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The 380 ACP was developed by John Browning.
The 380 ACP is a popular pistol round chambered for semi-automatic handguns and small submachine guns using direct-blowback and short-recoil mechanisms. The round is a straight-walled cartridge with a relatively lower peak chamber pressure than more modern sporting, military or defensive rounds. The 380 ACP works very well with direct blowback handguns. There are no known carbines or rifles that use the 380 ACP.
The 380 ACP is a popular self defense round used in many nations. The 380 ACP is often used in nations where civilians are prohibited from owning firearms capable of using military ammunition.
While considered "weak" compared to more potent rounds such as the 45 ACP, the 9mm Parabellum (9x19mm), any of the magnum handgun rounds, the 10mm Norma, the 40 S&W or its closest relative, the 9mm Makarov, the 380 ACP is an effective self defense round if shot placement is taken carefully. Handguns using the 380 ACP are often very easily concealed, have minor muzzle blast and can be more easily used with suppressors than most of the more powerful combat and sporting rounds used in handguns today.
The 380 ACP is not used in formal target shooting competition though civilians and agencies may use the round for qualification and recreational target shooting.
The 380 ACP is available from both military and commercial sources. Frangible, hollow point, and Full Metal Jacket versions are readily available. Typical bullet weights range from 70 grains (approximately 4.5 grams) to 110 grains (approximately 7 grams).
In spite of its close relation to the 9mm Makarov round the 380 ACP and 9mm Makarov are not nominally interchangeable. The round cannot be safely used in a 9mm Parabellum firearm. The 9mm Parabellum round will not chamber into a 380 ACP firearm.