CCW questions/thoughts


April 17, 2008, 08:41 PM
I've got a little "economic stimulation" that I would like to do. The wife had given me her less-than-enthusiastic blessing (but blessing nonetheless) to pursue a CCW last fall and I'm thinking now is as good a time as any.

I realize that I am very open and I'll get every answer under the sun. Since I'm not a Glock man, let's get that one out of the way right now: "GET A GLOCK." Ok...that's done. No, thanks.

So...I have a SP101: that covers the revolver. Yes, it is heavy, but I got what I wanted in that one.

I'm looking in either the .380 or 9mm caliber.

Simple requirement: I want a nice auto for Sunday under my robes or when I am in my suit. This will be strictly a carry gun, not range plinker. I am a pastor, so I need something that is inconspicuous on SUndays, but managable if the proverbial fertilizer hits the fan like in CO last fall. I'm thinking IWB or pocket carry will be my two primary methods, although an ankle holster might not be out of the question, especially if digging through an alb to get to the weapon becomes burdenson and awkward.

My budget is $250 +/- a little bit.

A couple choices come to mind in the .380. Kel-Tek is a popular choice, based on size, but having held - not fired - the gun, I'm not keen on it. I want to like the Ruger LCP, but having not seen it, let alone held it, I'm not about to plunk down the $$ first. I like the feel of the Bersa Thunder (in .380), and the Taurus Mil-Pro. Are these too large (i.e. thick) for what I have described for carry? My budget kinda eliminates the MPsc and XDsc as well as Walthers and Kahr.

I guess I am asking for guiding thoughts, not so much .380 vs. 9mm, but from those of you who carry and what it is you carry and what you think might work for me based on what I have attempted to describe. Please save the .45 recommendations, Glocks, SIGS, and other high-end guns. FWIW, I'm 6'4", 280lbs.


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April 17, 2008, 08:52 PM
For your price range, check out...
Kel-Tec P-3AT (.380ACP)
Ruger LCP (.380ACP)
Bersa Thunder (.380ACP)
CZ CZ-82 (9x18mm)

April 17, 2008, 10:06 PM
How about a Mak ... :)


April 17, 2008, 10:10 PM
How about a Bersa Thunder... I have a Taurus MilPro 9mm, but if I had it to do over again I would have gotten a Bersa. I feel like its as good or better quality for a little less money.

The Lone Haranguer
April 17, 2008, 10:31 PM
If you're wanting to stay in the lower end of the price spectrum, how about a Kahr CW9? Holds 8 rounds total of 9mm, In the $400-ish price range, light, slender and flat, can be carried IWB easily and pocket carried in a pinch. (The PM9 is better for a strictly pocket gun.)

April 17, 2008, 11:02 PM
AndrewGWU - you think the Bersa would be OK pocket carry? Would you do the .380 or 9mm?

Chester - educate me on the 9x18 Mak. More than .380, but less than 9mm, power-wise?

Kahrs are nice, but @ $400, that's getting into the top end of my spectrum.

Thanks, all...

Samuel Adams
April 17, 2008, 11:50 PM
+1 on the CZ 82.

April 18, 2008, 12:03 AM
If you've held the Kel-Tec, you've held the LCP. The Kel-tec is the easiest to conceal, by far, but not pleasent to shoot. Find a gun shop that has a Sig P6 you can hold. And the Crossbreed Supertuck is the most comfortable IWB I've ever used.

April 18, 2008, 02:25 AM
I think the only gun(s) that is a true "pocket carry" among them are Keltec P3AT and LCP, which are virtually identical.

It has a weird trigger, and it's very thin, and feels somewhat awkward at first, but after you get used to it, you'd love the concealability and its weight. You really can't go wrong with it....just listen hundreds of P3AT carriers on the forum. As for LCP, I would wait for more range report and durability reports....I've heard some issues ith them, but Keltec is proven.

April 18, 2008, 06:29 AM
I want to like the Ruger LCP, but having not seen it, let alone held it, I'm not about to plunk down the $$ first.

If you've held the P3AT, you've essentially held the LCP. I ordered an LCP sight-unseen, and it just came in. I think the grip is marginally better than the KT, and the trigger is suprisingly good. Very long DAO, but smooth. I've held but not shot the KT, so can't compare there, but the LCP is very easy to shoot, and accurate enough.

Also, if you haven't, consider the SmartCarry. I can carry my Glock 26 very easily under ANYTHING in that holster (I know you don't want a Glock, but that's just for size comparison). You wouldn't want any thicker, but you could even go a size larger height & length and still be ok.

Actually, re-reading your $$$ restriction, my final recommendation is DON'T buy a $250 auto. Buy a SmartCarry, carry the 101 on Sunday, and keep saving for a better auto! If you blow your $250 now, the next time you save up $250, you'll kick yourself you didn't wait and buy a $500 gun!

April 18, 2008, 08:11 AM
yes, save more money

April 18, 2008, 08:28 AM
Quoheleth ... I'm not the last word on Makarovs but to quote Wristtwister "You can't do better than a gun that's been field tested by the KGB and every Eastern Bloc police force on the planet." Maks have been around about 50 years and are extremely reliable ... all the guns you listed are great but I like a gun w/ a little history .... The 9x18 is just a little more powerful than the .380 w/ less danger of over penetration than a 9mm ... the Mak is accurate and reliable and I have to think that if it worked in Eastern Europe for half a century it must be doing something right ... :)


April 18, 2008, 09:38 AM
i pretty much just went through the same thing. the first thing you need to decide is if you want a POCKET PISTOL, or if you can live with one IN THE WAIST BAND. i opted for a POCKET pistol. this eliminates many small guns, how did i decide this? i went to a gun dealer and asked if i could try them in my pocket! he was very gracious, and let me try all i wanted. many of them would actually fit, but they were very bulky, and you could tell very easily that there was a pistol in there. not what you want for CONCEALED CARRY. anyway, what i decided on was any gun that is the same size as the kel-tec p3at. for me, the ones i found were the kel-tec p3at, the kel-tec 32, and the ruger lcp. those were the ones that i found, that i could try for fit. i decided on the ruger lcp, i had to order it, so i do not have it yet. but the looks, AND the smoothness it functioned with just by handleing it is what made me decide on it over the kel-tec. i hope i made the right decision. only time will tell. as for you, go look at some, hold them, cycle them, and decide where you will carry it. to be honest, the bersa thunder 380 is the gun that fir my hand the best, but, i am not going to carry it in my hand. good luck!

April 18, 2008, 09:57 AM
I know this autoloaders but how about considering a lightweight .38sp +P rated revolver? They're small and concealable, lighhtweight, more powerful than a .380, not picky about ammo and reliable as the day is long.

April 18, 2008, 10:12 AM
Honestly, the XDsc fits me VERY well, the Taurus Mil-pro ALMOST as well, and for 1/2 the price, it would get the nod. The Bersa fits well also, and is a little less than the Taurus. Is the Mak DA?

After a night's rumination, I'm thinking pocket carry or ankle holster will be primary. This is similar to what I wear on Sunday:|304477|304490|80684|437050&id=124287|304477|304490|80684|437050&id=124287

so If I were to be IWB, I would have to dig upward through the robe's pocket (which is below the rope cincture) to get to my beltline, dig under my tucked-in shirt and draw the pistol, all while standing (or worse, hunched over taking cover), it could be problematic for IWB. For Bible class, I usually forego wearing my suitcoat - lets me cool off a bit before the 2nd service - so having a IWB pistol that is not tucked in is also problematic.

I can easily slip my hand through the pocket slit in the alb to get to my keys, so I assume the same would be true for a small pocket auto. Likewise, if I had it in an ankle holster, especially if hunkering down behind cover, an ankle holster would be fine.

Again, this would basically be a Sunday go-to-meetin' gun. Sunday mornings are my most restrictive, clothes-wise, as far as what I might be able to draw and get into action. Right now, for example, I'm at church in my study wearing slacks and polo shirt. Yesterday was shirt & tie. I could do a tuckable, thunderwear, or other type rig. But add a full-length robe over this and it becomes much more difficult.


April 18, 2008, 10:30 AM
Quoheleth ... "Is the Mak DA?"

Yes it is ... while all the guns you mentioned are fine weapons you also mentioned a budget of $250 ... around here it's hard to find much in that price range ... Maks are usually about $300 locally ... they are a little heavy for pocket carry ... :)


April 18, 2008, 10:35 AM
check out the kahr cw9, buds had them for 320ish a while back, or the kel tec pf9, ive seen them under 250 NIB on gunbroker...most importantly try before you buy and train train train

April 18, 2008, 10:37 AM
I have both a Bersa .380 and a Kel-Tec P3AT. The Bersa is a bit large for pocket carry. The P3AT is ideal for pocket carry. As said, the Ruger would be the same.
I've never really had a problem with my Kel-Tec after many hundreds of rounds. The only issue I have with it is that it's not exactly a fun gun to shoot. But it does what it was designed to do. I keep Remington 88 grain JHP's in it and use the ubiquitous DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster.
The Makarov is a great gun, but it's the same basic size as the Bersa. Not what I consider a pocket pistol. If you have the room to carry a Mak or a Bersa, you can carry a used S&W 6946 or such for your $250. I only paid $256 for a pristine police-trade S&W 6946. So check into used guns at shops near you.
BTW- No matter how much money you have to spend, people will always say "save more money and buy X brand gun".

April 18, 2008, 10:41 AM
I too would recommend you spend the little bit more mulah and get the 9mm Kahr CW9. The only second choice would be the S&W 642. Lastly...I'd get a used P3AT (the ones that people are trading in for the new Ruger clone) at a great savings...and you get almost the exact same design.

April 18, 2008, 10:47 AM
Yes, the Makarov is DA. Like the previous posts pointed out, they are very reliable and accurate. Here's a link to for extensive information on this collectible firearm: The FAQ and Message Board sections in the red column might be of interest to you.

During the summer, when it's impractical to carry IWB, I sometimes carry my Makarov in a leather clutch bag. I think a gun bag would be just too obvious. Or, if your alb has buttons or snaps down your chest you might consider a shoulder holster.

April 18, 2008, 11:56 AM
Whatever you do don't go buy a gun you aren't going to be excited about owning. If you don't have any pride of ownership flutters then you will eventually come to resent the gun.

Don't know about pocket carry or ankle carry personally, except that if you want to ankle carry you probably shouldn't skimp on the holster, Cheaper than Dirt has a decent selection of ankle holsters and I almost bought a cheap one this morning to carry my G27 in. I thought better of it and will wait till I can afford a good ankle holster, they seem like they have a huge potential for disappointment.

The Bersa seems like a really good gun, I don't believe I've seen or heard of anyone who owns one downing them. The local shop near me has one in .380, looks and feels good, I really want one of their 9mm versions though, I just don't want to add another caliber right now.

I know you provbably aren't considering off-body at all, but check this out as well-

April 18, 2008, 02:09 PM
If you're comfortable with the caliber, the P3AT disappears IWB with any outfit. My cop buddy carries one with the metal belt clip attachment with a t-shirt and jeans all the time, riding motorcycles, doing work around the house, whatever, and you'd never know.

I feel like I don't want to go below 9mm, so I'm trying to hunt down a Kel-Tec PF-9. Similar price range and a bit larger, but if you want a little more firepower, I'd check that one out. If you can find one...

April 18, 2008, 10:29 PM
Stopped at a local gun shop today to check out the Kel-Teks they always have. Surprise, KTs, but they had a Ruger LCP. It feels pretty good - a little more rounded grip than I recall the KTs to be. Trigger isn't bad; a bit gritty perhaps, but I suspect that will smooth out (in large part) with a good cleaning and some break-in rounds. It drops nicely into the slacks pocket and even without a pocket holster isn't terribly noticable. I looked in their store mirror and compared the LCP in the pocket to my cell phone in the other pocket. Couldn't tell which was which.

Their price is $325 + tax. Not great; not bad. I've seen on-line as low as $250 (and then add $50 for shipping & transfer), but there's something to supporting the local guy, too. They do a 60-day layaway plan there, so if I put $50 down I can pay it out through mid-June (actually, she told me if I had a $20 bill, she would do that for me today...sadly, I only had a $5).

I'm seriously thinking about doing this. I know some say "Don't get the 'beta' model," and point to the SR9 as their case-in-point. I say that, yeah, Ruger had a problem but got in front of it and is picking up the tab. I expect they would do that with the LCP too, if that developed a problem.

Anyhow, LCPs are out there...I just got lucky enough to see & handle one and am now strongly considering going back tomorrow to plunk down the $50 to hold it.

Thanks, all, for the advice.


April 18, 2008, 10:33 PM
Since you are a man of the cloth, my opinion is to pray, and make a decision. I think all the firearms mentioned are decent choices.

April 19, 2008, 07:21 AM
I was where you are and looked at the P3AT and LCP, but instead opted for 9mm over .380. I just bought a new PF9 for $250 + $15 shipping on

It's not a true pocket pistol, but it will easily conceal IWB under your robes or a suit.

I'm still getting use to the gun. It's not comfortable to shoot, but I can certainly put all 7 rounds in a pie plate at 20', even using +P. I just added a Hogue slip on grip with padding and expect that will make my next visit to the range more fun.

I may yet get an LCP for days when I actually need a true pocket pistol, but I will wait until the initial fever dies a bit and the price comes down to a reasonable level.

Good luck with your decision.

April 19, 2008, 07:33 AM
Like others have said, the Bersa 380 is a little big for pocket carry, but conceals well in other modes, like IWB. If I was going with a 380 for pocket carry I would seriously consider the LCP once more information comes in about them and they are more readily available. I had rather have a Ruger than a Kel-Tec IMO.

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