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I carry a P238, on occasion, after giving up on the weak-sister .380 rounds available for my old P232, a few years ago. After studying much literature and online testing, I am convinced that Buffalo Bore's 100gr standard pressure hardcast .380 is the best choice for self defense. The round has impressive penetration, while only powered by a .380 charge. When I was starting out my career, many years ago, the police standard was often a 158gr solid SWC. The round was adequate for punching through bone, windshields and burly bodies clad in heavy winter clothing. Naturally, all shooters must be concerned about over-penetration, but nearly every .380 test shows big expansion and minor, 6--8" penetration with modern .380 specialty ammo. Sometimes, the "old reliable" concept is best. Buffalo Bore's solid round feeds smoothly and will reach vital organs with well placed shots.
 
Posts: 143 | Location: SW Michigan | Registered: August 16, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've seen some testing done with BB .380 and the results weren't all that great for what they cost.

They are also really rough on some pocket pistols and may actually violate warranties.

The Remington Golden Saber JHP is a heavy .380 JHP and has good results and seems to have a following around here. It's what I have my Dad use in his KT P3AT.


 
Posts: 21828 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: November 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I use the Buffalo Bore standard pressure loading with the hardcast round. It is also available as a +P and I agree, too many pressure concerns for my liking. I've used lots of Golden Sabre. When the hollow point expands, it penetrates less than most others. Lots of online footage shows it clogging up with denim and penetrating like a .380 solid. other times. The trouble is, you never know what the Sabre will do. I know that the BB round will penetrate deep and cut a clean hole due to its SWC shape.
 
Posts: 143 | Location: SW Michigan | Registered: August 16, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Speer Gold Dot 90 grain will get you 11-12 inches and Hornady XTP will get you 12-14 inches of penetration.

My most carried gun these days is a Glock 42 .380 loaded with Gold Dots. I think its better than FMJ. Premium ammo, its hot, low flash powders, nickle cases, sealed primers, etc.

And you dont need Buffalo Bore in a FMJ. All FMJ will penetrate like its going out of style. Look for the flat nose .380 loads (if they are reliable in your gun) like Winchester or Browning. The flat nose is likely to have slightly better terminal performance than a round nose.


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Posts: 3769 | Location: Floriduh | Registered: October 16, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I wonder which will give out first, your hand or the gun, with some of these "hot-rodded" loads.


 
Posts: 18934 | Location: Johnson City/Elizabethton, TN | Registered: April 28, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A defensive cartridge that requires a special bullet to perforate “heavy winter clothing” should be replaced with something designed for serious purposes. If a hollow point fails to perform as intended, it’s because it didn’t expand. Fabric clothing doesn’t cause expansion and is therefore more likely to contribute to more penetration than less.

Anyone who doubts the ability of even the 22 Long Rifle to penetrate heavy clothing should go to Goodwill, pick up several pairs of jeans, and conduct their own experiments. According to some standards, four layers of denim are equivalent to “heavy” clothes. I’ve tested penetration with 12 layers and seen no evidence that the bullet was hindered in the slightest from making it to the primary target.

Bullets like the 158 grain 0.357" semiwadcutter worked most of the time because all but the weakest handgun loads work most of the time: Threaten to use a gun, and many aggressors will back off; display a gun, and more of them will back off; fire a gun, and another percentage won’t just back off, but will turn and flee as fast as their feet will take them; hit someone with a shot anywhere, and that will discourage the majority of the tiny fraction left; a solid hit on a vital spot is required to “neutralize” only a very few, and most of those have already made the decision to engage the police (or enemy military force) and “go down fighting.” If anyone encounters one of the last group, he’d better hope he has something capable of inflicting massive damage instantly—and that doesn’t include any handgun cartridge.

Does cartridge power and performance matter sometimes? Yes, and that’s why I chose the round I rely on, but before the advent of reliable autoloading handguns suitable for law enforcement self-defense, most agencies had abandoned nonexpanding bullet loads for cartridges like the 38 S&W Special or 357 S&W Magnum, and that was because hollow point bullets, even the early, not-as-effective designs, worked better for their primary purpose. And that purpose was to convince armed aggressors to stop trying to kill people. Their primary purpose wasn’t to penetrate windshields or heavy clothing, or even to penetrate bone effectively.

I would never criticize anyone’s efforts to choose the best load for whatever gun they rely on for self-defense, but we owe it to ourselves to understand the factors involved.




“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 36919 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hornady Custom XTP and Fiocchi Extrema XTP are my choices based on some testing I've seen. The Fiocchi is tough to find but the Hornady is available through Bass Pro Shops. I'll look for the Youtube link to ballistics gel and velocity testing later. Pretty impressive penetration/expansion from a sub three inch barrel.
 
Posts: 1619 | Location: Florida | Registered: September 07, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
always with a hat or sunscreen
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Agree with Rocco about the Fiocchi Extrema XTP loads. But I've relegated them to "3 season" carry and opt for Winchester Q4206 95gr FMJFN (flat nosed like the Buffalo Bore hardcast) for its greater penetration at the expense of lesser expansion through heavy winter clothing.



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Posts: 7385 | Location: Black Hills of South Dakota | Registered: June 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Number 5 is the exit hole of a 22 Long Rifle bullet fired from a handgun through 12 layers of jean denim and a piece of 2×4 wood.





“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 36919 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The big wood chip makes me feel better.
 
Posts: 1077 | Registered: September 13, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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quote:
Originally posted by sns3guppy:
The big wood chip makes me feel better.


Yes, despite what some people claim to believe, more power in handgun cartridges does matter. And for that experiment, I used the wimpiest 9mm load with any sort of a hollow point that I could lay hands on. This is what it did to the watermelon that I taped the 12 layers of denim to.



This is what a 230 grain 45 ACP Speer Gold Dot fired from a P220 did to a similar watermelon with the same 12 layers of denim.





“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 36919 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The .380 lacks power, unlike the .38 Special, 9mm and other rounds cited here. When a heavily dressed adversary crosses his arms and points his weapon at me, I need maximum penetration to reach his vital organs, piercing hands, forearms and protective bones along the way. I'll take the BB standard pressure .380 hardcast. Too many online tests show modern hollowpoint .380 rounds mushrooming to perfection and stopping 8--10" into test medium. My choice is about stopping a lethal attack, not about "convincing" an assailant to surrender.
 
Posts: 143 | Location: SW Michigan | Registered: August 16, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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