(from may 2014)
Thirtieth 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").
In this installment, I am testing the Sig Sauer Elite Performance Ammunition in .380 ACP; mfr part #E380A1. It performed poorly and erratically in the bare gel test, and all five rounds failed to expand, plugged up, and overpenetrated through the denim test.
Note: I'm not making any claims for these videos other than that these are the results I achieved, in my own testing, from the stated pistol. I have no intention to make a blanket endorsement or indictment of any product, only to review and report what I found in a given instance. Obviously it is incumbent upon each individual to conduct their own research and make up their own mind about which defensive ammunition is best for their own purposes, in their own firearms.
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?