FREE Shipping on Orders over $60

.380 vs 9mm

380 vs 9mm

People have been comparing the 9mm with its predecessor, the .380 for a long time and why shouldn’t they? They both have the same diameter bullet and created within 6 years from each other. 




John M. Browning came up with the .380 back in 1908 The round was known as the 9X17mm, 9mm Short and my personal favorite the 9mm Browning. For lack of confusion we will just continue to call it the .380 The 9mm was designed by Georg Luger for the German Empire back in 1902.


Which One Is More Accurate?


So let’s dive into the differences between these two very similar rounds which aren’t so similar. First off, the 9mm has a longer casing than the .380 This gives the .380 less recoil than the more popular 9mm which is an advantage for concealed carry. Why you may ask? because it’s more accurate when it comes to a rapid-fire situation or follow-up shots. It also makes it a more accurate round to new and first-time shooters. This is obviously something that concealed carriers look for when buying a gun for everyday carry.


Lack Of Power?


The 9mm does have more penetration than the .380 making this round the most popular concealed carry round today. The penetration for the 9mm is about 13 inches while the .380 has a penetration of about 9 inches. You may think that isn’t much but it does carry over when you start talking about stopping power.


What Are They Designed To Do?


The .380 is designed to accommodate smaller handguns allowing concealed carriers to choose from smaller frame guns and pocket pistols. Usually, a .380 handgun is used as a backup gun when it comes to Law Enforcement Officers. The lightweight and micro designs help it to be carried on ankle holsters and front or rear pant pockets.


Firearm Selection


The 9mm has way more selection fo firearms than the .380 This is largely due to the popularity of the 9mm round. Gun manufacturers obviously know this and design more 9mm pistols like the Glock 19 and Ruger LCP's than the less popular 380 acp firearms. The market will always dictate what is going to be produced and gun manufacturers are no exception.



Round Capacity 

There is very little difference when it comes to round capacity between both 9mm and .380 guns that are designed for concealed carry. Remember that the casing and projectile diameters of both rounds are the same. Other than a single stack magazine vs. a double stack magazine, there isn't a difference in capacity of either round unlike a 9mm vs. a 45 ACP. Keep in mind though that gun manufacturers design their .380 pistols largely for concealed carry. This means that conventional wisdom dictates that most people who carry on a daily basis will not need more than 8 rounds. This isn't so true when manufacturers design for the 9mm because of the use by Law Enforcement and Military personnel. 15 rounds or more is the norm when talking about larger 9mm handguns. 


Convenience On Availability


The 9mm is way more readily available and less expensive than the .380 This is due to its popularity in the gun community. In fact, the 9mm is the most popular handgun round which makes it cheaper than all centerfire cartridges available for pistols. Especially concealed carry guns that are in the compact to semi compact categories like the small sized Glock 42 and the Sig Sauer P238.




The 9mm has an effective range of about 55 yards. This makes the 9mm a very suitable round not just for concealed carry individuals but also for Law Enforcement and Military. The .380 is more suitable for very close range protection and confrontations . Especially with defense cartridges like hollow point bullets.


What Is Beast For Concealed Carry?


So what is better for everyday carry? That will be up to you. Remember that the .380 is not designed for releasing a large amount of energy upon impact. This doesn’t make it an irrelevant round though. Many people carry small guns everyday chambered in 380. It can stop a threat with proper shot placement but it does lack when comparing it to its big brother, the 9mm Luger.



Thanks for your time,

Rene Aguirre

Rene Aguirre is an avid individual in concealed carry with more than 10 years of daily carry. He is also a part of his local church security team with over 10 years of service. Rene is also the owner of Bravo Concealment.


Rene Aguirre

Rene Aguirre is the founder and owner of Bravo Concealment. Rene has been carrying concealed on a daily basis for over 8 years and has been a CHL (concealed handgun license) holder for more than 20 years. Finding a high interest in firearms for many years, Rene started Bravo because of the “lack of” a good concealed carry holster on the market.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published


  • My preferred carry is a Glock 19 however I often carry a Ruger lc380 and recently got a S&W Shield 380 EZ. Due to medical conditions with both hands some days I just can’t use a 9mm.
    Also the wife has her own EZ and loves it. She can shoot the Glock but can’t work the slide.

    Tim Fry Jan 23, 2019
  • I have both 9mm LC9S and 380 LCP Ruger both. I shoot both at the range and carry each one at different times for different reasons. Thanks for great Email. I have your holsters for my Glock 19 but you haven’t made one for my LC9S yet.

    Arnie OBlenis Jan 22, 2019

More From Blog

Get the Latest Updates

Get Your FREE Video - "EDC All Day / Every Day"