In terms of ballistics, the two calibers are very similar. Both are capable of firing light bullets at relatively high velocities, making them effective for self-defense purposes. That said, the slightly higher capacity and reliability of the 380 ACP may give it a slight edge in terms of overall usefulness.
The 380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) and 380 Auto are essentially the same cartridges. The 380 ACP was developed by John Browning in 1908 for Colt, and the 380 Auto was developed by FN Herstal in 1912. Both cartridges are low-powered, straight-walled handgun rounds suitable for self-defense.
The main difference between the two cartridges is that the 380 ACP is a rimless cartridge, while the 380 Auto is a semi-rimmed cartridge. This means that the380 ACP will cycle more reliably in pistols designed for it (such as most Glock handguns), while the380 Auto may be more likely to jam in pistols designed for the380 ACP (such as some Berettas).
In terms of ballistics, the two cartridges are very similar. The 380 ACP is slightly more powerful than the 380 Auto, but the difference is negligible. Both cartridges have a muzzle energy of around 200 ft-lbs and a muzzle velocity of around 950 fps.
So, which one is better? There is no clear answer. If you have a pistol designed for the 380 ACP, then that is probably the best cartridge to use. If you have a pistol designed for the 380 Auto, then that is probably the best cartridge to use. Ultimately, it comes down to what your gun is designed for and what ammunition is readily available to you.
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The subtle difference in dimensions aside, these two rounds are completely interchangeable. Share the same caliber (literally meaning literary caliber or bore diameter), bullet weight, and muzzle energy. In other words, they will both fit in your gun and they will both shoot the same size bullets at roughly the same velocity.
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