Difference Between 9mm and 380 (With Table)

9mm and 380 cartridges, both are renowned choices in the field of defense that have completed more than a century on this earth. Although they are indistinguishable, the two cartridges are not the same. Both of them can be used in revolvers and autoloaders, but are not eligible to be interchanged with one another. Furthermore, both of these were used widely during WWI.


9mm vs 380

The main difference between 9mm and 380 is that the shell of the 9mm is considerably longer than that of 380. Although many foreign police agencies use these small-sized pistols, their primary usage is done for self-defense by civilians, as they can be hidden conveniently and can hold large amounts of rounds.

9mm vs 380

The 9mm cartridge was invented in 1902 by German weapon manufacturer DWM. The high supply of 9mm from various manufacturers and a hike in demand of less omnipresent makes 9mm cheaper in comparison to 380. Moreover, it is productive in the extended range of 50 meters as well.

On the other hand, the 380 cartridges were introduced in 1908 as a weapon of self-defense by Colt in America. The 380 is comparatively shorter than 9mm and as a result, it is also known as 9mm short”. Furthermore, these bullets can pierce 9 to 10 inches when fired through forensic gelatin, whether naked or through four layers of fabric, a heavy leather coat, and everything else in between.

Comparison Table Between 9mm and 380

Parameters of Comparison   9mm  380
Cartridge lengthThe 9mm has a longer shell.The 380 has a slightly smaller shell.
Bullet sizeThe diameter of the 9mm is 0.355 inches.The 380 also has a diameter of 0.355 inches.
VelocityIt has a velocity of 1,180 ft/sec.It has a velocity of 1,040 ft/sec.
Powder9mm contains more powder.380 has comparatively less powder.
WeightThe grain weight of 9mm is generally a 124-grain load.The weight of 380 ranges between 85 and 95 grains.
Maximum pressure21,500 psi 34,084 psi

What is 9mm?

The 9mm pistol is one of the most used weapons. It is comparatively cheaper, does not require special shooting skills, and can be handled well with very little energy. In addition to that, it is well-equipped with a small idling swing, three-point illuminated front, and rear steel sights to strengthen low-light combat. 

Moreover, it is also seen as an advanced bulletproof gun, which can be concealed with a stealth skill of 50 or more because the diameter of the bullet is 0.355 inches.

The 9mm is referred to as such from the fact that it was created in Germany, which employs the measurement units. Designed with military purpose and usage in mind, the 9mm Luger had a lead core. But during WWII, it was made using iron core jackets to save the lead. Usually used by NATO forces and other military alliances.

The weapon gets its name from the fact that it can fire a 9mm round of ammunition. If we talk about the case type of 9mm then it is rimless and tapered. It can be strengthened to a longer scope and a longer magazine to further enhance its performance.

There are numerous 9mm bullets, but the gun ammunition is made from brass of different lengths. 9mm bullets are used in rifles and pistols, but mostly in pistols. Moreover, the 9mm has more penetration power (13 inches).

What is 380?

The 380 is a handgun bullet with no rim attached and a linear wall casing. The 9x17mm cartridge was invented by John Moses Browning, an American weapon manufacturer. It was inserted and used in a semi-automatic weapon called the Colt Model, a pocket hammerless pistol for the first time. 

The 380 is a popular self-defense cartridge, appropriate for all kinds of small pistols all around the world. Although the 380 is concise, light in weight has less cutting power and a shorter range than the rest of modern handgun cartridges made to date. 

Despite these limitations, 380 is still a widely accepted cartridge. Furthermore, it is ideal for anyone who is in search of a small and lightweight pistol with little recoil. It is highly encouraged to use one of the helical truncated rounds if one carries a 380. 

It is better if concealment is the main priority. Adding further, case type 380 is rimless and straight. While the 380 cartridge is small in size and light in weight, it has a limited range and less stopping strength than other handgun cartridges.

Because the pistol used with it is easier to hide and can hold numerous bullets, this type of ammunition is carried by citizens for self-defense and sometimes by Armed forces as a option.

Main differences between 9mm and 380

  1. 380 is more popular with ordinary citizens whereas 9mm is used by the police and armed forces.
  2. The velocity of a 115-grain 9mm weapon is 1,180 feet per second whereas that of 380 is 1,040 feet per second.
  3.  9mm has more powder in comparison to 380.
  4. The 9mm has a comparatively longer shell than that of the 380.
  5. The grain weight of 9mm is a 124-grain load whereas it ranges between 85 and 95 grains in the case of 380 weapons.


The powder bursts and expands whenever the gun is fired, making the pressure that sets the projectile out of the chamber. The more power one has, the more energy one can put into the bullet. 

This might suggest that the bullet can travel at an even higher speed. However, the 9mm generally comes with a larger bullet that requires more energy to fire.

Although the 9mm and 380 bullets have the same velocity, the 9mm bullet has a heavier mass, which means it can deliver more energy to the target.