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Discussion Starter #1
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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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.
 

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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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.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.

Duncan
 

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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.:rolleyes:
 

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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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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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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.
 

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.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.

Duncan
 

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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.
 

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The .380 PPK (PPK/S) is easier to admire than shoot. That is why so many nearly new ones end up being traded, sold or kept in the safe to be rarely fired. Learning to shoot these fine pistols takes patience and acknowledgement of their design imposed gripping and ammunition requirements/limitations.
 

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It's not always so much that folks are saying .380 ACP isn't enough so much as they're saying the PP is too much gun for the cartridge, and there is some truth to that considering that there are .380 ACP pistols which are considerably smaller and lighter than the PP.
However, as someone who owns both a PPK/S and a LCP, I can safely say that I shoot the PPK/S substantially better than I can shoot the LCP, so if I can manage to carry the PPK/S, then it would be my first choice.

That being said, most of the folks who poo poo .380 ACP are the sort who argue that 9mm Luger is the ultimate self-defense/duty cartridge and say that anything below it is too weak while anything above it is somehow no more effective, yet worse for carry because it has lesser magazine capacity and slower follow up shots.
In other words, self-conscious folks who are emasculated by their inability to handle the recoil of larger cartridges, so they insinuate that .380 ACP is weak to make themselves feel better.

That or they're just misinformed. Either way, .380 ACP is fine for self-defense, and if you can shoot a PP better than you can shoot smaller, lighter .380s or 9mms, then obviously it's the best choice for YOU and thus what other folks have to say on the matter is irrelevant because there is no perfect, one-size-fits-all cartridge nor firearm.
 

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I believe the context of this thread was why an apparent dislike of .380 (over .32) when choosing a PP series pistol.

That said, I believe any caliber can have civilian self defense applications but also believe that 9mm is likely the smallest effective caliber for a military/police combat pistol. For example, while German WWII staff officers / pilots / submariners / civilian Police / etc. most frequently were armed with a 7,65 mm pistol, the front line combat troops (also armed with a pistol) usually were equipped by the German Army with a P-38.
 

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.380 distaste

DE Pistol you hit the nail on the head. Different pistols for different needs. Different calibers for those pistols. Civilian self defense is different from the needs of LEO's and military. But, if the .32 acp vs .380 acp vs 9 mm is the question then choose the one you shoot best. If it is the PP platform vs any other, then pick the one you like best.

Duncan
 

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Gene this is my take on the distaste for the 380, some people don't care for the PP/PPK designed, because one it’s old, for the same reason some folks don't like the 1911. There’s not a lot of changes that can be done to it, like it’s not easy or cheap to replace the sights. You cant move the decocker to the other side for left handed shooters. It’s made out of all steel, as opposed to the lite polymer 2.75 inch or shorter barreled 380’s that are in Vogue right now. Some folk don't like having a safety/ decocker on a self defense pistol, and for a lot of folks any caliber below the 9MM Parabellum doesn’t give them the confidence need in a self defense round.
 

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I believe the context of this thread was why an apparent dislike of .380 (over .32) when choosing a PP series pistol.

That said, I believe any caliber can have civilian self defense applications but also believe that 9mm is likely the smallest effective caliber for a military/police combat pistol. For example, while German WWII staff officers / pilots / submariners / civilian Police / etc. most frequently were armed with a 7,65 mm pistol, but front line combat troops (also armed with a pistol) usually were equipped by the German Army with a P-38.
Oh, that one is easy then. Elitism. The PP was designed first in .32 ACP, ergo it's the best chambering. Forget about the fact that .22LR is significantly cheaper and more fun to shoot, forget that .380 ACP is better for self-defense, .32 ACP is the best because it came first, and if you ain't first, yer last.

.380 ACP was never intended to be used as a service/duty cartridge, it was designed by John Moses Browning for the Colt 1908 Pocket Hammerless, which was designed as a concealed carry pistol for self-defense, ergo its inability to measure up when compared to service/duty cartridges like 9mm Luger and .45 ACP is to be expected.
A somewhat lesser known fact is that the .380 ACP is actually a scaled down .45 ACP, so if there was any doubt that .380 ACP was designed as a civilian self-defense cartridge, that ought to settle it. You see, back in the early 1900s, anything less than .45caliber was deemed inadequate for military use after the .38 Long Colt cartridge had failed to stop charging Moro Warriors during the Moro Rebellion in the Philippines, yet when the military took their old Colt Single Action Army revolvers chambered in .45 Long Colt out of retirement, it proved to be highly effective. So Browning would have never designed a 9mm cartridge for military duty at that point in time.

However, it has historically seen use by military and law enforcement regardless in the past, and there are even a few police departments in the US today which approve of the .380 ACP as a backup gun, hence why some consider it fair to compare/rank it among service/duty cartridges.

As a self-defense cartridge, it is adequate. Heck, with proper ammo selection, .380 ACP is even capable of meeting FBI/IWBA specifications for duty cartridges by penetrating a minimum of 12" in Ballistics Gelatin through 4 layers of heavy denim with full expansion, albeit marginally (12"-13" is about as much as you can expect) and pretty much exclusively with the modestly expanding Hornady XTP bullet design. Still, a duty cartridge it is not, so if you want to carry a duty cartridge, you want 9mm Luger or higher.

Personally, I'm confident carrying .380 ACP. I carry it full time as a primary self-defense cartridge in warm weather, and as a backup in cold weather, but not because I doubt its performance, merely because cold weather makes it possible for me to carry larger firearms which hold substantially more ammo and are chambered in more powerful cartridges, so why not?
 

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I think the asserted general distaste of caliber .380 ACP has little to do with design of the PP series pistols. However, their design is likely the primary reason for lack of interest for those who want more modern features/capabilities in a defensive pistol than is offered by the PP series. For those who do not like the PP series pistol design, they likely don't care for those pistols regardless of caliber. In regard to a supposed general distaste for caliber .380 ACP, that is likely contradicted by world wide production of this caliber by most ammunition companies.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The .380 PPK (PPK/S) is easier to admire than shoot. That is why so many nearly new ones end up being traded, sold or kept in the safe to be rarely fired. Learning to shoot these fine pistols takes patience and acknowledgement of their design imposed gripping and ammunition requirements/limitations.

I hear that hard to shoot statement quite often, but I've not experienced it, nor have I ever been bitten by the slide. It's maybe a bit snappy, a lot more than the .32, but it's not painful and I'm a recoil wimp. Not nearly as bad a shooting a J-Frame airweight .38 special, and a lot more controllable for follow ups. For me, at least. That little J-frame is a joy to carry, a beast to shoot.



Nearly new PPK- PPK/S .32s are pretty rare. Which may account for one reason so few being on the market, compared to the .380s.
 

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Not "hard to shoot because of recoil" or "slide bite," but because learning to shoot these fine pistols takes patience and acknowledgement of their design imposed gripping and ammunition requirements/limitations.

Everyone is likely a "recoil wimp" at some point in their lives; I see it fast approaching. For some, this happens sooner than later for whatever physical limitations imposed by nature or life. For this reason, I usually wince at usage of "recoil wimp."
 

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.380 ACP was never intended to be used as a service/duty cartridge, it was designed by John Moses Browning for the Colt 1908 Pocket Hammerless, which was designed as a concealed carry pistol for self-defense

As a self-defense cartridge, it is adequate. Heck, with proper ammo selection, .380 ACP is even capable of meeting FBI/IWBA specifications for duty cartridges by penetrating a minimum of 12" in Ballistics Gelatin through 4 layers of heavy denim with full expansion, albeit marginally (12"-13" is about as much as you can expect) and pretty much exclusively with the modestly expanding Hornady XTP bullet design. Still, a duty cartridge it is not, so if you want to carry a duty cartridge, you want 9mm Luger or higher.

Personally, I'm confident carrying .380 ACP. I carry it full time as a primary self-defense cartridge in warm weather, and as a backup in cold weather, but not because I doubt its performance, merely because cold weather makes it possible for me to carry larger firearms which hold substantially more ammo and are chambered in more powerful cartridges, so why not?[/QUOTE]

I agree with you, i carry my .380 most of the year, except for the coldest of days, then i move up to the 9MM, but shot placement is still Queen
 
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