.380 Auto too small for main carry gun?

Discussion in 'Handguns' started by kazanski612, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. kazanski612

    kazanski612 New Member

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    Feb 21, 2009
    Hey, everybody - first post here. Glad to be on board.

    I'm working on getting my CHL and I've been leaning toward a compact .40 S&W like the HK P2000SK, Sig P239, or waiting for the Beretta PX4 subcompact .40 (which should be available "late-summer, early-fall").

    I'm a sucker for traditional double action (SA/DA) and it occurred to me that if I expand my search to include .380 auto, I have more options. Plus a .380 may be easier to carry everyday.

    Here's my question: is a .380 auto too small as a main carry gun? Can an "average" shot hit the broad side of a barn from 20 feet with something with a 2" or 3" barrel? Is the drop in knock-down power between .40SW and .380Auto a legit concern (i.e. should I be worried about penetration through moderate-to-heavy clothing)?

    Thanks for your help!
     


  2. Texas42

    Texas42 TGT Addict

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    Here is my opinion.

    I carry a 380 auto pocket pistol. I carry it because it is easy to conceal. I can carry it with any belted shorts or pants and a T-shirt.

    I'd rather carry my Glock 19, but that isn't always an option.

    I'd rather have a 380 on me than have nothing. With my kel tec P3AT, I can hit with in a 5 or 6 inch circle at 10 yards. My accuracy really goes down hill after that. ( I get about a foot and half high and have over a foot spread. )

    Yes, a .40 or a 9mm is going to have a lot better ballisics than a .380 auto. The velocity isn't going to be as great, especially out of the short barrels. This could really effect the efficacy of the HP expanding.

    This doesn't even talk about the fact that 380 auto is almost impossible to find at a reasonble price.

    In all, CC is probably where the 380 auto is best, but it doesn't mean it is the best CC round.
     
  3. navyguy

    navyguy TGT Addict

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    DFW Keller
    Welcome to the forum.

    HK P2000SK or P2000 and P239 are great carry guns. .40, .357 or 9mm all are good defense rounds. The P239 is larger and heavier than the P2000SK or P2000. (My edc is a p2000 .40) FWIW I have a P2000SK .40 as well, but find the P2000 just as easy to carry.

    As for the .380 as a primary carry round... it's better than nothing, but unless you're looking at something like KelTec or other "mouse gun", I can't think of a reason to carry a .380. You can find 9mm that are in the same size range, like a Kahr PM9, Beretta PX4 Storm, CZ Rami, Glock 26 and others. And the 9mm is quite a bit better as a defense round. Ammo is less expensive too. Hard to even find .380 right now. If you're looking for a smaller option, think toward a SW J Frame .38 like an Air Weight. Light, small and a .38 is acceptable defense round.

    As far as hitting anything with a short barreled gun and 20'... no problem. It's more the shooter than the gun.
     
  4. hoytinak

    hoytinak Active Member

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    I say no, not at all. I feel perfectly content with just my little Seecamp .380 in my pocket any day of the week.

    Carry what you're comfortable with.
     
  5. Big country

    Big country TGT Addict

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    Might I suggest a sub com pact 9mm. Better than a 380 as far as ballistics and not as harsh a recoil in a small gun compared to the 40. but I know plenty of cops that carry a 380's as a off duty/back up pistol.
     
  6. Big country

    Big country TGT Addict

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    I'd rather have a 38 +P than the 380.:2cents:
     
  7. DrBart2

    DrBart2 Active Member

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    I am a small man and can hide my snub nose .38 in my pants pocket without a problem. I normally carry my PM9, but that little gun is so darned expensive, I wouldn't really recommend it. You can get a nice, small .38 revolver that can handle +P ammo. The snubbies are a small package with decent power.
    As said by others it is better to carry a .380 than nothing at all. I have one but always grab something a bit stouter.
     
  8. hoytinak

    hoytinak Active Member

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    As stated on another forum talking about mouse guns...I think this fits good here as well:

     
  9. Shorts

    Shorts TGT Addict TGT Supporter

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    I carried a .380 for my primary for a couple years. I would say "it worked fine" but I never had to use it ;)

    Down here in TX the .380 will do. Often with the .380 it is a concern that the JHP round will not penetrate enough to create a good wound. The concern with the FMJ is over penetration/through and through (danger to bystanders). As I mentioned about being here in TX, the climate is warm which means people don't normally wear thick clothing, layers or a heavy overcoat. Those materials can clog up the JHP as it expands which can hinder penetration. That isn't as much of a factor in a warm/hot climate as it is in colder climates.


    Overall, carry what you can effectively shoot, conceal and afford. The gun is the last piece of the puzzle. You still need situational awareness and shot placement. Keeo your margin of error small.

    One thing to bear in mind now is ammo availability and cost. That may or may not influence your decision.
     
  10. TxEMTP69

    TxEMTP69 TGT Addict TGT Supporter

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    Rockport
    I would say the .380 is a decent round, as I've been playing with carry options myself. My wife has a Bersa .380 with hornandy critical defense ammo.

    I carry a 9mm with Black talons, hydrashocks and hornandy critical defense. I have a Taurus pt99 and a Keltec p11. The keltec is a bit snappy on the recoil and the Taurus is not ideal for me for summer carry.

    As most have said, carry what your comfortable with. And remember if you take your CHL with a revolver you can only carry a revolver, so if you can borrow or rent a semiauto (so you can carry either)if you don't have one for the class. :texas:
     

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