.380 Vs. 9mm - Which One Is Good For Concealed Carry?

As everyone knows, 9mm ammo is always a good choice for self-defense and concealed carry.

But there are other calibers, like 380 ammo, that people love to use for self-defense & concealed carry.

But why do people love to use 380 ammo over the world's most popular caliber 9mm?

.380 Vs. 9mm Ammo

That's why we are going to compare .380 Vs. 9mm.

This will be exciting to know what is the difference between both & why some people love to use 380 rounds over 9mm rounds.

To move further in this blog post, check out our previous 9mm comparison guides with other popular calibers like; 5.7 Vs. 9mm, 9mm Vs. 10mm, 45 Vs. 9mm.

.380 Vs. 9mm:Cartridge Specifications

Specifications 380 Ammo 9mm Ammo
Designed by John Browning Georg Luger
Year of Design 1908 1901
Production 1908–present 1902-Present
Bullet Weight 90 to 100 grains 100 to 150 grains
Case Type Rimless, straight Rimless, Tapered
Bullet Diameter .355 in (9.0 mm) 0.355 inches (9.01mm)
Neck Diameter .373 in (9.5 mm) 0.380 inches (9.65mm)
Case Length .680 in (17.3 mm) 0.754 inches (19.15mm)
Case Capacity 11.8 grains h20 13.30 grain H20
Overall Length .984 in (25.0 mm) 1.169 inches (29.69mm)
Maximum Pressure 21,500 psi (148 MPa) 241.3165 MPa (35,000.00 psi)

380 Ammo Overview

380 Ammo Overview

The .380 ACP, also known as the 9mm Browning, 9mm Short, and 9mm Kurtz, is a rimless, straight-walled pistol cartridge.

The .380 ACP is compact and light but has a shorter range and less stopping power than other modern pistol cartridges.

As there are many other popular calibers available in the market, 380 ammo is still popular for shooters who want a lightweight or smaller pistol with manageable recoil.

The .380 ACP is a strong contender for those seeking less recoil, ease in concealed carry, and an effective overall round.

9mm Ammo Overview

The 9mm ammunition is the king of the calibers when it comes to handgun loads.

It’s reliable, low recoiling, and extremely accurate. This is the main reason why the U.S. military, FBI, other government agencies, state, county, and local law enforcement, and countless civilian shooters rely on the round.

We have already discussed 9mm calibers in our previous blog post.

.380 Vs. 9mm: Bullet Weight & Size

.380 Vs. 9mm: Bullet Weight & Size

When we compare 9mm & 380 calibers by size, the diameter of a 9mm bullet is 9.01mm, while the .380 ACP has a diameter of 9.0 mm.

So, both calibers have the same diameter, but the 9mm casing and overall length are longer than 380 ACP.

This means there is more gunpowder in the 9mm casing, which is more powerful & often chosen for its better penetration and energy transfer.

It's a popular choice for self-defense and law enforcement.

On the other hand, the .380 ACP is smaller and may have less recoil, making it a more comfortable option for some shooters, especially in compact or subcompact firearms.

The typical bullet weights for .380 ACP range from 85 grains to 95 grains, while 9mm can vary more widely, ranging from about 90 grains to 147 grains.

.380 Vs. 9mm: Stopping Power

As per the stopping power, 9mm calibers have higher velocity & energy, which is helpful for better stopping power.

On the other hand, 380 ACP has lower velocity and energy compared to 9mm.

380 Vs. 9mm: Recoil

Recoil is one of the most important factors to consider while choosing a caliber. When we compare .380 Vs. 9mm by recoil, this is the point that some people prefer .380 over 9mm.

As this cartridge is shorter, lighter, and less powerful, it has milder recoil.

Milder recoil allows for more accurate follow-up shots because you need less time for sight recovery.

This can be an advantage for individuals with limited hand strength or those who are new to shooting.

On the other hand, 9mm handguns have more recoil. But modern 9mm handguns often feature recoil-reducing technologies that are helpful in making them more comfortable to shoot.

380 Vs. 9mm: Accuracy

When we talk about the accuracy between 380 & 9mm, 380 cartridges have the advantage of being more accurate because of their less recoil.

The lighter recoil of the .380 ACP makes it more manageable for rapid-fire situations.

It allows shooters to maintain better control and stay on target during consecutive shots, which can be crucial in self-defense scenarios where quick follow-up shots might be necessary.

380 Vs. 9mm: Penetration

Bullet design and ammunition choice can significantly impact penetration. In general, the 9mm tends to have better penetration capabilities compared to the .380 ACP.

This is because the 9mm typically has higher muzzle energy and a larger bullet, which can result in better penetration through barriers such as clothing, glass, or other materials.

380 Vs. 9mm: Ballistics

In terms of ballistics, the 9mm Luger is the best option over 380 ACP. Because of its additional 2 mm of case length, the 9mm is the bigger cartridge and, therefore, has higher muzzle energy and muzzle velocity and will penetrate deeper than almost every .380 ACP on the market.

.380 ACP Ballistics

Note: This information is based on the specific manufacturer or brand. Please make sure to check the latest information from a brand before buying.

This ballistics test was conducted with Hornady 90-grain XTP & a handgun that comes with a barrel length of 4 inches.

- Muzzle 25 Yds 50 Yds 100 Yds
Velocity (FPS) 1,000 953 913 846
Energy (FT/LB) 200 181 167 143
Drop (Inch) - 0“ -1.6″ -12.8″

9mm Ballistics

The ballistics of 9mm ammunition can vary depending on the specific load and manufacturer. But there are some important points you need to take care of while calculating ballistics, like Muzzle velocity, Energy, Penetration, Recoil & bullet weight.

For 9mm ballistics, we have a dedicated blog post. To know the complete information about 9mm ballistics check here.

So, as per the ballistics comparison between 9mm & 380 ACP, the 9mm generally offers better ballistic performance and stopping Power.

.380 Vs. 9mm: Price & Availability


For the price comparison, 9mm ammo is affordable because of its high demand compared to 380.

9mm ammo approximate Per Round Cost: 0.16 To $3.70 for 50 rounds of box. (at the time of writing this post)

On the other hand, 380 ammo is more expensive than 9mm because of the smaller market demand.


One of the most widely used calibers globally, so it's usually more readily available. You can find 9mm ammunition in various brands and types in most gun stores.

380 ammo might still be a bit less available compared to 9mm, especially in times of increased demand.

380 Ammo

380 Ammo Check Price

9mm Ammo

9mm Ammo Check Price

Final Words

Finally, after a complete discussion about 380 Vs. 9mm, we can say that — both calibers are popular choices for self-defense rounds.

When it comes to choosing between the 9mm and .380 calibers, 9mm is more popular but we can’t ignore the 380 caliber. There are many shooters who love to choose 380 over 9mm.

The 9mm is a versatile and powerful cartridge that is well-suited for a variety of purposes.

At the same time, the .380 is a compact and lightweight option that can be easily carried for personal defense.

Always choose the caliber that fits your needs & requirements.

Lisa Earnest

Lisa Earnest

Apr, 24, 2024

Lisa Earnest has been a part of the Bulk Cheap Ammo team since 2018 and serves as the editor of Bulk Cheap Ammo content.

With a flair for language and an unwavering dedication to shooting sports, Lisa's diverse expertise combines to create an unforgettable experience for our audience.

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