Picking a pocket .380

Is your .380 enough gun? Lately, the market has been flooded by compact .380 ACP pistols, from the brand new Diamondback .380 to the Sig P238 there are a ton of options out there for shooters looking for a compact pocket gun. In fact, Cheaper Than Dirt! recently went over some of the more inexpensive pocket .380 pistols available. Having carried a .25 ACP in a pocket for quite some time, it’s safe to say that I’m a firm believer that the .380 you carry is a step above the 9mm or .45 ACP that you leave at home because it’s too heavy.

The current generation of pocket guns have some serious strengths and weakness as well.  Starting with the Ruger LCP and Kel-Tec guns, the sights are essentially non-existent.  Both the Ruger and the Kel-Tec sport what is commonly called a “gutter sight” which means that instead of the traditional 3-post set up we’re all used to, there is a trough down the middle of the slide.  All of these pocket pistols benefit greatly from the addition of Crimson Trace Lasers, but this goes more so for the LCP and the Kel-Tec.  By adding the Crimson Trace Laserguard for the LCP to your gun you then greatly improve your ability to hit close targets faster and to hit distant targets period.  Using a Crimson Trace equipped Sig P238 (pictured above) I was able to make consistent hits on an IPSC A/C zone target at 25 yards.  The Sig P238 doesn’t even need the Crimson Trace as much as the LCP as it has excellent factory night sights; and yet even on this gun it just makes sense to add it.

The next issue that you’ll encounter on these pocket guns is the trigger.  I like the Ruger LCP – I think it’s a great defensive firearm.  I don’t like the trigger very much.  The same can be said for the Kel-Tec, Diamondback, Bersa, and pretty much all the pocket .380s with the exception of the Sig P238 (again) which has an excellent single action trigger.  But that’s not without problems of its own, as the Sig P238 must be carried cocked-and-locked with the safety on…in a pocket.  That might be an area of concern to some gun owners, in which case a double action gun such as the LCP might be a better bet.

Of course, the most critical issue with the .380 is ammo selection.  The debate will continue to rage whether the .380 is “enough” gun, and whether or not you should use ball ammo to get more penetration or use JHP ammo to get more expansion.  The BVAC ammo at the right is a 90 grain JHP at approximately 1000 FPS using a Speer hollow point bullet.  I tend to prefer hollow points for .380 ammo not because I think they improve my stopping power but rather because a hollow point bullet is less likely to glance off the hard bones in the rib-cage if used in a dynamic critical incident.  FMJ rounds are great for practice and training, but for defensive carry I definitely want the heaviest, fastest hollow points I can get for my .380.

The final thing to consider for your defensive .380 is reliability and learning curve.  Your gun must run the ammo that you choose for it reliably.  If you carry the BVAC ammo above, it needs to work in your gun.  You also need to practice with you gun, and not just standing on the range.  A .380 that’s carried as a last ditch defensive weapon needs to be something that you can draw and get quick, accurate hits with.  Would you take a defensive shooting class with a Ruger LCP?  I honestly don’t know if I would, but it’s something to think about.

When selecting a defensive pocket gun, remember that the first rule of a gunfight is “have a gun”.  The .380 you have beats a .44 at home, but if you have the wrong ammo or can’t hit with your .380, it’s not much better than a magic talisman.  Carry your guns…but make sure your gear is the best you can get.  After all, your life may depend on it.

Defensive Ammunition For Your Rifle

Only after you have mastered your chosen rifle, and thoroughly ensured the reliability of your system, should you begin to worry about your defensive ammunition selection. Most of us would be better off practicing with what we have at hand than worrying about what ammunition to use. You should know you (the shooter), your rifle, your ammunition and what it can accomplish before considering yourself prepared for the defensive use of your rifle.

Corrosive Ammunition

What is “corrosive” ammunition? Corrosive ammunition is ammunition that uses a primer that has chemicals that when ignited leave a residue of corrosive salts. Most often these primers have potassium chlorate, or sodium petrochlorate which, when burned, decompose into potassium chloride or sodium chloride. Sharp-eyed readers will note that sodium chloride is also known as common table salt.

7×57 Mauser

It shouldn’t be surprising how many modern hunting cartridges can trace their ancestry back to military based roots. Ammunition designed for and used in the military gained popularity with service members returning from war who favored cartridges they were familiar with for hunting medium and large game. The 7x57mm Mauser, or .275 Rigby as it is known in the United Kingdom, is one such cartridge.

BVAC

Darren Newsom of BVAC Talks about Ammunition

20 years ago, Darren Newsom made himself a promise. By 2008, he would own his own business. The years came and went, and when 2008 arrived, Darren made the obvious decision to continue his work in an industry he’d spent more than two decades in: small arms ammunition. In 2008, Darren Newsom started up Bitterroot Valley Ammunition & Components, better known as BVAC. His timing couldn’t have been better. Nestled in a valley just south of Missoula amidst the mountains of Western Montana, BVAC began their mission to provide high quality and low priced ammunition and components to shooters and manufacturers alike.

59585

How to Choose Ammunition When Hunting Large, Dangerous Game Animals

When choosing ammunition for a particular game animal, the terminal performance of the round you choose is extremely important. Winchester has developed (and trademarked) their CXP (Controlled eXpansion Performance) scale which is used to rate ammunition performance on various types of game. Dangerous game animals, classified as CXP4, are generally thick skinned African game animals such as hippopotamus, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo, and can weigh anywhere from 1,000 pounds up to 13,000 pounds or more for large male elephants. As such, when hunting these species, you will need to choose your caliber wisely.

Guest Post: How Much Ammunition Is Enough?

The ammunition industry has been a very exciting place for the past few years. In addition to an influx of new hunters and shooters, we’ve also seen a number of individuals stocking up on various calibers of ammunition in anticipation of some unforeseen future shortages. The reasons to stockpile ammunition vary. But regardless of your reason to acquire a cache, how much is a sufficient quantity?

Bear Ammunition Plant Explodes

Just received news that the Ulyanovsk plant ammunition plant located 893 km south of Moscow in Russia suffered a catastrophic explosion. Ulyanovsk are the makers of the popular Bear Ammunition.

Reports are sketchy at this point, but RTE news is reporting 1 dead and 35 injured with another 35 that are missing. More than 3,000 have been evacuated in the wake of the explosion. Window panes were blown out and a towering inferno visible up to 15 kilometers away lit up the night sky.

Guest Post: Rimfire Ammunition by Mr. Completely

Once again, Mr. Completely has written an outstanding piece that I felt just had to be showcased in this blog.

Getting a rimfire semi-auto pistol to function for several hundred rounds in a row without a single stovepipe, mis-feed, failure to fire, or other malfunction is truly a challenge under any conditions. You can be sure, though, that if it’s going to malfunction, it’s most likely to happen in a match where time lost clearing the problem will cost you dearly. Rimfire pistols, just like computers, KNOW the worst possible time to act up, and they seem to take fiendish pleasure in your misfortune!

AB962 – California Ammunition Restrictions

There’s been a lot of hubbub over the newly signed legislation in California that restricts ammunition sales. Governor Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 962 into law on Monday. This law contains many new regulations on ammunition sales. We’ve boiled the new law down to its essence and are presenting it here in a much simplified form.

Under the recently passed Ammo Restriction bill (named “Anti-Gang Neighborhood Protection Act of 2009″), the following changes to the law will occur. These changes will go into effect starting February 1, 2011.