Ammo Test: Cor-Bon .380 JHP

ShootingTheBull410′s been conducting extensive testing to find out if there’s any ammo out there that will turn a .380 micro-pistol into an effective personal defense weapon.  So far he’s conducted 25 different tests in his “Ammo Quest”.  Could this Cor-Bon entry be the one .380 round to rule them all?  Find out by playing the video below, and check back next week when the final results of all the testing will be released right here on TTAG.

82 Responses to Ammo Test: Cor-Bon .380 JHP

  1. avatardlj95118 says:

    …I just like this guy and his methodology.
    Clear, concise – no bull!

  2. avatarWilliam Burke says:

    In my opinion, and from experience, the .380 ACP platform is doomed to uncontrolability. I’ve hated every .380 I’ve fired.

    The only way to make the .380 viable is a much larger pistol than any current platform. If you make a bigger platform (gun), there is no point in the .380 caliber.

    I’m amazed the .380 hasn’t died out. The one exception MAY be to load .380s into 9mm shells. I actually shot one that a friend had handloaded into a 9mm of his; it wasn’t bad for target shooting, but it wouldn’t be a reliable stopper.

    • avatarRalph says:

      A lot of .380s are straight blowback designs, and they’re unpleasant to shoot. A recoil operated .380 with sufficient mass — like the Walther PK380, which is very easy to shoot — yields a smoother ride, but at that point you might as well step up to a small 9mm.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        Exactly. Once upon a time, I owned a Grendel in .380, and it was the secondmost unpleasant thing I ever shot. The worst was one of those micro-Glocks in .40. I forget the model number, but I would try to defend myself with a bludgeon that shoot the goddamned thing again.

        That’s why I am squarely in the .45 ACP camp: it’s a big recoil gun, but the recoil is SLOW, and eminently controllable. The recoil on a 9mm is a bit sharp for me. I’m a small-framed fella, and the .45 ACP is perfect for me.

        Not that I would hesitate to use a 9mm if it were the only gun available…

        • avatarMike says:

          Wow, so I wasn’t the only person to buy the Grendel? Dang thing kicked like a mule!

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Yeah, sold it to a friend of mine. He’s dead now. Don’t know where it ended up, or his 10-22 either.

        • avatarLucas D. says:

          I had the Grendel P-12, but I gave it to my kid brother. Any micro .380 is going to be unpleasant to shoot, but at least the LCP fits better in my pocket so it can go the few places my XDs can’t.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Well, it’s true. The best gun you have is the one you can always carry.

          I forget if you were the Miami guy or not. Folks in Miami-like places should look into Guayaberas, a Latin-American short-sleeved shirt that’s a bit dressy, but very roomy. You should be able to carry just about anything inside the waist under one of those. And they’re Miami dressy/casual. Go down to Calle Ocho, and you’ll see them in abundance.

        • avatarLucas D. says:

          I live in Baton Rouge, which has the heat and balmy humidity of Miami, only without all that nice breeze to make it bearable. I’ll look into those shirts online.

        • avatarAccur81 says:

          I wasn’t aware that the Glock 27 was that hard to shoot. It is definitely better with a trigger extension, but if you hate it so be it. The only reason my Glock 27 isn’t on my hip is because a 23 is already there. I’ve shot everything from reloads to Underwood +P through my Glocks, and I can blow through a few hundred rounds with no problems.

    • avatarRightYouAreKen says:

      My LCP isn’t any more uncomfortable to shoot than a S&W airweight revolver to me.

      • avatarMatt in TX says:

        I love my LCP. Convenient, is the word. Add a little adrenalin and I don’t care how much it stings to shoot.
        What I mean to say is that in a real situation you will not notice ANY trauma, short of an instantly fatal wound.
        I am following these videos very closely. Right now I am loaded with Buffalo Bore ammo. Yes, I know it is too hot for the weapon.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      My P238 is, to steal a phrase from Gunblast, “a dream to shoot.”

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        I’d try one, Matt. Not that prejudiced against it to that degree.

      • avatarRalph says:

        “a dream to shoot.”

        C’mon, Matt. It’s “a JOY to shoot.”

      • avatarClay says:

        Matt, I had and LCP and a Bodyguard .380. Horrible little guns. Tried the P238 and it rides with me everywhere I can’t take my SP2022. Which is a lot of places. P238 is very nice to shoot.

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          I was very disappointed when I shot the Bodyguard .380. I really wanted to like it, but it was one of the most unpleasant handguns I’ve ever shot. Certainly wouldn’t be a fun range toy.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          As far as I can determine, this is a universal problem with small .380 pistols. And they are ALL small.

        • avatarjwm says:

          In my experience, I’m not an expert, those smallish pocket autos give up something in reliability. Reliability is something that you can’t give up the job these guns were meant to do.

          If I was restricted to a .380 it would be the p238 or beretta 84. They have reliability that the littler guns don’t have.

        • avatarMark N. says:

          Why go with a .380 when there are so many fine small 9s? I’d love to have a P238, but it took years before Sig introduced its California compliant model–just about 2 years after it was formally added to the roster. And then of course you couldn’t find one. I ended up with a Kahr CW9 (I’d have bought a CM9, but they not on our infamous roster–weird since it’s the same gun with one less round), and it is quite mild to shoot. I did the 200 round break-in in one session, and the only sore was where my thumb rubbed against the slide release. I’d bet the CM9 would make a fine pocket pistol.

      • avatarBlue says:

        I like shooting mine as well

      • avatarOld Ben turning in grave says:

        I rented a P238 to try out and really liked it. I was ready to buy one soon, but then the 9mm version (P938 I think?) came out. I want to rent one for comparison, now. I was able to handle the 9 mm version, and it’s pretty sweet. A bit pricey given that I already have a carry gun, but sweet.

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          If you liked the 238, you’ll probably like the 938. It’s exactly the same gun, just slightly larger.

        • avatarOld Ben turning in grave says:

          Thanks, I’ll look out for one to try (usually takes a bit for my LGS to get new guns into their rental stock).

    • “In my opinion, and from experience, the .380 ACP platform is doomed to uncontrolability. I’ve hated every .380 I’ve fired.”

      As stated, that’s your opinion and your experience, but — I’d just ask, have you tried a Taurus TCP? In my experience it’s really quite easy to shoot and it’s very easy to be accurate with it, at least to self-defense distances.

      The choice of pistol is a very individual thing. I’m not advocating that the .380 is a better choice than anything else, and I’d always recommend that for defensive purposes you’re better off with at least a 9mm or something larger. But sometimes, people just want something in .380 — maybe they want a Sig P238 because they like the way it handles. Maybe they want a TCP or LCP because of its incredibly tiny size. Maybe they only have $200 and the TCP fits their budget. Whatever their reason, it’s their reason; I’m trying to find out if these little micro-pistols are useful at all or a complete waste. In my quest, I’m trying to find if these pistols have what it takes to deliver an effective blow, or if the weak cartridge and tiny pistol size combine to being a waste. And what I’m finding is: these little things can certainly pack a punch and get the job done.

      So if someone has already made the decision (by whatever reasoning) to carry a .380 micro-pistol, my goal is to find what is the best, most effective, most capable-of-causing-an-incapacitating-wound ammo there is out there. That’s all.

  3. avatarDavid PA/NJ says:

    Do you mind just telling us what the results were in the video? I dont have time to try to watch a video on my phone, or headphones

    • avatarDan A says:

      The rounds performed well through the clear gel with mostly consistent 12+ inches penetration and proper expansion. Through heavy denim each one over penetrated and failed to expand.

      • avatarDJ says:

        So… no worse than ball, and better against light clothing.

        • avatarSwarf says:

          Yup.

          Ball ammo for your mouse gun. This should be an answered question.

        • “So… no worse than ball, and better against light clothing.”

          Yes, but I’d say it differently — no worse than ball in the worst case, but vastly better than ball in other cases. I’d absolutely, unquestionably, wholeheartedly endorse carrying this Cor-Bon ammo over ball ammo in a .380, no question. Now, there’s other ammo that does even better than the Cor-Bon, so I don’t recommend the Cor-Bon overall, because there’s better choices. But if your only other choice was ball? Take this Cor-Bon each and every time.

          “Ball ammo for your mouse gun. This should be an answered question.”
          To me, the question is answered, and pretty definitively — ball is a mediocre choice for a .380 mouse gun. There are worse choices, certainly — PDX1, Ranger-T, Critical Defense, those are all worse than ball, because they all grossly under-penetrate (and under-penetration can get you killed.) But there are much, much better choices out there too.

          I know the advice about “ball in .380″ is common, but after extensively testing basically every round on the market that I could find, I can say this — I think ball is a mediocre choice at best — it guarantees deep penetration, but it also guarantees overpenetration and it makes a tiny little wound. There are several rounds on the market that expand reliably and penetrate excellently, through denim or not, which all make a superior choice to ball.

          Now, if we’re talking about .32 ACP as a mouse gun, I agree wholeheartedly — FMJ ammo is the only choice for that. Or for .25 ACP, you’d be crazy to use anything other than FMJ. But for the .380, no way — there are much, much more effective rounds out there than ball.

  4. avatarPaul B says:

    I think the JHP round on a 380 is pretty good myself. I’ve not shot anyone with it so I guess I don’t “know” it will stop them. I think it is as effective as about any other pistol round. I remember a video by a doctor in Florida some where and he felt that about 80% of the people who where shot with a pistol round lived. Had video of some dude shot with 3 9mm bullets who was walking in and out of the scene.

    I would not want to use 380 to shoot at something that is more than about 7 yards away, but withing that zone I am comfortable with the round.

    My favorite carry is a Bersa 380 with Hornaday bullets.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      To my way of thinking, the .380 round is overloaded with dubious compromises, and there are absolutely ZERO reasons to choose it, when better options are available

      • avatarRalph says:

        I don’t know of a cartridge or a pistol with no compromises.

        Put the shot where it belongs and it will do the job.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          True, but I’d rather not compromise to the extent of a .380. DAMNED unpleasant to shoot. Wouldn’t hesitate to use it if it were the only thing at hand, however.

        • avatarpeirsonb says:

          One of the maintenance guys carries an ultra light .38 snubby BECAUSE it’s painful to shoot. Rips skin off his trigger finger every time. His reasoning is that someday he might have to say “no your honor, I don’t enjoy shooting. See the pain it causes me?”

      • avatarActually says:

        Good luck finding a micro 9mm that’s .7″ wide and 3.75″ tall. If you need extreme concealment what’s the alternative to .380?

        • avatarRightYouAreKen says:

          This. Have both an LCP and LC9 (not to mention fullsize glocks and various 1911s). They are different tools for different jobs.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          The better question, to me, would be, “why do you need that much concealment?” I suppose if you’re a skinny midget… but then, if you’re a skinny midget, no one’s gonna look for a concealed handgun.

        • avatarStinkeye says:

          Summertime in the South. Jogging. Cycling. There are a lot of reasons one might prefer a very small, very lightweight gun.

        • avatarPlumbump says:

          Chicago….. only reason I own one, saving for a SIG.

        • avatarMark N. says:

          The Kahr CM9 is 0.9″ wide and 4.0 inches high. Are you really going to notice a quarter of an inch when the gun is this small?

        • avatarPat says:

          In all honesty, only the micro 380 auto is a true pocket gun. The snubby revolver is too wide and heavy, and the 9mm is too heavy. Sure, you can have something in your front pocket for a short period of time (like me, carrying my Ruger Sp101 3″brl. into a late night convenience store), but for all day comfort, you cant beat a micro 380 (some are less than 10 ounces fully loaded, and the width REALLY makes a difference).

        • avatarActually says:

          @William, personally, I would (and do) choose a snub revolver in .38 Special +P for concealment. But I think there are plenty of situations where one might want such deep concealment. For example, how about a workplace where management is very anti-gun but carrying is legal in your state?

          @Mark, I’m not sure, but I do know that everyone who goes from a Glock to a Shield raves about how much difference the 1/4″ in thickness makes for comfort and concealability.

          @Pat, I disagree that it’s too wide and heavy for a pocket, but that’s just me. You might need to purchase more relaxed fit jeans (Wrangler Five-Star Premium Denim, $15 at Walmart/Target — enough room in the thighs for the gun, without the jeans looking baggy or sloppy) for it to work.

      • avatarAlex says:

        My petite wife simply will not carry anything bigger than an LCP. Besides the size issue, she has an easier time controlling her LCP than a micro 9mm.

      • avatarSwarf says:

        Size?

        Because of the nature of my work and the business I work in, my carry options are limited.

        I don’t mosey around in a suit jacket all day, so I can’t carry a full sized 1911, but I also try and follow the rule that your firearm should be under your direct control when not locked up, so the LCP is my EDC.

  5. avatarJoseph says:

    I don’t carry a .380 except sometimes as a backup. I have worked two shootings with .380 ball ammo. One was point blank to the mouth and out the back of the head. The other was an across the room shot through and through the torso and probably got the aorta. Both were killed almost instantly. Poking holes where they don’t belong is just not good for ya….no matter what the caliber. I think that all things being equal, in pistol calibers bigger is Probably better, but I don’t wnat to stop any of them.

  6. avatarmark says:

    I’d like to toss something out for discussion. Rather than talking about calibers, what about weights within calibers. What I’m getting at is sectional density, which (as I understand it) is what gives momentum and thus penetration. If you look at an SD chart, you’ll quickly realize that of the common rounds (leaving out .44 and .454) 9mm 147 has the highest SD, followed closely by .40/180 and .45/230. Anything below 9mm (and I’m including .380 in that category) is, percentage wise, probably going to rely very heavily on placement–could be deflected from its course much more easily. .22LR comes out looking pretty good in a lot of ways compared to virtually any other sub-9mm/147 rounds. Obviously anything from a BB on up can kill, given the correct placement, but penetration and resistance to deflection seems to be a good thing. And for that SD makes a difference. Tx for any comments.

    • avatarRalph says:

      In the eternal caliber war (will it never end?), energy measured at the muzzle (which relates to energy on impact) seems to be the real issue. The 9mm has about 65% more than the .380. That’s a lot.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        For me, it comes down to a comfort issue, I suppose. I don’t cater to rounds that overpower me and underpower the shootee. It’s why I don’t particularly care for 9mm, either. It’s certainly all right, and has decent stopping power. But the recoil’s a bit sharp, which is not to say too much.

        I just like the slow recoil of the .45 ACP. Eminently controllable to my smaller frame, very comfortable to shoot, and there’s no flies on the stopping power.

        • avatarAlphaGeek says:

          If you think the recoil of a standard 9mm JHP round is “a bit sharp”, I would find it amusing to watch you shoot 155gr Winchester Silvertip LE rounds through my USP 40. 500 ft-lb of muzzle energy from a high-pressure round has a bit of a snap to it.

          The nice thing about years of shooting 40SW and 45ACP is that 9mm feels like a nice target round when I borrow/rent a 9mm pistol.

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          Heh, I’ve put some 180 or 185 grain FMJ’s through my XDm .40, and that’s… entertaining. Made me want to go home and do forearm strengthening exercises.

      • avatarMurray says:

        65% more muzzle energy is indeed a lot, my question is how much is needed? I might suggest if you were wearing a denim jacket and were shot with a projectile which penetrates around 20 inches (thro and thro the human body in most circumstances) in presumably calibrated ballistic gel you wouldn’t really be in a position to worry about calibre, bullet expansion/ weight/ velocity or muzzle energy!

        Others have said 380s are uncomfortable to shoot, the question is what are they designed for (extreme self defence) and at what range (2to 20 feet)? They are a good compromise, cheap enough to own, reliable, more than adequate power, easy to carry etc.

        You just need the will to defend yourself and to train to get rapid top half of body hits between 2 and 20 feet, just like any other self defence fire arm.

        Nothing new there!

      • “energy measured at the muzzle (which relates to energy on impact) seems to be the real issue.”

        Muzzle energy is one of the most misunderstood, and potentially misleading, factors out there. Nobody should make an ammo choice based on muzzle energy alone. It’s what the bullet DOES with that energy (how it expands, how it penetrates) that is important. Energy alone is meaningless — it’s like asking someone “Do you want 50 coins, or 100 coins” — lots of folks would vote for 100, without knowing that the coins in question are 50 quarters or 100 pennies…

        Muzzle energy is used (and even manipulated) by some less-scrupulous manufacturers to make their ammo seem more appealing, when in fact their design would be much less effective.

        “The 9mm has about 65% more than the .380. That’s a lot.”

        Yes, and in general the 9mm is a much more powerful cartridge than the .380. But a comparison of energy is only relevant if all other factors are equal (i.e., same type of bullet, same wounding mechanism, etc… you could have a 9mm frangible with way more muzzle energy than a .380 XTP hollowpoint, but I’ll almost guarantee you’d get much more effective stopping power from that XTP!)

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      The expansion or lack thereof in a handgun round vastly overshadows sectional density as a predictor of penetration. Even in this video, when the rounds expanded, they went 11-14″. When they didn’t expand, they went more than 22″. The sectional density remained constant.

    • “What I’m getting at is sectional density, which (as I understand it) is what gives momentum and thus penetration.”

      In terms of an FMJ, yes bullet weight and sectional density are quite important. But when talking about hollowpoints, the correlation between caliber and SD kind of go out the window depending on how the bullet expands. Something like a Critical Duty out of my 3″-barrel 9mm doesn’t expand to any noticeable or appreciable degree, so it retains a high-SD profile and as such it grossly overpenetrates. On the other hand, something like an HST opens up massively, so even though it’s the same weight and same caliber, it penetrates just over half as far (meaning, it penetrates “just right”).

      Another example, from 9mm: gold dot 124gr opens up to 1/2″, and penetrates to 16″ — basically perfection. Hornady Custom weighs a LOT more (147 gr), opens up to the same size as the gold dots, and that extra weight carries them about 10% further (avg 17.35″). Both are excellent, even though there’s a big difference in weight (and therefore SD).

      So my answer is: you can’t make predictions based on sectional density or caliber effectiveness, but you can easily test it and know how it’s going to perform.

  7. avatarRockOnHellChild says:

    It hard for me to get excited about any .380 round…

    The .380 round works well for a back-up or deep concealment, better than a pointy stick, gun.

    Just load your pistol up with SD ammo that cycles reliable and hit what your aiming at, after that, its all just a crapshoot with pistol rounds anyways.

  8. avatarJay in Florida says:

    I carry my P238 a lot more then Id like to.
    But
    Living here in Florida and wearing a t-shirt 365 days a year.
    Not much one can tuck in a IWB all day.
    That said some days it is my 1911 compact.
    But being that here in my part of Florida and most here except the 89 year old ladies.
    Also all wear t-shirts or an open neck cotton shirts at most year round.
    I have very little fear of a hollow point being clogged.
    I wouldn’t want to be shot with any of the 380 loads I do carry.
    Mostly Winchester bonded Ranger.
    On occasion I round I like but most question.
    Halo or as its now called, Citizen Defense.
    Anybody want to volunteer for a test shot????
    I feel here almost any 380 load would be quite effective and penetrate just dandy.

  9. avatarWAJJr says:

    He mentioned .380 +P, SAMMI has no rating for this loading

    • “He mentioned .380 +P, SAMMI has no rating for this loading”

      You are correct, of course — SAAMI has no +P rating for .380. But that hasn’t stopped several manufacturers (including Buffalo Bore, Underwood, MagTech, and others) from introducing “.380 +P” ammo. Because there is no SAAMI standard, we don’t know what the manufacturers actually mean by calling their ammo “+P”, other than the implication that it’s loaded to higher pressure levels than normal.

      Several (most? if not all?) of the .380 micro-pistol manufacturers specifically prohibit the use of so-called “+P” in their pistols, noting that it could be dangerous and would void the warranty. I don’t know how much real danger there actually is, but after seeing the blown-up DB9 on youtube, I don’t see how or why it’d be reasonable to take the risk — if you really, really need more power than SAAMI-level .380 provides, well, that’s what 9mm is for…

  10. avatarDB Cooper says:

    The .380 is a 9mm short or worse than a .32. The .380 pistol is what used to be called a “belly gun”. You stick it in someones belly and pull the trigger. That’s an exaggeration but not by much. Better than nothing but with some great sub compacts in 9mm, ,40 and even .45 why waste money on an underperforming round.

    • avatarBlue says:

      Not worse than a .32 unless you are talking about a .32 HR magnum.

    • avatarPat says:

      Many micro 380 guns are lighter (and smaller) than the magazine alone of some of the ‘big three’ (9/40/45) guns. You really have to hold one of those little guys in your mitts to get a true idea of their size, or lack thereof.

    • “The .380 is a 9mm short or worse than a .32.”

      Worse than a .32 what? .32 ACP? Certainly not; the .380 ACP is a substantially more powerful cartridge than .32 ACP is — in terms of ability to throw lead, the .380 ACP is about 50% more powerful than the .32 ACP.

      “The .380 pistol is what used to be called a “belly gun”. You stick it in someones belly and pull the trigger. That’s an exaggeration but not by much.”

      Agreed, that’s what it was for. But there have been improvements in gun design (the LCP/TCP was a big step forward for the .380) and in ammunition loads. The little TCP now has several rounds that can actually meet the specs the FBI and IWBA established for penetration — 12″ minimum, 18″ maximum, through bare gel and through heavy-denim-covered gel.

      “Better than nothing but with some great sub compacts in 9mm, ,40 and even .45 why waste money on an underperforming round.”

      In general I agree. Always get the biggest caliber & most powerful weapon you can use and carry. I would not recommend to anyone to try to use a tiny little .380 as their primary defensive weapon. With that said, sometimes that’s exactly what people are going to do anyway — whether it’s all they can afford, or all they can comfortably conceal, heck, I don’t know why — but I know that they may do it, and if they’re going to do it, what’s the best ammo out there that will give them the best chance of triumphing in a defensive gun usage? That’s what I’m trying to discover with this Ammo Quest.

  11. avataruncommon_sense says:

    In my humble opinion the best self-defense ammunition for a .380 sub-compact pistol is a 100 grain hardcast lead bullet. Hardcast bullets are not designed to expand. Rather they are designed to hold their shape even when they hit bone. The key is their flat meplate — the flat front end of the bullet (rather than rounded ball ammunition). That flat meplate creates a permanent wound channel that is larger than the bullet diameter. In the case of the .380 ACP fired from short (2.8 inch) barrels, a hardcast lead bullet should create something like a .45 caliber permanent wound channel (hole). But more importantly, the bullet should have just enough momentum to pass through and through the attacker but exit with so little velocity as to be basically harmless to any bystanders.

    What’s not to like? A .45 caliber wound including both an entrance and exit wound. That sounds pretty effective to me, at least as far as handguns go.

  12. avatarAccur81 says:

    I’ve got to say, my enthusiasm for the .380 as a self defense gun continues to diminish. In a small gun, expansion and stopping power are questionable. In a larger gun, I’d want a more effective caliber, because the power and penetration still sucks compared to the 9mm / .40 / .45 class. My .38 +P’s are supposed to expand through denim, so it looks like I’ll stick with that.

    • avatarLC Judas says:

      Even in my most dynamic backup gun shopping I found that the tiny 9mm craze served better than .380 as the only true advantage it has over everything seems to be ease of charging the weapon and being bigger than .32 at the same time. That’s all I’ve seen. The guns can be nice to shoot but the Bad Guy isn’t stopped by your enjoyment. And…The Bodyguard doesn’t strike me as fun in either event.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      There are enough choices in subcompact 9mm guns now, good, shootable choices, that it’s hard to recommend 380 in most situations where it used to be the default.

      • avatarAccur81 says:

        Today was the range time was with the Ruger 1911 .45 after a sight check on the 6.8 and .308 with lead free ammo. Maybe I’ll test out a Ruger LC9 next.

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      I’m using a .38 +P with Speer GDHP in a Smith 340PD. They worked well in this test, and expanded nicely.

      http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=khazbS9pWjE

  13. avatarBeninMA says:

    In his 2011 TTAG interview, Massad Ayoob said that he thought the .45 was superior to the 9mm in cold weather, because clothing more substantial than denim (say, coat insulation), might prevent 9mm expansion. It would be interesting to see if there’s actually any truth to that.

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      There was much more truth to that advice when 9mm JHP rounds were not engineered as well as they are today. Winchester PDX, Hornady XTP / Critical Duty, Remington Golden Saber, Speer Gold Dot, etc. means the 9mm has come a long way.

      • avatarTom in Oregon says:

        Got to go to a wound ballistics seminar a bit back. We shot thru denim, leather, down, wool, sheet rock, etc.
        modern ammo has come a long way. Most of the hollow points do plug up on heavy fabrics. I’m wishing he critical defense was around then to see how it would perform.

  14. avatarLC Judas says:

    I went on this same quest exactly 1 month ago. I bought a Bersa Thunder Plus and gave it to the lady. She insisted on a .380 so I searched for the biggest and meanest mini pistol I could find. I searched out the best ammo I could find. I was going to load her up with some Hardcast lead flat noses and some Gold Dot Bonded Hollow points.

    Then, after four separate arguments (which got ugly) about her failing to take my directions and perform as well as i knew she could at the range and her inability to control a 9mm, she listened to me. Shot the Thunder Plus and MP9c side by side. Her grip and shooting was better with the MP. It was a beaver tail and grip shape issue causing discomfort more than caliber but her remark upon shooting it (at the advice of LGS owners peddling .380 like candy) was it felt just like a 9mm.

    Never mind the metal frame and rubber grips on the Bersa compared to the mostly smooth MP. It just was better. Sizes of the pistols were nigh identical save a wider slide to match the frame. The Thunder Plus has a funny slide to frame size appearance if you ever take the time to look.

    Took a hit on the pistol getting rid of it and lost out on one of my carry pieces being re appropriated. A good cause but…save shooting a P238, no .380 strikes me as worth the time unless we are only looking for concealment. Even then I opt for a heavy but small 9mm over a .380 but your mileage may vary.

    The .380 wonder bullet concept seems like it’ll pull down 9mm recoil and defeat the purpose. That’s what it looks like.

  15. avatarMark N. says:

    It’s funny, the wife and I were just watching an episode of Criminal Intent. The shooting involved a woman walking up to a guy, whipping out this great big (what looked like in the brief glimpse they give you) Beretta 9mm, and popping the guy between the eyes. When his body is discovered, the Medical Examiner takes a look and says, “it looks to me like he was shot with a .380.” I had to laugh. While I could be wrong, I would assume that the entry wound for a .380 would be identical to that of a 9mm, seeing as they are the same diameter and all.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      I’ve seen at least three or four of my shows, everything from Hawaii Five-O to Criminal Minds to Elementary, have their characters say, upon visual inspection of a bullet, that they could tell that it came from a silenced weapon. Elementary in particular usually takes great pains to be accurate, but even they used that line a few weeks ago.

      • avatarLC Judas says:

        I’ve never done forensic work but I do know if you saturated your can with wire puller gel (the way you’re supposed to get wet performance for longer) that in theory a material not present in unsilenced guns is added. So it either could leave a residue or leave the bullet discolored after firing when the gel burns or frictions in the suppressor.

        Theory, as I ain’t ran that crap in a can yet but entirely possible.

  16. avatarTZH says:

    a P3AT lives in my pocket or IWB care of the belt-clip accessory every day. don’t matter that I live in a hot country or if I go running, its always there. Its a pain in the ass to shoot, but that’s a first world problem.

  17. avatarGS650G says:

    I like my P3AT and have no problem shooting the gun or controlling it. At bad breath distances it’s going to do damage and the hydrashocks will inflict it. I’ve not had any problems with mine after 250+ rounds and it’s small enough to carry anywhere, unlike my wheel guns or 9 mm.

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