The .380 ACP is one of the oldest handgun calibers in use today, older than the .45 ACP by three years, and both share a history that began with John M. Browning and the Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company.

Browning invented the .380 cartridge in 1908 and the gun to fire it, the Colt Model 1908 Hammerless Pocket Model.

The Colt Model 1908 was the very first .380, but production ended in 1940. By then, the .380 ACP had become much more closely associated with the German Walther PPK, the .380 with the longest continuous production history in that caliber.

But we should never forget the .380 ACP is an American cartridge, and today’s modern .380 rounds, designed for personal defense, have higher velocities, better expansion and greater penetration than the round-nose 9x17mm .380 ACP (also known as a 9mm Short) invented by Browning in 1908.

For the last 106 years, the .380 ACP has been among the most popular handgun calibers in the world. The Walther PPK and PPK/S have been the standard bearers for the .380 ACP cartridge for over 80 years, but today, there are dozens of pocket guns chambered in this venerable caliber, and most are made right here in the United States (even the PPK)!

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  • David Horner

    if its so popular why is the cost per round so high? they arent much different than a 9mm but still cost more yet use less materials.

    • Robert Capa

      Not a NATO military cartridge. Almost any other caliber will cost more including .25 and .32 ACP.