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Ammo Quest .380: Underwood XTP test



(from Mar 2014)

Tweny-ninth 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 a "bonus" episode. In this installment, I am testing the Underwood Ammo loading of the Hornady XTP bullet; mfr part #110. It performed superbly in the bare gel test, but three of the five rounds failed to expand and overpenetrated through the denim test.

I am chronographing the rounds as well as firing five rounds per block so that we get a more statistically relevant result, rather than the typical ammo test where only one round is fired. Ammo can behave a bit unpredictably, and the results of any one bullet are not necessarily representative of how the ammunition performs overall. In this test, I only got four rounds in the block (one snuck out the side).

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?