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So, what's in your .380acp?

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At what point does expansion become less important than penetration. The .380 ball, in short barrelled pistols does not seem to penetrate excessively. Hollowpoint ammo makes a larger wound channel, but penetrates less deeply. So, in a caliber like the .380acp, what is your opinion? I'm leanin' toward penetration. :angel:
 

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Good question, Smokewagon. I was having a tough time deciding which one is better (worse?). Then I asked myself, which one would I rather be shot with? The answer was pretty easy.
 

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While some folks sweat the penetration of this rather light caliber with hollowpoint, I voted HP, but I shoot Hornady XTP 90 grain JHPs which are known for their penetration while moderately expanding. I cast a 105 grain SWC that is very accurate and reliable, sized to .356, I load it in .380. I've often thought it might work better in the caliber, but when I carry the gun, I revert back to the XTPs on reputation alone.

Ball just sux, .380 or .45, no matter, it sux. It penetrates, but leaves a small wound channel.
 

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I voted HP too, but I think one must also take weather conditions into account. In my area, where we have cold Winter weather, I would use ball during the cold season for penetration on thick Winter clothing. In hot summer weather, the HP's would get the nod. My PPK/S has generally been stoked with the Winchester 85 grain Silvertips, but I now have the Remington 105 grn Gold Sabres, as well.

Testing here reveals that .380 ACP HP's do penetrate fairly well:
http://stevespages.com/page8f380acp.html
 

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Well, you might have to worry about cold weather in Illinois. I rarely wear a coat except right after a "cold" front. LOL! We had a few days this past winter in the 30s. I'm not sure if it ever froze, think it did one or two nights, light freeze.
 

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Hornady XTP's here also, in a beretta 84. It's the wife's gun, and in S Florida, we don't have to worry about someone wearing a parka.... Also, the barrel is short, but not too short, so velocity shouldn't be negatively effected.

James
 

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I might pick up a Bersa .380 some time. I'm not sure why except that they're cheap and get rave reviews. I think a P3AT or LCP would be a more useful size, but I sorta like the larger .380s for shootability. I probably wouldn't carry it much, though, since my KT P11 is lighter and pocketable and shoots 9x19 +P. Heck, I'd like to get a Makarov, too. So many guns, so little cash.
 

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I didn't vote as I don't have a 380, but I chose to run XTP's in my Makarov when I pull that for carry/defensive duty. The other load I'd trust is Powerball, which is what I'm likely to run when/if I get a P3AT or a LCP.

Steelheart
 

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Penetration. Studies I've read say you need 12" of penetration,reason to reach vital organs and or cns. I don't know how to posts links but firearmstactical.com has a pdf on handgun wounding factors and effectiveness, done by the FBI. This is not the only study I've read. For me in An LCP or 3AT it will be Buffalo Bore 100 gr. HC. It has a flat nose and boasts 1050 fps and 280ft lb. energy out of a Kel tec 3at. This is available on BB website. Just my personnal choice as there are plenty who will disagree. ;) Chas
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm still wanting to try some Winchester silver tips in my P3AT, but in a 100gr. bullet, what's the recoil like in this feather weight? I've shot mostly 90gr. and a few 95gr. and there is a difference. O0
 

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my choice is more based on function. some hollowpoints don't feed well in my bersa, so when i carry it i always carry fmj in my spare mag. so my vote would be both.
 

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I've struggled with this myself. I tried Remington Golden Sabers in my P3AT but they wouldn't feed without jamming. Then I tried out some PMC Starfires and they fed with no problem. Then after I cleaned up my gun and cycled them by hand, you could feel they didn't cycle as smoothly as fmj, but they did cycle.
So I decided to compromise. Last night in fact, I changed out to 1 JHP in the tube, and FMJ in the mag. It cycles nicely and gives me a little bit of everything. Mostly peace of mind.
 

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Don't have a .380ACP pistol, but do have a Makarov. Use the Hornady XTP in the 9x18 guise for the Makarov.

Hornady's XTP bullet was designed to be a hunting bullet overall and then it became a defense round as well. The idea was to get deeper penetration than with regular JHPs.

The deeper penetration is the truth for this load with the XTP. A possible side benefit is that in quite a number of revolvers and pistols the XTP is an accuracy load as well. Not true for all, but a case by case basis.

According to the writings of Dr.Topper,Dave Spaulding, Mas Ayoob, plus Marshall and Ed Sanow, the average male torso is just a hair over 9 inches thick.Yes ,there are quite a few exceptions. Granted.
Without going into a whole debate for many scenarios the 90gr.- 102gr. JHps will get the job done.

Federal Hydra-shoks and kin, Remington Golden Saber, Speer Gold Dots, and the Horn. XTP all have the proper penetration criterea covered (even on thicker human targets) as well as very good bullet expansion. These all have excellent real world track records in defensive shootings.

There is the case , and others like it documented by Mas Ayoob no less, where a ex husband meets his ex wife and here new beau at a bar/restaurant. Ex-hubby knew there was more likely to be trouble because ex-wifey wanted the ex- hubby dead. So ex-hubby brought an ice pick for 'defensive purposes'. Ex-hubby is a convicted felon. Not violent, but convicted.

An argument insues and new boyfrined of ex-wifey pulls a Walther PPK in .380 loaded with ball ammo and shoots our hero once. The couple believe that if a person is shot that person should perish immediately. Didn't happen. Convicted felon does not flinch, pulls icepick out and stabs beau to death.

Enraged ex-Mrs. picks up Walther PPK and shoots ex-Mr. again one time. Boths shots are to the torso folks. The felon again reponds by stabbing his ex to death with same said icepick. Then he gets on a bus, goes across town many miles, and goes into the Emergency Room to get looked at.

Convicted felon goes to jail for carrying weapon, but is exonerated of murder since the two lovers were proven in court to be out to kill him anyway.

No pistol/revolver caliber is a death ray. People very well may not succumb fast after being shot or at all. Even if they recieve a non-surviveable wound/wounds.

Would a JHP have made a difference. Could be? Then again nothing may be for sure or should be taken for granted.

As a personal choice I will take a good penetrating JHP that has a very good chance to expand over ball ammo under just about ALL conditions. This all for moral,ethical,and liability reasons.

There are some exceptions to this.


Ball ammo,even in the larger calibers makes icepick or narrow wound tracks. Flesh is elastic and snaps back to form for the most part. Even organs can be bullet resistant. Again, not written in stone.

A female LEO a decade or so ago took a .357 magnum bullet (125gr.JHP) to the heart when stalked and shot by a violent felon. The shot was within almost touching distance. The lady LEO drew here pistol and shot the suspect multiple times killing the attacker.

She survived even though her heart was shredded in part. Surgeons and herself provided a major miracle in the fact she lived and is alive today. Something here attacker can't say.

No one can predict how things will happen or how the bullet and the body will react under all circumstances. Just because things should happen or are expected to happen does not mean they will.

Use a defense load that has an actual excellent real world track record and go in peace.
 

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id rather use a hollow points over ball for defense, the JHPs expand more thus doing more damage and the hydrostatic shock thing. and balls tend. watch out using hot self defense loads as you are liable for every thing that bullet hits after passes through its intened target
 

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Piggybacking on the last post here.
Even a sedate loaded FMJ or solid nosed bullet can overpenetrate,cause death or serious injury. This is true for most of the centerfire calibers under most circumstances as Zach_Smith has pointed out.

Several gun writer instructors (who've been there and done that) who collect data on such stuff have documented story files full of this kind of thing. We civilians may not be privy to this info unless it's put out in print or there is another true source of facts we civies,police, and military can tap into.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
But the point is, .380 is not particularly known, I don't think, as a great penetrator anyway. Expansion may deter penetration, thus the question, ball or jhp? :???: :-\
 

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Massas Ayoob and the rest of the above listed writers elsewhere mentioned in this post do have some overpenetration stories logged with the .380ACP.

Granted, this is less likely a problem with the lighter bullets or most of the loads, but it has happened.

Combat Handguns and American Handgunner are two of the primary sources on this from years past. Yes it's been a while since the last such story, but there are heavy bullet weights,few they may be, and yes it does have to be considered. Some that is. Not as much as say, with a .38 Special or 9x19, but it can happen.

I may be splitting hairs here, but since it can happen,rare as it is, thought it wise to include that.

Most of what has been written about terminal ballistics and outside ballistics can be hashed and rehashed endlessly. Most of us have only a somewhat basic knowledge of ballistics and wounding ability what works is being endlessly debated. There's a lot to know that even the forensic scientists admit that isn't understood yet. Maybe never will be.

What they do know is that JHPs do cause larger area wounds under most circumstances, have a better chance of penetrating bone or skulls without ricocheting, and with the newer stick together weight retention generations of bullets that do penetrate better than ones of old, there are good reasons to go with JHPs.

I'd like for those out there to point out to verfiable data where a JHP in.380 ACP didn't penetrate sufficiently enough on a torso hit to stop an aggressor.

It's just something to learn about if there is a credible source or sources.

Gelatin tests and other penetration tests in media are interesting exercises to see how the bullets behave. They however are not totally indicative of how that bullet performance and terminal ballistics will happen when shot into flesh and a live actual living body. Nor will it show how the person shot will react when shot.

These are all case by case basis based.

For instance, why does a blow from a blunt, heavy object in the right spot drop a person to the ground and person hit stops functioning for a while, yet no actual irreparable damage or damage to the body? Yet a person can be shot once or numerous times and little or no reaction takes place.

There's alot to take into consideration and many mysteries to be found out on all this.

Point is that JHPs will effect what flesh and organs they will hit more dynamically than and create more area disrupted under most circumstances than FMJ.
That the scientists and post mortems on the shot victims show. So do the witness accounts.

The more disruption of organs, tissues, and blood vessels, the quicker the body under most circumstances shuts down.

Penetratrating FMJs do not do that as well as most JHPs do. That's been documented by the patholigists,terminal forensic specialists, and observations from post mortem autopsies. These autopsies were witnessed by the police instructors or the reports obtained with photo evidence to back results up.

Problem with all this is that what happens in the real world is not definitive, but results over time to bear some data we can all use. That's to catalog what worked and what didn't and the to our best ability the whys,where's and hows of what took place.

There is more current data to show that JHPs work better under most circumstances over FMJ. There are cases where penetration is a key and cannot be dismissed easily. It's where you hit them rather than what is also a factor that cannot be ignored.

Chances are that this discussion about penetration versus wounding effects will go on for a long time to come. Too many unknowns and variables.

Since newer generations of JHPs ( Gold Dots, Hydra-shoks,XTP,Golden Saber) penetrate further than the older ones and expand more dynamically,again, under most circumstances, using a JHP over FMJ seems to be a good idea.

No one has ever presented hard verifiable data that show that deep penetration and why in physical terms that it more important than other factors. It is an important factor none the less. Just one of many factors.

There are many thoroughly documented cases where we multiple hits to the torso with FMJ have failed miserably. More so than with JHPs.

Here's another gee whiz info thing to throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings. Remington's traditional older rounds were given a more rounded ogive for better feeding purposes in the many brands of pistols.

This it does well. However dynamic expansion is retarded as compared to other JHPs yet the Remington loads have gotten the job done for a number of police departments. Go figure, huh?

Then there are times JHP noses have filled up material passing through heavy clothing and became ball ammo in performance.

If winter time or heavy clothing is the norm for that particular time of year, then a hardball round is very well a good pick. That's all ready been stated above by others I do believe.

So rather than this become a Morgue Monsters versus the Jello Junkies debate, there are good reasons for the picks you folks have made. Under most circumstances. :) ;) :D
 
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