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ajt
Average Member

USA
319 Posts

Posted - August 12 2018 :  1:04:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Not trying to re-start an old controversy but, I recently attended a defensive concealed handgun class sponsored by a LGS at which the instructor (not a nationally known name) stated that the .380 was less than marginal as a defensive round. In support of that statement he said that the reason that there were used .380 Browning BDA's, Beretta 84s & 85's included in the used trades from Israel was that they had determined this to also be the case in actual terrorist shooting incidents. I had never heard anything like that before and also wondered that, if that were true, then what does that say about the effectiveness of the used CZ75s, Beretta 92s and BHPs that are also allegedly from Israel and in much larger numbers. I have seen them in the ads from AIM and JG Sales, but I have never heard or read anything about the .380 being traded in because of that. The most recent issue of American Handgunner features a new S&W EZ .380 and the author stated something to the effect that the 3.7 inch barrel gave the round the extra velocity that it needed to be effective, especially over the less than 3 inch barrels found on most .380 pocket pistols. I seem to recall that the BDA and Beretta 84 both have 3 1/2 inch barrels. I think that barrell length and ammo selection and shot placement would be crucial if you are carrying a .380. As with any handgun.

Ace
Advanced Member

USA
5663 Posts

Posted - August 12 2018 :  1:47:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm in the crowd that believes .380 is not a good choice for social use, if you're able to handle 9mm or .38; and I kind of wonder if the 'lower/softer recoil' of .380 over 9/.38 is an actual issue for most people. I also realize there are much better loads available now than there useta be, so it is possible to pick ammo that ought to work--in limited circumstances. And I agree that longer barrels are probably going to help in the velocity department--but to my mind, that 'help' isn't enough to make it a wise choice over the others. I discount the 'smaller pistol is easier to hide' argument, because any serious-sized .380 can be matched with a 9mm as to platform size.
IF I had no choice but the .380, it would have to be one of the larger platforms, with the highest capacity I could find. I could condescend to, say, the 13-shot Bersa or Beretta, but my arm would have to be twisted.

Intentionally choosing a .380 is akin to choosing a .410 shotgun, as far as I'm concerned. But if it's all you got, you do the best you can with what you have. Ace

Give me $1 every time a Liberal lies, I'll give you $5 every time one tells the truth; I'll end up a wealthy man, you'll end up broke.
If pro-gunners are as murderous as anti-gunners claim, why are there so many anti-gunners still running their mouths?
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Evan
Administrator

34559 Posts

Posted - August 12 2018 :  3:45:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I worked for the govt of Israel in firearms sales and never heard anything like that. I carry a 9 MM Smith Shield as backup to a full size M&P. Just dress around the guns. I've been doing that for almost 48 years.

"The greatest thing a Father can do for his children is to love their Mother."

Harold B. Lee

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gw
Advanced Member

4784 Posts

Posted - August 12 2018 :  5:21:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Israel dumps it's used guns on the US market for the same reason other countries do. Their restrictive gun laws make the used gun market virtually nonexistent in their country.

my take is,Israel is ramping up with new military hardware across the board, the handguns I see coming in are far from top condition.

be that as it may, if they'd loosen up their gun laws, Israeli civilians would snatch up whatever they could get, .380 or whatever.

Europeans are the same, they don't trust their Government to protect them anymore than I trust mine.

I think the Beretta 84 is a dandy gun, I carried one around overseas for a couple years, loaded with ball ammo too.

it was all I had, I was happy to have it....

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."

Edited by - gw on August 12 2018 5:23:59 PM
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gauchobill
Advanced Member

1144 Posts

Posted - August 12 2018 :  5:39:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
.380 is not a choice for me simply because same size guns are available in 9mm. Why go with less than 9mm?
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ajt
Average Member

USA
319 Posts

Posted - August 12 2018 :  8:38:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
While I am NOT an advocate of the .380 I have found that I can hit with a .380 semi-auto more accurately (relatively speaking) than I can with either of my J-frame Smiths (mod 49 and 60). That said, I find most nine's more comfortable to shoot and to shoot accurately, than a .380, and my EDC is a BHP.
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Ten Driver
Advanced Member

1949 Posts

Posted - August 13 2018 :  02:34:08 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There seems to be no shortage of "experts" in this business who pull stories out of thin air and dress them up as fact . . . especially if they're trying to convince you of something.

I'm not, and never have been, a .380 fan, but the Israel story is hogwash, not evidence.

The .380EZ is a purpose-built gun for a niche market, and I have to say the .380 made sense in that application. Hats off to S&W for that, but I'm not eager about recommending one for general use.

Mike

Edited by - Ten Driver on August 13 2018 02:34:32 AM
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LittleBill
Advanced Member

5558 Posts

Posted - August 13 2018 :  06:55:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
IMHO, once the ‘micro-9s’ came along, most .380s stopped making sense. Why carry a .380 when you could be carrying a 9mm of the same size? The SIG P938 9mm (7 + 1) that I often carry is considerably smaller than the P230 .380 (7 + 1) that I used to own.

The Seecamp .380 is the exception: it still ‘fills a niche’ because it’s much smaller than any 9mm. But I can see no reason to carry a larger .380 when some of it’s 9mm ‘cousins’ are the same size or even smaller. Of course, YMMV

An exception might be someone who’s extremely recoil conscious and .380 is the most potent round they can shoot well. In that case one of the larger .380s might be ‘the perfect handgun’ for them.


"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point"--- C.S. Lewis

"There are some ideas so foolish, that only an intellectual could believe them"--- George Orwell

Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast

Edited by - LittleBill on August 13 2018 07:26:44 AM
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jle3030
Advanced Member

USA
5527 Posts

Posted - August 13 2018 :  09:32:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Whatever we more "enlightened" individuals may think, the .380 sits squarely at the intersection of what size and weight a great many people will or will not tolerate for EDC.

Owning both, I can't agree that the mini 9's are as small or light as the smaller .380's. There are infrequent occasions when I can carry a small .380 into nonpermissive areas and circumstances I would not attempt with my 442 or G43. For me the little .380's are at the top of the slippery slope down to 22's and .25's.

And at close range, truth be told, the gun I can empty fastest (7+1) into the smallest group is a 96 year old Colt 1908 in .380. And that's the tactic I would use if I were carrying a .380.

Jeff

jle3030
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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9819 Posts

Posted - August 13 2018 :  09:38:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There is a little bit of factual basis, I think. After the killing of the Olympic team one of the agencies (purported to be the Mossad - but I do not know for sure). I have seen pictures of a small Beretta (maybe a "jaguar") that was supposedly used.

I'm not sure if it was a .22, .32 or .380. I've seen an Israeli Jaguar .22 with a threaded muzzle.

That does not mean it is adequate for self defense - it is most likely adequate for assassination.

I had a guy as a student who was very likely a member of the Mossad (he left Israel at the suggestion of his father who was a General in the intelligence business) - he, the student, carried a 1911 .45 though it took some convincing to get him to carry it cocked and locked rather than chamber empty with the hammer down.

He goes back from time to time and last time I sent some of the 9mm Federal Expanding FMJ with him, but I have not heard of any results from that.

I tested the same design in .45 and it did not give adequate penetration - it expanded and exited a 1 gal. milk jug but just bounced of the 2X6 behind it.

Jim H.

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Ten Driver
Advanced Member

1949 Posts

Posted - August 13 2018 :  1:07:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Jim. To be clear, I don't doubt that the Israelis used the .380 for some activities, only that they are being surplused because the cartridge was found to be inadequate. I'm quite sure that it's just regular housecleaning for them.

The folks who don't know the history of the region are unaware that when the modern state of Israel was born, they faced difficulties in adequately arming their LE/MIL forces. Everything had to come from the west, because the country lacked indigenous production capability at first (that would change later) and they were getting squeezed economically (and militarily) by their Arab neighbors.

As a result, the early Israeli forces used quite a hodgepodge of arms from all over the world. There was little standardization, and frankly, they were just happy to get their hands on whatever went bang.

Incidentally, this lack of standardization had a big influence on the development of Israel's preference for chamber empty carry, because all the handguns in inventory could be used with the same manual of arms, regardless of their design or origin.

Over time, local production capabilities were developed, and the link to western suppliers was strengthened. In the early days, emergency airlifts from the U.S. sustained them, but as the security situation became stabilized, normal trade activities grew. The Israelis reached the point where they could begin to standardize their arms, and the odd mix of guns went into emergency reserve storage.

I suspect we've now reached the next stage where a lot of those guns which are no longer needed are being surplused, to raise funds for new stuff and make room for the next generation of war reserves to take their place.

Mike
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heavyweight
Senior Member

USA
848 Posts

Posted - August 13 2018 :  1:49:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm not a big fan of the .380 but do carry a Ruger LCP custom or LCP II in the summer. I rarely carry one in cool or cold weather. Terminal ballistics for this pipsqueak caliber have progressed a great deal in the past few years.
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gw
Advanced Member

4784 Posts

Posted - August 13 2018 :  2:02:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Higginbotham

There is a little bit of factual basis, I think. After the killing of the Olympic team one of the agencies (purported to be the Mossad - but I do not know for sure). I have seen pictures of a small Beretta (maybe a "jaguar") that was supposedly used.

I'm not sure if it was a .22, .32 or .380. I've seen an Israeli Jaguar .22 with a threaded muzzle.

That does not mean it is adequate for self defense - it is most likely adequate for assassination.

I had a guy as a student who was very likely a member of the Mossad (he left Israel at the suggestion of his father who was a General in the intelligence business) - he, the student, carried a 1911 .45 though it took some convincing to get him to carry it cocked and locked rather than chamber empty with the hammer down.

He goes back from time to time and last time I sent some of the 9mm Federal Expanding FMJ with him, but I have not heard of any results from that.

I tested the same design in .45 and it did not give adequate penetration - it expanded and exited a 1 gal. milk jug but just bounced of the 2X6 behind it.

Jim H.



Israeli Air Marshalls originally used Beretta 71s in .22 LR in an attempt to limit damage to major structure during an in flight shootout.

in 1969 Air Marshall Mordechai Rachamim on the ground at a Swiss airport, used his .22 Beretta to go head to head with multiple Palestinian attackers armed with AKs and grenades. he killed one with 2 hits to the body and wounded others,successfully ending the attempted hijacking.

the Massad used supressed .22s while undercover, not to assasinate but to cut down on the noise signature. gunfire in Palestinian territory gave away their position and hampered their ability to withdraw.

based on Israeli use of .22s, reluctance to arm themselves with .380s seems improbable ......

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
3642 Posts

Posted - August 13 2018 :  3:50:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
One or two .22LR successful shooting incidents isn't enough for me to decide that the .22LR is the perfect self-defense load/gun. YMMV.

But... when you get right down to it... any gun beats no gun.

But... they don't shoot themselves. The gun wielder has to do their part.

As Jim so wisely notes... "We must all seek out own salvation".

I'll stick with a snubby in a weak side pants pocket and a 16-shot 9mm in a strong side holster. I can certainly adjust my wardrobe to accommodate them.

Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.
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rev.
Advanced Member

1011 Posts

Posted - August 13 2018 :  4:49:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm just an old civilian who's never shot at, or been shot at by anyone, but I carry just because I want to.....just in case. I don't carry two guns, never mind three. I carry what is convenient for constant carry. I have found that my G42 is just smaller enough, and just lighter enough that when I drop it in my pocket I can forget about it. Not so with my Ruger LC9s. I have tried to carry the Ruger constantly, but it just doesn't work so it gets replaced by the G42. So my choice has been made for me. By the way I keep the G42 loaded with Lehigh Defense 65gr. four fluted solid copper rounds going 1,150fps mv. From the gel tests I've seen, and from my own testing in the Ballistic Technologies test tube I'm convinced that this load lifts the .380 closer to 9mm performance.
Respectfully,
rev.
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gw
Advanced Member

4784 Posts

Posted - August 13 2018 :  5:10:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Chris Christian

One or two .22LR successful shooting incidents isn't enough for me to decide that the .22LR is the perfect self-defense load/gun. YMMV.

But... when you get right down to it... any gun beats no gun.

But... they don't shoot themselves. The gun wielder has to do their part.

As Jim so wisely notes... "We must all seek out own salvation".

I'll stick with a snubby in a weak side pants pocket and a 16-shot 9mm in a strong side holster. I can certainly adjust my wardrobe to accommodate them.



my guess, there's been more than a couple sucessful shooting incidents with .22s, check with any big city morgue..

if you're working in a place or country that doesn't allow guns, a supressed .22 or a gun that doesn't leave brass scattered around might just be the perfect self defense weapon.

my old boss was MACV-SOG, worked for the Government overseas for years and carried a TPH .22 with a threaded barrel everyday. I assume his suppressor was around somewhere.

of course those types of operators today are likely wearing burqas and conceal all types of things

but the point is, Israelis likely wouldn't consider a .380 underpowered if they had luck with .22s, unlike the story the original poster related...
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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
3642 Posts

Posted - August 13 2018 :  5:29:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The .22LR is a great weapon for an assassin because they get to pick the time, place, and distance for their shot.

Self-defense shooters seldom... if ever... get to pick the time, place and distance for their shot.... or more likely... shots. Nor, for that matter, do they have the option of calling off the 'hit' if things don't look quite right.

Assassination and self-defense is an apples & orange comparison.


Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.
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gw
Advanced Member

4784 Posts

Posted - August 13 2018 :  7:01:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
ok

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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Arvinator
Advanced Member

USA
5455 Posts

Posted - August 13 2018 :  8:12:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
When I do carry a .380, it is a concealed 3rd gun....

Be honest, fair, and always prepared...
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LittleBill
Advanced Member

5558 Posts

Posted - August 14 2018 :  09:33:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jle3030

Whatever we more "enlightened" individuals may think, the .380 sits squarely at the intersection of what size and weight a great many people will or will not tolerate for EDC.

Owning both, I can't agree that the mini 9's are as small or light as the smaller .380's. There are infrequent occasions when I can carry a small .380 into nonpermissive areas and circumstances I would not attempt with my 442 or G43. For me the little .380's are at the top of the slippery slope down to 22's and .25's.

And at close range, truth be told, the gun I can empty fastest (7+1) into the smallest group is a 96 year old Colt 1908 in .380. And that's the tactic I would use if I were carrying a .380.

Jeff



True; I stand corrected.

Seecamp’s website has some interesting size comparisons with other .380s as well as some larger guns; both a comparison chart with numbers, and some visual overlays.

For me, when comparing the P938 to all but the tiniest .380s, the approximately 1” greater length and 1/2” greater height of the 938 makes no practical difference as far as carrying and concealing it. It fits unobtrusively in a back pocket wallet-type holster, or an ankle rig. Hard to imagine a situation where, say, a Kahr .380 would work, but the 938 wouldn't.

The tiniest ‘vest pocket’ .380s like the Seecamp and NAA will fit in places the 9mm micros won’t. That doesn’t seem to be the case for larger .380s like the Glock 42, which is basically the same size as the 938.


"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point"--- C.S. Lewis

"There are some ideas so foolish, that only an intellectual could believe them"--- George Orwell

Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast

Edited by - LittleBill on August 14 2018 11:41:13 AM
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LittleBill
Advanced Member

5558 Posts

Posted - August 14 2018 :  11:33:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Arvinator

When I do carry a .380, it is a concealed 3rd gun....


That's my take on the Seecamp: at 4.25" long and 3.25" high and .9" wide, it can be concealed practically anywhere.


"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point"--- C.S. Lewis

"There are some ideas so foolish, that only an intellectual could believe them"--- George Orwell

Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast
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LittleBill
Advanced Member

5558 Posts

Posted - August 14 2018 :  11:47:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm convinced that the best loads for a defensive .380 are those like Buffalo Bore's 100-gr hardcast +P, that will give maximum penetration.


"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point"--- C.S. Lewis

"There are some ideas so foolish, that only an intellectual could believe them"--- George Orwell

Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast
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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9819 Posts

Posted - August 16 2018 :  08:18:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LittleBill

I'm convinced that the best loads for a defensive .380 are those like Buffalo Bore's 100-gr hardcast +P, that will give maximum penetration.





My wild guess is that you are correct as far as factory loads.

I've actually fiddled with the .380 in my distant past. First it was a PPK/s then a Llama locked breach (later they made the gun a straight blowback and ruined it) and lastly a Colt Mustang.

We don't mention hand-load recipes here (and for good reason!) but some listed below did come out of manuals and were deemed "safe" - others I worked up to in increments. They were:

A 121 gr cast round nose at 1000 fps (old Lyman manual)
A 100 gr Speer JHP at 1000 fps (Old Speer Manual)
A newer version of the 100 Speer at 1100 fps (it took up less space in the case than the old one).
A 133 gr cast SWC at 950 fps (my own worked up carefully)
A 115 gr Sierra JHC at 1000 fps (also my own).

I did not fire the last three in the Walther (had sold it by then but they were strictly for locked breech guns anyway).

I never had any pressure signs with any but recoil was ...ah..."brisk".

Jim H.

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Ace
Advanced Member

USA
5663 Posts

Posted - August 16 2018 :  08:44:08 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Those loads seem similar to a lot of decent 9mm; so I'll stay with my conviction 'Might just as well go 9mm.' Ace

Give me $1 every time a Liberal lies, I'll give you $5 every time one tells the truth; I'll end up a wealthy man, you'll end up broke.
If pro-gunners are as murderous as anti-gunners claim, why are there so many anti-gunners still running their mouths?
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gw
Advanced Member

4784 Posts

Posted - August 16 2018 :  10:00:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Higginbotham

quote:
Originally posted by LittleBill

I'm convinced that the best loads for a defensive .380 are those like Buffalo Bore's 100-gr hardcast +P, that will give maximum penetration.





My wild guess is that you are correct as far as factory loads.

I've actually fiddled with the .380 in my distant past. First it was a PPK/s then a Llama locked breach (later they made the gun a straight blowback and ruined it) and lastly a Colt Mustang.

We don't mention hand-load recipes here (and for good reason!) but some listed below did come out of manuals and were deemed "safe" - others I worked up to in increments. They were:

A 121 gr cast round nose at 1000 fps (old Lyman manual)
A 100 gr Speer JHP at 1000 fps (Old Speer Manual)
A newer version of the 100 Speer at 1100 fps (it took up less space in the case than the old one).
A 133 gr cast SWC at 950 fps (my own worked up carefully)
A 115 gr Sierra JHC at 1000 fps (also my own).

I did not fire the last three in the Walther (had sold it by then but they were strictly for locked breech guns anyway).

I never had any pressure signs with any but recoil was ...ah..."brisk".

Jim H.



I think the Germans beat you to this prior to WWII

the German airforce wanted an improved 9x17 (.380), Wather developed the 9x18 Ultra in response. This was an attempt to chamber blowback guns in a more powerful round.

The Russians picked up on the idea after the war and came up with the 9mm Makarov. Some of this ammo can approach what Jim is listing above.

in the 1970s the West German Polizei was issuing a .32 Walther, after the Munich terrorist attacks especially, they wanted to up gun their patrol units.

the Polizei adopted the Walther PP Super in 9x18 Ultra, basically a souped up .380.

the Wather PP Super was a nice blowback pistol.

but mostly due to the Polizei use of the H&K MP5, to keep ammo common they switched to a 9x19.

Europeans and Israelis can have a different concept of handgun stopping power than Americans , back then they issued sub guns if the were getting into a pistol fight.

(I saw the Polizei in action one afternoon with a guy that tried to shoot back at them, they weren't afraid to use their sub guns.)

if the Israelis have dumped their .380s its likely due to it's lack of penetration through personel protection equipment.

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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jle3030
Advanced Member

USA
5527 Posts

Posted - August 16 2018 :  10:08:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Having owned both, I much prefer a locked breech .380 to a blowback model. Especially as the guns become smaller and lighter.

Jeff

jle3030
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