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Hello. With the lighter calibers one school of thought is that FMJ should be used to insure adequate penetration while others opine that penetration is sufficient with expanding bullets and opt for such ammunition.

I'd be interested in hearing the opinions of folks here, who by choice or circumstance, happen to use the .380 for self protection purposes.

Best.
 

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Hello. I carry Federal Hydra-Shock in my Colt Pony. The next batch of ammo will probably be Federal Classic Hi-Shok. I appreciate your recommendation of it in your book "Defensive Handguns" as far as feed profile/reliability and its terminal performance.

I have considered Remington 102gr. Golden Saber but am fearful that it may expand too quickly, not enough penetration.
 

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SAC, I tend to go along with David Difabalo, and Doc. Roberts on this, for me its the 102 grain saber,,, I used to use hydras and silvertips,but they just don't expand,
 

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Hello. I hope to get hold of some of the DPX in this caliber in the future. Hopefully, it will provide both expansion and more penetration.

We'll see.

Best.
 

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Hello,

I don't carry my Series-95 Bersa much anymore, but, I kinda lean towards Ball Ammo for personal protection use in any "centerfire pistol" smaller than a 9mm, because I'm afraid the small caliber Hollow Points will not have enough penetration.

Take Care,
THE SOCKMAN
 

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The "classic" Cor-Bon JHP load seems to offer just about the most velocity/muzzle energy (1050 fps/220 ft/lbs) of the commercially available 380 rounds out there, and assuming reliability, would seem to be a reasonable choice for some. Nevertheless, I am intrigued by Mr. Camp's views on the Hornady XTP, as a bit more (potential) penetration in this caliber would seem to be a good thing. I am quite interested in hearing of his Hornady XTP results in water and wet-pack (if he has any), although at some point we probably ought to consider taking up a collection to help subsidize his research efforts!
 

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I don't carry a .380, so perhaps I should keep quiet. But I've worked on a couple of killings with .380s and a couple of non-fatal shootings with .380s.

Based on what I've seen (in the OMI reports and the testimony of the pathologists and the doctors), I would advise anyone carrying a .380 to go for penetration and carry FMJs. And to practice a lot.
 

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Depending on what you think is best.....big expansion and less penetration........or less expansion and more penetration......my "unballistic" tests with newpaper wetpacks show......
Golden Sabers more expansion less penetration
and,
Speer Golddots less expansion more penetration

both are what I would call barely adequate.

Cheers,
og
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hello, Old Grandpa. This is pretty much what I've seen in similar tests. I am hoping that the promised Corbon DPX loads achieve a better degree of both expansion and penetration. They will be reportedly offering this stuff in .380 and 9mm Mak.

Best.
 

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Stephen, I agree, but my dealer still doesn't have any DPX and I only want one box to test. Could order by internet but shipping on one box too much. Hope somebody here will post their test results either with wet paper, water jugs, or whatever.
og
 

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Mr. Camp,

I'm chiming in very late on this and was going to keep silent as the case I'm about to describe is still hard to talk about.

When I was 18 or so and still training hard in close quarter combat, I had a friend who trained with me. This friend was not the world's greatest influence on the youth of America, and he was into some stuff I didn't know about.

Said friend was at a party. He was done up on LSD and between 12 and 24 beers. Someone produced a Loricin .380acp loaded with ball ammo and pointed it at my friend. My friend wanted to see it, so the person who illegally possessed this pistol dropped the magazine but neglected to clear the chamber. My friend pulled the pistol toward himself. The other person's finger was on the trigger and it tripped, sending a .380acp through my friend's aorta near his heart.

My friend stood there for no longer than two seconds before collapsing foward. He was still alive when the police arrived thanks to the application of CPR of another who was there. However, he was DOA at the hospital.

The bullet had exited but was never found despite a search of the area. I personally believe that it shored on his shirt and stayed right under the flesh. However, it did achieve full penetration.

Because I know from this that the .380acp has the ability to fully penetrate a person if a frontal shot is achieved, I would probably go with a mid- to heavy weight hollowpoint, likely a Gold Dot or Sierra. I like them both for different reasons. I figure if the Sierra comes apart, I would have a secondary missile(s).

Merry Christmas,

Josh <><

P.S. I have long since disassociated myself from any of this type and choose my friends better nowadays. J
 

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I've recently caught another killing by .380 case (that's two active right now): in all three (that I can recall) that I've worked, the victim was shot through the aorta. With an FMJ (or two, in the most recent case).

I've seen cases in which the .380 failed to adequately penetrate (again FMJ, a shot to the head) or (several) in which it was not fired into anyplace serious enough to stop or kill the victim before he got to medical attention.

I feel that a .380 FMJ is capable of adequate penetration to kill someone, but based on my limited experience doing criminal appeals (I've worked in some way on over 100 handgun killings all told so far), shot placement seems to be a whole lot more important with this caliber than with many others.
 

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I use Hornady XTP in my 380's. I can't rember the source, but it showed something like 12 to 14 inches penetration in clothed/unclothed gelatin.

I also noted that Marshall gave it only a 56% stopping ratio compared to around 50% for ball. Marshall also gave some 380 loads estimated ratings of around 65-69%, however these did not, IIRC have what was considered adequate penetration.

Long practice has convinced me that Ed McGivern was not the only person who can shoot a 38 special revolver in full-auto mode. I'm unsure if an auto can be fired as rapidly, but if it comes to that I believe I will be trying to do so unless my target disappears before the gun runs empty ( 13+1 ).
 
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From my very limited experience with smaller calibers(none yet with a .380, or with hollow-points) FMJ appears to be underrated. I'm gonna have to agree strongly with Erich. A .32 ACP ball and a .32 Long LRN through the aorta and one through the liver and they worked fine. Neither exited or made it through the posterior ribcage. I don't see a expanded hollowpoint getting even that deep reliably. My wife worked in the ER for years and says everything depends on what structures were hit anatomically. She's once saw a person that had expired already in-transit and the only injury was a half-inch shard of glass in his vena cava artery. Wound to the blood vessel was only 1.5 mm.
 
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Rusty, back when I was well-practiced (like 10 years of intense competition), I often felt like I was waiting for my 1911 to cycle during a fast string. So, before time, age, and arthritis hits your hands, it IS possible to make a good wheelgun shoot faster than an auto.

Also, back when, I carried a 380 as "always/backup." First a Browning 1910, later a Colt Gov't 380, finally another Browning 1910 when the Colt became unreliable. Ammo of choice was 88grain Speer JHP with a healthy dose of Unique. This was before Mas Ayoob had made everyone paranoid of handloads.

The times I had to fire it dealt with animals. One mutt over 100 pounds fell rather quickly to a heart/lung shot. It was also good for head shots on cottontails out to 25 yards.

Today, if I still had any of those pistols, I would carry Federal, Speer Gold Dot, or Corbon ammo. I would choose whichever one was completely reliable, and if more than one is, the tie would be broken by how close they hit to point of aim.
 
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Gents,

I'll go on record as not being a proponent of the .380 ACP. It can and will do the job if properly placed.

Ammo: CorBon

The first handgun I bought my wife was a Beretta M85. I'll give credit to the lads at Beretta...I even managed to get it to feed empty(resized) cases. Incredible.

It fits my criteria and hers of fit, reliable function and suitable defensive caliber.

She now has three handguns. Her favorite being a S&W M60 with 3" full lub barrel and ajustable sights.

That's her baby and she shoots it well. Even I was thinking about getting one. Except I already have a 2 1/2" M-19... ;)

All the best,

Wes
 
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As a first tme poster here I may be treading on toes, so if I am just flame me into my proper place. :)
The choice of personal protection weaponery cannot be defined by just one caliber, it should be defined by anticipated or pre-thought out situations.
I have at my disposal several calibers and try to carry for an anticpated need. The .380 Walther that is with me the most often is for anticipated very close encounters such as a car jacking or attempted mugging and I alternate the bullets from hardball to HP's, the hardball being the first in line.
There is always a .45 back-up in the truck, well, if I can get to it. Not a perfect thing but nothing is.
Blessings
 
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Gents,

Williamlayton, Welcome aboard! I'm fairly new myself. Like this forum very much.

You mentioned staggering the rounds. Most of us tend to go with one style and that's it. No problem as long as they feed reliably and print to the same point of impact. Again, personal choice.
While my wife has her .380 Beretta she hasn't shot it in a long time. Prefering her 3" M60 with full underlug and adjustable sights. Load of choice for her is: 158 gr. LSWHP +P.

Sometimes they DO listen...;-)
 
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