9mm and also .380 ACP are two of the most popular self-defense calibers currently on the market. In fact, they space pretty comparable in size, and also many firearms are frequently made in both 9mm and also .380 models. Due to the fact that they’re so similar, go it make you wonder if you deserve to use a 9mm cartridge in a .380?

No, 9mm rounds can not safely be chambered or fired from a total designed for .380. The 9mm ring will most likely not fit right into the chamber, and even if that did, it will create forces that the .380 firearm was never designed come withstand and could break the firearm or even cause it to fail catastrophically.

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That’s the basic answer—of course, the exact details are much more complicated, and also there is still plenty come learn about the differences and also similarities between 9mm and also .380, so review on!

Will a 9mm round Fit in a .380?

Anyone that has functioned with both a 9mm and also a .380 has almost certainly noticed how comparable they are—namely that, on the first inspection, the 9mm cartridge simply looks choose a bit longer variation of the .380. Understanding that, it’s straightforward to be tempted to think you have the right to pop it in the room of her favorite .380 and hit the range.

However, that a devastating idea to try and fire a 9mm round from a .380 chamber, and also it have to never it is in done. Thankfully, the differences in between the 2 cartridges’ dimensions median you normally wouldn’t even be able to fit that in the gun.

If friend did regulate to squeeze that in, however, you room in for part trouble. Remember exactly how we said above that the firearm could “fail catastrophically?” That’s simply a quite term for “explode.” This would an outcome in the firearm possibly throwing shrapnel earlier towards the shooter – you! at best, the firearm will be destroyed, and that money goes under the drain—at worst, you might lose an eye or worse.

Bottom line? Don’t attempt to pressure a 9mm round right into a .380 and fire it.

What are the Differences in between a 9mm and also a .380 Round?


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However, that’s whereby the similarity end. beyond that, lock are: 

Different lengthsDifferent forms (the 9mm is slightly tapered while the .380 is straight-walled) Use different amounts of powder

What space the dimensions of a 9mm and also a .380?

We mentioned over the straightforward size and length that both the 9mm and .380, but here’s a quick break down of their full dimensions and also other significant characteristics:

CartridgeRim Diameter (mm)Base Diameter (mm)Neck Diameter (mm)Average Velocity (feet per second)
9mm Parabellum9.96mm9.93mm9.65mm1,200 fps
.380 ACP9.50mm9.50mm9.50mm980fps

As you have the right to see native the figures, the 9mm is contempt tapered towards the neck, yet the .380 is straight-walled and also maintains the exact same diameter because that the totality casing.

Can You usage .380 Bullets in a 9mm?

So, what about the other means around; deserve to you use a .380 in a 9mm? Well, the price is yes—but also no. Deserve to you? Maybe, it depends on the specific firearm. Must you? for sure not.

As a general dominance of thumb, attempting to fire any kind of cartridge native a gun the was no designed to take it it is a poor idea. There space exceptions, yet this is not among them. 

The distinction here is that you have the right to actually gain a .380 round to room inside many 9mm firearms since it’s around the exact same diameter in ~ the base and tiny enough to fit in the chamber. But that still doesn’t average it’s for sure to fire. 

Since the .380 is lower pressure 보다 the 9mm, the firearm isn’t at as lot risk that “failing catastrophically,” but there are other difficulties which are finest explained step by step:

When a typical 9mm ring is chambered and also fired, the bullet is held firmly in location by the chamber and also enters the barrel in a controlled and safe way.Since the .380 is much shorter than the 9mm, the cartridge is not supported by the chamber properly, and there’s a gap between the bullet and also the chamber wall.Because that this gap, the .380 bullet has a high chance of beginning the barrel incorrectly, such as bouncing a bit before the grooves that the rifling catch it.

This can not sound choose a large issue, but remember the forces behind that bullet are extreme, which can result in unexpected problems which we’ll comment on below.

What happens if i Fire a .380 in a 9mm?


Let’s say, hypothetically, the you execute still pick to walk out, stuff a .380 into a 9mm firearm, and also fire it. What’s actually going to happen?

Here’s a breakdown of the potential aftermath of shoot a .380 from a 9mm gun.

The 9mm Firearm Will Malfunction

The first and most noticeable thing you will notice is the your 9mm pistol or rifle will certainly not have cycled correctly. Any variety of malfunctions can happen, yet the two most common are:

A stovepipe break down – in this instance, the .380 casing will certainly fail to eject and be caught between the slide and also other internals. Occasionally it is fixed merely by racking the slide every the method back, however in an ext serious instances a partial disassembly is needed. Either way, you must follow failure clearing safety steps prior to attempting to clear the .380 casing out.A finish failure come extract – this occurs when the .380 casing is just plain stuck inside the chamber. This is much much less likely than the stovepipe, however can tho happen, specifically in 9mm guns known for having actually stiff springs or weak extractors. In the most serious cases, the .380 casing will have ruptured and also refused to extract at all.

Both that these have the same root cause: the .380 round is simply not powerful enough to completely cycle the 9mm’s working components because the recoil feather is supposed to attend to the power of a 9mm round. 

Either one of these can actually it is in made worse by making use of bad technique for clearing failures-to-extract, for this reason be sure to exercise proper break down clearing safety and also methods.

Inaccurate, Shredded, or Keyholing Bullet

The 2nd thing you’ll notification is that you will have actually missed—or it seems ~ to have missed—your target. Now, this isn’t a given, as even with the above problems, the bullet can still have discovered its mark.

However, in most cases, the seemingly minor changes in the bullet’s velocity and also positioning as result of being unsupported in the start typically magnify right into larger changes by the moment it exits the barrel. 

This might include worries like:

The cartridge being just inaccurate and erraticThe bullet tumbling through the wait (called “keyholing” as result of the shape it makes on the target), leading to the same worry as aboveIn too much cases, the velocity behind the bullet once it effects the barrel can lead to it shredding right into multiple piece by the finish of the barrel

So, if a 9mm gun (probably) no going to implode if girlfriend fire a .380 with it, the bullet will be destroyed and lose effectiveness, and the firearm itself can sustain serious damage.

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Firing 9mm in a .380 Gun

Now that we’ve debated the pitfalls and also serious dangers that come indigenous trying to fire a cartridge in a gun no designed for it, the genuine takeaway is this:

Don’t fire rounds from a firearm no designed to take it them. 

Of course, there are always exceptions—but if you don’t recognize what castle are, climate you likely aren’t all set to make use of them! Besides, 9mm and .380 space not exceptions and also are not interchangeable in any type of situation.