A .380 ACP vs. a 9mm - Kimber Forum

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Old 10-12-2019, 08:15 AM   #1
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A .380 ACP vs. a 9mm

If you guys would look at my spate of daily CCW pistols, you would see a rather smooth transition--except for one gap. I do not now or at any time have owned a 9mm pistol. I never saw the need or the utility.

My carry pistols (even the .45 ACP) have primarily 3-inch barrels. In seeing booth the .380 ACP and others using a 9mm, I've noticed a lot of smoke and flame upon ignition. Obviously this is caused by unburned powder being ejected from the muzzle, and if so, it did nothing to the speed of the bullet.

To that, there really doesn't seem to be much difference between a .355 bullet used in a .380 ACP and the 9mm--other the thickness of the gilding jacket.

Finally, I use my personal P238 for a defensive tool. In that regard, any round dispatched will usually hit the aggressor between three and seven feet.

Now, in a recent gun magazine I saw the new 911 pistol, and in reading the article I saw it was a 9mm offering. The first thing the author wrote about in firing the pistol was that you had to grip it firmly or it would ratchet itself from your hand. He added that while standing and using both hands the little gun finally settled down.

This kind of baffled me. If the pistol cannot be controlled and might fail to pull off a directed second shot, is the offering a real a benefit?

Finally, I'd like to hear from the guys who bought a defensive 9mm and found it a real addition to their safety. Thank you.
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:33 AM   #2
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I have owned and carried a Springfield Armory XD9 SubCompact since just after they first came out. I carry that almost exclusively and it just feels right and makes me a better shooter IMO! My wife loves to shoot it also. My alternate gun and sometimes back up gun is a Springfield Armory XDs in 45 ACP! I like it almost as much as the XD9 SC! I carry it very seldom but trust it as much as the 9mm. I like UXP SC because with the 9mm, I carry 13 rds in the gun and a 16 round extended mag in my left front pocket. I could add another to make it 46 rounds on me and if things change for the worse socially, I may do so.

I owned a Kimber but never carried it because it's not trustworthy IMO!

Just my experience......YMMV!
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:37 AM   #3
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@OLE442, thanks for the response.

I wanted some feedback on these 9mm pistols because technology changes with the weather. Since I never owned a 9mm pistol and they are appearing in the gun magazines again, I wondered if this "new breed" was a worth a look and a possible purchase.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:13 AM   #4
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The 911 doesn't have much grip to hold and is relatively light for a 9mm handgun. So yes, it will require a firm grip. Any of the sub 10oz .380s also require a firm grip.

A carry gun should be practiced with in various positions and holds, including wet hands.

Short barrels on subcompact handguns expel powder not yet burned. This applies to all calibers.

Caliber debates are stupid. More direct to your point, I would not consider replacing a P238 .380 with a 911 9mm unless there is some other consideration like keeping with the same caliber across different guns you owned.

I carry a .380 LCP in my pocket and a Glock 19 9mm in my truck glovebox and use it as a nightstand gun when traveling. The Glock is a superior firearm in all respects other than it won't fit in my front pocket.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by OLE442 View Post
My alternate gun and sometimes back up gun is a Springfield Armory XDs in 45 ACP!
I have an XDs 45. I bought it because it's the thinest 45ACP. Loaded with ARX it's remarkably light. I have fed it everything from 230gr RN to my home brew 200gr SWC. 100% reliable which surprised me.
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by The Tourist View Post
Obviously this is caused by unburned powder being ejected from the muzzle, and if so, it did nothing to the speed of the bullet.
...
The first thing the author wrote about in firing the pistol was that you had to grip it firmly or it would ratchet itself from your hand.
...
Finally, I'd like to hear from the guys who bought a defensive 9mm and found it a real addition to their safety. Thank you.

Well that's a whole lotta questions, mate. I'll give you my opinion on a couple.

1. Short barrels or light projectiles don't necessarily allow for complete burning of all the powder. Since the mushrooming popularity of concealable handguns some manufacturers are making ammo specifically for shorter barrels. I think Hornady's Critical Defense addresses this.

2. Call me a dinosaur if you will, but I think the majority of modern magazine writers are journalism majors who would write for any genre of magazine that hired them. I carry all the calibers that you mentioned (although usually not at the same time), and think that 9mm is the Goldilocks caliber. But if you can't hold onto a gun and it "ratchets out of your hand," then maybe you need to quit your job at Soldier of Fortune and start sending resumés to Women's Weekly and Pokèmon World.

3. Truthfully, no gun has ever added to my safety. Never shot it, drawn it, or brandished it for serious business. I carry the Kahr P380 weekdays. I used to think the HK P2000SK (9mm) was the best overall carry gun, but recently I've been carrying the Sig P365 (9mm) more and more. The common denominator of ALL those guns is a long, light trigger pull with no manual safety.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:38 AM   #7
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The only real argument for a 9mm vs a .380 would be for winter carry in cold environments IMO. I think there MAY be a bit of an advantage defending yourself from an XL sized bad guy wearing a heavy jacket with the 9mm? Other than that at 5' away, bad guy wearing a shirt, I don't see where the 9mm is a major advantage. I guess I fall on the training and shot placement side of the fence. You're better off with a pistol you can hit well with that reliably goes bang.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:50 AM   #8
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I found what I feel is the perfect 9 mm CCW. Well perfect for me that is. I'm a diehard 1911 fan and shortly after purchasing the New Colt Defender 45 I discovered the same model pistol in 9 mm. I was amazed at how light the recoil was on the 9 compared to the 45. It's only slightly bigger than my Kimber Micro9 and about 8 oz heavier. It's called a lightweight defender having an alloy frame and stainless steel slide and weighs about 24 ounces compared to the 16 of the Micro. The extra weight of the Defender along with the slightly larger grip makes it a dream to shoot; a lot easier than the Micro.

It has permanently replaced the Micro9 as my EDC in the AIWB.
The Micro has been demoted to pocket carry only.

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Old 10-12-2019, 01:02 PM   #9
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Thank you, guys, you filled in the gaps.

BTW, Cucamonga kid, I also carry one or two automatic knives myself in going to the mall cafe' for several years. I did make a change.

I've found that "tough guys" usually try to grab you first. So I now carry a left-handed switchblade in my left pocket, and a right-handed switchblade in my right pocket.

Now, I will admit I got into automatics in 1964 because I was a dumb teenager and switchblades were "cool." But as I grew I bought more and more knives that mirrored jackknives but had springs. I still rely on these tools, and it sure helps if one of your hands is clamped on something that is trying to fly apart!

Oh, and I think I have one or two automatics laying around here somewhere...

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Old 10-12-2019, 02:35 PM   #10
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Chico, if I remember correctly you have a Kimber Ultra in 45 correct? Well just imagine the same size and weight pistol with half the recoil and one extra round and you'll know what shooting a 9 mm ultra is like.
I have wondered if you could get your hands on a 9 mm barrel and recoil assembly and of course 9 mm magazines could you convert a 45 into a 9 mm? 🤔

Anybody who owns both 9 and 45 Ultras want to give it a try?

Edit: I just found out that the 9 mm mag does fit into the 45 frame. When I get up a little more energy I think I will try swapping the barrels and recoil springs.
It would be sweet to be able to convert your 45 into 9 mm for just a couple of hundred bucks.
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