380 ACP (Auto) Ammunition
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History of 380 Auto (ACP) Ammunition
The .380 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) is one of the most popular self defense rounds on the market today. It has enjoyed a sort of love/hate relationship with the gun writers community for most of its’ existence, but concealed carry practitioners, cops needing a backup gun and anyone who needed a cartridge that was powerful enough for self-defense and could be used in a light compact pistol with mild recoil have turned to the .380 ACP.
Designed by John Moses Browning and introduced in 1908 by Colt’s Manufacturing Company, the .380 ACP was initially offered in the Colt Model 1908 Pocket Pistol. Over the next 100 plus years the .380 would establish and maintain a presence in the firearms world as an excellent choice for not only concealed carry but even as a primary sidearm.
The Walther PPK, and Beretta M1934 were used by German and Italian forces respectively during World War II. Several other militaries used pistols in .380 ACP until it was superseded by the 9mm. During the first half of the 20th century it was not uncommon to find European law enforcement agencies issuing .380 ACP pistols to their officers as duty firearms.
The .380 ACP will never be mistaken as a high energy round, but it does serve its’ purpose well. It is accurate enough for self defense use. It has a moderate recoil and blast for a moderate amount of recoil. The round feeds well and is as reliable as any other semi auto pistol round. There is a great range of practice and carry ammunition now on the market. All of the major pistol ammo manufacturers in the US offer .380 ACP and most offer high quality self defense ammunition that is light years ahead of round nose or simple hollow point ammo that was commonly used for years.
In the early 2000’s the Kel-Tec P3 AT was released and brought a new interest in the .380 ACP to the American market. This ultra-lightweight and very concealable pistol is reliable and inexpensive; those were two factors that didn’t seem to be commonly found in .380 caliber pistols. With this new interest came more lightweight pistols designed for concealed carry. Ruger, Diamondback, Smith & Wesson and SIG Sauer have all recently introduced new handguns in .380 ACP to meet the new demand.With the rapid rise in popularity of the .380 ACP, and the responsiveness of ammunition and firearm manufacturers, the .380 ACP is likely to remain a popular choice for handguns carried in personal defense.
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