image of 9mm rounds

There’s been a century long debate amongst gun owners about which caliber is the best choice for everyday carry and self-defense. The .380 was designed in 1908 by John Moses Browning – the same guy who created the 1911 pistol that has been used in military service for over a century. Also known as the 9mm short, the .380 was originally designed for self-defense. The .380 was used in U.S. and European armies until the adoption of 9mm weapons. Luger developed the 9mm Parabellum as a more lethal option for battles fought over a distance. 

History is great, but which caliber is the best for today’s gun owners? 


The .380 is a great choice for women, inexperienced shooters, and shooters with disabilities. Many people opt to have a .380 caliber gun as their everyday carry or backup weapon.  


  • Lower Felt Recoil a better experience for new shooters 
  • Easily Concealed – .380 guns are light-weight and compact 
  • Faster Follow Up Shots – the lower recoil allows for repetitive rounds to be fired quicker 


  • Low Stopping Power – the .380 does not penetrate targets as deep as other calibers because of the lack of energy and velocity created by the cartridge 
  • Lower Range– Can only stop assailants that are in close range 
  • Less Accuracy – the short barrel of compact guns makes it harder to shoot on target 


The go to choice for law enforcement and military personnel, the 9mm is the faster, heavier, and more lethal big brother of the .380. 


  • Abundantly Available – because of the popularity of this caliber, 9mm rounds can be found in more places and for less money 
  • Larger Capacity Magazines – 9mm handgun magazines hold up to 15-18 rounds 
  • Shooting Range of Up To 55 Yards – the longer case in the 9mm leaves space for more powder, which creates more energy and velocity 
  • Neutralizes Threats Easily – has a higher degree of penetration and can create larger wound cavities and more internal trauma 


  • Higher Recoil – the strong kickback from 9mm guns may be too much for some shooters 
  • Bigger Firearms – there are some sub-compact 9mm guns, but the most common 9mm weapons are average sized handguns 

Ultimately, the best answer to this debate is – you gotta find the one that works best for you. Practice shooting with a gun of both calibers and decide which is the easiest for you to control. Consider your intentions and reasoning for owning a firearm. 

 Is the gun meant to defend yourself in the case of a home invasion? Are you planning to conceal your firearm? What type of gun do you want to purchase?  

Do some reflection, shoot some rounds, and then make your choice! 

Compass Auctions has firearms and ammo auctions at least twice a month. The Ammo & Accessories auction features boxes of rounds such as this case of 1000 full metal jacket 9mm MagTech rounds and these three boxes of 50 rounds of .380 Auto PMC. We’re still adding to our Firearms, Ammo, & Accessories auction catalog, so check back soon for that! 

Firearms Consignment 

Our concierge level of service makes selling firearms and accessories easy with Compass Auctions & Real Estate. Our team lists, markets, and accepts payments for your item, so all you have to do is look forward to receiving your check. Call 800-729-6466 to get more information on how to sell your guns with Compass Auctions. 

About Compass Auctions & Real Estate  

Compass Auctions and Real Estate hosts monthly auctions featuring heavy equipment, firearms and ammo, industrial equipment, vehicles, jewelry and collectibles, and restaurant equipment. Our team is here to help! If you have questions about any of the items for auction, call 800-729-6466 or send an email to

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