in front of someone shooting whatever caliber you feel is ineffective and let them unload a mag or cylinder on you...... When done you can tell me how "ineffective" that round was....IF you're able to that is!" ;)

    Shot placement is King! [smiley=thumbsup.gif]
     
  7. lop

    lop Active Member

    May 20, 2008
    Wasn't it Eric that was about to be mugged when he had his broken leg? He just showed them that he (and "old" grey haired guy with leg in a cast (and, if I recall, eyes that are like cat nip to the ladies)) was armed with 'just a 32' and they were gone like smoke. Shot placement might be king, but having any kind of gun is the first step. I remember I was at a pour once and the forman and I got to talking guns. How does that work? Anyway when I was about to leave he had gone to his truck and brought a really nice Kimber over for me to see. I remember thinking that that badazz .45 in his truck would do him less well that a little sumpfin in his pocket. If you came looking for a '.380's are bad' chorus, you came to the wrong site. ;) Maybe check out this site:
    http://www.handgunhunt.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/ubb/postlist/Board/8/page/1
    They think the .44 mag is an ok bug. :eek:
     
  8. Robert357

    Robert357 New Member

    120
    May 11, 2009
    WA, the State
    Since I collect pre-end-of-WW1 .32 Auto pistols, I have many military issued 32 Autos that were considered service caliber for military and police until the late 1940's. A 380 Auto is more powerful than a .32 Auto, so I think it is a self defense round, but one that is marginal especially from a short barreled pistol. I also own and carry a P3AT at times so "my gut feeling" is I will trust my life to it in certain circumstances, where concealability is critical.

    Now as to the reason for my post. Could someone tell me which .380 Ammo meets or exceeds the FBI penetration criteria? I don't have the time to wade through the dozens and dozens of links to various tests in the opening ammo performance thread. I have been told be a pretty good source that there is no such ammo based on ballistic gellitan at the right temperature per the FBI criteria. I know some say that water jug and wet packs can be used as reasonable proxy, but it is still not the exact test the FBI uses.

    So the question is what meets or exceeds the FBI penetration test in 380 Auto.

    Thanks (and I do have a variety of .380 ammo for self defense use from Buffalo Bore to others).
     
  9. oldgranpa

    oldgranpa New Member

    628
    Sep 23, 2004
    Regarding what 380 ammo meets the FBI 12" requirement, here are a few links that might be useful.
    First, right here at ktog is the link for the 380 ammo comparison discussion....

    http://www.ktog.org/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1272330160

    Next is one of the best 380 gelatin test sites....

    http://www.goldenloki.com/ammo/gel/380acp/gel380acp.htm

    And here is another good gelatin test site, pdf format......

    http://www.brassfetcher.com/380ACP ammunition performance in ballistic gelatin.pdf

    An old waterjug test site.....

    http://www.stevespages.com/page8f.htm

    Finally, a link for my own "wetpack" test results comparing Speer and Federal ammo. Numerous other 380 tests at the usrange site.....

    http://usrange.org/smf/index.php?topic=4182.0

    As far as what you should choose, I can't tell you that. Some of the ammo on the list gets expansion at 50caliber or more with less penetration. The Speer GoldDot gets great penetration with reliable expansion.
    Choice is yours.
    Good luck.

    og
     
  10. gordon11

    gordon11 Active Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    Having seen a few people shot with handguns in my lifetime, I've witnessed a variety of reactions from the magic death ray effect of the movies to someone still on their feet 5 minutes after receiving a lethal wound.  I believe that shot placement and scoring multiple hits are your best insurance.  In my one experience (and hopefully last), using a firearm for defense, the idea of only firing 1 round never entered my mind.

    OG, I believe the .380 can be more than adequate in capable and more importantly, willing hands.  I've done extensive wetpack testing myself and am impressed with DPX expansion (my former carry round), but have switched to Gold Dot for that balance of penetration & expansion along with ignition reliability.  Personally, I'd feel comfortable with most premium rounds in .380.  Best of all my P3AT is ALWAYS with me. :)
     
  11. snuffstuff

    snuffstuff New Member

    3
    Feb 12, 2010
    The 380 is not a 9mm and a 9mm is not a 12 gauge. The good side is that the 380 is not a 22. The P3at has been my daily carry for years and the main reason is because its always there because theres always a good place to store it. Ive been faced with a Ruger single six. I ran like ____. Im not proud, but I am alive. Most people would run under those conditions. Sometimes there more focus on caliber than peventative steps.
     
  12. 17-Shooter

    17-Shooter New Member

    35
    Aug 8, 2010
    Actually, the .380 is a 9mm any way you cut it. Not a 9mm Luger, but it's been the 9mm Short for most of a century.
     
  13. lklawson

    lklawson Well-Known Member Supporter

    Oct 13, 2009
    Huber Heights, OH
    Yeah, I have a "feeling." (Just one. Anger.) ;)

    That, and I have a thought too. Unless you're FBI or LEO, then maybe the (NEVER TO BE QUESTIONED!!!!!) FBI minimum penetration standard might be a bit over-hyped for Civilian SD.

    Yeah, it's nice to have 12" penetration, but maybe 10" is good enough for most of us civvies shooting at a goblin at 15' or less.

    :)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  14. rcmodel

    rcmodel New Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Eastern Kansas
    I think too many people take the FBI tests too seriously for civilian SD use.

    The needs of the FBI and Law enforcement officers are not the same as you or I out walking the dog or going shopping at Wallyworld.

    FBI Protocol:
    Round must have 12" minimum gel penetration, 18" is better, in the following test media.
    1. Bare Gel.
    2. Heavy clothing. (T-shirt, shirt, down quilt, jeans)
    3. Two layers of steel + light clothing. (Car door)
    4. Two sheets of wallboard + light clothing.
    5. One sheet of 3/4" plywood + light clothing.
    6. Auto safety glass at 45 degrees + light clothing.
    7. Heavy clothing again at 20 yards.
    8. Auto glass test again at 20 yards.

    For SD use, most of us have no business shooting through steel doors, walls, or car windshields at 20 Yards.
    Shooting someone 20 yards away and claiming it was SD will get you thrown in the slammer in a lot of jurisdictions.

    And as gordon11 said, "the idea of only firing 1 round never entered my mind."
    Nor should it enter yours.

    A BG with a chest full of .380 bullets that penetrated "only" 6"-8" will have something more pressing to think about then continuing to attack you I betcha.

    He is gonna be thinking about just breathing long enough with his lungs filling up with blood to get to the emergency room alive.

    rc
     
  15. mrduke

    mrduke New Member

    67
    Aug 19, 2005
    I think 7 shots of .380 is carrying a lot of power as long as you can aim it adequate. But I don't understand why people are saying about waiting till the winter months to carry bigger stuff... i carry my p-11 in shorts. how tight are you guys wearing your clothes? i wouldn't consider mine baggy either.
     
  16. lklawson

    lklawson Well-Known Member Supporter

    Oct 13, 2009
    Huber Heights, OH
    It's not so much that as the fact that potential aggressors whom you might have to shoot in self defense tend to wear a lot more layers of clothing during the winter and the desire is to have something "more powerful" to penetrate and still expand.

    However, you're right that a lot of people like to carry less-easily-concealed firearms in the winter because the extra clothing that they wear makes concealment easier.

    Yes, a P11 pocket just swell. But an extra inch or two of bbl would go a long way to punching up the muzzle velocity. And some folks like being able to carry, say, a .45ACP or maybe a .38 Super. Not as many of those in a pocket-rocket.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  17. Picatinny_Pete

    Picatinny_Pete New Member

    Sep 2, 2009
    It's not so much that as the fact that potential aggressors whom you might have to shoot in self defense tend to wear a lot more layers of clothing during the winter and the desire is to have something "more powerful" to penetrate and still expand.

    However, you're right that a lot of people like to carry less-easily-concealed firearms in the winter because the extra clothing that they wear makes concealment easier.

    Yes, a P11 pocket just swell.  But an extra inch or two of bbl would go a long way to punching up the muzzle velocity.  And some folks like being able to carry, say, a .45ACP or maybe a .38 Super.  Not as many of those in a pocket-rocket...

    [/quote]

    Hi,

    It's really a matter of how much weight you want to put up with for CCW, and what sort of clothes you want to wear.  I took a few classes from Louis Awerbuck who was then Tactical Editor for SOF Magazine.  He could conceal 45 Colt Combat Commander, and draw it very rapidly in hot weather.  You just can't wear shorts and a T-Shirt, but no one really pays attention to a fellow in jeans and a polo or button shirt either in the summer.  Louis put up with the weight, but most people can't for a 45, and the P-32 and P3AT offer decent alternative that most people can put up with.   I won't knock a pistol in 32 ACP or 380 Auto, but they are no 45 ACP either.    The truth is no pistol is a guarantee against a "Monster" use a rifle or a shotgun and you up your chances.  My pistol is always in reach at the house, but a rifle is only a few steps away.

    Best Regards: :)
     
  18. Ape

    Ape New Member

    Jul 16, 2008
    Colorado
    Where's that clapping emoticon when you need it! ;) [smiley=thumbsup.gif]
     
  19. Robert357

    Robert357 New Member

    120
    May 11, 2009
    WA, the State
    Not wanting to start a fight or anything, but from what I read, if one really wants to maximize the penetration criteria to 16 inches or better, then one probably needs to use either FMJ or FMJ/truncated cone bullets.  Even the Remington Golden Saber has little expansion in the first of the gelatin test sites referenced. While in excess of the FBI 12 inches, I was a little surprised by the results. I appreciate the references.

    Personally, I again, will say that I think that a .380 in a P3AT is a self defense round, even if my preferred pocket carry is a PF-9.  

    Thanks for the references.  In my .32Auto's I have always felt that FMJ or Buffalo Bore hardcast lead was the way to go.  Based on the reference material I still think that hardcast lead may be the way to go as long as it functions well in a particular pistol.
     
  20. oldgranpa

    oldgranpa New Member

    628
    Sep 23, 2004
    you are correct, Robert, that FMJ is what many people prefer to carry in their 380 pistol. Something like Winchester's WWB valupak with the flat nose bullet shows up at WalMart quite frequently, a good price, and has a pretty good record for reliable functioning.
    The bullet will have good penetration, produces a 9mm hole, and won't plug with fabric, year round.
    With the main requirement of marksmanship (placement) for self defense, in close up encounters...a head shot with that bullet ought to do the job.

    Someone might dare to do a poll and see how many use FMJ and how many JHP for defense carry in their 380 pistol. Could be fun.

    og....who still prefers a good JHP.