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.380 vs the 9mm [Battle Of The Nines]

The 9mm and .380 both have the same diameter bullet, but the 9mm casing and overall length is longer.  The .380 has less recoil so is popular with concealable handguns while the 9mm is more powerful and has more recoil.  Both can be great defensive calibers if ammo is properly chosen.

Some people love the 9mm, while others prefer something a bit bigger like the .45 ACP – or if your name’s Dirty Harry, you probably never leave home without your trusty .44 magnum.

Dirty Harry
Go ahead, make my day.

The .380 doesn’t get as much recognition as some of the other big name handgun calibers, mostly because it doesn’t have that hard-hitting reputation that the 9mm, 10mm, and .45 ACPs.

Table of Contents


A Little Bit on the .380

The .380 is an American-made cartridge that was created in 1908 by John Browning.

.380 ACP Round
.380 ACP Round

It’s also referred to as the 9mm Browning, the 9x17mm, and the 9mm short, all due to the fact that it has the same diameter as the 9x19mm Parabellum that we all know and love. But in order to avoid confusion, I will not be referring to the .380 by any other name in this post.

Popular Pistol Calibers
Popular Pistol Calibers

The .380 was designed to be a low-recoil round that was easy to manage but strong enough to neutralize oncoming threats.

Unfortunately, the .380 never lived up to its true potential as a service pistol and was overshadowed by the performance of the 9mm. Still, it did see some action among police forces, and was the caliber used by the MAC-11 submachine gun.

The MAC-11 may be ugly but it’ll run through an entire 32-round mag in less than two seconds.

Even though the .380 never lived up to the expectations that John Browning may have hoped for, it did become a popular backup pistol due to its relatively small size. And thanks to the gun’s low recoil, it has been marketed as a great self-defense cartridge for inexperienced shooters.

Comparing the .380 to the 9mm

With the exception of the train-stopping .45 ACP, which has a long history of success in the field, most other cartridges in production are going to have a hard time squaring off with the 9mm – and for good reason.

9mm (115gr vs 124gr vs 147 HP)
9mm (115gr vs 124gr vs 147 HP)

The 9mm gives you the best of all worlds: magazine capacity, control, and power. It’s not hard to see why it’s not only the favored service pistol around the world, but also one of the most popular calibers time and time again.

While the.380 might just look like the 9mm’s shorter cousin, but in actuality, these two rounds function quite differently. Keeping that in mind, it’s unfair to place the .380 up against the 9mm and ask which is better. Instead, what we should be asking is “which caliber is better for you?

Glock Comparison
Various 9mm Glocks of difference sizes, courtesy of Lucky Gunner.

Which Is More Powerful?

When we’re looking at power, the 9mm unanimously beats the .380 every time. It’s a heavier cartridge that produces significantly more energy (including recoil energy) than the .380 ACP.

If power is your primary focus and you’re thinking of going with a .380, you’re barking up the wrong tree. It’s been (unfairly) stereotyped as an underpowered cartridge for almost as long as it’s been around, and ballistic tests place the 9mm lightyears beyond the .380 with regards to power.

And while it’s no match for the 9mm, shooting the right ammo can turn transform your .380 into a formidable concealed-carry pistol.

Hornady 90-grain XTP Jacked Hollow Points
Hornady 90-grain XTP Jacked Hollow Points are a well-rounded .380 round.

If the .380 Is Underpowered, Why Would I Choose It over the 9mm?

Well, if power is your primary decision, you wouldn’t. But power isn’t what the .380 is made for.

In some ways, the low power of the .380 ACP is actually one of its strengths, depending on how you look at it.

The average .380 gun is designed as an ultra-lightweight, subcompact handgun. This makes them great for use as a primary or backup concealed carry weapon, but not so great as a service pistol for police officers and military personnel. And since the .380 cartridge doesn’t produce much recoil energy, you’re able to exercise more control over your lightweight handgun than you would with a round like the 9mm.

So, what you end up getting with the .380 is a lightweight gun that’s not much different in size to pocket pistols like the .22 LR, .25 ACP, and the .32 S&W, but is far more powerful.

What about Shootability?

Generally speaking, one of the biggest advantages to the 9mm is that it’s an easy-to-handle cartridge – at least when compared to the bigger calibers out there.

Here’s a 9mm Glock 19:

Indeed, the 9mm does have a lot to offer in terms of power and control, making it one of the most well-rounded handgun cartridges in my opinion. However, when we’re looking at shootability between the 9mm and the .380, the 9mm loses this round.

If you’re looking for a powerful caliber that’s easy to handle, the .380 delivers in every way.

Here’s a Bersa Firestorm .380:

It may not have the same expansion or penetration as the 9mm, but it does have lower recoil. In fact, if you shoot from a 9mm handgun and a .380 handgun that weigh the same, the .380 will have 94% less recoil than the 9mm.

While that low recoil will probably do you little good if you’re trying to protect yourself from someone on the other side of the parking lot, it would make a difference if you’re stopping an armed assailant who’s entering your bedroom – especially if you’re an inexperienced shooter.

Which Is the Better Concealed Carry Pistol?

Again, that depends a lot on the needs and expectations you have of your pistol.

Remember, the 9mm is the superior caliber for military and police because it’s powerful, easy to control, has a maximum effective range of 50 meters (almost 55 yards). It also has a maximum range of 1,800 meters, but good luck at hitting a target that far away unless you’re shooting legend, Jerry Miculek.

Needless to say, the .380 doesn’t outdo the 9mm on any of those strengths, with the exception of being easier to control.

But stopping threats 50-yards away isn’t what the .380 is designed for. It’s a mouse gun that’s meant as a last resort to neutralize threats at close range. For this reason, it’s become a popular handbag pistol for female shooters and it also makes a great backup pistol for law enforcement officers.

The Verdict

I mean, can you really go wrong with a 9mm? The type of person who thinks the 9mm is overrated is probably going to be using the .45 ACP or the .357 Mag if they like to mix it up.

Personally, I believe that the 9mm is an all-around great round that’s useful in damn near every type of scenario, whereas the .380 is limited to close-range protection.

The Brand New Ruger LCP II
Like the Ruger LCP II pictured, most .380s are extremely compact.

Also, for all of you doomsday preppers looking for the best survival round, the 9mm clearly wins that one as well due to the fact that you’re more likely to come across 9mm ammo than other cartridges.

If I was shopping around for my very first handgun, I’d go with the 9mm every day of the week simply because you can get more out of it. But if you’ve already got a 9mm or another big boy caliber and you’re looking for a new gun that’s lightweight and easy to carry around, the .380 makes a fine addition to your collection.

Remember, the .380 isn’t an ineffective round by stretch of the imagination. It just doesn’t outperform the 9mm in any way except for weight and size. And since subcompact 9mms are a thing, there’s no reasons why you’d have to make the .380 your primary concealed carry gun unless you really wanted to.

At the end of the day, part of buying a gun is finding the right fit for you. Now that you’ve learned a little bit about the 9mm and the .380, you should hit the shooting range and give both calibers a test to see which one you like best.

As always, be sure to let us know what you think about the .380 vs the 9mm. Are you a big-gun slinger, a compact 9mm shooter, or do you prefer the .380 pocket pistols?  If you are a fan of mouse guns and would like to add a new .380 to your collection, or your pocket, take a look at our top five concealed carry .380 pistols for more information.

Also, if you’re just getting into guns and came across this page while researching for your first gun purchase, make sure to check out our in-depth write-up on home defense handguns for beginners. As you’ll see, it’s mostly a 9mm fest for the reasons I’ve mentioned above (versatility and power).

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82 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Pedro Paramo

    I have a Glock 25 which I swap the upper and magazine to convert it to 9mm, so I can shoot .380 ACP and 9mm with exactly the same gun and I do not think the .380 ACP has 94% less recoil than the 9mm, maybe 20% or 25% but no more.

    July 12, 2021 8:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Thank you! Started the article thinking I needed a 9mm, finished the article happy with my 380!

    May 4, 2021 8:31 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Steve Hearn

      Same here. 380 Sig with Hollow points I think works for me under my shirt tail . Would never want to get in a shoot out with any pistol.

      May 10, 2021 3:14 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Thanks for the in depth article comparing 9 mm to 380. I own both and while I love my Sig Sauer P365, I find it a bit heavy with the 12+1 round extended
    magazine for concealed carry. I prefer my Ruger LCP 2 in a sticky holster inside my belt at appendix position. When light weight 9 mm ammo finally becomes available again I may more comfortable carrying my 9.
    Thanks again for the article.

    April 24, 2021 8:13 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I'm 4'10" and 113lbs. I've shot a glock 9mm and other calibers and I chose the 380 for myself. The larger pistol is impossible for me to carry concealed, and the kick throws me off balance. It wouldn't be safe (or accurate) for me to use for self defense, but I can easily get off all six round in my LCP in a few seconds. Even if that dozen take down an attacker completely, six HPs is going to slow him down enough that I can run away faster than he can catch me. You'll never convince me that a 45 is better for concealed carry protection than my 380.

    November 15, 2020 11:05 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      And you believe you'll hit with all 6 shots? At best, 1/3 (real world high-stress situation statistics for police) will hit. So you've got 2 rounds of 380 ACP you're counting on ending the threat. Better hope you get those shots right and they penetrate and expand enough...

      March 8, 2021 1:00 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I am 64 been shooting since a small child , so I have most pistol calibers and to me the 380 is a good concealed carry option , it’s accurate and light and has enough impact for close quarters combat . Lets face it if you shoot someone over 30 feet Away , you are probably going to jail because you have other options In most cases and are expected to exercise them . Don’t get me wrong I like a 44 mag ! But hey

    August 21, 2020 9:14 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    C Snider

    I live in maryland. I had to take a course and it included Shooting a handgun. I had the choice of 9mm or 22. I chose the 9mm. I was given a Glock 17. This was the first time I have shot a handgun. The Glock felt much bigger than expected and I didn't feel as confident shooting it. I bought the M&P 380ez. I really enjoy the 380ez. It is for home defence because getting a CC in Maryland is tough to say the least.

    August 9, 2020 3:23 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I didn't know about that gun. I like the grip safety. I always felt that should have been more popular especially considering how revered the 1911 is and it has one.

      August 19, 2020 5:54 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Todd Schulz

        The 1911 had a safety because its original design was intended to be carried cocked & locked, hammer cocked back ready to fire & the safety on. That way as you draw the 1911 out of your holster you click off the safety and are ready to fire as soon as you get the gun in position. In the military this is called Condition 1. In addition to the safety switch on the 1911 you also have the grip safety so that there is no way the hammer is going to accidently go down and fire a round while holstered.

        If I am not carrying a 1911 my safety is not on because no other gun has a grip safety, therefore my hammer is not cocked back.. And if I am carrying a 1911 w/o a grip safety then my safety is still off because my hammer is up.. When I need to draw, instead of flipping the safety off I Cock the hammer back. That way I am still ready to fire once I have my pistol in position..

        I hope that answers your question about safety's.

        August 24, 2020 8:20 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Todd Schulz

        Ps... I wish more pistols had help safety's also. I really like them and feel they are a great feature and it makes me feel more comfortable carrying my pistol with it inn my gun !!!

        August 24, 2020 8:24 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Todd Schulz

        Ugh, I hate auto correct. My PS should read: I like Grip safety's...I wish more pistols had them !!!

        August 24, 2020 8:27 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bryan Garner

    I have both and respect them both. Folks need to remember that the Black Powder 38s didn’t achieve the velocity of the 380. They killed thousands of men in Civil War and out west. Knew a gunsmith that’s had a 32 discharged in his gut. He went down for the count. Just saying.

    August 1, 2020 10:07 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I inherited a little vest pocket gun - Walther Model 5. Has a wonderful feel in the hand despite being tiny. Love the quality of it and that it is so thin. It is only a .25, though. And it isn't too reliable. All the "small" guns now are chunky looking. Blocky. And I think the reason is that they are pretty much all .380 and up. Maybe a .32 would be a happy medium.

      August 19, 2020 5:58 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Todd Schulz

        I used to have a .32 auto Derringer. I thought it was too underpowered tho, so I sold it and bought another Derringer in .38 Special. It was too big and I hated it, so I sold that one and now I have no Derringer's. Guess I need to find another .32 Auto. I used to carry it a lot !!!

        August 24, 2020 8:34 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Regarding concealability of the .380 pistol, versus the 9mm., the Sig 365 and others have pretty much leveled that playing field. There really is not much difference anymore in the size of the pistols themselves. Of course, the .380 cartridge weighs a little less than the 9mm. Cartridge. The way I see it, as an instructor, the only use the .380 has in the Personal Protection world, is its use by someone who cannot effectively and accurately fire anything more powerful, or, if that is the only thing you gave to protect yourself at the time. Nowadays, Recoil in the 9 mm. Pistol has become more manageable by the availability of the ported models. Smith&Wesson, Glock, and Sig Sauer are just a few of the companies producing ported pistols. Try one of these pistols, you will see the difference.

    July 28, 2020 8:20 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Todd Schulz

      Seriously ??? As an instructor I think your comment is very short sighted.. Many new shooters and those that are just not comfortable with recoil would prefer the .380 and people like you and comments like yours pressure them into getting a 9 mm pistol when they in fact should not. My sister has trouble with her hands and the .380 is a much better choice for her as a 9 mm in the same size and weight pistol would over power her..

      In fact, from your comment, one would have to doubt you are an instructor at all anyway, as an instructor would know that there are not pocket sized 9 mm pistols that are ported. If some company does indeed make a ported pocket gun, I certainly do not know anyone who would spend the extra money on it, as it would be a waste.. Why would you need a ported pocket gun ? There barrel isn't long enough to need porting !!!!!

      August 24, 2020 8:47 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Your experience as an instructor is very different than mine is. Most people who shoot the 9 and the 380 extensively will gravitate toward the 9. The 380 pistols (especially the light and dainty ones like the Ruger LC models) have a fair amount of bite and recoil harder than most of the 9s I see shot. I can't count how many times I've had a woman tell me her husband/significant other got her a little 380 that she didn't like (and subsequently won't practice with, or will flinch in anticipated recoil). Add the typically higher round count of a 9mm and the vastly superior bullets (the only 380 I'd even consider for defense is one with ARX-type bullets), and there's really not much of a contest unless the person just has to have it as small and concealable as possible (why not just go with a .38 snubby then?).

        March 8, 2021 1:00 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    martin hutchison

    You left out an important variable- chamber pressure. Higher PSI means more force acting against the bullet to accelerate it out of the gun. Different powders have different energy concentrations, so 11% less space does not just mean 11% less power. .380 is loaded to 21psi, 9mm loaded to 31-35kpsi. so 11% less space, and within that space, a third less pressure...

    June 5, 2020 5:21 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    there is an argument that all pistol rounds are so low powered compared to rifle rounds that the difference between them in not meaningful, at least when considering stopping power. The argument is that other than a CNS hit, no pistol round can insure stopping an assault and the effect on the assailant depends a lot on his psychological reaction to being shot.

    May 24, 2020 5:03 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Marcus Aurelius Tarkus

    Of my two EDCs, one is a .380 and the other is a 9mm. Make that a PPK/S and a P365. I have long been well aware of their considerable differences, relative advantages and relative disadvantages. For my purposes, they're both great carry pistols: reliable and comfortable. One's a beauty, the other's a beast. Which one I walk out the door with just depends on my mood, or on nothing in particular.

    May 18, 2020 4:04 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Las razones de cual de los dos calibres se deben usar, están acordes a los objetivos a cubrir. 1) EL cartucho .380 es mucho más adecuado para ser usado para defensa en la ciudad. El Cal. 9mm Para es demasiado penetrante y su energía es temible hasta las 500 ydas, 2) El Calibre .380 permite su uso en armas mucho más pequeñas en donde "sacar primero, tirar y pegar" resulta más importante, porque la distancia siempre es inferior a las 25 yardas. 3) En todos los casos usar proyectil encamisado, solido con punta "loffell" achatada.

    April 11, 2020 1:12 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jay Jacobs

    My wife has had carpal tunnel surgery and as a result weak wrists. My primary draw to a 380, and something not mentioned in the article is the ease of racking the slide. Less recoil also translates to a softer spring

    February 15, 2020 5:59 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Michael Miller

    I carry a 380 every day everywhere I go, the reason? Comfort, size and weight. I take it everywhere. Now for home defense, I have other options, AR15, full size 9mm, 12 gauge with #4 buckshot. My carry gun is small and it is only for self defense, not war.

    January 13, 2020 5:24 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Michael Miller

      If I am going to war I want the saw and 2 guys to carry ammo for me.

      January 13, 2020 5:27 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        James Van Brunt

        I picture the ultimate being Jesse Ventura wielding the Minigun in Predator..

        August 10, 2020 4:40 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Fritz Stafford

    The one point I will make is that .380 is same diameter as 9mm with 17mm versus 19mm casing length. That is 11% shorter which means only 11% less powder => 11% less energy / stopping power. This is not such a big reduction in firepower, especially considering the reduction in recoil, as is so often implied.

    October 4, 2019 6:42 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      Hello! While .380 ACP is x17mm Vs. 9mm Luger's x19mm, it is not 11% less powder or 11% less energy. Case length does not equate to either of those measurements. The other side of the equation for energy is the weight of the bullet, .380 ACP normally tops out at about 100gr bullets while 9mm normally doesn't start until at least 115gr. Even looking at the extremes, a very weak 9mm is around 335ft/lb while +P .380 ACP that is very hot maxes out at 295ft/lb. Looking at handloading numbers, both .380 and 9mm data using Hornady 90gr HP XTP using the same powders the 9th Ed Hornady manual calls for almost 25% more powder for minimum loads on 9mm compared to the minimum loads in .380 ACP.

      October 4, 2019 8:54 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Fritz Stafford

        Thanks for the reply. So please explain why the 11% shorter casing length does not equate to 11% less powder. Is there significant primer overhead this casing length comparison does not consider?

        October 5, 2019 11:34 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Fritz Stafford

          Also, it seems that the 14.4" gel penetration is ~11% less than equivalently loaded 9mm.

          I will also point out that your comment on bullet weight is not correct. It is not bullet weight alone that matters, but rather mass * velocity * velocity.

          October 5, 2019 11:41 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Fritz Stafford

          On the topic of .380 bullet size versus 9mm bullet size, I am not sure why the .380 bullet has to be smaller, but this together with the shorter casing equates to less compression of the recoil spring to eject the casing, and hence more powder energy translated into bullet kinetic energy (mass * velocity * velocity).

          October 5, 2019 11:51 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Fritz Stafford

          One other point is that your muzzle energy units are incorrect. The correct unit is foot pounds (i.e., energy = force * distance), ft-lbs, not ft/lb. Sorry to be nit-picky, but such things are critical for correct communication / understanding.

          October 5, 2019 12:35 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Fritz Stafford

        I have tried to make some measurements on 9mm Luger. I find that 9 x 19 casing only has 17mm of casing available for powder and bullet, and it appears that ~4mm of casing is needed to hold the bullet, so 13mm of casing is available for powder. If I assume that .380 has these same constraints, then it has 11mm of casing available for powder. Hence, my initial argument that .380 only has 11% less energy than 9mm is now corrected to 15% less energy. There must be some other consideration such as maximum pressure the barrel can tolerate, and it is possible the .380 subcompacts have thinner / lighter barrels?

        October 5, 2019 1:12 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          David, PPT Editor

          Replying in one place so it's easier to find - Yes, ft-lb is more accurate.

          Cases are rarely filled to capacity. Depending on the powder used and the round used having more or less case fill is not uncommon. Thus, 11% less case does not always mean 11% less powder. It might not even mean 11% less maximum powder depending on the powder used since it might reach the maximum pressure loading before the case is filled.

          The length of the bullet is also important, this is generally impacted by weight since fitting more mass in the same diameter requires either a heavier material or making it longer. Generally, the bullet is simply made longer. .380 ACP isn't designed to accept a long heavy bullet like some of the longer heavier 9mm are. .380 ACP normally stops at 100gr while 9mm can go to 147gr and even a little higher.

          .380 ACP guns are almost always blowback operated, 9mm guns very often have a locked-breech of some kind. But even when a 9mm firearm is blowback, it is because it has a fairly heavy bolt/slide to back it up. This allows them to handle much higher pressure than .380 ACP.

          October 5, 2019 4:42 pm
          • Commenter Avatar
            Fritz Stafford

            Thanks again for the reply. I am not familiar with reloading practices, so my query has been based on maximum capacity available in the casing. I am proud owner of Glock 19, but I have never been able to shoot it as well as my Browning Buck Mark .22, which has huge 5.5" barrel with 0.25" wall thickness and blowback action. I had been considering Glock 17 or single stack 1911 9mm with ~5" barrel as alternative options to improve my 9mm marksmanship, but then I came across Browning 1911-380 with 4.25" barrel, so I have been wondering how much muzzle energy loss I would have to accept to downsize to .380 ACP. One key downside I have noticed about .380 ACP is that target ammo is ~2x the price of 9mm.

            October 6, 2019 9:13 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Robert Hinrichs

      If you stand the 9mm x 17mm up next to the 9mm x 19mm you will see that there is only about a .5mm difference in casing size. The other 1.5mm difference is the size of the slug itself. The .380 typically has a higher muzzle velocity than the 9mm.

      March 31, 2020 7:11 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Debo de precisar que éstos conceptos son erróneos. El 9mm Parabellum es un formidable calibre de uso militar, inadecuado la mayoría de las veces para ser usado por civiles ignorantes en ciudades. La clave de su éxito está en sus 35.000 psi, frente a las 22.000 psi de los mejores cartuchos .380 browning. El calibre .380 es totalmente apto para Defensa de Civiles en la Ciudad.

        April 11, 2020 1:21 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      martin hutchison

      You left out an important variable- chamber pressure. Higher PSI means more force acting against the bullet to accelerate it out of the gun. Different powders have different energy concentrations, so 11% less space does not just mean 11% less power.

      June 5, 2020 5:14 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I have carried different types of firearms but I have come to the realization that, in my current situation and lifestyle, there is no need for me to carry anything larger than a G42 loaded with Hornady Custom. I could carry other “cooler” handguns but considering size, weight, and the possibility I may actually come across a platoon of NKPA taking over the local mall? Meh,

    August 30, 2019 5:59 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I was an avid 9mm shooter. I am very comfortable on range with 9mm. I wanted a more concealable everyday carry implement. I went with .380 and chose something rather iconic to self defense/personal protection. My personal feeling is that a well placed small caliber round is far more effective than a larger caliber round not well placed. There is no substitution for time spent on the range practicing placing each shot where you want it and learning to function calmly and collectively with what ever your using. The day you are called upon to put your tool of choice to task is not the day that you should be learning how to maintain composure. Much forethought should be invested in scenarios and preparation or even a howitzer will be of no use! I am extremely comfortable with my chosen Walther ppk have put many effectively placed rounds through it and practiced under many subtractive and pressure circumstances to gain accuracy and to have an idea ahead of time what circumstances will call me to action and when. I do not look for such occasions and am resolved to find every option for not unholstering my personal carry piece but do not have any disresolve when and if that time comes!

    August 22, 2019 5:08 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike Flannery

    Very good article. Described why I have a 380 in addition to my 9mm. Last 3 days of 95+ temps the .380 was the perfect gun for my pocket.

    July 23, 2019 4:43 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Clint Booker

    Good article well written describing the 380 as a close contact self-protection option when compared to other small calibers that are available.

    April 30, 2019 3:05 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    One of your typos says .308 vs 9mm... Interesting idea... EDC AR-10 pistol hahaha

    March 17, 2019 5:32 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      Fixed, thanks ;)

      March 17, 2019 7:38 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Good info even though a bit redundant. Who proofreads your articles? A Hard read. Many errors that made me stop and re-read to figure out what you meant.

    February 14, 2019 6:25 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Check out this statistical review. According to it, the .380 is “just as good” as the 9mm by the numbers.

    As we all know, shot placement is king.

    Link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nycYxb-zNwc

    November 25, 2018 4:54 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      Without seeing their data, I'm strongly mistrustful of blind statistical review. I would agree that .380 is acceptable as a defensive cartridge, but I wouldn't put faith in that video.

      November 25, 2018 5:32 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Florella Crouch

    I wanted a 9mm pistol but bought a 380 today instead. The only reason? I cannot pull the slide to the rearmost position on a 9mm without a major struggle. I tried 3 different manufacturers and couldn’t do it. Not even on my neighbor’s used and well oiled Smith & Wesson. I am a 65 year old female, 5’1” and 123 pounds. I’ve lost a lot of strength in my hands but still deer hunt with a crossbow & 7mm 08 and use a 12 gauge for turkey and duck...but dog gone it, I cannot successfully handle a 9mm. The 380 was easy for me in comparison. It was purchased only for personal protection.

    August 30, 2018 4:06 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Thank you for posting this. I am 61 and somewhat inexperienced shooter. I am looking at buying the S&W Shield EZ, a 380, for all the reasons you mention.

      November 23, 2018 2:47 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        On YouTube Honest Outlaw just put up a review on this. Might want to check it out.

        December 7, 2018 8:19 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Bobby Hornsby

        Try the walthers pk380 slide racks easy it not a pocket pistol but it's light and was made for older weak hands and small hands . I bought one and love it very accurate and love the sites.

        August 9, 2020 3:58 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      This is exactly why I have both a 9mm and .380. I can't always rack the slide on my 9mm. I love the EZ .380 for this reason. My shot placement is much better with the .380 because I feel more comfortable. And to be honest, I hope I never have to pull it out, but if I do, I doubt the person on the other end is going to notice the caliber, because my shot placement will be on target!

      October 5, 2019 10:38 am
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    As a back up or self defense firearm, most of the time if you have to use one it is going to be in close quarters, 5, 10, 15 feet the .380 is faster, lighter and easier to handle, specially if multiple shots are involved(in most situations), also it normally a cheaper firearm to buy and for someone who does not shoot a lot its a better fit and it will get the job done.

    August 30, 2018 8:59 am
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    I hope your not putting the 9mm into the "big boy" category like you stated above I have a "Big boy" gun .357 mag Trooper III , I also have the National match .45acp, 44mag Anaconda. These are "Big boys" the nine is not. As a matter of fact the law enforcement went to the .40 cal. over the nine because they were tired of shooting these criminals 5,10,15 times before they'd stop.

    August 26, 2018 3:13 pm
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    Daniel Segrest

    I appreciate you educating the public on the differences between 9 mm Luger and .380 ACP, however you have made a mathematical error. I followed the link in your claim of the 380 having 94 percent less recoil than 9 mm. The article quotes 9 mm as having 5.36 ft-lb of recoil energy (with all of the requisite caveats of course) and the 380 as having 2.76 ft-lb. After subtracting the two numbers and dividing by the 9 mm's recoil energy, I get a reduction of 48.5 percent. (If you divide by the 380's recoil energy, we get 94 percent but it would be correct instead to say the 9 mm has 194% the recoil energy of the 380.) An easy mistake to make, but certainly not trivial. Thanks for your time and effort. Keep up the good work.

    August 24, 2018 2:44 pm
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    Well written piece, with IMHO solid conclusions. The .380 certainly not the do it all cartridge, but in a pinch deployed with total commitment I think a good choice for many people and circumstances

    June 8, 2018 12:03 pm
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    Excellent page. Lots of good information.

    May 27, 2018 10:53 pm
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    Miss Emma

    Great article. I’ve emailed to many
    Thank you

    May 23, 2018 7:15 am
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    A Frank

    I prefer t6he 380 to the 9 mm for many reasons. The 380 with lower muzzle velocity actually has greater knock down than the 9. It has far less recoil and a much quieter report. It . It has less weight and easier to conceal. You left the Browning BDA 380 and the Beretta 380 out of the talking points. The 380 is excellent at normal pistol distances Both firearms have a double stack magazine and an extremely comfortable grip.If I can't have a 1911 or Star PD in 45, it is the 380 for me

    May 22, 2018 7:33 pm
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      Connor H

      Wait a second. Whoa. You're claiming that a .380 with less mass and less velocity somehow has more "knockdown power" than a 9mm? That's simply absurd, and would ignore basic laws of physics. A heavier, faster object of reasonable shape is ALWAYS going to have more force and energy than a lighter, slower one.....

      It's fine for you to like .380s, but please don't spread non-factual claims about cartridge effectiveness. This is literally people's lives we're talking about.

      May 25, 2018 11:24 pm
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        Not true, faster bullets can pass right through the target (animal\human), slower bullets transfer energy into the target

        May 9, 2019 11:07 am
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    Bob Farrell

    Considering most self-defense shootings are within the magical 7 foot range, what's the problem?
    I had some .380 loads loaded with some powder, that spits them out @ 1265 fps.
    When tested at a range, the comments were WTF was that!
    They're in a magazine marked, "HOT"

    May 22, 2018 5:40 am
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      that is no big deal. You can buy 22LR ammo right off the shelf with over 1600fps.

      May 30, 2018 5:53 pm
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    Remember, the .380 isn’t an effective round by stretch of the imagination., I have seen gang bangers walk away after taking headshots from a .380.that never penetrated the skull. Maybe they will do better with the Lehigh Defense rounds but they are hard to find.

    May 22, 2018 5:25 am
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    Chuck Cochran

    I love my PPK/S in .380 for CCW, and have used it as such for 20 years. I've got to really screw up in picking out clothes to wear, to profile the gun. At 10 yards with a modified Weaver stance, it'll keep 3" groups all day. Sure, my full size 9mm and .40 S&W are great and go to's for power, but as a CC gun with Hornady 95 grain Critical Defense XTP's, the .380 is a contender. Remember, a .380 started World War 1 (it was the caliber used to assasinate Franz Ferdinand and his wife).

    May 22, 2018 5:20 am
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    Allen Wisniewski

    Federal, HST 95gr. .380 ammo is no joke when it comes to a great self defense round! I put a couple rounds through 4 layers of denim and gallon jugs of water and I was very surprised at the results. They actually opened up to a slightly larger diameter than it's9mm counterpart. Another nasty little round for the .380 is the Liberty Civil defense, those suckers are moving extremely fast!

    May 22, 2018 4:57 am
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      Connor H

      Penetration>expansion. Guarantee 124grain 9mm HSTs would have greater tissue disruption and penetration depth. Yes, HSTs are one of the better .380 loads, but compared to high end 9mm loads, it's still going to fall short.

      May 25, 2018 11:28 pm
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    Bought a Bersa 380 which is made in Argentina I believe it was used as a sidearm for the Military or the Police , It's compact, Sturdy, easy to rack, mag holds 8 rounds, aluminum frame , good grips , white dot sights (Rear adjustable for windage) and it has a safety, and decocker
    Reasonably priced.........

    May 22, 2018 4:52 am
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    Franklin Dixon

    Though a rare problem. I'm getting my wife into the gun world (slowly) and while doing so discovered due to the low recoil of a .380 it's easier to rack than a 9mm. I bring this up because while it may be hard to believe some non shooters need to work the required muscles with less resistance to build them up. She can't rack the 9mm but can the .380. I believe it's caused by less tension on the guide rod spring for the lower recoil of the .380, but we are working her up to a 9mm as her target goal round for range and carry.

    March 8, 2018 9:08 pm
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      Eric Hung

      Hi Franklin...surprisingly a decent problem! My wife has the same but we've worked her up to 9mm. You can check out the Shield .380 EZ which is much easier to rack.

      March 9, 2018 11:31 am
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        Connor H

        I was going to suggest the same gun, Eric. The Shield EZ is a great idea for new and disabled shooters.

        May 25, 2018 11:29 pm
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    This is relevant, as I believe for women, new handgun buyers, the point is to hit what you are aiming the pistol. My girlfriend handles cash deposits through ATMs after hours, and I am encouraging her to carry. She has small hands and is inexperienced with firearms. I am looking at a subcompact, and 9mm rounds out of a small gun can be jumpy. What is being suggested here makes a ton of sense.

    March 5, 2018 3:24 pm
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    Jeff Seivert

    Cost should be considered as well. The .380 costs about 30-50% more per round and can occasionally be difficult to find (unless ordering online). One more nod to the 9mm.

    March 3, 2018 6:29 pm
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      Eric Hung

      Good insight!

      March 5, 2018 12:10 pm
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    Dustin B

    I love my S&W Bodyguard .380 when I'm jogging or biking - easy to conceal, even in my shorts while I'm jogging (even though it isn't super accessible quickly). For a tiny pocket pistol, it is easy to shoot, although after 50+ rounds at a time, the bony part of my palm starts aching because my hands are big and skinny (I'm 6'3", 195lbs). My kids, ages 12 and 15 absolutely LOVE shooting the .380 because it fits them perfectly and they could do it all day.

    The biggest downside which I didn't see you mention is the price per round. .380 ammo is expensive, so shooting it a lot for practice is pricey. Everyone who's carrying IS practicing, right? ;)

    My main carry is a compact Springfield XDS 9mm 3.3", but it is quite a bit larger and heavier than my .380.

    March 2, 2018 7:05 am
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    as always great informative article ,i have several handguns i carry but often end up with my little ruger, it has never failed to feed or had any issues at all and i have fed it many types of ammo., so i feel as confident with it as i do my glock

    March 2, 2018 4:43 am
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    My Glock 42 jams with some hollow point ammo. The round fails to load leaving a "flat" on the bottom edge of the HP orifice and some brands are worse than others. No problems using FMJ ammo of any brand..

    I've never had a jam w/ my Bersa Thunder but don't carry it because I will only carry a double action, regardless of brand or caliber. (For my own safety and others.)

    I think it would be helpful if Pew did an article researching the BEST HP round for the 380 given known issues with failure to load. Another comment mentioned this problem also.

    March 2, 2018 3:59 am
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      Joe L

      I can't speak of .380 as I don't own one, but I have had issues with FTF with some kinds of HP ammo in one of my 9mm's. Never had a single issue with ball ammo in the gun. Win PDX1's would get wedged at the bottom of the feed ramp. It was remedied when I switched to Hornady Critical Defense. The polymer tip in the HP cavity gave the round a profile closer to that of ball ammo.

      March 2, 2018 5:38 am
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      Matthew Collins

      Hey James, we actually have an article on best .380 defensive ammo here. Hope that helps!

      March 2, 2018 9:42 am
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    Cullen Swanson

    The .380ACP does make a fantastic backup carry gun. People always cite the Bersa Thunder or Ruger LCP, but NO ONE mentions the Bersa BP380CC, which is a single stack (8 + 1) pistol created by Bersa specifically for concealed carry. Great pistol. Check it out!

    March 1, 2018 10:48 pm
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    Love the hand feel of 380 but I would never use mine as personal defense...can’t get through a magazine without a jam....like the size, feel, and accuracy..don’t like ... my Bersa...would like another...more reliable...sleep with my CZ...it works all the time

    March 1, 2018 9:44 pm
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    I have a .380 Keltec pocket pistol, a 9mm Ruger semi-auto, a Colt 1911 .45, and a Ruger Red Hawk .357 Magnum revolver. I like shooting them all. My favorite for power and accuracy is the .357. I keep the .380 in the nightstand.

    March 1, 2018 6:54 pm