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SIG SAUER P238 (courtesy

“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,” 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?

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    • More controllable? After shooting my Airweight I realize what people mean by “snappy.” If my model 38 is similar to a pocket 9 I’d be really tempted to take a performance hit for control capability.

      • Andrew,

        You mention your “Airweight” and your “model 38” handgun. Your reference to “Airweight” suggests that you have a Smith and Wesson Airweight revolver. However, I cannot find a model 38 revolver at the Smith and Wesson website. Perhaps you meant a model 638 Airweight revolver?

        Assuming that you are commenting on the snappy recoil of an Airweight revolver, I can tell you that Airweight revolvers indeed have very snappy and unpleasant recoil in the context of target practice. (During a real self-defense event you would not notice nor care about its recoil.) I can also tell you that a Ruger LC9 (which I consider a sub-compact handgun, in 9mm) is definitely more pleasant to shoot than an Airweight revolver. I have to imagine that other sub-compact 9mm handguns are similar.

        • I concur and I would add a comment regarding carry comfort , magazine capacity , and kill power , would go to Kel-Tec PMR 30 , for me . I own several 380’s , a boat load of 9mm’s and a couple FN five Sevens and I VERY COMFORTABLY appendix carry a full frame PMR 30 every day , every where I go .
          I know a little bit about ballistics and I have no qualms defending myself with a 22 WMR .

    • I’ve never seen a 9mm that is as small or light as a P3AT/LCP.

      Still, most people would be better served with a 9mm, or a .38 sp. Maybe a lot of ladies think these little .380’s are cute.

      • This is exactly the problem. You show me a single stack 9mm that can fit in my front pocket and doesn’t print of feel like a weird boner and I’ll gladly buy it.

        Until then, I’ll stick with .380 because no matter what I where, it fits in the front pocket.

        • I have learned to not be so concerned about printing. We notice it because we know what it is and that it’s there . I have a permit so I have no legal worries. I print like the NYT , and nobody ever seems to notice.

          What changed my mind was an open car incident I saw. It was when open carry first started here in Michigan.
          I was at target, and a guy in front of me had a ruger sp101 on his hip in a holster. I followed him through the store to watch the reaction. Hardly anyone noticed. I saw a few people glance at it , but nobody starred or seemed disturbed. I have reset what will pocket carry to what is comfortable. If some woman notices the strange bulge, I assume she will think I am glad to see her.

        • Same here, Grump. Saw a dude o.c.’ing a Glock 21 at the grocery store recently. In a zip up Spiderman hoodie, so he was REAL inconspicuous. No one batted an eye. Couldn’t believe it.

        • Springfield XDS – pocket carry every day in slacks and khakis that are of the “looser fit” size. Can’t carry in my jeans any more, alas – but the XDS is just fine and prints not at all when I’m standing, and the DeSantis pocket holster nicely obscures the shape of the gun when I’m sitting and things tighten up a bit (and i’m NOT using their extra add-on masking bit).

        • Funny, I EDC a Springfield XDs with laser in .45 ACP in a front pocket, in a custom pocket holster that camouflages the gun outline. It shows up as a pocket with stuff in it, but certainly doesn’t scream “gun.” What’s more, the XDs is large enough that it doesn’t get lost down somewhere in the bottom of the pocket if I need it.

        • I agree. I have to be very mobile, much of the time. Anything too big or heavy just won’t do.

          I’m under no illusions of what my Bodyguard 380 is capable of. I have a hollow point for my 1st round and Lehigh Defense Xtreme Defense following up.

          I just hope I never have to test it in a tight situation…

      • +1

        I’d even go so far as to apply the same argument in favor of a Seecamp .32 vs a .380……

        Not that a .380 owner cannot also have a 9+, for when dress makes that practical. I’d venture most .380 owners do. Bur if there is ever, even once in a blue moon, a time when you are not packing you 9 because it is too big, you should consider complementing it with a .380. And a .32. And a mini revolver. And a folding knife. And boxing lessons.

    • I agree with your logic. All things being equal I’d go with 9mm. Unfortunately, the pocket 9s aren’t really pocket size, unless you’re talking a cargo or jacket pocket. My sig p938 just barely fits in a regular pants pocket, and depending on the pants, it prints terribly even in a pocket holster.

      • I have a p238 and always wanted a p938 until my sister got one and I held them side by side, not sure why I always thought they were exactly the same other than grip being a bit thicker. I’ll stick with my p238 for pocket carry in almost any pants!

    • When I decided to buy something small for CC, I went WAY smaller than my 1911.
      I wanted the smallest thing I could shoot well in a ‘major caliber’, preferably with cheap ammo. The .380 flunks the cheap ammo test, and is a little weak in the penetration department with defensive hollow points.

      Ended up buying a P938. It’s not much bigger than my mom’s LCP, can shoot 147gr HST, and 147gr practice ammo is about $0.24 including shipping.

      • Freedom Munitions loads for the .380. With XTP bullets, which according to that Youtube guy, is the been knees for that particular caliber out of a small gun.

      • FedUp,

        There is a really good chance that your 9mm 147 grain hollowpoints will not achieve enough velocity out of a sub-compact handgun for the bullets to expand on impact. I recommend you research it.

        • The 9mm Ammo Quest series on youtube was done with a P938.
          He got perfect expansion in bare gel and through 4 layers of 16oz denim with every shot using 124gr and 147gr HST.
          The HST is constructed to open up no matter what.

    • Yes carry 9mm if you can (preferable with HST 124 or 147gr), but when it comes right down to it the right .380 ammo can make all the difference. I’ve sold out of the .380 caliber out of my collection (all the guns and ammo) 3 times. A glock 42 loaded with the Lehigh defense Xtreme penetrator loads brought me back yet again. Most likely to stay. I keep coming back, because in my quest to be armed the maximum amount of time in a day a .380 pistol is very practical for a lot of the carry scenarios I encounter. Right now I have a Glock 42 with the Lehigh rounds in an Alpha Brace belly band holster ($18 holster and it’s great). Perfect for around the house carry and BUG when out and about. I don’t wear the kind of clothes at home that will support my Glock 19, so it would sit in a quick access safe or my man purse. Not ideal for ready access and safety with a toddler in the house. The 42 is securely tucked under my armpit and I barely notice I have it with me. Now I have to admit that, most likely, as soon as I get a Glock 43 it will replace the 42 for this carry scenario, but the 42 will still serve in ankle or pocket carry roles. Though I can’t see the Ruger LCP getting kicked off the ankle.

      The bottom line: Carry the gun you shoot well. When it comes down to it…shot placement is king. A .22 short in someone’s eye beats winging someone with .45 auto.

      You’re shooting a bullet not a gun. The best gun in the world is only as effective as the thing coming out of the end of the barrel. The Lehigh Xtreme penetrator and slightly hotter Underwood loads with the same solid copper “reverse hollow point” bullets, solved the .380 problem and brought me back to .380

      I recommend the The Glock 42 or Ruger LCP with this ammo to everyone who has the need.

      • Very well said and I completely agree . Your comments about shot placement are spot on and should be chisled somewhere in stone . This is why I carry my PMR 30 . I have shot a lot of guns over the last 43 years , most every caliber ever produced and all the common ones and I am more accurate with a 22 magnum over most defensive distances and I am confident and comfortable with it .

        • PMR-30, no kidding. 30 rounds of .22 mag has a lot to say to a bad guy. I’ve always thought the lightweight PMR-30 would make a great self defense weapon. 5 or 6 shots outta that thing would change anyone’s mind about their most recent choices in life. Just gotta deal with all the deaf and (if at night) blind people after you use it.

        • Do rimfires really ignite reliably enough for EDC these days? In any weather, hot to cold? And with pocket lint in the striker mechanism……

          I bloody hate the fact that the scumocrats will lock you up for full auto. Legalize it, and within a week, Youtube would be awash with videos answering the above question…. Would be a fun research project, come to think of it 🙂

  1. “…requires training beyond the typical point-and-shoot sessions at a range.”


    Purse, pocket, ankle… Two of which are revolver sovereignty…

  2. I think .380 is resurging and likely here to stay. Yes it’s a power hit compared to a 9mm but at the same time there was a point in history where a .32 S&W was a police round or .32 ACP was considered a viable round for defense, or .357 magnum was required for a “heavy duty” defense gun.

    It would be nice if it closed the ammo gap some though. It’s a bit $$ to practice with unless reloading.

  3. I kind of thought that Fox news was just about 6 years behind the curve on the .380 fad. Maybe there is a second round of .380 mania, or perhaps it is a different group of firearm owners.

    Also, I bet the Glock 42 accounted for a good chunk of those sales.

  4. I think a lot of the .380 sales is due to women buying them. Women don’t have the room to accommodate a 9mm even in their bag and they wouldn’t like the recoil.

    Hopefully with the .380 surge we’re going to see it sell for the same price as 9mm.

    • +1

      My everyday urban carry gun is either an XD/m compact in the summer and a Hi Power in winter. The seasonal difference is because the BHP digs into my side underneath my shirt in the Summer. The Springfield is 3/4″ lower and fits comfortably on against my undershirt. The 1911 is 3/4″ higher and is also comfortable. I run around Wisconsin with a 1911 most of the time.

  5. If .380 is in now, why do I still often hear derision for 9×18 Makarov? While not as tiny as many of the new mouse guns, I’ve found that the Makarov, CZ-82, and P-64 make very good conceal-carry pistols. Now, If only I could find a P-83….

    • 1) Most guns that shoot it are straight blowback, so they have incredible amounts of recoil.

      2) They are the same diameter as 9mm, so there is no size savings.

      • My mak is all steel which tells against it for concealed carry. Recoil is only really noticeable with heavy loads like buffalo bore and some weird 115 grain russian hollowpoints I picked up.

        I have had .380’s in the past and they and the mak were blowback with barrels fixed to the frame. The fixed barrel allows the smallish guns with minimal sights to be very accurate. If I have to ever take the shot when a bad guys is using my wife as a shield I could get the job done quite well with a mak.

        If I didn’t already have the 9×18 I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up a .380.

      • Actually, my understanding is that .380 and 9mm Luger projectiles are the same diameter–and 9×18 Mak is actually infinitesimally larger. But I fail to see how that negates the “size advantage” of a shorter cartridge. And while I’m here–double- + 1 to jwm re the Mak’s accuracy.

        • But the case size (which is what really matters) is the same between 9mm mak and 9mm para. 9mm short (.380) is slightly thinner at its widest dimension. 380 shorter than mak, mak shorter than para and length does matter – yeah, I know that’s what “she” said. These differences are really small though. Stacking and grip size usually matters more.

          And knowing what I know now, I would go wheel gun for EDC/CCW.

  6. Hey I would buy a Taurus TCP(or LCP) again. Mine was great and I only got rid of it as I thought(I was wrong) I would never have CC in Illinois. EZ to throw in a pocket(with a nemesis/uncle Mikes…I also ALWAYS have a Pepper Blaster on me and have never been outed. Similar size but thicker. About half the weight. Anywho part of the reason was the dearth of 380(and mainly 9mm) during the ammo famine-which I remedied with a 40S&W. I could always find that…who the heck knows what the future hold.

  7. punching 3/4″ holes in bad guys or bust. 45acp for me. thanks Kahr for understanding us permanent wound volume guys

    • Have you missed the last 3? stories on here where the space time continuum has been disrupted and the .45 no longer produces black holes that suck the target inside? Oh I forgot the “Bloody Mess” perk. 🙂

    • Since .45 isn’t .75, I guess the 3/4 hole is after the bullet has expanded? If so, there will most likely be one .45 hole in said Bad guy. Cause bullets don’t expand in flight, and hollow points rarely mKe exit holes. 😉

      Pocket size .380 for me. It isn’t the size or the recoil. It’s the weight. My TCP loaded is half the weight of my wife’s LC9s loaded.

      • hey a 380’s better than nothing. I found a convenient way to pack a much more powerful pistol, but I went into it knowing that it was going to have to be convenient…a kahr 45 is about the same width as many company’s 9mm. as far as weight, well I guess i got used to it

  8. Carried a Colt Government model .380 for over 30 years…a little longer barrel and grip than a mustang but still very concealable and very accurate…one of the best concealed carry pistols of its day in my opinon…but time marches on…l quit carrying it when I found out how much they’re worth these days…it now resides in a nice display case, replaced by an xdm 3.8 compact in 9mm on my son’s recommendation…I love that little Colt, but have to admit i feel a bit more secure with 14 rounds of 9mm than 7 rounds of .380…YMMV

  9. I have an LCP because I didn’t find anything else that wouldn’t print in my pocket no matter what, especially with the nemesis I can throw it in my pocket and not have to worry about printing.

    And it’s just ever so slightly easier to conceal than my FNX-45.

  10. I regularly run cleanup patrol at my local range. The upside to this is I accumulate a lot of brass that I can trade for beer or cigars.

    Anyway, I have noticed that the .380 portion of the handgun cases I find has indeed increased lately.

  11. I have no idea what the Walther PPS would be specifically considered as far size goes, compact vs. sub-compact, I just know that it and the Glock 19 Gen 4 work for me.

  12. The 380 is more controllable than the 9 in a mouse gun, it also has less flash at low light. On top of that with modern high end ammo you can get decent penetration and expansion. It’s no 1911 but they have useful features.

    • Joseph,

      Even a micro pistol in .380 ACP is good enough for well over 95% of all self-defense events. First of all, something like 90% of criminals immediately evacuate when you do nothing more than produce a handgun for self defense. Of the remaining attacks, about half of them will immediately vacate once you begin shooting — and even micro pistols in .380 ACP make LOUD bangs when you squeeze the trigger. Of the remaining few attacks where the attacker keeps coming in spite of the fact that you are actively shooting at them with a handgun, you are most likely in serious jeopardy regardless of what size and caliber of handgun you carry.

      The ONLY reason I carry a full-size handgun (rather than a micro or sub-compact handgun) is for its much longer sight radius and greater magazine capacity … and I only want those so that I have a modestly improved ability to stop a spree killer or terrorist at ranges up to 50 yards. Trying to stop a spree killer or terrorist at 50 yards with a micro or sub-compact handgun chambered in .380 ACP is a fools errand. It is only slightly less foolish to take on that scenario with a full-size handgun.

      • I can do 2 inch holes on target with regularity at 150 feet from my PMR and have shot many a squirrel on the move at this range and at 100 feet a 22 magnum in the head is a very bad thing . Terrorist beware . At 100 yards , and 28 shots , 22 mags. can bring on the pain , even from a pistol . This round in hard nose will poke holes in 1/4 aluminum at this distance , this is why I alternate my ammo every other round in my magazines . You have a lot of versatility with 28 rounds .
        I know they advertise 30 rounds but over loading these magazines is a big reason for malfunctions and limp wristing the PMR 30 is why most people get FTF issues , you MUST let this pistol function .
        Properly loaded with 28 rounds of quality ammo and firmly gripping and pushing into the pistol when firing , I have absolutely no issues with any of my PMR 30 pistols , they have been as reliable as any of my 9mm’s .

  13. 380, 9, 45, 50, 38, 357,,,all have many factors that figure into personal choice. All will kill if appropriately placed and all will do job the in the frame of reference of close encounters used by professional trainers.
    Concealed, open or a mix of the two is also personal choice and again all work well when done properly.

  14. I’d love to get a 380 or even a 32acp conversion on my glock for my wife. She _hates_ recoil, yet Texas CHL demands .32 or higher.

    • Had an all-steel Cervena Zastava Model 70 in .32. Recoil was definitely not an issue. But it was indeed pretty weighty. Wonder what a Beretta Tomcat would feel like? Shooting, I mean.

      • The tomcat had what I believe is the worst trigger I’ve ever had on a handgun. Recoil was not bad at all. But that trigger……

        • Ah well–probably just as well I can’t afford one then…I always think of a diminutive female attorney I knew, she was really kind of prissy–so I was surprised when she told me she carried a Tomcat , “and I’m actually quite good with it.” Never can tell….

    • C.S.

      She has to qualify with .32 or higher, but she can carry whatever she wants. So qualify with a beretta 92 and carry a ruger SR22 or a little Taurus PT22. Etc.

    • Find a good used Sig P238 for her and she will not look back. Easy to manipulate the slide, has a good firm safety and recoil is nothing. Great sights on it too and very capable of the Texas LTC qualifications.

  15. Springfield XDs 9mm, 3.3″ barrel is my EDC (and at home). Carry at 4 o’clock for home, 2 o’clock if I want to minimize printing when I go out. I don’t think I’ll ever want to buy a pocket gun. Although, never say never, I guess right? 95% of the time I don’t care if I print a little bit with my OWB leather holster carrying concealed. I have my CHL, so no worries there even if a cop notices. I don’t print much at all if I carry at 2 o’clock and cinch up my Aker gun belt one more notch (although that is a bit too tight for all day wear). Also, light colored and tighter shirts print no matter what. Oh, well.

    I will occasionally conceal carry my Springfield XD Mod.2 Service 4″ 9mm pistol, but not that often as I’m so used to the slightly lighter, thinner, and smaller XDs. Usually, I will carry the full size when I feel the need for a bit more capacity (and I’m more accurate with it than the XDs).

  16. I carry a Smith & Wesson Shield in 9mm. I can carry it under a T-shirt without printing or at least no one has asked me if I was carrying. Small enough and better for me than a .380 though for awhile I carried a Bersa Thunder Plus, .380 but decided it was unreliable. The Shield is not all that snappy or difficult to shoot.

  17. My one and only handgun is a Sig Sauer P238. I really liked it until I took a defensive pistol course and found out how quickly I expended my single-stack 6 round magazine. I spent the rest of the class looking longingly at the double-stack 17 round magazines my Glock-carrying classmates sported.

  18. I love my Glock 43 a lot, and one of the reasons is its thinness. I think it’d be cool if Glock made a Glock 17 sized model that is them same thickness as the 43. I’d both buy and carry one.

    • The 36 is kind of the halfway point. No capacity added over the 43, but a much more normal sized grip.

      The Kahr TP series in 9, is kind of exactly what you are asking for. Likely more so, now that they are adopting a much more Glockish trigger.

  19. To me the .380 is just so much whatever, fine if you like them and with modern bullets they are likely better than 9mm FMJ cause they won’t over penetrate. The problem with the .380 is that the 9mm with modern bullets is just better. My little Walther CCP disappears under an untucked shirt and there is room for all of my support fingers to shoot it. If you like the .380 then load it up with good bullets and carry it, most bad guys that you might have occasion to have to pull it on are gonna see it and run like hell since bravery isn’t their strong suit!

    My inflation depreciated 2¢.

  20. I enjoy my Smith Bodyguard .380 and pocket carry it when I want something very concealable. I haven’t chrono’d the Buffalo Bore ammo in it, but it’s supposed to generate about 250 foot pounds. I also carry Precision One ammo good for about 200 foot pounds.

    Most of the time I carry a modified Glock 23 with a stainless 9mm conversion barrel loaded 15 + 1 with 124 grain Federal HST +P. It average about 1240 FPS and generates over 400 foot pounds, which is a little more than my other carry load, the Winchester Ranger 180 grain JHP at about 1,000 FPS.

    The .380 is pricey and a little wimpy, but it’s still better than carrying nothing. Our police agency just authorized it as a backup gun. I’ll be doing a secondary weapon qualification course this weekend with a few guns, one of which may be a .380.

  21. Everyday Carried a Bersa Thunder .380 since 2012, until I had a tragic kayaking accident. 3.6″ barrel, heavy, and super stable. Absolutely love *how accurate I am* with it.

    • Bigshot. Tragic boating accident wasn’t good enough for you? You had to have a kayak accident? You’re one of those guys, aren’t you? 🙂

  22. I never thought we would bring a .380 into the house but that all changed when my wife dislocated her shoulder and cracked her ulnar no an in a wrestling match with a matress. Now it is very painful and difficult to rack the slide on her M-9. We bought a Browning 1911-380. It is thin, light, easy to conceal and has a 4.25″ barrel. Not a mouse gun.

  23. The big boxes and a lot of LGS push them to women right along side the “air weight” revolvers because the guy behind the counter equates small with manageable and easy to shoot (or that’s what management wants to move that week).

    The thing that concerns me, and I know its not a requirement is that these things are snappy. This leads to a lot of first time gun owners and users going to the range once, not enjoying the experience and never practicing again. This is bad for users safety and bad for second purchase potential.

    Poor short term thinking on the Big Box/LGS’ part in my mind but oh well I’m sure sales will always be great (don’t look at all those AR’s behind the curtain).

    • Some of those LGS know what they are doing. The larger, heavier .380’s are great for recoil-sensitive shooters. The tiny ones are great for people like me to pocket carry in lightweight cargo shorts or gym pants.

      • Yep, LCP for just that reason. Having a gun that effectively disappears until you need it is a definite advantage.

  24. I thought I would never consider .380 for a defensive pistol but then I started noticing the ballistics tests on some of the new .380 defense ammo. Rather respectable results.

    • “New” defensive ammo. I laughed. Now let me tell you why.

      I carry a SIG P238. Every day. And I understand the limitations of the .380 ACP compared to other ammo, but for concealment reasons it’s what I go with–and some days I feel like even that’s stretching the limit. As such, I wanted to carry the most effective round I could. I started out carrying Critical Defense, because that’s what I carried in my XDm .40 (let us all bow and genuflect before the greatest caliber in the greatest gun–but I digress…).

      I came to learn that Critical Defense is a mediocre at best, and often subpar, performer in .380. It doesn’t reliably expand at all, and by that I mean 3 out of 4 rounds come out of the test looking like slugs, not flowers. After extensive reading, and hours of YouTube ammo test videos, I decided that the best option out there, by a decent margin, was the Federal HydraShok. (There’s a non-zero number of people that swear by solid lead flatnose bullets in .380, but I’m not going there.) The venerable HydraShok.

      So that’s why I laughed at your “new” defense ammo comment. Out of all the bullets, old and new, that I saw tested (and tested myself), the one that won out? One of the oldest designs around, the HydraShok. Consistent, reliable expansion into beautiful, sharp-edged flowers of doom. Sometimes the old way still is the best way.

      • Precision One is pretty new, and it passed the FBI protocol in bare gel and denim-covered gel. Should I be laughing at you for not knowing that? How about we gently remind ourselves that there is much to be learned in the shooting world, and treat people on the “same team” a little better.

  25. OK, I have read the article and the posts and am getting lost. I kow I am opening a can of worms here but being a noobie and doing research. I have read in several article that the 9mm has more stopping power than a 38 cal. But by my calculations, a 38 is approximately 10 cm. So why is a 9mm better than a 38 at stopping power?

    2. Can somebody translate the following in the article into plain English?, “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?”

    3. From what I understand, y’all are saying a 38 cal gun is smaller than a 9mm. Why? The difference between 9mm and 10.x mm (assuming my calculations are correct) should imply the guns would be about the same size.

    OK, I am ducking for cover now.

    • “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?”

      Why not carry an actual 9mm (even a tiny one) instead of a 9mm short (aka a .380) when the pocket nine isn’t much bigger than the .380?


      Why would you carry a .380 (9mm short) when you can get a pocket nine that’s only slightly larger and shoots a more effective cartridge?

    • Because the gun that we call the .38 caliber isn’t a .38 at all. In metrics the .380, the .38 special, the 9mm, the .357 magnum are all 9mm.

      Confusing, isn’t it. A .44 magnum, a .44 caliber, right, is actually a .42 caliber. Some of the confusion is marketing induced and some is because our way of naming cartridges hasn’t kept up with the realities of modern ammo.

      And at least 1 gun, the Ruger blackhawk convertible(no it wasn’t a car) can shoot .38 special, .357 magnum and 9mm.

    • The .380 ACP is 2mm shorter than the 9mm. That shorter round leaves a lot less room for powder. The short version? The 9mm has roughly twice the power of the .380. And it cost less. The .380 can be chambered in smaller, lighter pistols than the 9mm, and also has less recoil. They both have their places, but I usually carry and shoot 9mm these days.

    • H Lee,
      You ask good questions, and good points have been made above. The bullets for all of the calibers from .380 ACP to .357 magnum have diameters from 0.355 to 0.357 inches. The nomenclature is both deceptive and confusing. Even if you don’t reload, you can learn a great deal from a reloading manual. They are full of cartridge specifications that will help put things in perspective.

      Be careful not to get caught up with diameter, though. After all, the most popular rifle calibers have bullets ranging from 0.223 to 0.308 inches diameter. There are many more factors to be considered.

  26. I got out of the .380 game 2 months ago. Sig P232. Wanted to cut down on calibers.
    Fox was probably low on gun stories, so they made one up.

  27. I would carry a .38 revolver before most of these compacts, just for the accuracy and reliability concerns.

  28. I usually carry the TCP in a pocket holster, sometimes the KT P-11 in an IWB. The wifey carries a 238 IWB. The TCP was snappy to her, the 238 is soft shooting for her.

  29. Subcompact size pistols are definitely harder to shoot accurately thanks to their lighter weight and size (less surface area to hold). I have to grip subcompacts much tighter with my strong hand to balance out the increased flip and jumpiness.

  30. Actually I consider myself a gun person, but the cutest and favourite among my handguns is the Beretta 1934 in Calibro 9 Corto (the caliber that you call .380ACP in the States 😎 ).

    Well, after all even The King had one (although he is said to have used it as a remote for his set…only switchoff button, tho’)

  31. Carrying concealed will require compromise.
    Some thoughts:

    S&W 640 is carryable. It will get some attention when the hammer drops. Reloads are slow. Speed strips carry better than speed loaders.
    PPK/s with good ammo is not a bad choice. Steel frame for less felt recoil. Quicker reloads than a revolver.
    Kahr 9mm seems a reasonable choice: slim, small semi in a decent caliber. I never cared for the trigger, but a comment above suggests this is being addressed.
    S&W 3913 or similar double stack semiauto. Step up in size and weight may be more controllable but less concealable. Pretty happy with mine.
    Full-size duty weapons if you expect trouble. Bring reloads.

    I cannot comment on the new crop of plastic guns as I do not own one yet. Glock owners seem to be pretty ardent. Those I have handled felt awfully chunky.

    There may not be one single perfect carry gun. It may be better to have more than one to choose from as conditions change.
    Select your ammunition carefully and test for reliability.

  32. Little Sigs too little for my large hands. Bought an LCP and after shooting and understanding how it works…dumped it immediately for a S&W Bodyguard 380. Slightly larger than the toy like LCP, it fits perfectly into my front pants pocket. To me pistols break down into 3 groups, pocket guns, otherwise concealable guns and you should probably only open carry guns. I like pocket carry for concealed carry, period. Anything else to me is just cumbersome and uncomfortable. If my state ever wakes up to constitutional carry, then I will opencarry the biggest damn heater my belt will hold up.

  33. We’ve always told our students not to shoot anyone with their .380s, because if they found out, they’d get mad and hurt them.
    However, thanks to the internet, we now know conclusively that the .25 ACP is exactly equal in stopping power to Keith 255s at 900fps out of a .45 Colt.
    So carrying anything as big and inconvenient as a .380 is now passe. Yesterday. Last century.

  34. 3 pleasant conceal carry. M&p shield 9mm, sig p238, .38 revolver. I could argue that my glock 19 tops them all. 9mm round, 15 rounds, light and very concealable. As far as the comments on printing concerns. People generally might look and not even react to a larger gun that prints a lot. But the police sure will. And you’re foolish to think you aren’t asking for unwanted attention by not concerning yourself with how much your CC prints. The first C stands for conceal.


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