Is .380 enough gun?

Since the leak of the big reveal behind what the new Glock 42 will be, the Gunnie Nets have been all abuzz with talk of the .380 ACP caliber. Some are praising the new gun, but most are deriding it for not being delivered in a “real caliber” like everybody wanted – 9mm.

So lets talk about .380 performance for a little while, shall we?

If you are looking for some ballistics tests for the .380 to compare apples to apples (and apples to oranges), then Pocket Guns and Gear is the place that you want to go. Bruce has some great info posted up on some gel testing he did and you really owe it to yourself to go check em out. There is video and pics and everything else that you need…. The testing was very well done, and the results are impressive.

While all of that is impressive, I want to point to one thing here and let you decide how you feel about the .380… .380 performs great in gelatin (even with a denim cover) but there is one video floating around YouTube that I want to show you where penetration was severely hampered when the bullet struck a rib bone.

Only an inch or two of penetration when it hit the rib… and thats with a defensive round that probably the vast majority of people that carry .380s would choose. Yes, its only one test… but thats pretty scary, and its something that I would hate to have happen if I had to use one of those guns to save my life.

When it comes to Mouse Guns I am a big believer that its all about shot placement, as well as having the ability to put multiple shots on target. Ultimately anything less than a rifle is a compromise, but a well placed shot from a pistol (any pistol) can often times be enough for an average armed citizen to turn the tide on an attacker and make it home safely.

I also firmly believe that with mouse guns penetration is king. I personally carry a Kel-Tec .32 ACP in my pocket from time-to-time and have gone away from the HPs that I had been carrying in favor of FMJ that I hope will bust through bone and get some decent penetration. I think that with small caliber mouse guns, ideally you want to put the shot in the head/face if you are going to stop an attacker in their tracks…. and there is a lot of skull and bones in the head/face area that needs to be penetrated for the round to be effective.

Gel testing results are a great tool, but us human being types are not made of just soft fleshy goo.

  1. Due to the recent video, I decided to carry only FMJ in my .380. I agree that as far as CCW goes, shot placement is the key. A good hit with a .380 is better than a slight hit with a .40. There are stories of ALL calibers failing somehow and all calibers getting the job done. Each shooting is different and has it’s own unique circumstances. You go with what is good for you. Just train with it and be competent and safe.

  2. It looks like I will be taking the LCP away from my wife and we will be going out to get her a real gun this weekend. Thats piss poor performance, and yes, scary as hell.

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