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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone care to express an opinion on this? Much as I like my .45’s, I find myself more often than not carrying one of my Mustangs. I still can’t make up my mind whether hollow points are a good idea in a barrel this short (less than 3“). I know real men carry a .45 ALL the time, but I like the Mustang and mine shoot reliably and accurately with hardball, hollow points and my lead practice reloads. I use Hydro-shock’s for the hollow point since reading an article years ago about them expanding reliably at lower velocities. In the winter I generally switch over to hardball for it’s supposed better penetration (winter clothes). I understand the limitations of the round, and am not trying to make it something it will never be, but I wonder about this. In the less than 3” barrel of my favorite LITTLE gun, would I be better off just sticking to ball? Hollow points are nice in theory, but I keep thinking penetration might be the better bet.
 

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You may get lots of advice comparing terminal effects of just about every different round out there - Personally, I did some research, decided that Gold Dots were a well thought out design, performed well and then I stopped worrying about the bullet and concentrated on ensuring I was going to hit what I intended. These days I loosely follow the "Which is better" discussions - but I spend my time practicing to hit what I'm aiming at. BTW I find myself carrying my Mustang more lately too.

-- Chuck
 

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Hey, like the "handle." I carry Hydra-Shoks in my .380 Pony. I carry it as a back-up and figure that I won't be using it unless I'm really in trouble. In which case, the bad guy will likely be VERY close. At 3-5 feet, I don't think it matters one bit what you've got in there. If you are worried about penetrating clothing, go with the ball and be happy. I really don't think you can go wrong either way. If you want, stagger the two--first round ball, next HP, next ball, HP, ball, HP, etc.

Billy Ray
 

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Pistols are underpowered for the purpose of stopping a deadly threat. The .380 is woefully so. The less powerful the cartridge, the more important bullet performance becomes. And far more important is bullet placement. One should probably plan on having to use an ocular cavity shot with the smaller cartridges. With the .45, ocular is plan B; with a .380, it should probably be plan A.

The folks at Cor-Bon have done more research than most into defensive pistol cartridge performance. If I carried a .380 it would be loaded with their 90 jhp at 1050.

I find the .380 too big for a pocket gun, and if one must use a holster, the 5" .45 auto in a Milt Sparks VM2 is perfectly comfortable. The largest pistol I find comfortable as a pocket back-up is the Kel-Tec P32. If ocular is plan A, the .32 should work fine if one's marksmanship is up to the task.

If a .45 is fine with a holster, and nothing larger than a P32 works in a pocket, I see no point in defensive pistols between the two in size, and no longer have any.

Incidentally, the Colt .380's are notorious for sear breakage. When the sear in my wife's broke, it took months to get the part, because Colt couldn't make them fast enough to supply gunsmith's requirements. I finally got it repaired and promptly sold it.
 

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Corbons are 90 grs at 1090 feet per second, this is my load on 380.

as far as staggering rouds in the magazine ,that is bad advice , different overall cartridge lengths will induce a malfunction, try at the range.
Stick with ammo that is reliable on the pistol.
You can also load a hot hollow point in the tube and fill the mag with FMJ, this will not induce a malfuction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
“Pistols are under powered for the purpose of stopping a deadly threat. The .380 is woefully so. The less powerful the cartridge, the more important bullet performance becomes. And far more important is bullet placement.”
- Right you are, and so my question. From a Colt Mustang, do hollow points offer anything at all over ball?

“One should probably plan on having to use an ocular cavity shot with the smaller cartridges. With the .45, ocular is plan B; with a .380, it should probably be plan A.”
- I’m sorry, but your “plan” is to be able to hit someone in the eye socket with a pocket pistol during a fight? You need a new plan.

“The folks at Cor-Bon have done more research than most into defensive pistol cartridge performance. If I carried a .380 it would be loaded with their 90 jhp at 1050.”
- Really? 90 gr JHP at 1050 from a Colt Mustang’s 2.75” barrel? Remarkable! Can you point me to somewhere on the net I can see this data for myself?

“I find the .380 too big for a pocket gun, and if one must use a holster, the 5" .45 auto in a Milt Sparks VM2 is perfectly comfortable. The largest pistol I find comfortable as a pocket back-up is the Kel-Tec P32. If ocular is plan A, the .32 should work fine if one's marksmanship is up to the task.”
- I don’t find the Mustang Pocketlite too big for pocket carry. In fact, in suit pants it just about disappears in my Kramer pocket holster. When I carry a .45, it is certainly the 5” Govt. model, but I prefer Alessi for holsters. As far as “plan A” is concerned, I don’t know anyone who is that good a shot, and certainly not me.

“If a .45 is fine with a holster, and nothing larger than a P32 works in a pocket, I see no point in defensive pistols between the two in size, and no longer have any. “
- So, you’re really not interested in my original question, are you?

“Incidentally, the Colt .380's are notorious for sear breakage. When the sear in my wife's broke, it took months to get the part, because Colt couldn't make them fast enough to supply gunsmith's requirements. I finally got it repaired and promptly sold it.”
- Well, I have three of them and haven’t had any trouble yet, but hey, it could happen. I replaced the sears with steel ones I got from Brownells about a week after I ordered. I replace them on general principle because that cheap piece of crap they come from the factory with just doesn’t look right and the solid steel ones, I think, give a cleaner trigger.

I’d like to keep this thread on topic if we can, so to everybody ELSE that feels the need to explain to me that bigger guns are more effective, I GET IT ALREADY. I think .45’s are great and they are my choice, when I have one, but there are times when smaller guns are the only viable option in my life and I choose to carry the Mustang most of these times.
 

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There are times when I carry my SIG 232 Off duty. Nice light gun and good for when there is a low threat level. I am a die-hard 1911 supporter, but there are times when a little 380 is nice to have.

I use the Federal 90 grain Hydra-Shok JHP. I can not rattle off the stats to back up my choice, but I am confident that a hit with this round will be noticed. I can tell you from some experience (23 in law enforcement and also a Deputy Medical Investigator) that a hit from a .380 can and will put someone down. There are stories about someone getting hit and running 5 miles, up hill, in a snow storm, and getting away. But I have seen that with hits from 9mm and yes .45 too.

I feel the added expansion and shock from the JHP outweighs the minimal loss of penetration over the FMJ.

Bottom line is use and carry what you feel comfortable with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the feedback guy's. Sorry for blowing off steam but answers like that really wind me up. Ocular plan A indeed! I don't loose any sleep over this HP vs hardball stuff, but every once in a while I get to thinking about it and just wanted to hear what everybody thought. I got to pop a few pumpkins a few years back and while this was hardly scientific, there sure was a difference between the hadball and Hydra-shock (No, I don't think this relates AT ALL to what happens in a human body, in case anybody wants to jump in on this). Anyway, thanks again for your thougts.

[This message has been edited by Beowulf (edited 05-22-2001).]
 

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Here is what's on corbons site about their ammo.
:
Q: What kind of gun will shoot your 90gr 380 AUTO at 1050fps?
A: That's from our Walther PPK here at the plant. Actually my Bersa M95 3-1/2" pistol hits 1142fps with this load.
 

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You will probably think this is just an arrogant rant but I have been acquainted with at least 3 people who either used the .380 or had one used on them (both in ball and JHP). In no case was it succesful although all the ranges were at less than 5 feet.

One fellow took 7 hits in the upper torso and was reloading his empty Walther PPK magazine (he was not as good a marksman as his opponent) when the shooter tossed his pocket rocket aside and got a .38 form his glove compartment and shot him at contact distance.. the "shootee" then said "I give up" and drove himself to the hospital 20 miles away. When I met him he worked beside the guy who had shot him (and whom he had tried to shoot) and they were the best of friends... go figger.

Another acquaintence shot a man armed with a big knife with his PPK .380 loaded with Super Vel JHPs twice in the sternum. The knife wielder gutted him with the 9" Bowie and then kicked him in the head when he fell. The kick dislodged a significant chunk of his skull cap an he was in a coma for several weeks but survived. No report of the shot biker ever showed up but then he might have died and been dumped somewhere.

A former boss was acosted by his felonious son-in-law and was shot 4 times in the chest. My boss then wrestled the son-in-law to the ground and was doing a fair job of choking the life out of him when the creep ditched his .380 (which jammed) and pulled a knife which did the job (unfortunately, that man was a good friend and a great guy).

To be sure the first rule of gunfighting is to "Bring a gun" but the second rule is to bring "enough gun" (and no handgun is really enough).

Every time I am tempted to carry the neat little light things (and they surely are tempting)I think back on all the .38, 9mm and .357 magnum failures I have reviewed (this is not a slam on those but a recognition that everything fails form time to time) and think "is this really my lucky day?"

Use enough gun,
Cordially,
Jim Higginbotham


[This message has been edited by JimH (edited 05-22-2001).]
 
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I carry the CorBons in my Pony. They feed just fine. I did carry the HydrShoks but opted for the CorBons because of the higher velocity getting it closer to 9mm velocities. I'm really not sure that expansion is going to be dependable, but the extra velocity should reduce the occurence.
 

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Jim
We appreciate your comments and they are not arrogant IMHO.
I also have a pony that mostly rides in an Alessi ankle holster
.
My non firing backup is a Colt CT 29 with a 3 inch tanto blade.
 

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If hollowpoints cycle well in your mustangs, then use them. At worst, the performance in the body will be as ball ammo. At best, you will get some expansion and tear up additional tissue.

As far as anecdotal stories about people surviving gun shots, it happens. Heck, only of Clyde Barrows gang suffered a .45 to the head and lived long enough to participate in another gun fight a few days later and attempt to flee on foot before being caught. He did die from his wounds, but he did live long enough to fight another day and that was with an opening in his skull that witnesses said was substantial enough that they could see brain matter.

Sure, the .380 is not the optimal defense gun, but that wasn't the question was it? The question concerned the best ammo type to use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Jim,
Those kind of stories are always interesting. I think they speak more to tactics than cartridge performance, since any round can fail. The only guy I know personally who was shot was hit with a .380 out of a Walther PPK (his own) after he walked in on a guy robbing his house. The bad guy went out a window and this guy followed him. Unfortunetly, the BG had already found the gun and used it, hitting him just below the ribcage on the left side. The bullet passed clean through and it probably wasn't much more than a month later we were out drinking a beer and trying to pick up girls by showing off his wound (didn't work). I would imagine for every failure story out there there is a corresponding success story, "woman kills grizzly with .22" kind of stuff that probably are true. The biggest lesson I get from them is that having a gun, any gun, is better then not having one.
 

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This topic gets discussed a lot over at TFL. So let me give some anecdotal "evidence". I killed an antelope with a 380 once, using 90 gr hydrashocks. The HS is a very destructive cartridge but results can vary greatly with shot placement.

Basicly I took a long range rifle shot and succeeded on only 'stunning' a big wyoming doe by creasing her sternum, I thought for sure she was 'done' and was so sure i was pacing off the distance for bragging rights with my rifle slung over my shoulder. At about 15 or 20 feet I had drawn my FEG 380, in case I had to finish her off when she jumped up apparently unwounded. I managed to fire three times and score 3 hits, which really suprised me.

Ok now for the gruesome stuff. One hit was high on the hip joint making a nasty looking cratering wound that didn't break the bone and caused the animal to spin away from me. penetration was 2-3 inches of hair, hide and muscle and the bullet turned into tiny shards of copper and lead. The second shot hit her on the opposite side, lower through the leg, breaking the leg bone and stopping under the skin on the opposite side of the leg. Bullet had gone through 4 inches of muscle/bone/hair and hide and shards of it were poking through the opposite side in a perfect circle the size of a nickle. Shot number three went between her ribs (nicking one) and penetrated 7-8 inches to her heart and dropped her dead. again the bullet completely vaporized leaving tiny copper fragments in her heart which was turned mostly to hamburger..

While this was no homage to marksmanship trying to hit a fast moving target that had no interest in getting shot at close range is tougher than it looks, even when you are trying to "hit" COM.

The 90 grain HS did its job, but only when I managed to put the bullet where it belonged. Heavy bone drasticly stops penetration and the bullet may or may not break the bone. The bullet will expand and create a nasty wound with a lot of tissue damage, but unless its in the vitals (as with any handgun hit) it doesn't matter much.

Hope the information is useful.
 

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I had an FEG .380 once and I carried it often but always used 102 grain Golden Sabers. It was the only HP bullet that seemed to satisfy me in terms of both expansion AND penetration. Cor-bons and others just dont penetrate deeply enough in .380 to have them IMHO, be able to consistantly reach vitals, If I couldn't use GS rounds, I would just use ball.

------------------
"I do not set much value on the friendship of people who do not succeed in getting disliked by their enemies."
 

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I love my Mustang PocketLite and currently use Hydra-Shoks--I can't think of a scenario where I would opt for ball. But in the JHP realm, just as I felt compelled to use Cor-Bons in my P32, I am feeling similiar compunctions to "up the ante" in my little 380 as well. As other's have so eloquently (and predictably) noted, these calibers are a bit underwhelming, and it would seem a wise thing to make them as power-packed as possible.

I personally have never been impressed with Golden Sabers or Silvertips, and would always choose a HS over those. I don't get into the exotics, and of the major self-defense loads, there is no denying that nothing come close to CorBons. My only problem is that they seem to go for maximum ft/lbs, sacrificing bullet weight for velocity. As a rule, I am of the "heavier is better" school, and I will often opt for a heavier bullet load even if it is supposedly a "lower energy" round. But for calibers under 9mm, I feel it just might be the right thing to do.

My $.02
 

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My $.02 from the legal standpoint...

You may want to reconsider carrying FMJ ball rounds - a smartass lawyer for the perp could end up drilling YOU for carrying ammo that no one uses in .45s except for the military. ("Not even police officers in the LAPD!!!" the prosecutor for the scumbag screams!)

Reasoning? The average .45 FMJ round can go through up to 10 thicknesses of drywall before stopping (per LAPD training video demonstrating round velocities). Technically, the lawyer could nail you for using ammunition that is "excessively dangerous".

And before you all jump on me with "ALL ammo is DANGEROUS", I'm only telling you what my instructor told me, which is why I have Hydra-Shoks in my .45 and 9mm. Also, my kid's bedroom is across the way, I'd like to minimize travel of the round *after* it hits its intended target.

However, the chances of you getting sued in civil court for popping a goblin, even when completely backed up by law and opinion, are just about 100%. So I suppose the matter of ammunition is minor, but it's best to take all things into consideration.

Me, I find it amazing that someone could attack me, terrorize and/or hurt and/or attempt to kill and/or KILL me and/or someone in my household, and then they or their family(ies) can sue *ME* (extra emphasis) for shooting them...argh, it makes me all riled up to even think about it. Liberals!!!
 

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KimberLady,
What we need is some halfway decent- half human lawyers to take up some cases for filing on the perps family for not raising themn right or whatever. That would stop those "you killed my boy" lawsuits!

------------------
IceCreamSoldier............... what else is so easy to attack........
 

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Originally posted by KimberLady:
My $.02 from the legal standpoint...

You may want to reconsider carrying FMJ ball rounds - a smartass lawyer for the perp could end up drilling YOU for carrying ammo that no one uses in .45s except for the military. ("Not even police officers in the LAPD!!!" the prosecutor for the scumbag screams!) <snippage>
If you don't solve problem A - saving your hide, which is chancy at best with handguns far superior to the .380 - then you won't have to worry about problem B, the lawyer


Good luck!
Best regards,
Jim Higginbotham
 
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