.380 ACP or 9mm Luger in a combat situation?

To be honest, I don't think there is much benefit from being armed with a .380 ACP or a 9mm Luger, if it's a situation where you have to face enemies with bulletproof vest. Even a .45 ACP 230 gr FMJ bullet, would be equally unable to penetrate NIJ III armored vest . In this aspect, .380 Auto would be better because is more controllable and allows more accurate shots . Moreover, most of the gun fighting never are to over 30 yards, and very rarely to 60 yards ... So, what do you think?


wearing bulletproof vest (the enemies), not me.

12 Answers

  • 4 years ago
    Best Answer

    "To be honest, I don't think there is much benefit from being armed with a .380 ACP or a 9mm Luger, if it's a situation where you have to face enemies with bulletproof vest."

    Yes and no. You have obviously never heard of a "Failure Drill" or "Mozambique Drill", which was designed and specifically implemented to address the possibility of an armored opponent.

    "Even a .45 ACP 230 gr FMJ bullet, would be equally unable to penetrate NIJ III armored vest ."

    NIJ III is designed to defeat handgun rounds, so this is kind of a "Well, DUH."

    " In this aspect, .380 Auto would be better because is more controllable and allows more accurate shots ."

    And this is where your theoretical knowledge runs SMACK up against reality.

    Just because the cartridge has a lower power does NOT mean it is more controllable, because the cartridge is only one small part of the "controllability" equation. In two guns of equal size, yes, the .380acp would be more controllable. EXCEPT for the fact that it is VERY rare for the .380acp to be in the same size firearm as a 9mm. The .380acp is a compact firearm cartridge, which means smaller gun, more recoil. The reason I laughed so hard when you said the .380acp is "more controllable" is because it is obvious YOU have never tried to control a Kel-Tec P-3AT or a Ruger LCP. Because while you're wrestling to put shots on target with that hard kicking little subcompact monster, a soldier with a full size 92F in 9mm can blow the bullseye out at the same range under rapid fire with comparative ease.

    Therefore, your argument is not valid when applied to all of the variables present in reality as opposed to your limited presented perspective.

    "Moreover, most of the gun fighting never are to over 30 yards, and very rarely to 60 yards ... So, what do you think?"

    I think 30 yards is VERY optimistic for a handgun fight. Most handgun fights occur at speaking distances, from about 5 to 15 feet. With the advent of autoloading handguns, the shot count has gone from 2.7 to about 8 shots being fired on average.

    Moreover, I'd like to point out that not everyone runs around wearing NIJ III armor. Outside of fantasy and vidiot games, that armor is HOT and HEAVY and most people wouldn't wear it if they weren't required to. Most bad guys don't. Hell, I own a set with NIJ IV SAPI plates and it hangs in my locker or in the trunk of my car most of the time -- why? BECAUSE WEARING IT SUCKS MAJOR AMOUNTS OF @SS.

    So planning for a scenario that is unlikely, while handicapping yourself for more likely scenarios is the kind of stupidity usually found in people who think reading someone else's shared knowledge is the same as acquiring it yourself.

    Finally, I'd like to share a little bit of humor I find particularly applicable:

    "The story is about a Sheriff who receives a meritorious award for his many years of service to the community. During the reception, a lady notices that the Sheriff is wearing his sidearm. The lady asks whether the Sheriff has his handgun because he is expecting trouble. The Sheriff looks at the woman and replies: “No Ma’am. If I was expecting trouble I would have brought my rifle.” "

    If you're expecting to go into a gunfight, you are a fool if you're only carrying a sidearm unless there is a specific tactical reason you can ONLY have a sidearm (Medic, Radio operator, SAW Gunner, etc.) instead of a long gun.

    Therefore, while there are portions of your argument I agree with, many of your conclusions are invalidated by your lack of accomodation to variables you do not address.

    That's what I think.

    Now go get some trigger time, son.

  • 4 years ago

    I think you are seriously uninformed. Your question is like asking if 25 pound test line is good for 200 pound halibut?

    People do not carry 380 or compact 9mm pistols when they know they are going up against a trained force.

    There is no law (yet) that says you can only own 1 gun. Guns are just a tool - and you need the right one for the job. That is why people own a tiny 380 for walking the beach, shopping, hot days when you cant keep a larger pistol under wraps......you would carry a higher capacity 380 or compact 9mm when wearing a business suit in low threat areas, and a full size service pistol 9mm or 45 when you feel something is going to happen, know something is going to happen, or defending against an equipped enemy.

    If you don't own 2 or 3 concealed carry pistols....... then you either live a very dull life and stay in the same place 24/7 or you have compromised too much. I'm sure some people put all their faith in a tiny 380 and call it good. These would be folks with little or no training - and - probably have little or no access to a pistol range. They can justify spending $350 on a 380 but cant seem to justify spending an additional $500-$700 on a decent larger service pistol for winter or home. At least it is a 380 and not a 22.

    I doubt anyone in this section carries a 380 24/7 all year long. I bet most have one - and it comes out for special occasions where a service pistol cant be hidden. I do.

    Bottom line. 380 is for places were you cant take a full size service pistol. Highly doubtful a team of bad guys are going to barge into your beach party, town meeting or frozen food aisle. But if they do, they wont be expecting anyone wearing just cut offs, flip flops, and a wife beater shirt to be carrying anything more than a pocket knife - so - you have a teeny, tiny bit of 'element of surprise' on your side to go with your 6 or 7 shot 380. Use them wisely.

    • Mike4 years agoReport

      I agree... But the question is that those three rounds are incapable (all of them) to penetrate the NIJ III bulletproof vest of bad guys... and, that the maximum combat range of any of those pistols (compact, subcompact or full size) never has been over 30 or 40 yards.

  • 4 years ago

    You have no idea what you are talking about and it is clear you have never handled a .380 auto or 9mm Luger handgun.. The fact .380 auto is usually only chambered in small handguns which have a higher felt recoil, negates your recoil argument. Additionally, a larger 9mm handgun is going to be easier to handle, have more capacity, be more accurate, and even it does not penetrate soft body armor, a 9mm +P bullet is going to hurt a hell of a lot more than a .380 auto bullet. Plus, if you actually hit a non-armored part of the body, a 9mm bullet will have more penetration and more energy, doing more damage.

  • 4 years ago

    9mm, because the difference between ballistic performance out weights the minor difference in recoil. I notice little difference between the two but 380 is typically a compact pistol cartridge, so it may have about equal felt recoil. In this situation pistol caliber cartridges aren't ideal, I'd choose a 308 win.

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  • 4 years ago

    Thanks for your honesty.

    I'll continue to enjoy my Sig P238.

    It's convenient and comfortable to carry.

    The pistol one has with them is certainly better than the "best" pistol that was left at home.

    Those who carry .380 ACP chambered handguns understand the limitations & compromises that went into the decision making process. Given their personal situations, the .380ACP handgun still was determined to be the optimal solution to their criteria.

  • 4 years ago

    There was once another person here who delighted in constructing fanciful scenarios and arguing the merits of what was likely the worst possible firearm one could use in that situation. You aren't by any chance a Los Angeles schoolmarm are you?

    • Higgy Baby
      Lv 7
      4 years agoReport

      Last couple times I referenced out dearly departed "gay teacher" (that was actually his sign in at one time) I got a violation and lost 10 points each time. (Like I really give a sh!t)

  • 4 years ago

    "...So, what do you think?..."

    I'll tell you what I think-

    1. No two shoot-outs will be the same. Don't count on statistics.

    2. If you shoot- you will probably miss. More bullets are always better than bigger bullets.

    3. Your chances of seeing an attacker with a armored vest is not likely. It is possible.

  • august
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    I think you need to grow up, Mike. You're so full of erroneous information that I'm beginning to think you're Glacierwolf.

  • 4 years ago

    The 45 ACP has 365 FP of impact.

    The .380 ACP has 188 FP of impact.

    The 9 mm has 351 FP of impact.

    All at the muzzle.

    The 45 ACP is the best knock down round. Even with a bullet proof vest being hit with that much energy any place will knock the target off of their feet.

    The 9 mm also has enough kinetic energy to do the same thing.

    The .380 ACP is light weight and quick. It is a distant third when dealing with a person in a bullet proof vest.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Really, Mike? Really? What do I think? I think you're a fool. Explain when, in your wildest dreams, you think you would face an armed adversary wearing a bulletproof vest? You watch too much TV and you spend way too much time online. You will never in a million years be in a gunfight. You're a pathetic dreamer; seek therapy. Go away and get a life. Wow, just wow. If there is ONE thing you know nothing about, it is gunfights. Spout your fool BS somewhere else.

    Edit: I may be an asshole, but you, Mike, without a doubt, are a fool. I'm an asshole by choice; you're a fool by nature.

    • august
      Lv 7
      4 years agoReport

      Reminds me of a Sidney Poitier movie... "THEY CALL ME MISTER TIBBS!"

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