View Full Version : 380, 9x18M, 38Spl. non+p - is there a dimes worth of difference?

Rusty S
August 19, 2001, 01:44 AM
OUT OF POCKET PISTOLS AND SNUBBY REVOLVERS, that is. I hear that the 380 is fired for record out of a shorter barrel than the 9Mak, and when fired in equivalent barrels theres more difference from brand to brand of the same caliber than there is between them. Also if you have an airweight revolver stuffed with standard pressure 38 spl., you get the same results ( foot pounds energy ).

So what's the story? Is there a consensus on this or not? If I put a good hollowpoint in the same place from 380, 38 spl., or 9x18M the same thing is gonna happen no matter what caliber, right or wrong?

This is not meant to include standard pressure 38 loads out of a 4"-6" barrel,+P or +P+ in 38 special, or 9x19 Para ammo.

I'm not trolling, just interested for CCW.

August 19, 2001, 01:51 AM
I have no "facts" to present other than my forty years of shooting.

I have no doubt that a standard pressure, 158 grain SWC or SWCHP in 38 Special is superior to any 380 ACP or 9mm Makarov.

For that matter, I'd go for a snubby with 148 grain wadcutters over the other two choices.

No doubt you will have other opinions presented to you as well.

August 19, 2001, 02:24 AM
Another way to look at it is you can probably find better expanding hollowpoints with a larger cavity fpr that 38spl because you don't have to worry about it getting caught on the feed ramp.

Aside from the design of the actual bullet, you are going to have greater price and availability of 38spl nationwide.

My gut feeling says you are best off with the 38spl, but you are also best off bringing a gun as opposed to leaving the perfect gun at home. I wouldn't hesitate to carry a reliable handgun in any of the above chamberings for an evening on the town.

Rusty S
August 19, 2001, 03:42 AM
Thanks, Archie and Preserve Freedom. That the kind of thinking I wanted to elicit.

At the power level we're talking of, shot placement seems of vital importance, and I know the revolvers ( airweight bodyguard and cobra ) deliver adequate accuracy in close at full speed, or out past 50 yards in rollover prone and in single action.

On the other hand...

August 19, 2001, 08:48 AM
I'n not sure about the .38 Special, but the 9x17 & 9x18 are very close. Most of what I read gives a slight edge to the 9x18.

Probably any advantage the 2 nines would have over the 38 is in the vehicle - they can carry more rounds in a smaller, flatter profile.

(I'm not attempting to take a position on the more rounds/less power or more power/less rounds argument here - just thinking outloud!)

August 19, 2001, 09:35 AM
Energy is important but so is penetration. You would get better penetration from the .38 spl.

Rusty S
August 19, 2001, 12:02 PM
1) Reliability 2) Accuracy 3) penetration 4) stopping power.

Any of the 3 calibers is better than nothing. How much better is open to debate. I'd rather carry a pair of 41 mag fixed sight revolves with... but you know the story. I find myself ambivalent between a airweght bodyguard and a 13 + 1 380.

August 19, 2001, 01:00 PM
All else being equal, a 158gr HP .38 has more stopping potential. In .380 or smaller, I don't feel comfortable using anything but FMJ.

August 19, 2001, 02:37 PM
My personal take is that any slight advantage the .38 might have over the other two cartridges isn't enough to make up for the 1-3 rounds you'll give up to carry a revolver vs an auto.

August 19, 2001, 02:46 PM
I would go with the 9mm Makarov, its 1mm shorter than the 9mm Parabellum with a bullet that's slightly wider (9.2mm). Its close to the .380 with a 90-95 grain bullet. Its also close to the 9mm Parabellum if the Wolf 109 grain stuff is used. I would also go with a .38 as well for when 9mm Makarov isn't available.

August 19, 2001, 03:48 PM
I don't like the makarov for personal reasons, but I wouldn't want to be shot with any of them. I don't have a revolver that would be appropriate for concealed carry so I don't carry .38 Spcl either.

I have a Mustang PocketLite .380 acp that I carry when something bigger would be inappropriate. I load it with 90 grain Hydra-Shoks because they are 100% reliable in my gun and if the don't expand the hole they make is the same size as FMJ .380 acp. If they do expand the hole they make is bigger, and in this case better, than the FMJ.

August 19, 2001, 04:07 PM
I've done the gambit of snubbies, .380's and I now carry a German Makarov 9X18 off duty. Not because it's the best stopper but, because it is super reliable, very accurate and easy to conceal. I know some can master the snubbie .38, I can't. I really love my Mak. A sweet shooter.

Rusty S
August 19, 2001, 09:42 PM
OK, here's more background. The last year I've been keeping my eyes open for carry pistols.

Just recently the local County Sheriff ( I live in Nevada ) has given in and conceded he doesn't need serial #s for the 2 pistols we list on our permit. So now, finally, if we qualify with the MAKE, MODEL, and CALIBER of gun listed, we can switch between several guns in duplicate OR different finish, barrel length, fixed or adjustable sights, etcetera, and stay legal.

The idea here is of course that heaven forfend, if I must shoot someone to survive, the gun would be taken as evidence. So get a spare for each.

I picked up a pair of Browning model '55 380's. I also started seeking a second S&W model 38 Airweight Bodyguard in 38 spl. and a second Colt Cobra 38 spl., ( or even a Chiefs' Special model 36 ). They were all over until I started looking, then disappeared. Poof!

Last week I bought a CZ83 in 380. It's still being made and I can order as many duplicates as I want. And it has more than double the capacity of the smith or colt ( 10 + 1 or 13 + 1 ).

A revolver is second nature to me. On the other hand given a choice of one AR15 or four SKS's for the same money, I'd have an SKS in car, truck, home and office. The idea of being released after a shooting, going to the car or truck and slipping a backup gun on to protect me on the way home has a EXTREMELY STRONG appeal to me.

August 19, 2001, 10:51 PM
"Just recently the local County Sheriff ( I live in Nevada ) has given in and conceded he doesn't need serial #s for the 2 pistols we list on our permit. " etc., etc...

Not getting down on your home of Nevada Rusty, but it is so much more simple here. You apply for a permit to carry any handgun, & if the sheriff does not find a reason to issue he must issue the concealed weapon permit.

No serial numbers, no finger printing, etc. The permit is good for 5 years & cost (I think) $12 or $19. In 5 years you'll get a notice in the mail that your permit is going to expire & you can do the whole application through the mail, & receive your new permit the same way.

Now, we have to put every gun purchase through the Instant Check - even private transfers - & that sucks, so we are not squeaky clean. Just requiring a permit to carry sticks in my throat, but from what I read about the requirements in other states, PA is not too bad.

Will Beararms
August 19, 2001, 10:56 PM

Pick the one you shoot the best and stop splitting hairs. There's no such animal as a magic bullet and this one-shot stop bull is a way to keep gun writers and ammo manufacturers in business.

Face it: a handgun is an imperfect inferior weapon. The best you can hope for is accuracy and reliability.

If it were me, I would go with the 9mm Makarov or .380. They're flat with less muzzle flash and easier to shoot.

Leave the hair-spliting to the Marshalls and Sanows of the world.

Jody Hudson
August 19, 2001, 11:01 PM
The double stack .380s that are reliable such as the OLDer Berettas are a great choice especially with Triton's Quik-Shok ammo. That takes them into a special category of more and more powerful ammo.

The OLD S&W snubbies can be almost rifle accurate and are reliable.

The Makarov is in a class by itself as far as reliability and accuracy are concerned. AND it by far the most concealable in my opinion although I don't as I don't have a carry license.

My choice for accuracy and reliability is BY FAR the Makarov. I just wish that Triton made the Quik-Shok for it!!!!!!!!!!

Otherwise, choose the one you like, they are all good choice IF you put shot placement above all else!

Rusty S
August 20, 2001, 03:19 AM
Kevinch: on the other hand Nevadans who go throug the fingerprinting, background check, and firearms carry class get a pass on doing the Brady check every time they buy a new gun, saving $15 by simply showing their CCW.

And Nevada's procedures are thorough enough to ensure there's reciprocity with a bunch of other states.

August 20, 2001, 09:27 AM
I don't think that there is going to be a whole heck of a lot of difference between the 3 you list. Personally I would use a Makarov. Cheap, utterly reliable, surprisingly accurate, what more can I say. I love those little things.