380 Ammo vs 9MM: What Are the Differences?

380 ammo vs 9mm: How much do you know about the differences between the two? Read on to learn more about the differences between them.

Did you know that a round must penetrate at least 12 inches into the target to pass the FBI’s penetration test? Does your ammo do that?  

When comparing the differences between 380 ammo vs. 9mm, penetration is only one of the factors to consider.  

If you want to know which caliber beats the benchmark, you should keep reading.  

A Short History of the Nines  

Both 380 ammo and 9mm ammo have a back story, they share similarities, and differences, so let us take a quick look at each.  

The 9mm  

Georg Johann Luger is famous for inventing the Luger pistol and the 9mm round.  

Luger’s cartridge design was not only successful but it could not have been imagined just how popular it would become when it was introduced in 1901.  

The 9mm round is now the most popular round for pistols and submachine guns worldwide.  

The 380  

The 380 cartridge was invented by U.S. firearms inventor John Moses Browning in 1908.  

This is a commonly used handgun cartridge in the United States, known as the 380 Automatic Colt Pistol or the 380 Auto.  

However, in Europe and to a lesser extent in the United States, it is also known as the 9mm Browning.  

380 Ammo vs. 9mm  

The 380 cartridge is similar in size and weight to the 9mm cartridge, but the 380 cartridge is often considered less powerful than the 9mm cartridge.  

Understanding the differences between the two types of ammunition will help you know which is best suited for your shooting style and needs.  

Dimensions and Data  

The 9mm round has a case design with a smooth, straight edge, while the 380 cartridge is tapered.  

In terms of bullet diameter, both rounds are classified as 9mm.  

The rim diameter of the 9mm is .392 inches, while the 380 comes in at .374 inches.  

There are also differences in the neck and base diameter.  

The 380 has a neck diameter of 0.373-inches, while the 9mm has a neck diameter of 0380-inches and a base diameter of 0.391-inches.  

The thickness of the base of the cartridges also differs, with the 9mm coming in at 0.5 inches and the 380 at 0.45 inches.  

The bullet weight for the 9mm is in the 100-150 grain range, while the 380 falls in the 90-100 grain range.  

Velocity is 950-1400 feet per second for the 9mm, while the 380 clocks in at 1050fps.  

Target Penetration  

In a test conducted by ammunition expert David Lewis, the 380 ACP performed well and met the FBI’s 12-inch penetration guideline, penetrating the ballistic gel target to 12.4 inches.  

The 9mm test shot penetrated a lot deeper. It actually exceeded the FBI’s penetration recommendation, penetrating to 18.6 inches. 

Websites like www.targetsportsusa.com can help you determine which ammo is more suited to your needs.  

Summary of Differences  

The foremost recognizable distinction between the 9mm and the 380 is the length of their shells.  

The 380 is shorter than 9mm, and you’ll be able to effortlessly tell them apart.  

That’s why the 380 is commonly known as the “9mm short”.  

The 9mm and 380 bullets may fly at the same speed, but the higher mass of the 9mm bullet means it packs a bigger punch.  

The one advantage of utilizing 380 rounds is that the gun can be more compact.  

Parting Shot  

It seems that there is a clear winner in the 380 ammo vs. 9mm debate, but we’ll let you draw your own conclusions.  

The final choice comes down to your specific need and the round’s intended use.  

We hope our little 380 vs. 9mm ammo guide has been of great help to you, don’t forget to check back in for more helpful hints and tips. 

Recommended Articles