“The .380 semi-automatic handgun has become all the rage in firearms, as more states relax conceal-carry restrictions and men and women alike turn to a palm-sized gun that easily fits into a handbag, pocket or ankle holster,” foxnews.com reports. “Production of the super-small handgun is at a 16-year high, with nearly 900,000 made in the U.S. in 2014, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.” Wait. What? I thought . . .
the .380 craze petered-out when the firearms industry released a raft of pocket nines, including the long-awaited single-stack 9mm GLOCK 43. After all, why not carry a full-zoot (if diminutive) nine instead of a 9mm short when the 9mm mouse gun isn’t that much bigger than its smaller calibered cousins? I’m not the only one making that case . . .
But despite its surging popularity, there is debate over the .380’s utility as a weapon of self-defense.
“The smaller, more compact frames are more difficult to shoot and their durability is lower than the slightly larger sub-compacts,” noted Jeff Gonzales, president of Trident Concepts, which specializes in personal protection tactics and training for armed and unarmed conflicts. “The accuracy component is also lower due to a more challenging platform to shoot.”
Other critics agree, saying that relying on such a small gun in a high-pressure, self-defense scenario requires training beyond the typical point-and-shoot sessions at a range.
“The difficulty largely stems from the smaller size; which ironically is a main reason for purchase,” Gonzales said.
To be fair, the shootability issue also applies to sub-compact 9mm handguns. But it’s certainly true that some of these .380’s are incredibly cute. An all-black SIG SAUER P238 almost leaped into my pocket the other day. I had a hard time handing it back.
But while “thin is in” right now, firearms enthusiasts anticipate that much like cellphones, the preferred size of personal protection guns is cyclical.
“The thing about guns in the hands of consumers is that they are like dresses and shoes,” said Santiago. “The fashion comes and goes.”
Someone should tell Fox that there are thin full-sized guns too. Actually, someone should show new shooters how easy it is to conceal these these larger, thin guns. Maybe…us?