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adguy,
Kellar is very kind but I'm just an ordinary member here like everybody. I'll try to give you a few opinions. I agree with what Jim just posted, and Stephen's articles are the best.
Most opinions that you can find will give the edge to the .38snub over a .380. Both are fine as civilian, last resort self defense handguns but many that travel in risky areas will only carry them as backup. You have to practice with any caliber to have confidence. A .45 is no good if you can't hit the side of a barn with it. "Placement", accuracy, is what counts, not the best ammo in the world if you can't hit the target or it hangs up in your gun.

About the only ammo I've found with a "truncated cone" for the 380 is cheap Win WhiteBox Value Pak, 95gr, at WalMart, and it's considered just an ordinary FMJ round, no better penetration than standard round nose FMJ. And it won't mushroom like standard hollow point ammo.
I wouldn't carry FMJ in a 380 due to possible overpenetration and hurt an innocent bystander. OK for target practice, but I don't carry it for self defense.

If you choose the 38snub, it's best to stick with something like Speer 135gr+P JHP or one of the rounds you read about in Stephen's articles.

For the 380, your Walther I assume you have, there are a number of excellent JHP rounds on the market now. You have to try whatever you can get and like the looks of, shoot a box, to be sure it will function without any FTF or FTE. Then stick with that ammo for carry. Good choices that we have tested to choose from include Remington GoldenSabr 102gr, Hornady XTP 90gr, Winchester SXT 95gr, and the new CorBon DPX 80gr copper bullet JHP. Some like the Speer GoldDot 90gr too. I leave the final choice up to you after you fire it in your pistol to prove it functions 100%. Try several brands if you can.

I tested the above rounds in a Sig P232, very close to the same barrel length as the Walther. You can check out the results here....for most brands....
http://www.handgunsandammo.proboards36.com/index.cgi?board=terminal&action=display&thread=1142649407
and here....for the CorBon DPX....
http://www.handgunsandammo.proboards36.com/index.cgi?board=terminal&action=display&thread=1147997440

For 38special tests, Stephen's articles are still the best.

Good luck,
og

Oh, BTW, one advantage of the 38 revolver is most ammo functions fine without problems that a semi-auto might have.
My wife's home handgun is a S&W model 37-3 with CrimsonTrace laser grips, loaded with 38special Rem GS 125+p and Speer 135+p JHPs.

(Edited to correct 38 special loadings.)
 

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adguy,
I corected my mistake in the 38special carry ammo. I had Goldensabr on my mind and just put the 380 round in the 38special incorrectly. Correct ammo for my wife's 38special is the Remington Goldensabr 125gr+p and Speer 135gr+p. Both are +p loads and work fine.
Cheers,
og

(there are no "official" "SAMMI" +p loads specified for the .380acp. Check this for SAMMI specs... http://www.leverguns.com/articles/saami_pressures.htm
Some odd brands of ammo are loaded hot and may seem like +p, I would avoid those in a 380 pistol.)
 

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thank you, xcop and Stephen, for first hand info on 380 shootings with FMJ. I wonder, though, if the results would have been different if a JHP that expanded would have been used.
What's your opinion on the best ammo to perhaps hit a vital spot and maybe stop the villian?
Are you saying that FMJ is adequate or even better for carry in a 380, or other handguns for that matter?
I've always felt FMJ was for practice, JHP for carry. Perhaps the overpenetration thing is a myth. What do you think?
og
 

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well, adguy, hope there was enough info to help you with your decisions. Looks like none of "brand name" std. velocity JHP 38s, except maybe the silvertip, showed any expansion in the snub revolver, and even then, low penetration. I'd stick with the +p JHPs in the 38. However, if you or the wife can't handle the recoil, maybe the std. velocity FMJ rounds are not such a bad choice since overpenetration doesn't seem to be such a big deal after all. I'd just try practicing more to try and learn to handle the recoil of the better +p ammo.

And based on shooting results presented, I sure wouldn't depend on any of the choices in either caliber presented to give the mythical "one-shot-stop" that we've read about. Maybe a lucky shot to the CNS might do it, but even regardless of good "placement" that we're taught, you can't depend on a handgun to stop an agressor every time.

My conclusions, just my opinion, for us civilians are...(LEO's have more options, like carrying a better, bigger caliber.)....
1. try to get away from a conflict, if at all possible. or if you can't...
2. try to get behind some cover if available....and then, for a last resort...
3. besides "placement", keep shooting until the BG goes down or stops the aggression.
for this, I'd sure want to have an extra magazine or speed loader handy. Be sure to practice with whatever choice you make.
Just, "IMHO" is all. Thanks to all for making this a very interesting discussion.
og.......all opinions welcome on this difficult subject.

Edit..shucks, I forgot to add, if you've got your cell phone, call 911.
 

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thank you, pointblank, for your observation. But we're not here to argue which is better, since all opinions are just that, opinions. All this thread is for is to compare what ammo is available for adguy in both calibers that might be considered adequate for him to carry. Also, since Marshall&Sanow are not here to defend or discuss their so called ratings, we will not debate that issue either. Therefore, anymore reference to M&S ratings is inappropriate.
Thank you for understanding.
og....humble moderator
 
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