.380 ACP: is it good enough or no?
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Thread: .380 ACP: is it good enough or no?

  1. .380 ACP: is it good enough or no?

    Ok so I know this dead horse has been beaten beyond death, but I've been trying to do my own research on this and I can't get a straight answer. Some people claim .380 doesn't penetrate near enough, and some claim it works just fine. I've been researching specifically the Hornady Critical Defense 90gr FTX round. One video I watch showed the guy shooting into ballistics gel covered by 4 layers of denim. The bullet went about 11.5" into the gel which is just shy of passing the FBI test. Then another video was doing the same but instead of denim, they were shooting through a thick rib cage of some animal. In their test, after going through the meat, it only went about 4" into the gel. Most videos showed it not penetrating very much either, but they were using other materials besides gel. A lot of guys says they used mixed ammo like 5 critical defense rounds on top of a buffalo bore fmj round. They claim that .380 fmj's have about the same penetration as larger hollow point rounds. So it is more recommended to carry fmj's or hollow points with .380?

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  3. #2
    If you are carrying it, its good enough. Shot placement followed through by more rounds. Don't buy the hype of one shot-one drop and don't base your decisions on ballistic tests that look at a single round.
    Kevin - NRA Life Member
    2nd Amendment = Freedom from Tyranny

  4. #3
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    Hell, 4 inches past the ribcage and meat?? That's the back of my ribcage...looks like your PK380 will be just fine. :-)

  5. 380 is fine, itll do the job, as long as you do your part. now days most companies load 380 acp and 38 spc to roughly similar power. it may take a couple/few rounds for a drug crazed maniac, but thats true of most any HANDGUN.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by tricolordad View Post
    Hell, 4 inches past the ribcage and meat?? That's the back of my ribcage...looks like your PK380 will be just fine. :-)
    Ok you just said out loud what I've been thinking this whole time. The MINIMUM for the FBI test is 12" of penetration, meaning they would prefer more than that. Now granted I'm a fairly thin guy, but I'm pretty thick in the chest area, and I seriously doubt I'm 12" thick. Why would they want the round to potentially go through the target, and possibly hitting someone else?

    I'm no doctor, but I'd say going through denim, a piece of meat/rib cage, and then 4 1/2" in ballistics gel is going to hit most vital organs.

    But one of the things I was wanting to ask in follow-up was that a lot of people I'm seeing are using FMJ's in their .380s to get better penetration. Is that necessary?

  7. It should be enought to stop what ever they are doing that requires them to be shot. 4 inches still destroys organs and inflict some pain. If a BB gun stops them from doing what they were doing, you succeded(?).

  8. Quote Originally Posted by AndeyHall View Post
    Ok you just said out loud what I've been thinking this whole time. The MINIMUM for the FBI test is 12" of penetration, meaning they would prefer more than that. Now granted I'm a fairly thin guy, but I'm pretty thick in the chest area, and I seriously doubt I'm 12" thick. Why would they want the round to potentially go through the target, and possibly hitting someone else?

    I'm no doctor, but I'd say going through denim, a piece of meat/rib cage, and then 4 1/2" in ballistics gel is going to hit most vital organs.

    But one of the things I was wanting to ask in follow-up was that a lot of people I'm seeing are using FMJ's in their .380s to get better penetration. Is that necessary?
    I think the FBI standard was in response to the Miami shootout of 86. One suspect was shot through the arm and into his chest, but the bullet stopped short of the heart and the guy kept on shooting people.

    As for FMJ's in 380's, I'd like to think it's an issue of reliable feeding that's at the heart of the matter. I would rather dump all the energy into the target with an expanding round than risk it zipping through and hitting someone else. Not all bad guys are built the same, target depth will very.

  9. #8
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    The only one-shot drop shot you are going to perform is one in which the bullet hits the spinal cord. Shot placement within the center of mass is what is necessary regardless the caliber. Yes, wearing thicker and heavier clothes will retard any bullets momentum (a term that takes into consideration both mass and velocity)... the smaller the bullet the more the momentum will decrease by thicker and heavier clothes, as you saw with your research. A heavier bullets momentum will not decrease as much due to the higher momentum of the bullet in the first place (heavier mass, greater momentum).

    During hot months when I may be wearing just a pair of shorts and a tank top, I sometimes carry a .380 and feel comfortable knowing it is my defense weapon. Normally, I carry a .40.

    Case and point... shot placement is critical and the other critical thing is shooting until the threat stops. Those two things will save your life. Real-life is not a TV show where the good guy fires one round and the BG falls instantly. This is a farce!!
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote."
    ~ Benjamin Franklin (maybe)

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndeyHall View Post
    Ok you just said out loud what I've been thinking this whole time. The MINIMUM for the FBI test is 12" of penetration, meaning they would prefer more than that. Now granted I'm a fairly thin guy, but I'm pretty thick in the chest area, and I seriously doubt I'm 12" thick. Why would they want the round to potentially go through the target, and possibly hitting someone else?

    I'm no doctor, but I'd say going through denim, a piece of meat/rib cage, and then 4 1/2" in ballistics gel is going to hit most vital organs.

    But one of the things I was wanting to ask in follow-up was that a lot of people I'm seeing are using FMJ's in their .380s to get better penetration. Is that necessary?
    Stay away from FMJ's for self defense....
    FMJ's can easily overpenetrate your intended target and then you will have a much greater risk of hitting an unintended target.
    I carry 'critical defense' ammo in my Ruger LCP and I'm confident that they will get the job done if ever needed.
    Fascist's are Magicians...They can make our Property, our Freedom's & even our Children 'Disappear'.
    ~Outlaw~

  11. I use Hornady Critical Defense 90gr. in my .380

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