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Power of the .380

by Richard Nance   |  July 8th, 2011 32

A little .380 pistol such as Ruger’s LCP is a potent tool for self defense if circumstances dictate you wear light clothing, and if the target is close.


  • Will Carry

    I here ya! That is what the 380 is all about. It is the most concealable firearm that still offers stopping power. It is the gun that is always in my pocket summer or winter. With Hornaday Critcal Defense ammo od course!

  • JGus

    Great video. I just bought a Ruger LCP for ccw. Good to see an instructor that also chooses the LCP for his .380 choice of gun.

  • Commifornia Rules!

    In your face gun, aim for the brain stem and heart. those will be guaranteed one shot stoppers. Any other non vital areas, can keep you in a fight. Dude on Youtube shot himself with a .45 FMJ thru the leg. He could still walk and talk. Don't trust calibers or cool lines of ammo, SHOT PLACEMENT FOLKS.

  • m. sharpe

    Great video. Handguns should be practiced under some type of stress at close range-3 to 5 feet. Practice everything including fighting off with one hand and firing with the other. I have seen bodies in the morgue with .380s in the chest-it is adequate.

  • DK

    I have one of the LCP's. Just bought it. With using the holster as in the video, could I assume that it would be safe to carry it loaded? I know having a gun without one in chamber is like having one with no bullets, but, I am still concerned with safety.

    • Kevin M

      Yes DK the LCP or most any firearm who's safety's work the way they are intended will be safe to carry with a round in the chamber. I carry a Kimber 45 Ultra Carry with a round in the chamber and safety on, I've had NO issues… Carrying one without a round chambered is almost pointless because if something should happen your more than likely not gonna be able to chamber a round before an attacker can assault you….

    • dnamichael

      I have a rule for my students. Keep your finger the hell off and away from the trigger until you are ready to destroy your target, be it paper or two legged, and then keep firing until the threat has ended, bearing in mind YOU are responsible for every round that leaves the barrel. You do NOT want to strike an innocent buystander. And then have some money ready to pay for an attorney, since you WILL need one when you shoot someone, Perp or Innocent bystander.. Think twice and think "avoidance" first…

  • Willy D

    I have had a coyote special for about a year now. Added a metal pocket clip that works well with jeans or shorts with a shirt tail out in the summer.. I don't even notice that its along, but it sure is nice to know that it is there and handy. With 2 clips loaded with personal defense rounds, I feel if necessary, that I can protect myself and my family. Keep the big hardware handy at home.

  • wayne

    I favor the S&W Airweight Bodyguard .38. More powerful,more reliable, and maybe even more accurate. It is only slightly larger and heavier.

  • Chuck

    I've seen so many media folks change their opinions over the years. It used to be, "Nothing smaller than a 9mm (ABSOLUTE minimum) should be used for self-defense". Then, "Mini-9mm guns like the Kahr PM9 are great for warm weather ccw". Now everyone is touting the .380 ACP for times during light clothing season. Nothing has changed, folks, except the media people! The situation is the same now as 50 years ago – don't get caught empty-handed when your life is threatened. Have SOMETHING/ANYTHING that will put the advantage on your side. ANY gun will help… even a .22, but they're the same size as a .380 so why not carry a .380. After .380ACP, the guns start getting larger and harder to conceal. I like this dude's msg, "during hot weather, carry a small, super concealable gun but if the weather cools so you can wear a jacket or longer shirt then start wearing a more powerful weapon.

  • Joe Six-pack

    My dear old departed Grandfather was fond of saying, "A hit with a thirty-two beats a miss with a forty-five." I agree wholeheartedly with the comment several above that shot placement is the main thing.

  • wayne

    Shot placement is the critical thing. That's why the very small 380s concern me. One might need more than 7 yards.

    • Larry

      Remember shooting is a last resort. 7 yards or 21 feet is plenty of room to defend yourself with a 380. The newer loads are comparable to a 38 and 9mm. Anything more may cause problems in court.

  • Danny R Zickefoose


  • Mark, PR

    I'm using the same rig, but with a Diamondback 380. Sounds good; that placement shot. In the heat of the moment you shoot as fast as you can. Worry later. Stay alive!

    God keep you and your families safe.

    PS Don’t forget to train (muscle memory) will win out.

  • michael smith

    Mokarov is my choice in 380. great little gun with HORNADY nastys.

    Has a double stack, one might not stop ya but the next 12 will hurt.Has the back adjustable sight for the import to USA. and is very accurate out to 30 yards. Great carry gun.

    • Al

      30 yds.?? with a .380? I think you mean 30 ft.

      30 yds. = to 90 ft. With a .380 – I'd like to see that!

  • michael smith

    ya know bullet placement is the thing, but dont under estimate the 380 i have a mokarov in 380 and i can break eggs at 30 yards with it. adjustable sight and double stack.

    • Mak-attack

      Hey Mike, I love my 2 Makarov 9mm pistols &they both shoot true for me. I've been shooting soda cans @over 70yards. -on end! So keep up the good shooting! -most people don't know how reliable Makarovs are when it comes right down to it. After all,the soviets know how to make guns that are made to work in the most unreliable conditions.

    • Mello

      I shot a target round from my Ruger 380 right through a 4 x 4 wood post at about 30′. The exit hole was severely splintered and huge. Our first thought was, imagine if that was a femur bone ! A little gun with a big bang and accurate too.

  • Alvaro Casciani

    I don´t have that kind of holster, but I do have one of those little Uncle Micke´s Size 10 holster for my LCP, and it´s nice for carrying the tiny pistol. I think I´ll try that exercise you recommend on the video. Thanks.

  • devlinfaust

    While the debate over whether or not the .380 is 'enough' is endless, there is one maxim that should never be forgotten, which is "Rule #1 of a gunfight–bring a gun!" In a desperate situation we would always choose to have a 9mm, .40, .45, 357 or maybe a 12 guage, but the thing is that one way or another, the 'bigger' guns just won't be around when you need them, which is why there is a place for a small handgun, like the .380 in the arsenal. However, as Wayne rightly points out, don't overlook something like the S&W bodyguard, and also the small 9mm Mak guns that are on the market.

  • GregB

    I always carry the LCP in a pocket holster and Ruger now sells a very nice pocket holster. In Minnesota we have a long season of wearing heavier cloths in which case I carry a larger gun but still have the LCP as a backup.

  • JamesP

    Richard: Who is the manufacturer of your trousers being worn in this clip?

  • Rusjay

    Have a SW Bodyguard .380. Would not want to be on the receiving end within 10 yards. Beyond that it's sketchy. But as the video states these guns are easy to carry in the hot weather. I also like the fact that it is lightweight. Would have purchased the LCP except it was not CERTIFIED for sale in Massachusetts at the time but the Bodyguard was, Goes to show who the Politicians favor when thier campaign coffers are padded.

  • Wheelgunner

    Check out the Bucket O' Truth #26 or 27. It shows the penetration of different small caliber guns including .380s, 9×18 Makarovs, and .38 snubbies. Some .380 ammo expands too soon or not at all. Better not at all. I carry FMJ in my .380 and my Mak when I carry a small powered mouse gun. I'd rather have the penetration than the expansion. Better to reach a vital organ than just come close.

  • Joe

    My wife has a Bersa .380 as her carry gun. I like it. It shoots to point of aim at likely distances of engagement. However, I wish she could carry something with a little more authority. At least it's a step up from the .22 she was carrying after her surgery.

  • Sian

    The LCP is sure small, but having shot several hundred rounds through one, well, it's not something I'd want to do again.

    A PPK or clone is nearly as small and more appropriate, the sharp, nasty kick and creepy trigger of the LCP just sours me on it horribly. I think there isn't much drawback to a fully metal frame with a handgun this small. You want that extra heft.

  • J

    The Sig Sauer P238 is my carry gun of choice. Easy to conceal, all metal, and extremely accurate.

  • b=man

    Glock 26.

    To the above post, if you carry a makarov, you had better have it dehorned as it has many sharp edges.

  • Mutt

    Just received my LCP Ruger today. Awesome little piece too. So easy to hide and carry. Probably will never take out my Walther ppk/s again. This is the perfect concealed carry.

  • Dman

    If you have a threat at 21 ft. You better start shooting!!! I human can cover that distance before you can pull. 7 yrds or 21 ft in court is BS.

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