Author Topic: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?  (Read 6345 times)

Offline threebarracing

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.380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« on: May 03, 2014, 09:56:16 AM »
Yes, I realize that a .380 is not the ideal self-defense round, but for those times when I can't stuff a .45-70 BFR in my summer shorts, I'm trying to figure out the most effective ammo for my LCP or my wife's Bersa Thunder CC (in her case, it is an issue of recoil management, more than size).  After reading the marketing on the Buffalo Bore site (https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=127) I'm kinda sold on the theory that the JHP may not have enough velocity to expand, and/or mass to penetrate to 12+ inches.  The hardcast has a flat point that will deform if it hits anything.  The thought is that the FP will also cut a hole, instead of pushing things aside, like a round nose.  Seems true of the paper I shoot, but paper ain't people.  I worry about over penetration, but how much energy would that bullet really have after going through the perp.  Some loaded statements there, but I'd appreciate any thoughts and experiences you may have.  Thanks!
Darren Dawes
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Offline Mortblanc

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2014, 10:02:17 AM »
Do we have popcorn? ::)

Offline threebarracing

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2014, 10:06:52 AM »
Lol, yeah, I know  ;D
   I did a search and didn't come up with anything.  Surprised it hasn't been discussed ad nauseam.  No conclusion will be reached, but I might get some ideas........
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Offline ncjeeper

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2014, 01:18:09 PM »
I have Winchester Ranger 95g HP  in mine.
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Offline Ken325

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2014, 02:21:14 PM »
I had this question and I watched a lot of gelatin test on you tube.  I came to the following conclusions.
  • The 380 is a really weak round.  Multiple hits are probably required.
  • If possible carry my J frame S&W snub nose in 38 spc+p.   Much better performance than 380 and most 9mm.
  • Some people recommend using FMJ to get required penetration.  Penetration of FMJ was about 2 inches better, but smaller wound channel.  Maybe alternate the two?  Another possibility is look for higher performance hollow point.
  • Nothing makes me feel safer than my XDs in 45.  But I still carry the 380 on hot days or when in shorts.

Offline redeyeprep

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2014, 03:27:41 PM »
I consider .380 to be sort of the minimum insofar as the use of JHP is concerned. Any smaller than that, then I'd want FMJ. Any larger, I'd want something with expansion. .380 is sort of a toss up. I carry Hornady Critical Defense in mine, but I think all the manufacturers have tapped into the lucrative .380 market with similar offerings.

More to the point, I think a lot of people are overly concerned about caliber. There doesn't seem to a whole lot of difference in performance between the various calibers, in real world shootings at least. It still comes down to shot placement. Every other consideration is secondary. Remember that the Europeans considered the .380 and .32ACP viable police rounds for a very long time. Not quite sure I'd want to carry either if I were routinely expected to go into harm's way, but they obviously felt those mouse rounds were adequate.

Ultimately, the only reason we carry pistols is because we can't practically carry a rifle. So a small caliber pistol on your person beats a larger caliber pistol left at home every time, hands down.

Just my two cents.

Offline soupbone

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2014, 05:38:44 PM »
Your primary concern must be with reliability. No matter the style of the round, if the gun goes <click> when what you really want is <bang>, or if you find yourself having to do a <tap-slap-rack>, the bullet is of no consequence. As redeye pointed out, Europeans considered a .380 ACP, or a 9mm Kurtz or Corto a viable police round. AND military round. Italy used the 9mm Corto throughout WWII, and, IIRC, Turkey used it as a military round until quite recently. It has been around since 1910, and for most of that time used a FMJ bullet. It must be doing something right.

The two schools of thought on bullet effectiveness are the 'energy dump' school and the 'punch a hole in something vital' school. I lean towards the hole punching school, but that is based on my time in the military. Also from the long-term storage aspect, FMJ ammo seems to store better than those rounds with exposed lead. No oxidation. FMJ bullets also tend to feed more reliably, and again, reliability is the key.

Regarding effectiveness, I don't think you will see much difference in most cases. A solid hit is a solid hit, and the ability for quick followup shots is important with any handgun. Now, the probability is that you will never use your EDC for serious social purposes, and if you are very unlucky, two or three shots will solve that particular problem. Go for whatever is most reliable in your guns.

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Offline Vermiform

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2014, 05:46:56 PM »
Let me start with this:





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That said, I researched some .380 Hollow Point gelatin tests a while back and was forced to admit that the results were impressive. JHP is going to be the way to go with this ammo IMHO. If I recall they were not getting "FBI Specs" penetration, but they were pretty darn close.

Also, if anyone here listens to Tom Gresham, while he was either at Shot or the NRA convention, he interviewed one of the major ammo manufacturers and they were supposed to be introducing something new for the .380 line. It wasn't so much bullet design though. It was more about bullet weight and powder combo that was tuned for all of these short bbl mouse guns. Does anyone remember who it was? I want to say Hornady but I don't have the time to research it now. May have been Double Tap too.  ???

Offline threebarracing

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2014, 10:45:50 PM »
Thanks for some really good answers!  Will work on the shot placement, (which is trickier with the sights on the two I mentioned) and split the risk by alternating JHP with FMJ.  And carry the .45 in cold weather!
Darren Dawes
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Offline soupbone

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2014, 06:01:30 PM »
Thanks for some really good answers!  Will work on the shot placement, (which is trickier with the sights on the two I mentioned) and split the risk by alternating JHP with FMJ.  And carry the .45 in cold weather!

Just my opinion, threebar, but I think you are doing yourself a disservice here: Alternating ammo might seem like a good idea, but it all centers on reliability, If the points of impact are essentially the same, and all rounds feed reliably ALL OF THE TIME, it might be OK. If not, go with the most reliable. Regarding point of aim, you may have to make an accurate shot using sights. If the point of aim is too far off, you won't hit what you are aiming at. Higher velocity rounds usually shoot lower than lower velocity rounds. Think a head shot on a dog clamped onto someone's leg. A near miss means.... And I guarantee you, when the poop hits the fan, you will not remember what bullet is up the spout. You'll have other things you'll be concerned with. Also, in the event you actually have to use your EDC, you might have a tough time explaining to the grand jury or the prosecutor why you were mixing ammo - "So, you wanted to make your gun more deadly, huh? Think you're Billy Badass, huh? .......". No organization that I know of authorizes this practice; they carry a standard, issue round and that's it. Pick the most reliable round and stick with it.

Concerning switching EDC guns, again, not a good idea. Pick one and stick with it. Become intimately familiar with it - where all of the switches are and how they work, how it is supposed to feel in your hand, how much recoil it generates and how fast you can get it out or get back on target. 14 oz. feels a lot different than 40 oz. During an incident, that second it takes you to remember, "this is the .380, the safety goes up to fire; this is the .45, the safety goes down to fire..." can be very costly. A .380 that you are good and consistent with will will serve you much better than swapping out on occasion for a gun that has 'more power', but a different feel and method of operation.

Regarding the sights, try painting the front post white and putting a white dot or swatch centered on the rear notch. Then it's a case of putting the dot on the dot, or the pumpkin on the post, and you're on target. Much faster than three-dot or plain sights, and accurate enough for serious social situations.

Not to sound demeaning, but the nature of your question and your answers make it seem to me that you are new at carrying a handgun for serious social situations. That is not a problem here - we all started sometime. Please check out some of the other threads in the forum - there's plenty of good background info there, but you really need to get some professional, documented training that stresses all of the implications of carrying and using deadly force. "Some guys on the internet said....." doesn't usually hold up well in the field. Also, make sure your handgun is your 'Plan B, or C, or D'. You should always have some other method of defending yourself, be it a cane, a can of Mace, whatever. 98%+ of confrontations you have will not meet the level of justifying deadly force. Just having the deadly force option will put you at a distinct disadvantage - would any of us ever heard of Trayvon Martin if he would have gotten a blast of OC at the beginning of the physical stuff? I doubt it.

soupbone
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Offline threebarracing

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2014, 06:46:12 AM »
Good objective advice, Soup.  I hadn't thought about the point of impact issue. Thanks for taking the time to pass on your experience!
Darren Dawes
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Offline redeyeprep

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2014, 10:35:58 AM »
Since I personally wouldn’t even consider carrying a weapon that hadn’t put at least a couple of hundred rounds downrange, consecutively – alternating your ammo means having to conduct the same test twice. Because now you’re using two different kinds of ammo. In addition, do you know for sure that your magazines will even feed reliably that way? Still more testing. I think that’s asking for trouble on a number of fronts. Get yourself some good quality hollow points and stick with that (after thoroughly testing them of course).

Also, if you’re going to carry two different weapons – and a lot of us do – make sure both systems have an identical manual of arms. They don’t necessarily have to come from the same manufacturer, although that helps. But if you were to switch from say, a Glock to a Kahr (just as an example), you’d likely be fine. But going from say a revolver to a 1911 platform? Not so much, unless you put in a heck of a lot of training with both. Even then, I’d advise against it. Simplicity and consistency are the name of the game here, because under extreme stress, most people tend to become abysmally stupid…and even operating a simple safety lever going to suddenly become akin to trying to fly a space shuttle.

Offline Bubafat

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2014, 11:02:58 AM »
I recommend you check out shooting the bull 410 videos. He did a whole series of tests on 380s in short barreled pistols.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLgNSGOEQko_MjOCGyqlMTiM2njdQQRbdg&v=GNtPHYwcDts

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Offline threebarracing

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2014, 01:33:52 PM »
Really good video!  Guess I'll be watching the rest of them tonight.
Darren Dawes
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Offline Alan Georges

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2014, 05:30:23 PM »
I recommend you check out shooting the bull 410 videos. He did a whole series of tests on 380s in short barreled pistols.
Wow, thanks for those links.  Best ten minutes I've spent all day.

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Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2014, 03:25:09 PM »
Good thread.  I also carry a .380 for deep concealment.

Shot placement is critical.  When you go to the range, practice BOTH center mass AND headshots.  Practice neck shots, too.

Offline 9mmMaster

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Re: .380 Penetration: JHP or Hardcast FN?
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2016, 10:44:35 PM »
380 has come a long way in the past, let's say decade. There are some good hollow point rounds now. Federal HST. Winchester T&D Ect.... I think that there was a time when FMJ was a good idea but there are good rounds that will give both expansion and penetration.

http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/