.380...why the distaste? - WaltherForums

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Old 10-19-2019, 11:37 PM   #1
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Gene L .22
.380...why the distaste?

I've got a couple of .380s in the PP frame, yet I see a lot (well, maybe not a LOT, but some informed posters) dismissing the .380. Why is this? Mine shoot any type of ammo I've tried flawlessly...they're Interarms, back from a while ago. The last one I bought is SS a very accurate pistol...more so than my .32 Ulm.

And the recoil? Not bad. So why no love for this pretty good pocket cartridge?
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:43 PM   #2
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DE Pistole .22
I've got an Ulm/IA and a Ranger PPK (both .380) and they are flawless shooters. Snappier recoil than my .32 S&W PPK, but still very managable. My guess is that most .380 PP series owners out there are happy with their pistols and also don't even know this forum exists.

Last edited by DE Pistole; 10-20-2019 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 10-20-2019, 07:12 AM   #3
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Jimbo80 .22
While I wouldn't use the word distaste, 99% of the PP pistols traded in at the shop are US made PPK/S in .380. It’s also the US PPK/S that’s usually being referred to in the negative posts. To a man the reason they’re selling is “I never shoot it.” or “It just sits in the safe.”. It’s also rare to see one that’s in less than very good condition.

It also doesn’t help that after you try a 7.65 or .22 there is such a dramatic difference in the way they shoot that you instantly want to switch.
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Old 10-20-2019, 08:03 AM   #4
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Duncanppk .22
.380 distaste

My first was a blued, Interarms (Ranger).380 from the early 80s. It was still in the box, without target or manual. After the initial break in it has been flawless. It is very accurate. I have shot everything from .22 to .45 and have 60 years of handgun gun experience.

I find the .380 acp an excellent round in my Walther PPK/S. I have a PP , .32 and enjoy it also. Both are great rounds and pistols. I guess I am pretty insensitive to recoil, I enjoy both and neither have bitten me.

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Old 10-20-2019, 11:49 AM   #5
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Mike Martin .22
Me too

I've also noticed there SEEMS to be a bias against .380 on the forum. I collect Lugers and Hi Powers, and wanted a nice "real" German made PPK NIB. I ran across one from 1978 unfired with all the goodies. It's a .380, so that's the only recoil I'll ever know as far as PPK's go. I read a lot of complaints about the recoil on the PPK .380...due to injury from 20 years ago my middle finger of my right hand does not contract, so I'm firing with 3 fingers; and I've had no problems with the recoil. Of course, I've been shooting crippled for 20 years now, and can even handle a TPH, but it's a pretty funky grip.
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Old 10-20-2019, 12:03 PM   #6
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GeoNole94 .22
The general reason, IMO, is that the .380 blowback isn’t a pistol you will want to shoot for more than a couple of mags before setting it aside. Shoot a .32 and a .380 PP-series pistol side by side and the reason is obvious. The exception is the .380 PP Super, which is much more pleasant to shoot. The .22 is a total *****cat, as you would expect.

If I want some recoil, then a .357 or .45 are my go-to calibers

Caveat: for SD, given those two choices of center-fire calibers, I will take the .380.
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Last edited by GeoNole94; 10-20-2019 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 10-20-2019, 12:05 PM   #7
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1942bull .22
I have not experienced any dismissal of the 380 in general, but it is often dismissed as a self defense round. The basis of the dismissal is that the 380 is effectively an underpowered 9mm.

A good self defense round is capable of satisfactory penetration, generally 12 to 16 inches in ballistic gel covered with 4 layers of denim. The other factor is HP expansion with 150% of the original bullet diameter being desired.

Penetration and expansion are dependent upon the force of the bullet. Those are dependent upon the powder load and the barrel length. The cartridge of a standard 380 does not hold enough powder to overcome the loss of force due to a short barrel. Since most 380 pistols have barrels under 3.5 inched the force developed will not yield satisfactory expansion. that is why many say that is your carry 380 shoot FMJ. I would disagree with that and suggest underwood Extreme Penetrator because it is designed for deep penetration and expanded wound channel without expansion.

I had a 380 for a time when the arthritis in my hands began to deteriorate my handling of a 9mm. Fortunately, therapy got my hands strengthened and I EDC 9mm today.

380 is a good caliber if you select the right ammo, but it will never exceed the power of a 9mm. However, 9mm has gained in popularity for SD because of the improved ammo available for it. 380 is not there yet.
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Old 10-20-2019, 01:22 PM   #8
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DE Pistole .22
Either in .32 or .380, the PPK (or PPK/S) is still an effective self defense weapon. However, in 2019, there's no real tactical reason or justification to carry a PPK for self defense. That said, if one chooses to do so, they are well armed. I carry a PPK now just because I like the feel, heft and looks of this small pistol. I choose a .32 if I want an additional round and the .380 if I want a slightly larger round. The choice, for me, is more about mood that any METT-T like analysis.

Yes, there are better choices, but they are not a PPK.

Last edited by DE Pistole; 10-20-2019 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 10-20-2019, 03:29 PM   #9
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Duncanppk .22
.380 distaste

First, 1942Bull, thank you for your service. Second, DE Pistol I agree with your reply. The .380 acp will never be a 9mm. I don't like caliber wars. But, remember a SD choice is personal, and only you can decide if it meets your needs. No handgun, rifle or shotgun will stop an assault 100% of the time. Things happen that make penetration and expansion criteria fall by the wayside.

For me, the PP platform is fundamentally a good design. If I happen to like wood grips and blued steel it is a better option. Is it the best? No, there are better designs. But, we are Walther owners, with a personal reason for owning them. I take pride in mine.

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Old 10-20-2019, 03:37 PM   #10
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TheWatcher .22
Some dislike the .380 because the original design was for .32. Some don't like the stiff recoil spring (which helps absorb the recoil but makes chambering more difficult). Some call it snappy. I call it pleasant due to the fact that I shoot .40 primary.

One point that I would like to state is that .32 is harder to come by because the American public wanted .380 so the manufacturers made more .380.
HK USP .40 for duty
PPK .380 or PPS M1 .40 for concealed

Currently looking for .380 PPK and PPK/S frames or parts guns. Please PM me if you have one to sell.
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