I believe when it comes to so-called +P .380 (for which there are no SAAMI standards and fringe manufacturers can and do load to whatever specs they want) there a "false sense of security" that results. A .380 is still a .380. Accept its limitations and capitalize on its strengths - portability and concealability. An extra 75-100 fps in a .380 is a not .a quantum leap ballistically speaking when it involves a 95 grain bullet traveling at give or take 1000 fps or less. And for starters, you need to practice with it to become proficient and +P is hard on the gun (and the shooter).
Rather than push the envelope with the .380, you might be better off with a small 9mm such as a Kahr PM9 or a Walther PPS. I do not load +P in my Kahr P380.
Today you have a wide variety of factory standard pressure .380 designed for close quarters defense that will do the job given what these little pocket guns were designed for.
Know your gun's limitations, accept it, or perhaps choose something else.
Without any intent to offend, I find these conversations regarding higher spec .380 always seem to be attacked by the same generalizations:
1. No SAAMI standards
2. Don’t trust “Fringe manufacturers”
3. “False sense of security”
4. Accept the limitations of “what these little pocket guns were designed for” or;
5. Carry a larger gun
6. An extra 75-100 fps is a not .a quantum leap ballistically
I would like to address the these issues one at a time with my own personal opinions:
1. With all due respect to those making these generalizations, I’ve heard or read these arguments for the past sixty some odd years whenever a new cartage came out, only to have the SAAMI or CIP redefine their standards based upon new manufacturing data. This only makes since given that SAAMI dates back to 1926. In a different form, back to 1913.
2. There’s no relevance in this discussion to whether the ammo was made by an older company or a so called “fringe manufacturer”, they all have the same liability issues. At one point they were all “fringe manufactures.”
3. There is no more a “false sense of security” that results from a “so-called +P .380” than from any of the top brand standard ammo. Whenever a new cartage comes out with something new i.e., different penetration, expansion, recoil or reliability people choose such based upon a perceived “edge” in defense. This subjective "edge" is all we are discussing.
4. The point being discussed is simply understanding the limitations of a "Kahr P380" not ANY other “little pocket gun”. Said weapon is a superb self defense tool and according to Kahr, designed with limitations capable of handling a so called +P load. More importantly, base upon extensive research, there has NEVER been a failure of a Kahr P380 determined to be caused by so called +P ammo. A side plate has popped out, but not determined to be from +P ammo.
5. Many of us have larger weapons but due to circumstances beyond our control there times when we are limited to a pocket gun. In such case we choose the best weapon we can afford to fit the situation and load it with the best ammo we believe suits said situation and limitations of the weapon.
6. +P ammo may not be a “Quantum leap” in my defense, but might be the slight edge that saves my or my families lives. If limited to a pocket gun and knowing that it’s not as good at stopping a BG as a larger caliber weapon I would be a fool not to seek every advantage within the limitations of the weapon at hand.
A simple analogy would be if I were limited to a blade in defending my life I would always choose a 12 foot pole with a blade attached or a lance. As combatants learned hundreds of years ago, keep the enemy as far away as possible. If for some reason the size of the blade is limited then I would next choose a sword with a 40 inch blade. When restricted to a blade I can only carry in my pocket, I’m limited by law to a three inch folding blade. So either I buy the best 3” knife I can and accept the “limitations” of the little knife as it comes from the manufacture, or I can smooth the opening hinge and sharpen it to a razors edge so that if confronted with a life threatening situation I have every advantage I can get. My life depends upon it. Importantly, the knife was probably sharp enough as it came “standard” from the factory, but its my LIFE, why take the chance. And, sure the knife may now be so sharp now that I may cut myself in the fight but that’s why you need to practice with the tool. Anyone who has had to learn to fight or protect a life with a knife remembers the first tools he worked with were dull and progressed in sharpness until they could use the tool properly. Likewise, the P380 is designed for close action (personal protection, NOT tactical use) and while standard factory ammo is sufficient why not take advantage of an edge even Kahr finds within its limitations.
All of this being said, I have no intention of starting a fight or offending anyone. I’m just providing an honest opinion based upon actual facts and the reality of the purpose of the weapon, a Kahr P380.