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Mr. Michael Garcia from West Virginia sends his “Micro EDC” pocket dump brought to us by Everyday Carry.

He’s a law-enforcement officer and he writes this of his “stuff”:

Glock 42. Ameriglo Hackathorn sights. Taran Tactical +1 Base Pads. Bladetech Klipt and Signature carriers. Loaded with Hornady Critical Defense. Benchmade 580 Custom Barrage. Magpul Daka Essentials wallet. H&K style key chain. Streamlight Protac 2L. Cheap sunglasses and a decent blue pen. Cheers.

So another Taran Tactical user.  Shooting Hornady Critical Defense .380 JHP out of his single-stack Glock 42 – with night sights.  Interesting choices.  Kudos for carrying an extra magazine, a light and a nice blade, even if it’s a Benchmade.  And, obviously, a gun.

I know Hornady makes basically two types of .380 hollowpoints:  The Critical Defense with the plastic plug to keep the HP cavity from clogging, and the XTP.  Didn’t the XTP get better, more consistent penetration and the Critical Defense rounds sometimes fall short of 12″ of penetration?  Thoughts on the best .380 carry rounds?  Put them in comments, please.  I’m carrying the XTPs in my backup gun.  If there’s something better, I want it!

Clearly, no beard comb from Mr. Garcia.  Is he slacking or just beardless?

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  1. Best advice on .380 carry ammo. Don’t carry one. Carry something bigger. Better than a sharp stick, I suppose. Depending on the size of the stick.

    • If you can carry a rifle, it’ll work better. If not, the differences between handgun calibers are so small that it’s just fodder for internet forums. As a conceal carrier, the chance that you’ll get into and then lose a gunfight based on the fact that you went with a .380 over a 9mm is about nil.

      • I was out at the range shooting pepper popper targets. One guy brought out his .380. This round could not knock down the target. Threw a baseball at it, fell right down. Shot it with a 9, fell right down. Got rid of my .380 the following week.

        • And if your goal in a defensive shoot is to knock down little metal popper targets that might be relevant. It’s not mine, though.

          (you know that they calibrate those, right? Someone could just as easily twist the bolt so that a 9mm or .45 wouldn’t knock them down but a .357 would- at which point you would presumably start carrying around a full size revolver, right?)

        • Spaulding baseball.

          I was aware of the adjustments, but with how easy it was to take down with a baseball I believe that the .380 wouldn’t fare well in the winter seasons where I’m at (multi-layered clothing).

    • The limitation of .380 is that it doesn’t have enough power to provide both deep penetration and great expansion. You have to pick one or the other. Penetration to the depth of vital organs is the more important.

      A few years ago, ShootingTheBull410 tested many .380 (and 9 mm) cartridges in ballistic gelatin. He got adequate penetration (the FBI’s 12″ to 18″) with just about any .380 cartridge that used Hornady’s XTP bullet. Federal Hydra-Shok was a second choice that penetrated deeper and was less consistent. None of them expanded very much.

      The vast majority of criminals are opportunistic cowards. They are looking for an easy score, not a fight to the death. They will run for their lives at the first hint their intended victim is ready and able to defend himself. Most of the rest will run at the first shot whether it hits them or not. That leaves a miniscule minority most of whom are mentally ill, high on drugs or, in the rarest case, committed, fanatical terrorists. They are a legitimate problem because they won’t quit until they are so badly wounded that their bodies give out.

      • Valid points.

        I tend to look at this the other way though. Yeah, .380 isn’t great (and quite frankly I don’t much like it) but I don’t tend to ask what the limitation of the round is, but rather I look at the gun firing it and the person shooting the gun and ask about the person on the other end.

        My mom has some serious arthritis in a single finger of her dominant hand which makes anything with a significant recoil impulse a problem for anything other than the very first shot. I’d rather she use a .22LR pistol and shoot someone three times rather than shoot a “better bullet” and miss with all of them. My question isn’t really “What are the limitations of .22, .380 or Bullet X?” but rather “What are the limitations of someone who has a few .22LR or .380 rounds in their body and, if necessary, can that round count be added to?”. As long as you can keep shooting the person until the threat stops, why does it matter what you shoot them with, provided the platform is giving you the ability to actually shoot them and not just shoot at them?

        Kind of like Archer.

        “UUGGHH! What’s wrong with you!?”

        “Me? Nothing, but you have a bullet inside of you.”

        • More people are killed from a .22, than most any other caliber….This was stated one night by a cop, who was in our shooting group. He said a .22 goes in and bounces around instead of exiting, like a more powerful round would do; and thus, more internal damage.

          People who have lost hand strength due to age or other reasons, are better served being able to use a .22, than nothing at all. Plus, the diminished recoil of a .22 would make a shooter more likely to hit what they are shooting, instead of flinching at the anticipated recoil of a more powerful gun.

    • With modern advancements in powdur and bullut technology the .380 is just as good as a 9 mm and a 9mm is just as good .45 and a .45 is just as good as a Creedmoor and a Creedmoor is just as good as a rocket ship. It’s all about technology….And now for the TTAG staff that suckerd me on looking for Easter eggs, I’m offering a chance to light the fuse on my Neutrino Fusion Bommb( light fuse get away fast). To win guess how possum spells his name without an O?

  2. Seems pretty complete.

    Personally I’d swap the mag carrier to a horizontal style but that’s just me. *kisses cow*

  3. The Precision One XTP is probably the best you’re gonna get from a 380. Consistent expansion, optimal, yet not perfect, penetration and larger overall expanded diameter. Shootingthebull410 did an ammo quest on the 380 years ago.

  4. Glock 42 just seems stupid to me. Just carry the 43 with a proper defensive round, it’s the same size!

    My Kahr pm9 is smaller than this thing and it shoots a proper bullet as well. I just don’t get it.

    A good simple load-out other than the weak round.

    • Glock 42 is the same size as a 43 the way a 43 is the same size as a 26……in fact, they are not.

      The 42 is thinner and shorter than the 43. I can pocket carry a 42 but not a 43.

      And it could be he gets hits faster with 42 than a 43…or he may just like it better.

      • Exactly. If Glock made the 43 so it could fit in my pocket I would be all over it. Unfortunately, they didn’t. The 42 does fit. Loaded with Lehigh Defense I dont feel like penetration (or damage) is a problem. Don’t understand the 42 hate on here. Take a Lehigh +P .380 to the chest and tell me it sucks and is useless. idiot keyboard commandos.

  5. Why? A .380 makes sense in a tiny LCP2, but a G42 is the same size and about the same weight as a G43. If you aren’t handicapped in some way that the more powerful 9mm is just too much, why would you use the G42? Sure, all handguns are pretty under powered, but you can’t conceal an AR under your shirt.

    • 4oz lighter empty and 5oz lighter loaded.

      1/3 inch short and a slight bit skinnier.

      No…not the same size or weight.

      • 1/3 inch in guns this small means nothing to me, But I will concede 5 ounces isn’t insignificant. But again if size and weight are that importan to you the LCP2 is both smaller and lighter, though they should include a spare mag with it.

    • Maybe he or she gets more shots on target with the smaller caliber. One doesn’t need to be ‘handicapped’ to do better with less recoil.

      There has been a move towards putting hotter rounds in smaller guns. Great for concealment and carrying around, not as good for shooting.

  6. Any of you tried the Lehigh Xtreme Defender (not Penetrator). .380 goes 16-18” deep thru no barrier or clothing. Wound pattern in gel is as good or better than any JHP. I have tested all of the rounds mentioned prior out of a 2.75” LCPII and a 3.8” Cheetah. Consistent, good results every time with this bullet while results with JHP’s were all over the place. This bullet is loaded under the Underhill and Black Hills ammo companies. I use this solid copper bullet based on my own guns results.

    • How dare you sir. the 9mm humpers on here like to use modern bullet design as a way to promote 9mm back into adequacy and legitimacy, but how dare you use the same logic to promote .380! bullet technology improvement is ONLY a way to pump the tires of 9mm. In their world, bullet improvement in larger calibers do not also (correspondingly) increase the lethality gap over 9mm, so those are to be ignored. In a similar fashion, do not bother claiming that 5.56 could possibly be replaced because of all the improvements made over 5 decades in shining that turd. Show them a logical improvement in intermediate battle cartridges that they can’t ignore, and they throw the supply chain BS at you. good god. Folks love their binky calibers dont they.

      • “9mm & 5.56 are the best mkay” knows all obviously. Just ask.
        All that was stated in the original post was “has anyone tried …. “ and their personal experience. No promotion of anything was stated. Only personal results (facts).
        I own and have shot everything from .22 thru .50 in pistols (rifle rounds are a different world), so don’t mix the discussion. They can all kill. Why LEO chooses what he does is his business and I would suggest you allow him one free shot at you at 10 yards. You can use whatever you know to be superior to return fire. We all have reasons and preferences for what we carry. How about discussing, instead of childish lecturing. Good luck.

        • your sarcasm detector is turned off. I was defending you actually. guess it does not translate well in text form. I carry lehigh defenders in .380 as well, and my point was that folks in this particular article comment sections who poopoo .380 out of hand are 9mm humpers, who are closely related to the 5.56 humpers in similar articles.

        • My apologies
          A good day for me to be quiet. We are on the same page. We protect ourselves and family the best we know how.

    • It also is a new gun with known problems with the striker. Say what you want about glocks, they go bang when the trigger is pulled (and not otherwise) and are a known quantity.

      Additionally, smaller\lighter with a more powerful round is not always an asset.

      • (don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge glock fan and I’m seriously looking at a 365 myself… but I can see why someone would go with glock-brand glocks. Particularly if they’ve trained and carried them for years)

        • Borrow or rent a P365 and a Glock 43 / 43X. Shoot the 365 with the 12-rnd mags (fits most people’s hands perfectly). Ideally you should shoot it and the Glock 43 / 43X during the same session…for me, the Glock stayed at the LGS while the diminutive Sig went home….YMMV. BTW, it absolutely loves the Federal HST 124 standard pressure loading.

          Disclaimer: I own an elderly Glock 22 (Gen 2) and a G19 Gen5. Glocks have a place in anyone’s stable of firearms…but, for concealed EDC the P365 is hard to beat (1800+ rounds with no issues).

  7. Give it a rest…balestic gel this, penetration that, expansion is shown to be….blah, blah blah. None of you hating on the caliber selection would stand at 25 yards and let him practice the apparent ineffectiveness of his round.

    • That’s a pretty broad statement. After guzzling a fifth of cheap vodka I seem to think I’m bullut proof

        • That’s the trouble with cheap vodka, most of it comes in plastic bottles, can’t hardly slice tires with a plastic bottle. It’s not the spiders so much as it is them damn snakes crawling out of my boots. A half a gallon and I will take on any damn truck or prius

    • Kudos to Valhalla 1776. Right on. There are a lot of people no longer on earth because they weren’t told a small caliber weapon can kill you just like a large caliber. Research the number of gun deaths via a .22 LR (1 round). Use what you are comfortable with and quit bashing what others use for whatever reason. Aim true.

      • Agreed! The “I don’t shoot [Shockwave/.380/.45/Glock/Taurus/whatever], therefore it is useless and you are stupid” game is very tiresome. Likewise, the whole “if you don’t hunt like i do, you’re not a REAL hunter,” people need to get over themselves. Including me.

  8. To each their own but why carry .380 when virtually the exact same package is available in 9mm? For some people like the elderly or small frame females the lighter recoil and slide with a .380 makes sense but this is a law enforcement officer…

  9. I carry the SA 911, my “combat” load is Winchester “Defend” 95 gr. BJHP. Not the best penetration – I’ve seen it on vids in the 8” to 10” range – but a terrific expander. That’s because my range round is Winchester White Box 95 gr., which I can find everywhere locally, and both cycle flawlessly.

    Discretion is a big factor for me because in the circles I travel, a lot of people would get freaked out a bit by my having a gun. My whole package – gun, 7+1 load (6+1 flush mag in dress slacks), holster – is a nice slim 17 1/2 oz. nobody notices unless they look close and know what to look for. But it’s a solid, accurate shooter, too; just the other day I put ten rounds in a 3” circle at 7 yards pretty quickly. Rapid and accurate follow ups are a thing.

    People can talk about ballistics on paper or jell tests or whatever, but what Ellifritz proved back in ‘11 is not that a .380 is “just about as powerful as a .45”, but that it’s powerful enough. You go to flatten a city with a nuke, what are you gonna use? One megaton or five? The five MT is certainly five times as powerful, but the one MT will still flatten the city for all intents and purposes.

    Once again, Mr. Browning got it right.

    That’s my two cents.

  10. Many .380 loads don’t expand reliably out of short barrels endemic to the guns chambered for them. Non-expanding ARX or Lehigh designs would be my preference if I carried one for that reason. And if the barrel on your 380 is long enough for HPs to expand reliably, you can conceal a 9mm. My $0.02.

    • “ScubaOz” did a test on Winchester “D” .380 back in December of ‘15. He was using a Sig P238, which is practically identical to my SA 911 (the mags are interchangeable and even the barrel might be). He didn’t specify the range but said he used “FBI protocol” which means seven yards. He did four layers of denim over 10% ballistic gelatin. He got 11” penetration and excellent expansion. Other testers got about 8”, and some were not as keen on it as others, but it did always seem to expand very well. Both expansion and penetration are important, of course, but for me I favor the former because I want as much energy as possible transferred to the target and not wasted beyond the target.

      I know for a very small weight/size penalty I can get a 9mm (the SA 911 just came out in this flavor), but a friend who has the comparable Sig 938 complains that he has difficulty with accurate follow up shots; he is a pretty big, burly fellow, by the way.

      Statistically – at least according to Ellifritz – in terms of real world DGU incapacitation/killing rates, the difference between .380 ACP and 9mm is practically nil. Doesn’t mean .380 is “just as powerful”, it just means that against a human target not wearing body armor within common DGU engagement range, a .380 will f*** you up just as bad as a 9mm. As neither round – like just about any common centerfire defensive handgun chambering – will likely kill or incapacitate on the first hit, fast and accurate follow up shots are critical. Out of a pocket-sized handgun, with modern ammo, this makes .380 ACP about the best EDC option for me (and a lot of other folks).

      Which is not to say that I’m not tempted to get a nine…training ammo sure is cheaper!



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