Mouse-gunners of the world, rejoice. Your day is here, your time is now. The moment is at hand for your pipsqueak hero, the .380 ACP, to claim its spot on the podium of popularity.
Long scorned as too feeble for self-defense , the .380 ACP dates to 1908 as, of all things, a souped-up “big bore.” It sprang from the fertile mind of none other than John Moses Browning.Browning had designed the Colt Model 1903 “Pocket Hammerless”in .32 ACP after which he decided to beef up its potency with the .380 ACP in a look-alike pistol, the Model 1908 “Pocket Hammerless.”
Back in the day, no one seemed to be bothered by its lack of horsepower, but loved the Pocket Hammerless for its small size and ease of concealability. Bonnie Parker even supposedlytaped one to her inner thigh and smuggled it into the hoosegow for Clyde Barrow to use in a jail-break.
Early Walther PPKs chambered the same mouse-cartridge under the 9 mm Kurtz name. Later James Bond toted a PPK in an Anglicized .380 ACP. On the Allied side, Gen. George S. Patton carried a Colt Model 1908 with three (subsequently four) stars scrimshawed on its ivory grips.
Today, the historic .380 ACP is enjoying a renaissance of epic proportions due to three factors. First, Americans are now living in the greatest era of firearms freedom since the first national “gun law” was passed in 1934. Virtually all our states have legalized concealed carry in some form, creating a massive market for small, easily concealable, defensive pistols.
Second, with the introduction of theRuger LCP in 2008 the .380 ACP received a huge endorsement from a highly respected manufacturer, and the little pistol is priced so affordably that you can buy one for less than $300. Smith & Wesson, SIG and Colt have alljumped aboardthe .380 bandwagon. And lest we forget, Kel-Tec was puttering down the road in its own .380 carriage before the Big Boys followed suit. The point is: there’s a huge volume of high-quality .380s on the market right now at excellent prices.
Third, ammunition manufacturers are now offering truly decent loadings for the .380 ACP. Hornady, Speer, Federal andWinchester all offer excellent .380 ACP self-defense loads.
On a personal note (since this is a blog), I bought a Ruger LCP and carry it with Hornady Critical Defense. However, I must admit I far prefer to carry my J-frame .38 Spl. or customized Glock 27, but there are times when I need the utmost in discretion and for that I slip one into a pocket unnoticed.