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Old January 29, 2020, 02:02 PM   #1
Carmady
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Reduced velocity .380 FMJ for self-defense

Sometimes the solution is so simple it gets overlooked.

With .380 the problems are insufficient expansion with JHP ammo, and overpenetration with FMJ ammo.

Heard it all before...

JHP's are no good for self-defense because they don't expand for whatever reasons, or may fail to feed.

FMJ's are no good for self defense because they can overpenetrate and injure or kill innocent by-standers.

It looks like someone could just take regular .380 FMJ and reduce the powder change to slow it down, and eliminate the dangers of overpenetration. Maybe experiment with heavier bullets too. I see no reason why a slower .380 FMJ couldn't be good alternative. Maybe the ammo manufacturers would be cutting their own throats if they did.
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Old January 29, 2020, 02:43 PM   #2
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.380 doesn't have an over penetration problem.
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Old January 29, 2020, 03:05 PM   #3
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https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...&highlight=380
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Old January 29, 2020, 03:17 PM   #4
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What Bill DeShivs said!

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Old January 29, 2020, 06:19 PM   #5
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There is no valid reason to carry FMJ when there are modern bullets such as the Hornady XTP in .380 ACP which can both penetrate deeply and expand reliably.
Even if you live in New Jersey or other such places in which expanding bullets are prohibited, there are still viable alternatives to FMJ such as one of the many Phillip's Head Screwdriver bullets.
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Old January 29, 2020, 07:35 PM   #6
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Around 1:30 he shoots two each of three types of .380 FMJ, and they all overpenetrated. This is gel, but the FBI uses between 12" and 18" on their gel tests.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbSLqdiX_bA

And another
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkscBbMGp5k

And this starting around 1:45
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX3gpJ-GAy0
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Old January 29, 2020, 08:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forte S+W View Post
There is no valid reason to carry FMJ when there are modern bullets such as the Hornady XTP in .380 ACP which can both penetrate deeply and expand reliably.
I've yet to see a 380 that reliably expands and penetrates 16+ inches.
Including XTP

40+ years in LE, 50+ years hunting, 60+ years on a working ranch...
Have proven to me that the only common service caliber handgun bullets which can connsistantly be relied upon, penetrate 16+ inches...
Regardless of bullet type... JHP, FMJ, LRN, LRB, etc

Quote:
viable alternatives to FMJ such as one of the many Phillip's Head Screwdriver bullets
Gimmicky expensive bullets that are only "impressive" in gel, not in real flesh and bone.

Practice
Placement
Penetration
Always trump expansion

Further, I've yet to see any credible data that shows "passthrough" injuries/deaths in civilian self defense shooting to be any valid sort of argument. From what I've found over the years, the vast majority of bystanders struck are hit with missed shots. Which returns us back to my first two "P's".

Just my opinion, by all means buy and shoot whatever makes you FEEL better
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Old January 29, 2020, 08:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill DeShivs View Post
.380 doesn't have an over penetration problem.
I wholeheartedly agree
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Old January 29, 2020, 09:12 PM   #9
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I never heard of .380 over penetration until I started watching youtube videos.

I've never heard of over penetration with .38 Special. With them being about the same diameter as .380, and being more powerful, it seems like there would be plenty of stories about them over penetrating.
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Old January 29, 2020, 09:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmady View Post
I never heard of .380 over penetration until I started watching youtube videos.

I've never heard of over penetration with .38 Special. With them being about the same diameter as .380, and being more powerful, it seems like there would be plenty of stories about them over penetrating.
Spot on
Not to mention that 38 Special has a very good track record, over a longer history than most.
(cue the internet anacdotes)
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Old January 29, 2020, 11:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBM900
I've yet to see a 380 that reliably expands and penetrates 16+ inches.
Including XTP

40+ years in LE, 50+ years hunting, 60+ years on a working ranch...
Have proven to me that the only common service caliber handgun bullets which can connsistantly be relied upon, penetrate 16+ inches...
Regardless of bullet type... JHP, FMJ, LRN, LRB, etc
Yeah well, it's .380 ACP... Honestly, if you want full expansion and 16" of penetration, I suggest you look towards .357 Magnum or .40 S&W and stop screwing around with .380 ACP.
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Old January 30, 2020, 04:01 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Forte S+W View Post
Honestly, if you want full expansion and 16" of penetration, I suggest you look towards .357 Magnum or .40 S&W and stop screwing around with .380 ACP.
Honestly, I made no such assertion.
I was simply responding to your assertion that XTP reliably expands (it doesn't).
It doesn't reliably expand, and it doesn't penetrate deep enough for my satisfaction.
Of the two factors, I will always choose penetration as being FAR more critical.

So many people hang their hats on expansion as if it is some sort of magical force, it isn't.
If the "3P's" aren't met, expansion is entirely irrelevant.

Over the decades I've seen folks entirely invest themselves in tiny fractions of an inch, yet they can't shoot for diddly under pressure. So their emotions become a crutch. They will try and rationalize six-ways till Sunday why they have to have the latest uber wonder bullet @ $2/per as if it will make up for their own shortcomings.

I carry various calibers, one of my favorites is 357 Magnum 158gr SJHP.
When I make the choice to carry a 380, i use FMJ.
I don't feel the slightest bit "disadvantaged" versus the 357 because I've seen first hand what they both can and cant do to a person.

Just my opinion, take it or leave it
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Old January 30, 2020, 08:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Gimmicky expensive bullets that are only "impressive" in gel, not in real flesh and bone.
Kinda depends. With not a lot of real world data of actually shooting 'real flesh and bone', the relative performance in a common test medium CAN show relative strengths and weaknesses of different ammo. Again, COMMON test conditions. A lot of standard JHP is 'impressive' in gel too.

'Expensive' boutique ammunition(like Lehgh Xtreme Defender) when shot thru a lot of clothing or some other barriers, like sheet metal and into gel, when compared to other JHP and FMJ, does quite well with regards to penetration and 'wound' channel.
Quote:
Honestly, if you want full expansion and 16" of penetration, I suggest you look towards .357 Magnum or .40 S&W and stop screwing around with .380 ACP.
Talking CONCEALED carry weapons, yes? And getting decent with any carry weapon means you shoot it, a lot(or should)...and..gotta carry it also, comforyably, easily, daly, in all weather and clothes.

For some a 357mag or 40S&W isn't in the cards..
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Old January 30, 2020, 08:58 AM   #14
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I'm going to try those Sig 100gr FMJ .380 rounds. A box of 50 for less than $20, and no need to be concerned with over expansion. Win/Win
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Old January 30, 2020, 09:58 AM   #15
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you'll be lucky to hit COM if you're attacked violently. if you're being shot at you will prefer penetration over expansion every day of the week.
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Old January 30, 2020, 12:38 PM   #16
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Yeah the 380 with ball ammo can over penetrate. How much you want to worry about that is up to you. The advice to use ball rather than jhp goes back to the days when jhp ammo mostly did not reliably open. These days jhp ammo more often opens as it is advertised.

There is an issue with testing bullet performance in clear gel. We see clear gel at Lucky Gunner and on most You Tube vids. That's because it's easier to use, cheaper, and we can see the bullet track in it clearer than 10% or 20% Ballistic Gel. Law enforcement and the military use calibrated ballistic gel which is denser and simulates muscle and organ tissue. Clear gel does not.

The only place, on the net, that routinely uses 10 and 20% calibrated ballistic gel and also replicates the FBI standard tests is Brass Fetcher. So below is the link to their tests on the 380 and their many vids of different bullets in action. The vids are at the bottom of the page.

http://www.brassfetcher.com/Handguns...380%20ACP.html

They also have charts for various bullets through obstacles.

The stats are here for 10% ballistic gel:

http://www.brassfetcher.com/Ballisti...20Gelatin.html

Here they are for 20%:

http://www.brassfetcher.com/Ballisti...20Gelatin.html

So take a look!

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Old January 30, 2020, 01:34 PM   #17
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"...because they don't expand..." The primary reason for that is insufficient velocity. Just like any JHP.
An FMJ is not designed to expand. However, any cf bullet can over penetrate.
16" of penetration on most humans is a through and through.
Like USNRet93 says, ballistics gel doesn't tell you much.
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Old January 30, 2020, 02:18 PM   #18
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When I think I've seen it all on gun forums, the OP delivers.
Someone wants reduced power 380.


Thanks OP.
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Old January 30, 2020, 02:31 PM   #19
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THIS^^^^^^^^

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Old January 30, 2020, 03:11 PM   #20
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Quote:
"...because they don't expand..." The primary reason for that is insufficient velocity. Just like any JHP.
An FMJ is not designed to expand. However, any cf bullet can over penetrate.
16" of penetration on most humans is a through and through.
Like USNRet93 says, ballistics gel doesn't tell you much.
Why the 16"?

People don't stand still is why the 16". They bend over, they crouch, etc.

Imagine a fella running up a flight of stairs with you at the bottom shooting up. The bullet hits him in the area of the right hip and travels up and exits through the left shoulder. Measure the distance the bullet traveled. That's why the FBI wanted the ability of a bullet to travel 16" through a person. 18" plus they considered too much.

The op should be more concerned with shot placement. Misses are more common than hits so be concerned with what or who else is around the target than over penetration.

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Old January 30, 2020, 06:39 PM   #21
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What is this . . . over-penetration?

If I can get two holes for one shot, where's the problem?
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Old January 30, 2020, 08:57 PM   #22
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That's not two holes. It's one hole all the way through.
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Old January 31, 2020, 01:48 AM   #23
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I always figured two holes (or one all the way through) was better than a bullet that didn't get to where it was needed to go.

I think that overpenetration is over hyped. I think that complete penetration is adequate penetration. I'm not a cop, My risks are different than a police department, especially a large metro department where there may be dozens of officer involved shootings every year. Many happening in places where there are people in literally every direction, up, down, and sideways. If you have those concerns, you should do what you think appropriate. I have different concerns.

You can always handload and reduce the velocity of your .380 if you want, and its a concern to you. Let us know how your semi auto works when you do that, too, will ya?
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Old January 31, 2020, 06:52 AM   #24
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I gotta stop watching these Jello shooters on youtube.

.36 caliber bullets have been killing people for over 150 years.

It looks like this over penetration dilemma is blown way out of proportion.

Solution...HP's that cost a lot more (so what if they don't expand).

Quote:
When I think I've seen it all on gun forums, the OP delivers.
Someone wants reduced power 380. (Goodfellas pic) Thanks OP.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Thank YOU.
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Old January 31, 2020, 08:15 AM   #25
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Quote:
Why the 16"?

People don't stand still is why the 16". They bend over, they crouch, etc.
Didn't that have something to do with the FBI shootout with the bads, one of which was hit in the arm, it traveled into his chest, but stopped short of his heart..and he went on the kill 2-3 other agents?
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