Before I get to far into this... understand that this is not the typical BloggerBlaster gun nerd post. A friend just got her first pistol... and I thought I would write up a post for her.
So... there is a big category of concealed carry pistols we call micro-pistols or mouse guns. Generally speaking these are double-action only hammer fired .380 pistols. Think Ruger LCP, Taurus 738, ect ect ect... I really hate the term mouse gun because it makes me think of the tiny little .22lrs with flip up barrels. There is a world of difference between those mouse guns... and these .380s. Regardless... we're talking about the .380s here.
Normally here I would be berating your choice of caliber but I am not going to today. The fact is my wife carried a .380 for years and there is just no doubt in my mind she would've been effective with it on a bad day. This is Dr Who we're talking about... and her little stainless .380 was one of the most accurate sub-compact pistols I've ever played with. She could make a 3 hole triangle the size of a quarter on your forehead from 20 yards away.
Here's what I know about the .380... there are certain typs of ammunition you can use in it that meet my criteria for carry. Remember I want to dump as much energy as possible into an attacker. So I want the bullet to stop in the attacker. That means I need penetration... but not to much penetration. Now the FBI guidelines for qualifying pistols for agent use were 12 inches of penetration... but not more than 18 inches of penetration in FBI ballistic gel.
Guess what? .380 federal hydrashoks do just that. And not just one shot... but every shot. Even through heavy denim they perform consistently.
So that's my advice. If you're carrying one of these micro-compact pocket 380s... go get some federal hydrashoks for your every day carry needs.
Shoot a lot. You are going to need to hit center mass if you're using a .380. That means a shot to the sternum... and within say... 2 to 3 inches to either side of it. You need to be able to put your shots there consistently. I would work at very short distances at first then work your way out as you master each distance. I would start at say 8 feet. Shoot sets of 3 shots. When you can go 3 for 3 on center mass hits... 5 times in a row... then move then move the target back a few feet... and start again.
There are lots of shooting aids out there to help you be more accurate and I'm not going into it right now... but the main thing is to get out there and shoot.
So you have your pistol... what else do you need besides a couple boxes of hydrashoks? Well hydrashoks are relatively cheap in .380 but that doesn't mean you're gonna want to practice with them. Get several boxes of cheap FMJ ammo to practice with. i recommend blazer. Blazer is good quality new production ammo and its pretty reasonable. But honestly what ever you find to shoot is good. I would also suggest you to run a box of hydrashoks through your pistol a few times a year just to keep in mind how your pistol shoots with them. Different ammo has a different point of impact sometimes.. and it certainly feels different in the weapon when it goes off.
What else? You need a holster... and I would suggest at least 3 magazines. Then you need shooting glasses... electronic ear protection (yes its worth it. at this point its stupid to use anything else)... and a pistol safe to keep right by your bed. The pistol safe should be something you can access extremely fast in the dark.
now... I know what you're thinking. Nate... dammit... you can't possibly be saying hydrashoks are the only thing that works in .380.
No. I'm not. In fact I know hornady XTPs work very well too. But that's about it. There are a few small ammo manufacturers out there that have some stuff that is effective.. but the hydrashoks and the XTPs are the only ones that meet the Nate Standard. Nope... not even your precious bufalo bore... or corbon... not in .380 anyway. The vast majority of .380 ammo simply does not expand. Those high end corbons? Well... They literally act no different than a cheap FMJ.
Now... Ruger LCP or Taurus 738? Let the flame war begin!
Personally I like the Taurus better... trigger is way nicer.