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As any gun guy or gal worth their salt knows, the new breed of .380’s offers ultimate concealment with entirely reasonable accuracy at self-defense distances. Combined with the latest hollow-point ammo, a .380 is a sensible choice for everyday carry. Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun agitpropagandists at The Trace disagree. They spin it this way: Concealed Carriers Have Made a Tiny Pistol with a Sketchy Past a Big Seller for Gun Makers. As always, the subhead tells the tale . . .

Even as .380 handguns have become the height of marketability, questions loom about their usefulness and safety.

Alex Yablon‘s article uses gun gurus’ warnings about the .380’s inherent limitations to do a hatchet job on .380’s, their manufacturers and customers.

I won’t trouble you with the read-between-the-lines history crafted by Mr. Yablon to disparage an entire class of firearms. Suffice it to say, Mr. Yablon’s closing paragraph reveals his true agenda: casting aspersions on Americans’ right — and ability — to keep and bear arms for their own defense, and the defense of other innocent life.

Were that someone armed with a .380, he may find himself unequipped for the role he has taken on. Such was the outcome for one owner of a pocket pistol who tried to stop an active  shooter. On the morning of January 7, 2010, Stephen Sharp II showed up to work at a St. Louis power plant right as coworker Timothy Hendron carried out a massacre with an AK-47. Retrieving a Walther .380 pistol from his truck, he opened fire at Hendron, and kept shooting until he had loosed all six rounds from across the parking lot. None struck Hendron, who returned fire, grievously wounding Sharp before returning to his rampage.

Obviously, Mr. Yablon isn’t arguing that Americans should carry “better” guns to protect against active shooters — which isn’t an entirely mistaken proposition. He’s saying that guns don’t say lives generally, and .380’s don’t save life specifically. And here’s an example!

The Trace is not alone is seizing on Mr. Sharp’s gunfight as proof that no one should be armed; The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence covered the same ground in their polemic The Forgotten Guns in the Workplace Tragedy.

While it’s true that Mr. Sharp didn’t stop the spree killer, who’s to say he didn’t have a positive impact? The killer took his own life immediately after Mr. Sharp’s fusillade — a pattern we see in many such incidents (e.g., Sandy Hook).

Besides, in this case (as in so many others), it’s better to have a gun than not. As most defensive gun uses end without a shot fired, we can rest assured that a .380 pocket pistol is an effective form of self-defense, even without considering its accuracy in “untrained” hands or the bullet’s terminal ballistics.

Equally, click here for a story of a pharmacist who used a .380 Kel-Tec to defend his life from armed robbers. Truth be told, a .380 is a perfectly useful self-defense firearm, with limitations. But then all guns have limitations. Not so The Trace, which seizes on any firearms fact it can find to twist to its own purposes.

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  1. There are plenty of cold dead recipients of a .380 bullet that would beg to differ…if they could.

    -Card carrying member of the Glock 42 and LCP Club

        • Uuhhmm, I think the first rule of a gunfight is, don’t be there. The first rule of a gunfight you cannot avoid is, have a gun.

        • @Bill technically, 007 has used both calibres over the years.

          In Dr. No, the Armorer (he’s never identified as “Q” in that film,) gave him a PPK to replace his Beretta, describing it as “7.65 mil, with a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window.” (i.e., .32 cal.)

          In the more recent Skyfall, Q gives Bond a PPK, which he describes as being chambered in “9mm short” — i.e., .380 cal.

      • More from a 22 than any other , ask any trauma doctor if they would rather see a 45 wound or a 22 . The 22 surgeon is a bullet chaser . If no vitals are hit , you still bleed to death .
        A 22 in the head and a 40 cal. , both usually mean down perp.

    • Dually noted that a .380ACP round (or two~) in 1914 (From a FN 1910) was the lynchpin that killed 14 million people.

      2016 and tech is way better with our barrels, powder, and bullets.

      • What are you talking about? Most of the people killed were with either the german Mauser, .303 British or late in the war .30-06. World war 1 was a rifle and heavy machine gun war if there ever was one.

      • The writer really is opposed to all firearms. He likely attacked the .380 since it is often the first firearm that new gun buyers (especially women) purchase. A good friend of mine (tiny little suburban Hispanic lady, wife, and mother) recently bought a Glock 42 for her first firearm.

        The anti-gunners are terrified of (1) women buying guns (2) minority people buying guns (3) suburban moms buying guns. Guns like the Glock 42 or the Ruger LC380 (not the LCP) are perfect for folks like my friend.

        If my wife, or my sister (neither are real shooters) asked for advice on a defensive handgun, the Glock 42, Bodyguard .380, and Ruger LC380 would all rank pretty high up there. If a lady was more of a shooter, I’d recommend a Shield, Glock 26/43, or a J-frame.

        I occasionally carry my P3AT, but totally prefer a .38 revolver or a 9mm.

  2. In search of the baby bear gun: The Mamma bear .380 is too weak and the papa bear AR is too scary. But don’t worry, we won’t attack baby bear firearms… if we ever find one.


  3. Welp, the caliber wars are over thanks to the trace. Glad that got settled!

    Any match up of AK against handgun is skewed from the start. Doesn’t take a genius to know that, but then again as said it likely caused him to go off in a corner and stop shooting at innocent people.

    • The Trace is clearly advocating AR and AK pattern handguns, lest you be caught without enough firepower! Also since they mentioned that 6 rounds was clearly not enough to save his life, they are also promoting higher capacity assault clips!

      Gimme a AK-74 pistol with RPK 74 mags (45 rounds) and we should be OK.

      • “..Also since they mentioned that 6 rounds was clearly not enough to save his life, they are also promoting higher capacity assault clips! …”


    • If I was armed with a PPK the last thing I would do is try and take out someone with an AK from across a parking lot. Sure, unlike the mini pistols being talked about, the PPK is a 3 finger gun capable of good accuracy, but I would guess anyone facing life and death is going to lose a lot of fine motor control, which is why handguns are best used up close.

    • If he missed with all six shots, he was either too far away; needed more, longer range practice; needed a double-stack(my preference), or all three. I’ve owned & practiced with 22lr, 380acp, 38spl, & 357mag & found the 380acp was most accurate & better follow-up shots for me.

  4. So, in other words, we’re paranoid lunatics if we buy a “weapon of war” like an AR-15, and we’re delusional if we think we can defend ourselves with a .380.

    Got it.

  5. “Retrieving a Walther .380 pistol from his truck, he opened fire at Hendron, and kept shooting until he had loosed all six rounds from across the parking lot. None struck Hendron . . .”

    See, allowing private citizens to carry guns just doesn’t work. To bad, Mr. Hendron didn’t have the skill of Hickok45 who can hit a 70 yard gong with an LCP .380.

    • Hickok 45 also hit that same gong multiple times over with a little colt mustang pocketlite. It can be done.

      • Not to disparage Mr. Hickock45 in any way, but…that gong did not have an AK47 and was NOT shooting back.

        I give the .380 guy props for at least giving it a go. Too bad he didn’t get any hits. Too bad he got shot for his trouble.

    • another reason to carry a rifle and/or a shotgun in your truck. A pistol is good for fighting to the real guns folks. If you are going to leave it in the truck, leave a long gun in there.

      • Shotgun is ALWAYS in the truck, either in a locking floor box or strapped in vertically depending on the situation. Any problem that can’t be solved with 00 and slugs likely requires backup.
        Sub-$200 Chinese 870s are the best truck, beater, and low-cost duty weapon I have ever encountered. They run slicker than an 870 Express, even after eating tons of mine grit and powdered iron oxide.

  6. I would cheerfully invite the author of the article to stand at common SD distance from me and let me shoot at him with a .380.

      • I just posted the same thought…………..way down the line. Hadnt read any responses 1st. I should add I do carry a 45 compact as my EDC. But wouldn’t hesitate to take out the P238 or P938 if needed.

    • Just make sure you take a boat 12 miles offshore first. It’d suck to end up in prison over an idiot.

      • Actually that thought occurred to me. Invite him to do it outside the US, somewhere we don’t have extradition with.

        • The parts of the world that don’t have extradition agreements with the USA are parts of the world you really don’t want to live in…

    • I have some air guns only a fool would be standing in front of , I could place a 22 cal. in your eye socket and my 22 magnum will send you to an undertaker . These little rounds are commonly referred to as bleeders in trauma centers . They will go in your tummy , bounce off a few bones and come out your neck and you’ll bleed to death .

      • Your comment sounds incredibly creepy. I wouldn’t want to get in front of a can of pepper spray, even though it hits with zero foot pounds.

        • Walking Dead , Dracula , Jeffrey Dahmer , Charlie Manson , and Cheech and Chong are creepy , ballistics are interesting and 22’s are very deadly .

    • I have a tough time finding a comfortable way to conceal other than pocket carry. I pick up my Kahr PM380 just like my cell, keys pocket knife and reading glasses. It’s just part of the cargo. Having said that I bought a Kimber Solo which is almost as comfortable… Just haven’t sent enough rounds down range to be comfortable carrying it.

      • Same here Tom, the Kahr is a great accurate gun, disappears in a pocket, holstered in a Remora, and quickly deployable. It’s an easy EDC. And, there’s a new company ( MagGuts, inc) that has a spring change for you mags that allows for one increased round. I also have a Solo, too funny.

  7. lol… the Trace trying to inform on guns. That’s actually pretty funny. Are they going to endorse that everyone carry a 1911 now?

    Whatever. I don’t carry a .380- I like to have a heavier compact .45 with 10 rounds- but I wouldn’t want to be shot by one. And I might end up buying one as a pocket pistol. If I do, I know its limitations (they are many) but if the choice is between going right up to the edge of those limitations or doing nothing as someone shoots me I know which I’ll go with.

    • No. They’ll have a story about somebody who used a 1911 to defend against four attackers and got overwhelmed when he went to reload. Or about a frail 70-year old who couldn’t handle the recoil and dropped it.

  8. Whoa, whatta surprise: I see that The Trace, that great “conversation-starter”, has no provision for commenting on the articles, or even for contacting the reporter outside of Twitter. Maybe someone with a Twitter account can pass my invitation on to Mr. Yablon. And BTW, what kind of absolute idiot would take advice from The Trace about what kind of gun to carry?

  9. Did The Trace just argue (even if implicitly) for carrying more powerful concealed weapons…?!

  10. Actually, it sounds like a thinly-veiled attack on ‘Saturday Night Specials’ like those European imports from the 50’s era and the Lorcin-Jennings-Bryco-Phoenix and the like potmetal guns and, more importantly, the race of the typical customer of those guns.

    The same genesis of the California and Massachusetts ‘approved’ gun list.

    The don’t want ‘those people’ armed…

    • Sounds more like an attack on what they think is a popular handgun that will introduce lots of ordinary folks into the world of taking responsibility for your own defense. They are attacking Glocks and Bersas and Rugers and Walthers by writing about cheap junk from defunct manufacturers.

    • It’s an “anecdote” when a 12-year old girl uses her mama’s gun to defend herself against an anthropoid jackal trying to break into the closet where she’s hiding. It’s “evidence” when a guy with a pocket pistol trying to make 50-yard shots misses. The Trace is nothing if not rigidly scientific!

  11. I am sure that since the Trace has taken up making recommendations we will soon see a review on the best 9mm for self defense and some reviews on high quality hollow points as well!

    • Ahhh, no, 9mm is too dangerous to carry because FMJ over-penetrates and hollowpoints are inhumanly vicious cop-killer ammo. See how that works? [actually, I realize you do know how that works…]

    • Nah, their input will be for the best .9 mm for self defense. After all, if .380 is not big enough, .9 mm MUST be better, right?

        • Now it’s my turn to LOL…literally.

          .10 > .9 for the win!

          (Hey, it works in software versioning, why not mechanical measurements!)

        • So I am guessing the Tracers would call me a troglodyte if I went with a 45 then? Even if I reminded them that the bullet only weighs half what a Revolutionary War musket ball does and travels at about the same speed? Guess my cave man roots are showing, must be all that testosterone that they seem to do without!

  12. How would they know a 380 was ineffective if the dude missed 6 times? Would ANY of us volunteer to be shot with one? Had a TCP-would get another one. Used Pow’rball in it- it ran great. Better than a stick or harsh language…

    • “Better than a stick or harsh language…”

      Probably better than peeing yourself, vomiting on yourself or claiming you are on your period, too…I’d wager.

  13. Not to perpetuate a caliber war….attempting a handgun shot across a parking lot is not the most promising of propositions. How likely is it the standard “normal” person who carries a gun has attempted to hit a small target at 75′ or more, while pumped on adrenalin? How many can put all rounds into the bad guy (collateral damage is unacceptable)? How many “normal” handgunners can make an incapacitating shot? An untrained person may not even know to try (or how to try) to close the distance before shooting. The attempt by Mr. Hendron, while valiant, was a high risk proposition at best. It doesn’t seem prudent to imagine that all legal handgun owners can make such shots routinely, successfully. Don’t try it in your neighborhood parking lot.

    (Disclosure: My question are based on what I read here, and YouTube videos showing various training episodes, and “trick shot’ shootists. No, I haven’t any direct experience.)

    • To be honest, I can put 2/3 of my rounds in the ‘C’ zone at 25 yards after a 100 yard sprint with my CW380 with a support or prone. If I have my CW9 or CZ75 compact (typical carry) and we are down to 8 inch groups (after the sprint). And I have learned a long time ago that panicking in the moment is a really bad idea. I don’t practice a lot, but enough to stay proficient. As long as I could get the drop on the guy and he is within 75 feet, I will drop him.

      • If there are 100 million gun owners (without a registry, now can we KNOW?), it stands to reason they are not all trained to the level you achieved. The “normal” gun owner cannot be counted on to even have monthly shooting time. So the “normal” gun owner cannot be counted on to be routinely accurate, in calm conditions, at 50ft. The “normal” gun owner likely has never done any shooting under any pressure at all. The “normal” gun owner cannot be counted on to be able to control breathing, heart rate and small motor muscles/skills under pressure. The “normal” gun owner has likely never attempted to identify cover vs. concealment, much less been trained how to maneuver between the two. The “normal” gun owner is unlikely to be practiced at shooting from behind a barrier, or prone. In short, anyone who has trained to the levels outlined is not “normal” (just how unique students [non-returnees/repeaters] do you imaging have gone through a single tactical training site?). Thus how much confidence should we place on the “normal” gun owner to be able to make a 75′ shot on a person whose relative size is diminished by distance? Using only 6, 8, 10 rounds? Given the inability to predict how the “normal” gun owner will act, or how accurate that person will be, do we really want to be encouraging people to attempt long shots with a pocket pistol, or commander sized pistol? Collateral damage is not to be considered a successful “save” of an individual under threat. Might we encourage, more often, the “normal” gun owner not attempt shooting beyond about 7yrds? Maybe 10?

        • Not that much training is really needed. To be honest the problem is most people get NO training. I know people who have shot for years that have no trigger control or just don’t know how to focus on the front sight.

          My brother never shot a handgun, only 22 rifles when he was a kid. Within 45 min he was shooting 2 inch groups at 7 yards with my 1911. Why, he understood to keep calm, focus on the front sight an squeeze the trigger. No flinching issues and he was good. I can’t get over that he liked the 45 over the 9mm. But my bother is a very level headed individual. Even with that amount of training I would trust my back. Also he could shoot my K9 almost as well but it did not fit his hand at all and he hated it.

          However another friend I taught could shoot the eyebrows off a fly at 25 yards with a Ruger Mark, but hand him a center fire pistol and he would flinch like you would not believe (an full size CZ75 no less).

          And that is what it really comes down to, fundamentals and not panicking.

  14. I see… the gun is not a magic talisman to keep you safe; therefore it’s worthless…

    Sometimes it’s not important to succeed; Sometimes you just have to try.

  15. Its interesting to note that the German Army adopted the .32 ACP over the .380 ACP because the .32 ACP would penetrate a military helmet and the .380 would not. Now going on the well know facts that its penetration and bullet placement that kills and not caliber than the .32 would be superior to the .380.

    Ditto when the U.S. Military tested the .45 acp against the 9×19 in 1945 ( see the book “The Ingles Diamond) the 9mm penetrated the helmet at 125 yards and the .45 acp bounced off the helmet at 35 yards.

    • “bouncing off” is a little misleading. Years ago I shot a steel helmet with a 1911 (230 gr ball). While it did not penetrate, I would certainly not want to have been wearing it at the moment of impact. I think it would have left a mark.

    • Unfortunately the human body is made out of flesh and bone. The 45 ACP does more damage to tissue than it does steel.

  16. I think the moral of that story is if you’re going to keep a gun in your car and retrieve it to engage a shooter it should be a rifle/carbine/shotgun. Gotcha, thanks.

    • Nicely done.

      HA! The anecdote involved doesn’t even apply to a CARRIED .380! The title of the article and the anecdote used as evidence are not relevant to each other.

  17. So has Yablon gone all Dirty Harry on us (this is a 44 magnum . The most powerful yadda yadda yadda…)? Probably not. As for me I’ll take a .380 over self righteousness every time.

  18. I’m just waiting for the next Bloomberg hit piece saying that there’s no reason anyone should own a 9mm or larger caliber because they’re vicious killing bullets that are meant to penetrate body armor. Thus, in the Bloomberg camp a .380 and below is so ineffective and should be banned, yet anything above it is a murder bullet meant only to maim and kill.

  19. I’ve never seen or even heard of a .380 auto in my hand that wouldn’t protect me better than a cop 10-20 MINUTES away. I’ve been put on hold when calling 911. I’ve had 911 transfer me to a different 911. NO firearm has ever done that to me.

    • Indeed. The cops usually get there to pick up the pieces. They cannot protect us – ever.

    • Just because 911 delays were mentioned….

      Once upon a time, the wife of my neighbor was traveling between major towns that were contiguous. Her husband was deployed. The neighbor wife was driving to her shift job at about 2100hrs. She believed she was being followed (after attempting rudimentary moves to uncover a tail), and called me. I got her location, and had to call three different 911 units. It seems the neighbor’s wife was in a location where three different municipality jurisdictions overlapped. Ultimately, none of the cops believed they were the authorized authority, and never dispatched help. In the end, I was able to stay on the phone with the wife until we were certain she was no longer followed, and she was definitely and distinctly in the jurisdiction of a single police agency. Ever sense I have had alot of sympathy for homes and businesses in that deadly triangle.

  20. Would any one from the Trace like to stand a few feet from me and my Sig P238. Then let me pull the trigger??
    With if it were legal a waver.
    Then tell me its a pop gun.

  21. I’ve practiced with my P-3AT enough to know that I should not engage a guy carrying a rifle at across-the-parking-lot distance, unless he’s shooting at me and I can’t get to cover. That is the least likely SD scenario I expect to encounter in my daily life.

    • Or even better, your behind hard cover, he is shooting at kids, he is within 20 yards and you have a escape path. Then what will you do?

      • I think a more likely scenario is being accosted by multiple assailants and magazine capacity is a greater issue .
        I have multiple friends who carry .40’s and 45’s and generally don’t practice enough to make accurate shot placements while not under stress and these pistols are normally under 10 rounds . I often carry my Ruger 9mm with 17 rounds and my PMR 30 with 28 rounds at the same time . If I’m in the woods in bear country I carry a lot bigger , but I have no problem with a 9 or even a 22 so 38 is fine when I think human targets , I just like more projectiles .

      • 20 yards is almost hopeless. At 10 yards, starting with 6+1 in the pistol, and two more full mags in my pocket, in daylight, and the dirtbag is wearing light clothing, I figure less than 50-50 chance I could stop him. It would take one very lucky head shot, or several torso shots to stop him. I’d rather carry a G17, but I can’t conceal it.


    By applying the same amount of logic to this similar-but-different anecdote, I can surmise that a .357 wheel gun will strike a rifle wielding crazed gunman NO LESS than 66% of the time (they don’t say how many times he fired to get the 4 hits, but it’s fair to assume 6 times). Therefore it should be standard issue for all law enforcement, and required daily carry for all trailer park inhabitants.

  23. This article means that the author endorses all of us who choose to own/carry a pistol opt up to larger calibers?

    S&W Bone Collector .500 perhaps?

    What a ridiculous article. Obtw, Fox News reports today’s Capitol shooting sounded like a full “clip” was fired. The Derp is strong.

    Proud Walther PPK/S and P3AT and Colt Mustang owner. In full disclosure. Celebrate diversity I say.

    • So, I wonder…

      If I were to carry TWO .380’s, would the author give me credit for .760? I’d have all the fiddy cal guru’s beat.

      Proggie Gun Math for the WIN!

  24. 380s are great “always” guns. It is my primary. I may back it up with a full-size 9mm when clothes allow.

    I’d rather have my LCP than my bare hands and angry words.

    Would it be better to have something larger – Yes. But if I only have one gun – it is my LCP..

    Many SD scenarios involve perps with non-gun weapons. Especially when you are older.

    I’ll take a 380 over a knife any day.

    • I gotta say that I’m a little disappointed that an old-school .38 Spl wheel gun is not on your reported EDC list … so much for expectations.

  25. Ridiculous. A .22 LR or a .25 ACP out of short barrel can kill. More firearms chambered for .32 ACP were manufactured in the 20th century than any other caliber (shocking, but true). And European .32 ACP out of a 3-4″ barrel (like the FN 1910, HK 4, CZ-70/83, Mauser HSc, Walther PP/K, Remington 51, Colt 1903, etc.) has about the same muzzle energy as .380 ACP out of a 2-3″ barrel. Since it was the most popular round of the 20th century, I’m pretty sure it’s effective.

    The .380 ACP has been around almost as long as the .32 ACP, but it never gained the same traction in the rest of the world as the .32 ACP. While police in the U.S. were using .38 Special revolvers throughout the 20th century, police in the rest of the world relied heavily on .32 ACP semi-autos. Contrary to popular belief, the .32 ACP did not become popular because James Bond used in. Ian Flemming chose it for Bond at the advice of U.K. firearm expert Geoffrey Boothroyd because it was small, effective, and universal.

    For those who say, “But 9mm!!!” The popularity of 9mm Luger did not explode until NATO standardized it which was later in the 20th century. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of handguns had been chambered in .32 ACP throughout WWI and WWII.

    I don’t make the facts, I just report them.

  26. Guy had it a little mixed up: 380 is what you carry 24/7/e, MSR is the thing you retrieve from your trunk.

  27. I haven’t even read this but someone tell me if I’m right just so I can keep track of how I do with my gut intuition: beware of hunting monsters lest you become one yourself…besides you’re overreacting because those monsters don’t really eat kidnapped babies as much as you think they do. But if you just have to have a gun, the .380 is the worst of them all because its a fave of new owners, an easy target for ridicule and they have more chance of believing our bull$hit

  28. If The Trace thinks the .380 isn’t powerful, then they shouldn’t mind if everyone carries a Ruger LCP without a permit.

    A terrorist with a rifle would have a rough time against 25 shooters with LCPs.

  29. If I’m getting it out of my truck, it’s not going to be a pistol. The shots missed, it could have been a S&W 500, same outcome.

  30. So, those guns are so ineffective we need to ban them? Ineffective at … shooting stuff? … hurting people? So we need to ban them, why?

    So, Bloomie’s astroturf agitprop seems to be getting worse and more desperate. Or am I just letting hope cloud my perceptions.

    Getting serious for a moment, “argument by anecdote” has three uses.

    – Turning reasoning into a story often surfaces aspects of the situation you had missed.

    – For convincing people, stories work better.

    – An “anecdote” if confirmed is indeed a refutation of always / never arguments. If someone has made a universal claim, one confirmed counter-example is enough to sink them. The dis-honest anti’s, among others, love this, arguing “If things *ever, one time* come out the way I said, I’m right, but if they *ever, one time* do not come out the way you said, you’re wrong.”

    The useful reply is a group story – both the numbers and images. “Well, I think people with small hands and weaker grips, like grandmothers, say, ought to have a chance to protect themselves with a .380, even if they can’t handle, or won’t carry a full-sized .45. It seems to me they’re the folks most in need of an equalizer when facing some amped-up thug.”

  31. When we were overseas my wife carried a .25 cal. Colt auto. My daughter later carried it and having seen them shoot it, I wouldn’t volunteer to be on the receiving end. I don’t think being shot with a mouse gun would be on anyone’s 10 best list.

  32. After reading this I had to go back and watch the video of Jerry Miculek hitting a target from 200 yards with a S&W Bodyguard M&P .380.
    Which I think has a weird trigger break after a long pull, and a front sight that’s too wide. But if a .380 is that accurate at 200yd, I think I’ll be OK at bad-breath distances.

  33. Unless your name is Jerry Michulek, the pocket pistol, no matter what the chambering, is good for only one thing: close in personal defense. Even a soul killing GI 1911 is going to be a mismatch against a rifle armed opponent beyond 25yards unless your name is Alvin York.

    This constitutes my argument against the pocket pistol as anything except a backup gun. While most DGUs happen at the effective range of one of those pieces, there is a high enough probability that you may need something with better ballistics that you should carry some thing more substantial. We recently and reluctantly introduced a 380 into the family arsenal because of my wife’s physical limitations but it wasn’t a sub 3″ barreled pocket pistol. It was a duty sized 1911-380 with a 4.25″ barrel. At 17 oz and 85% of the size of a Commander it is a different animal than even a Glock 42. Most of won’t be able to use it at 75 yards but it is very accurate at 25-30 yards. 380 may be a more potent round out of the Browning than a 9mm out of a 3″ barrel

    • If you can carry a 1911 all the time, rock on. Most people can’t or won’t, for various reasons. This is why .380s are so popular — they fit better into most peoples’ lifestyles. Some will say “well, they should just change their jobs/clothing/environment/physical infirmities so they can carry a bigger gun,” but that’s just not going to happen.

      A .380 is a compromise. And, oh by the way, so is a 1911.

    • Most modern 380 are very accurate guns. The only problem is most have so-so triggers and crappy sights. Fix that and they will surprise you.

  34. “Would you rather they was killed by 357 magnums?”

    Poe’s Law in full effect; the anti-gunners are telling us to use bigger guns

    *BTW, those obnoxious ads you’re ‘doing something about’ are still lousing up the joint. You should really have Sara do an article on how she feels about the various bate-bait and impotence ads that get plastered all over her “Woman’s guide to X” articles when tracking/cookies are disabled. You know, seeing as how you brought her on board in the first place to make the OFWG’s club more professional & approachable.

    But if your revenue stream is so dependent upon such filth (a scenario I doubt highly) perhaps the clientele here really is so loathsome and moronic to be taken by such temptation (a scenario I also doubt highly), and those interested in actual gun-topics should take our precious mouse-clicks elsewhere. Like TFB or someplace, which, while obnoxious in a few respects, at least manages to regularly generate real content without rubbing garbage in our faces.

  35. Wonder if someone is trying to go down the “Saturday Night Special” arguments to try to get these banned.

    IMHO, hit someone center mass with .380 defensive round and I am sure the bad guy is going to feel it,

    Having taught enough people now, it is not the caliber but what best fits your hand. I cannot shoot my Sig 238 worth a damn but my niece can keep all the shots within the 8 ring at 25yards

  36. Hmm, I read that to mean that Bloomberg wants us to carry a backup gun for those longer distances. Perhaps if I carried an AR-10 or Barrett, it would make him happy. It would make me happy. A little heavy, though. 🙂

  37. If a pocket gun is all you have, learn to shoot it accurately, and carry a shoebox full of loaded spare mags for it in the truck, with a couple in your pocket. I have a seven round .380, haven’t tried it at distance yet (Too wet here and no indoor ranges) but I do carry two spare mags, so 21 rounds? I can at least keep somebody’s head down until he hits me or the cops show up mebbe. Like several posters pointed out though, if you have to go to the vehicle for it, make it a long gun with scope, or at least a red dot sight.

  38. The article read like a vegan reviewing a steakhouse. If I chose to conceal carry, I’d look at a Beretta Cheetah in .380 ACP as a top choice.

  39. I always tell people that they should carry as much gun as they are comfortable with, but that 99.99% of criminals are unprepared to stand and fight regardless of the size of the hole you are trying to poker in them, be it .22 or .45. I don’t want ANY holes at all poked in me, and I think it’s likely that most people feel the same way.

  40. 22LR basically kills the most people almost every year. So no reason to badmouth the larger .380.

  41. “…Stephen Sharp II showed up to work at a St. Louis power plant right as coworker Timothy Hendron carried out a massacre with an AK-47. Retrieving a Walther .380 pistol from his truck ,he opened fire at Hendron, and kept shooting until he had loosed all six rounds from across the parking lot. …”

    So let me see……what Mr. Yablon at the Trace is actually saying is:

    1> We need to carry a larger caliber than .380.
    2> We need to carry larger capacity magazines
    3> We need to be able to carry WHILE at work and not have to run out to a park vehicle to retrieve the ability to protect ourselves or others.

    Check, check and check.

    • Better yet, PRACTICE with the dam gun you are betting your life on. Know the effective range. I bet if he had shot the pistol more than ?50 rounds a year OR less he would have hit the target. Practice,Practice,Practice. Of course any practice will never equal the feeling of PANIC when something like this happens and paper is not shooting at you. At least he tried to stop the BG.

  42. 380 is a garbage round. A heavy leather jacket and layers of clothes turns a 380 into a hard punch. The only acceptable pistol calibers are 40SW, 45ACP, 45GAP, 357 Mag, 357 SIG, 38 Spec., 5.7, and of course any big game calibers in the 44 to 50 range. The whole point of a self defence pistol round is fast incapacitation. 380 is inadequate of this basic task. 9MM stinks too but is at least acceptable over any 380 garbage. Mouse guns are great if youre shooting mice. Big angry people, no.

    • I see what you are saying, I’d love to carry my ruger redhawk in 454 but it’;s just not practical for EDC. My solution was to carry a .357 snub. Maxim power/penartation in a semi-smallish package, For concealment I have to wear a button up shirt untucked and down south in 98 deg heat it can be uncomfortable. So out comes the .380 stuck in my front pocket. (PA3T) or even the North American Arms mini-mag in .22 mag. I know “mouse guns” inferior calibers, blah,blah,blah. But any gun when someone is hell bent on killing you is better than no gun. I also just carry to protect me and mine not running thru the mall taking out badguys Die Hard style dropping mags and yelling “Welcome to the party pal” Let’s leave the dream sequences to “Ralphie” and the Red Ryder.

    • ” Mouse guns are great if youre shooting mice. Big angry people, no.”

      Fred, that’s a lot of Geezer Science in your post. Nice way to state a narrow minded, ill-informed opinion as absolute ‘fact.’ That’s just how the Progressive Anti-Gun folks “debate” and have “conversations.”

      Here’s a good one to read or listen to:



    • Way to simplistic and confrontational Fred . Too many variables to make these claims . I have personally shot my 22 WMR through protective vest that my .45 just bounce off of . You have to factor in velocities and weights as well as barrel lengths and you know the rest . I prefer small caliber high velocity with large capacity and I ain’t no dummy .

      • If you’re on the receiving end of the venom coming from an AR, you can name any caliber handgun that you want and you’re out gunned. On the other hand handgun to handgun the odds get much better as long as you HAVE A GUN!

    • Oh, please–“the only acceptable calibers are blah blah blah…” Utter claptrap, you wouldn’t agree to let me shoot you at SD distance with my 9×18 any more than Mr. Yablon would–even with a heavy leather jacket. Ditto .32, .22 Magnum, .25, .22 LR… A.22 to the face is worth more than a dozen .44Magnums back in the truck.

    • “A heavy leather jacket turns a 380 into a hard punch.”

      Reference please.

      Every time?

      Reference please.

      Never killed someone wearing a leather jacket?

      Reference please.

      Moses was deluded when he designed the Hi-Power in .380?

      Reference please.

    • I own a leather jacket, a Soviet greatcoat, and a 380. The ability to penetrate such a greatcoat was actually the seal of quality for commando knives back in the day. I one day, out of curiosity, and at least some incentive from a bet, decided to try out the leather and the coat over a ham vs my little PA-63. It was a bad day for the bacon.

  43. You could probably draw the same graph illustrating conceal carry license holders correlating with pocket 9mm sales as well. Or any other caliber. Nothing to see here.

  44. Many years ago, I well-known pundit (I think it was Thomas Sowell) said (paraphrasing):

    “There is nothing quite as sobering as the theologically unwashed presuming to lecture a two thousand year old church.”

    Same principle applies to the ballistically unwashed vs. the shooting community.

  45. The right gun for you is the one that you will consistantly carry. My .380 kahr PM380 seems to meet that requirement 100% of the time.

  46. I went to The Trace and read the complete article. They did not have a comments area at the end (like you do), so I looked around till I found their “letters” address, along with the standard “we want to hear from you”. I wrote a polite (for me) email about there position, and hit send…. Got “undeliverable, bad email address”. So I guess they don’t REALLY want to here from me. Since they can’t be bothered with reader response, I’ll post it here:
    I read your article with great interest. It sounds like you feel that only police, ex special forces or physically large men with years of training are worth defending. No new gun owners (sorry, you got in too late), no petite women (can’t fit a .45 Auto under your blouse? Guess you should put on some weight, or let a MAN take care of you), no one that lives in a warn climate (too hot to wear a jacket to hide your .45 Auto? guess you’ll have to go without).
    Just kidding! It happens I agree with you 100%! I’m a big guy, I carry a couple big handguns, and lots of extra ammo. I also keep a takedown AR rifle in my brief case and a .308 in the trunk of my car, and I have been to several shooting schools. If your too small, too weak, or can’t afford the hardware and training, I guess the bad guys will shortly remove you from the gene pool. Only big, strong, rich government employed and trained MEN are worth saving.
    I do have one question: While Stephen Sharp II (brave to the point of stupidity) was trading shots with a rifle armed madman, how many targets (potential victims) escaped? Since they didn’t die, that information is of no use to you, but I am curious.

    Thank you for the time you took reading my letter. Since it’s hard to tell without body language clues, please be aware there’s a lot of sarcasm included (no extra charge!). I would be happy to discuss this subject further, if you wish.
    Thank you again,
    Ralph Seifert
    [email protected]

  47. Thanks, Bloomberg! I’ll be sure to carry a nice, big, powerful 45 now just to ensure I’m carrying enough gun! That’s what you were trying to warn about, right?

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