.380 - 38?

Discussion in 'Semi-Auto Handguns' started by Angrypoonani, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. Angrypoonani

    Angrypoonani New Member

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    Can someone tell me the difference between .38 ammunition and .380 ammunition? I keep telling my step-dad that it's the amount of gunpowder load that is in the shell but the bullet size is the same...:confused:

    Am I wrong?? I really don't know but I just figured because of the resemblance in number. :cool:

    The reason I'm asking though it because my mother is getting a ccw and I want her to get a round she can handle but one that has high velocity as well.
     
  2. infotech

    infotech New Member

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    powder loads vary so it's entirely possible to get them both with identical grain count. According to the tech data the .380 has a slight advantage on penetration but the experts say it has more to do with the guns available at various times. For a while there were no sub barrels for one giving velocity to the other and so on. They are close enough to be a wash, IMO. I'd make a decision based on ammo cost and the gun being used.

    .380 is a short 9mm basically and was developed around 1900 or so for use in smaller handguns. I'm not up on 38 history other than memories of police expressing disdain for the round's stopping power and claims that they would often bounce off windshields.

    The recent BK shooting in Florida saw a would be robber shoot a CCW holder 3 times with a .380. The CCW carried a 9mm and killed the robber. All the facts aren't in and we're told the press is inaccurate but setting aside shot placement and so on - the good guy only spent a few days in the hospital despite taking at least one round in the chest near his heart.

    380 would be a very close up defense round, IMO with some leeway for special tactical loads, slugs, hollow points, etc. I would not want to use it in a gunfight against a larger round (assuming equal shooting skills) at a distance of more than 10 feet or so. I'd use it for target practice and perhaps a back up weapon with a 9 or 45 in the primary role.
     

  3. AsmelEduardo

    AsmelEduardo New Member

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    They are not the same, the .380 is a rimless cartridge for semiauto pistols, and the .38 Spl it's to be used in revolvers, so they are completely different... next is some info about both cartridges from the Municion.org website (is in spanish, so I translate it in to my bad english)
    You can see in the graphics the diameter of the bullets are about 9mm... the 9mm/.38 has so many cartridges that you could spend hours reading about all of them.

    The 380 ... Name it as you want... 9 x 17 mm./ 9 Short / 9 Corto / 9 Kurtz / .380 ACP / 9mm Holland PS Nº 21 / 9mm Italiano Mod.1934 / 9mm Beretta 1934 / 9 mm Browning / 9mm SIG / 9 mm Super / .380 Auto Webley / .380 Colt Auto Hammerless / 8.8x17 Corto / GR 929 / DWM 540 / SAA 4865 / XCR 09 017 CGC 010
    ...Was invented in 1908 by John Browning for the 380 Hamerless Auto Pistol. Two years later, was adopted by the Belgian F.N. for the Mod. 1910.
    Some people says that its power is the minimum recommended for personal defense. Its main advantage is that the low pressure that develops allows guns to be used in blowback pistols, simplifying its manufacturing.

    [​IMG]

    The 38 ...Name it as you want .38 Special / .38 S&W Special / 9x29.5 R / .38 Colt Special /.38-44 / GR 682 / GR 933 /GR 974 / SAA 5295 / XCR 09 029 CBC 020
    ...The war in Philippines showed to the U.S. that the regulatory caliber, then the 38 Long Colt, did not have enough stoping power.
    As a result, S&W developed this cartridge that entered the market in 1902. The U.S. Army finally adopted on 45 ACP instead of .38 Special, but it was a great success. Virtually all the guns of security forces were chambered for this cartridge.
    It is one of the world's most popular calibers, and the most commonly used in revolvers. Therefore we can find a great variety of loads, bullet types and finishes. For those who want more power there's a more powered load. These are marked "+ P".
    Subsequently, the .357 Magnum was developed for those who still wanted more power. Is a longer and with more powder 38 Spl. To avoid accidents, a .357 Magnum can shoot 38 spl ammo, but you can't shoot a .357 load in a 38 spl revolver. Many people have the 357 Magnum revolvers but shoot 38 spl to practice.

    [​IMG]



    There's more cartriges in this family....

    like the .357 Magnum
    [​IMG]

    the 9 x 19 Parabellum or 9 mm Luger or 9 mm NATO or just 9 mm
    [​IMG]

    But exist so many others....38 Super... .357 Sig ...but the 9mm it's a family itself... 9x18 (Makarov), 9x21, 9x23(largo) there's so many other cartridges
     
  4. Angrypoonani

    Angrypoonani New Member

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    Thanks a lot infotech and asmel
     
  5. LONGHAIR

    LONGHAIR New Member

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    What year did the 9mm come into action..
     
  6. willfully armed

    willfully armed New Member

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    9mm luger,para, nato or 9x19 was introduced in 1902.
    380 auto, 9mm kurtz or 9x17 in 1912
    38 spl came in 1902 as well.

    bullet diameters differ

    9mm and 380 are .356
    38 and 357 are .358




    380 IS a viable option for carry, with ammunition like Buffalo Bores 100gr hardcast yielding 1160 FPS and 298 FT LBS of energy at the muzzle, froma Browning BDA 3.75" bbl.

    Netting 1060 fps and 249 Ft lbs from a Keltec P3AT.

    I have carried 380 many times, as an option to clothing necessitated by certain places or events.
    But I rely on 9mm most every day.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  7. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    As you can see in my signature, I shoot both.

    From a purely non-technical, non-jargon, point of view, the .38spl round looks like a serious round and the .380 round looks like a teeny little toy round. I wouldn't want to be hit by either. But if I had to choose, I'd rather be struck by a .380 round any day than a .38spl.
     
  8. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger New Member

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    One year eight months.
     
  9. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    The .38 Smith & Wesson Special is actually slightly older than the 9mm parabellum- it first came out in 1899, and the first one was a black powder load. Source- US cartridges and Their Handguns, Chas Suydam.
     
  10. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    Dammit C3, will you just stop posting real information and spread BS like the rest of us. :D

    About 3 years ago, a fella I knew in Atlanta (gun noob), bought a Bersa .380 and the store sold him a box of .38 Special to go with it. He asked me one day why the ammo wouldn't fit and I asked him to bring the mag & ammo to work the next day. Yeah, I had a huge laugh and I traded him a box of .380 for the .38s...
     
  11. Daoust_Nat

    Daoust_Nat Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For me, another reason for the 38 spl over the 380 is availability of range ammo and cost. Here in Florida you can get 38 special range, FMJ for about $16 a box of 50 at Wal Mart and it is reasonably plentiful. 380 runs $19 or so and is hard to find. Unless you want to buy in bulk over the internet or wait for the gun shows, a 38 is easier to practice with.
     
  12. LONGHAIR

    LONGHAIR New Member

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    One year eight months and 15 days to be exact!!!...
     
  13. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Whoops! Sorry, sir! Will try to do better! :p
     
  14. MRFranks

    MRFranks New Member

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    Gun Tests magazine did an article on the .380 ACP round about a month ago. They also stated that that round should be the absolute minimum for self defense. It further stated that due to the round's low velocity (under 1000 fps), hollow point loads are not reliable, so one should opt for FMJ loads for better penetration. When I was a rookie cop many decades ago, I opted for a Walther PPK/S as my off duty weapon as I liked the DA feature and the gun's small size and 7+1 capacity. Since hollow points weren't all that common then (except for SuperVel loads), I charged both my PPK/S mags with Winchester FMJ's. They cycled reliably, and at combat shooting distances would give a reasonable accounting of itself. Well, one of my brother officers lobbied me for several months to sell him my PPK/S as he was going to be reassigned to Vice--so I gave in and sold it to him. He continued to carry it with FMJ loads. I then went to a square butt, blue steel S&W Mod 36 which I kept loaded with five 148grn target wadcutters. Carried it like that for many years before I modified it with a bobbed hammer, and cut away trigger guard (just enough opening to slide my trigger finger onto the trigger during the draw and presentation). I liked my snubby more than the PPK/S--and the little revolver went bang each time I pulled the trigger. I've long since parted with the Mod.36 but have gone to the S&W 442 which is rated for .38Spec +P. Other than my Glock 21, I prefer revolvers for self defense and have two 442's. (Darn I'm getting windy). My point is that try both the snubby .38Spec. revolver or a small .380. The .38Spec has many more ammo options, and my favorite load is Buffalo Bore's .38Spec +P, 158grn, "heavy" LSWCHP load at a chronographed average velocity of 1005 fps and 354 ft/lbs of energy from my 442's . Recoil is sharp, and at 15 yards tends to shoot about 3 inches higher than a standard 158grn +P. But at combat range that load will do the job--but so will wadcutters. Get a couple of Safariland speed loaders, and a good concealable holster (I prefer IWB's--strong side) and you or your mother won't be under gunned. BTW, Gun Tests also picked the S&W 442 as their revolver of the year for 2010.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  15. MRFranks

    MRFranks New Member

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    .380 or .38Spec

    Here are my two 442's. Great guns--both of them, IMHO. Two speed loaders carry the "heavy" load I mentioned in the previous post, and the other two are CCI .38Spec+P 130grn loads {the nickled cased rounds} (optimized for 2 inch barrel revolvers--they're much more tame than the "heavy" loads).
     

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    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  16. WDB

    WDB New Member

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    Hey don't use "FBI or FIB" in your post they scan for those terms:cool:

    One year eight months and 15 days...add another day
     
  17. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    This ranks somewhere up there on the list of "Things that should not be told." j/k
     
  18. MRFranks

    MRFranks New Member

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    Thanks for the tip, but I was only precising from the article in Gun Tests. Needless to say, the "heavy" 158grn .38Spec +P load I mentioned is indeed just that. What pleases me is that both the article's comment about the velocity and energy of "the load" is right on accurate with my chronographed results. The extreme spread between loads fired was no more than 12 fps. Either way you cut it, "the load" is where a good .38Spec +P should be. I suspect, "the load" is equivalent to the old .38-44 Outdoorsman load from back in the 1930's and 1940's--and that load wasn't rated as +P.
    Thanks again for the tip, I'll edit the post if that's okay? BTW, my advice to "Angrypoonani" is whatever handgun he and his mother chooses, s/he will need to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. If they have the funds, maybe a trip to a combat pistol course for some very practical practice.
     
  19. MRFranks

    MRFranks New Member

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    Hi WDB,
    You may want to edit out the offending "acronym" from your quote of my post. (Just thought I'd mention it.)