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Old October 3, 2012, 10:47 PM   #1
chaim
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.380ACP self-defense ammo- do you go with FMJ or JHP?

For years, I have been a proponent of FMJ in .380. I was of the belief that .380ACP simply doesn't have enough penetration in JHP and if it doesn't penetrate to vital organs than expansion isn't important. Two things recently changed my outlook on .380ACP and has me in the JHP camp.

First, I have always owned my 9mm pistols in full-sized service pistols which were for fun at the range. For self defense I've been more of a fan of .40S&W, .45ACP, or revolver rounds. However, I was recently in the market for a subcompact 9mm (bought the SIG 290 BTW). So, was researching 9mm defensive ammo. Between that, and re-examining my .38spl selections, I stumbled on a ballistic gel test of .380ACP FMJ ammo on YouTube. They tested a FMJ round and a truncated cone, and both over penetrated, exiting the testing media completely. While penetration is quite important, I am also concerned by the possibility of over penetration. With that, I started doing some new research.

The new research led me to the second factor in changing my philosophy. I had always gone by the FBI criteria of 12" minimum penetration in clothed gelatin for service pistols. What I always missed or ignored was that this criteria is for law enforcement service pistols which can sometimes need to be used as offensive weapons. What I always ignored or missed was that they have another standard, 6-9", for law enforcement back up pistols and non-law enforcement CCW pistols which would typically only be used in a defensive situation (i.e. less likely to need to break through barriers).

Well, there are a handful of .380 JHP loadings that exceed or at least come close to the 12" service pistol standard. In most tests I saw, in clothed gelatin, Speer Gold Dot, Hornady XTP, Hornady Critical Defense, Remington Golden Sabre, and Federal HydraShok nearly always penetrated 11" or more. Further, nearly all .380ACP JHP loadings meet or exceed the 6-9" standard.

So, with several .380 JHP loadings penetrating sufficiently, with the advantage of expansion in JHP, and the potential danger of over penetration of FMJ, I have decided to change over to JHP in my LCP. I will be testing Gold Dot (my choice in most calibers), HydraShok, and probably one of the Hornady loadings in my LCP to see what functions best and is most accurate in my pistol.

What is your choice in .380ACP and why?
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Old October 3, 2012, 11:09 PM   #2
481
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaim:
Well, there are a handful of .380 JHP loadings that exceed or at least come close to the 12" service pistol standard.
"Close" is great if you are tossing horse-shoes or throwing hand grenades.

In .380 I go with FMJs.

JHPs in the .380, if they expand, produce no more than 10" -11" of penetration.

With the .380, you have to make a choice- expansion or penetration.

I choose penetration.

I see no reason to abandon the FBI protocols since ammunition that meets them does very well on the street and under the worst conditions.
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Old October 3, 2012, 11:20 PM   #3
Bill DeShivs
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Chaim-
You are one of the few that actually understands The FBI criteria stuff!
Find a good HP that works reliably and use it.
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Old October 3, 2012, 11:41 PM   #4
JC57
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I carry Buffalo Bore 95gr JHP (appears to be a Speer Gold Dot bullet) that is sold as "+P". The gun is a Bersa Thunder 380 with a 3.5" barrel.

I compared the BB to a few other service-type rounds and it had a much stouter kick than anything else I tried. I don't have a chronograph so I'll have to trust their numbers.

I made that particular choice after watching some videos using water-filled jugs posted over on the www.bersachat.com forums, and noticing that it seemed to perform quite well in those tests, specifically, in this area of that forum: http://www.bersachat.com/forums/foru...380-Ammo-Tests.
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Old October 3, 2012, 11:55 PM   #5
481
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill DeShivs:
Chaim-
You are one of the few that actually understands The FBI criteria stuff!
He very well might- if he can guarantee that he will always face an unobstructed, perfectly static frontal presentation from an assailant that doesn't exceed that 6"- 9" standard.

On the other hand, most of us would do well to remember that we will likely have to shoot at an obstructed, relatively small, moving target.

I for one will not imagine that I can predict such things and will select a round (FMJ) that will afford me the ability through adequate penetration to address any number of contingencies.
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Old October 4, 2012, 12:33 AM   #6
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Chaim - thanks for doing the homework. I bought Critical Defense for my PPK, based on the reviews and compared to the old-time solids that always were dissed. Would like to have tried Gold Dots, but they are not available locally at the time.

I'd be interested to read a Critical Defense vs. Gold Dot vs. all-comers post on SD calibers like .380 and .38SPL.
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Old October 4, 2012, 12:51 AM   #7
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If my XD40 fails and I go to my BUG, I am quite sure the .380 JHP with just 6" to 9" of penetration will do the job with a hit to head and/or COM. Might not kill but I am sure multiple hits will take the fight out of the average bad guy, if not, it is time to make a hasty retreat.
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Old October 4, 2012, 12:55 AM   #8
mySig229
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JHP
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Old October 4, 2012, 02:31 AM   #9
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Just to get my vote in, I use JHPs.
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Old October 4, 2012, 04:51 AM   #10
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Were are you plan on shooting them?
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Old October 4, 2012, 06:36 AM   #11
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I like to mix and match myself. 2-6 JHP, then FMJ on the off chance I need 'more' so to speak.
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Old October 4, 2012, 06:09 PM   #12
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FMJ for me in my LCP. I know it will always feed. Not worried about "over penetration" with such a weak round. Regards,


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Old October 4, 2012, 06:22 PM   #13
chaim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 481
"Close" is great if you are tossing horse-shoes or throwing hand grenades.
The rounds I referenced are "close" to the FBI service pistol standard, they are over the FBI off duty pistol and CCW standard. Further, I didn't address that many of these tests have .380 JHP rounds that surpass the service pistol standard. They don't come close to meeting standards, they surpass the one that is set for the kind of use my gun and ammo will see. All of the rounds that we are discussing surpass the FBI 6-9" standard that is the standard that applies to the types of guns we are talking about.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 481
He very well might- if he can guarantee that he will always face an unobstructed, perfectly static frontal presentation from an assailant that doesn't exceed that 6"- 9" standard.
Umm, the FBI sets 6-9" because it is sufficient to hit vital organs from the side. In a "perfectly static frontal presentation", 9" will be enough to nearly pass through most non-overweight adult males. With the 10-14" that most of these rounds actually penetrate, the straight on frontal shot that you suggest I'm talking about (but I am not) would be a through and through (except in people my size). Further, he was right, he was talking about my understanding of the FBI standards, not whether you agree with whether or not they should have the different standard for back-up and off duty law enforcement weapons and "civilian" CCW pistols (you apparently disagree with them).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckusaret
If my XD40 fails and I go to my BUG, I am quite sure the .380 JHP with just 6" to 9" of penetration will do the job with a hit to head and/or COM.
Good point. Not many of us use .380ACP as our primary defensive pistol. I carry mine as a back up or when it is far too hot to wear clothing that will conceal something bigger. Most of the time I carry .40S&W, 9mm, .45ACP, .38+P or occasionally .357mag.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redhawk5.5+P+
Were are you plan on shooting them?
Obviously, I don't carry here in MD (nearly impossible CCW standards- we are not shall-issue). I do carry whenever my UT non-res permit allows. As for more specific "where" answers, I don't know. I hope to never need to shoot them, but you never know when, where or if you'll be attacked and need them. If I ever need to draw and shoot, I may be in a dark alley (unlikely, but people can take a wrong turn), or in the middle of a crowded street. I don't want a round that will pass straight through my attacker and possibly hit an innocent person nearby.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinner666
I like to mix and match myself. 2-6 JHP, then FMJ on the off chance I need 'more' so to speak.
I've thought about that, but I''m leaning against it. I'm pretty comfortable now that there are JHP rounds in .380 that are better selections than FMJ. The .380 round is marginal to begin with. JHP does penetrate enough, and unlike FMJ it can expand to increase its effectiveness.
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Old October 4, 2012, 06:26 PM   #14
PeterGreg
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Quote:
nearly always penetrated 11" or more.
is that enough? I don't think so but I'm no expert. In my LCP I switched from Cor-bon JHP to Express FMJ in my BDA it's BB hardcast or Cor-bon JHP
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Old October 4, 2012, 06:31 PM   #15
481
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Interesting that you dropped the adjective "unobstructed" from this explanation-

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaim:
Umm, the FBI sets 6-9" because it is sufficient to hit vital organs from the side. In a "perfectly static frontal presentation", 9" will be enough to nearly pass through most non-overweight adult males.
Umm, that's if you can guarantee that you will only ever face an unobstructed, perfectly static frontal presentation if you have to shoot someone in order to protect yourself.

I am not so reckless as to assume something like that.
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Old October 4, 2012, 07:43 PM   #16
Bill DeShivs
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481-
You do realize that pistol rounds worked before the FBI set these "standards?"
And then, we aren't the FBI or LE, are we?
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Old October 4, 2012, 08:27 PM   #17
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Hornady Critical Defense in my Elsie! Functions perfectly. Hits where I am it. Many ballistic tests show good penetration.
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Old October 4, 2012, 08:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
I carry Buffalo Bore 95gr JHP (appears to be a Speer Gold Dot bullet) that is sold as "+P"

+1
that's what's in my SIG238


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Old October 4, 2012, 08:47 PM   #19
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Dont remember the brand but I got self defense HP's in my ppks. I figure that if I have to shoot, more than likely it will be between 0 and 15 feet, so with 2 magizines of 7rds each I will stop the threat. More often now though I carry my Sig P226 9mm with Winchester HP's same thing 0 -15 feet. I guess I just dont understand researching every single round. The rounds I have in my 9mm are the same thing we carry for the dept, but in .40. Good enought for the state good enought for me. As long as it stops the threat thats all I care about.


Found this on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stopping_power

Also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.380_ACP

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Old October 4, 2012, 09:38 PM   #20
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Buffalo Bore 100gr flat nose hard cast.
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Old October 4, 2012, 10:07 PM   #21
481
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill DeShivs:
481-
You do realize that pistol rounds worked before the FBI set these "standards?"
Billy,

Of course they did. The laws of physics are immutable (that is, they are unchangeable) and the standard (the FBI protocols) simply defines a desired level of performance that is obtainable within the confines of those immutable physical laws. If you're under the impression that the FBI protocols somehow altered physical law, I can assure that they didn't- bullets and their behavior in the gun (interior ballistics), through the air (external ballistics), and inside of targets (terminal ballistics) has remained as it always has.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill DeShivs:
And then, we aren't the FBI or LE, are we?
I never said that "we" were in the FBI. That's distractionary and misdirected at best.

Just the same, those loads that meet the FBI protocol specifications have a well documented history of performing well on the street under a broad spectrum of conditions and barriers. If you wish to handicap yourself with 'sub-par' loads (in this case, those that don't meet the FBI service pistol specs) that's fine with me, but just because we all aren't in the FBI or LE (actually I am) doesn't mean that we have to settle for the lowered standard that has been established for smaller/lower powered back-up weapons like the .380. You, I, and everyone else is permitted (and I hope encouraged) to carry the most effective ammunition that they can- this in spite of the misguided and dangerous mindset that simply because "we" (in the collective sense) are not the FBI/LE we shouldn't. Limiting ourselves in that manner is simply "horse and buggy" thinking.
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Last edited by 481; October 4, 2012 at 10:32 PM.
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Old October 4, 2012, 10:08 PM   #22
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Id split the difference and go flat point. Hard cast would work well.
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Old October 4, 2012, 10:18 PM   #23
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@ "mysig229" - what hollow point is that? Looks like Corbon DPX-1's the all copper but way different cut and the petals are just 4 instead of a sunflower effect.

OP! JHP's...not even a question man. I do however know some people that do two things...

1. they load their mag one FMJ and one JHP so on and so forth

2. load the first 2-4 JHP and the rest FMJ's.
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Old October 4, 2012, 10:50 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constantine View Post
@ "mysig229" - what hollow point is that? Looks like Corbon DPX-1's the all copper but way different cut and the petals are just 4 instead of a sunflower effect.

OP! JHP's...not even a question man. I do however know some people that do two things...

1. they load their mag one FMJ and one JHP so on and so forth

2. load the first 2-4 JHP and the rest FMJ's.
http://www.grizzlycartridge.com/stor...=grizzlyxtreme.

Grizzly Extreme
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Old October 5, 2012, 04:52 AM   #25
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I generally go with JHP's. At the range I'd be expecting to use a .380 for defense (contact or close to) they have all the penetration I care about.
I buy HydraShocks, Gold Dots, or Cor-Bon - whichever's available at the local place when I need it. I've never had a problem with it running through my BG.
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