I am working on the review  of the brand new carbine from Hi-Point in .380 Automatic.  I have been trying to wrap my head around the reasoning behind a .380 Auto carbine when they already make a carbine in 9mm Luger. After the first trip to the range I am starting to understand the premise so I thought it was a good idea to do a ballistic test using popular defensive ammunition and compare that to a small .380 Auto handgun as well as the 9mm Luger carbine.

Suffice it to say there is a great reduction in recoil when going from the 9mm Luger to the .380 Auto in the carbine. There will be more details on the merits of the new .380 Auto carbine in the review but for now we will concentrate on the ballistic test.

380 auto ballistic with carbine

The above chart is a direct comparison from the .380 Auto Diamondback handgun with a 2.8″ barrel vs the Hi-Point carbine with a 16.5″ barrel.

If you are curious how the .380 carbine stacks up against the 9mm Luger carbine, follow this link to see that ballistic test. As for the .45 Automatic pistol vs carbine ballistic test can be found here

BT PvsC-3

Here are the recovered bullets on top of their respected boxes. The Hornady Critical Defense are on the far left of the American Gunner box. The top bullet was shot into bare gel and the bottom bullet into three layers of denim like cloth.  Left bullets were shot from the carbine and right from the pistol. More photos on the .380 bullets recovered that were shot from the Diamondback can be found here.  I apologize for the large number of links but I am trying to provide you with plenty of information on these ballistic tests.

If you have a .380 Auto pistol and have a collection of self defense ammunition the Hi-Point carbine really adds performance to the same round, adding a longer sight radius, and the ability to add accessories.  The carbine had no trouble feeding any of these rounds throughout ballistic and accuracy testing and even added some validity to under performing .380 defensive ammunition from the test pistol. So I am optimistic on this new carbine but we will see when I really put the screws to it and see how it holds up.




Ruger Ammunition 

Winchester Ammunition 



By Hunter Elliott

I spent much of my youth involved with firearms and felt the call early on to the United States Marine Corps, following in my father's and his brother's footsteps. Just after high school I enlisted and felt most at home on the rifle range, where I qualified expert with several firearms and spent some time as a rifle coach to my fellow Marines. After being honorably discharged I continued teaching firearm safety, rifle and pistol marksmanship, and began teaching metallic cartridge reloading. In the late 1990s I became a life member to the National Rifle Association and worked with the Friends of the NRA. Around that time my father and I became involved with IDPA and competed together up until he passed away. I began reviewing firearms for publications in the mid 2000s and have been fortunate to make many friends in the industry. Continuing to improve my firearms skills and knowledge is a never ending journey in which we should all be committed. I am also credited as weapons master on a few independent films.

7 thoughts on “.380 Auto pistol vs carbine”
  1. I think accuracy tests beyond belly range might show a real benefit in using the carbines for those with less than hawk like vision or steady hands?

    1. I agree 100%. In the review I am going to test the carbine at 25 and 100 yards to see the difference and compare that to the 25 yard test from a small handgun in .380 Auto.

      1. I am awaiting delivery here soon. I’ve had a Beretta 84FS since 1993. I never even knew there was a rifle for the caliber until a few weeks ago. I’ve had a 357 and sold it as nothing matches the 84 in terms of comfort or accuracy. And with JHP improvements over the years, 380 is a truly viable caliber. My go to rifle has been a mini 14. As a former and always Marine, and the last to go through boot with an M14, I’ve always viewed 5.56 as a compromise. So, I’m doing a total switch. For short range, I’m going with the 380 combo Beretta/Hi-point and for long range I’m going to finally get an M1A scout and just cut to the chase. I’ve got other weapons, but this will be my shtf set up. This little carbine has great reviews particularly around reliability. And with 5 mags, 2 on the frame one in and 2 in pouches I will be good to go.. Yes, I know all the arguments, blah blah, but I shot expert in the suck and can make cans dance with the 84FS. FOR ME, this is da bomb. AND I might even get a pink one for her at the price and be at about a third of the M1A, my beast. I can’t wait.

  2. Also of note is that in many South American countries, pistol calibers above .380 acp are verboten. So this might explain Hi Point ’s venturing into the 380 territory

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