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Old August 5, 2010, 06:07 PM   #26
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Booker T, sorry for my post not adressing state law, I was just responding to the .380 question.

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Old August 8, 2010, 12:38 PM   #27
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As usual, people can't resist badgering an OP about his choice of self-defense caliber, because he's dared to admit to carrying a caliber that doesn't start with a "4".
They're just showing their inadequacy to those who carry a caliber starting with "5"...

Back to .380 and penetration, the OP could determine how the available loadings work against heavily-dressed targets. If there are no old clothes in the back of the closet that really ought to be thrown away, he could hit a few garage sales or flea markets and surely pick up something cheap. Layer the thermal underwear, flannel shirt, vest, coat, and whatnot over a watermelon or block of modeling clay, and see how the loads compare.

You can argue something to death, or buy a couple of boxes of ammo and know for sure.

Back in the '80s I had some S&W "armor piercing" .38 Special with fancy conical FMJ bullets. I shot some at an old galvanized trash can, and was astonished to find five of the six bullets were laying in the bottom of the can; they'd just dented the far side a bit. I'm not sure what kind of armor they were designed to penetrate, but the cast lead .380 reloads I was shooting in the automatic simply sailed right through.
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Old August 8, 2010, 12:50 PM   #28
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LoL. Nice AP, rounds I think standard FMJ would have done better.
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Old August 8, 2010, 03:58 PM   #29
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I'm surprised Deleware allowes carry by persons under 21
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Old August 8, 2010, 04:40 PM   #30
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What makes you think you have to do anything? It's not about what you have to do.. it's about what you feel best doing and are most comfortable with. 9mm is the smallest caliber I feel comfortable using for self defense. Hollow points are what I feel comfortable with for using for SD. Period.

What about you? Do your research and then make decisions.. don't come on the internet and ask us geniuses what you have to do.
Amateurs think equipment,
Students think techniques,
Experts think tactics.
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Old August 9, 2010, 04:32 PM   #31
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If your life isn't worth a few boxes of HP ammo, perhaps you should rethink this whole CCW thing...
If you belive this, maybe you need to rethink this whole CCW thing. FMJ will work in many weapons HP dont work in, some guys have families and cant afford to ship it off to a smith to be fixed so it can fire HPs. Use what the gun likes to eat so you know it will fire every time it is needed. Or else learn how to throw a rock cause thats what you will have in your hand if it wont fire.

I prefer FMJ over HP. Works for me. Doubt if I will ever need to use it in any SD event, but if I do I want it to fire every pull of the trigger.
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Old August 28, 2010, 05:59 PM   #32
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Dear Big Tom: I agree with many of the posters. The 380 doesn't have the power to use energy to open the HP bullet and get deep enough. With the 380 I would NOT hesitate to use FMJ. You have to get it there before it will do what needs to be done. This is especially true with so many guys being really large. I read of a shooting in Combat Handguns where a 380 FMJ was used at three feet when a blade expert grabbed a 10" pair of sissors and attempted to stab a small fellow who grabbed a 380 laying on a table and shot the larger attacker in the left side of the head. The attacker was stopped and killed instantly, and the intended victim was NOT injured. Isn't that the way it's supposed to work? This ain't brain surgery, it's common sense. Best, Lyle
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Old August 29, 2010, 11:09 AM   #33
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Actually DE does NOT allow you to carry, purchase, or own a handgun unless you are 21 or older.

Also guys, went to the gun shop yesterday to see my options. I handed several guns from Glocks, Kel Tecs, Bersas, Berettas, NAA's, S&W's, and Rugers. Let me say that I LOVE THE FEEL OF RUGERS! I disliked the feeling of the Glocks, they are way to box and the finger grooves dont really work for me. Kel Tec was alright, Loved the S&W J frames feel but 5 shots for me doesnt cut it. Bersa's were very comfy but too big for what I wanted/needed. My dad picked up the Thunder .380 and it works for him, its the smallest gun he can carry with his bear claws! As for me, I fell in love with the Ruger LCP. I want that and the SR9 as my 2 SD/HD/CD guns.
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Old August 29, 2010, 12:17 PM   #34
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Tom, just as a heads up (there's no way in hades I'm gonna try talking you out of a Ruger, I'm recommending one for my old man), I wouldn't be worried about penetration on a .380 Auto. Just looked at the stats on the round on wikipedia, very similar to the .45 ACP in the feet per second category.

Military to my knowledge said .45 ACP can (I'm assuming this is with no body armor) punch through 2 guys and still have enough umph to lodge into the heart of a 3rd person. I'm also assuming that is more than likely FMJ.

I hosed down 3 old phone books and stacked them back to back to back and fired a Winchester USA .45 ACP HP round into it. It punched through all 3 phone books and it had mushroomed leaving a pretty good size exit wound. 2 of those phone books were pretty thick too.

Pistol? Modified PT1911 Taurus, 5 inch barrel. First shot, cold bore, hit.

since the fps is similar, I'd say go to hp on .380 Auto and don't even worry about it.
"The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly." - Albert Einstein]

Last edited by FoxtrotRomeo; August 29, 2010 at 12:21 PM. Reason: screwed up :)
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Old August 29, 2010, 12:27 PM   #35
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I'll chime in with my response here. As with a lot of these guys it is just an opinion and your mileage may vary.

I live in a warmer climate and winter dress is not as dense as it would be in your climate. For me HPs would seem fine in a .380. I have seen test at Golden Loki and other places that prove a .380 HP will open and penetrate. Usually it is no more than 9.5" in the best scenario.

That means you are coming up about 3"s short of what the FBI recomends on penetration of gel. So, in the winter, in DE, I would probably opt for a mixed load of bullets.

Hornady Critical Defense is designed to get through clothing. From what I have seen in tests the Golden Sabres tend to either not expand, or minimally expand through heavy clothes. Personally I would go with the Hornady Critical Defense or Speer Gold Dot for HPs. Then mix in some Fiocchi or Blazer FMJs.

In DE using a .380 in the winter may require that you practice your "failure drills." I would stack the load so that it was HP, HP, FMJ. If the first two don't work aim for the head. Of course only if you've trained for that and you are sure of you shot path. If he jerks his head you don't want a bullet harming a bystander.

Just the opinions of one man.
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Old August 29, 2010, 01:57 PM   #36
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Just dos centavos from a Wisconsin dinosaur who does not and has never had a 380. Quite a few of my cop friends use one for back up and in the winter they load FMJ, they don't know if they have to shoot if its going to be inside or outside and some of us Wisconsin boys are not only pretty big we know how to dress for cold weather. If you were to move to Miami beach I'd say get the bullet that works best in your gun...period no matter what it is. Up north I am a FMJ guy in that small a gun. You won't be shooting it at 50 yards but nearly belly to belly in a SD situation and where you put that bullet will count for more than what its shape and composition is.

That being said I just came in from the heat and humidity and bright sun after shooting some 25 yard 45ACP drills. I made my choice.
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Old August 29, 2010, 02:06 PM   #37
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Given the platform I would carry FMJ for a couple of reasons. One being enhanced reliability and the other being ample penetration.
May a person who is relocating out-of-State move firearms with other household goods? Yes.
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Old August 29, 2010, 02:15 PM   #38
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Posts: 769 has data on .380 expansion (Hornady 90gr JHPs):


Avg penetration into bare gelatin was 10.9 inches.
Avg penetration into denim-covered gelatin was about 13 inches (one round penetrated through all 18 inches, see link for details)
Avg expansion into bare gelatin was .45 inches
Avg penetration into denim-covered gelatin was about the same.

For fun, let's look at 9mm (147gr JHPs):

Avg penetration into bare gelatin was 17.6 inches.
Avg penetration into denim-covered gelatin was unknown, all rounds penetrated through all 18 inches of gel.
Avg expansion into bare gelatin was .50 inches.
Avg penetration into denim-covered gelatin was .47 inches.

I saw .45ACP mentioned (230gr JHPs):

Avg penetration into bare gelatin was 12.9 inches.
Avg penetration into denim-covered gelatin was unknown, all rounds penetrated through all 18 inches of gel.
Avg expansion into bare gelatin was .66 inches.
Avg penetration into denim-covered gelatin was unknown as none of the rounds were recovered.

Adding some data-tinder to the fire
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