Looking for a 380


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Ringer
March 31, 2003, 10:12 PM
I'm new to your forum. Been shooting guns off and on for the last 20 years though.

I'm looking for a 380 to add to my gun closet. Not looking to spend a fortune but I tend to prefer quality over price, within reason. Possibilities are Beretta Cheetah, CZ83 and Sig P232 (not limited to those). My wife likes the CZ and the price is certainly reasonable. I know Sigs are quality guns, not sure I need to spend that much. I prefer the traditional Single/Double Action style and low recoil is important for this gun. Any comments on these guns or recommendations for similar ones?

Thanks

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Stephen A. Camp
March 31, 2003, 10:23 PM
Hello, sir. I will offer an opinion that the CZ-83 is a very good .380 and while not the smallest, it is easy to shoot, accurate, and reliable.

If interested, click on the link below. It should take you to a thread in which I have posted more detailed information on the CZ-83 via a "Range Report."

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3144&highlight=Range+Report

Best.

Marko Kloos
March 31, 2003, 10:31 PM
I recently fulfilled a long-hedged desire for a Browning BDA. These are made by Beretta for Browning, and are essentially Beretta 84s with closed slides and slide-mounted safeties.

Pretty guns, very accurate, and easy to hold on to thanks to the double-stack grip. 13-round preban mags are still available, although 10+1 certainly ain't bad in a package that small. They're also a bit less expensive than the beretta 84, although not quite as much a bargain as the equally excellent CZ-83.

http://www.frontiernet.net/~lendringser/images/bda_l.jpg

Standing Wolf
March 31, 2003, 10:39 PM
I've been happy with my Walther PPK (Interarms,) but have heard ugly things about the new models (Smith & Wesson.)

I looked over the Browning in a gun shop recently, and was quite favorably impressed. I ended up buying a rifle instead, my first .22 in nearly twenty years, but can imagine myself buying the Browning down the road.

Ringer
March 31, 2003, 11:25 PM
One thing I guess I failed to mention is that I'm assuming the 380 has less recoil then a 9mm. After doing some more searches and reading on the forum I'm not so sure that is the case, at least not to a large degree. My local range does not have any 380s for rent so I have not been able to shoot one. If the recoil is not much less than I would probably go for a compact 9mm.

BTW, thanks for the quick responses.

DMK
April 1, 2003, 12:19 AM
One thing I guess I failed to mention is that I'm assuming the 380 has less recoil then a 9mm. As I believe you are starting to suspect, that has a lot to do with the weight and ergonomics of the gun. If the gun is heavy enough to dampen a lot of the recoil and the grip is comfortable for you, 9mm can be a real pussycat. If your range has any 32ACP guns, try one of those. 380 is a bit hotter, but many folks are quite surprised at how much recoil these pocket guns have when they shoot them first.

You didn't state for what purpose you want the gun(ie. range shooting, home defense, conceled carry, etc). Perhaps we should start there.

Selfdfenz
April 1, 2003, 12:39 AM
Another vote for the CZ. Very nice. Accurate. Will likely last forever. Nice triggers on those 83s IMO.

For something smaller and thinner and lighter and half the price (but fewer rounds) I think my Bersa Thunder 380 is a GREAT pistol.

Let us know what you end up with and good luck.
S-

ambidextrous1
April 1, 2003, 12:50 AM
If you want a "fun" gun, try the Makarov. It has a way of rewarding the shooter with better-than-expected accuracy and reliability.

I may have to buy a second one; my shooting pals take mine away and don't give it back until the ammo is used up.


:D

Zundfolge
April 1, 2003, 01:10 AM
I second the Makarov ... I've got a Bulgarian in 9x18 and I love it.

emann
April 1, 2003, 01:19 AM
That's easy, a Bersa Thunder .380 of course. One of the better bargains out there. You can find them in the $200 range.

Blackhawk
April 1, 2003, 01:30 AM
Welcome to THR, Ringer! :D

Most .380s are blowback actions. Most 9mms are locked breech. That's basically why most .380s have MORE felt recoil than most 9mms.

If recoil is an issue in your new acquisition, I'd suggest you include 9mm pistols in your search. :D

Triad
April 1, 2003, 01:39 AM
I would go with the CZ.

lendringser, what is that knife in your pic? TIA.

happy old sailor
April 1, 2003, 01:56 AM
don't forget that KelTec is coming out with a .380, very soon now.

i like the P32 so well, i will be purchasing the first 380 i find.

they should be in the 225 - 250 price range, and, just barely larger than the P32

from experience of myself and others, the AMT .380 Backup is
very uncomfortable to shoot. make that VERY uncomfortable.

other pistols mentioned above this reply should serve you well.

Dave R
April 1, 2003, 01:57 AM
I 2nd the notion of a Bersa Thunder. Maybe the best value among .380's. Low price, and not a thing wrong with it.

If you can be patient for a few more months, check out Kel-Tec's P-3AT (phonetic for .380). Probably not a fun pistol to shoot, but extremely concealable.

The Bersa, OTOH, is fun to shoot, and fairly concealable.

Gunner45
April 1, 2003, 02:02 AM
I have been very happy with my Colt Mustang Pocketlite. It's a locked breach rather than blow back like most .380s. Kind of like a mini 1911.

Weight wise it's olny 12.5 oz unloaded

So farI have never had a jam with mine. :) And they are very easy to hide.

Gunner45

arinvolvo
April 1, 2003, 02:05 AM
Bersa thunder...Extremely affordable, reasonably accurate, and as reliable as any other 380...Just not the best looking, when next to the sig.

Blackhawk
April 1, 2003, 02:46 AM
If you can be patient for a few more months, check out Kel-Tec's P-3AT (phonetic for .380). Probably not a fun pistol to shoot, but extremely concealable.Since it's a locked breech action, it might be a lot tamer in the recoil department than you'd think. :D

WhoKnowsWho
April 1, 2003, 03:33 AM
The browning BDA is 339 at CDNN now. Nice looking gun.

I wanted to wait for the Kel Tec, but picked up the P32 for now instead... I'll get a 380 later.

The Bersa Thunder felt really nice in my hand, and the price is right.

If you weren't looking for the .380 caliber specifically, I would say get a Makarov, very fun!

I vote for the Bersa. Haven't heard any negatives that I can remember about it.

denfoote
April 1, 2003, 07:45 AM
In many cases, the recoil of the .380 is actually more than the 9mm. This is due to the fact that most .308 pistols are of the blowback design. Now, if you want a compact 9mm pistol that will serve you well for many years, give the Kahr MK9 a try!! :D

Welcome to our little cadre' !!! :D

CZF
April 1, 2003, 09:16 AM
CZ83 for around $300.00 Fits most everyone. 10-13 shots.
very accurate, low recoil as compared to other .380s i've shot.
Wonderful DA and SA trigger. bigger sights than on most
pocket pistols. Quality manufacturer.

Same can be said for the Browning and Berettas. All three
of the guns mentioned are very nice .380s.

Marko Kloos
April 1, 2003, 09:21 AM
lendringser, what is that knife in your pic?

That's a Boker Bud Nealy MCS with cocobolo scales.

Ringer
April 1, 2003, 10:13 AM
DMK and others.

The use for this gun will be primarily range shooting with the possibility of my wife using it for home/personal defense. I have other guns for home defense but they are really too large for my wife to handle should she need to. Also (assuming she will commit the range time beforehand) she would like something to take on an annual weekend trip she takes with her friends. Originally I was looking at 9mm but after firing them they seemed to have a bit more recoil than I thought she would be comfortable with. Maybe that had to do with particular gun and or ammo. She has shot my 357 Magnum with 38 loads and is comfortable with that recoil wise. It is a large frame with 6" barrel so practically has no recoil with 38s, but it's way to big and heavy for her. Just to clarify primary usage will be for myself, but I want something my wife could handle if necessary. Maybe I'm looking for the impossible in a single gun. Low recoil and small overall size is probably an oxy-moron.

With all that said I realize now I should have said all that up front. Anyway, thanks for all your input.

MJRW
April 1, 2003, 10:37 AM
Something your wife has to understand that as a general rule of thumb, as weight decreases, recoil increases. I can't say how many times I've heard the mistake "smaller, lighter, better."

.380s don't have recoil, imo, as much as they have a bit of a bite. That blowback system is what really does it. A decent weight 9mm recoil will be much more tame than most .380s. Sig 239 and HK USPC 9 come to mind immediately.

Another option is a SP-101 weighing in at about 25-27 oz. With 110 grain .38s it is fairly mild and light enough to carry.

In .380s, and just overall, I love the Bersas. Don't be fooled by the price, it is a stellar firearm.

AK103K
April 1, 2003, 02:38 PM
If your looking for a good .380, check out the SIG's, P230 and P232. These are great pistols.

mercedesrules
April 1, 2003, 02:50 PM
WKW said: If you weren't looking for the .380 caliber specifically, I would say get a Makarov, very fun!

Russian Makarovs come in .380 and are pretty easy to find at gun shows.

MR

dev_null
April 1, 2003, 02:58 PM
Just love my SIG P232. Dead sexy looks, very accurate... what's not to like? :D

-0-

JohnMc
April 1, 2003, 05:40 PM
mercedesrules,

you said:

Russian Makarovs come in .380 and are pretty easy to find at gun shows.

About how much?

John

mercedesrules
April 1, 2003, 06:05 PM
John:About how much?

$175-$220. (TX - 2002)

MR

SoDFW Jason
April 1, 2003, 06:31 PM
Another vote for the Bersa, The BDA is nice too if you have the dinero.

DMK
April 1, 2003, 08:54 PM
Originally I was looking at 9mm but after firing them they seemed to have a bit more recoil than I thought she would be comfortable with. Maybe that had to do with particular gun and or ammo. She has shot my 357 Magnum with 38 loads and is comfortable with that recoil wise. It is a large frame with 6" barrel so practically has no recoil with 38s, but it's way to big and heavy for her. What gun was that 9mm? I've got a full size CZ-75 that's one of my easiest shooters although that might be a little large for her hands. Perhaps a metal framed mid sized compact around the size of a CZ-75 compact or the larger Khar may be worth a try. (no +P or Corbon ammo ;) )

I'd say take your wife shopping with you. Tell her that you'd like to buy something that she can shoot too and see if you can find something that she can hold comfortably. The heavier the better as long as she can hold the gun comfortably and reach the trigger properly. MJRW is right on the money that a larger gun will have less percieved recoil than a smaller one in the same caliber. I see so many gunshop commandos recommend these little tiny lightweight guns for women. That's bad and will turn them right off to how fun shooting can be.

Don't forget aftermarket grips either. Something like Hogue rubber wrap arounds can do wonders for comfort.

Also, keep in mind that if God forbid she is ever in need of a defensive weapon, size and ergonomics are going to be the least of her worries. However, a gun that is uncomfortable to shoot will discourage practice with it.

Of course, this all changes if you plan on carrying the gun concealed. That usually entails all kinds of tradeoffs.

Are you set on a semi-auto? I helped my mom get a really sweet shooting .38 K frame revolver and she loves it. She has weak hands and it bothered her a little at first so we put a Pachmere rubber grip on it for her. She even shoots it regularly now. I'm glad she asked me help her out before she bought the little airweight the dealer was trying to sell her. :rolleyes:

JohnMc
April 1, 2003, 09:21 PM
mercedesrules,

Dang, that's a good price. The Makarovnik in me now wants one...
Of course, a Bersa Thunder would be nice too.

Thanks,
John
:)

Stainless Steel
April 1, 2003, 09:33 PM
Ringer:

I owned a Sig P232. That gun was down right
abusive to shoot. OUCH! Painful! Much harder to
shoot than a full size 1911 with military ball.

Stainless.

http://home.mindspring.com/~colt45acp/nra1.gif

Ringer
April 1, 2003, 09:34 PM
DMK

The 9mm I shot was a Sig P239. Don't get me wrong, it was nice gun, although a bit small for my hand. It just seemed to have more recoil than I expected. It's been a few weeks, I could be confusing it with the 40 caliber I rented but I don't think so.

My wife and I have been shopping a time or two together. The one gun she liked the feel of was a compact Baretta 9000S. I guess this is a new model and have not been able to find one for rent. Anyone know anything about this gun? I read alot of posts where people recomend and refer to shooting all these different guns. I'm curious how they do that. There are not that many ranges in my area that rent guns, or maybe I just haven't found them.

I am fairly set on a semi-auto as I dont currently own one and have been wanting one for some time. One thing I didn't mention is a decock lever. I'm thinking this is almost a requirement but maybe I'm overating the importance of that.


Thanks

DMK
April 1, 2003, 10:23 PM
Yea, that SIG is on the small side of the 9mms, that's more towards a sub compact or pocket pistol. Let me throw some examples of compacts out just for variety, note the theme of 4" barrel and 10 round mags on these.

Here's the details on the Beretta 9000: http://products.berettausa.com/frame_tabellaprodotti_2002.asp?sgmt=20&Model=9000 S#

How about the CZ P01. That's just a bit bigger than the Beretta you looked at and has a decocker: http://www.cz-usa.com/_p/pdt.php?id=50

One of the Ruger P series. You can get them with the decocker, very ergonomic:
http://www.ruger-firearms.com/Firearms/FAProdResults?function=famid&famid=2


Maybe the interesting and new Khar T series (Although it's probably pricy): http://www.kahr.com/pistols_9mm.html

Here's the SIG 229(next rung up from that 239 you tried): http://www.sigarms.com/products/classiccompactsize-models.asp?product_id=39&product_name=P229

H&K USP (the full size one - which is around the same size as the CZ P01): http://www.hecklerkoch-usa.com/pages/civilian/usp9.html

There's lots of others in this class and this is not to say you need a 9mm. I'm just throwing alternative ideas out there.

Marcus
April 2, 2003, 12:23 AM
Ringer sounds like you`re searching for the very same thing I was for my wife! I ended up buying her a real nice used (they stopped making them in `99) Colt Gov`t .380 Pocketlite. What`s cool is that it`s basically a 3/4 scale 1911,not a chpped down full sized gun. It fits her small hands perfectly,the trigger pull is light enough for her to pull without using 2 fingers (like many DA guns) and best of all it`s locked breech. :) May be one would work for you and your wife too. Marcus

dairycreek
April 2, 2003, 06:04 PM
Of course the first two are in .380 while the Kel-Tec is a 9mm. As far as recoil is concerned the SIG 232 has the most felt recoil, the CZ83 the next most and IMHO the Kel-Tec has the least felt recoil of the three. Blowback vs. locked breech makes a huge difference. If a 380 is what is desired then the CZ gets my vote because it is a quality performer at a very reasonable price. I think that the Kel-Tec is the best overall performer taking into consideration power, performance, and price. Good shooting;)

AK103K
April 2, 2003, 06:19 PM
I never noticed the recoil on my P230 was all that bad. It's never hurt when I fired it and fits my hand better than most of the other "pocket" type pistols. The difference in felt recoil between my P230's and my Walther's was definitly noticeable. I think the Walther has much more felt recoil and snap to it. Not to mention, it likes to eat fleshy hands. I guess its a matter of what your used to and your perception of recoil.

Braz
April 2, 2003, 06:39 PM
I bought a Sig 230 for the wife,

She doesn't shoot often, and it's hammer drop instead of a safety make it almost as easy as a revolver to understand. They have a loaded chamber indicator, and break down to 3 pieces. As a bonus, it's the most accurate auto I own!

Coltdriver
April 2, 2003, 07:57 PM
If you are set on a .380 do take a look at a Colt Mustang. There are several variants. There is a Colt Govt Model 380, the mustang, the mustang pocketlite and the +2.

Because it is a locked breech, the recoil is very easy.

I bought a Walther PPK/S and hated it because it kicked violently for such a small round. I think most of the blow back slide 380s will fall in that category.

But, you may also want to take a look at a Kahr P9 because it is as small as the Brownings, packs a 9mm round and also has a locked breech making the recoil very easy to deal with.

A slightly more obscure 380 with a locked breech is a Colt Pony which is a DAO locked breech gun. Very small, very light and my wife stole mine to put it in her purse. Really easy to shoot and manage. However, not (IMHO) a gun you want to shoot a lot because they do wear out and getting parts is not easy.

tomr8368
April 2, 2003, 08:27 PM
I like my CZ 50 a lot...much like a Walther and if you can find one at a gun show or shop it should be cheap. Quality pistol.
Tom:D

Selfdfenz
April 2, 2003, 11:22 PM
Ringer,
I got it man!

Hope you are still following the thread.

And the answer is.......TWO GUNS!!!!!!!!

Choice number one is the one you really, really like but she is ok with. If after running it a while she decides she wants something else, go get it.

Choice number two is THE one she picks. She will learn a lot from shooting & handling choice number one.

All the better if they are the same caliber.
Buy one caliber of bullet ......by the case.

Still pulling for the CZ (83 or PCR) and the Bersa BTW. :p
S-

DonGlock26
April 4, 2003, 12:04 AM
I've found my P232 to be as good as the full sized Sigs. The Blued version weights in at just 16oz.

Captain Bligh
April 4, 2003, 09:43 AM
I have a stainless Sig P232. It's a great little gun and I obviously like it. It's not the most accurate gun that I own but I consider it acceptable.

As others have said, it has a blow back action. Therefore, the presumption that a .380 has light recoil need not be accurate. The little gun has fairly sharp recoil. I'm not recoil sensitive so it doesn't bother me but I get the feeling the original poster might not like it.

Another thing to think of is that some of the little .380s are known to bite the web of the hand between the thumb and forefinger as the slide cycles. The Walther PPKs has that reputation and some people also complain about the 232. I have fairly big hands and can shoot the 232 without slide bite.

I'm generally a 1911 or revolver shooter. The biggest adjustment I had to make (am making) when shooting the 232 was to get used to the DA/SA transition. I doubt I'll ever prefer it.

RJ

PCRCCW
April 4, 2003, 09:57 AM
Ive shot/owned most of the guns being discussed....the BDA and CZ are the top choices...for the money (and Cond 1 carry :D )
Get the CZ83....you wont regret it.....
Shoot well

Ringer
April 4, 2003, 09:02 PM
Yes Selfdfenz I'm still following the thread. You make a good point, something I have pretty much come to realise, that you can not have everything in one semi-auto. Unfortunately I can budget only a couple guns in a year, including shotguns, rifles and handguns. I have already bought one shotgun this year and have my eye on another. Anyway to your point and from reading alot of the replies to my post as well as other posts I have pretty much determined a 380 is not what I want at least not for my next purchase. I think I'll end up with a 9mm, something that fits me more than my wife, as you suggest, and if she shows alot of interest I'll consider another more compact 9mm for her. I could use a more compact for CC if I decide to go that way. Of course the second 9mm will have to wait until I get the 45ACP I have my eye on.

Thanks to all for all the great input. Now that I have a new mission I'll probably be looking for comments on the 9mm I select. I already have a couple in mind but I'll leave that for another post.

Thanks

Haycreek
April 5, 2003, 01:46 PM
IMHO the CZ 83 is the "Best" 380 . 10 plus rounds, DA/SA, can be carried C&L , reliable, accurate as a match grade 1911, fits my hand, short trigger reset, proven design, did I leave anything out? Oh yes, very smooth trigger action on both Double and Single pulls.

Handy
April 5, 2003, 02:25 PM
If anyone is interested, a local dealer has a new in box Mauser HSc .380 for $389. Darn neat gun, beautiful fit and finish. Email me if you want contact info.

DMK
April 5, 2003, 06:22 PM
I have pretty much determined a 380 is not what I want at least not for my next purchase. I think I'll end up with a 9mm Yea, but this thread has convinced me that now I need a Bersa, BDA or CZ-83 in 380. :rolleyes: :D

Ringer
April 5, 2003, 08:25 PM
Yea, but this thread has convinced me that now I need a Bersa, BDA or CZ-83 in 380. :rolleyes: :D
Woops, sorry Dave. Or should I say you're welcome? :cool:

JohnBT
April 5, 2003, 08:25 PM
I'm trying to be patient. The word from Kel-Tec on KTOG is that the P-3AT should hit the shelves the end of May or early June.

I know, I know, if everything goes as planned :)

I hope it does, I'm No. 1 on the list at the store.

John

BusMaster007
April 5, 2003, 11:54 PM
For this niche, I went with the Beretta 84F.
I almost would rather have gone with the Browning BDA, as the safety works like my full size Berettas.
But then, I'd want to change the hammer, and want an open top slide, etc.
Even though Beretta makes(made) the Browning BDA, and the safety thing isn't exactly what I wanted, I thought I'd stay with the Beretta line.
I will say that everyone who's ever shot the gun likes it, regardless of their size or gender or experience with firearms.
The gun is extremely reliable, too.
I can't remember ever having a problem with it.
Beretta 84F gets my vote for a .380 pistol.

Stainless
April 28, 2003, 02:06 AM
Ditto on the Sig 230.
I have one that is GREAT.
Very accurate and VERY good trigger out of the box.

Stainless
April 28, 2003, 02:06 AM
Ditto on the Sig 230.
I have one that is GREAT.
Very accurate and VERY good trigger out of the box.

Stainless
April 28, 2003, 02:06 AM
Ditto on the Sig 230.
I have one that is GREAT.
Very accurate and VERY good trigger out of the box.

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