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My 380 ammo tests

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by scaldwell, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. scaldwell


    Jan 10, 2007
    Lexington, KY
    I have been carrying my sig p238 more and more recently. I'm not a big fan of the 380 but to work in the summer with shorts and a polo it is easier than carrying any of my bigger 1911's. So I took the p238 and other guns out to the range. I will first show you my findings on the 238.

    A little on the testing first. I used magazines that I had previously soaked in water put them in a box and taped it up. I shout them from 10 yards. Using the sig 238.

    Hornady Critical Defense. This load expanded great. It penetrated the least in the material (about 3.5 inches)

    Magtech Guardian Gold. This load was found just a littlt farther in. Not much. It expanded very well also.

    Corbon DPX. This load tied for most penetration. It penetrated almost 5 inches. Did not expand much at all.

    Buffalo Bore +p. This load tied for most penetration and expanded very well It penetrated to the same page of the magazines I shot into as the Corbon. Very good overall load. Recoil was more and muzzle flash was the most of any of the loads. However it still want exactly where I aimed. So it wasn't too bad.

    Overall I have now changed my carry magazines for the sig. I am carrying the Hornady because it feeds like a FMJ and expands nicely. I have also added 2 of the corbon to the magazine for the penetration.

    A note on the penetration. You will see in upcoming evals of the ammo that I did the 5 inches of penetration in this material was not bad. The best of any load I tested was from a 5 inch 1911 in 45acp and it only went 8.4 inches.

    I have completed the following evals of ammo/gun combo's 40s&W Glock 23. Les Baer Permier II 45acp, 22 mag/PMR30, 22LR Ruger SR22

    Attached Files:

  2. scaldwell


    Jan 10, 2007
    Lexington, KY
    One more image of the tested loads.

    Attached Files:

  3. PghJim


    Apr 21, 2005
    I only carry the 380 as a back up gun in an ankle holster. In my testing, I found the BB 90gr +p JHP to be the best round for expansion and penetration. I have been very disapointed in the Hornady Critical Defense ammo. Yes it always expands, but not very much.
  4. unit1069


    Oct 10, 2007
    So. Central US

    There are some prominent firearms experts who recommend against mixing different loads in a carry magazine. Reliability is always the watchword and introducing a potential hurdle to smooth function ought to be avoided. Makes sense to me.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2012
  5. Tiro Fijo

    Tiro Fijo

    May 31, 2011

    As Clint Smith says "a carry gun is meant to be comforting and not comfortable". I have never been a fan of the .380 as anything but a 2ndary gun (if even that).

    Why? The gun is not telepathic and does not know what the next round will be. If a given round functions in the the gun then why wouldn't ten different varieties if they all have functioned individually before? Think about it. No different than using a "mixed fruit" mag of AP, tracer, incendiary, etc.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  6. Merkavaboy

    Merkavaboy Code-7A KUZ769

    Hate to burst your bubble but you're fooling yourself if you think that back yard media tests prove anything. It doesn't. Human beings aren't made of water soaked magazines or other paper products nor homogenous ballistic gel or anything else.
  7. Kentguy


    Nov 22, 2010
    Kent, OH

    Thanks for the test results - I feel these types of tests will give you a "base line" of data to help you make a decision about which ammo you feel most comfortable having in your Home/Self defense gun.

    During the summer months, wearing light clothing, I usually carry a Bersa Thunder 380 loaded with Hornady's Custom XTP's bullets. My regular CCW is a G26 and again I use Hornady ammunition. I am a fan of the 380, it has its place in my self protection system and I do take advantage of its size and capability.

    Something to keep in mind just for this discussion - If you remember in the recent news a young boy walked into his school and tragically shot 3 fellow students to death and wounded 4 others with a .22 pistol. This type of story sickens me but it is very telling about the ability of even a .22 to inflect fatal damage on another human being.

    Just to keep it all in perspective.
  8. ADK_40GLKr

    ADK_40GLKr Adirondacker with a Glock

    Nov 14, 2010
    RFD NY Adks
    He shows 102 gr .380 Golden Sabre penetrating 14" in gel with 1.66 expansion. (as good as 9mm PDX1)

    In 9 mm the 124 gr +p GS went 15" with 1.8 expansion.

    Though not quite up to equivalent 9mm, that seems to debunk some of the .380 hate I've seen.
  9. Ceapea


    Apr 12, 2010
    And the thing to remember is, most all 380 ammo works better out of "full sized" guns. Like the above mentioned Bersa and mine, a Sig P232. That extra barrel length helps with MV/ME and the weight and larger grip help with handling and firing. My Sig is easy to shoot accurately and is a tack driver.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  10. avenues165


    Jun 15, 2012
    SLC, Utah
    My wife's Bersa is loaded with the GS 102gr. I have shot it into newspaper filled jugs with denim and consistently found 9-12" of penetration with consistent expansion.

    I know it's not a living person, but I feel better with a round if I have some idea of how it performs.
  11. I bought a new Ruger LCP and a used Bersa Thunder today. Was able to shoot both this afternoon. This is my first exposure to the. 380. I like the caliber.
    I am going to have to try the 102 gr GS others are talking about.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
  12. cowboywannabe

    cowboywannabe you savvy?

    Jan 26, 2001
    i hear folks quote Mr. Smith like this often. me thinks Mr. Smith needs a new holster maker....