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.380 ACP
9mm short.jpg
Yugoslavian "9 mm Kratak" (9 mm Short) cartridges, FMJ.
Type Pistol
Place of origin  United States
Production history
Designer John Browning
Manufacturer Colt's Manufacturing Company
Produced 1908
Case type Rimless, straight
Bullet diameter .355 in (9.0 mm)
Neck diameter .373 in (9.5 mm)
Base diameter .374 in (9.5 mm)
Rim diameter .374 in (9.5 mm)
Rim thickness .045 in (1.1 mm)
Case length .680 in (17.3 mm)
Overall length .984 in (25.0 mm)
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
90 gr (5.8 g) JHP 1,000 ft/s (300 m/s) 200 ft·lbf (270 J)
95 gr (6.2 g) FMJ 980 ft/s (300 m/s) 203 ft·lbf (275 J)
Test barrel length: 3.75
Source: Federal Cartridge [1]

The .380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) pistol cartridge is a rimless, straight-walled pistol cartridge developed by firearms designer John Browning. It was introduced in 1908 by Colt, and has been a popular self-defense cartridge ever since. Other names for .380 ACP include .380 Auto, 9mm Browning, 9mm Corto, 9mm Kurz, 9mm Short, and 9x17mm.



The .380 ACP cartridge was designed for early blowback pistols which lacked a barrel locking mechanism. The locking mechanism that is found on most other pistols is not necessary for the .380 because of the round's low breech pressure when fired. The recoil spring and the mass of the slide itself are enough to buffer the recoil energy of the round. This simplifies manufacture of pistols chambered for such a round, generally thereby lowering the cost. It also permits the barrel to be permanently fixed to the frame, which promotes accuracy. There have, however, been a number of locked-breech pistols chambered in .380 ACP. There have also been some diminutive submachine guns, such as the Ingram MAC-11[2] and vz. 83.[3]


The .380 ACP is compact and light, but has a relatively short range and less stopping power than other modern pistol cartridges.[4] Even so, it remains a popular self-defense cartridge for shooters who want a lightweight pistol with manageable recoil. It is slightly less powerful than a standard-pressure .38 Special and uses 9 mm (.355 in) diameter bullets. The heaviest bullet that can be safely loaded into the .380 ACP is 115 grains (7.5 g), though the standard has long been 85, 90 or 95 grains (5.5, 5.8 or 6.2 g). The .380 has had something of a recent upsurge in popularity with the increase of concealed carry laws, as have the compact and inexpensive pistols that make use of it. Popular pistols chambered in .380 ACP include the Walther PPK, Beretta Cheetah (Browning BDA .380, Beretta Model 84 and 85), Bersa Thunder 380, Ruger LCP, North American Arms Guardian, Kel-Tec P-3AT and Kahr P380. Glock also produces models in .380, though they are not available to the U.S. market because they do not earn enough "points" for importation under Federal law.


  • .380 Auto
  • 9mm Browning
  • 9mm Corto
  • 9mm Court
  • 9mm Kratak
  • 9mm Kurz
  • 9mm Scurt
  • 9mm Short
  • 9x17mm
The .380 ACP compared to a 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge.

See also


  1. ^ "Federal Cartridge Ballistics". Retrieved 2007-09-25.  
  2. ^ "Ingram MAC Model 10 / M10 and Model 11 / M11 submachine guns (USA)". Retrieved 2007-09-25.  
  3. ^ Jones, Richard (2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009-2010. Jane's Information Group. p. 107. ISBN 0710628692.  
  4. ^ ".380ACP Terminal Ballistics". Retrieved 2007-09-25.  

External links

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