9mm and also .380 ACP are two that the most renowned self-defense calibers at this time on the market. In fact, they are pretty comparable in size, and many firearms are frequently made in both 9mm and .380 models. Because they’re so similar, go it do you wonder if you can use a 9mm cartridge in a .380?


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

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That’s the an easy answer—of course, the exact details are more complicated, and there is tho plenty to learn about the differences and also similarities in between 9mm and .380, so read on!

Will a 9mm ring Fit in a .380?

Anyone who has functioned with both a 9mm and also a .380 has nearly certainly i found it how comparable they are—namely that, ~ above the first inspection, the 9mm cartridge just looks prefer a little bit longer variation of the .380. Discovering that, it’s straightforward to be tempted come think you have the right to pop that in the room of your favorite .380 and hit the range.

However, it’s a terrible idea to shot and fire a 9mm round from a .380 chamber, and it have to never it is in done. Thankfully, the differences in between the 2 cartridges’ dimensions average you typically wouldn’t even be able to fit it in the gun.

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

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

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

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However, that’s where the similarities end. past that, they are: 

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

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

We mentioned over the simple size and also length that both the 9mm and .380, yet here’s a quick failure of their complete dimensions and also other noteworthy characteristics:

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

As you deserve to see indigenous the figures, the 9mm is slightly tapered in the direction of the neck, but the .380 is straight-walled and maintains the exact same diameter for the totality casing.

Can You use .380 Bullets in a 9mm?

So, what about the other means around; can you use a .380 in a 9mm? Well, the answer is yes—but likewise no. Deserve to you? Maybe, it relies on the particular firearm. Should you? certain not.

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

The difference here is the you have the right to actually acquire a .380 ring to room inside many 9mm firearms since it’s around the very same diameter in ~ the basic and small enough to fit in the chamber. But that still doesn’t mean it’s for sure to fire. 

Since the .380 is reduced pressure than the 9mm, the firearm no at as much risk the “failing catastrophically,” but there space other difficulties which are ideal explained step by step:

When a common 9mm ring is chambered and also fired, the bullet is held firmly in location by the chamber and enters the barrel in a controlled and safe way.Since the .380 is shorter than the 9mm, the bullet is not supported by the chamber properly, and there’s a gap in between the bullet and also the room wall.Because that this gap, the .380 bullet has actually a high possibility of start the barrel incorrectly, such together bouncing a bit prior to the grooves that the rifling catch it.

This might not sound like a large issue, yet remember the forces behind that bullet room extreme, which can result in unexpected issues which we’ll comment on below.

What wake up if ns Fire a .380 in a 9mm?

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Let’s say, hypothetically, that you perform still select to walk out, stuff a .380 right into a 9mm firearm, and fire it. What’s actually going come happen?

Here’s a break down of the potential after-effects of shoot a .380 from a 9mm gun.

The 9mm Firearm Will Malfunction

The very first and most apparent thing girlfriend will notification is that your 9mm pistol or rifle will not have actually cycled correctly. Any number of malfunctions can happen, however the two most usual are:

A stovepipe breakdown – in this instance, the .380 casing will fail to eject and be caught between the slide and also other internals. Sometimes it is fixed merely by racking the slide all the way back, yet in more serious cases a partial disassembly is needed. Either way, girlfriend must follow failure clearing safety steps prior to attempting to clear the .380 casing out.A finish failure come extract – this occurs once the .380 casing is just plain stuck within the chamber. This is much less likely 보다 the stovepipe, but can quiet happen, particularly in 9mm weapons known for having stiff springs or weak extractors. In the many serious cases, the .380 casing will have actually ruptured and refused come extract in ~ all.

Both of these have actually the same root cause: the .380 round is simply not an effective enough to fully cycle the 9mm’s working parts because the recoil spring is meant to address the power of a 9mm round. 

Either one of these deserve to actually be made worse by using bad method for clearing failures-to-extract, so be sure to practice proper malfunction clearing safety and also methods.

Inaccurate, Shredded, or Keyholing Bullet

The 2nd thing you’ll an alert is the you will have missed—or it seems ~ to have actually missed—your target. Now, this no a given, as even with the above problems, the bullet can still have uncovered its mark.

However, in many cases, the look at minor changes in the bullet’s velocity and also positioning as result of being unsupported in the beginning typically magnify right into larger changes by the time it exit the barrel. 

This might include problems like:

The bullet being simply inaccurate and erraticThe bullet tumbling with the air (called “keyholing” because of the shape it makes on the target), bring about the same issue as aboveIn extreme cases, the velocity behind the bullet once it results the barrel could lead to it shredding right into multiple piece by the finish of the barrel

So, while a 9mm gun (probably) no going come implode if girlfriend fire a .380 with it, the bullet will certainly be destroyed and also lose effectiveness, and the firearm itself could sustain major damage.

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Firing 9mm in a .380 Gun

Now the we’ve debated the pitfalls and serious threats that come from trying to fire a cartridge in a gun no designed for it, the real takeaway is this:

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

Of course, there are constantly exceptions—but if girlfriend don’t know what they are, climate you most likely aren’t prepared to manipulate them! Besides, 9mm and also .380 are not exceptions and also are not interchangeable in any kind of situation.