The 380 Automatic Colt Pistol is a cartridge used in handguns for practicing activities such as target practice, plinking or range training. They are low powered rounds which got introduced in those blowback pistols. They were developed with a barrel locking mechanism. These cartridges are light which has a shorter range while compared to recently developed pistol rounds. Hence it can be simple and come at relatively low costs. The mass of the slide coupled with the strength of the recoil spring is enough to replace a locking mechanism as they absorb recoil energy. However, the Blowback operations used in these cartridges lead to better accuracy. As they are light weight, they serve as new self-defense rounds.
380 ACP cartridges were developed in 1880 by a person named John Moses Browning who was modern firearms designer of the times. It was manufactured by Colt’s Manufacturing Company in the United States from 1908 for using these cartridges in their new colt model which was a semi-automatic model. Other names for 380 ACP include 9mm Browning, 9mm Corto, 380 Auto, 9mm Short, 9mm Kurz and 9*17mm. This was used later on by Germans for their military and also used by Italians during World War 2. Due to lack of enough machine guns compatible with 380 ACP Ammo, it couldn’t be used as extensively. It was employed by the USA in 1908 and later by Europe in 1912. It was used to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand which led to an outbreak of First World War. It was utilized by the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy and Yugoslavia later on.
Use in Second World War and thereafter:
Even after it was used to mark the beginning of First World War, it was still ranked as a moderate level cartridge. It replaced many 32 ACP pistols but still no nation during World War 2 used it or retained it for military service. By the time World War 2 emerged, 9*19mm Parabellum was ruling the military service.
But however, it wasn’t discarded. It was used in the police department and went on to be used there till the 1980s. After 1980s 9*19mm handguns were developed which were more advanced. As it is smaller in size and light weight, its utility though less used isn’t underestimated. It is now used as self-defense equipment, and it is more popular in the civilian market. It is used as concealed carry pistols. The reason why 380 ACP Ammo didn’t succeed in making enough success initially was due to the problem of automatic blowback. It can’t be loaded beyond SAAMI specs for pressure. However, the velocity provides a good balance in the bullet between penetration and expansion. The bullet is a real and ultimate weapon to be used for self-defense purpose. This is argued in favor by many bullet experts. This cartridge is limited to use in smaller guns with just five shots. Though it can sometimes survive with seven shots, it is not recommended.
The objective why this cartridge was developed was to provide the shooter secrecy with minimum exposure regarding size and weight.
It’s Relevance Today:
It is more developed and can load bullets safely up to 115 grains or 7.5 grams. It can do great harm if fired depending upon the bullets diameter when expanded, bullets penetration depth as well as the pressure. Due to its minor weight, it is less powerful which is a drawback. It is light weight and compact. It had lower stopping power due to its low range pressure as compared to several of the modern pistols. It is popular in the civilian market these days especially with people who need shorter guns or guns which can be easily manageable recoil. The case type is rimless and has a straight walled cartridge. The bullet diameter is 0.355 inches or 9.0 mm. The neck diameter is 0.373 inches or 9.5 mm.
The base diameter is 0.374 inches or 9.5 mm. The rim diameter is 0.374 inches or 9.5 mm. The edge thickness is 0.45 inches or 1.1 mm. The case length of this cartridge is 0.680 inches or 17.3 mm. Finally, the overall length is 0.984 inches or 25.0 mm. The maximum pressure that can be applied is limited to 21,500 psi or 148Mpa. The popularity of 380 ACP Ammo has relatively increased primarily in the United States. This is because of the modern trend of concealment of guns which calls for smaller sized pistols. Over the last ten years, this cartridge is trending again. This is not because of any advancement in the cartridge or introduction of superior technology. It is due to the recent trend in US markets where plastic framed micro guns are flooding the American markets. This obsession among citizens has made 380 ACP Ammo famous once again.