(from Oct 2014)
Thirty-third in a series of a quest to find the overall best ammunition for modern micro-compact 380 ACP pistols (such as the Taurus TCP 738, the Ruger LCP, Sig P238, Beretta Pico, Kel-Tec P3AT or S&W Bodyguard or any other popular 380 micro-pistol using a barrel length of around 2.8").
This is yet another "bonus" episode. While I have already published the "Final" video summary of the quest, there are new rounds (or rounds I've finally been able to get my hands on) that make it worth re-opening the quest.
In this installment, I am testing the Remington Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun ammunition in .380 ACP. This is a revision of the Golden Saber bullet, modified for more reliable expansion at the slower velocities that are typical from compact handguns. It did open up well in the bare gel test, but penetration was far below the standards established by the FBI and IWBA. In denim, they failed to expand and overpenetrated.
Finally -- note that the purpose of this testing is not to try to establish that a .380 is "just as good" as pistols in the major calibers (9mm, 10mm, 357 Mag, 357 Sig, .40, .45, etc). Of course it isn't and never will be; those other cartridges all contain much more power than the .380 does. What I'm trying to establish is: are there any rounds out there for the .380 that can reliably deliver the penetration (with expansion) that has been documented and proven necessary in order for the bullet to be able to reach the vital organs of an attacker and deliver an incapacitating hit? That's all. You would always be better armed with a bigger caliber. But the question I'm exploring here is: if you've already chosen to carry a .380 micro-pistol (for whatever your personal reasons), what ammo will make it most effective?