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Old 03-02-2020, 01:15 PM   #1
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380 self defense ammo

I'm not new to firearms or concealed carry but I'm am new to the 380 ACP. Just curious what people carry for self defense ammo in the 380 ACP. What are thoughts on +P and how the Micro 380 handles it?
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:28 PM   #2
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First thing I'd try is the proven Critical Defense and check for reliability. The Micro 9 is a small gun, and these mini's are not really easy to shoot well with SD loads, so practice is required. It's not cheap, so go in prepared. There's plenty of others, but CD has worked very well for me in both 9mm and .45.

Some recovered bullets fired into water-filled milk jugs from 7 yards from my Micro 9, all CD:



Plenty of expansion, even from the short 3" barrel.

Also, I'd recommend NOT using +P ammo in these pistols. There's just no need or justification, as the velocity of these SD rounds is plenty enough to get any social situation under control. And I'm almost positive Kimber admonishes using +P ammunition in the Micro 9. Why would you want to beat the snot out of a small alloy-framed micro pistol?
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:37 PM   #3
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For the record, I don't own anything chambered in .380. I think Rick is on point. I would try Critical Defense and as many others as possible.
I would avoid using +P as self defense ammo, touching off a magazine full would probably explain itself.
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Old 03-02-2020, 03:09 PM   #4
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Hornady is the way to go in .380. Some Kimbers do not like the rubber tips on the Critical Defense, they can snag on the feed ramp, in which case Hornady XTP's are the ticket. Feed in everything.

I too do not recommend +p ammo in the Micro's. I don't even like it in the full size alloy framed guns.
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Old 03-02-2020, 03:29 PM   #5
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While I generally use Hornady Critical Defense ammo, I have recently started using Precision One XTP in my Sig .380. Check out the testing on .380 defense rounds. Precision One XTP is hard to beat. And I would agree with Rick, and avoid +p in a .380.
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Old 03-02-2020, 04:03 PM   #6
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Hornady Custom XTP. Pretty much any load with the XTP bullet. Problem is there is NO spec for 380 +p. There for I stay away from it. The XTP loads are consistently penetrating 10 to 12 inches and expanding. Ammo Quest on YouTube has an extensive test video on the best 380 defense load.


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Old 03-02-2020, 04:05 PM   #7
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I'll echo Rick's sentiments. I did a fair amount reading prior to choosing a .380 pocket gun and ammo for it. Hornady CD kept being reported as having no problems among what folks consider "self-defense" ammo.

Candidly, I'm not convinced that RN ammo isn't the best choice. I think there's a good case to be made to err on the side of penetration with these little guns.
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Old 03-02-2020, 04:29 PM   #8
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Thread sidebar: (sorry)

I see a difference of opinion here amongst my peers IRT to the reliability of small frame auto's. But my experience, although limited to about 20 or so guns of that description over my shooting career has been a bit different.

Early on I discovered that a very firm grip is required, and the gun must be kept clean. Beretta's, Bersa, Walther, Colt and other little pocket autos came and went, and all shot reliably. Only the long gone AMT Backup .380 was the exception. Had two, neither was reliable; toads, gone. Even two baby Browning .25 autos shot reliably, and even a Walther TPH, and they don't get much smaller that those lil guys.

I currently have Colt 1903 and 1908 Pocket autos in .32ACP and .380, Walther PPK .380, a Seecamp LWS .32 auto, Sig P938 9mm and a Micro 9. ALL are completely reliable or they don't get a place in my safe (remember the 'toad' mention?)

If you're willing to work with the gun, the ammo, your shooting style/skills, these little puppies run quite well if we do our part. At least that's been my humble experience.

Display of opinion done....thanks. We now return to our regular programming.
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Last edited by Rick in Oregon; 03-02-2020 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 03-02-2020, 08:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by december1979 View Post
I'm not new to firearms or concealed carry but I'm am new to the 380 ACP. Just curious what people carry for self defense ammo in the 380 ACP. What are thoughts on +P and how the Micro 380 handles it?

My micro .380 is just fine with this: https://precisiononeammunition.com/p...gr-hp-xtppnew/

That ammo is, BTW, the only .380 that consistently passes the FBI's desired penetration desires.....


YMMV

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Old 03-03-2020, 03:38 AM   #10
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I agree with everyone on this. I had given some +P a whirl (cor-bon) and found it ran fine BUT it destroyed the recoil spring I had installed. This was several years ago prior to the redesign of the Micro's recoil assembly, maybe the new spring will handle it better? In a subsequent conversation with a Kimber sales rep he mentioned he wasn't a fan of running +P ammo in any aluminum framed pistols anyways. Kimber's manual suggests avoiding a "steady diet" of +P because of potential excessive wear so there's that too.
My personal choices are the standard pressure Hornady or Fiocchi 90gr XTP options, never a failure with either. I have tried the relatively new Federal 99gr HST "law enforcement" ammo. It ran fine but did feel hot? It's rated as standard pressure but didn't feel like it? Chattanooga's favorite son may indeed have a point on the FMJ concept as well. I've been told that in colder weather when heavy coats are likely to be worn a FMJ bullet is the best way to go. I just go with 9mm in those conditions.
What ever you choose be certain YOUR Micro will run it reliably. Be sure the little darling will eat it. Not all Kimber .380s are created equally. Some seem to be more fussy than others!!!
Good luck :-)
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