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Old 09-08-2009, 10:40 AM
want2carry want2carry is offline
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Default Is a .380 enough?

I was in a range over the weekend just browsing at pistols and struck up a conversation with one of the employees.

He pretty much said that anything other than a .45 is useless for carry purposes.

I had been planning on buying a Sig P232 or even a Bersa Thunder .380 (to save money) but now he's got me all confused.

I like the Kimber Ultra Carry II (that I saw there), as dimensionally it's pretty close to the Sig 232, but it's almost a pound heavier. Hell I was even looking at the Kel Tec as it's less than an inch thick!

I don't want to lug around a freaking engine block if a smaller pistol will do. I always thought shot placement was more important than pure firepower but I've never carried so I have no idea......
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:06 AM
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Karatediver Karatediver is offline
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If it's so big that you aren't comfortable carrying it to the point that you leave it in your gun safe then what's the point. Sure I would love to carry concealed my 1911 in 45 ACP but it isn't practical. Maybe if I lived in a cold climate and could wear a bunch of bulky clothes then I could pull it off. So I carry my snubby 38 in my pocket. Walther made some very fine PPs in 380 auto. 380 is a very popular concealed carry calliber due to the small size of handguns it can be fired in. Hornaday makes one of their Critical Defense cartridges in 380 auto and Winchester makes it in their popular Silvertip line. Both boast around 1000fps velocity in their specs. It has been used by various militaries in Europe over the years and well as by police, most notably WWII Germany. I like the cartridge and have fired one for years. I don't carry it but it is mainly a personal choice. I know people that do carry it for a variety of reasons including light recoil, concealability, semi auto, simplicity of design, and cost. I know a lady that has one made by Sig that is really a nice gun. I say that if you like the gun, can shoot it accurately, and feel comfortable with it then carry it. It shoots a 9mm size bullet that can get the job done even though it is of lower velocity than the 9mm Parabellum. You can find some ammo that is designed for self defense like the Hornaday round or others out there that will do the job. Some guys use them for backup guns. Put a couple rounds in the chest or head of most guys and they will die. There are a lot of graves out there with bad and good guys who were killed by this potent little caliber. The cartridge has been around for about 90 years. If it didn't work, folks would have stopped buying it years ago. Your standard 9mm probably will give you better performance but the 380 Auto isn't too far behind. Here's a Guns and Ammo Article on the 380 Auto that might be of interest. The .380 Auto
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:09 AM
Jonnyboy182 Jonnyboy182 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Kern County
Posts: 156

I think he was trying to sell you a bigger gun! ANY gun if used correctly (shot placement) will drop an attacker.

I personally Carry a Taurus PT-145 Mil Pro. It's pretty small and easily concealable. I know a few people Carry Glocks. My buddy uses a Glock 22 .40 (Full size) For me, I think the taurus' 10+1 .45 ACP is nice. When I carry 2 mags That gives me 21 shots.

But again, ANY gun if used correctly will stop most attackers.
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:35 AM
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rickr96 rickr96 is offline
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There is and always will be conflicting opinions about this topic...

You're going to hear:
Bigger is always better...
Any thing is better then nothing...
Carry the round you're willing to bet you life on...
Make the biggest hole possible...
And more...

It's all good advise... but most of it won't help you make a decision.

For me, it comes down to this... Training! No matter the round I carry, I want to be good with it, and able to hit where you I need to hit. If I carry a
.45's most of the time I'll be be ok with a couple COM hits about anywhere on the torso... Carry a .25 however, and chances are I'll need to pay more attention to shot placement... and I'll prolly need to be a closer to the target to hit where I need to hit.

Bottom line is, for all of us, it's matter of personal choice. So pick the gun you like to shot and can carry on a daily basis. And then train to be good with it. And specifically train for the round to choose to carry....
Pushing the envelope one post at a time...
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:41 AM
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Feather Feather is offline
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Default It Is Enough

With most situations, a .380 caliber is sufficient to accomplish the task if the right bullets are used. I recommend high quality jacketed hollow points (JHP) that are designed to expand upon impact. Winchester Ranger T's, Remington Golden Sabers, Hornady Critical Defense, and Federal Hydra Shoks are all excellent choices. You most likely will never have to use the gun in self defense so a smaller caliber is sufficient. Most police officers carry 9 mm, not .45. You will most likely be fairly close to anyone you have to shoot so your shot placement should be good. In this scenario, a .380 with the right bullets will be more than sufficient. I think a Beretta 84F or 85F would be an excellent choice. A Sig Sauer P232 would be my second choice for .380. Of course, it would be best to have a .45 in a situation where you had to use a gun in self defense but that will be a rare occasion. Since you hopefully willbe carrying a gun at all times, there needs to be a trade-off between caliber, weight, and size. The caliber of .380 is a fair trade-off based on what you get. Also, .380 is more affordable. Buying a high quality gun in whatever caliber is highly recommended. You should avoid cheap guns.
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:21 PM
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X-ffdo X-ffdo is offline
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Not everyone is fortunate to have the body type conducive to waist carry.
Most would like to have wide shoulders and a small waist. Look around! Is that happening! No!.
So people carry in small of the back, ankle, etc... If still too big, they go to a smaller gun. Then after a while, they just leave it home and forget about it!
1) I rather carry something than nothing. Even if it is a .22!
2) I rather carry something I can hit things with than something I can not hit anything with!.
3) Paying a high price for something, these days does not guarantee reliability. Which is a more reliable car? A Honda or Toyota, or a Mercedes or Range Rover? Everyone knows the answer to that, but we still see people whose egos demand they drive an expensive brand of car, (It is out of their pockets, free country!) Don't do that with guns!
Get a tool, a street gun, something that is reliable and you can trust! Your bread toaster works? Sure! Your TV works? Sure! Why the hell not your gun?
Most important, get something conducive to packing! Don't leave home without it! Lots of times a "BANG" is enough for everyone to scatter!
No "BANG" capabilities and you already lost!
"If you don't shoot, you can't score"
"The movement of the prey, stimulates the predator" not become prey.
'The universe favors the prepared mind"

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." -Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria.
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:55 PM
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Poogsdad Poogsdad is offline
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Hi want2carry, Welcome to!!!

The general rule of thumb most people who have had a CCW for a while follow is that you should carry the largest, most powerful firearm that you can shoot well and effectively conceal.

Most people shoot a larger gun better than a small one. A larger gun usually implies a larger caliber and/or greater ammunition capacity, better sights, a longer sight radius, a larger more comfortable grip, and more weight to better control the effects of felt recoil, all of which are a good thing in a stressful situation.

By contrast, a larger handgun may be more difficult to conceal depending on your physiology, clothing choices, and social interaction requirements.

The very attributes that make smaller handguns easier to carry and effectively conceal (shorter overall length, smaller grip, and lighter weight) also serve to make them more difficult to shoot well. This is particularly true of small handguns in major calibers such as .45 ACP, 10MM, or .40 S&W.

The .380 ACP is generally considered to be a minimally effective CCW cartridge. It does, however, have a proven track record, particularly with modern, high performance ammunition and in Europe where it has served police agencies and the military for many decades.

If your physiology, clothing choices, and social interaction requirement do not support effective concealment of a larger firearm, then a small handgun in .380 ACP would certainly serve you well. If you feel comfortable with it, are able to shoot it well, and are willing to devote the time to master it, you will not go wrong with a small, high quality .380 ACP.

Most importantly a small handgun in .380 ACP is a gun you are more likely to always have with you. When you need it, the .380 you have on your body is much better the .45 you have in your gun safe!!!

Good luck on your search. Whatever you final decision is will quite likely be the right one if it is an informed decision. You have already received a good amount of excellent feedback from other forum members, all good advice to help you make an informed decision.

Thanks again and welcome to

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United States Army, Retired
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:04 PM
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Scout Scout is offline
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I've a Sig P232 and I love it for summer carry.....

During winter I carry a Glock .40....

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a Sig P232, and the quality is beyond reproach.......
Battle Born

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Old 09-08-2009, 04:07 PM
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Bald Biker Bald Biker is offline
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Poogsdad gives very sound advice. My carry guns are a .45 cal Kimber Ultra CDP and a .380 Walther PPKS. My choice of the day depends on the clothing that I need to wear. Sure I have caught some flak about the weak .380 and how the 45 is always better, but if I had only the 45, I would leave it home on some days. Find what fits your hand, seek professional training, then train well and often.
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:14 PM
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paul0660 paul0660 is offline
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Yes it is enough.
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:46 PM
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Gronk Bronson Gronk Bronson is offline
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I really love the Colt Mustang in .380. It's too bad they're no longer in production. I have been looking for a nice use one for myself, and they still are fetching around $700. or better.

I agree with all the other members that, it (.380) will get the job done. Carry what feels comfortable to you, can something you can easily conceal everyday. I also agree with bigger is better, but control and shot placement is most important!~ IMO
“Let us trust God, and our better judgment to set us right hereafter. United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.” ~Patrick Henry-March,1799.

"If God did not intend for us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?"~ John Cleese
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:16 PM
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rigmarol rigmarol is offline
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I only carry outside of Calif. as I only have a Utah permit at this time.

I can't say enough good about the Taurus .45 Millenium Pro. I carry it in a leather IWB sleeve with a long shirt and it conceals perfectly on my body type.

However, When I have to wear a shirt tucked in, I carry a Bursa .380 or a Rossi snubbie .357 on my ankle. The Rossi is my preferred ankle gun but I lose a round or two and have to carry speed loaders in my change pocket. mags are a lot easier to conceal in a pocket.

I once fended off an attacker with an old AMC .380 Backup. I was young and stupid and was carrying it in my glove box. However it was not loaded and I had to BLUFF!!! Soooo.... .380 on empty was "good enough" that day. LOL.

I hope you find your answer.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:17 PM
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libertarian libertarian is offline
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Would I rather carry a .380 or nothing? I'll take a .380 anytime. But if I could swing a 9mm, I'd carry that instead. And if I can hide a .45, I'll carry that.

I wish we could get some of the small .380s in California like the Ruger or Kel-Tec; if we did, that'd be my carry most days.

Since we really can't, I've opted to carry the Kahr PM9 as my 'workaday' pistol, and I carry a .45 when I'm going to be travelling at night, through bad areas, or if I'm wearing clothes that'll easily conceal it.

Like everyone else says - carry the biggest thing you can, but carry SOMETHING.
“Now, I shoot a Glock. Make sure you tell guys that the 1911 is a pain in the ass. If they don’t like messing around with the pistol and spending a grand to really get it tuned, then they should forget it.”
- Larry Vickers
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:07 PM
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EM2 EM2 is offline
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I have a Mustang .380 on my permit along with a Kahr CW9 and a Glock 23. I carry the Kahr mostly due to small size= comfort and the 9mm caliber. My Glock 23 was a bit of a chore to carry comfortably all day and not worry about concealability.
If you decide on the .380 be aware that for the time being .380 ammo is very difficult to find but 9mm is a bit easier. Since I added my .380 to my permit I have not been able to find any more ammo and this is the one caliber I am short on.
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:17 PM
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Keith92555 Keith92555 is offline
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Gotta agree with what everyone else has said. A .380 is better than a .379, but not as good as a .381. Bottom line is you should carry what you are comfy with in the largest caliber possible, but always carry SOMETHING. If you can place a couple shots COM with the .380, it will do the job. But if you can do it with a .381, it will do a better job.
You never really NEED a gun until you REALLY need a gun...W. E. B. Griffin.

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone...Marko Kloos

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