.380 Trail Protection / Bear Load?

HuskyMusky

Veteran member
Nov 29, 2011
1,142
52
IL
Looking for a suggestion if any of you out there know of a tough .380 load for the trail?

Does anyone carry a 380 or 9mm on the trail?

Thanks!

*Side-note, hard cast lead bullets, what's the deal with those? max penetration? they seem as if they would blow up upon impact, but it seems those are often the grizzly/bear defense bullet??
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 300 short mag

bowrunner

Active Member
Oct 13, 2015
299
9
Illinois
A 380 for bear protection? If you just have the two pistols I would stick with a 9mm and get a heavy hard cast bullet (not hollow point), but from what I understand a 10mm is about the minimum you will want.
 

bowrunner

Active Member
Oct 13, 2015
299
9
Illinois
I am not the expert, but a 380 is fine then for any of that, except for bears. I think bear spray would be better for bears. I have shot hornady bullets for a lot of my self defense pistols.
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
4,370
1,745
67
Gypsum, Co
In my book the minimum for bear protection is a 357 magnum with heavy loads.

While the 9mm might kill a bear you are more likely to piss them off, and a 380 is even lighter than a 9mm.

You would be better off just scaring it with a 380 by shooting up onto the air than at a bear. I would also recommend bear spray.
 

taskswap

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
325
181
Colorado
I own a Glock 20 (10mm auto) and a Ruger Super Redhawk (44 Remington Magnum). I carry bear spray. Unless you're in grizzly country it's just numbers. Bear spray definitely works, the others may work. But bear spray (UDAP standard canister) weighs 15oz while my pistol options weight 2.5+lbs. And if you use bear spray, there's less "splaining" to do later. It was easy math for me...
 

280ackimp

Member
Jul 4, 2017
143
6
New Hampshire
Buffalo Bore makes the loads your looking for. They make a .380 and a 9mm load (hard cast lead). The hardcast lead bullet penetrates in most cases becaus it doesnt deform as much on impact as regular lead and hollow points (aka controlled expansion bullets). I would neven let a friend go into bear country with a .380, 9mm is way too small but better.
People will continue to debate spray vs gun. Spray is better than nothing. A gun, preferrably of some level of power is far more relaiable than spray.
two sugestions trade the 380 for a 9mm (ruger makes a small manageable poly framed, striker fired model , EC9) and its inexpensive. They also make a revolver worth looking at LCRx in 357 mag/38 spl with a 3" bbl and its polly framed !
 

mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,125
99
midwest
My minimum is the 357 or 10mm with a tough bullet, but if I was carrying a 380 I'd look at Buffalo Bore, Underwood, or Double Tap.

The only 380 I have is a Ruger LCP and if I was going to shoot a bear with it he would have to be close. Close enough that I won't be stopping him from getting to me if he wants to, just trying to take him with me when I go. If you have a larger framed 380 that's easier to shoot well I'd agree with the others that there isn't much advantage to having a 380 instead of a compact version of something more powerful.
 

87TT

Active Member
Apr 23, 2013
296
78
Idaho
I wouldn't even let my wife carry a .380 for ccw. I bought her 9mm but now she wants a .45.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JimP

Maxhunter

Very Active Member
Apr 10, 2011
827
134
Wyoming
I have a Glock 20 in 10mm. I mainly carry when in grizzly country. Pepper spray is nice but if the wind is blowing you might get peppered.
 
  • Like
Reactions: taskswap

Gr8bawana

Veteran member
Aug 14, 2014
2,263
102
Nevada
I think a .380 would just make a bear angry given the paltry energy of 200-300 ft. lbs. depending on the load.
Also how accurate would you be while crapping your pants and trying to aim at the bear when it's charging?
Bear spray would be more practical.
 

Bonecollector

Veteran member
Mar 9, 2014
4,650
1,146
Ohio
I have a Glock 20 in 10mm. I mainly carry when in grizzly country. Pepper spray is nice but if the wind is blowing you might get peppered.
I also have a 10mm in the Slim Frame - Glock 29. It is tough to beat when looking at effectiveness and weight. I did a lot of research and this round was an over-whelming winner on several levels, including the 2 aforementioned. To each their own, but be sure to be proficient and to actually bring it with you and lot in the truck.
 

HuskyMusky

Veteran member
Nov 29, 2011
1,142
52
IL
Thanks for the all input!
Survived the trip! ;):)
Ended up in Colorado, and not Griz Country, but perhaps in the future...
Great trip, had some bear spray, but wasn't worried where we were.
Thinking I may end up with a .45acp over the 10mm in the future. Although why have 1, when you can have 2 :p