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Old March 16, 2013, 02:30 AM   #1
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Is the 380 Still Going Strong?

Everyone knows just a little while back the 380 cal was all the craze and the pistol to have for concealed carry. I believe it all started with the Ruger LCP, then all the others followed. I was just wondering if most of you that bought one of the little 380's still carry them, or at least as much as you did. The reason I am asking this question is there have been so many manufacturers producing 9mm's that are just as small or as close to it as you can get to the little 380's. I was one of the ones that jumped on the 380 craze Ruger LCP) and like the little pistol. However after I bought my Kahr CM-9 I have stopped carrying the 380 for now anyway. The CM-9 is a great little pistol, but still not as comfortable to carry as the little LCP. I have always had and still do have a problem with what ammo to use in the LCP for the very best defensive round. Some said since it was not known as a great defense round I should use just round nose ammo for deeper penetration, others said any good hollow point. Some "experienced" shooters said they wouldn't even carry a 380. So I really didn't know what ammo would be best. I did get a box of "Buffalo Bore+P but Ruger does not recommend any +P ammo for the LCP. I have decided I am going to carry it this summer for obvious reasons but still I am not sure what would be the very best ammo to load it with. I did shoot some of the Buffalo Bore out of it just to make sure it functioned ok with it and it did, with considerable more recoil, but I do think it's one of the most powerful rounds you can carry in a 380. I would never target shoot with it, because I am almost certain it would put a lot of unreasonable wear on the pistol. What is you guy's take on the 380 in general, and the use of a + P round just for defense or should I abide by Ruger and stay away from the use + P which I will most likely do anyway. Thanks.
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Old March 16, 2013, 02:59 AM   #2
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The current .380 craze didn't start with the LCP. Perhaps you are thinking of the Keltec P3AT that the LCP was copied from!
The .380 has always been a popular S/D cartridge, and there really is no SAAMI "+P" designation. Any good hollow point round should work well. Caliber is not a replacement for accuracy, but you should feel confident in what you are carrying. A bad shot with a .380 will still be a bad shot with a 9mm.
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Old March 16, 2013, 03:47 AM   #3
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Is the 380 Still Going Strong?

Today marks month 27 of my LCP riding in my right front jeans pocket. For the last good chunk of that it has been in my final carry configuration after cycling through ammo and holsters. It sits in a Desantis Nemesis pocket holster with 102-grain Remington Golden Sabers and a spare magazine in the coin pocket of the jeans. It presents smoothly, shoots surprisingly accurately, and is pain-free and controllable for me until I hit 150-200 rounds.

Most importantly are the 1,000+ fail-free rounds with three types of defense JHP (Golden Saber, PDX1, Gold Dot) and three types of cheap plinking ammo (WWB, Fed Champ, PMC).

It is not a powerful gun. It is not a fancy gun. It's a rock-solid reliable featherweight that packs enough punch and accuracy to aid my escape in a bad situation.

For what the gun is, I love it to pieces.
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Old March 16, 2013, 03:49 AM   #4
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I've yet to find a 9mm pocket gun that is just as small as an LCP, P3AT, BG380 and so forth and still be shootable. Yes, there is the Shield, XDS, Kahr and so forth, but they're bigger and not pocketable in any of my pants.

My IWB carry is a XDS in 45acp and BG380 when only pocket carry will do. I like both calibers equally well and would have no problem carrying FMJ in either if that's all I had. As a matter of fact, when I run out of HP ammo for the .380, FMJ is what I'm going to carry in the BG380.
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Old March 16, 2013, 05:34 AM   #5
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Old March 16, 2013, 07:37 AM   #6
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As far as following Ruger's recommendation not to use +p, yes. I would not not use it.

As far as the .380 round, I do not believe it is going anywhere. Yes, it is still going strong.

As far as uses for the LCP, sometimes it is the only gun I can carry with enough concealment in particular situations. Therefore it definitely has a permanent place in my "toolbox."
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Old March 16, 2013, 07:51 AM   #7
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I have the LCP and like it. I haven't experienced any failures with it and it is as accurate as I am. (not that I'm a crack shot). A friend of mine bought the SW Body Guard the other day and I haven't shot it yet, but so far I like a couple of the features that I didn't get with my LCP. I like the sights better and I like that the slide locks open on the last shot. If I remember I'll post again when I get a chance to shoot them both on the same day and compare.

I don't think we'll see the 380 go anywhere. It fits a need in the CCW world nicely.
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Old March 16, 2013, 08:22 AM   #8
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The .380 LCP and the like fit a niche that 9mm can't fill, and that is truly a gun that can fit in any pocket and go any place. While there are smaller 9mm on the market none are as small as the LCP.

I bought mine as a niche gun for when I can't carry some thing bigger and even after buying a compact Walther PPS 9mm my LCP still sees the same amount of carry.

Ruger also introduced a new .380 in a larger frame. I assume that due to the growing numbers of CCW carriers, the .380 offers less recoil for novice shooters in a frame size that is easy to shoot.

If any thing, I would guess that the .380 is growing in popularity or in the least has remained steady. It certainly has not declined.
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Old March 16, 2013, 08:48 AM   #9
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I think it is going stronger than ever. It has really built up quite a following over the past several years. I see a lot more 380 ammo on the shelves than I did just 6 years ago. With the P3AT's, LCP's, and the Bersa's on the market continuing to sell like hotcakes, it will be around for a long while me thinks.
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Old March 16, 2013, 08:48 AM   #10
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I had a .380 initially but it didn't turn out to be what I wanted for a carry gun. The particular one I had had a slide that was a witch to try and rack, hated the long trigger pull (too suspenseful like waiting on a jack-in-the-box to pop up at you) and overall it was too small to grip. Just wasn't one I was comfortable enough with to trust as my SD gun, no matter what ammo was in it.

I am starting to think about looking for another one though to bring in to be able to rotate with my sub and compact 9mm's for times when my 9's are a bit too bulky, ie. form fitting top or shorts/pants that are more fitted. A smaller .380 might conceal in my IWB. I have the Desantis pocket holster but I'm not a fan of pocket carry, typically because my pants just don't allow the extra room.
Im just not 100% comfortable yet with the thought of doing that, no matter how accurate of a shot I am. I like having as many odds stacked in my favor as I can get. I personally feel like I've got them stacked better with my 9's.

But I belong to a forum that's all women, (non gun related). We were actually discussing guns a few weeks ago and the majority of the ladies there carried .380's. (Glocks came in a close 2nd!)
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Old March 16, 2013, 08:58 AM   #11
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I have the Desantis pocket holster but I'm not a fan of pocket carry, typically because my pants just don't allow the extra room.
One or two pairs of pants a size or two up from normal is not a big investment, and can come in handy for occasional use. I think it's worth considering.
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Old March 16, 2013, 09:42 AM   #12
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LCP, Crimson Trace laser, Alabama Holster Co. Kydex pocket holster.
Federal Hydra-Shok. Right front pocket, every day for over 3 years.
It's there right now as I have my morning coffee.

I've had a CHL for about 25 years. Carried everything from a full
size steel 1911 to a derringer. All had their drawbacks---too big,
too heavy, too difficult to shoot, limited capacity, etc. For one
reason or another they all were not carried every day.

Is the 380 LCP and the like the ultimate carry gun solution? No.
But it's a good compromise of the qualities I want, in a package
that I will carry EVERY day.
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Old March 16, 2013, 09:52 AM   #13
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Is the 380 Still Going Strong?

4+ years ago, I tried to purchase a Ruger LCP, but there were none to be found. So I got a P3AT instead. No regrets. I carry it more often than any other and feel it would serve well if needed.

Is the 380 still going strong? Just try to find some ammo.
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Old March 16, 2013, 12:28 PM   #14
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To me, the .380 is going strong. Though not as effective as larger and more powerful rounds, still ammo technology for the .380 ACP will continue to advance, making it more effective.

I carried a Browning BDA 380 in a shoulder holster back in the early '90s, and for some boneheaded reason, I sold it to another officer for no good reason. I posted about getting rid of it in the thread about those who do those types of things. Finally....after waiting for one to pop up in front of me, one finally did this last Saturday. The "PX" shows that it was made in '83. Due to the ammo shortage, I could only find Hornady 90 gr XTP hollow points here locally. I will probably go to the 102 gr Golden Sabers when I can find some. I've already qualified with it and carrying it off duty. Looking for a good leather thumb snap holster-probably a Bianchi 19L.
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Old March 16, 2013, 01:22 PM   #15
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The current .380 craze didn't start with the LCP. Perhaps you are thinking of the Keltec P3AT that the LCP was copied from!
Argue this as you might...but, the LCP definitely brought this craze to a MUCH higher level and there is NO denying that.

To the OP, the .380 is not going anywhere...there is nothing on the market or waiting in the wings that can replace it.
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Old March 16, 2013, 01:46 PM   #16
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In my opinion it actually all started with the .32ACP Kel-Tec P32. While the Seecamp pre-dated it, the P32 was probably the first true lightweight pocket pistol readily available to the masses in something better than .25ACP. Then somebody at Kel-Tec said "Hey, maybe we can shoehorn the .380 into a gun of this size", and the P3AT was born. It was indeed popular, but everyone wanted something with just a little better quality than the Kel-Tec and Ruger finally answered the call. That's when the floodgates opened up.
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Old March 16, 2013, 03:45 PM   #17
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The current .380 craze didn't start with the LCP. Perhaps you are thinking of the Keltec P3AT that the LCP was copied from!
Popularity of the .380 really took off with the LCP. Kel Tec size (and design), Ruger reliability.

I had my FFL looking for one for months and months after its introduction, to no avail. I didn't actually get one until last year.

As far as following Ruger's recommendation not to use +p, yes. I would not not use it.
Attached is a comparison pic of an LCP barrel next to a KT PF9 barrel. The pic doesn't show it real well, but the chamber walls on the LCP are mighty thin.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg pf9_lcp_barrels.jpg (178.6 KB, 80 views)
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Old March 16, 2013, 05:06 PM   #18
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At least for me yeah, it's still going strong. I have a Taurus TCP that I've had for a couple years, still gets carried everyday. Shoots good, easily concealable.

I also got a Sig P238 a couple months back that I'm working on my wife to carry. It's a dream to shoot. Unfortunately, it sits idly as I try to help the wife to become more comfortable to carry.

When I gave her the Sig I went looking to upgrade from my TCP. I wanted a 9 that I could carry in my pocket like the TCP or P238. Unfortunately, I have not found any that I feel are as easy to conceal as I would like.
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Old March 16, 2013, 07:53 PM   #19
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I don't see the .380 going anywhere, nor do I have any problem carrying a .380. I have shot 1.5" groups with my Sig 232 in rapid fire at around 25ft, and can consistently shoot 2"-2.5" groups doing the same. It wouldn't be my first choice to take into a gun battle, but for concealed carry I feel confident in 7+1 of .380 especially in a gun I can shoot so well. Plan on picking up a S&W bodyguard .380 as well for the occasional pocket carry.

Last edited by Dragline45; March 16, 2013 at 07:59 PM.
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Old March 16, 2013, 10:42 PM   #20
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sig p238's and bg's are selling like hotcakes out here in mass it;s insane.
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Old March 16, 2013, 10:44 PM   #21
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I just bought a .380
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Old March 16, 2013, 11:02 PM   #22
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It'll be around for a long time. It has a nitch right at the smallest round you should depend on for self protection. Altho the .22 mag is capable and the .22lr will do the job if it has to, the .380 still does it better in about the same size frame.
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Old March 17, 2013, 02:08 AM   #23
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I have an AMT Backup II .380 that I have been carrying since 1992.

.380's have been popular for a while.

I think they will probably be popular for a while yet.
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Old March 17, 2013, 06:23 AM   #24
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My Taurus TCP stays in my car, with an extra mag, at all times. That gun has proven as reliable in every way as my Glock after 2000 rounds, and I feel very good having it with me. The conceal-ability is really nice for sure.
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Old March 17, 2013, 07:44 AM   #25
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I've got a Kahr 380 and I pocket carry it in a nice horsehide pocket holster when I don't want to or can't carry my larger 9mm. The self defense ammo of today makes the 380 a much better choice than in years past. Get some and fire enough rounds of it to be sure you can rely on it. Much better than solids for self defense.
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