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380 ACP full metal jacket ammo laid on a table.

380 Automatic Colt Pistol Ammunition

380 ACP (automatic colt pistol) is a straight-walled pistol cartridge without a rim that has a rich history dating back to the early 1900's. The round is also commonly referred to as the 9mm Corto, 380 Auto or 9x17mm.

The .380 caliber was developed by the famous firearms inventor John Browning and introduced to the shooting masses by Colt in 1908. A popular cartridge for both recreational shooters and self-defense, the caliber has been used across a myriad of disciplines but perhaps most notably by a number of German officers and Italian forces during the second World War. The Germans, of course, loaded their .380 ammo into a German-made Walther PPK.

While it is a popular round for defense, .380 ACP ammunition is much lighter than many other modern pistol calibers. Many experienced shooters will tell you, 380 auto rides the line between being just large enough to provide adequate protection to being just a little too small to be relied upon. It's relatively light recoil and concealability makes it one of the most attractive calibers for self-defense carry and it is consistently among the top-selling calibers among ammunition retailers.

General Specifications of 380 ACP Ammo:

Generally, you'll find .380 ACP rounds in weights ranging from 90 grain up into the 102 grain range, although you may find a rare cartridge slightly lighter or more heavy. Additionally, it's not uncommon to find commercially loaded rounds marked "+P", meaning they are loaded to a higher pressure than the average round. While many shooters find that higher pressure desireable in a self-defense round, you should consult your manufacturer or the owner's manual of your firearm before determining if you want to use ammunition loaded to higher pressure. Generally, manufacturers do not advise you shoot +P ammo because it can cause more wear and tear on your barrel than standard-pressure rounds.

Bullet Diameter 9.0 millimeters
Case Length 17.3 millimeters
Total Cartridge Length 25.0 millimeters
Maximum Pressure 21,500 psi



Expected Ballistic Performance (3.75 inch barrel used in testing by Federal):

Bullet Weight Muzzle Velocity Muzzle Energy
90 grain JHP 1,000 feet per second 200 foot pounds
95 grain FMJ 980 feet per second 203 foot pounds