5 Best .380 Ammo for Self-Defence and Target Practice!

By | February 8, 2023


When it was first launched in the market, for many years, the .380 ACP wasn’t a hugely popular cartridge for concealed carry or home defence. But things are different now. Throughout the world, the 380 ammo is a massive hit, mainly for self-defence, and to be used as a concealed carry weapon. Ask yourself a question: are the thoughts of home invasion and robberies running in your head and want to feel a bit safer every time you sleep or go out of your home?

If the answer is yes, congratulations, the .380 ACP is the best for you. It will not only help you to evade the hostile environment but will also make you feel safer in places where you used to be a bit afraid earlier. We will suggest you use a .380 as a daily carry a concealed weapon that would boost your confidence immensely.

But like the majority of products in the market, the .380 ACP is also available in a variety of price ranges and provided to gun owners by hundreds of manufacturers throughout the globe. And that is the reason why gun owners, especially those who do not have that much knowledge about weapons cannot decide which one to buy that would be useful for them.

To cater to their needs, we have brought a section in our article on the best 380 ammo available in the market which you can buy. Let us go through the section to understand the points that we should keep in mind while choosing the best 380 ammo for any purpose, be it for self-defence or for using it as a concealed carry weapon.

How to choose the best 380 Ammo for self-defence?

As we have told earlier, there are thousands of different kinds of 380 ammo produced by hundreds of manufacturers. But not every 380 ammo will suit you the best. When it comes to choosing the best 380 ammo, you might get confused due to the wide variety available in the market. For those confused right now about buying 380 ammo go through the following points to get a clear idea of the things, you should keep in mind while buying 380 ammo so that you get what you need.

#1 Penetration

Here, the word penetration means the depth up to which the bullet will enter into the attacker’s body.  As you know, the penetration power needs to be strong enough to penetrate deep inside the body to cause massive harm. If the penetration power is not good, it will penetrate just a few millimeters and will not cause any harm to him or her. We understand that inflicting fatal damage on the target’s body is not your aim. The only thing that you want is to evade the hostile situation as quickly as possible, even if that requires firing a few shots aimed at the attacker to bring him on his knees, which will give your precious seconds to run for your life.

But if the penetration power of the bullet is less it will not cause a lot of harm to him or her and also might turn him or her more aggressive, as he or she will feel that you need to be killed to save his or her life. Generally, the penetration depends on the weight and the type of bullet, and different varieties of ammo will have different power. With JHPs, you will always get deep penetration, while in the case of FMJs, they might pass right through the target without stopping. It is always recommended to choose a JHP ammo that can penetrate about 70% into the body that will include enough damage to help you run for your life or call for help.

#2 Expansion

As you might know, the expansion of projectiles is critical for blood loss and even pain compliance, because it will include more damage then and the bullets that expand less. But why is expansion so much influential for damage? The simple answer is that it will help you leave wider wounds. It will eliminate the need to have multiple shots fired at the enemy as you can inflict the same damage with a single shot of much larger expansion then numerous shots of small expansion.

The general rule is that the larger round can expand, the more damage it will do to the target.  Thus, when researching expansion for a certain load, always keep in mind that the bigger is always better. But if you need to decide between penetration and expansion, remember that expansion comes second to penetration. In such situations, always choose penetration over expansion. The best way to test the expansion of a bullet is to fire it through a denim cloth. It is to check whether the ammo will perform well if the attacker is wearing denim. Because in most cases, ammo loses its expansion after passing through the fabric.

#3 Reliability

Now since we have covered penetration and expansion, let us talk about the reliability that 380 ACP should have to be used as convenient ammo. Reliability refers to the round’s ability to reliably expand and reliably penetrate. A general convention is that a 380 ammo may show impressive outcomes when tested for penetration and expansion. However, it might not be that reliable. Always opt for ammo that shows the highest reliability with little chances of any misfires. Take proper care reliability as it will impact the efficiency with which you fire the shots.

#4 Weight Retention

Weight retention is nothing but the projectile’s ability to retain weight after expansion and penetration. It is a good measure to assess the damage that the bullets will inflict on the attacker. If you are in the field of guns and ammunition, you might have often seen manufacturers label their ammo with “100% weight retention” which means the fired bullet will carry the same inside the body of the attacker even after expansion and penetration.

The ability to retain weight after the ammo has penetrated can make a massive difference in the amount of damage to the threat and will thus help you with the time to take the required action. The general rule in this field is that the more weight retention, the better. Bullets are generally measured in grains, so when researching ammunition look at what the projectile weighs before and after the weight retention test. Mostly, bonded jackets show almost 100% weight retention.

#5 Weight and Muzzle Velocity

The weight of the projectile and the muzzle velocity last two features that you should look at while buying 380 Ammo. The weight of the ammo directly affects the velocity and its trajectory.  Generally, most 380 ammo weighs about 90–99 grains and is the ideal weight. The more the weight of the ammo, the more will be its recoil. Also, ammo that weighs more will likely cause lower muzzle velocity than the others. Usually, heavier weight results in lower muzzle velocity and heavier recoil.

For a pocket pistol, a 90 grains projectile seems to be the heaviest round that penetrates deep enough to strike something critical and is considered deadly. The rounds also meet a high enough velocity to expand. On one hand, the lighter 77 grain or even 50-grain rounds are fast enough but often fail to penetrate deep inside to cause substantial damage. Whereas, on the other hand, the heavier 102-grain rounds are better suited for handguns with barrels longer than 3.5 inches, for example, the Beretta Cheetah and CZ 83.

However, there are no strict rules of what is best, but you need to find a balance between the two. All you need to do is make sure that the projectile is not too light and that it doesn’t cause sufficient damage to bring the enemy on his or her knees. Nor it should be too heavy either to reduce its range.

With enough being said, let us now jump straight into the list of the best 3080 ammo that is available in the market for you to buy so that it meets your requirements. We have tried to include ammo of a wide variety so that the majority of our readers can get the befit out of it.

Top 5 Best .380 Ammo Reviews

#1 – Winchester USA 380 Handgun Ammunition

Winchester USA 380 Handgun Ammunition
The Winchester USA 380 Handgun Ammunition is the first 380 ammo in our list of the best 380 ammo available in the market that you can buy. The ammo is known in the domain of guns and ammunition for excellence and reliability that they provide to the gun owners. The 380-ammo manufactured by Winchester is perfect to be used for both concealed carry as well as self-defence weapons.

The JHP cartridges expand considerably well and make sure that your target is wounded and is not in a state to launch himself or herself towards you to inflict damage. They also ensure deep penetration into the target without leaving through the other side, much to the anguish of the enemy. The high muzzle velocity of the ammo further helps the ammo in staying embedded inside the target, so that it doesn’t come out from the other side. If that happens accidentally, the bullet might damage innocent people in the surroundings; an issue you would never want to arise when your life is at stake.

They are also equipped with a high energy deposit and the higher mass that ensures more force is exerted behind each round that is fired. They are available in a box of 50 rounds sufficient enough for self-defence needs. The key features added to the Winchester USA 380 Handgun Ammunition are consistent accuracy to ensure superior self-defence, heavy 95-grain bullets, pack of 50 Jacketed Hollow Point cartridges that are enough for personal use, and a muzzle velocity of 955 fps to name a few. Overall, the Winchester USA 380 Handgun Ammunition is quite a deal in terms of utility and quality, but it is expensive, which might rule out some of the prospective customers.

  • It is boxer primed so it can be reloaded and replaced.
  • The bullets are non-corrosive and durable.
  • The JHP bullets ensure maximum penetration and wide wounds that have high stopping power.
  • Available in a pack of 50 bullets.
  • The gun shooting the bullets will have a higher recoil due to heavy ammo.


#2 – Hornady Custom 380 ACP Handgun Ammunition

Hornady Custom 380 ACP Handgun Ammunition
The Hornady Custom 380 ACP Handgun Ammunition is the second 380 ammo in our list of the best 380 ammo available in the market that you can buy. Some of the key features added to the ammo are XTP Jacketed Hollow Point bullets, expanding 1.5 times more than their original diameter, can penetrate to terminal depths due to stopping power, and weight 90 grain.

This .380 ammo is one of the best 380 ammo in the market because of its high level of expansion as well as penetration. It is currently used by various police departments around the world for law enforcement. But civilians also use them for self-defence and recreational activities, because they are perfect for self-defence.

As claimed by the manufacturer, the bullets can easily expand up to 1.5 times more than their original diameter, which makes it one of the best choices if you need ammo that expands a lot. As an added advantage, they possess superior stopping power as well. Long story short, your targets will end up with large wounds in his or her body and a bullet that penetrates deeply, that will take away their strength to even stand up, leave alone attacking you.

The JHP bullets include various serrations on the jacket that enhance the incredible expansion which the ammo poses. On the other hand, the jacket also includes varying thicknesses throughout the length of the bullet, which helps control the expansion while, helping the bullet penetrate deeper, thus inflicting all-round damage.

  • It leaves behind large wounds and penetrates deeply into the target.
  • It expands considerably well as the bullets are intricately designed to ensure maximum damage.
  • It is heavy and thus possesses high stopping power.
  • The gun shooting the bullets will have a higher recoil due to heavy bullets.
  • The package only contains 25 rounds.


#3 – Hornady Critical Defense 380 Handgun Ammo

Hornady Critical Defense 380 Handgun Ammo
Here come the second Hornady and the third 380 ammo in our list of the best 380 ammo available in the market that you can buy. The Hornady Polymer Tipped Hollow FTX bullets that have a soft polymer tip and the lead core ensure immediate expansion once the bullet is in contact with the target. With a high muzzle velocity and a large weight, the set of 25 bullets are bound to make the target immobile to a great extent.

Some of the features added to the ammo are 25 Polymer Tipped Hollow Point bullets lead core locked to the jacket to ensure reliable performance, secant ogive profile weighs 90 gr. while the muzzle velocity is about 1000 fps. The lead core is locked to the covering, which ensures that they never separate, providing the ammo with a durable build. And as a result, the owner will get a deeper penetration into the body of the enemy, as well as maximum weight retention.

Also, the Interlock design combined with the heavy jacket that it is equipped with helps to control the expansion. Overall, they are reliable and have a durable body, but are quite expensive because they are equipped with FTX technology.

  • The ammo has an immediate and high level of expansion.
  • It is equipped with all the ballistic advantages of an FJM.
  • It works well with all kinds of guns, especially tubular magazines, and ensures deeper penetration as the jacket stays locked.
  • It is accurate and has a flat and stable trajectory.
  • They are quite troublesome to reload.
  • They are also expensive as compared to most of the 3080 ammo.


#4 – Federal Hydra-Shok Handgun 380 ammo

Federal Hydra-Shok Handgun 380 ammo
The Federal Hydra-Shok Handgun 380 ammo is the fourth 380 ammo in our list of the best 380 ammo available in the market that you can buy. It is used by various law enforcement agencies,  including personal use for safety or recreational use, as it ensures deep penetration and provides efficient energy to eliminate any threats.

Some of the notable features of this ammo are controlled expansion due to the centre post design a serrated or notched jacket ensures maximum energy transfer, JHP bullets with Hydra Shok feature, and a nickel-plated brass casing.

As one of the most notable features, it has the Hydra Shok design that includes a center post design that allows for controlled expansion. The bullets do expand a lot, and there is sufficient energy transfer to allow the bullet to penetrate easily. The stopping power of the ammo is also excellent, which makes sure that the ammo stays inside the target, instead of coming out from the other end. The casing features brass construction and a nickel plating that makes them non-corrosive, and the boxer primer ensures users can easily remove and reload the primer with maximum ease.

  • It has a controlled expansion as well as sufficient energy transfer.
  • It has excellent stopping power to reduce any collateral damage.
  • The ammo is non-corrosive and durable.
  • It is quite easy to reload the primer and can be used in all kinds of weather conditions.
  • The gun shooting the bullets will have a higher recoil due to heavy ammo.
  • They have very few rounds in a box.


#5 – Federal Personal Defense 380 HST Handgun Ammunition

Federal Personal Defense 380 HST Handgun Ammunition
Here comes the last 380 ammo in our list of the best 380 ammo available in the market that you can buy, named as the Federal Personal Defense 380 HST Handgun Ammunition. It is heavier than most of the items in our list and is quite reliable that ensures superior terminal performance as well. The features added to the Federal Personal Defense 380 HST Handgun Ammunition are 100% weight retention at 99 grain, high muzzle velocity of 1030 fps, high-level terminal performance, to name a few.

The Jacketed Hollow Point design ensures maximum expansion as well as optimum penetration through the toughest of materials that enable the owners to inflict as much damage as possible to the enemy. The jacket is linked with the core and does not separate upon impact, which makes it able to penetrate and achieve 100% weight retention. Also, the tips of the jacket are thinned, which allows for more efficient expansion than the normal ones.

  • It penetrates through hard materials and fabric with ease.
  • It is quite suitable for short-barreled pistols and handguns.
  • It has superior penetration as well as expansion capabilities.
  • It is expensive and heavyweight.



And thus, we mark the end of our journey through the best 380 ammo available in the market which you can buy. Before you go on to choose your pack, make sure you are familiar with your needs and desires and what type of ammo suits you the best.

Buying an ill-suited 380 ammo is as good as purchasing air at the cost of some hard-earned bucks. We hope that you have liked our article and are equipped with all the necessary information which will help you buy a pack of 380 ammo.
Happy Shopping!