August 2003

Firing Line: 08/03

.380 Versus .38 Special
Re: June 2003 “Firing Line”:

I read with interest the two letters taking Gun Tests to task for daring to say the .38 Special was more powerful than the .380. The .380 (either the Colt Mustang or the AMT Backup) is certainly more concealable than the .38 special, but the round is simply a weaker load. My Colt Detective averages 955 fps with Cor-Bon 158-grain lead bullets. That is only 45 fps slower than the advertised velocity on the box, and is probably due to the 2-inch barrel. The measure of energy is 320 foot-pounds using Hatcher’s formula. (The no-longer-produced 115-grain Cor-Bons screamed out at 1207 fps for 372 foot-pounds of energy, but I pref...

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