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Old July 22, 2011, 11:15 PM   #1
Kaiser T
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.380 ACP Most Popular Handgun Calibre?

The manufacture (and sale) of .380 ACP pistols has been going up by leaps and bounds vis-a-vis the 9mm, which can be confirmed from the Bureau of ATF Statistics over the past few years. For the year 2010, .380 ACP turns out to be the MOST POPULAR handgun calibre!

2008: .380 ACP - 278,945; 9mm - 421,746
2009: .380 ACP - 390,897; 9mm - 586,364
2010: .380 ACP - 665,510; 9mm - 629,995

Ref: http://www.atf.gov/statistics/

Last edited by Kaiser T; July 23, 2011 at 10:03 AM.
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Old July 23, 2011, 01:04 AM   #2
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Not to hijack your thread, but it seems from your link Obama is the best thing that ever happened to the Gun Industry here in America.

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Old July 23, 2011, 01:19 AM   #3
Don Glock
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no one gave a crap about, or wanted a .380 for decades until manufacturers came out with the now trendy polymer pocket pistols.

the firearms market is like any other market, there's trends and fads.
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Old July 23, 2011, 01:38 AM   #4
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I would say that there's a difference between a trend and a product that meets a market niche.

The Taurus Judge is a trend. There is nothing a .410/.45 revolver does that a similar-size weapon cannot do better.

The micro-.380s, though, are marvels of engineering, tiny and pocketable in any situation, any dress code, while still providing a good dose of power. My little LCP provides substantially more power than my dad's diminutive Beretta Bobcat .22, and is even lighter and smaller. Once you learn to handle the recoil, you have a powerful pocket gun that fits in just about any pocket without weighing you down.

Trends =/= Niches

I would also say that if no one wanted a .380 for so many decades, they wouldn't have kept making them.
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Old July 23, 2011, 01:57 AM   #5
Don Glock
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^^i see what you're saying, but there was always the niche, which was often filled with j frames or 32acp pocket pistols.

eventually these manufacturers will come up with 9mm pocket pistols the exact same size as the .380's, and everyone will be selling their .380's for them. and then it'll be the new trend.....
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Old July 23, 2011, 05:53 AM   #6
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I own a .380, my best friend owns a .380, both my parents own .380s, and two other people I know also own .380s. What can I say? It's become popular all over again, and with the amount of .380s flooding the market, the .380 ACP cartridge has a bright future ahead.

Now, am not saying that you are not cool if you don't own a .380, but it's a scientific fact that all .380 owners are cool people
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Old July 23, 2011, 05:56 AM   #7
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pocket guns are VERY popular and most are .380
which is why the ammo all but dissapeared for a while

but I grabbed 500 rds for 120 bucks yesterday and enjoy carring a little light
weight .380 over my larger pieces . . .
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Old July 23, 2011, 06:35 AM   #8
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With more and more people getting their CCW license, pocket and small SD gun sales are on the rise. The .380 is a cartridge that works for small guns.
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Old July 23, 2011, 06:54 AM   #9
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In some countries, especially some South American ones, .380 is the most powerful caliber that ordinary citizens are allowed to legally own.
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Old July 23, 2011, 07:08 AM   #10
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Interesting sales statistics. What I find compelling, though, is that every time I go to the range, the vast majority of brass on the floor is 9mm and .40 S&W. Then .45acp, then .38 Spl. (I am ignoring .22LR.)

So people may be buying .380s, but they are not practicing with them. And the people who shoot regularly don't shoot .380.
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Old July 23, 2011, 07:09 AM   #11
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It's not surprising really when you factor in all the benefits of guns such as the LCP or Diamond Back. They are small and un-intimidating which is great for women and first time buyers. They are outstanding to carry concealed. They are also relatively cheap to purchase, which is good for all of us. I've also heard from lots of people that the .380 ammo has been greatly improved, which now makes it more viable for self-defense.

I love my .380, and for $285 new, I think it was a steal.
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Old July 23, 2011, 07:39 AM   #12
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+1 for the LCP and the 380. Personally, I am spoiled by the pocket pistols. I have lost the urge to carry anything else. As easy as they are to just disappear in a pocket holster, it's no surprise the 380 round is so popular.
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Old July 23, 2011, 07:50 AM   #13
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orionenrgr: The reason you see so many 9MM cartridges on the floor is because until last year 9MM was the most popular caliber. There are millions upon millions of 9MM guns out there.

.380 ACP only started selling like wild fire in the past 4-5 years with the growing interest in CCW permits. Eventually you'll start to see more and more spent .380 ACP in the floor at your range. Until 5 years ago, .32 and .380 were selling at the same volume, then .380 ACP pistol sales started to explode through the roof. There are still plenty more 9MM in private hands than anything else. Remember, guns don't get thrown away every year, most of the 9MM pistols purchased 10-15 years ago are still around.
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Old July 23, 2011, 07:52 AM   #14
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Lot of bullets sold.
Do the numbers of .380 firearms sold in the same period show us anything?
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Old July 23, 2011, 07:53 AM   #15
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Possibly most popular at this time.

Definitely not enough gun though. Just my opinion, which is worth exactly what you paid for it.
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Old July 23, 2011, 07:57 AM   #16
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I like .380 but I don't like the new polymers or the idea of carrying in the pocket. My smallest is my SIG P238 and it's almost as light and small as the polymers.

What sounds odd to me is that so many new articles about the new .380s begin with some line about improvements in .380 ammo. As stated there is nothing wrong with this claim but it seams that some people fail to connect the dots. The same improvements are available to almost every caliber so people who want to use these improved balistics to claim that "now caliber X compares better to caliber Y" are just fooling themselves.

P.S. Guys, you don't have to justify yourself or your personal choices to anyone but yourself, so man-up and get what you want and leave the whining insecurity at the door along with your coat
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Old July 23, 2011, 08:14 AM   #17
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Quote:
orionenrgr: The reason you see so many 9MM cartridges on the floor is because until last year 9MM was the most popular caliber. There are millions upon millions of 9MM guns out there.

.380 ACP only started selling like wild fire in the past 4-5 years with the growing interest in CCW permits. Eventually you'll start to see more and more spent .380 ACP in the floor at your range. Until 5 years ago, .32 and .380 were selling at the same volume, then .380 ACP pistol sales started to explode through the roof. There are still plenty more 9MM in private hands than anything else. Remember, guns don't get thrown away every year, most of the 9MM pistols purchased 10-15 years ago are still around.
American Eagle: Excellent analysis. +1
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Old July 23, 2011, 08:28 AM   #18
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I wonder what the stats are for "rounds down range" for the 380 vs 9mm
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Old July 23, 2011, 08:55 AM   #19
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I live across town from Buds Gun shop and the last I heard, the LCP was their number 1 selling gun. I was told they were selling from 30-50 per day by an employee. That's pretty impressive coming out of one store, I think. If you tack that on to other gun shops and other similarly popular .380's, the numbers will rise pretty quick.

I for one don't compare the .380 to other calibers. I think that if the supposed improvement in ammo is true, the .380 is a viable round for SD. It's not a 9mm, but some say the 9mm in inadequate as well. I don't get into all that bickering, I like all calibers and I don't want to be hit by ANY of them. A well placed shot with a .380 will do the trick, and I have no problems carrying that round.
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Old July 23, 2011, 09:00 AM   #20
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It doesn't shock me that .380 has surpassed 9mm as the most popular cartridge in the USA. I guess my Father-in-law must be ahead of the curve, since has been carrying an 1960's vintage Llama III .380 daily for ~40+ years. After shooting thousands of rounds through that little pistol, he is perfectly comfortable that the .380 is all the gun he needs. Every time I go to the range with him he reminds me that "it ain't the arrow...it's the Indian"

Recently, I have been looking into picking up a .380 myself. I have settled on a Beretta 84. While it's not one of the crop of micro polymer .380's that are so popular today, I love that fits my hand like a glove. Another plus is that it holds 14 rounds of .380
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Old July 23, 2011, 09:18 AM   #21
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Quote:
no one gave a crap about, or wanted a .380 for decades until manufacturers came out with the now trendy polymer pocket pistols.

the firearms market is like any other market, there's trends and fads.

Ruger's P3AT clone made .380 very interesting.
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Old July 23, 2011, 09:21 AM   #22
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In 1914, a teeenager, Gavrilo Princip fired 2 shots at Archduke Ferdinand and his wife. The distance about 5 feet...2 shots, 2 kills. The handgun: a 1910 Browning 380 pistol. This was the golden age of mouseguns: Colt, Mauser, J.P. Sauer, Steyr, Walther, and other manufacturers all rushing to produce mouseguns chambered 25 ACP, 32 ACP and .380 Browning. The golden age of mouseguns (pocket pistols, purse guns, vest guns etc.) continued into the mid 1930s where the PPK pretty much rose to the top.

And now more recently, the number and variety of mouseguns available, chiefly in 380, (the largest mousegun caliber) is huge, and will likely remain popular unless 9mm para and 45 ACP recoil are better tamed...shoot a Rorhbaugh R9 or an AMT BACKUP 45 and you will understand. However, shoot a 13.5 ounce Sig P238 and you quickly understand why the new small lightweight .380 guns are so popular.

"The micro-.380s, though, are marvels of engineering, tiny and pocketable in any situation, any dress code, while still providing a good dose of power."

Pretty much sums it up.
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Old July 23, 2011, 09:28 AM   #23
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I am thinking there probably is a pretty strong correlation between the trend for states passing CCW laws and sales of .380 autos.
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Old July 23, 2011, 09:54 AM   #24
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I love statistics. You can take a set of numbers and make it fit your statement. From the numbers shown for sales, the fact is sales of .380 pistols outsold 9mm in the civilian sector. This stat does not speak for the other millions of pistol owners who favor different calibers but did not purchase a new gun in 2010. To be able to say that a .380 is the most popular caliber in 2010, you would have to survey all gun owners (not realisitic). Instead use a sample (say 10%) to find the data of popularity.

Why not start a poll here, in this forum? and when that is complete, than you can state, "for members of The Firing Line Forum who participated in this survey, _______ caliber is rated as the most popular pistol."

Something like that.

BTW, I purchased both a .380 and 9mm in 2010.
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Old July 23, 2011, 10:13 AM   #25
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Yes more .380s were sold recently but I doubt that it is the most popular cartridge in the U.S. in term of ownership for 2010...

Consider HOW many pistols someone has....If you have 4 - 9mms, 2 -.45s, 2-40s and one .380 and you bought the .380 last year? Well you get my drift.

I have a 9mm made in the 1980s and another made in the 1990s....

And also - ammo sales bring nothing to the table about total calibers shot. Example: reloaders. They purchase components - not cartridges. Plus .380 was always such in short supply until last year. Pent up demand so buy it like a mad man...

I suspect the .380 craze will settle down. Yes the small pistols are the "craze" because they are inexpensive, small, decently made but they also tend to be 7 yds or closer pistols, a little squirrely to control [the small keltecs and Rugers aren't a joy to shoot] and the advent of the small 9mms are making inroads now...Kahr, Ruger, Kimber, etc. Everyone wanted to make a tiny .380. Now everyone wants to make a tiny 9mm.

I personally chalk it up to a fad primarily. New and different is fun. And US consumers always have to have the "new and fun". Let's face it - if your hobby is shooting - you buy something new every so often. No different than people who have 10 guitars, 30 toy trains, 15 remote control boats, etc....so the marketing works its wonders to the masses.

Realistically? This statement:

".380s are the most popular pistol caliber sold in 2010"

Not:

Quote:
For the year 2010, .380 ACP turns out to be the MOST POPULAR handgun calibre!
As far as it being the most popular pistol handgun caliber in 2010? It's a flawed assumption based on the stats.
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