This year we have had a lot more women starting to visit our range and wanting to conceal carry. How awesome is that? It has me so excited to see women feel empowered! The most common question I get as is whether they should get a 9mm or a .380? As a prior law enforcement officer, I have always shot a 40 or a 9mm, so I have always answered 9mm without hesitation. After giving it, some thought and consideration, I felt I had given these ladies a disservice by not having firsthand experience with both cartridges. So, I took the time and did some hands-on research on this, and now I can better assist my new firearm-friendly ladies!
You can’t put a price on your own personal safety. I want to highlight the cost of your investment first. Let’s start with some basic comparisons between the two cartridges (the technical term for what most people call a bullet). When .380 started becoming popular it was cheaper. That was until the ammo scarcity happened. 9 mm was readily available, whereas the .380 was harder to find. Resulting in the 9mm currently being cheaper because everyone is overloaded with it. I anticipate it will return to being the more affordable round in the future. The cost of the firearms will greatly vary depending on which brand and model you use, but the .380 firearm will still come in cheaper on average.
The other comparison I want to quickly overview is the size. The .380 is shorter and lighter than its 9mm competition. There are a variety of weights available for each cartridge, and you will want to figure out what weight your firearm likes as you get more comfortable with it. The most common weight for a .380 cartridge is 90gr. The 9mm ranges from 115gr to 124gr. When you pick out your ammo, you will probably be overwhelmed by all the numbers; feel free to ask us questions! It’s a lot to take in. I still ask about some weights or types of ammo.
When a customer is ready to purchase their first firearm, I always ask, what are you buying this firearm for? The frequent response I get is, “I want to be prepared because I don’t feel safe going out.” That usually leads us to how they are going to carry. Here you have two options concealed or open carry. I always recommend carrying concealed, so your adversary wont have time to come up with ways to disarm you before they attack. Here is where I love the .380. They are typically smaller firearms, easier to conceal, and fit more comfortably than a 9mm. Some .380 firearms carry more rounds and remain light on your person. Being prepared and comfortable is a huge plus for me.
When carrying a 9mm, you typically carry a bigger gun. Manufacturers are coming out with smaller 9mm firearms, but I still feel that a .380 is more comfortable concealed carry. With that comparison being made, I want to touch on why I previously recommended the 9mm. The 9mm is a more potent round. It’s heavier and travels at a higher velocity. For me, that has always been a no-brainer. It’s more power to stop the threat attempting to cause me harm. Most law enforcement and military use the 9mm due to the nature of their work, but their secondary weapon they typically use is a .380.
Now that we have those basic things out of the way, let’s talk about how they perform. Before I go too far into this part of the blog, keep in mind I am writing this to educate women that are new to shooting and new to using a firearm. You want to be ready in case of an attack on you or your family. That in itself, will be a tough, heart-pounding situation that none of us want to find ourselves in; however, it does happen. The .380 is a smaller lighter-weight cartridge with less power resulting in it having significantly less recoil. Some studies show up to 94% less recoil. In a close proximity rapid-fire situation, it will give you more control and accuracy. However, as I stated before, the 9mm will hit much harder with the power behind it, but when you are in rapid-fire your accuracy can and will most likely drop. In these situations, how much you train and prepare for anything will ultimately determine your proficiency with the firearm.
Now that I have fully educated myself and have personal experience with both rounds, I feel confident when I answer my new guest with honest feedback. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with either cartridge. It will all boil down to the customer, their comfortability and capability, and the training they want to put into their personal safety. The more you train for real-life situations and get comfortable with the firearm, the better you’ll be.