The process of selecting the right ammo for your handgun pistol may be a daunting task, especially if you are a newbie in the firearm and more so, pistol industry. One of the most common pistol calibers is the .380 ammo. Because of the continued increase in the popularity of this caliber and its corresponding pistols, it becomes more necessary for one to know what to look for and how to go about the entire best .380 ammo selection process. Below are tips that will make your work easy.

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Things to Consider when Choosing Best .380 Ammo

Terminal Ballistics and Barrel length

The .380 pistols mainly come in barrel lengths that are less than 3.5 inches in length. Unlike the .40, .45 and even 9mm pistols whose barrel lengths and terminal ballistics can be overlooked when choosing their corresponding calibers, that is not the case with the .380 pistols.

Under this category, only specific terminal ballistics can be achieved by specific pistols. This is because of the different velocities that can be achieved by different barrel lengths. You must, therefore, be able to understand the terminal ballistic information requirement of your pistol.

Bullet Power

Ensure that the bullet you choose comes with enough power capable of penetrating at least some soft tissue akin to the muscle of your target. The baseline should be at least 12-inch of soft tissue penetration. This implies that the ammo has the power that’s enough to go through a combination of muscle, organs, skin, fat and bones. For you to make a shot you definitely want the result to be maximum destruction and that’s what a 12-inch soft tissue penetration capability will achieve.

Maximum Bullet Power

Whereas you need a bullet that is capable of penetrating through tissue with a devastating injury to the target, we aren’t talking about something that will go ahead to cause even more injury and damage to objects that are beyond your targeted object. The best .380 ammo is, therefore, that which will not be able to penetrate through soft tissues that are more than 18 inches. Over penetration will pose a real danger to more life than intended.

Bullet Sharpness

The best .380 ammo are those that are as sharp as possible. You aren’t intending to do target shooting. Even if it were so, some target competitions require some bit of bullet penetration. Your aim is to produce the maximum possible penetration so as to produce the most devastating destruction. Sharper bullets will continue with more power even upon penetration thus resulting in a high energy transfer that in turns cause more injury and harm to the tissue of your target.

The size of the Bullet

The bigger bullets should be preferred. This is because the bigger the size of the bullet hole size made, the more devastating the injury that will be caused. If you don’t consider bigger bullets, ensure that the small bullet you prefer has got expansion capabilities once it penetrates through the target.

Reviews of the 5 Best .380 Ammo

Federal® American Eagle® Pistol Ammo

Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope

Editor Rating

Are you tired of spending a good chunk of your wages to acquire bullets that can only be used for a few hundred shots at the range? You are exactly the person Federal is looking for. Federal has designed the best .380 ammo solution that produces excellent performance but doesn’t go to the extremities of breaking the bank. The American Eagle Ammo was constructed for that shooter who doesn’t spend all his days out in the game. It is designed for them that spend just a few hours every day out in the woods.

Technical Information

  • 95-grain caliber weight
  • Full Metal Jacket bullet design

Made in the USA, the bullets are among the least costly, hence the best products not only for the budget buyer but also for those recreational shooters. There is even better news! If you have different guns with different caliber requirement, the Federal Eagle provides you with a number of options to choose from. All these produce reliability in feeding, accuracy in shooting and full power upon penetration. What else do you want?

Speer Gold Dot® Pistol Ammunition

Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope

Editor Rating

The law enforcement market has been dominated by Speer Gold Dot over time and the ammo continues to stamp its authority even up to date. This .380 ammo and its caliber counterparts within the same brand gained their reputation for being the first high-performance handgun ammo to come with authentic bonded-core bullets. Credit is given from the fact that an exclusive Uni-Cor process is used, where the jacket is bonded to the core, one molecule every time. As a result, core-jacket separation, which is the leading cause of pistol bullet failure, is virtually eliminated.

​Ballistic Information

  • 1040 FPS bullet velocity
  • 216 ft-lb muzzle energy

Technical Information

  • 90-grain caliber weight
  • Gold Dot Hollow Point caliber style

These bullets have been engineered and constructed in such a manner that jacket separation is prevented. And with a superior weight retention, optimal expansion, and easy penetration, the reliable resultant reliability in function together with feeding makes it an outright winner on the list of the best .380 ammo.

Buffalo Bore Handgun Ammunition

Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope

Editor Rating

This is the type of ammo that all the serious pistol holders or rather hand gunners have been in need off all this time. Buffalo Bore ammo entered the market with a bang as it revolutionized the pistol platform, producing a new level performance. By simply adhering to the maximum SAAMI specs guidelines of loading combined with the use of special non-canister powders, the end result is Bore ammo that seems anemic yet offers the best performance ever.

​Ballistic Information

  • 1,175 FPS bullet velocity

Technical Information

  • JHP caliber style
  • 90-grain caliber weight

The caliber comes loaded with a range of premium bullet types that are good for personal defense and hunting. These include the HFS bullets that are popular for concealed carry operation. In a nutshell, this is not just any other caliber out there. It is a very reliable, accurate and dependable product that is worth appearing on the list of the best .380 ammo.

Winchester® Bonded PDX1 Handgun Ammunition

Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope

Editor Rating

I wonder why this ammo had to be chosen by the Federal Bureau of investigation and their primary service ammo. For it to be recommended by such a high-ranking law enforcement body, it implies that the ammo exceeds their stipulated protocol standards of barrier penetration. In addition to the .380 caliber, there are seven more calibers you can choose from according to the caliber requirements of your gun. Some of its most important selling features include its six-segment jacket notching feature that facilitates expansion and its ability to control expansion thereby enhancing weight retention.

Technical Information

  • 95-grain bullet weight
  • PDX 1 Bonded JHP caliber style

With its utilization of a proprietary bonding technology, this is the best .380 ammo for superior personal protection as well as competitive shooting and any other shooting platform. There is no other .380 bullet I know off that expands more than this caliber. Beginning with smooth chambering, followed by shell-case ejection, bullet travel, penetration, and energy transfer, you will get the best possible performance a handgun caliber can offer.

PPU Handgun Ammunition

Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope

Editor Rating

Handgun ammo that features strict construction quality controls is here with us. As a result, the PPU is credited for high-volume shooter accuracy reliability together with consistency. The rounds feature a non-corrosive boxer primer that has been housed in a reloadable brass casing.

Technical Information

  • 94-grain caliber weight
  • FMJ caliber style

The PPU .380 caliber features exacting production tolerance and strict quality production controls. As a result, very accurate, dependable and reliable ammo that produces amazing results in self-defense, home defense and even sometimes small game shooting. At a very cheap price of about $15 for 50 rounds, it is arguably the best .380 ammo for the budget buyer.


There is no doubt that choosing the best .380 ammo will only become easy if you know what you want and what you want to use it for. Because they are majorly needed for self defense and target shooting, one of the most important aspects to consider is the ammo accuracy and overall performance. The caliber energy comes second with the price and other factors coming following thereafter in that order. Your best way of being sure of the quality and performance of product will be to choose one of the products reviewed above.

What is the Best .380 Ammo for Your Pocket Pistol
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