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Old August 29, 2011, 02:49 PM   #1
CoffeeGuns
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380 stopping power? Multiple shot considerations?

I've seen all sorts of arguments about whether the 380 is an adequate self defense round compared to 9mm or higher.

What I haven't seen is discussions that assume multiple shots with a 380.

I think it's safe to assume in a self defense situation, it'll be a close encounter, and so it's reasonable to assume that if you wanted, you could get off multiple shots with a high probability of all hitting the target without that much skill - we're not talking about long distance skill here.

So what if you assume that your training with a 380 is to always shoot 2-3 shots at the target? What is the stopping power then? Are multiple shots a good habit to get into for self defense?

I just wonder if the difference between, for example, 380 vs. 9mm no longer applies if you assume multiple shots with the 380.
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Old August 29, 2011, 02:55 PM   #2
maxman894
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It wouldn't matter if I was carrying a .380, or a .44mag snubbie. I would put no less than 2 shots on target. But, that was how I was trained.
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Old August 29, 2011, 03:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Are multiple shots a good habit to get into for self defense?
One of my favorite Clint Smith quotes is "in a fight you will continue to shoot the gun until the threat goes away or until the gun is empty."
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Old August 29, 2011, 03:17 PM   #4
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From my training POV it has never been one shot. As a LEO Instructor and a military instructor I have never seen one shot instruction (outside of a sniper ).

A standard close quarters shooting string is two to the body and one to the head. At ranges beyond instinctive level shooting it is usually two shot strings.

The reason for this is two shots, evaluate (quickly) and re-engage, disengage or other. Two shots allow you to have multiple shots down range without wast of ammo or having too much to worry about fliers. The evalutaion needs to be quick and doesn't mean your gun goes off of target either.

.380 is a decent round up close with good rounds, I have a good friend who is a gun nut, has lots of guns (to me anyway) and he carries a tiny little .22 semi-auto when he goes running and he feels good about it. Multiple shots/hits increase the potential for hits and lethality during the contact.

When concerned about terminal balistics a 9mm will always have more power/energy than a 380 when both are comparable rounds (like Winchester SXT, Golden Saber, or whatever...) just as a .40 will outpace a 9, and .44 mag will outperform a .40. This can be a plus with the real limiting factors (as I see them) being concealability and trying to shoot a larger caliber in a smaller package; it can hurt.

Like my friend with the .22 LR says. It is more about shot placement than power of the round. Is power a factor, of course, but even the guy with the kevlar vest can be taken out if the rounds go where you want them to and you have the skill to put them there.
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Old August 29, 2011, 03:23 PM   #5
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I guess what I'm saying is that if 380 only has a 60% one stop percentage, then the odds of 3 shots not stopping a person are 30%^3 = 2.7%. So basically with 3 shots a 60% one stop percentage becomes a 97.3% one stop shot percentage.

Am I doing the math correctly there?

When thought of in terms of 3 shots, suddenly bad one shot stop percentages look pretty good.
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Old August 29, 2011, 03:41 PM   #6
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In a life or death situation caliber is not really the main issue. You use what you have. If the biggest gun you can pack for what ever reason is a 22 or 25 acp or you are carrying a 500 mag. S&W, that is what you have to use. So, that said, if T.S.H.T.F. and you feel you have to shoot you do so until one of two things happens, 1/ the threat is no longer a threat (this dose not mean dead, it means no longer trying to do you injury) or 2/ you get the opportunity to break contact and get to a safe location where you can call the police. You are shooting to save a life, one, two, or three rounds may or may not do it so practice as you feel proper. For me it meant practice until it is nearly instinctual. One hand, two hand, close contact one hand, strong and weak side, and the most important bullet placement. If your not hitting your attacker center mass or head all you are doing is maybe making him flinch.
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Old August 29, 2011, 03:46 PM   #7
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Believe me, I get that in a life or death situation you use what you have and shot placement is very important.

But in the gun selection phase, choice of caliber is important because often people carry around bigger guns based on the logic that 380 is underpowered. I'm just questioning if 380 is really underpowered if you consider multiple shots. Because if it's true that multiple shots from a 380 make up for its underpoweredness, then there's no reason to put up with carrying around a bigger gun.
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Old August 29, 2011, 04:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
I guess what I'm saying is that if 380 only has a 60% one stop percentage, then the odds of 3 shots not stopping a person are 30%^3 = 2.7%. So basically with 3 shots a 60% one stop percentage becomes a 97.3% one stop shot percentage.

Am I doing the math correctly there?
You are, but the underlying premise is flawed. Hold on a sec...



OK. Marshall and Sanow's study is based on some really questionable pseudoscience, and they never released their raw data. I have no clue what a "one shot stop" is, because I don't know if the hits in question were to vitals, soft tissue, or the CNS. I wouldn't really base any sort of decision on their work.

I'm not a big fan of the .380, but I'll admit that some of the newer defensive loads seem somewhat promising. At the end of the day, however, I'd prefer to carry something a bit more powerful.

Regardless of loading, one should practice for multiple shots.
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Old August 29, 2011, 07:05 PM   #9
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Just keep shooting til the bad guy gives up goes down. It's grim, I know. But you have to survive.
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Old August 29, 2011, 07:15 PM   #10
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My only concern is that odd occurance... I carry my Colt Gov't .380 with 8 rounds (7+1)... 3 rounds of .380 for each bad guy, but there are 3 bad guys... Uh, oh. ...when it might only take the double-tap with a 9/40/45.

I still go back to the premise... a .380 on you is better than any .45 left at home/truck/safe, but it's not the ideal setup.
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Old August 29, 2011, 08:34 PM   #11
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I'm no professional, but I've always seen the one-shot stop statistics as another way to compare bullets. It's like muzzle energy, bullet weight, bullet construction, etc. None of the above are an end all to the "perfect caliber".
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Old August 29, 2011, 09:04 PM   #12
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yes, putting more shots into an attacker increases the chances of stopping them, but i figure that if i'm within 3 yards of my attacker and i have enough time to get 3 shots off with a .380, i'll have time to get off 3 shots with my .45

consider this though...

there's a guy in prison for life in WV because a guy tried to rob him (maybe he broke into his house, i don't remember) and they said he shot him too many times

i don't know what type of gun he was using, if it was a shotgun and he shot him 5 times, it was probably excessive

i don't know if he actually stopped shooting the guy when the guy stopped trying to attack and the authorities just thought it was excessive

but it goes to show you that putting multiple rounds into an attacker can lead to more trouble even after the attacker has been successfully stopped
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Old August 29, 2011, 09:13 PM   #13
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Go out and shoot some live game -'chucks, squirrels, feral dogs ,etc ,with your 380 then tell me that you're impressed ! I've done that and was distinctly un-impressed .
As there are a number of very small 9mm pistols now I suggest you get one of them instead of a 380.
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Old August 29, 2011, 09:29 PM   #14
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Mete....you expect us to believe that you shot a squirrel with a .380 ACP and the thing didn't die?

Come on Mete, last time I shot a squirrel with a .22lr, the poor thing didn't even know what hit it. It was instant carnage. I guess squirrels in your end of the woods must be carrying bullet proof vests. In that case, better get yourself a 50 caliber rifle to deal with these pesky critters.

I also find it hard to believe that woodchucks are impervious to .380 ACP. The ones near your home must have grown some pretty thick bullet proof skin.

It's these kind of made-up and irresponsible statements that get passed on as reality in these forums, and unfortunately newbies believe these myths and make uninformed decisions as a result.
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Old August 29, 2011, 09:42 PM   #15
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Here, let me fix it for you...
Quote:
yes, putting more shots into an attacker increases the chances of stopping them, but i figure that if i'm within 3 yards of my attacker and i have enough time to get 3 shots off with a .380, he will have time to get off 3 shots with his .45
Does that give you another perspective on it?
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Old August 29, 2011, 09:44 PM   #16
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Mete....you expect us to believe that you shot a squirrel with a .380 ACP and the thing didn't die?

Come on Mete, last time I shot a squirrel with a .22lr, the poor thing didn't even know what hit it. It was instant carnage. I guess squirrels in your end of the woods must be carrying bullet proof vests. In that case, better get yourself a 50 caliber rifle to deal with these pesky critters.

I also find it hard to believe that woodchucks are impervious to .380 ACP. The ones near your home must have grown some pretty thick bullet proof skin.

It's these kind of made-up and irresponsible statements that get passed on as reality in these forums, and unfortunately newbies believe these myths and make uninformed decisions as a result.
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Critters, n humans is difernt things!!
I've seen good solid hits on deer taking out hart and lungs, and they ran 200 yds. Not a good comparison.
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Old August 29, 2011, 09:51 PM   #17
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I wouldn't put any credence into those caliber ratings for stopping power. At least not for the idea of two or three shots of one caliber equaling one shot of a different caliber. There are too many variables that come into play for any given shooting incident.

Speaking personally, I don't carry 380 but I think it would be completely adequate as a personal defense handgun. The key is being able to get shots on target where they might do some good. That doesn't mean shooting someone in the arm or leg. I also like a high round count. A 38 special five shot snubby used to be what most people carried back in the day. Twelve to sixteen rounds of 380 or 9mm or whatever you choose is so much better.
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Old August 29, 2011, 09:53 PM   #18
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Hitting a squirrel with a .380ACP is like hitting a man with a tank shell. I'm sorry, but I don't buy the story that .380ACP is ineffective against squirrels. I smell BS!
Statements such as these are really irresponsible.
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Old August 29, 2011, 10:19 PM   #19
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Empty them all in the chest. If the perp is still coming pistol whip him in the head (better with a big gun).
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Old August 29, 2011, 10:21 PM   #20
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Good ammo

I don't own a .380, but a friend does, and likes shooting WWB for practice and Glaser Pow'r Ball for SD. Seems to be a very effective round those Glaser's.
Again, just my opinion, good factory SD ammo in something like the .380acp is what is needed. And practice, practice, practice.


{Or shoot a .45acp!} Just kidding.
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Old August 29, 2011, 10:27 PM   #21
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you guys and your "stopping power" and "one shot stop percentage" non-sense is embarrassing.

You guys need to brush up on ballistic physics and the human anatomy.
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Old August 29, 2011, 10:35 PM   #22
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Am I doing the math correctly there?
Multiple shots improve the chances of stopping the attacker, but not nearly as much as that calculation implies. For one thing, I don't believe that the assumption of statistical independence is valid and it would be required for that calculation to be correct. The biggest problem is that handgun bullets don't usually break an attacker down. In other words, most "stopped" attackers give up or flee after being shot because they don't want to be shot more, NOT because they can't continue attacking.

So a person who isn't stopped by one shot is, in my opinion, more likely to not be stopped by the second shot. If he didn't give up after the first shot it's a lot more likely that he'll be one of the few that will actually have to be incapacitated before he'll give up. So a failure to stop with the first shot probably means that the next shot is more likely to be a failure to stop than one would otherwise expect because the attacker has already demonstrated a reluctance to give up. That doesn't mesh well with the concept of statistical independence.

Second, while the M&S one shot stop percentages, with some (sweeping & serious) caveats and conditions can, in my opinion, be used to very roughly compare the relative merit of self-defense cartridges, they should not be considered actual predictions of how likely a shot would be to put down an attacker. They certainly shouldn't be used the context of multiple shots given that the data collection methods specifically focused on scenarios involving only a single shot.
Quote:
What I haven't seen is discussions that assume multiple shots with a 380.
In my opinion, if a defender feels the need to shoot more than once with a .380, I believe the odds are very good he'll probably also feel the need to shoot multiple times with a 9mm or one of the other common self-defense calibers.
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Old August 29, 2011, 10:54 PM   #23
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I'm confortable with my 380 as a SD by itself. Mine is with me every day even if it's just a backup. The only thing I don't like is how snappy it is and how small in my hand. Sometimes, depending on the day, it feels hard to grip but I'm practiced with it and therefore trust it.

To the OP: With a good SD round it's certainly capable in my eyes. I guess we can talk all we want, only a real world situation would tell us the truth. Hopefully it would never come to that but I would trust it to get me out of a bad situation. Practive your double taps and see if you feel comfortable with it. Only you can decide what you are comfortable with.
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Old August 30, 2011, 02:01 AM   #24
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I'm talking about stopping power -that is the shot disrupts the system so that the animal immediately stops !
380 , a dog shot 5 times before it stopped .Couldn't get closer as it was very steep and very deep snow .Checked the next day and it had moved and was still alive.
Squirrel , shot just behind the diaphram , ran off 15'.
Woodchucks ,some made it back to their holes. Chucks are tough even with a 9mm [early days before fancy jhps ] I had chucks run back to their holes. The 45acp would stop a chuck so I could get a second shot if necessary.
In any case I had a few 380s and gave them up after these experiences figuring my life was worth something.It's not a game ,if you loose you're dead.Get a good cartridge, training and practice.
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Old August 30, 2011, 02:56 AM   #25
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Your main goal in a lethal force event...

Your main goal in a critical event is to draw & fire to STOP the threat(s) with the LEAST amount of lethal force needed.
Multiple shots of a pocket size or small caliber as a standard practice or tactic is a big mistake IMO.
You should by training or regular practice carry a large caliber sidearm that can stop a violent subject with only a few shots.
I watched a video clip of a tactics instructor who at CQB range taught that you should draw a pocket pistol or small frame handgun then empty the weapon into the subject's head & face.
I could see a # of flaws or problems with this tactic in a real lethal force event.
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