I have recently included a P238 in my carry regiment. I practice at the range with this gun (as weather permits) at least twice a month and I'm quite proficient with it.
Always in back of my mind however is: can a 380 effectively stop a bad guy? Knowing that it was the caliber of German police forces after WW II helps me feel pretty confident, but I can't help feeling some doubt in the ability of a caliber I carry daily. Anyone else share that feeling?
I must add, I am 73 have pretty bad arthritis, and the days of carrying a big clunky gun are over. My main carries are Sig 238 and Sig 938.
I'm comfortable with my 380 LCP. It's my minimum carry, other times it's a 9 (CM9, G-43, or G-19). If you or I go up against an MS-13 or ISIS assault team, we're in big trouble. However, chances of that happening are...slim to none.
I say 380 is fine, your shooting 2x/month is great.
The 380 has plinked quite a few bad guys over its history. The key is finding the right ammo that your gun functions reliably with. I carried a P230 as a BUG for quite a while with full confidence in it.
If I were carrying a 380 these days, I would test out the Underwood 90 grain bonded HP for reliable function and carry that load. Practice ammo would whatever is cheap.
End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
Keep up the range time is my recommendation; I carry a G42 at times. I've found mine to be quite accurate, and usually have the SIG V-Crowns in it. Previous replies say it all for me beyond that.
|I Am The Walrus|
With the advancement of ammunition these days, I would feel confident in carrying it. My wife has a P238 and she carries Federal HST in it. We're also in Florida as you can see.
I believe the shot accuracy and follow up ability are great benefits for this cartridge.
I'm in the same boat as you having just turned 70 and with health challenges I've pretty much stopped carrying 1911's or my P239 like I have for a very long time.
I too have both a 238 and 938 and I rotate between the two depending on what I'm wearing. I have no qualms toward the 380 being able to stop an attack. I'm able to put 3 quick shots in center mass, no problem and that should be enough to do the job. I hope I never have to put it to the test obviously.
My choice for ammo is the Sig V-Crown 90 gr. It's never failed to go into battery or eject.
"If you can't be a good example, then you'll have to be a horrible warning" -Catherine Aird
I have a Pico (newer with upgrade) for a BUG or around the house and use Hornady XTP's. With those and the likely distance I'd shoot someone I feel confident. Especially I practice just shooting at the face & throat of my targets.
Shot placement matters most. Back when I was a cop I had 14 year old boy kill his 14 year old cousin with a .177 pellet gun single shot to the chest. I don’t have a problem carrying a 22lr after seeing that death.
I had an instructor tell me one time that "after he shot me twice in the chest and once in the head I wouldn't care what caliber he was using".
This was in a class where the subject of caliber came up. Of course the above poster talking about ISIS or MS13 has a point but I would think a long gun would be the right tool for that job.
"We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution" - Abraham Lincoln
"I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go" - Abraham Lincoln
|I have not yet begun |
The old saying of "Nobody likes to leak" comes to mind.
I would probably carry the G42 if I could ever get it back from the wife.
XTPs are my choice for that gun. Its very accurate with them.
After the game, the King and the pawn go into the same box.
I thank you all for your replies. I didn't mention this in my original thread but, my choice of carry ammo is Hornady XTP. My research seems to indicate that it is one of the few rounds that will penetrate 12-13" and reliably expand through 4 layers of denim and gelatin and my P238 functions 100% reliably with it.
That's what I carry in my LCP. I did some very UNscientifc testing and one round expanded just right. As long as it works in your gun, XTP is a fine choice.
Here's what I posted a few years ago, no photo since I have not found a replacement for PhotoBucket:
A very UNscientific test of 380 XTP
Penetration: 12+" inches of water
Expansion: About 6/16"
Sample size: One round
Last week I set up three water-filled 6” milk jugs and fired one round thru my LCP from about 4 feet. It went through three jugs, settling in the third. I could not determine how far it went into the third jug, so I called it 12" of penetration.
What did this prove? Well, not a lot. But 150+ XTPs have flawlessly chambered and fired thru my LCP, and the one I tested expanded as designed.
What will stop bad guys, assuming they’re not fanatic Islamic jihadists who are already shooting at us (in order):
1. Situational awareness and avoiding BGs in the first place.
2. Proper reaction and response not involving weapons.
3. Moving to a ready stance (facing the BG, positioning one’s hand so that it’s obvious what we’re doing).
4. Drawing and displaying a gun—any gun. This will deter the majority of criminals looking for an easy victim and who haven’t been deterred before this point.
5. Pointing a gun—any gun—at the BG coupled with loud, verbal commands such as, “Back off, or I’ll shoot you!” This will get rid of more BGs.
6. Firing a gun—any gun—at the BG (no hits required; firing is enough for this stage). Few BGs that the average civilian non-LEO will ever encounter will persist beyond this point.
7. Hitting the BG with the bullet—any bullet—anywhere. This will deter practically everyone who is still left.
8. Causing significant damage to the BG with the bullet.*
Most stage 8 and many stage 7 shootees fall down immediately or while running away.
9. Physically incapacitating the BG with the bullet.*
* Only in these last two stages does projectile power, size, and construction begin to matter.
(At this point I’ll mention that some people claim to believe that variations in handgun projectile power don’t make any difference in wounding or “stopping” effectiveness. They say they believe that all handguns have the same—and very minor—ability to cause effective damage that prevents BGs from having their evil ways with us. Those people should indeed adopt the least powerful reliable handgun they can find for self-defense. I’m not one of those who believe all that, though, and hence the rest of this discussion.)
Power is the ability to do work, and therefore more power = more ability to do work.
Once we get to stage 8 or 9 in the above list, the work that we want a defensive bullet to do for us is to cause damage to the BG target. Physical damage makes things like the circulatory system, the nervous system, and the bones and joints and muscles stop working properly. It also causes pain and other forms of distress and discomfort to the shootee. Expanding bullets deliver more of their energy (or power if we don’t care about precise physics terms) to the target, so they’re often a benefit in self-defense applications. Larger bullets contact a tiny bit more tissue as they’re doing their work, and therefore that may help with the intended results as well, assuming their larger size and weight aren’t offset by other differences.
So, does cartridge power matter for self-defense purposes? In the vast majority of incidents, no, it doesn’t. Not because the ballistics effects among various handgun cartridges and projectiles don’t matter (saying they don’t is, to be polite, just silly), but because we must get to stage 8 as a minimum before it does. But what if we need to reach at least stage 8, and possibly stage 9 because the BG is truly a highly motivated BAD guy who has our wife hostage or for some inexplicable reason has broken into our home with the intent of not retreating and going down fighting with his last ounce of strength and will? Then extra power and the ability of the projectile to cause stage 8 or 9 damage and other effects become important. Does the 380 ACP have enough power for the job? Sure. Sometimes.
Many people start chanting the “shot placement” mantra in these discussions as if it were like Jeeves the butler’s “placing” the seafood fork in the proper position next to the spoon for the sticky toffee pudding. I don’t know anyone like that personally, so it’s therefore possible that some of them might have the skills to do that; if so, then that’s wonderful. Heck, with a couple of proper pellet hits, an airsoft gun would do. But when I say I don’t personally know anyone with that level of sang-froid and skill, that includes me. I shoot a lot under somewhat trying conditions and have therefore become pretty good at it. I’m not, however, skilled enough to be confident that I could shoot a perfect Mozambique on every BG who might decide to invade my home or shoot up a public gathering that I’m attending.
If I could “place” a bullet exactly where I wanted every time under any circumstances—when wounded, exhausted, partially blinded by blood or pain, in the dark, at longer distances than I normally shoot, partially disabled and shooting with my left hand that’s now missing a finger, when I’m moving and the BG is moving, etc., etc., etc.—then any gun would do. But because I can’t, then I want some other advantages for the home team, and that includes relying on cartridges that are more forgiving of less than perfect marksmanship to cause the damage I would like to inflict. I will still strive to be as skilled a defensive shooter as I can be, but I’m not going to willingly reject any extra help I can get.
“He who writes carelessly confesses thereby at the very outset that he does not attach much importance to his own thoughts. ”
— Arthur Schopenhauer
|Fire for effect|
^^^ Sigfreund, that is a very good post!
"Ride to the sound of the big guns."
In Baltimore there are a whole lot of dead folks with .380 holes in them. Chris
The opinion of someone who's done significant research into the subject:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by BBMW:
The opinion of someone who's done significant research into the subject:
That section you've quoted seems to be the posters' opinion. Further down it references a study however, that was from the 1980-90's whereas modern designs like the XTP didn't exist. Grain of salt situation.
Handguns chambered in .380 ACP are small, compact, and generally easy to carry. Unfortunately, testing has shown that they offer inadequate performance for self-defense and for law enforcement use whether on duty as a back-up weapon or for off duty carry. The terminal performance of .380 ACP JHP's is often erratic, with inadequate penetration and inconsistent expansion being common problems, while .380 ACP FMJ's offer adequate penetration, but no expansion. All of the .380 ACP JHP loads we have tested, including CorBon, Hornady, Federal, Remington, Speer, and Winchester exhibited inconsistent, unacceptable terminal performance for law enforcement back-up and off duty self-defense use due to inadequate penetration or inadequate expansion. Stick with FMJ for .380 ACP or better yet, don't use it at all. The use of .380 ACP and smaller caliber weapons is really not recommended for LE use and many savvy agencies prohibit them.
Here is the wrap-up of .380 commercially available ammo testing by Shooting the Bull 410. The gel tests for individual rounds can be found with a google search. I found this you-tube series very informative when searching for a round for my daughters G42.
Just another day in paradise.
You might want to understand who that poster is.
|Step by step walk the thousand mile road|
I'll offer this observation.
A 9m Kurz on your belt is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000% better than any gun you left in the safe.
If you have a need to carry a small, easily concealable handgun, carry one. Eve if its a .22LR.
As SIGfreund noted, its not until you are actually shooting that terminal ballistics become important. The unstated point he makes is that if you get to the point of squeezing the trigger, you've made a series of very poor tactical decisions, the sum of which I doubt will be overcome by anything short of a Ford F-350's brush grill.
That said, I carry a P320 Compact (when its not waiting for the "voluntary upgrade") or a P226. If I need a more powerful handgun, I have a SIG 556XI is 7.62x39 mm I can conceal under a burhka. I am, however, looking for a not-quite SOB left handed leather holster for a P230 in 9mmK simply because there are some times when I need greater concealability tha my P320 but not the degree I can achieve with my Kel-tec PF-9 (which is unpleasant as hell to shoot).
Nice is overrated
And people wonder why I carry a SIG P320
Death to Terrorists
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