The .380 round, also known as the 9mm Kurz or 9mm Corto, is a popular calibre of ammunition often used in small, compact handguns. It was designed to be a less potent alternative to the 9mm Luger and is generally considered suitable for self-defence situations. However, does the .380 round stack up against other rounds regarding performance and effectiveness?
One of the main advantages of the .380 round is its size. It is a smaller calibre than many other popular handgun rounds, such as the 9mm Luger, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. This makes it a good choice for use in small, lightweight handguns, which are easier to carry and conceal. The smaller size of the .380 round also allows for smaller magazines, which can be helpful in limited space.
Another advantage of the .380 round is its lower recoil. Because it is a smaller calibre, it generates less recoil when fired, making it easier to control and shoot accurately. This can be especially beneficial for shooters who are less experienced or who have weaker hand strength.
However, there are also some limitations to the .380 round. One of the main drawbacks is its lower stopping power compared to other rounds. Because it is a smaller calibre, it has less mass and energy behind it, which can make it less effective at penetrating through obstacles or incapacitating a target. This can be a concern in self-defence situations, where stopping power is essential.
Additionally, the .380 round can be less accurate at longer distances. Because of its smaller size and lower energy, it is more susceptible to wind drift and other factors affecting its trajectory. This can make it more challenging to hit targets accurately at longer ranges.
Consider the following statistics and ranges for the average self-defence situations in the United States:
Distance Rounds Fired Frequency
0-3 yds 57 59%
3-7 yds 10 11%
7-15 yds 9 21%
plus 25 yds 0 0
0-7 yds occurred 70% of the time
FBI 6 to 10 feet average
DEA 14.6 feet average
Civilian self-defence situations are 3 to 7 feet or about an arm’s length away.
2016 statistics from the DEA.
The .380 round is an excellent choice for civilian self-defence, considering most civilian incidents begin within an average American sedan’s length of 3 to 5 yards. 3 to 5 yards is well within the capability of the .380 round. The .380 round also offers less penetration, lower recoil and less distance giving the shooter less civil liability by the nature of the round, which translates to minimum force for self-protection giving the user another arrow in their quiver for a legal defence, as stated early in the article.
Overall, the .380 round is a good choice for most self-defence situations where size and concealability are essential factors. However, it may not be the best choice for other types of shooting, such as long-range shooting or hunting, where accuracy and stopping power are more critical. Shooters need to consider their specific needs and choose the calibre of ammunition that is most suitable for their intended.