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Werewolf,

Thanks for the link; it's a good read and a very reasonable comparison. One point not mentioned is the fact that very often many folks can get better hits with the small 380 than with the double action snub 38.
 

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In my country (Bulgaria), Makarov 9x18 is the popularest handgun. This is the handgun of the police officers and millitary officers. They are permitted to use only FMJ bullets. Ballistics of bullet 9x18 are close and similar to .380ACP.
Statistics in Bulgaria shows, that in the most cases, an attacker were stopped with 6 or even 7 shots!!! (The magazine of Makarov contains 8 cartriges). This is one of the reasons , that I will go with .38Spec.
 

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Hi there,

I would enjoy starting a post on preferences between a .38 special and the 9 mm compact.

That would bring some interesting results.

Chris
 

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I own a bunch of two inch J frame .38 Spl's and only one .380 ACP. It is an Interarms "made under license" stainless PPK that I bought new back in 1987.

It and my Model 60's and 640's are about the same size and weight. So the question is, are seven rounds of Remington 102 grain Golden Saber HP better than five rounds of Federal +P 129 r Hydra-Shok? I don't think so and this is why I carry a J frame most of the time. Recently I bought a 642 Airweight Cenntennial. Thirteen ounces of aluminum and stainless. Now I carry it instead of the bobbed hammer Model 60 or the 640.

Frankly, with the exception of the KelTec P3AT and similiar sized .380's, I see little point in carrying something like the PPK. I have a Kahr Arms MK9 that is the same size and weight of the PPK. It gives you seven rounds of 9mm and I use the Corbon +P 124 gr JHP for a carry load. I've considered the PM9 due to it's lighter weight, but I'm not into plastik pistolen like some people.


Roadster
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Roadster, I'd tend to agree - which is why I now carry a Mak with 8 rds of Silver Bear in a mag and 1 in the chamber. Silver Bear (if you can believe some of the 'Net photos) gives pretty good expansion and power at the low end of 9mm ranges - and its 115gr. A little beefier than your run of the mill .380 cartridge.

As well, you'll notice throughout the article the subject of RELIABILITY - snub vs .380. Snub wins hands down. But comparing the snub vs the Mak, I suspect its a bit more level playing field


Reliability combined with accuracy of the Mak (and the 4 extra immediate rounds before reloading) I think gives the Mak the edge over the snub once you've "cleared leather".

Its the rest of the time when the snub sits in your pocket it may have an advantage over the Mak (although I'm carrying mine now in front pocket of my shorts - big pockets by the way
- and seem to be doing ok with this form of summer carry.

Its funny though, once cooler weather arrives, I'll put the Mak in the safe and start carrying my Glock 19/1911 again or my SP 101 stuffed with the FBI load.
 
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Effectiveness is generally considered to be a function of bullet mass, velocity, and expanded diameter. While .38 spl bullets are heavier than .380 auto bullets, they are also much slower, and I personally don't think that most .38 spl +P rounds have any better stopping power than .380 auto.
 
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Days when I can wear a jacket. LW Commander
Hot days. CZ-83
Really hot icky days. Bersa Thunder 380.

I gave up on snubbies years ago. Too hard to shoot. The cylinder dug into my hip when carrying IWB.

I have never shot a compact nine that I like. I have shot Glock, Kahr, Sig and S&W. I always go back to the 380 because both of mine are easy to hide and very easy to shoot. If my CCW gun is easy and fun to shoot, I tend to shoot it more often.

My CZ-83 gets the most use as a carry gun. 13+1 beats a snub with 5+1.

ZM
 
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I love my "snubbies!" I have a 2 1/2" barreled H&R Model 732 that carries in a pocket, and shoots darned well! By gum, that .32 S&W Long shoots accurately!

BTW, my wife's .38 Charter Arms "Undercover" is an excellent little boomer as well!

Scott
 
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I'm sorry for getting "off topic" the .38 S&W Special gets the nod! While I love the .380, the .38 S&W Special penetrates deeply, delivering more "one-shot-stops." ;)

Scott
 
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New member: first post!

I am very familiar with the, "Gun Week" article cited, which is still available at www.gunweek.com in the Archives section.

The writer was curious as to what real world trials might have been made between the .38 snub and the .380, particularly on animals of any real size. Consultation with Massad Ayoob revealed that Mr. Ayoob had tested both in a pork slaughterhouse, and that .380, regardless of the specific load, failed to penetrate the skulls of pigs, and was either ignored, or left the pigs in agony. The .38 lead Plus P SWC-HP DID penetrate, and was usually found expanded, against the back wall of the skull, having penetrated the skull and traversed the brain.

That is very positive evidence of the greater effectiveness of the .38 Special, although humans aren't pigs. However, Mr. Ayoob, in print and on the telephone, did affirm that he personally doesn't trust the .380 as a defense gun on humans. He has access to shootings data not readily available to most writers, and agrees in general with the results published by Marshall and Sanow, if that is a guide. Marshall and Sanow do show the .380 about on the same level as the snub 38, even with modern loads. However, if one is using a snub .38 (for some reason!) where he may need it to defend against dangerous animals, I believe that Ayoob's tests are a strong indication of how the respective guns would fare.

The gentleman from Bulgaria (see above) has said that the 9mm Makarov requires (usually) multiple hits to down a person. This will tell you how much faith to put in Skeeter Skelton's old article comparing the .38 snub and the .380. Skelton tested hardball .380 and lead RN .38 snub ammo. In that form, they gave comparable results, but Skeeter tested only for the size hole they made in wood, as I recall. This is a pretty meaningless test by modern standards.

I personally prefer the .38 snub. In some instances, a .380 may carry better or hide more easily, and be easier to wear than a .38. It may also be easier to hit with. That has to be factored in. However, as a former range officer, I can tell you that I saw a lot more malfunctions in .380 autos than I've ever seen in revolvers!

Gemini 2
 

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excellent thread! gives me a reason for a new wetpack test to compare Bersa 380, Taurus 85 38special, and Makarov 9x18 in the same wetpack. So far, I've only done them individually and while this is an unfair comparison, in my tests the Mak with Brown Bear 115gr JHP did the best, 38special with the new Speer 135gr JHP second.
Actually, Stephen has already done the most extensive comparison to-date. See his work at...
http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/Comparisonof9x18mmMakarovetc.htm
Maybe later I'll post some new data.
og
Oh, BTW, I didn't say which one I favor. Well, the Bersa belongs to my wife, the Mak is at bedside, the Taurus here at the computer. Don't really carry any of them. For CCW carry, my Kahr PM9 in the pocket.
 
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1----------*----------------------------------------------10

I personally imagine a ballistic scale (low to high) something like the above whereby -1- represents the .380 ACP., -*- represents the 9x18 MAK and -10- represents the .38 Special with each using the best conventional ammunition readily available.

I am hopeful that CorBon's new DPX line of ammunition will eventually be offered in .380 ACP and 9x18 MAK and push them toward the high end of the scale along with the .38 Special.

[Just thinking out loud]
 
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That article pretty much glossed over the most important factor in self-defense, hitting the target. It takes an experienced shooter, who practices often with a J-Frame, to hit anything other than a couple of feet away. The recoil from the most effective ammunition is punishing in a J-Frame. All that glitters is not gold. I'm sure for most people who are reading this the J-Frame is a practical option, but not for the general public. This not to say the .380 is the best answer either. Perhaps novices should consider K-Frames with 3-4" barrels and a good IWB holster. They are quite a bit easier to master.
 

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Hi there Pointblank,

For those of us new to the .38 snub:


That article pretty much glossed over the most important factor in self-defense, hitting the target. It takes an experienced shooter, who practices often with a J-Frame, to hit anything other than a couple of feet away.
I would definately have to agree with you. It takes a lot of practice to become "proficient" with the .38 snub and I know from personal experience after using full size revolvers and auto loaders for the majority of my shooting experience.

However, I have found that my Kel Tec P3-AT is one of the most accurate pocket pistols in my collection and one that is most easy to shoot.

When I switched to the S&W M-642, I found myself in need of a lot of serious practice to shoot effectively. A lot has to do with the ergonomics of the smaller revolver.

Chris
 

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That's so interesting. My first gun was a snub .38 spl (a stainless Taurus 85), and I've never found them difficult to shoot at all. Tiny autos (the baby Kel-Tecs and Rohrbaugh), on the other hand, require me to take some specific steps (special grip) to be able to hit with them. I have to say that the baby Kel-Tecs that I've owned and shot were amazingly accurate once I figured out how I needed to hold them.

I've never had difficulty with regular small autos (PPKs, etc.), just the teensy ones. But the small revos just seem second-nature to me. Probably all what you learn on and play with. I've certainly owned a number of them over the years! :)
 
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Mike McNett of Double Tap Ammunition is preparing a .380 load that should eclipse the 9 X 18 Makarov in power and penetration! He'll be loading it with 102-grain Remington Golden Saber bullets.

Be on the lookout for further developments!

Scott
 
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