.380 For self defense?

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Joe Chartreuse

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I have 2 LCP IIs. One a .22 LR and the other a .380. I have read many posts regarding .22 LRs for self-defense ( disagree with most). However, I would like to read your thoughts on the .380 for self defense- and maybe a comparison for same to the .22 LR?
 
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Personal opinion. Anything is better than nothing or a big stick. I have a LCP II w/laser. At about 15 feet where the laser is pointed is where the bullet is going. Is the 380 the best defense round. No. A .44 mag is a much better round but generally not practical to carry for someone small and old like me. My 380 when loaded with the right ammunition is, in my opinion, a fine defensive weapon IF NEEDED.
 

GunnyGene

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I have 2 LCP IIs. One a .22 LR and the other a .380. I have read many posts regarding .22 LRs for self-defense ( disagree with most). However, I would like to read your thoughts on the .380 for self defense- and maybe a comparison for same to the .22 LR?

Ask the people who have been shot, what they would have preferred to be shot with.
 
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I'm fine with a .380 LCP. Carry one about half the time, other carry gun is a Glock 36 in .45acp. Sure I "feel" better prepared carrying the Glock but
often times physical comfort and surroundings call for the LCP. Rationally thinking about it I doubt many humans would not "stop" if properly
shot two to four times with quality modern .380 ammo.
Granted there is always the possibility that a 300 pound NFL offensive lineman armed with two machetes goes crazy in the grocery store and
I'll regret not carrying the 870 loaded with three inch buckshot and slugs, I'll risk it.
Can't see any point in the .22LCP as it's basically the same size as the .380. Maybe for range practice as in drawing from your chosen carry method
and firing, be cheaper than .380. My other issue is the lack of reliability of .22 ammo, I seldom ever get through a box or two without a few misfires
and this is across any brand or quality I've ever fired. You've got an ideal combo, range practice lots with the .22 for speed and handling probably
getting some misfire practice as a side benefit and shoot the .380 enough to be comfortable with it.
 
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You also have to consider when shooting it’s going to attract a lot of attention. Depends upon where you are of course. But I would say most people if they get shot and then are able to flee would probably do so.

Remember, most bad guys are chickens, and even a .22 would attract attention and possibly allow the bad guy to run away. Even if you miss, the noise alone will scare off most people.
 
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Fox Mike nailed it. I used to have an Iver Johnson TP 22, that was small. It disappeared in a belly band. On more than one occasion, it was carried where deep concealment was necessary. It was reliable and at short range, I felt well armed. I never had to use it. Since then, I have been better educated, weapons have come a long way. My next was a KelTec P-32, then an LCP .380 gen 1, now an LCP MAX. These are generally BUG, but I am comfortable using the MAX as a primary.
gramps
 

Jeepnik

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On the beach and in the hills
For decades a AMT Backup was my bicycle gun. During a good part of that time I regularly rode my bike to work. No big deal you say. First my ho s plus regular overtime had me riding at all hours. Second the refinery was in the Wilmington area of L A (think serious gang territory).

I felt perfectly comfortable with a .380. In those almost twenty years I never had a single issue. It seems gangbangers usually don’t bother folks they see on a regular basis. You sort of become part of the scenery.

Today things are obviously much different. “Bad” areas now include the entire country. I’ve had more incidents in the last five years than the previous 6+ decades. I usually carry a .45 of some stripe these days. But I still carry. A .380 at times. Today though it’s a Glock 42.
 

KIR

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There has been a lot of negative opinions of .380 acp in the past, but I find there are fewer of them as the advancement in the technology of ammo has improved. Ex: Hornady's Critical Defense is just an example and there are better ones out there. So, if one does not or cannot carry anything larger than an LCP (I have an original) than it is a good EDC, especially sitting at a card table. Great for close in shooting. EZ to keep hidden. Thereafter one can move on up to whatever they feel comfortable with.
 

BearBiologist

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When I was 22 or so, I was shot in a hunting accident. I took a .22 LR in my lower leg and foot. The ER told me that the .22 often did more damage than a larger (.38 or even a .357) due to the lower velocity and softer lead. It often meandered around. My defense/house gun was a Ruger Single Six loaded with 22 magnums until I got out of the Army (I used by separation pay to buy a '67 Impala and a S & W Model 58 in 41 mag.).

Granted, neither the 22 nor the 380 will stop an enraged/drugged assailant (a 44 magnum may not, either!) but as stated before, better than a sharp stick. Again, BULLET PLACEMENT is cardinal!
 

dweis

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A well thrown rock as well as a pointed stick can can impair and even kill. I am not suggesting that we should carry rocks or sticks for self-defense. I am asserting that any caliber ammunition can be lethal, and therefore can incapacitate a person.

Lethality of any caliber is limited by the skill set of the shooter not just by ballistics. That skill set includes speed, accuracy, and understanding human physiology.

Speed — Their is little time to react if attacked by a near adversary. You have to be able to deter or impair the attack very quickly, maybe in a second or two. This is why self- defense preparation should begin with learning basic unarmed combat skills. For example, if an adversary is coming at you from two feet away with a knife you have to be able a to react in a second or two. If you go for your EDC, you are likely to be stabbed because you are extremely unlikely to draw and get off a shot in a second or even two. You need to parry the attack to gain time to effectively use your gun. Even when the adversary is far enough away that you do not need to parry speed is critical. If an adversary is twenty feet away and pulls a gun, he has an advantage. His gun is usable and yours is holstered. If you cannot draw your gun and have it on target in a couple seconds, you chances of going unscathed decrease. The longer it takes the less chance you have. But if you are fast on the draw you are likely to slow down the adversary by the psychological impact of an unexpected gun pointing at him. If you shoot and hit him, even if a superficial wound, it will slow him down further.

Accuracy — Famed Marine General Chesty Puller remarked to his men: "You can't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em. Getting shots off quickly and missing is a good way to end up injured or dead. A hail of bullets can distract the adversary without hitting him, but it won't win a gunfight. Only hitting the target is going to lead to victory, and the more accurate your fire the more likely that you will win. That is regardless of caliber. Simple fact is that a 22LR in the face is going to impair or incapacitate your adversary. A 9mm bullet in the arm might not do that.

Human physiology — The lower the caliber the more important a knowledge of human physiology becomes. Knowing the location of critical organs and nerve centers is important to knowing where to aim. Center mass is a very large area of the body. There are some place better to aim for than others. For example, I would aim for the bottom area of the sternum. A hard fist punch to the sternum can incapacitate and even kill a person. If my bullet hits high of the sternum it hits the neck. If it hits center, it can deflate the lungs. If t hits low, it can impair heart function. If the bullet hits right of the adversary's sternum it hits a lung. If it hits farther right, there are major veins. If it hits left, the heart and aorta are exposed. If you shoot high and hit the neck the bullet can reach the spinal column. If you hit below the sternum you hit the solar plexus nerve center of the torso and the liver. The area of the sternum is a rich incapacitation zone.

I consider clothing as an adjunct to physiology. A tee shirt will not slow down a lighter caliber. A tee shits, regular shirt, fleece vest, and winter coat can slow down a bullet, and in lighter calibers that can meaningfully impair the ballistic performance. So clothing can be a factor in selecting point of aim. Anything that will affect penetration must be taken into consideration regardless of caliber. If I saw an adversary was wearing body armor, I would aim my 9mm for the neck or face, but not the forehead.

To the OP's point, I believe that 22LR or 380 ACP can be adequate self-defense rounds provided that you absorb the importance of the above information. When the day comes that I cannot handle 9mm, I will bypass 380 and go to 22LR, because I know that I am and will be more accurate with 22 than 380.

Note: Oddly this thread related to the first post of my blog that will go public on October 10. I decided to publish this as a harbinger of more to come.
 

Joe Chartreuse

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If you are comparing just those two then the answer is obvious... the .380. I don't care how many people have been killed with a 22...

bigger is better....
Not that obvious. I know how many feel about .22LR . However, field experiences would put it ahead of the NATO round for use against those NOT wearing body armor. The .380 is also a smaller caliber. The comparison part was more a question of accuracy between the two as well as other comparisons. However, I am also getting replies regarding at what caliber do some accept as MORE than "better than a stick". .357s, .45s, .44s. etc. I get it. However, these are what I call "kill calibers". Of course they are great for self defense- but they are also sorta final. Smaller calibers can kill, but also offer other options. Please understand that this is simply my personal preference. Doesn't mean I don't own land wouldn't use larger if needed. Of course, it's also way more comfortable to carry a smaller gun than a cannon... ;-)
Anyway, still interested in comparisons between the two even if both are just "better than a stick".
 
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Expanding a bit on what I already posted.
I believe the .22 has only two advantages if both being fired from the same gun. Cost per round and reduced recoil.
If someone is physically unable or unwilling to shoot the .380 enough to handle it and the choice comes down to the
.22 or .....no gun at all....... the .22 wins.
Range practice drawing and firing, dry practice is great but you really don't know what you hit with that lightning fast draw
followed by a trigger click. The .22 in that LCP platform would be a good training tool, cheap enough to practice 1000s of
times with, finishing each practice session with a couple out of the .380.
I really can't think of anything else the .22 has going for it in the LCP platform.
 

noahmercy

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Jun 13, 2015
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Sheridan, WY
The .380 is the absolute minimum I consider suitable for self defense, and then only with a couple of the rounds on the market. The Hornady XTP is one of my favorites, as it penetrates deeply enough while still expanding some to do damage along its path. The Lehigh Defense XP also performs well, but it can shoot off of the POA in some guns due to its light weight. I much prefer the 9mm, .40 S&W, and 45 ACP for defense in semi-autos partly because their performance after impacting sheet metal, auto glass, or interior walls is far superior to the .380, and since we can rarely determine the exact circumstances of a life-or-death situation, I believe in carrying a cartridge that will work in less-than-optimal conditions.
 
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