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Old September 25, 2012, 07:17 PM   #1
357 mag
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how lethal is the .380 acp round?

Why does everyone down it so much is it really that bad?
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Old September 25, 2012, 07:41 PM   #2
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I love mine. It has a place when I can't carry "big".

As for lethality - almost anything can be lethal with proper placement.
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Old September 25, 2012, 07:49 PM   #3
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.380, is it a bad round, no, is it an ideal defensive round, no. With the new micro 9m/m's out hey have fallen from favor, as with all smaller calibers shot placement is everything but with modern SD ammunition and practice with a .380 you are not under gunned.
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Old September 25, 2012, 07:58 PM   #4
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It did for an Archduke and started a World War. Pretty lethal, that.

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Old September 25, 2012, 08:01 PM   #5
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It is lethal enough to be deadly
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Old September 25, 2012, 08:04 PM   #6
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How lethal?!

'How lethal' is the same kind of question as 'how pregnant' or 'how dead'. There is no measure of quantity with these things. Is the .380 an effective caliber for personal defense? It is by most measurements a marginal round IMO. It is much better than nothing though, and comes in weapons that are easily carried and concealed. This makes it a very good choice in some situations, I think...
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Old September 25, 2012, 08:13 PM   #7
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.380 is plenty lethal. Every round is a compromise. .380s gives for the sake of compactness and concealment. The trade off is well worth it for many including myself. Maybe not so much for others. Everyone's risk profile and tolerance is different.
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Old September 25, 2012, 08:19 PM   #8
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It's a little out of fashion at present. Plenty effective when used within its range, say 10-20 feet.
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Old September 25, 2012, 08:24 PM   #9
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Powerful enough to punch holes in internal organs/blood vessels which makes it potentially lethal-same as an ice pick or 45 ACP. I've compared the 380HP to 9mm and 38Sp and found it less impressive than either. Despite the comparison, I sure won't volunteer to be shot with one.
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Old September 25, 2012, 08:33 PM   #10
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There is a tendency for those interested in a particular hobby or sport to pontificate about the greatest "this" or the newest "that" and expound upon the smallest nuances of the hobby or sport. That's what we do here and I'm just as guilty of doing this as the next person.

Yes, the .380 is very lethal. Even the .22 is very lethal.
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Old September 25, 2012, 08:58 PM   #11
Bill DeShivs
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Shot placement is everything with ANY handgun round!
I'm quite sure the effective range of the .380 is a lot more than 10-20 feet!
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Old September 25, 2012, 09:10 PM   #12
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It's a little out of fashion at present.
Five years ago, I'd have agreed. However, the market for pocket-size automatics exploded a few years back, and with the exception of Glock, I can't think of a domestic manufacturer who isn't selling some iteration of the pocket .380.

Five years ago, I'd also have told someone to carry ball ammunition, as most .380 hollow-points had terrible penetration. The newer loads seem to have improved on that front.
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Old September 25, 2012, 09:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 357 mag:
Why does everyone down it so much is it really that bad?
If I take the intent of your question correctly, it relates to the .380's viability as an self-defense round. In that light, it is not lethality, but rather the round's (in)ability to produce incapacitation that is the issue.

It is generally held that such rounds (the .380 being a good example as well as the .32ACP, .25ACP etc.) lack the ability to produce enough penetration if a JHP is used and expands- meaning that one must then choose between penetration (FMJs) and expansion (JHPs).

Of course, different folks have varying preferences as for what constitutes desirable terminal ballistic performance in terms of expansion and penetration- some will find it (the .380) to be acceptable and some will not.
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Old September 25, 2012, 10:14 PM   #14
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For a carry gun under 10oz that is notably smaller than all but the most exotic, expensive, lightly built micro-nines and has given me 1,000 rounds of flawless performance, the .380 is great for me. You literally can't see the Ruger LCP in my front jeans pocket. The pocket just bulges out slightly, at it would with a thin wallet.

Would I want .380 in a full-size nightstand pistol? Of course not. But too many people expect unrealistic things out of their carry pistols.

My .380 is powerful enough to cause hurt while I flee. If I do my part, it has enough oomph to put down a threat. That's all it's for.
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Old September 25, 2012, 10:24 PM   #15
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I had a .380 S&W Sigma 3.5 inch barrel polymer a while back. Still wish I never parted.

I love the .380,.. it's a 9mm with less the amount of propellant.

Less muzzle flip. Too bad prices are a bit high.

You'd either be dead, or in an ICU if you were hit in any vital area

Don't listen so much to the bashing and/ or the hyping,....do your own testing, then make your conclusion.
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Old September 26, 2012, 01:49 AM   #16
peacefulgary
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Quote:
how lethal is the .380 acp round?
Why does everyone down it so much is it really that bad?
Can the .380 be lethal?

Yes.


Can you rely upon it to QUICKLY STOP an aggressive human bent on causing you bodily harm?

No.
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Old September 26, 2012, 01:57 AM   #17
LockedBreech
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peacefulgary View Post
Can the .380 be lethal?

Yes.


Can you rely upon it to QUICKLY STOP an aggressive human bent on causing you bodily harm?

No.
I'd argue you can't really rely on any handgun below .44 Mag to do that reliably. There have been countless stories of people surviving fusillades of 9 and .40, and even that officer who took a .45 to the face and still won.
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Old September 26, 2012, 08:33 AM   #18
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The 380 has limits as does any handgun round. If you know those limits and train / think around those then it's a reasonable choice esp. In the "pocket gun" market.

There is a tendency to worst worst case everything when it comes to defensive caliber selection which quickly leads to the 380 being tossed out as no good. As others have mentioned if I had to face down some nut on bath salts I would much prefer a 12 gauge or 1911, however what I may well have is a 7 shot 380 due to it's size and ease of carry.
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Old September 26, 2012, 10:08 AM   #19
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Try to think of it this way - "rounds" don't really have "lethality". Well placed hits have lethality. If you can hit the central nervous system with a .22 LR then it no longers matters at all that you hit it with a .22 LR. instead of a 9mm or a .357. Shoot all you can afford to and develop your skills until they are automatic. Caliber is a very small part of the equation.
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Old September 26, 2012, 10:20 AM   #20
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Any handgun is a surgical instrument. It depends on the "surgeon" to place the bullet in a lethal spot. The brain, spinal cord, or heart, or other organs like the liver, etc. So it's more placement and penetration than caliber, per se. IMO
og
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Old September 26, 2012, 10:22 AM   #21
Mike Irwin
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"Can you rely upon it to QUICKLY STOP an aggressive human bent on causing you bodily harm?"

You can't rely on any handgun to do that.

All you can hope for is small notches of "better at that".

Hell, even with a shotgun a quick stop isn't 100% guaranteed.
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Old September 26, 2012, 10:26 AM   #22
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The .380 is a decent round. Considered by most (including me) to be the minimum SD caliber. Assuming good shot placement for both, a more powerful cartridge is always a better option for quickly stopping an attack. However, the smaller caliber allows for a smaller delivery platform that is easier to conceal. If used in the same size platform as a larger caliber, it has less recoil and allows for higher ammo capacity. You will sacrifice kinetic energy and/or velocity though. It is like most other things in life there are pros and cons to selecting a caliber for a gun.

Relatively speaking, it's a better SD round than a .22lr, .22mag, .25acp and .32acp which until about a decade ago were the calibers usually found in pocket pistols. Depending on the particular selection it can even out perform some 9mm Makarov (old Soviet 9x18mm cartridge).
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Old September 26, 2012, 10:46 AM   #23
lapetrarca53
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Interesting that this post comes up now. I'm considering getting a .380 for SD.

I carry a .22lr when needed now and was thinking of kicking it up a notch.
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Old September 26, 2012, 11:21 AM   #24
model18
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.380acp

I wouldn't stand in front of it!
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Old September 26, 2012, 11:39 AM   #25
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Somewhere between a short sharp stick and a 105MM howitzer round.

"How lethal" is a simple question which doesn’t have a simple answer.
There are too many variables to answer that question as written.

Who is getting shot?
Where in their body are they shot?
From how far away?
What was the position of their body as the bullet hit?
What is their overall physical condition as they are shot?
What is their mindset when they are shot?
What is the temperature of the location they are shot?
What clothing was being worn as they were shot?
What bullet was used?
These are a few of the questions that must be answered before such a question can be considered, and I am sure I have missed a few too.
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