T Nation

Efficacy of .380 APC


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Yes, I agree, along with John Shaw. Shaw’s Mid-South Institute is still going strong. Since we are stomping all over Bismark’s thread, might as well go all the way and say “be ready”


More be ready:


"The .380 is generally a smaller frame and much easier to conceal than a more bulky 9-mm. or .40 caliber pistol – particularly under summer wear,” security consultant and host of the National Rifle Association “Defending Our America” campaign, Del Wilber, told FoxNews.com. “Yet it still possesses the knock-down power needed in a potential life-or-death shooting situation.

“It is especially suited for women as they generally have smaller hands,” he added".

No, just No. I don’t know Mr. Wiber, he may be a highly trained urban commando with multiple combat operations under his belt and hold the all time record for .380 kills, but, that is one of the most fundamentally stupid statements I have ever read. A .380 ACP DOES NOT possess the knock-down power ( whatever that is, depends on so many variables) needed.

As far as women’s hands being too small, I have been on the firing line with women from 4 different military’s and multiple police departments, using Glock 17, 19, Beretta 92, Sig 226, 228, CZ, 1911, S&W MP, Browning Hi-Power, and unless they had New Zealand Hobbits for parents, never a issue.

And what the hell is a “bulky” 9mm? You either carry a gun or you don’t. Until you can carry a Phaser weighing 2 oz., then deal with it. If you cannot carry a Glock 26 ( or similar size) concealed, then you are just wasting your fucking time. A Desert Eagle .50 is " bulky" not a 9mm. I am calling Bullshit.



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idaho and pushharder,

I agree. That was a shit statement. I am even more scared that it was made by someone who has consultant or spokesman in his title. Avoiding “knock down power” is always a good rule when trying to not sound stupid.

I will note the same article has Jeff Gonzales disagrreing with Weber and stating

[quote]Jeff Gonzales stated:
“The smaller, more compact frames are more difficult to shoot and their durability is lower than the slightly larger sub-compacts,” noted Jeff Gonzales, president of Trident Concepts, which specializes in personal protection tactics and training for armed and unarmed conflicts. “The accuracy component is also lower due to a more challenging platform to shoot.”[/quote]

I agree about the ease of concealment. That can be a factor depending on dress requirements.

Evidently I fall into that group. As a male. So go me.

My hands are small enough that I see an improvement in scores, most notably when shooting single handed, or god help us all support side only with a Gen 4 Glock vs a Gen 3. With the Gen 3 I sometimes get the “down and to the opposite side” movement. I spent a lot of time with a Glock 17 and a SIRT trainer pinning this down and I think it has to do with my trigger finger either rubbing on the frame during firing or my need to C-clamp the grip/have only my thumb on the backstrap to prevent it. My Gen 4 glocks are much better.

From your list I will also note that me and a Beretta 92 is an instant shit show. I need that gun to have a smaller grip in the worst way. The few I have fired had me having to start the double action pull with the tip of my finger, which was not conducive to accuracy. Also my thumb is not long enough to hit the slide mounted safety with a master grip. I don’;t have enough experience with Sigs to know but those seemed pretty “small hand” and “lefty” friendly for DA/SA. CZ’s are awesome except the trigger reach in double action in most 75 and 85’s. 1911’s are awesome for small hands. Seriously, if the issue is just “small hands” than single stack 1911 is a really good answer. S&W MP’s are better than glock for small hands and I really like the .40 models.

Now, let me be clear. If “never an issue” just means getting a passing grade to POST or a lot of institutional standards than I agree. If we are talking about shooting to a level where any kind of confidence is appropriate than my statement stands.

I think you may have been going a bit into hyperbole here. I agree the 26 is a fantastic gun, and punches well above its weight class and “footprint”. I am however sympathetic to the times when “dress around the gun” is not easily accomplished.

I wrote before the first issue is

  • Tuck in your shirt and don’t look like a slob.-This could be regional, but here in the Northeast/East Coast there is a big difference in professionalism/respectability tucked in vs untucked. That smothers my preferred method of carrying a “real gun” in its crib most of the time. I have tuckable holsters, but they often require being a bit baggy/liberal with shirt blousing. Which is to be considered sloppy.

  • Just wear a jacket and keep it on. You aren’t a fucking kid.-This is actually a really good solution. If it works. A suit jacket or a sport coat is a great concealment option. Unfortunately I have been in too many rooms where “taking the jackets off, rolling up the sleeves, and getting to work” are literal and not figurative. Being the one with your jacket on calls a bunch of attention in such situations and that greatly increases the chances of getting made. If that matters. If it doesn’t than who cares. Also, AC issues and really high humidity have been common and sweating both makes cover garments stick to your body and outline guns and flop sweat breaks the first point.

  • About that suit What counts as dressed up? I know idaho has travelled enough that he is familiar in the huge difference between the American/Potato sack style cut of a suit and a British or Italian cut suit. For others, we wear suits that look like shit. They are baggy. They hide bulges, fat or steel, well. That isn’t really “looking sharp” though. It also may not “conceal” if fitting in is important. The same suit that hides a service pistol just fine and lets you blend in with branch managers of banks or hospitalists may itself garner more attention than a bulge at a table were the average salary is mid six figures and up. Those aren’t my waters, but they are what some people swim in.

  • I can hide X, Y, ZYou probably can. That is awesome. But let’s be on the same page as to what we mean by “hide”. Is it just wear it around, because I saw a guy open carrying a Highpoint the other day. He had an untucked t-shirt purposefully pulled around the gun so it was visible. He was wearing his gun just fine. It wasn’t concealed though. How much printing or “outline” are we willing to accept? Do I have to be invisible to an experienced LEO like you or mapwhap? Is it a “beat casual glances” level of concealment, or is it a “no bulge or clip that will get asked about as I go about my day around the SAME people for the next several years”. Because co-workers are fucking brutal at noticing things. Especially women. They will notice a bulge or clip. They will ask loud enough that people look. They will also reach and point towards it. While on the subject of day to day…

  • What are we doingSome jobs are more “physical” than others. If you are climbing all over shit, in full view of the public than your “concealed” might take a good bit more doing than a just walking and sitting day/evening. If you are climbing over people, medical professionals, certain security, etc., than even more so.

  • How much attention in general are we trying to draw?-Is this a conceal the gun, but it is ok to get made as security type of affair? I think we have all seen plenty of professionals who were “concealed”, but everyone marked them as being somewhere on the “bad ass” scale. Is the goal to be purely “Grey Man” and garner no attention from bystanders, criminals, LEO’s? Harder to do than the first, but acceptable. This is my “off work” default, but it is the exact opposite of “dress to impress”. It is dress to leave no memory or impression. It is wholly unsuitable for business or dating. What if you are trying to conceal a hangun AND hold people’s undivided attention? We have just described a huge number of sales/service rep/management jobs. Or anyone interested in not sleeping, or sweating, alone.

Now, as a whole I agree with the “carry a real gun” mantra. I bought a Glock 26 specifically to increase the percentage of the time I can carry a decent firearm on me. Still, I understand how “need something smaller” fits into people’s lives. Once we do need something smaller, reducing power may be needed just so that actually placing the rounds can be achieved. I know this is like paying double freight. The small gun is harder to hit with AND it hits less effectively. Unfortunately, that is often the better option than painful to shoot. What I mean there shoot full house magnums from a scandium frame S&W. All of a sudden target wadcutters seem like a good idea, and if wadcutters in a .38 are solution, than perhaps .380 is as well.

I am not trying to be argumentative, but I think the above needed to be stated for completeness. Did this make sense?


Robert A



That was likely a good talk. I am glad you gave it. Do you know which .380 she purchased?

I ask because as much as I want to I can’t be too harsh on either the really tiny Ruger LCP (because it is so small it is a true alternative to finger nails and harsh language) or the “large for caliber” .380’s like the Glock 42, Sig P238, or Ruger LC380 because the recoil in those are very manageable vs a 9mm that is just a bit larger. I really can see the allure in an “always” gun that is small enough to take anywhere, or just have in a pocket lounging around the house (push in robberies and home invasions are things). I also respect the hell out of the maturity to say “I don’t like/cannot shoot a gun this size and power level well. I would practice more and perform better with a lower power option.”

In either case I see the mousegun as part of the options, but not the primary. So if your daughter had a Glock 42 AND a duty caliber or an LCP AND a 1911 I think it is just a matter of knowing what is being given up and why. If it was the snake oil “This is a great gun for women, it’s small” pitch than the salesman needs punched in the dick. LCPs and J-frames are hard to shoot well, and uncomfortable to practice with at volume. They are terrible first guns.

Concealment for women can be especially tricky. I am SO not going to be the guy on the internet asking about your daughters figure, so I am just going to speak generalities. Women’s clothing tends to be tighter, which is awesome, and not rely on belts, which is also awesome because of yoga pants. Additionally a whole lot of women don’t have much “waist” front to back. This means carrying “strong side” is difficult, because they don’t have much side. Even “thicker” women can still have this issue because of hips that are proportionally bigger compared to their waist. This makes the butt of the gun poke and do all kinds of shit with body movements that you or I wouldn’t experience carrying behind our hip.

I would never recommend a new shooter who isn’t completely dialed in carry in the front of the waistband, but I will point out it sidesteps these issues. Additionally, if the bra/cup/band size is greater than the waist size than an untucked shirt naturally hangs down and drapes over a gun or knife in that position. I have linked to Kathy Jackson’s material in the past. She is a good shooting/defensive mindset instructor who happens to be female. Her write up on lines in the sand was talked about in Bad Ideas. I bring her up because she was carrying a Glock 26 appendix way before it was cool.


Her book plus Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense are the two volume primer that I recommend to anyone starting to consider The Problem. I have purchased both as gifts for both men and women.


Robert A


You are correct, that statement was over the line and the only thing I can use as an excuse is lack of coffee this morning. All your points are valid and its my simplification of the issue thats the real problem. I haven’t lived in the real world so long, I really don’t ever think about people actually have to dress for work. Get up,throw on 5.11’s, armor, weapons and leave. In the states, same thing except the armor and carbine. I don’t think, I am qualified to talk about concealed carry unless it involves tactical shirts and jackets. Anyway, I feel for anyone who has to work around the problems you described. Really good post and I appreciate the insight.

On the subject women’s carry, my lady friend carries (on occasion) in a purse made for handguns. I think she bought it off Amazon.


Your world is real as hell. It just carries with it different cost/benefit metrics for how much shit to carry and where.

I really like short fixed blades. On the other hand if I hang them everywhere so I can always get to them, I have to defend EVERYWHERE. This is especially bad because the majority of contact I have with people isn’t violent, and even if it is most of that hasn’t fallen into the “murder fight category”. So I try to limit the lethal/potentially lethal tools to half of my waistband, and to my front. No different than how you might choose different kit for a rolling patrol or standing guard (long guns are awesome) vs an assignment where having to wrestle someone into cuffs is a higher possibility (traffic stops, a whole bunch of LEO work, etc.) A slung rifle when dealing with a minimally resisting, but drunk and unreasonable, soccer mom is a recipe for bad outcomes. Not having one doing what you do is the same.

You have years of experience ID’ing what other people are carrying, so even if you are far removed from having to hide guns in a non-permissive environment, I still think you are a gold mine for what the give aways are.

The purse brings up a good point. Most people hate off body carry, and for good reason. It is real easy to become separated from that gun or tool and then it might as well be on the moon when you need it. On the other hand it allows for a service size handgun. That could be a great option, especially if she carries a smaller “fuck off” tool on body. Again, I am biased towards a blade for that if the size has to be below a j-frame.

Get coffee. Thanks for all the insight you continue to bring.

Train hard. Stay safe.


Robert A


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Agree with the whole post, but absolutely this.

The only caveat would be in true “special circumstances”. We are all products of our experiences, so I am going to explain that I have had a lot of contact with injured/temp disabled/permanently disabled folks. In those cases a lot of otherwise screwball choices can make sense.

A whole lot of women walk around with grip strength teetering on the edge of clinical disability. That can make working a slide, working a trigger, or just plain holding on to a gun in recoil a task. Once healthy men can get banged up, or experience nerve damage and find themselves both less physically formidable, and less able to work a previously useful firearm. I sort of think the old man/woman gun is a category unto itself. Where sub caliber revolvers, with exposed hammers for single action, become preferable to .45 ACP Glocks and .25 auto in a steel gun makes sense.

I mentioned having a holster for when support side is your “best side” in the carry gear thread. This is down the same avenue.

That article really did seem written to push the tiny .380’s. I don’t hold with that logic, of course I also hate people who put lightweight guns in the hands of new shooters. My answer to “what gun” is almost always a .22, a basic class, and 5,000 rounds at first. Rifle or pistol is a bit of a dealer’s choice there, with rifles being superior, but a handgun being able to work as purse/off body carry capable in a pinch. After the 5,000 rounds the shooter has likely spent time around other shooters and fondled and tried different guns. They also have a base. Then I think the school answer really is Glock 19 unless there are reasons.

Good job with your daughter. At the very least the fact she is/desires to carry something means she is taking responsibility for her own safety and perhaps the safety of those she cares about. That puts her head and shoulders above a lot of people who would claim to be peers. Not that any father needs to be told his child is special.


Robert A


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Sorry for the lack of response. I’m leaning toward the P938 now. Micro 1911 (ish) in 9mm. It’s not much larger than the P238. Important criteria for me are reliability (issues with initial release seem to be have resolved and I plan on breaking the gun in significantly before I trust my life with it) duty caliber, concealed carry friendly (summers in Texas are HOT), manual safety, and shootability (large night sights and the weight of the metal frame). Any thoughts? I could use some input on holsters/gun belts.

Best regards


Holsters are nearly as subjective as handguns, but I will recommend you purchase a Remora in addition to a more secure rig. The Remora is a “clipless IWB” soft holster with very tacky material on the outside, designed to hold the gun in place inside your waistband with just friction. Other manufacturers put out a similar product as well, but I don’t have any experience with them.

The Remora will run you between $20 and $30. The advantage lies in its ease of use and its slim profile that doesn’t add much thickness to the carry package (compared to say, leather). I wouldn’t do cartwheels or play a game of basketball while carrying in a Remora, but for every-day out-and-about sort of stuff it works just fine.

My 9mm Shield lives in my quick-access safe in a Remora holster. It will even work with sweatpants or pajamas. Just stuff it and go. I’ve had mine for about 3 years of near-daily use and it has held up great. Works just as well as it did when I bought it.


I personally don’t like to carry cocked and locked. I carry a sig p239, and am very fond of DA/SA. Mine is in .357sig which is a great round, but expensive. I’m actually thinking about changing to a Ruger SP101. .357 mag is surprisingly affordable and .38 special +p is nothing to sneeze at.


some good info in this thread:

A proven design, small ,slim , .45ACP, and under 500 USD. Not a bad deal.


How does the .45 ACP perform out of a short barrel? According to Ballistics By The Inch it still looks potent, but how’s the flash and recoil? I’ve only ever shot .45 ACP out of a 5 inch 1911 and a 4.4 inch barreled HK USP, and the size and weight of a full sized piece really tames the round. I’d be concerned how such a small light weight piece handles it.


Difficult question to answer because recoil is subjective to the person shooting. Proper grip and stance determines the effect of recoil when shooting and experienced shooters hold a major advantage over novices. Since, we are talking handguns, (my personal experience), I have never felt the .45ACP had any excess recoil, but, I have carried one both on and off duty for many years. The .45ACP is not a fast round to begin with, average 200+ grain hardball coming out between 850 to 900 FPS. Now, some of the “Self Defense” rounds will smoke out between 1100 and 1150, but, it’s really academic.

Now to answer your question from my experience, I own a Glock 30 and the flash and recoil are negligible to me, because, I usually shift my grip when using the smaller 30 instead of my 41 model. On my Colt Lightweight Commander, because of the grip design, I don’t notice any difference from my Wilson Combat. Now, on a Glock model 33 in .357 Sig, there is a different “feel” between shots because of the rapid slide motion, but, it is not something to break your target focus.

Speaking of flash and recoil, remember, if you have to actually defend yourself and fire a handgun to stop a lethal force encounter, flash and recoil will be way down on the list of things to worry about. The fight or flight reflex will be in full gear, your senses will be shutting down, and “tunnel vision” will dominate your field of fire, while adrenaline is making your heart scream, so noticing recoil and flash will only come after experience. Worry more about putting two in the chest and one in the head.

From personal experience, there are two handguns which I consider will affect you because of flash: The FN 5.7 and the .357 in a two inch barrel, with the 5.7. being the worst. The 5.7. has about the recoil as a .22MAG. but, there is a flamethrower coming out of that barrel. The only time recoil comes into the equation for handguns are the larger hunting calibers: .454 Casull, .460 S&W, .50AE. Buy what you will carry on a daily basis, train in the fundamentals, Hope this helps.