Question of the Day: Is .380 a Suitable Self-Defense Caliber?

160 responses

  1. avatar
    BLAMMO
    August 10, 2011

    “… as he held his .380 caliber weapon in his hand, about to leave it behind as he stepped out of his car …”

    As the saying goes “A .380 in your pocket [or hand] is better than a .45 in your glove compartment.” If he had had a .45, he more likely would have elected to leave it behind.

    • avatar
      Robert Farago
      August 10, 2011

      While I don’t put my .45 in my hand unless it’s show time (in strict accordance with my policy of not getting shot by police and/or losing my gun rights), I never leave my Glock 30 SF behind. Admittedly, that’s just me. And a whole bunch of other people. Not saying we’re better, just better prepared. Ballistically speaking. And yes, it’s a PITA to carry in the summer.

      • avatar
        Mitch
        March 21, 2013

        Great choice though, I LOVE my 30SF. Best gun I have ever owned.

  2. avatar
    Kevin Lanier
    August 10, 2011

    To me a 380 looks pretty large. I carry a NAA .22 mini revolver with the 60 grain Aguila SSS. It won’t stabilize in my short barrel but a key holing 60g is better than a 30g mini mag in my 1 1/8” barrel.

    • avatar
      Gunnutmegger
      August 10, 2011

      Good idea, Kev. I have a brick of those somewhere…

  3. avatar
    Rokurota
    August 10, 2011

    I carry a Kel-Tec P3AT everywhere it’s legal, loaded with Hornady Critical Defense alternating with Remington Golden Sabre (102 gr). I have no real-world experience with the effects of this ammo, but the CD gets great reviews for expansion and I like the heavy bullet of the Remington. You can worry all day about whether you have enough gun, but what’s the point? If I had a .45, I’d wonder if I should switch to a .357 SIG for penetration. It’s a waste of brain power.

    • avatar
      IndyEric
      August 10, 2011

      In the summer, I usually carry a Glock 29sf. However, when I am wearing “light” summer clothing, I will carry my P3AT, alternating with JHP and FMJ in the magazine. I am fairly accurate with it. My wife carries an LCP. She is VERY accurate.

      I am confident in the .380

    • avatar
      Tomas6774
      January 25, 2013

      Agree. I had 357 Magnum smith 686 in my closet for 20 years, i used to take it when i traveled with my family.( 2-3 times a year). Year ago i bought the sig p238 380 acp and it goes with me every where ! I want to see the smart ass getting a 1000 fbs/sec to his face and begs for his life. That’s crap, man.

  4. avatar
    James Felix
    August 10, 2011

    True, a .380 is better than no gun at all. But these days they make 9mm’s and .45′s that aren’t much bigger than the PPK/S my brother used to carry off duty. With the wide availability of pocket guns in major calibres I don’t see any reason to settle for a .380.

    • avatar
      Brandon
      November 20, 2012

      cost is an issue. as is recoil and how comfortable a person is with any given calibre. I am no guns expert, and i absolutely guarantee there is a whole world of people who could do more damage with a pellet gun than i could with a 45. you cannot assume that every person who is worried about their own safety enough to want a ccw just so happens to be a marksman. lol

  5. avatar
    Severe
    August 10, 2011

    I empathize with the Mr. Smith. I work in a location where CC is not only not illegal, it’s a felony. So more often than not, my carry remains in the vehicle. Here in NC, you can not carry in to any establishment that serves alcohol (Applebee’s). So it gets in to that personal debate of do I carry or obey the law (a debate unto itself). Yes, restaurants that serve alcohol are gun-free zones here.

    Mr. Smith may have been in a similar situation and was transitioning his weapon from one location to another. Who knows? But I’m glad it worked out for him.

    As for the choice of caliber, regardless of it’s ‘stopping’ power it did stop the criminal act. I think we always prefer the bad guy be terminated (less chance of recidivism) but the basic goal was met.

  6. avatar
    2Wheeled
    August 10, 2011

    I carry a Sig P238 on motorcycle riding days, and those rare days when I don’t feel that I can conceal anything bigger. Normally I carry a 9mm or .45ACP subcompact 1911.

    .380 is the absolute smallest I’ll ever go, and I’m honestly considering looking at some of the new mini-9mms on the market today. I’m a little tired of paying more for .380 then I do for my 9mm and I’m also tired of worrying about whether or not .380 is “enough”.

    Those guys who pack .22 or .25ACP guns, I think they’re crazy… But it’s none of my business what anyone else carries.

  7. avatar
    ecurb
    August 10, 2011

    Notice it says “fired four shots AT the…”, rather than “into”.
    If he’d had a .45:
    a) he would be less likely to have been carrying it at all
    b) might not have made ANY hits

    I love my pocket pistol because it goes in when my pants go on, and doesn’t come out until they come off, 27/7/365. No changing holsters or carry method due to whether, and no dressing like a thrift store mannequin to conceal it.

    • avatar
      Neil
      August 10, 2011

      I agree, ecurb, my LCP goes everywhere I go.

    • avatar
      Derek
      August 10, 2011

      HEY!
      Take it easy on my Charlie Sheen shirts :)

  8. avatar
    tdiinva
    August 10, 2011

    I carry a full size 45. It looks and feels huge on my hip but it doesn’t get in the way. In the summer I wear sport coat and and place it a little farther back on my hip to make sure it’s not exposed. Big guns have a psyhcological effect on a would be perp. They don’t want to mess the guy with big gun.

    • avatar
      Bob H
      August 10, 2011

      You wear a sport coat in this weather? I would be a soggy mess if I did that. Anything more than a polo shirt has me sweating like… (something really wet and slimy goes here… Michael Moore?)

      When it is 90+ degrees out there I automatically assume anyone wearing a coat outside is packing.

      • avatar
        tdiinva
        August 10, 2011

        I hope muggers feel the same way. They will give me a wide berth.

  9. avatar
    Coyote Gray
    August 10, 2011

    My wife carries a .380, and I just put some money down on a .380 for a CCW. My .40 is just too unwieldy and uncomfortable to carry discreetly; And I say that as a 6’4″ , solid 270 lb man.

    I chose to go with a .380, because it makes sense to share the same rounds my wife fires. And something we could shoot regularly together, will be more potent than something we don’t.

    The suspect in this story was likely so full of adrenaline before he got shot, he would have had the presence of mind to beg for his life, regardless of the caliber he would have been shot with (shot placement being the same).

    .380′s have allot of street history as being lethal, because of its prevelance and ease of concealment. I’d be more concerned with the availability of a laser for my pistol, over caliber size. With these snubby barreled pocket pistols, I want as much help QUICKLY putting my bullets on target, as possible.

    Personally, I would feel comfortable carrying the right .22 LR.

  10. avatar
    Roger
    August 10, 2011

    I split my time between 380 and .45 ACP. Why? The .380 is a lot lighter and easy to carry. Conversely, around here animal attacks are a real threat and a mountain lion doesn’t understand a barrel pointed at it is a threat. I can get more bullets on target quicker with the .380. I can carry more reloads with the .380. I have more stopping power with the .45. And so on.

    It’s telling that we have to debate this. If it was a major factor, it would be trivial to pull up the statistics: “20% of shootings with a .380 led to the criminal overpowering the victim” or whatever. Of course, that doesn’t happen. As a cop I know once said, in all the shootings that he responded to, every person that was shot stopped their aggression, regardless of the caliber. Which is not to say anomolies don’t exist, just that they are, well, anomolies.

    It’s also telling that those anomolies are almost always in cases of criminal vs police. Which makes sense. You know a police officer is going to shoot until you are into the ground, and, if you survive, you will spend your life in prison or get the chair. Strong motivation for a bad element to keep fighting even after hit. Conversely, there is no reward to continue aggression against a civilian in a SD situation – your best bet is to stop. Sure, we can hypothosize about the occasional PCP user that doesn’t stop, but it’s a tiny, tiny threat based on real world statistics.

    We balance safety in everything we do. We wear safety harnesses in the car, but not 5 point racing harnesses. No helmet, either. I haven’t replaced my brakes with racing brakes and braided brake lines, though that could save my life. I don’t wear a helmet while walking, in fear of falling or being hit by a meteorite. I don’t carry a portable defib unit (look at the stats, it’s probably better to carry one of those instead of a gun stats-wise) or a trauma kit. I have a fire extinguisher in my kitchen, but not an industrial kitchen fire suppression unit. I carry IWB concealed even though that slows the draw down and I can OC here. If I feel like an ice cream, I hop in the car despite knowing I might die in a car accident for that triviality. The risk I take in that is clearly much higher than the risk I take carrying .380 vs .45.

    We balance risks/benefits/convience in every area of our life, yet, for some reason, with guns, somebody is always accusing you of being unprepared if you aren’t tricked out like SWAT. To them I say “where is your AED? You ain’t prepared. Don’t you love your family?”

    edit: forgot to add, why not a SC 9? I would love one, but none currently equal my P238. I shoot 1911 literally daily, so that’s the manual of arms I want for my carry. The Kimber Solo is promising, but too many reports of failures, and the factory says it only works with 4 specific ammo choices – can’t afford to send hundreds of SD loads down range. I reload for .380, and can shoot as much as I want for pennies.

    • avatar
      Coyote Gray
      August 10, 2011

      +1 on the P238

      1911 manual of arms is a pleasantry I don’t mind having.

      And I also have plenty of animals in our area and the potential of attacks. From Bears and Fishercats mostly. I am confortable with a .380.

    • avatar
      James Felix
      August 10, 2011

      “You know a police officer is going to shoot until you are into the ground, and, if you survive, you will spend your life in prison or get the chair. Strong motivation for a bad element to keep fighting even after hit.

      That’s an interesting point, I never considered that.

  11. avatar
    Kevin Lanier
    August 10, 2011

    If I was in the reversed position and I was the bad guy. If someone pulled out anything that went bang, I would reconsider my actions. I don’t think that I would look and analyze wither the guy shooting had a 380, 9mm, .45, or .22. Stopping power aside, more people are killed with .22 than any other caliber.

    • avatar
      tdiinva
      August 10, 2011

      Many people confuse stopping power with lethality. You shoot someone in the stomach with a 22, 9mm or a 45 they are going to die without treatment. Stopping power has both a mental and a physical component. For most encounters with criminals just the site of the gun sends them packing. The critical factor is whether they think escape is possible. If there is a way out they will take it. If it becomes a no escape situation then you better knock them down before they kill you whether they are dying or not. This is when bigger is better.

  12. avatar
    ExurbanKevin
    August 10, 2011

    I carry a .380 Kel-Tec P3AT for those times when I can’t carry my CZ P07. Shot placement trumps “stopping power” every single time.

    • avatar
      Jack Hammer
      October 3, 2013

      “Shot placement trumps “stopping power” every single time.” I totally agree. I wonder why these so-called “experts” who downgrade the smaller calibers such as the .22lr never volunteer to be targets if the .22 is so useless?

      A .45 to the arm won’t stop an attacker, but a .22lr to the head will.

  13. avatar
    Kevin Lanier
    August 10, 2011

    While I’m on my soap box… How many of you .45 / 9mm guys shoot a 500 round brick every weekend? If I shot my 1911 that much it would cost me $1,500 a month or $18,000 a year. I’m guessing not. The point being made it shot placement and when I say shot placement I mean being able to point shoot from the hip as you would in a quick violent confrontation and be able to hit at attack distances. Anyone can take a weaver stance and hit what their aiming at given enough time but sometimes you don’t have time. A quick deploy-able GTFOM gun is better than the best big gun in a IWB holster when seconds count.

    • avatar
      2Wheeled
      August 10, 2011

      The FBI has something to say about that… Something like, “If shot placement was the only thing that mattered, we could arm all our agents with .22s”.

      You can make the perfect shot and still not bring the BG down because your bullet doesn’t hold up its end of the bargain. Shot placement and practice are both extremely important, but I think it’s wrong to assume that the effectiveness of the round you’re firing essentially doesn’t matter.

    • avatar
      tdiinva
      August 10, 2011

      That’s why I just purchased a SIG 1911-22. It has the same sight picture and tactile feel of my big gun and I can shoot it all day for pennies. Now when I go to the range I shoot 5 mags of 45 and 100+ rounds of 22lr.

      • avatar
        2Wheeled
        August 10, 2011

        I got the GSG 1911-22 for the same reason, the Sig is the same gun right? I think that’s the gun I’m thinking of… Awesome gun either way.

      • avatar
        tdiinva
        August 10, 2011

        Similar concept but it is SiG’s own version.

      • avatar
        GBS
        August 10, 2011

        Sorry but it is the GSG-1911/22 Its produced on the same assembly line and just labeled differently. I work for a major gun distributor and have been to the GSG factory in Germany and saw them coming off the line but had to sign a Non-disclosure agreement until they were introduced at SHOT

        (BTW: LCP w/CT Laser with either Hornady CD or Speer Gold Dots 24/7 either IWB or in pocket, regardless of if I have a larger gun on, LCPs on me)

    • avatar
      Totenglocke
      August 10, 2011

      What the hell? Either you need to find a better place to buy ammo or you’re firing diamond bullets. Last time I checked it was about $17 for a box of 50 .45 ACP – that comes out to $170 a weekend (ignoring tax) or about $680 per month or $8,840-ish per year.

      • avatar
        sflachamps
        September 3, 2012

        $17/box for 50 FMJ target rounds is about right. Expect to pay double for +p JHP delf-defense from a reliable domestic manufacturer, which is what KIMBER specifies…

  14. avatar
    Matt
    August 10, 2011

    This may open up a new can of worms but isn’t the idea behind concealed carry to have the tools to make the bad guys stop what they are doing??IF the bad guy happens to expire during that then he got what he deserved but the real reason is to make the perp rethink his actions then and there.The “underpowered”380 did that.Since rule number 1 is have a gun…..380′s work

  15. avatar
    Kevin
    August 10, 2011

    Pistols suck at stopping people. They are better then harsh words, but they suck compared to rifles or shotguns. It really doesn’t matter which one you use, they all suck. All of them will sometimes work, and they will sometimes not work. I’ve talked to people who were big .45 supporters before they encountered people who had been shot in the head with a .45 and were fine. Jim Cirillo mentions that his first shootout he shot a guy ~4 times in the head before the guy surrendered with about the same words. Carry all the time the gun you can carry all the time instead of not carrying a gun because a “real gun” won’t work for you.

    Would the motel clerk who killed robber/rapist Vincent Carson with a .22lr shot to the chest on July 25th have been better off not carrying a gun because only .45s are “real guns”?

    • avatar
      Derek
      August 10, 2011

      “Would the motel clerk…have been better off not carrying a gun because only .45s are “real guns”?”

      No, because only 10mms are “real guns” :P

  16. avatar
    Ralph
    August 10, 2011

    While I would prefer to carry a Browning .50 caliber machine gun, I do find it a tad unwieldy on hot summer days and a bit heavy for IWB concealment. Plus, it makes my ass look big.

    I’ll suggest one way (there may be others) to decide whether a particular caliber is too weak. Ask yourself if you can disregard the Four Rules when you handle that gun. If the answer is “yes,” then it’s not powerful enough. If the answer is “I’d have to be out of my mind,” then it’s enough gun.

    If it’ll kill you or someone else by “accident,” it’ll take out a bad guy on purpose. Just hit what you’re aiming at.

    Isn’t that why we train?

    • avatar
      Gage
      August 10, 2011

      I treat my pellet gun the same way I treat every other firearm I own – the 4 rules apply regardless of the caliber.

  17. avatar
    mlj
    August 10, 2011

    Simple: I’m a small guy. A compact .380 will fit in my pocket, so I carry it whenever possible. A compact 9mm or .45 will not, so I would have to carry it IWB or OWB and would carry it less.

  18. avatar
    Walt
    August 10, 2011

    I normally carry a Springfield XD SC in .40 S&W. It carries well and conceals easily under a t-shirt but there are times when I don’t feel that it is practical. For those times I picked up a S&W Bodyguard in .380 to slip into a pocket. I’m very comfortable with it.

    Regarding your question of why not a sub compact nine?
    For me it came down to the size of the pistol. I handled a Kel-Tec PF9 and Ruger LC9. While they were comfortable in my hand, they felt huge in my pocket.

  19. avatar
    Gossven
    August 10, 2011

    I’d personally rather go with a j-frame .38 over a .380 if I was going to go with a pocket gun, but I wouldn’t feel like I didn’t have enough gun if my only choice was a .380.

  20. avatar
    Chris Dumm
    August 10, 2011

    .380 hardball was and still is a terrible performer, but the newer. 380 defensive loads (and the newer pistols that reliably shoot them) are pretty credible from the studies and testing I’ve seen.

    Having said that, the new 9mm defensive ammo is also a lot better than old FMJ or ‘Powerpoint’ loads, The rising tide of propellant, bullet and gun design has lifted the performance of all handguns, except the very smallest calibers which are still poor choices.

    So yes, I think the .380 is an acceptible defensive caliber.

  21. avatar
    Sid
    August 10, 2011

    I was trained on the M47 Dragon Anti-Tank weapon back in 1987. I was officially 11BC2 according to the US Army. When I was CC’ing the weapon on plain clothes patrol, I would stick the missile down my pants leg and carry the sight in a backpack disguised as a book bag. Then, should I ever need it, I would simply drop my pants, pull the missile out, extend the front leg brace (careful to ensure it locks), pull the sight from the bag, slide the sight onto the missile using the sight mounting rails, remove the lens covers, assume a good seated position, place the missile on my shoulder, begin tracking the target, ensure my back blast area was clear, and then engage my target. I will pull my pants back up after the engagement is over and we are secured.

    No, I don’t carry .380 because I can CC a larger caliber. I have friends that do and am happy that they are around. My personal choice is .45ACP. But I will be happy to shoot bad guys with anything in my hand and will use it as a club when empty. Run at me and my loved ones wearing a mask, I will unload on you – literally. Say anything you want as you fall to the ground. I am not finished until you are.

  22. avatar
    Levi B
    August 10, 2011

    I carry the largest gun I’m comfortable with given my current circumstances. I will carry a backup gun most days, and it’s always either a Ruger LCP or a S&W 642 (.38 spl). I’m not entirely confident in the .380ACP’s ability to readily stop a person mostly because of lack of penetration in hollow points, so I carry FMJs in it. My primary carry gun is almost always either a Glock 19 or S&W M&P40, both of which I’m quite confident will stop a person as long as I do my job.

  23. avatar
    Todd Price
    August 10, 2011

    It summertime, and my SiG 238 is my go to gun for concealed carry. I carry Buffalo-Barnes JHP ammo, and I am confident in the choice of caliber.

    Another factor in the debate which has been brought up is shot placement. If the first two shots don’t take down Bad Guy, I feel very comfortable going for head shots at 15 feet out (at range, can do that rapid fire out to about 45 feet). My Glock 26, not so much, and I would keep firing at COM unless it was obvious I was up against body armor.

  24. avatar
    CUJO THE DOG OF WAR
    August 10, 2011

    Some of us were born with Magnums…But really, with some of the wonder rounds like Extreme Shock, Magsafe, Glaser Safety Slugs, Buffalo Bore or jacked up Corbon rounds-sure. I have secretly always wanted to get a Beretta 84 and load it with hot rounds, I just always happen to have a Magnum in my pocket…(That’s how you end up getting married four times…) For me, yesterday was my Para 1911 IWB crossdraw, a Fred Perrin Military Bowie IWB, a Smith and Wesson 340PD .357 in my weakside pocket and a Spyderco Fighting folder clipped into my strong side pocket. If someone’s determined to finally take me out, I’m going to have company along for the ride.

    • avatar
      Slick Nick
      August 10, 2011

      Your outfit would definitely give you some options!

      • avatar
        CUJO THE DOG OF WAR
        August 10, 2011

        Oh, yes! Stay one step ahead in arms and one degree crazier than the competition.

  25. avatar
    Rokurota
    August 10, 2011

    Ha! I love it! Every convict and gang-banger should be required to read these message boards in the morning before they go outside.

    • avatar
      Coyote Gray
      August 10, 2011

      Well, since most gang bangers reside in metro areas and big cities with some of the most restrictive gun laws and rarely issue CCW permits, the most reading this blog will do is ensure they don’t move to areas with “Shall issue” mandates.

      Stick to the inner city bangers. Where your victims are neutered by the very state reps that are supposed to be protecting them.

  26. avatar
    Van
    August 10, 2011

    I just don’t like to keep stock of more than one caliber of ammo, which is why I would rather go with a 9mm single stack (Ruger LC9) to complement my Glock 26.

  27. avatar
    JJ Swiontek
    August 10, 2011

    My wife and I both have Walther PK-380s with Hornady Crit. Def. for our CCW.

  28. avatar
    Bob Evans
    August 10, 2011

    I carry a pea shooter …after all, I can hit the bull all day for pennies, and we all know that shot placement is everything. Not only that, there are no laws against the fully auto pea shooter, and with a mouth full of peas, and a good straw, any perp will either be begging for mercy or doubled over laughing after getting a 100 COM hits from me.

    My BUG is either a Glock 30 in .45 or G27 in 40SW in a Blackhawk Serpa OC …because I can, dang it …and I’ve never been shot at first, or had to apologize to anyone because of it. There are times when I CC with the G27 in a Galco Ankle Glove (incredibly comfortable all-day carry, though not as convenient as OC), and there are places like schools, day care, and government buildings where I can’t (and don’t usually need to) go. Indiana is a fairly gun-friendly state! :)

    I wouldn’t feel under-gunned with the 9mm (I used to carry a Taurus 709 Slim), but I’m every bit as comfortable shooting the more “snappy” 40 (really, it’s not the hand-full of a gun people make it out to be), and it fits in the same frame as a 9mm in a G26; a Pierce +1 extension negates the loss of a carry round with the G27. Either carry caliber uses Speer Gold Dots, though I still use ball ammo for the pea shooter.

    • avatar
      Jack Hammer
      October 3, 2013

      I carry a shoulder-fired bazooka …after all, I can hit the bull once a day (that is enough), and we all know that caliber and power is everything. Not only that, there are no laws against the shoulder-fired bazooka, and with a truckload of missiles, and a bazooka, any perp will either be begging for mercy or doubled over laughing after getting one good look at me. Not only that, it makes me feel more powerful and macho!

      A .45 to the arm won’t stop an attacker, but a .22lr to the head will.

      Some so-called “experts” out there will tell you that a .22lr is useless, but there are a lot of dead people that could tell you different.

  29. avatar
    Mogg
    August 10, 2011

    A lot of the time, it depends on the weather.
    With temps in the 90-100 degree range lately, I’ve been
    carrying my taurus tcp an awful lot.

    Often if I’m going out after dark I’ll carry my .357,
    with the tcp as a backup.

    On average, though, I carry a little .38spc

    So I will trade power for comfort, at least to a degree
    I think most of us do.

  30. avatar
    William
    August 10, 2011

    Have any of you read this?

    http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/node/7866

    A portion of it reads…

    Over a 10-year period, I kept track of stopping power results from every shooting I could find. I talked to the participants of gunfights, read police reports, attended autopsies, and scoured the newspapers, magazines, and Internet for any reliable accounts of what happened to the human body when it was shot.
    I documented all of the data I could; tracking caliber, type of bullet (if known), where the bullet hit and whether or not the person was incapacitated. I also tracked fatalities, noting which bullets were more likely to kill and which were not. It was an exhaustive project, but I’m glad I did it and I’m happy to report the results of my study here.
    Before I get to the details, I must give a warning. I don’t have any dog in this fight! I don’t sell ammo. I’m not being paid by any firearm or ammunition manufacturer. I carry a lot of different pistols for self defense. Within the last 2 weeks, I’ve carried a .22 magnum, a .380 auto, a .38 spl revolver, 3 different 9mm autos and a .45 auto. I don’t have an axe to grind. If you are happy with your 9mm, I’m happy for you. If you think that everyone should be carrying a .45 (because they don’t make a .46), I’m cool with that too. I’m just reporting the data. If you don’t like it, take Mr. Ayoob.s advice…do a study of your own.

    • avatar
      Slick Nick
      August 10, 2011

      That is a good report and shows exactly why a conversation such as this can be argued until the end of time, too many variables to have a decisive “winner”. Are you aware of any reports similiar in nature that focuses on ballistic gel testing to compare penetration/transfer of energy/displacement of mass for the different calibers?

    • avatar
      The 4th
      August 10, 2011

      The gun in your pocket is the one that counts.

      The 1989 FBI Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness study http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi-hwfe.pdf conclusion was:

      Kinetic energy does not wound. Temporary cavity does not wound The much discussed “shock” of bullet impact is a fable and “knock down” power is a myth. The critical element is penetration. The bullet must pass through the large, blood bearing organs and be of sufficient diameter to promote rapid bleeding. Penetration less than 12 inches is too little, and, in the words of two of the participants in the 1987 Wound Ballistics Workshop, “too little penetration will get you killed. Given desirable and reliable penetration, the only way to increase bullet effectiveness is to increase the severity of the wound by increasing the size of hole made by the bullet. Any bullet which will not penetrate through vital organs from less than optimal angles is not acceptable. Of those that will penetrate, the edge is always with the bigger bullet.

      And since that study, handgun ammo has been greatly improved, including .380 acp, to the point that I no longer believe that there is that much practical difference between .45 acp and 9mm. And I think that .380 is a perfectly acceptable self defense round if that’s the gun you will practice with and carry in your pocket (Military ammo does not fit this discussion because its all ball ammo and no expanding bullets are allowed – prohibited by the Hague Convention of 1899).

      The bottom line is that some people are predisposed to stop aggressive behavior when fired at, whether shot or not. And some people will keep coming no matter how many times they are shot until hit in the brain or spinal column. See One Shot Drops – surviving the Myth http://www.rrmemphis.com/myth.pdf And many times a gunfight is avoided simply by displaying a weapon.

      Best home defense round – 12 gauge, with 20 gauge not far behind. Best concealed carry round – carry the biggest round that you will carry and can accurately hit what you aim at consistently and quickly. Get over the practice of shooting two to center of mass in practice – you will do it in a gunfight and it will get you killed. Keep firing until the other person stops.

  31. avatar
    Kirk in Utah
    August 10, 2011

    The caliber argument comes up pretty frequently and Doctor Roberts, an expert on the matter, says it best:
    – Cultivate a warrior mindset
    – Invest in competent, thorough initial training and then maintain skills with regular ongoing practice
    – Acquire a reliable and durable weapon system
    – Purchase a consistent, robust performing duty/self-defense load in sufficient quantities (at least 1000 rounds) then STOP worrying about the nuances of handgun ammunition terminal performance.

    With that being said, I carry either a 9mm in a smaller package or a 45 in a full size packgage, and train with them on a weekly basis.

  32. avatar
    JOE MATAFOME
    August 10, 2011

    The 380 can stop anyone, it just depends on where you hit them. Now the 50 will stop anyone and it doesn’t matter where you hit them because whatever you hit will be gone. The 380′s are cute but I prefer more stopping power, so I’ll stick with the 45′s and 50′s.

  33. avatar
    HSR47
    August 10, 2011

    Depending on the day, where I’ll be, what I’ll be doing, what the weather is like, and any number of other factors, I choose between my XD9′s* and my P238. If a more compact pistol is called for, I occasionally ask my brother if I can borrow his LCP.

    As far as pistols go, I generally strive to carry one of my XD9 pistols as much as possible; However, they are not perfect. They’re bulky, and what’s worse, they’re carbon steel. Regardless of how much I might want to, I can’t always disregard how much the XD prints (I’m ~6″1′, and ~170 lbs).

    Sometimes I go places as a subcontractor that are the domain of the rabidly anti-gun. To that end, I spent most of yesterday at a small private university, and had it been known that I was carrying, it almost certainly would have been an issue. I even went so far as to try to borrow a more-compact .380 (it didn’t pan out, although it might for Friday when I have to go back).

    As for subcompact 9mm pistols, I have yet to see one that the same size as, or smaller than, the P238, itself too large to be a practical pocket pistol. I’ve seen pretty much every one on the market (except perhaps the Kimber Solo), and they UNIVERSALLY have the same footprint — that of the XD9 subcompact; Sure they may be THINNER, but that doesn’t make a damned bit of difference to their practicality for pocket carry. Comparitavly, the P238 is smaller than subcompact 9mm pistols by about the same margin that those selfsame subcompacts are smaller than full-size 9mm pistols. The majority of other .380 pistols are smaller still.

    If my choice is to carry or to not carry, then my choice is to carry the largest firearm I can manage under the circumstances; However, if my choice is to carry something small and not be seen (when that is what is called for) or to carry something larger and risk an incident (when that is to be avoided) then I will do the former, rather than the latter.

    *I have two — one ported, the other not. I tend to keep one clean and unloaded, and the other loaded for carry; The clean one generally being the one I shot most recently.

  34. avatar
    Don
    August 10, 2011

    With modern personal protection ammo, definitely. Lots of people have been killed with .22lr – .380acp.

    -D

  35. avatar
    Derek
    August 10, 2011

    I’m of the mindset that one should carry as much firepower as one can realistically use, carry, and conceal. So if a tiny .380 is the most firepower that the situation allows you to “conceal”, then go with that. But I wouldn’t recomend carrying a pocket .380 as your primary carry piece for all occasions. I will say that with modern propellants and bullets, the .380 is much more potent than it used to be. Heck, Buffalo Bore’s got .380 thats basically a mild 9mm so it’s not the “mouse gun” that some think it is. But the same can be said about other rounds as well.

    • avatar
      CUJO THE DOG OF WAR
      August 10, 2011

      Hell yes! Forget what I carry on me, you should see what all goes along with me in my truck! After all, is it really hoarding if it’s all defense weaponry? I include my shoulder rig custom tomahawk in the mix…

  36. avatar
    michael
    August 10, 2011

    There is no such thing as “stopping power” in a handgun that anyone can reasonably disguise under cover. A handgun is not a sledge hammer. It only matters what you hit, and perhaps how many times you hit it. I read many day to day real life articles about bad guys downed with .22 pistols, and then I just shake my head when I read articles such as this, and some of the comments.

    Of course I am talking about “up close and personal” action. At a distance, it is another story altogether, since other factors must be considered. But at a distance, you should run away from danger, if possible.

  37. avatar
    jbyrne27
    August 10, 2011

    Just curious how many among you are lead an active life such as cycling, hiking, rock climbing etc. and also carry during these activities. I haven’t carried while cycling but that is probably one of the more high risk things I do in terms of possible road rage scenarios. Certainly if I did carry it would be a 380. Big guns are great but I’m not going to lug 2-3lbs. of steel during certain activities. I hear a lot about OFWGs on this site. How many YTAG (young thin active guys) are out there and what do you carry. Probably better as a separate question of the day.

  38. avatar
    racer88
    August 10, 2011

    Funny thing…. for the past few weeks, I’ve been carrying my Colt Pony Pocketlite (.380) in a pocket holster instead of my usual Glock 27 in a IWB holster (Supertuck). Why? I had surgery, and my belly’s still sore. So, the IWB Brick 27, I mean Glock 27, is just a bit uncomfortable. I’m glad to have more than one gun at my disposal. Do I think 6 + 1 of .380 is as “comforting” as 9 + 1 of .40-cal? Nope. But, I’d rather have the pocket pistol than none at all.

  39. avatar
    Orvil
    August 11, 2011

    I hear more peeps are killed with .22′s than any other caliber. So why all the fuss?

    • avatar
      Mark Turner
      August 11, 2011

      That is because more people are shot with a .22. Argumentum ad populum.

      Adn killing them is not the criteria. Making them rapidly cease wanting to do harm to you are others is the point.

    • avatar
      John Stephens
      August 11, 2011

      Most people killed by .22s bleed to death, that takes time. If I have to shoot someone, I don’t want them to have that time, to keep doing whatever it is I’m shooting them for in the first place.

  40. avatar
    Buuurr
    August 11, 2011

    I would not carry a .380. Not because I think it will not stop someone but because I think 9 mm is cheap and easier to find when I need it and is just a hair likely better to stop someone. Would I carry a larger then 9 mm? No. I would rather not spend all the extra money on ammo and gun price.

    I used to live in a shitty city. A city where you were likely to be mugged by four or five teens or the single crazed meth/coke head looking for his/her next fix. Neither caliber will stop neither threat so a long sharp knife as backup was the best option. The setup works here out West in mountain country too. A cougar isn’t waiting on the reload and it damn well don’t care what you shot it with. Ditto on bears.

    I think the readiness factor is what determines the knock down/stoppage of any fight. I also think the fight in the aggressor or defender is what determines the outcome of any fight. I find calibers trivial because it is such a small factor in such a varied and fluid situation.

    Do what you think is best and hopefully it works out in your favor.

    As for below:


    jbyrne27 says:
    August 10, 2011 at 8:50 PM
    Just curious how many among you are lead an active life such as cycling, hiking, rock climbing etc. and also carry during these activities. I haven’t carried while cycling but that is probably one of the more high risk things I do in terms of possible road rage scenarios. Certainly if I did carry it would be a 380. Big guns are great but I’m not going to lug 2-3lbs. of steel during certain activities. I hear a lot about OFWGs on this site. How many YTAG (young thin active guys) are out there and what do you carry. Probably better as a separate question of the day

    I bike, I hike, I prospect, I shoot clays from a hand tosser (machines that cost less than $500 just don’t do it right) and I hunt and fish – to name a few. I carry during all these activities. We have bike lanes out here so road rage on bikers is a non-issue. I carry a Springfield XDm Compact 3.8” 9 mm and a large pointy sharpened thing for the reload. Weight is irrelevant to if you want to live or not and comfort is a non-issue for those with the money for a nice setup. I am not thin. I am more to what people refer to as a brick shithouse. How about yourself?

    • avatar
      Roger
      August 11, 2011

      “weight is irrelevant if you want to live”

      What AED do you carry? What brand Kevlar vest? With which ballistic plates? How big a trauma kit do you carry? etc.

      Weight matters, you have just chosen a different threshold than others. I know a guy with a bad back – he can’t carry his beloved 1911 all day because of it. So he carries it when he thinks his risk levels are higher, or his back is having a good day, and goes with a mouse gun the rest of the time.

      • avatar
        Buuurr
        August 12, 2011

        Ironically, Roger I know you are being sarcastic in your response but I would carry all those things if money wasn’t an issue. Funny thing that.

        Weight doesn’t matter if you truly have the belief/need you need it. For me anyway. I should mention that in my posts I am talking about my opinion and what works for me. I could care less what anyone else does because everyone does it different and that is okay.

        I too have a ‘bad back’. I was T-boned by a drunk a few years back and it is a nag. I do however suck it up and get on with it. But that is just me. For others weight is a compromise, I know.

        P.S.

        I should also point out that the context of where I was saying “weight is irrelevant if you want to live, was real out there for you, Roger. I was referring to me living in bear/cougar country and being in the mountains a lot. I doubt your pal gets up there much, right?

  41. avatar
    CUJO THE DOG OF WAR
    August 11, 2011

    Here’s a round for you-Cheaper Than Dirt lists Extreme Shock’s .380 Enhanced Penetration Round (EPR) at 1130 feet per second from the muzzle. It sells for $9.34 for 6 rounds, but you can go to Extreme Shock USA online and buy the rounds by the box, usually in 20 round boxes and 50 round boxes. The round looks like a Pow’R Ball round with a black plastic ball in the hollow point. I have some for my .45 ACP.

  42. avatar
    Dannytheman
    August 11, 2011

    I have been carrying a 380 for over 30 years. It is my fit into anything handgun. I practice with it, I drill with it and I can hit what I aim at with it! I am only thinking of jumping up to a 9MM with the growing terror of these racial flash mobs beatings that have been occurring in my closest city, Philadelphia. I want quantity with 20 shots and 2 -19 ammo filled magazines.
    380 is plenty for 95% of the need. It definitely beats anyone wanting to be in a knife fight. There are always the exceptions. Crack head pumped up on juice, or other drugs. I have found that most criminals are HUGE cowards and run like hell and beg like hell when threatened! Like in your story, “Don’t shoot me no more”!

  43. avatar
    RetiredE9
    August 11, 2011

    I usually counter those who denigrate the .380 by asking them if it would be all right if I shot them with my .380? A trite question I know but one intended to put the debate into perspective. Any armed response is preferable to a blank stare.

    Personally, the recoil from my .380 is rough on my “60 something” arthritic wrist and I’m serious considering another smaller caliber for my “summer carry”. Is there a good auto .22 with a laser pointer?

    I’ve already gone from a .40 to a 9mm for the same reason, big springs are hard to compress and the recoil is nicer to my wrist.

    You carry what you can use and my beloved 1911 (a REAL 1911, made by Colt in 1913) is now relegated to a range pistol, reluctantly, but sadly realistic for my personal situation.

  44. avatar
    The False God
    August 11, 2011

    Would that explosive rounds were legal. At that point, it wouldn’t really matter what caliber it was.

  45. avatar
    jdr3366
    August 11, 2011

    Yea, I know. placement is everything. And that’s the problem. In an emergency an average Joe like me is less accurate than on the range. More powerful ammo is more likely to do the job (penetrate vital organs) when it counts. IMO.

    I just sold my Bersa Thunder 380. LC9, here I come.

  46. avatar
    you must be kidding
    August 11, 2011

    When I lived in Los Angeles, I carried a Colt Government Model as a boot gun. But that was Los Angeles, when it was a MUCH rougher place than it it is today. I generally carry a Colt Mustang .380 now, because I live in a civilized place with almost no gun control laws. But I do have a 9mm in the glove compartment if things look like they could get really bad.

    A .380 on you is better than the .50AE that you left in the car!

    When I lived in California, I kept an SKS and 200 rounds of ammo in stripper clips bolted in the trunk–in case things got REALLY bad.

  47. avatar
    BobH
    August 11, 2011

    Given the choice between a Ruger LCP (.380) and LC9 (9mm), I chose the LC9: not much larger, easier for me to grip, and more powerful but cheaper ammunition.

  48. avatar
    Jay Tea
    August 11, 2011

    I don’t even own a gun, but I’ve always liked the USMC Rules for Gunfighting. Here’s one list:

    http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/rules_20021121.html

    This is the relevant one: “24. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a “.4″

    J.

  49. avatar
    Joe Blow
    August 11, 2011

    If I knew I was getting into a fight, I’ve got a Springfield 1911 .45 I’d prefer to carry. But for a simple, convenient carry piece, .380 is enough. If you load it with Hydra Shok (make sure they don’t jam your pistol first) and if your shot placement is good. You’re not going to win an epic shootout with it but few people get into epic shootouts; mostly it’s dirty little close encounters at less than 10 feet, and personal readiness is *way* more important than packing a high caliber pocket cannon.

  50. avatar
    Harold
    August 11, 2011

    I recently bought a CCW after trying various makes and calibers. I quickly found that a .40 S&W or .45 ACP in a sub-compact, concealable frame was punishing, and I would flinch before each shot. Not the best way to keep rounds on target. So it came down to a .380 or 9mm and the price differential was enough to put a Bersa Thunder .380 in my pocket. For me it was the combination Size / Comfort / Price that drove my choice. If I had more spending $$ I would probably have chosen differently but I am happy with what I have in my pocket.

  51. avatar
    Devon Price
    August 11, 2011

    I carry a .380. However, it also has a laser sight – so my chances of hitting a vital spot is much greater. Also, I use high-velocity hollowpoints. The difference in noise, flash and recoil with the hot rounds is noticable greater. I would assume they would be more lethal that standard .380 rounds

    • avatar
      Gaston
      August 11, 2011

      Adding a red dot laser by itself, will not make you a good marksman. See how level you can aim that dot right after 20 fast pushups to simulate how pumped up your cardiovascular system will be in real confrontation.

  52. avatar
    Dave Schmidt
    August 11, 2011

    I carry either a Springfield 1911 government model in .45 or a Beretta Model 96 (.40 S&W) with a Beretta Model 84 in .380 as a back-up weapon. The Model 84 is a good back-up, and lacking anything else is satisfactory with the proper ammo and shot placement. As a semi-retired peace officer formerly in law enforcement in NYC, this seems the best combo for peace of mind.

  53. avatar
    Kevin Baker
    August 11, 2011

    “Hmmm. Smith just happened to have his gun in his hand when an armed robber appeared?”

    When I get into and out of my vehicle, I transfer my pistol from my pocket to the console or vice-versa. It’s a Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm loaded with 124 grain Gold Dot hollowpoints, not a .380, but yes, I have it in my hand as I stand in the open door.

    And four .380′s put the perp on the ground – I’d say they were sufficiently effective.

  54. avatar
    BenC
    August 11, 2011

    I carry a S&W .380 bodyguard.In addition I own a S&W M&P .40c and a S&W .45 1911 but I only carried them occasionally because they were uncomfortable to carry and an aggravation to put on and take off.I carry my .380 EVERY TIME I leave the house it just slips in the pocket and most of the time I don’t even notice it.Does it have the best stopping power? No but as someone said the best gun to have is the one you will carry and I carry this one.

  55. avatar
    Jason
    August 11, 2011

    It’s true that .380 is often enough. For maybe one guy or two. I like to be prepared to face multiple assailants, as much as possible, and I can’t think of a common carry .380 that has enough bullets for this. Also, those of you comforting yourselves that “shot placement is key”, have you ever noticed that the sights on most .380 pocket guns suck? (Especially in the dark).

  56. avatar
    Faith+1
    August 11, 2011

    I am a small guy. .40 and .45 are simply too big for me to carry concealed and comfortably. I carry a Berretta Tomcat .32 cal with a mix of hollow point and FMJ. The FMJs allow for more penetration while the hollow points provide kick.

    I own larger caliber, but for conceal carry and the requirement for it to be well concealed larger calibers are not an option for me. Even a .380 in a small size has more kick than my hands can handle which means it is to end up in my attacker’s hands than mine.

    At 6-15 feet I can put 7 rounds inside a 1 inch grouping with < 3 second draw and fire. That's better than a missed .380, 9mm (practically the same), .40 or .45.

    Caliber dicksize wars are irrelevant if you can't hit the target.

    As to the comment about the sights sucking in the dark lets just say if you are practicing duress shooting and still using the sights you are way behind the learning curve. Sights are for target practice at the range. You have to use the other techniques in a self defense scenario.

  57. avatar
    Chris
    August 11, 2011

    You would think a .22 would be fine for self defense, especially if you are talking about a semiautomatic weapon with at least 10 rounds. What criminal says to himself, “Oh crap, someone is shooting holes in me, oh, wait, there only .22, the holes in my chest aren’t that big, I think maybe I’ll rush him.” I think the fact that you have a gun and are shooting is the biggest deterent. The caliber would make a difference if someone was high and you literally had to kill them or knock them over to stop them. In that case, a shotgun would probably be the best choice.

  58. avatar
    Wondertrev
    August 11, 2011

    You’re right, this is a silly argument. I’ve seen people live after 11 hits from a .45 when I lived in Laredo, TX, and stopped a liquor store robbery simply by drawing my Sig 238. I doubt a bad guy is going to ask about the caliber when he has a gun pointed at his chest.Sure, I carry my .4o when the weather is cool and I’m wearing casual clothes, but the Sig fits the bill when I’m wearing shorts, or when I want something unobtrusive in my suit pocket when am at campus (no, I’m not naming the campus….) or out to dinner.

  59. avatar
    Russell Armor
    August 11, 2011

    Better a weapon you have than a weapon you don’t. Still, I don’t want to wait around for my attacker to bleed to death.

    Gun fighting is a martial art as much as karate. I also invested heavily in a well known self defence ranch, making sure my gun fighting skills were up to the task.

    I carry a .45 ACP Para-Ordinance P10 in a Thunderwear® pouch, with a .38 snubby as a pocket gun for running down to the hardware store.

    I think the .380 is a little on the light side for your main defensive pistol.

  60. avatar
    Quilly Mammoth
    August 11, 2011

    In the summer months when wearing shorts and a t-shirt is a survival mechanism the NAA Guardian .380 in a Rosen pocket holster is undetectable. It is literally the size of many wallets. The whole point of concealed carry is the concealed part!

  61. avatar
    M.
    August 11, 2011

    I carry a S&W 380 BG. [Late serial numbers (EARxxxx or later)] I tried carrying my S&W M&P 40 and it was totally impractical, (Dockers in FL? -please) whereas the 380 is so easy to carry that I consciously have to remember to doublecheck before entering a no-gun zone. The key is a good wallet sized holster. The result is I now carry all the time, which was the point now that it seems like we are entering a new era of impromptu civil strife. (racially motivated flash mob violence, etc.)

    I cannot say enough good things about this weapon. It has almost no recoil, which means even with the heavy trigger pull (no accidental discharge on this thing) it is exceedingly accurate with iron sights at 10 yards, (sub inch groups) let alone with the intimidating/blinding integrated laser. Extra magazines are so small and easy to carry that it’s relatively small capacity 6+1 is not a factor. It is incredibly solid and well constructed for such a small gun, and while I’d never carry a round in the chamber of my M&P, which has no safety, I’m glad it has one since it’s usually in my pocket. (Even if you don’t, racking the first round would get the same sort of attention/psychological impact as racking a shotgun: There’s no mistaking that sound.)

    Now, if you think that the 380 has no stopping power, I’d like to meet the person that wants to stare down a 9mm barrel that has a commanding report, let alone take a 9mm in head or chest. According to the following study, the 380 ACP has a 29% of fatality with a single shot, higher than a 9mm, 44% one stop shot (higher than 38 spec., 9mm, and 45), 76% accuracy when hitting the head or torso, 62% incapacitation with the first shot to the head or torso, and only 16% who didn’t break off the attack after a single hit.

    Compare that with the 45: identical fatality with a single shot, 39% one stop shot, 85% accuracy on head or torso, 51% incapacitation with the first shot to the head or torso, and only 14% who didn’t break off the attack after a single hit.

    Conclusion: Punching a hole in someone at close range, regardless of caliber, tends to mess up their day, and quickly.
    http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/node/7866

  62. avatar
    Dana Brown
    August 11, 2011

    I am a big guy but carry a .380, as I live in Florida. It is hot here most of the time and concealed carry is tough without also carrying a bag or wearing a fannie pack, etc. (ain’t happening). As such, I carry in my pants or short pocket so the Ruger LCP is perfect. The backup that rides in my truck and work bag is a high capacity .40. As mentioned, shot placement is very important and is actually quite difficult for me with the little .380. As such, I practice, practice, practice – with a two handed grip and with each hand separetly – placing multiple shots into center mass at 10 feet or less, much further and the bullet might be slowing down too much to effectively penetrate and expand. I use Remington Golden Saber HPJ. Runs well in the Ruger.

  63. avatar
    styrgwillidar
    August 11, 2011

    http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot26_2.htm

    Well, these informal tests indicate .380 will meet the FBI 12″ penetration tests. Unfortunately, I live in an area where I can’t get a CCW.

  64. avatar
    Michael
    August 11, 2011

    -What kind of ammo was he using?
    -After carrying J-frame S&Ws I carried two .380s from time to time. One was a Walther PPK and the other a Star Model D. I played with hotter handloads in the Star, but didn’t get carried away. I quit carrying them when really compact 9mms came on the scene and I picked up a Taurus PT-111-Ti. I’m not a big guy so carrying a Desert Eagle .50 in an ankle holster isn’t an option. In my opinion, which is worth exactly what it costs, the new breeds of .380 ammunition make the guns the equal of the old snubbie .38s that used to be the standard.

  65. avatar
    DC Lovell
    August 11, 2011

    I have the Walther PPKS .380 and after some practice it became very effective up to about 40′ away. Close in it will definitely put someone down in a hurry. Have shot it thousands of times not one jammed bullet.

  66. avatar
    tatterdemalian
    August 11, 2011

    The only self-defense difference between a .380 and a 9 mm is availability of ammo. Whichever you can get hollow point ammo for cheaper is the one to go with. Myself, I carry a .357 revolver loaded with .38 ammo. Less recoil thanks to the extra weight, plus I have the option to shoot .357 ammo if I need to.

  67. avatar
    Hankmeister
    August 11, 2011

    I can carry in 19 states. My preferred carry is a Springfield Armory XD .45 cal. My next preference would be my Series 80 Colt Commander w/4.25” barrel stuffed with 8 round Colt brand or McCormick mags. I would also be willing to carry my 15rd. Sig 2022 9mm. Given a choice between a knife, sharp stick or a .380, I’d pick the .380. Actually, with some of the bullet developments over the last five or six years the .380 can be extremely lethal depending on shot placement.

    BTW, the S&W .40 cal is a fine cartridge and there are many pistols chambered for the thing, but with the extra muzzle flip and the superiority of the .45 caliber as a true manstopper, why go with a neutered round when you can punch bigger holes and stay on target better with the .45 ACP? With factory loads I’m always faster on steel plates than someone shooting a .40 S&W – but to each his own! The .40 is light-years ahead of the .380 and can be obtained in fairly small packages though some recoil sensitive people would consider them unmanageable.

    • avatar
      Dana Brown
      August 11, 2011

      Hankmeister,

      I have both a .40 (Sig) and a .45 (Para) and actually got the .40 because the ammo is so much cheaper and more readily available (in both target and defense loads). At times, even the online retailers (Sportsmansguide, Cheaper than dirt, Aim, etc.) are out of .45. I would agree, though, that the .40 does have a “sharper” recoil than the .45 and, like I mentioned with the Ruger LCP, my Sig P250 Compact is a challenge to shoot well without a lot of practice.

      • avatar
        Conor
        August 11, 2011

        Winchester White Box cheap and plentiful at Walmart here in Mississippi.

      • avatar
        Dana Brown
        August 12, 2011

        Conor

        Lots of 9mm and 40 at my local Walmarts, including Winchester white box and Federal target loads (my fave) but almost never have anything in .45 and very little in .38 special and .380. I ask but am always told that it sells out quick. No idea why that is!

  68. avatar
    Kevin
    August 11, 2011

    Keep in mind that the that something on the scale of 99% of these situation end without a single shot being fired. Just the presence of a gun scares the attacker(s) off. So the gun you have is infinitely better than the one you don’t, regardless of caliber. If a .40 is too big/heavy/bulky to carry but you’d reliably carry a .38 then by all means. Even if it’s a frigging .22 it’s better than the .45 that’s at home.

    And as you said, shot placement is everything. People can be killed or incapacitated by a well aimed .22. At the same time, if you can’t handle a .45 and end up shooting the wall behind the guy, or worse a bystander, how is that better???

    When it comes down to it, whatever caliber you’re going to consistently carry, and you can handle well enough to reliably put holes where you want, is the best caliber for you, regardless of any dick-waving here.

  69. avatar
    tatterdemalian
    August 11, 2011

    “What criminal says to himself, “Oh crap, someone is shooting holes in me, oh, wait, there only .22, the holes in my chest aren’t that big, I think maybe I’ll rush him.””

    All of them, though the thought process is a bit more streamlined: “Oh f*ck I’m shot! It’s on now! KILLKILLKILLKILLKILLKILL” and so on until blood loss finally shuts the attacker’s body down. There’s also the possibility of “RUNRUNRUN” instead, but it’s not a good idea to rely on it.

  70. avatar
    Andrew
    August 11, 2011

    Any of us who lived through the gun control mania of the 70s, 80s, and early 90s can only marvel (joyously) that the current debate is over whether a .380 is adequate for self-defense, as opposed to whether we are all about to be utterly stripped of our right to carry concealed.

    As far as concealed carry is concerned, these ARE the good old days. :-)

  71. avatar
    tatterdemalian
    August 11, 2011

    I’m not a cop, so I’m not silly enough to start waving my gun around until I’m in a lethal force situation (as legally defined in my area) and about to kill someone or something with it. There’s a fine line between self defense and vigilantism, and I don’t have the training needed to cross it.

  72. avatar
    BJ
    August 11, 2011

    9mm short (380) certainly beats no fire arm at all. For my wife and sometimes for me, I like a J frame 22 mag with hollow points. Easy and relatively cheap to shoot and very deadly.

  73. avatar
    willem
    August 11, 2011

    This is about taking defensive action. If the defensive action uses a handgun as the tool of defense, then there are other factors beyond caliber.

    IMHO, three rounds rapidly placed on target are conclusive to secure defensive success. In the studies I have seen, that is the statistic that keeps jumping out regarding non-combat defensive use of handguns. It’s not the caliber so much as the immediacy of the three consecutive impact traumas.

    Smartly put a rapid 3 on T and a 22LR will drop an assailant. It’s the frequency; something about the frequency of strikes an that amplitude of trauma that caves cognition and neurologic stamina.

    But that’s just one assailant. And there are always variations to any beta.

    Weapon reliability, cycle speed and ease of use can be more determinative of outcomes than caliber alone. It the attackee who must arise in the trauma of assault and effect defensive action.

    The unnerving question becomes how many 3 on T will they have to cycle and deliver before the entirety of the present threat is neutralized and resolved into defensive success.

    And then, a bigger question still — how many effective 3 on T cycles while moving defensively?

    I love my 1911s — but I’ve begun training with a high capacity pistol in 22 mag and I haven’t looked back.

  74. avatar
    Milpundit
    August 11, 2011

    The best gun you own is the one you have with you. A carry a Sig P230 because it’s small, fits easily in a pocket and will stop an attacker with a few well placed rounds.

  75. avatar
    Muggins
    August 11, 2011

    The type of firearm one chooses, and the cartridge, depends on requirements unique to the user. I worked with an old pipefitter who hunted Nazis after WWII when he was in the military. His weapon of choice was the Colt .25 auto. His overriding requirement was concealability, since he had to travel by airlines to various countries. He got into a gun fight one time. He had to fire all the rounds in his magazine to kill the Nazi. Ideally though, if you had to go into a gun fight, you’d want something on the order of a magnum or 45 ACP. But if you’re a woman who weighs 120 lbs., or maybe you need a conceal carry handgun, then you’ll make compromises for smaller and lighter. The .380 is natural cartridge for the smaller pistols. It’s for up close action, and be prepared to pull the trigger until your target falls dead. For myself, I prefer accuracy and reliability, so I go for S & W and Colt revolvers. But, I prefer shotguns.

  76. avatar
    glenn
    August 11, 2011

    Pistols are pretty much the same a digital cameras. Buying one you won’t carry and use is pretty much a waste of time. And Mr. Smiths last shot should have gone in the perps head. That way only one person tells the story.

  77. avatar
    don comfort
    August 11, 2011

    Interesting that the posted comments are from people citing “studies” and “theories”
    but not from people who have actually had to fire their weapon. Having been in Law
    Enforcement back in the Revolver days and having carried and yes even using my
    off duty 38 snubbie,I would like to make the following comments based on my own experiences. As much as it may pain someone today, myself and other brother cops felt we were well armed with our 38 snubbies. The bottom line is All handgun calibers are
    are rather weak sisters compared to rifles or shoguns,there is no magic handgun caliber
    nor bullet.Your mind is your best and strongest weapon.If you do not pay attention and let the bad guy get the drop on you,that hidden handgun will be worthless.
    That said with todays ammunition there has been vast improvement in the 380 with
    many good choices.Any good hollow point bullet that offers DEPENDABLE expansion
    out of a short barreled weapon placed in a vital area(practice,shot placement) should
    attain the desired results.If you think you are going to be attacked by hordes of bad guys,bring an AK or similar type weapon and secondly rethink how you living your
    life.If you study actual shootings you will probably discover they occur at very short
    range, and are over Very quickly.One last note,anyone who carries full metal jacket
    ammo for defensive purposes is asking for all kinds of trouble,no matter what the caliber.

  78. avatar
    Davis
    August 11, 2011

    If your target is far enough away that you have to worry about hitting him, you’re probably not in a self-defense situation. If someone is more than five yards away I would probably regard him as just being irritating. If he gets closer, I would be happy with any calibre.

    And for American self-defense, these are the good old days, and it should be clear to everyone where the English way leads.

    • avatar
      Harry Schell
      August 11, 2011

      Five yards is too little for me to be comfy. I’d make a decision no later than that.

      Never want to make that decision, but five yards is not much time or space.

  79. avatar
    Harry Schell
    August 11, 2011

    I like the story from some years ago about the son of a wealthy Brazilian business owner. The son was on the Brazilian Olympic team for small bore pistol. He had gone to the range with his .22 and came home.

    He was cornered at the entry to the driveway by two other cars containing a total of four armed men, intent on kidnapping. In short order, he killed all four with his target pistol.
    Shot placement and a cool mind…

    • avatar
      southTexasCC
      August 18, 2013

      It is.. I was robbed at knife point and shot a man point blank range with a micro 45… didt kill him but got him off me.. (case still open 16months later) also if someone is in yoyr personal area ( with in arms reach) and you have to draw.. take two steps back.. if you can’t push him off you and draw.. as you draw from your hip or front shoot at his belt and work your way up.. three quick shots… its simple and devastating I practice is all the time..always think tactical. and as far as the 380caliber round its very accurate and will get the job done

  80. avatar
    vince52
    August 11, 2011

    I live in Los Angeles. If I carried a concealed weapon, and used it in perfectly justified self-defense, I would face a long jail sentence.

  81. avatar
    Mikey
    August 11, 2011

    A .380 out of a 4″bbl has ballistics pretty much identical to a .38spl in a snub nosed revolver, and a LOT of cops carry a .38 snubby as a backup or off duty weapon. What matters is that you have it, and you’ve practiced with it. I replaced my .38 S&W 442 with a PPK because the PPK is flatter, has a safety, and can be reloaded a lot more quickly.

  82. avatar
    Charley Jones
    August 11, 2011

    Can we please be done with “caliber snobbery”? Carry the pistol you are most able to score X-zone hits with. Vital hits end fights regardless of caliber.

    • avatar
      Mike
      March 30, 2012

      Well Said

  83. avatar
    Net hick
    August 11, 2011

    I carry a Kel Tec PF-9. It weighs about the same as a 380 but has real stopping power.
    It is a handful to shoot but very accurate.

    My home protection weapon of choice is a Mossberg 20 inch pump shotgun with buckshot. It spits out 9 30 caliber metal balls at 1250 feet per second and holds 8 shells. I know these projectiles are very similar to a 380 in size and speed but 72 will clear a wide path.

  84. avatar
    Stuart
    August 12, 2011

    I agree that a 45 ACP can be a handful if you have not practised enough but it will stop a man with a single shot most times. This is what we are trying to achieve in this situation I think?

    Don’t go for a smaller weapon just practise more until you can really use the most appropriate weapon. I have used a 45 ACP in tricky situation in Angola, Iraq, and the US. It always did what it was supposed to do.

  85. avatar
    Brad
    August 12, 2011

    Several years ago after attending a street survival course my department sent me to, I went looking for a backup/off duty weapon. One of the instructors had made a impression on me with his views of backup/off duty weapons. Basically he felt that when you were in a “oh shit” moment, and the monkey portion of your brain had taken over, you wanted something that was very simple, and very deadly. I took this to heart and bought a Smith and Wesson Model 296 Air Weight .44 Special hammerless revolver. It weighs 19 ounces loaded, has no safety or hammer to get in the way, and fires one ass kicker of a round. I load it with 200 grain gold dots, and the bullets stay in the body where they belong. If someone is so far away that I feel I can’t hit them, then I should probably be running and not in a gunfight to begin with. If they are close enough that I can hit them, well I seriously doubt they are going to be asking me to stop shooting after I hit them. Any concealed carry weapon should be two things, and two things only, simple, and deadly. The reason for this is simple, in that unless you are involved in so many shootings that they have become muscle memory, you’ll be lucky just to get it out and pointed in the right direction when the shit hits the fan. Simple and deadly will be your best friend when that time comes.

    • avatar
      Lou Gots
      August 12, 2011

      Rodger on the 296ti. The Centennial-type trigger is excellent Good for shooting through the pocket–0.00 seconds reaction time.. When you learn the trigger, the gun has 25-yard capability.

  86. avatar
    afkbrad
    August 12, 2011

    I have three concealed carry weapons. The first is a full size Kimber .45. I only wear that when it’s cold out and the bulk of my jackets will make concealment easy. The second gun I carry is a Glock 19 9mm. It’s small, compact, and easy to conceal in most clothing. Finally, being a Floridian, I don’t always wear long pants with a belt or a jacket. I wear shorts and T-shirts…a lot. For those instances I carry a Diamondback .380 loaded with +P ammunition. +P ammo will penetrate 12 inches of ballistic gelatin. That’s plenty of power to ruin a vital organ.

    Shot placement is more important than stopping power. Practice, practice, and practice some more pulling your gun quickly and hitting center mass at 8 yards. Do that and even a .22 will stop an attacker dead in his tracks.

  87. avatar
    Lou Gots
    August 12, 2011

    Hammerless revolver carried in the pocket of a loose-fitting jacket. Either an S&W 296ti or a Ruger LCR. No holster, no draw–shoot through the pocket: 0.00 seconds reaction time from decision to shoot to round on the way. Wheelguns always go off when they are supposed to, and they never go off when they are not supposed to.

  88. avatar
    jgott
    August 12, 2011

    Buenos Ares in the 90′s gave some of us real-world CCW experiences. I was in the (safe?) investment business, but we all found ourselves carrying and facing actual threats on almost a weekly basis. I’m no cowboy, but found myself drawing a weapon 20+ times, firing several. Here’s what we learned:
    1. Forget caliber: find a weapon that you will, in fact, carry daily, everywhere.
    2. Know your weapon and get comfortable with it: best way–go buy 1,000 rounds, fire them in one marathon range session, and take notes. Go to the range weekly. Spend 30 minutes/week drawing your weapon quickly and getting site-on-target.
    3. Decide your outcome: mine was to ‘put attacker on defense and escape’
    4. The aftermath: since my goal was to ‘escape’, I didn’t want to hang around for the police (no disrespect, I just didn’t want the hassle). Thus, an additional issue was the Gunshot Sound Detection System that many cities employ. Response: change the sound profile of your weapon. Integrated suppressor systems work fine.
    5. Weapon: popular options: (a) taking a high-capacity 22 (eg Mark III), chopping the barrel down to 3 inches, and maybe attaching a suppressor; (b) Walther PPK with suppressor; (c) Beretta Model 70 and 71 chambered in 22.
    6. The general idea was to make your response quick and quiet.
    just my thoughts from the field.

  89. avatar
    An Observation
    August 12, 2011

    More people have been killed with .22s that all other calibers combined. Learning to shoot well is a lot more important than gun caliber. If .22s weren’t deadly hit men wouldn’t use them.

  90. avatar
    Sammy Taylor
    August 12, 2011

    I currently carry a .45 but carried a .380 PPK for many years and still do when clothing calls for it. I would rather have the .45 but the .380 will do the job if I do mine.

  91. avatar
    Brad Kozak
    August 12, 2011

    I think the .380 is probably “enough gun” if you’re stopping one perp and can hit something smaller than the side of a barn. If you jumped to the original story, the perp not only said “stop shooting me” (something I doubt he’d be able to do if hit my my Kimber .45ACP), but also claimed his gun was ‘fake.’ Turns out it was a fully-operational and fully-loaded .25 semi-auto.

    Come to think of it, perhaps the robber knew something about calibers and accuracy. I’d carry a .380 if I had to. But a .25? I don’t think so.

  92. avatar
    Harold
    August 12, 2011

    The only time I ever had to draw my weapon and fire it, I happened to be carrying an old .36 Navy Cap & Ball Colt in a cross-draw holster. I was checking on my grandfathers farm house while he was on vacation. A Ford van was in front door and two teens were trying to get the tv into it. I called on them to stop and they dropped the tv, jumped in the van and tried to run me down. I pulled the old Colt and put two lead balls into the radiator. The steaming van shuddered to a stop and I held the teens at gunpoint till the police arrived. Goes to show that any gun is better than nothing when it comes down to it.

    • avatar
      Heath
      March 9, 2012

      That is some Outlaw Josie Wales badassery right there.

  93. avatar
    Gaston
    August 12, 2011

    my $0.02. The question is if .380 suitable for self-defense. Short answer…No. “A pistol is what you use to fight your way to your rifle” to quote the esteemed Mr. Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch. Unfortunately it is not always possible to carry a rifle and smaller calibers tend to be more controllable. In many urban situations, the distances that confrontations occur at and over-penetration become relevant concerns.

    Especially in the summer months, I will conceal a .380 specifically a Sig P238 because I can keep it concealed and its manual of arms is similar to a 1911A1. In other words, it is the best that I can do.

  94. avatar
    David Zincavage
    August 12, 2011

    I shot a criminal who was resisting my citizen’s arrest in the leg with a solid-point .22 short. (That’s what was in the gun I borrowed.) He hollered, fell right over, and bled profusely. All the fight went right out of him. I was kind of worried that I might have to sacrifice my necktie for a tourniquet, but the ambulance (and police) did come right along.

    I typically carry a little teeny tiny Beretta .22 (loaded with long rifle hollow points). I found I can hit an empty .22 cartridge box every time at 25 feet with that pistol. I strongly suspect that an aimed shot to a fatal area of the body would stop practically everyone.

    • avatar
      Shawn
      December 28, 2012

      I highly doubt that this story is true. You shot a guy for resisting citizens arrest, and you’re not in prison? Heck, cops can’t even shoot someone for resisting arrest without serious reprimand.

  95. avatar
    Ron
    August 13, 2011

    I suggest re-watching that disgusting video of the attempted assassination of President Reagan. 22 stopped everyone hit. A similar question might be “which is better, 22 or 380 or 45 or 9mm?” The high velocity 22 is impressive both in effect and ability to shoot accurately.

  96. avatar
    Brad
    August 16, 2011

    Kel-Tec is making a 30 round .22 mag pistol right now that looks nasty. I don’t think it’s much bigger than a .45, and with .22 mag hollow points it would be pushing out walnut sized exit wounds, with little to no kick. Nasty little weapon it is. Cheap too. I think it’s under $400.00.

  97. avatar
    scott
    October 18, 2011

    as for the question is a 380 enough gun? i dont think so in 97 i was shot 3 times in the back the caliber was 380 it left one round in my armpit one in my lung that by the way never collapesed and one a half inch from my heart. all well placed rounds just not enough ass.

  98. avatar
    William
    February 16, 2012

    What about aiming for the belly button, there’s no ribcage to get in the way, the abdominal aorta would be a very good target and all the energy would be absorbed, with little or no air spaces to allow a through and through with smaller caliber rounds. A little lower and there’s bundle of nerves and the rt & lft iliac.
    Let’s not forget that if a miss or through and through hits someone other than the bad guy your responsible, that could mean jail time, i would rather be dead than do time in prison. I have been carrying a pf9 kel tek 9mm, but have been leaning toward a 380 cal, maybe a cz 83. Please reply I would like the feed back. Thanks; Bill

    • avatar
      mike
      May 5, 2012

      I carry a Bersa .380, real cheap. I also believe in this belly button theory. The simple fact of the matter is concealability vs. stopping power. The .380 allows for follow up shots where something like a cm9 does not.

  99. avatar
    Richard
    September 16, 2012

    My solution………pm30 keltec 30 rounds of 22mag. I’m fine with 30 rounds I am able to get to leave 15 to 20 good hits

  100. avatar
    Layne
    October 18, 2012

    When I took my conceal carry class the Instructor (ex-police officer) stated several incidents were the robber left wounded won in a court of law (law suit) for dameges hospital bills etc ….after being shot and not killed. If you pull a weapon on someone to save your life its with the intent to take another. This idea of wounding someone to stop them or not enough fire power to eleminate the threat can and probably will in todays envirment cost you a lot of money and time in jail. 9mm or larger. Shot placement, shot placement. Practice, Practice.

    • avatar
      Brandon
      November 20, 2012

      give me any jury, composed of anyone you want, and i will not pay a cent to a person who tried to hurt me or anyone i love. in alabama, if you can prove that you feared for your life or someone elses, there can be no contest. no matter what came of it. only someone who was scared of what trouble they could get into would get into trouble. because they would be less likely to say what they have to. if you keep your mouth shut in court and you don’t make the whole situation completely understood from your perspective, maybe you could get in trouble. but otherwise you are safe. the only reason i would kill someone who no longer posed an immediate threat would be if i thought for one second that they could pose a worse threat later… such as with anyone who looked like a gang member. and i would most likely just make sure they were paralyzed for the rest of their life… because there is someone who loves that person. and whoever that lover is did not do anything to me.

  101. avatar
    Stant
    November 20, 2012

    I carry an LCP because I will carry it and not leave it in the car or at the house. You will carry a gun much more than you will ever even think about using it. (Lord willing) So the fact that I will have the gun with me rather than any potential advantage from a larger caliber tipped the scale for me. As for the .380, its a man killer and has been proven so over the years. The advent of more lethal modern ammo has only made it more so. I might even carry a small .22 if it were a centerfire round rather than rimfire.

  102. avatar
    Brandon
    November 20, 2012

    to the guy who wrote this, no offense, but you have missed very very important speculations on the whole scene. For instance, adrenaline WAS very high. period. no doubts there. and among the largest part of the small crime community, a very large percentage are drug users. and anyone who knows anything about forensics or even history can also be privy to what drugs do to the body in regard to pain threshold. the man may not have felt anything close to what he should have been feeling. he most likely felt like superman… although he was most likely beyond debilitated after 4 shots. i seriously doubt he could have done anything to them after the 4 shots. if he even felt like he could, he would have tried. human nature dictates that if you will either fight or flee when you need to. he didn’t just choose to say “stop” and go to jail over running or fighting his way out of it. he simply knew that he didn’t have another option. he was completely understanding of the fact that it was either death or surrender.

  103. avatar
    MOG
    November 26, 2012

    I love a .45, but a Bersa .380 is my steady date, with Federal hydra-shoks.

  104. avatar
    Shawn
    December 28, 2012

    In reality, the .380 acp is very adiquate for self defense. On average, the .380 velocity is only 100 – 150 FPS less than a 9mm… so just think of a .380 as a low-recoiling 9mm, because that’s pretty much what it is. (Hence why it is also called a 9mm short or a 9mm Browning) If penetration is such a concern for you then carry FMJ. It has been my experence that Hornady Critical Defense in .380 performs very well. 10 – 12″ of penetration and full expansion. Keep in mind, as concealed carriers, we are out to defend ourselves by stopping attacks, not to seek out and kill every thug on the streets. Most (but not all) bad guys will run at the sight of another gun.

  105. avatar
    Bruce Matthews
    March 19, 2013

    HIS 380 STOPPED THE ATTACKER, THAT’S THE OBJECTIVE OF ALL HANDGUNS IS TO STOP THE OFFENDER

  106. avatar
    Tillmann
    May 5, 2013

    Got jumped and thrown off my bike about a year ago, rolled on the ground with the assailant and eventually beat his ass with my kryptonite bike lock until he was unconscious. called the cops, end of story.

    No .380, .22, .357, .900, 20 thousand, or any other kind of gun was needed.

  107. avatar
    JPO
    May 8, 2013

    I really enjoyed all the responses here. As a police officer, it was nice to read some really thoughtful comments of individuals who carry for self defense. Two stand out the most. Shot placement counts more than caliber…..and caliber is no guarantee a threat will go down. I have personally seen people killed deader than Caesar with .22′s and watched a subject shoot himself under the chin and out the head with a .45….and live! Go figure. Third truth, if your going to a possible/ probable gun fight, bring a rifle or shotgun.

  108. avatar
    Dr. Gene
    July 26, 2013

    After 23 years as a Police Psychologist (and 100′s of officer-involved shootings) I have to say that the actual question itself has too many variables so as to be nearly non-sequitur.
    Facts are:
    1. Even trained police officers hit what they aim at about half the time.
    2. Angle of the shot, amount of clothing on the suspect, the amount of adrenalin (or other drugs) in his blood, surrounding circumstances (is it a running gun battle or a stealthy late a night one-on-one in a darkened house), etc. often have more to do with the outcome than what caliber–remember that a .22 rimfire is the #1 killer in the gun world.
    3. Knowing what to expect, pre and post shooting, will also play a big role in the survival of the shooter, i.e., police procedures, the interminable wait to see if you’ll be prosecuted (even when you did everything right), sometimes, can be as hard as the actual shooting itself.
    Bottom line… having a gun, any gun, when you need one is infinitely preferable than no gun at all, and the alternative (being dead).
    Example: An off-duty Vegas Metro Officer took on an armed bad guy with only his .25 Beretta 950, kept his cool, advanced into the threat, and won. As always ATTITUDE is 99% of the battle.

  109. avatar
    Thomas Moe
    September 22, 2013

    I carry for self defense. I am one of those guys that are involved in severing parental rights. Some of those parents, usually on drugs and alcohol, can get crazy.
    Therefore, I either carry a Colt Mustang Pocketlite 380 with Speer HP Gold Dots or a Beretta Bobcat CCI Stinger HP 22. As many people have said here, it is the gun you have on you is the one that counts. So, I practice now and again, and I keep the guns clean and oiled, all the time. I feel very well armed. Thank you.

  110. avatar
    Trey
    October 5, 2013

    I use to carry a .40, I recently bought the Ruger 380 LCP. What an amazing firearm! It goes if I goes. I’m loaded with COR BON jacketed hollow points, 90gr. 1050fps with 220ft/lbs. I’m very confident in this firearm. Very accurate! Yes I trust it with my life.

  111. avatar
    Ralph Stro
    December 2, 2013

    Bodyguard 380. I can pull it out of my pocket and make 5″ groups of Hornadys at 7yds in a heartbeat. Also have rehearsed common scenarios to my best. Because I know my gun, I practice, and KNOW that I am not carrying an M16. (Just 7 chances to stop an attack). I have never used my gun other than to kill paper bandits, but I’ve prepared as good as possible for the worst case scenario. My “backup” is a Beretta Centurion .40 S&W… IMO .380 AUTO is a suitable SDC. (Still, for a clear and previously announced gunfight I’ll take an M16A2 every time)

  112. avatar
    Wyatt
    January 6, 2014

    I carry the M&P .40c

    I love this gun for concealed carry and I would consider carrying the 9mm (If someone would buy me one)..

    I also carry a SR 1911 when I’m in the mood or My M&P Fullsize .40

    Pistols are used by PD as back up when the SHTF to get back to their long rifle or shotgun.

    I say practice, carry a pistol that you are confident with, and you’ll be fine..

  113. avatar
    Smoke
    January 27, 2014

    Here is the question that you need to ask yourself: Do you have a fully functional set of lungs and legs? If so, then the .380 is perfectly fine. You will outrun a sucking chest wound every time. If you are not confident in your ability to sprint for a short distance . . . then you should probably go with a DE .50 or similar hand cannon. If you fire your weapon, and then stand there waiting to see what happens next . . . then you probably deserve to have your ass handed to you by a sucking chest wound. Just sayin’.

  114. avatar
    Erin
    February 23, 2014

    Great thread, I read the whole thing! As a new owner of a G42 it was good to hear confirmed what I had been thinking. I was skeptical about .380s for a long time but I realized I am just tired of dealing with dressing for concealing any of my larger calibers (I am female) and had started to “not carry” more often than I did. Not a good habit to get into, would hate to reach for my weapon and remember too late, ooops I didn’t feel like dealing with the size that day. I will be at the range tomorrow to put the first rounds through it, this is my first time with this caliber and I’m looking forward to it. I will say however that it’s nice to be able to grab the .357 or G17 when I’m in the house!

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