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Thread: 9mm vs .380

  1. #1
    NES Member C-pher's Avatar
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    Default 9mm vs .380

    OK, here's my thoughts, and please let me know if I'm wrong in this thinking.

    But, for close range, I think that the .380 is a better round.

    The .380 is really just a 9mm short. So, it's the same round, just slower. Which works to your advantage in short distances. The 9mm is pretty fast 1150 fps where the .380 is about 950 fps.

    One would think, in close distances, the faster round would have a greater chance of a through and through. The slower round would have a chance to get in, do more damage, tear up some meat and stay inside.

    I know that the .380 is a huge round loved by European Police and such...and I would think that there's a reason. Granted, at a greater distance, the 9mm would have better accuracy.


    Anyway, just running through things that I've believed, and now just wondering from something that I read. Not trying to make it up on EC's list....but don't really care if I do.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Nickle's Avatar
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    Default

    Not that much difference in them at short range.

    C-Pher, I use 115 JHP 9mms for CCW work, and they get kind of ugly.

    The bottom line is simple. Either will work at reasonable ranges, IMNSHO.

  3. #3
    Moderator M1911's Avatar
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    Default

    Can't say that I agree with you here. 9mm by itself is a pretty low powered round, on the border of acceptability. .380 is that much worse. There is no evidence that a slower round creates more damage than a faster round, all things being equal. Furthermore, there is at least one test that showed a .380 ACP round penetrated a test gellatin to a distance of 17": http://www.firearmstactical.com/ammo_data/380acp.htm

    And finally, the 9mm rounds tended to expand to a larger diameter than .380 ACP: http://www.firearmstactical.com/ammo_data/9mm.htm

    In addition, you have much more choice in guns and ammunition in 9mm than .380.

  4. #4
    NES Member dixidawg's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by C-pher View Post
    OK, here's my thoughts, and please let me know if I'm wrong in this thinking.

    But, for close range, I think that the .380 is a better round.

    The .380 is really just a 9mm short. So, it's the same round, just slower. Which works to your advantage in short distances. The 9mm is pretty fast 1150 fps where the .380 is about 950 fps.

    One would think, in close distances, the faster round would have a greater chance of a through and through. The slower round would have a chance to get in, do more damage, tear up some meat and stay inside.

    I know that the .380 is a huge round loved by European Police and such...and I would think that there's a reason. Granted, at a greater distance, the 9mm would have better accuracy.


    Anyway, just running through things that I've believed, and now just wondering from something that I read. Not trying to make it up on EC's list....but don't really care if I do.

    Depends on what kind of "head" is being fired and whether or not the velocity is enough for adequate expansion.
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  5. #5

    Default

    IMO .380 ACP moves a far too light bullet far too slowly.

    The biggest problem with the above is that most .380 JHP's
    don't work as intended a result of those two attributes.

    If you look at various ballistic testing regimens, .380 ACP fails
    most of them pretty miserably. When you get to 9mm luger
    velocity with 124 gn+ bullet weights, things start to improve
    dramatically. You get bullets that will penetrate and expand
    far better. This means ability to reach vitals, bigger holes,
    more blood loss, and hopefully a BG that stops his attack
    faster.


    -Mike

  6. #6
    Jose
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    Default

    Less power is NEVER the answer.

    If the 115 grain 9x19 isn't enough, step up to a 125 or 147 +P.

    I am a fan of the heaviest bullet I can fit into a case for both self defense and hunting.

    That means 158s in 38 Special +P and 357 Magnum, 160 grain round nose in 6.5x55 and 180 grain in 30-06.

  7. #7

    Default For those into "energy dump...."

    One other thing that bears mentioning, perhaps... (for those
    that look at energy, although I'm not an energy dump nazi
    type, but this is still at least mildly interesting nonetheless... )

    Speer GDHP .380 / 90 gr:
    Muzzle Vel: 980 FPS
    Muzzle FPE: 196 ft/lbs

    Speer GDHP 9mm 124 gn std pressure
    Muzzle Vel:1150
    Muzzle FPE: 364 ft/lbs

    Speer GDHP 9mm +P 124 gn (FWIW, I like this load!)
    Muzzle Vel: 1220 FPS
    Muzzle FPE: 410 ft/lbs

    Just for shits and giggles, let's look at DoubleTap's .380 load,
    probably the hottest on the market..... (I'm sure it HURTS when
    you shoot it.... heheh)

    Speer GDHP .380 ACP 90 gn... loaded by DoubleTap.
    Muzzle Vel: 1100 FPS
    Muzzle FPE: 242 ft/lbs

    Disclosure: Speer's test barrel in 9mm is 4". In .380 it's 3.75",
    doubt if it makes a real difference. DoubleTap's test barrel
    is 3.5".

    End Note: I don't shop for ammo by virtue of numbers
    alone, but these kind of numbers don't help the case for
    .380 very much. I'm not saying a .380 won't do damage, by
    any means.... but from outward appearances, 9mm is at least an
    order of magnitude more powerful- and this isn't even including
    the obvious benefits of being able to launch a faster heavier,
    and better constructed bullet.

    -Mike

  8. #8

    Default

    A 380 is a 9mm set to "stun."

    Even the most powerful handgun round is anemic and has relatively little stopping power. Using a reduced power round is NEVER the answer to increasing stopping power.

    9mm is at the lower threshold of what is considered a minimum acceptable defense round. Anything less, is just that; less than acceptable
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  9. #9
    Consigliere EddieCoyle's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by C-pher View Post
    I know that the .380 is a huge round loved by European Police and such...and I would think that there's a reason.
    There is a reason: They are not allowed to carry a 9mm. In many countries it is illegal for civilians to own handguns in military calibers.
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  10. #10
    NES Member Garys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EddieCoyle View Post
    There is a reason: They are not allowed to carry a 9mm. In many countries it is illegal for civilians to own handguns in military calibers.
    Would that include the police? I'd think not, since in some countries they carry machine pistols in 9mm. I distinctly remember seeing the Garda Civil in Spain carrying some sort of automatic weapon. That was back in the 1970s, when they had a lot of unrest in parts of Spain.

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