Should You Return To This OLDER Caliber For Your Daily Carry?


The ammunition wars may never be a settled subject, and it seems like everyone has a strong opinion about which caliber that you should use for your daily carry. Of course, there are a variety of reasons why people like the caliber that they prefer, and, generally speaking, people have tended to want more power, now, than people carried commonly 100 years ago.

But should we consider a return to using an older caliber for our daily carry over the more powerful newer calibers?

One writer, at least, thinks that, yes, we should consider something smaller than 9mm, .45, or something else for our daily carry, and they put some solid reasons behind that assertion. Elwood Shelton writes,


Peruse .380 pistol options and it becomes evident the caliber has a huge advantage over almost every other. They’re small, downright minuscule. Over the years, the ubiquitous 9mm has made up ground. The likes of the Sig Sauer P365’s dimensions encroaches on .380 territory. Still, this is the exception, not the rule … yet.

Since the key to concealed carry is concealing your firearms, these pocket pistols have a leg up. If you reside in a shorts and T-shirt climate, a Government Model 1911 is awfully difficult to keep under wraps. A Ruger LCP not so much. In turn, keeping a .380 pistol concealed is a somewhat easy task.

However, the clandestine nature of .380 handguns isn’t the main selling point. Fostering program compliance is. In layman terms, this means a gun you’ll carry every day. Easier said than done. Though, smaller, lighter guns tend to promote diligence.

Now, before anyone gets upset and thinks that Shelton is painting an image of .380 pistols that is all sunshine and unicorns, Shelton also gave downsides to carrying .380:

  • short sight radius making accuracy more difficult in general and, especially at distance
  • abbreviated grip making it harder to keep firm control on the pistol when firing, especially if you have larger hands
  • lightweight which tends to give more perceived recoil
  • low capacity which means reloading sooner

Now, whether any of those downsides are deal breakers for you compared to being able to conceal your firearm more easily, especially in warmer climates where jackets are needed less often during the year, is, of course, up to you.

But, as Shelton also notes, “Improvements in bullet design, providing consistent penetration and expansion took what was once a marginal self-defense cartridge and made it, well … marginally better.”

In other words, whether your daily carry should be .380 is up to your situation and personal preferences. But it’s still worth considering in case you might come up with a better daily carry situation over your current daily carry.



  1. The ‘caliber wars’ will continue – at least until phasers get invented – and IIRC even those were not infallible. As far as gun size goes, that is an individual choice and in many cases is dictated as much by body size/shape as any other factor. Info regarding ammo type and/or capability is always good to have in order for making personal choices. Isn’t that the real reason the debate still goes on?

  2. A .38 full metal jacket is plenty for close in self protection. First one to the chest and the second in the forehead as you walk by to call the garbage man

  3. the 380 is a 9mm Short why not just get a small 9mm ? I’ve got the SCCY CPX-2 and it is very small comes with a 10 round mag, and it is very accurate, actually a sweet little shooter, much nicer than my TAURUS G3, much more accurate, and I can hid it in my hand bought it for a Back up to my M 1911

  4. I carry pistols in several different calibers 38spl, 45acp, 9mm, 45 colt, and 10mm depending on circumstances but I probably carry my Walther PPK/S Manhurin licensed pistol in 380 most frequently. It’s very reliable, accurate, easy to conceal and heavy enough to handle recoil without any pain. It may not be as easy to operate the slide as some of the newer 380’s out there but I have not shot one yet of it size that is more accurate or controlable except maybe the new walther reintroduction of that pistol. All that being said there are a great many calibers, some of which I listed above, that work for EDC, but as mentioned in the article it kind of depends on many factors which one I would choose to carry on a specific outing. It’s great and fun to have so many options.

  5. I carry a .38 revolver because it doesn’t eject shells. This could solve problem in a situation where you have to shoot and run.

  6. If any of us should survive SHTF, you’ll be collecting guns n ammo as you, well, continue in life as it permits:)

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