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The .380 ACP ammo (9×17mm) was developed by John Moses Browning and introduced in 1908 by Colt Manufacturing Company for its Model 1908 pocket hammerless semi-automatic pistol. The .38 ACP inspired Browning’s new creation, designed and manufactured for blowback pistols. The .380 ACP is light and compact but has less stopping power and a shorter range than other modern ammo. Average .380 ammunition is an 85-95 grain bullet measuring .380 inch in diameter. The round is rimless, straight-walled, and equipped with low-pressure percussion caps. Despite its shortened range and stopping power, the .380 Auto remains a favorite among those who want a small pistol for concealed carry and/or personal defense.

In 1912, .380 ACP cartridges launched in Belgium, where they adopted the moniker “9mm Browning Short.” The round remained popular throughout World War II. Military forces around the globe used the .380 ACP until many replaced it with the more popular 9mm cartridge. European police forces used the .380 until the 1980s when they changed in favor of the more powerful 9×19mm Parabellum. The parameters of the .380 make it ideal for use in a backup weapon such as a clutch piece.

Other names for .380 ACP Ammo include 9mm Browning, 9mm Browning Court, .380 Auto, 9mm Short, 9mm Corto, 9mm Kurz, and 9×17mm. The .380 ACP shouldn’t be confused with .38 ACP.

.380 ACP On The Range

Best .380 ACP Range Training Ammo

When it comes to range training, choosing the best ammo should be relatively easy. The first thing that shooters tend to look for aside from the appropriate cartridge is the price. It’s easy to shoot through hundreds or thousands of rounds in a short period of time. Buying in bulk at discount prices will keep you shooting long after the less savvy shooters have gone home. Following is a list of rounds that will serve you well, offering reliability and accuracy at a fair price.

When it comes to range training, choosing the best ammo should be relatively easy. The first thing that shooters tend to look for aside from the appropriate cartridge is the price. It’s easy to shoot through hundreds or thousands of rounds in a short time. Buying in bulk at discount prices will keep you shooting long after the less savvy shooters have gone home. Following is a list of rounds that will serve you well, offering reliability and accuracy at a fair price.

CCI Ammunition: 95 Grain Full Metal Jacket

Blazer is gaining a solid reputation for use in range training due to its reliability and affordability. CCI designed this ammo for the range as it’s ideal for shooting paper targets. The cartridge is constructed using brass casing and is Boxer-primed.

Specifications:

  • 945 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 95 Grain
  • FMJ Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 188 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

Federal Ammunition: American Eagle Ammo 95 Grain Full Metal Jacket

The Federal American Eagle brand is well-trusted among firearms enthusiasts. The brand is known to be well-made, offering reliability, durability, and accuracy on and off the range. Brass construction and Boxer priming make it easily reloadable to enhance the savings.

Specifications:

  • 980 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 95 Grain
  • FMJ Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 203 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

Winchester Ammunition: Silver Tip 95 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point

Winchester is a top name with firearms enthusiasts due to its value and consistent performance. Buying in bulk keeps the price down, and because it’s reloadable, it’s the ideal .380 ACP ammo for the range.

Specifications:

  • 1000 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 85 Grain
  • JHP Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer

Sellier & Bellot Ammunition: 92 Grain Full Metal Jacket

Recently acquired by the same company that produces Magtech ammo, Sellier & Bellot continue to make .380 auto ammunition using high-quality components. Their FMJ cartridges are a top choice among law enforcement agencies, hunters, and competitive shooters.

Specifications:

  • 955 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 92 Grain
  • FMJ Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 186 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

SIG Sauer Ammunition: Elite V-Crown 90 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point

SIG Sauer shines with Elite Performance Ammunition. SIG V-Crown ammo offers superior weight retention, optimal penetration depth, and maximum expansion. SIG’smodern manufacturing processes give shooters a highly reliable round, improved feeding, and ultimate expansion.

Specifications:

  • 980 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 90 Grain
  • JHP Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 192 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

.380 ACP Self-Defense

Best .380 ACP Self-Defense Ammo

Many people looking for a pocket gun and holster for concealed carry, look toward the .380 ACP for its weight and size. It makes enough of an impact to stop the threat, animal, or human, yet not weigh you down. Some argue that the most critical factor in self-defense ammo is achieving hydrostatic shock. Any round that is unable to deliver immediate stopping power isn’t worth its salt. The truth is that almost no handgun has the capability of offering hydrostatic shock. To do so, the muzzle velocity must exceed 2,000 FPS. Not many can do that. Instead, look for other aspects that fit your needs. See below for the best .380 ammo for self-defense.

Lots of opinions exist on the perfect self-defense ammo for a .380. However, it’s difficult to argue the testing requirement each round goes through. Set up by the FBI, most ballistics testing runs through a checklist of important factors. While the average Joe doesn’t need FBI-ready rounds, manufacturers want to ensure that their ammo is ready just in case the FBI comes calling. Here are the following characteristics of a good load:

  1. Sufficient penetration. A self-defense round needs enough penetration to do the job. The standard requires a MINIMUM of 12 inches of penetration of ballistic gel or soft tissue. That is enough power to pass through skin, bone, muscle, and fat to reach vital organs.
  2. Over penetration. A round shouldn’t deliver more than 18 inches of penetration of soft tissue. Over penetration can exit the attacker’s body, leading to a danger of collateral damage as well as not doing its job as a through and though shot.
  3. Big bullets are good. Big bullets make big holes. Big holes destroy more tissue and vital organs, stopping the threat in its tracks. Choose expanding bullets, like hollow points, to cause maximum damage and prevent over penetration.
  4. Sharp bullets work best. Expanding bullets with sharp petals cut through vital organs and arteries better than round-nose ammo. This factor causes hollow point bullets to outshine round-nosed FMJ rounds in most cases.

Our Top Picks for .380 ACP Self-Defense Ammo: 

PMC Ammunition: Bronze Ammo 90 Grain Full Metal Jacket

PMC Bronze 380 ACPPMC (Precision Made Cartridges) bronze cartridges are popular due to their affordability and consistency. This self-defense round provides an excellent feeding system to prevent jamming and failures. Rounds remain uniform due to in-house manufacturing and quality control. This 90-grain FMJ features brass casing and Boxer style priming allow for reloading up to five times.

Specifications:

  • 961 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 90 Grain
  • FMJ Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 185 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

Federal Ammunition: Premium Hydra-Shok 95 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point

Federal Hydra-Shok 380 ACPFederal Premium is the company’s top seller and with good reason. Introduced in 1989, the 180-grain Federal Hydra-Shok JHP remains at the top of the list by many experts. Rigorous testing has ensured that Federal Hydra-Shok loads perform consistently and accurately.

Specifications:

  • 1000 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 90 Grain
  • JHP Bullet
  • Nickel-Plated Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 200 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

Magtech Ammunition: First Defense Guardian Gold Cartridge 85 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point

Magtech First Defense Guardian Gold is a jacketed hollow point round. The .380 +P refers to overpressure; consider it when choosing the weapon with which you intend to use it.

Magtech has a solid reputation for manufacturing consistent and reliable rounds – exactly what you need when being confronted by a threat.

Specifications:

  • 1082 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 85 Grain
  • JHP Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 221 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

Winchester Ammunition: Supreme Elite 95 Grain Bonded Jacketed Hollow Point

Shooters claim this round works well in Ruger LCP handguns, Glock 42s, Walther PPKs, and pocket pistols. Spend some time at the range with this beauty before heading out into the real world. The cartridge offers excellent bullet weight retention and maximum expansion, mushrooming to 1.5 times its original diameter. The bonded core takes on tough barriers at various ranges and faces up to even the most dangerous threats. Low flash allows for rapid-fire repeat shots in low light.

Specifications:

  • 1,000 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 95 Grain
  • JHP Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 211 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

Barnes Bullets: 80 Grain Solid Copper Hollow Point 

Barnes Bullets presents its TAC-XPD line of ammunition with this 80-grain TAC-XP projectile. The cartridge turns any handgun into a beast during any critical situation. The projectile maintains almost all of its bullet weight as it enters the target and creates a massive wound channel as it mushrooms.

Specifications:

  • 990 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 80 Grain
  • SCHP Bullet
  • Brass Casing; Techni-crom Plating
  • Boxer Primer
  • 174 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

Winchester Ammunition: Train and Defend 95 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point

Winchester’s Train and Defend line provides effective training and excellent defense with reduced recoil. Maximum weight retention and deep penetration combine with maximum terminal expansion to make this round a good all-around choice.

Specifications:

  • 950 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 95 Grain
  • JHP Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 190 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

Best .380 ACP Ammo for Target Shooting

Federal Ammunition: Personal Defense Hydra-Shok 95 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point

Federal introduced the Personal Defense line in 1989. It remains at the top of the list for self-defense and target acquisition. Hydra-Shok ammo’s notched copper jacket gives controlled expansion. Low recoil makes it easy for beginners and novices to control while firing at a variety of targets.

Specifications:

  • 1000 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 90 Grain
  • JHP Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 200 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

Remington: Golden Saber 102 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point

Remington Golden Saber 380 ACPRemington’s new production, Golden Saber High Performance combines four vital elements of performance: accuracy, maximum expansion, deep penetration, and 100% weight retention. This ammunition offers low muzzle flash and reliable feeding in reloadable brass cases.

Specifications:

  • 940 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 90 Grain
  • JHP Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 200 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

CCI Ammunition: Speer Gold Dot Lawman 95 Grain Total Metal Jacket

CCI’s Lawman ammo uses CCI primers and Speer Gold Dot bullets to create an economic round. This total metal jacket allows shooters to reload to save more money. Despite the low price, Lawman ammo delivers excellent, consistent performance.

Specifications:

  • 945 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 95 Grain
  • TMJ Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 188 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

Hornady Ammunition: Critical Defense® 90 Grain FTX Jacketed Hollow Point

Hornady Critical Defense® outshines other hollow points with Flex Tip® technology. Hornady uses the same tip featured in  LEVERevolution® ammunition to eliminate clogging and inconsistent firing. Low flash propellants preserve vision in low light situations. Reliable terminal performance delivers each time.

Specifications:

  • 1000 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 90 Grain
  • JHP Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 200 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

 


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