.380 vs. 9mm

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by RangeGal, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. RangeGal

    RangeGal New Member

    For those that know, what is the difference (if any) in firing "feel" between a .380 and 9mm?

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012
  2. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

    Neither are exactly punishing. Where you get into issues though is that the .380 pistols are usually smaller, light weight with thin grips, and are of blowback operation, which can amplify felt recoil. A Recoil operated gun will seem to kick a bit less becasue some of th energy is used to unlock the barrel from the slide.

    If you could fire both rounds from the same gun then the .380 would kick less.

  3. Overkill0084

    Overkill0084 Well-Known Member

    Depends on the pistol.
    The tiny little Noisy Cricket .380s are typically unpleasant, whereas a full sized 9 mm is typically fairly pleasant.
    I love shooting my CZ75 BD. I really find my wife's PPK/S unpleasant, and it's heavier than a lot of other .380s. YMMV.
    All other things being equal, the .380 would recoil less. Lower pressures & lighter bullets equal less energy.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012
  4. drvsafe

    drvsafe New Member

    From what I've come to learn, the .380 has a bit less recoil and is often an easier weapon to CC with due to its size and weight and the 9mm has quite a bit better stopping power than a .380. I own both and while my .380 has always been my CCW due to its size, I've learned to be as proficient with it as I can, because at the end of the day, a .380 round IS lethal if the rounds are properly placed.

    It also depends on the weapon as well, the smaller the weapon the more snap you're going to "feel". All other things being equal, the .380 has a bit less recoil than the 9mm. And with the right weapon in the right hands both can be quite lethal.
  5. hardluk1

    hardluk1 Active Member

    Depends totaly on the gun and weight of it. To me a 8 to 10oz 380 feels much like a kahr cm9 at 15 oz in felt recoil. My daughters bersa 380 at 18 oz feels like a g17 shooting +p loads.
  6. ineverFTF

    ineverFTF New Member

    Take a 9mm and a .380 in the same micro pistol, the 9mm will have more felt recoil. Neither round will come close to discomfort. The 9mm is a more powerful round and if you're looking to buy something than i would say a 9mm or bigger.
  7. partdeux

    partdeux Well-Known Member Supporter

    .380 in a LCP is more punishing then 9mm in an XDM9c

    For shooting comfort, mass is your friend. For carrying, mass is your non friend.
  8. Colby

    Colby Member

    Boy, this is the truth!
    A dilemma in gun choice!

    But I have the same:
    My Ruger LCP - 380 - (very light) kicks quite a bit.
    My Ruger LC9 - 9mm (compact) is more comfortable to shoot - but is larger, heavier.

    The way of the world... give up one thing to get another...
  9. Old_Crow

    Old_Crow New Member

    To be honest my P-3AT is less comfortable to shoot than my Ruger Super Blackhawk chambered in 44mag. I am trying to hang on to the P-3AT with two fingers. What little recoil it produces is absorbed by my hand. The SBH weighs over 40oz and has nice comfortable houge mono-grips. While the SBH produces considerably more recoil, it isn't perceived recoil.

    For the record, the .380 is something I carry when my clothing doesn't permit a decent belt. Other wise I would at least carry a 9mm. I feel a lot better with a .357mag.
  10. jpattersonnh

    jpattersonnh Well-Known Member

    I'll compare SIGS. I have a P230 in .380, it is a joy to shoot even w/ my Gorilla hands. It is the fastest cycling handgun I own.
    My P6/225 is also great. Both are dead on accurate. The 230 is a great carry piece. Neither has an issue w/ factory or hand loads. The Bersa Thunder is pretty close to the 230. Stay away from Walthers. The mags will Jam constantly.
  11. cluznar

    cluznar New Member

    Carry a Bersa Thunder .380 loaded with Hornady Critical Defense ammo. With this excellent ammo it shoots very well with mild recoil. A guy just killed a burglar with one round of .22LR so how much do you need?
  12. Threetango

    Threetango Audentes Fortuna Iuvat Supporter

    Gentlemen, the Sig Sauer 938 9mm gives you the best of both worlds. A stronger round (Hornady Zombie) and very concealable.

  13. BeyondTheBox

    BeyondTheBox New Member

    Overkill has it right.

    It depends on the size and materials used in your firearm. A heavier and larger frame will handle the recoil better.

    Take the Rugers LCP (380) and LC9 (9mm), for example. A 380 ball is nearer, in size, that of a 9mm than far, however, it's also a shorter brass with less powder, thus decreased "bang", so the felt recoil would be less with the round itself. But put that in the smaller frame of an LCP and there's less there to absorb that blowback. I owned both for a time and the LCP kicked like a mule, way harder than the LC9.
  14. billt

    billt Active Member

    .380 ammunition costs more and is less powerful. It's nothing more than a 9 MM short, (Kurz). It has a following because of the small framed pistols that chamber it. I can't see having to pay more for less power ammunition wise. And as far as conceal ability, the Glock 26 is all but perfect and still gives you 12 rounds of full power 9 MM. You sacrifice nothing, and the gun has much better sights than any .380, with the only exception being the Sig.
  15. CarmelPaneristi

    CarmelPaneristi New Member

    I couldn't agree more. Loved my sig p238 but sold it and bought the p938 as soon as I could get my hands on one. After pissing away a lot of money over the years I think I have finally found the perfect balance between stopping power and a gun small and light enough to always be carrying. Plus it is comfortable to shoot. Not mu ch more noticeable recoil than the p238.
  16. superc

    superc Active Member

    The .380 has less gunpowder, therefore it will always be less powerful than a 9mm Parabellum fired from a barrel of equal length. Small guns kick more than big guns. Many people are now discovering that ultra tiny or ultra light weight often means ultra uncomfortable to shoot. Often the magazine ads don't mention that. Alternatively, bigger and heavier guns are harder to hide and they are heavier. Hope that helps.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  17. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

    I primarily have two carry guns: a 380 and a 9mm. Recoil is entirely dependent upon the pistol.

    My 9mm is a Ruger SR9C. I can shoot that gun all day long and it doesn't bother me.

    My 380 is a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard. That gun is horrible to shoot. Although less powerful than the 9, it is very thin and cuts into the webbing of my hand. It is downright exhausting. But I never intended it to be a range gun. It fits its purpose as a pocket pistol quite well.
  18. cluznar

    cluznar New Member

    I'm not a fan of large calibers, .380 and 9mm are fine. But at times I also carry a .32

    Bersa Thunder .32
    Bersa Thunder .380
    Ruger SR9c
  19. NativH

    NativH New Member

    I carry a full size 1911 at all times, except for those rare occasions when I walk out the door in shorts and t shirt. Then a Sig P232 380 gets slipped in the pocket with Winchester Ranger Talons or Buffalo Bore ammo. I also have a S&W 3913 and G17 but the first is the kitchen gun and the latter is on the nightstand. Rarely do I carry either even with Tucker leather for both. But since the wife may need to use one of them and she is fairly small, the 9's with +P+ Winchester Talons stay loaded in the house.

    To me, either the 380 or 9 is a last resort weapon. Been in an altercation where I was carrying my Kahr MK9 (since sold) and almost had to draw on a drunk, or should I say a big mad drunk. Never felt so undergunned in my life and have never carried less than a 357SIG G32 after that night. Clint Smith basically says, a pistol should be comforting not comfortable, and I go with that now. If you ever get to the point of needing to draw, and only have a 380 or 9, you may feel undergunned too. But I'd certainly rather have my P232 than nothing, for sure. And to your original question, a 9 first and foremost, a 380 if nothing else is available. Good hollowpoints in both.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  20. cluznar

    cluznar New Member

    I NEVER feel undergunned with a .380 or 9mm unless three guys with AK's are coming at me. :eek:
    The .380 will do an excellent job if you make good shot placement. Doubt anyone can still smile with a couple rounds of .380 in their chest.
    I know the .40 S&W and .45 have much more power, but I am confident the .380 & 9mm will do the job.

    Bersa Thunder .32
    Bersa Thunder .380
    Ruger SR9c