Justification for Existence: The .380 Auto

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posted on May 2, 2014
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According to Speer Manual No. 14, “The .380 Auto was introduced to U.S. shooters in 1908 when Colt chambered it in the Pocket Automatic, a compact and well-built pistol designed by John Browning,” (p. 845). It’s also referred to as the .380 ACP, 9 mm Browning Short, and 9 mm Kurz, among other names, and it has a SAAMI-specified maximum average pressure (MAP) of 21,500 p.s.i. Since its introduction, the cartridge (and such chambered handguns) has experienced periodic increases in popularity, with today’s spike likely being the most notable. Of the self-defense chamberings, the .380 Auto is among the most contentious; some perceive it as marginal, at best, for personal protection, while others recognize-and accept-the tradeoff in ballistics for the ease-of-carry that pistols in this chambering offer. Further “muddying the waters” in the love-or-hate .380 debate are the latest generation of premium self-defense loads for the cartridge, as well as the newest “pocket pistols" chambered in 9 mm Luger. So, here’s your chance to express your views about the .380 Auto. Is there a necessity for it? Why or why not?

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