Shooting .380 in a 9mm

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by CampingJosh, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    So I got my first 9mm recently, and yesterday I got the urge to see if my .380 ammo would cycle well in it. I was a little surprised, but it actually hand-cycled very smoothly, and it didn't have any issues loading into or feeding from the magazine.

    I think I already know the answer to this, but I am not a reloader, so I wanted to confirm with some who are more knowledgeable than I. Would there be anything unsafe about firing .380 ammo in my 9mm Luger pistol? In an emergency, could I use it as a substitute?

    I really kinda want to see if it will function reliably. :cool:
  2. RandyP

    RandyP Active Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    I will presume that you are either VERY new to guns or maybe just having a bit of fun on a Tuesday evening?

    There is NO upside to firing the wrong caliber ammunition in firearms.

    .380 has a different case shape than its cousin the 9mm, same goes for the gun's chamber.

    Life is a series of choices and everyone gets to make their own and live with the results. But like Mrs. Gump taught her son...."Stupid is as stupid does."

  3. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    It's the latter. Seeing if it would fit, if the .380 was truly a shorter 9mm case or if they were just nominally the same dimension.

    I'm not asking if it would an improvement; I know that 115 grains at 1300 fps is better than 95 grains at 950 fps. I'm asking if it would be likely to fire. Would my 9mm pistol hold the .380 in the appropriate place that the firing pin would reach it? Would the .380 somehow create too much pressure by being in the wrong chamber? These are the things I'm wondering.
  4. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    You guys got my curiosity with this one, put your gun in a vice with a 20 foot string tied to the trigger, hide around a corner with the string in hand and pull off a round. At least you might not get hurt and it only destroys your gun.....Wait.....umm..nevermind
  5. Texxut

    Texxut Member

    Feb 1, 2009
    Will it fire, probably, if the extractor holds it against the bolt face.
    Is it a good idea, no.
    Will it cycle the pistol, not likely.
    Will it damage the extractor, possibly.
  6. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    Big safety issue here is that 9mm and 380 both headspace off the mouth, not the rim like a 38/357. This changes everything as far as safety goes. I wouldn't fire 380 in a 9mm even if it was a SHTF situation, better off with a bat.
    dbcooper likes this.
  7. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

    Apr 28, 2008
    i dont expect it would cycle an automatic, but i'd be surprised if you lost a finger hand or face. not the best idea, but it would work
  8. Jay

    Jay Active Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    Bad idea to even try it....
  9. upsguy

    upsguy New Member

    Jan 26, 2011
    CROOK Co. Illinois
    Easiest way to explain this answer is to read the first Sticky thread at the top of this page, "Explaining Headspace"
    If someone dosn't understand it, you shouldn't be handling guns or ammo.
  10. Warith

    Warith Member

    Oct 20, 2010
    Belton, Mo
    I have fired a 9mil in a 380 and a 380 in a 9mil niether one hurt the gun nor me. The 380 in the 9 fired just fine missed the target completely and didnt cycle the gun the 9 the 380 fired and cycled the gun just fine but didnt want to go to battery.

    One cavat here I didnt do this on purpose had both guns and ammo at the range and screwed up they were both hi points which are exactly the same pistal just the barrel is defferent they even use the same magazine which is what screwed me up. I dont take both guns to the range at the same time anymore.
  11. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Here's the answer I was looking for! :) Thanks, Wolley.

    I had no intention of firing it. The 9mm cost just over half the .380, so there isn't a reason to fire the .380s in the gun that can fire cheaper ammo. I was just wondering if it was like the .38/.357 or not.
  12. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Aside from the head spacing problems you would encounter, there are presures to consider. The .380 operates at around 17,000psi - 20,000psi. The 9mm operates at presures from around 33,000psi - 34,000psi.
  13. RandyP

    RandyP Active Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    Hi Josh,

    No offense intended by my smart-a$$ reply but you posted:

    "Would there be anything unsafe about firing .380 ammo in my 9mm Luger pistol? In an emergency, could I use it as a substitute?

    I really kinda want to see if it will function reliably"

    That reads to me like somebody who had plans on pulling the trigger. If you truly want to plan for the end of the world and zombies? Go buy yourself a spam can of Tula/Wolf/Herter's in 9mm and leave it in the closet.
  14. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    No offense taken. Don't worry about it.

    I don't expect the end of the world or zombies.

    And I did "kinda" want to try it. I kinda want to try a lot of things, but I don't want to get into a dangerous situation because of curiosity. (I got most of that out of my system with a baseball pitching machine before I was a teen.)

    Because I didn't know what would happen, I asked. It's certainly much safer than going in blind, even if I get some ridicule for asking. I've never been too proud to admit my ignorance on a topic, even to mean-spirited people, so certainly not to the friends I've made on TFF.
  15. RandyP

    RandyP Active Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    In the 'olden days' what I said was there for the hearing to only those within earshot of my random ramblings.

    The 'curse' of the internet is that whatever you write is out there for all eternity ready to be seen and even worse believed by whoever reads it. That creates the potential for the "hold my beer and watch this" set to makes all forms of bad choices based on what they saw on the 'net and tried in their home.

    Heck, I won't even post reloading data that I am POSITIVE is good just because there is always the possibility of a typo.
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