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Thread: Why have .380s become so popular?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Why have .380s become so popular?

    Why are .380s suddenly so popular? Well, why not? There are probably more than 10 times as many people who have a concealed carry permit now than a couple of decades ago before the change to “shall issue” carry laws. And all those new people have gone through the same learning curve that we old-timers went through, from “Carry enough gun” to “How am I going to pack this thing on a hot summer day?”

    Carrying a gun can be a real hassle. If you’re going to do it seriously and not be a ballistic dilettante, you have to do it all the time. Which means you need a comfortable holster and a handgun compact enough that it stays hidden. Which means, despite the sneer some direct at “mouseguns,” you pack a really small 9mm or .380.

    In an ultra-compact, a full-power 9mm load can be tough to practice with. And those .40 and .45 ultra-compacts are more like work (or torture) to shoot than enjoyable practice. So the .380 wins by default. And realistically, there’s nothing you can hold in your hands that will guarantee a 100 percent stop with one hit. Once you realize that accuracy matters, a small gun is OK and a big one is sometimes not worth the extra hassle of packing it.

    If, however, you go much smaller than the .380, you really fall down the slope of terminal ballistics, and you also end up with handguns that are so small you can’t shoot them comfortably. Nothing gets smaller than a Baby Browning, but you have to go through hand contortions to shoot one, and for all that trouble, all you get is a .25 Auto.

    A .380 in general—and the P238 in particular—is as small as you can still shoot comfortably and still have enough power to make it a useful tool in an emergency.

  2. #2
    Senior Member J. ZIMM's Avatar
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    I don't know about that. I have had a 6.35 auto for many years that I have carried. It works very well with an ankle holster. I can remove the family jewels, or do a leg spin with no problem. It's knowing your gun, and what it will do. Of course, the range you are popping from makes a difference too. If I need anything that can be a little more intimidating, I'll just go for my ol' standby, S&M .357 Mag. It will do the job. It's just so damn heavy to carry. Makes me walk lopsided...

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. ZIMM View Post
    I don't know about that. I have had a 6.35 auto for many years that I have carried. It works very well with an ankle holster. I can remove the family jewels, or do a leg spin with no problem. It's knowing your gun, and what it will do. Of course, the range you are popping from makes a difference too. If I need anything that can be a little more intimidating, I'll just go for my ol' standby, S&M .357 Mag. It will do the job. It's just so damn heavy to carry. Makes me walk lopsided...
    In summer I carry a Bersa Thunder .380 (knock-off of Walther PPK), in an "inside the pants" clip-on holster.

    It's a nice little gun (emphasis on little) that's easily concealed even when I am wearing shorts and a T-shirt (my usual summer uniform). I use Golden Sabre or Hornaday Critical Defense ammo only. It packs a pretty good punch and, as you say, if you know your gun (and can hit your target) this should do the job, if need be. I also like that it has a firing pin block/de-cocker - which I personally must have for CC. I do not want to shoot my dick off! (Many of the ultra-small concealables out there have no such safety, so if you carry with a round in the chamber and the gun ready to rock, you're running a real risk ion my opinion.)

    In winter (and when I am wearing more clothes) I carry a Sig P220 .45, which is a larger, heavier - and thus harder to concealed carry, pistol. But it's still much more doable than a standard 1911!

  4. #4
    Senior Member eesquared's Avatar
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    I cannot speak for others, but I can tell you why I like the .380.

    We women have small hands! I have two .380s: a Kel-Tec and a Berretta.

    The Kel-Tec will fit in the palm of my size 6 hand very concealably. Heck, I can stuff it in my bra and you probably couldn't see where it was. It fits into the smaller pockets of women's clothing, too. Also, I can wrap my hand around the grips; something people with small hands find difficult to do with a .45 or 9 mm, or even a .38. It sucks for accuracy, but then again...for close contact of say, 10 feet or less, I know that mine jerks high and to the right. So, if I aim for the target's right ear, I'll probably get a head shot.

    The Berretta is much more accurate. Although it has fixed sights, it still shoots very nicely with little kick or jerking. As with the Kel-Tec, I can comfortably wrap my small hand around the grips. It is not as concealable as the Kel-Tec, but it fits into the back waistband of a woman's jeans pretty well. Since women usually have a waistline and a curvier small of the back than men, it is a viable option for conceal/carry with the Berretta .380.

    Seriously...when you weigh the odds of having to hold a bigger weapon with both hands because you cannot grip it, the grip size is important.

    So, if .380s are gaining popularity....maybe more women are buying them. I hope.

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eesquared View Post
    I cannot speak for others, but I can tell you why I like the .380.

    We women have small hands! I have two .380s: a Kel-Tec and a Berretta.

    The Kel-Tec will fit in the palm of my size 6 hand very concealably. Heck, I can stuff it in my bra and you probably couldn't see where it was. It fits into the smaller pockets of women's clothing, too. Also, I can wrap my hand around the grips; something people with small hands find difficult to do with a .45 or 9 mm, or even a .38. It sucks for accuracy, but then again...for close contact of say, 10 feet or less, I know that mine jerks high and to the right. So, if I aim for the target's right ear, I'll probably get a head shot.

    The Berretta is much more accurate. Although it has fixed sights, it still shoots very nicely with little kick or jerking. As with the Kel-Tec, I can comfortably wrap my small hand around the grips. It is not as concealable as the Kel-Tec, but it fits into the back waistband of a woman's jeans pretty well. Since women usually have a waistline and a curvier small of the back than men, it is a viable option for conceal/carry with the Berretta .380.

    Seriously...when you weigh the odds of having to hold a bigger weapon with both hands because you cannot grip it, the grip size is important.

    So, if .380s are gaining popularity....maybe more women are buying them. I hope.
    All good points!

    From what I've read, applications for CC permits have skyrocketed (along with gun sales) and no doubt many of these applicants are women.

    My wife got hers last fall (and I got her a S&W "airweight" hammerless .38 snubbie that she is comfortable with).

    Even out here in very rural SW Virginia, there have been a few too many ugly incidents for me to be comfortable going out without my gun. I also like that when my wife goes out without me, she takes hers for just-in-case.

    Guns are no different than wearing a seatbelt or having a fire extinguisher in the garage. You may never need one, but if you do and don't have one, you will wish you did!

  6. #6
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post

    My wife got hers last fall (and I got her a S&W "airweight" hammerless .38 snubbie that she is comfortable with).

    Guns are no different than wearing a seatbelt or having a fire extinguisher in the garage. You may never need one, but if you do and don't have one, you will wish you did!
    Yep, my wife has the same rig. Got it after you suggested it, as well as the Sig.

    My AR-15 (iron fist) is complete too! Looking into suppressors for it now.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    Yep, my wife has the same rig. Got it after you suggested it, as well as the Sig.

    My AR-15 (iron fist) is complete too! Looking into suppressors for it now.
    Now I need to get a nice rifle like you've got!

  8. #8
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Now I need to get a nice rifle like you've got!
    Getting started is easy.. Just go to the gun store and purchase the lower receiver (around $150). The rest you can order on the net! -that's what I did

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

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    Senior Member eesquared's Avatar
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    I saw a news blip the other day about a female sheriff who gave women applying for CCPs preferential treatment. The county was in California and the decision on whose CCP applications get approved rests largely with the local sheriff. With the rise in crime, the sheriff construes the strangling California laws to the advantage of women applying for their licenses. I forget the exact percentage, but licenses for women in Cali have increased something like 40%.

  10. #10
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eesquared View Post
    I saw a news blip the other day about a female sheriff who gave women applying for CCPs preferential treatment. The county was in California and the decision on whose CCP applications get approved rests largely with the local sheriff. With the rise in crime, the sheriff construes the strangling California laws to the advantage of women applying for their licenses. I forget the exact percentage, but licenses for women in Cali have increased something like 40%.
    I'm glad that more women are arming themselves, but it's wrong that any law-abiding person of either sex be denied the right to carry a gun based on some sheriff's (or judge's or other government bureaucrat's) say-so.

    At minimum, every state should be a "shall issue" state - meaning, if you apply and don't have a criminal background or known mental problems they shall issue the permit. .

    I also believe the Castle Doctrine should be a given, nationwide. That is, a person should not have to retreat if a Maggot comes into their home and only be permitted to use force if they're "cornered" or some such nonsense like that. Immunity from all civil actions, too, if the shooting is found to be justified self-defense.

    No more of this Mah boy beez a good boy; 'dat man diddn need to be shootin' him day-uhd jest because he bees looking to get a tee-beee.

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