.380 Auto Reccomendations


December 18, 2008, 09:03 AM
I am thinking about getting a .380 ACP pistol for those times when concealing something small is really the only way to go.

75% of the time I am pretty comfortable with a S&W Model 60 .357, or my XD 40, but is seems there are times when something smaller is the only thing that will work. For instance if I want to tuck in my shirt I need a gun I can throw in my pocket, or strap to my calf.

What .380's do you all reccomend? I have not shot any .380's because I don't know anyone who owns one (Maybe that is a sign).

I like the looks of the Barretta, CZ83, Ruger LCP.

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December 18, 2008, 09:13 AM
Bersas are nice and doggone reliable. I've shot a couple and some friends own the 380CC model and like it. Personally I do not like the Walthers in .380 but to each his/her own.

Now a Sig P230/232 is a fine weapon. I picked up a used one for 300 and it shoots like a top. For SD/HD I would recommend Golden Sabres. You can still find them from time to time on gunbroker and such other sites.

Just my .02

December 18, 2008, 09:22 AM
I have been quite happy with my Kel Tec P-3AT. On the other hand, there are reports that their quality is uneven, and there are some people who have tried very hard to like Kel Tecs who have not been successful.

You might also want consider the NAA Guardian and the Seecamp.

Elbert P . Suggins
December 18, 2008, 09:26 AM
I have on occasion carried a CZ83 in a paddle holster which tucks in close nicely. I believe it carries 13 rounds. But I usually carry a SW stainless 642 357 with 5 rounds. I like the fire power better and it profiles actually less in a paddle holster than the CZ with the thick grip carrying all those rounds.

December 18, 2008, 09:30 AM
I guess it depends on how fixed you are for cash. If money is no object, then get the Sig. If money is tight and you would like to save as much as possible AND you want a NEW .380, get the Bersa or Ruger.

If money is REALLY tight, get the CZ-82 from jgsales.com for $160.00 it is in 9mm makarov.

My personal pick is somewhere in the middle with the CZ-83, but I am one of those for whom money (for gun purchases anyway) is really tight.

Jim Watson
December 18, 2008, 09:50 AM
For your use, I think the Ruger or Keltec.
A Beretta or CZ .380 is no smaller than your M60 or a compact 9mm P.

December 18, 2008, 10:09 AM
The Barretta .380 is about the best you can get, but it is big for a .380. If you got a lot of money to spend, look for a old Colt Mustang or Pony. The Makarov in .380 is a good choice if funds are low. orchidhunter

December 18, 2008, 10:20 AM
I would defnately rule out anything as big as my S&W M60, becasue I would be wasting money for nothing. Thanks for the advice on the CZ82/ Cheetah.

I like the idea of the LCP because it is not blow-back operated like the Kel-Tec. I hear people claiming that the KEL-Tec has more recoil than you would expect. The LCP takes advantage of the recoil to cycle, and thereby reduces felt recoil.

December 18, 2008, 10:39 AM
I would also have to say Ruger or Keltec for a truly small, easy to conceal .380. A Colt Pony or Mustang would be only slightly larger than either the Ruger and Keltec, but they are out of production, and could easily cost twice as much as either of them. Currently produced guns like the Walther PPK or Bersa, would also be somewhat larger than the Ruger and Keltec as well. If you wanted to go up in caliber, yet keep it on the small side, then something by Kahr would be a very good, albeit more expensive, CCW choice.

Marcus L.
December 18, 2008, 10:42 AM
Sig P232. It has the best DA/SA trigger of any .380 on the market, is probably the most accurate, and is one of the most reliable. It is a little pricey in comparison to most pocket and subcompact .380s, but like all things in life you get what you pay for. If you want a little more recoil management, go with the all stainless model.

The Ruger LCP has been plagued with all kinds of problems. At this point, I wouldn't trust my life with one.

December 18, 2008, 10:44 AM
The KelTec is light and reliable, I also have a North American Arms in 32NAA that is well made but a little on the heavy side but it is the one I carry the most. If I were doing it again I would just get the Guardian in 380.

December 18, 2008, 10:51 AM
"I like the idea of the LCP because it is not blow-back operated like the Kel-Tec. I hear people claiming that the KEL-Tec has more recoil than you would expect. "

Both use locked breech.

December 18, 2008, 03:06 PM
For the budget conscience the Kel-Tec or the Bersa. If you can afford more I like the Sig 232 or maybe a S&W made PPK/S but they are a bit bigger and heavier.

I love my .380's. Next to my .45acp my .380's are the most accurate. Not the most powerful round but fun to shoot and adequate for defense especially if you can alternate HP and FMJ in your mag and they all feed nicely.

December 18, 2008, 03:52 PM
If you consider the 3 Cs, Cost, Caliber, Concealment you would pick the Kel-Tec P3AT.

December 18, 2008, 04:23 PM
I like the Keltec P3AT for cost, weight, and size; and it is very dependable.

December 18, 2008, 04:24 PM
If you can find one the Colt Pocketlite 380 is a fine weapon. 7+1 HP or Corbon Powerball works well. Alum frame steel slide. I suspect they are going to be a bit pricey these days, but a dependable bug.

December 18, 2008, 04:26 PM
I have had 2 Walthers in .380 - both were great. I currently carry a Walther PP in .32 and all things weighed out, I like the .32 better in that gun. Flawless in operation - super mild recoil for follow up shots. A big plus for me is that I have nine shots out of that size package.

I just recently (last 3 weeks) bought a CZ 83 in .380 from Cole Distributers for $230.00 plus $30.00 shipping. The gun was a hand-picked (European police trade in) in like new condition. I picked up 3 more magazines from Midway for $35.00 each. This gun is a pure gem. Tops everything I have read about them. It ran through FMJ and Hollow Points flawlessly. The double action/single action trigger pull is one of the best I have ever seen. It carries extremely well for a double stack medium size semi-auto. This is the first CZ I have owned - its easy to see how they got their reputation. A very well made high quality all steel gun. Great thing about Cole is that they sent me pics for my approval before I sent them a money order. My FFL had the gun the next day after they had my money.


December 18, 2008, 04:50 PM
We can toss in the Sig P232 and the Browning BDA 380. Both are about the same size and shoot well.

December 18, 2008, 05:01 PM
Hi, I don't know about the LCP being plagued with issues because everyone I know who owns one (and that's several) have had no problems and if I'm not mistaken you still have to wait forever to get one. The Ruger LCP drop issue recall is a CYA expense that is being corrected expeditiously to the benefit of the companies reputation and customers.
I personally own a many of the 380 pistols mentioned in the above posts and can vouch for most of them. However, putting the fantastic little Colts aside because of their cost and availability, I agree that most are too heavy for pocket carry and would recommend based on the criteria you set forth either the Ruger LCP or KT.
You can drop either in your pocket or pickup a little pocket holster and forget it's there (the same goes for the ladies...drop in a purse or slack pocket). Myself and the fellows I know and shoot with regularly count on the LCP for our ccw/PD.
Hope this helps,

December 18, 2008, 05:04 PM
i have a walther ppk/s i bought for my wife she loves it and it shoots nice. It is a bit heavy but she loves the gun, and and can shoot good with it.

December 18, 2008, 05:25 PM
I am totally happy with my Bersa Thunder 380 :)

December 18, 2008, 05:45 PM
My vote would be for a Sig P232. I have had a Sig stainless P232 about 10 years. Never had one problem with it. I have other pistols but this is the one I carry the most often.

Before that had a Beretta 380 it was reliable. But either it was not very accurate or I just could not shoot it well.

Before the Beretta 380 had a Colt Mustang 380 it was neither reliable or accurate....it was pure junk.

December 18, 2008, 05:59 PM
Here's another vote for the Walther PPK or the PPK/S. The German- and French-made guns (Manuhrin) are the best of the bunch. The U.S.-made Interarms guns are next in line. It's a true classic.

Bill B.
December 18, 2008, 06:37 PM
Sig 230 is the Caddy of .380's but may be larger than you wish. For the money I think the Bersa is worth a look also.

December 18, 2008, 06:38 PM
If your model 60 is a snubnose you can put it in your pocket. Tons of people carry j-frames in their pockets, including me.

December 18, 2008, 07:07 PM
Why choose a .380 over a 9mm?

P3At ____________ Pf9
Weight 8.3oz ______ 12.7oz
Length 5.2" _______ 5.85"
Height 3.5" _______ 4.3"
Width 0.77" _______ 0.88"
Cap. 6+1 ________ 7+1
Cal. .380acp ______ 9mm

December 18, 2008, 08:16 PM
As someone who bought two new LCP's at a local gun show, and ended up with both not keeping the mag in the grip (defective release mechanism), I would caution you to carefully inspect the one you intend to buy carefully. The dealer who sold both to me refused to exchange them, and I had to get the problem corrected through Ruger - I didn't notice the mag latch issue at the show.

Ruger's customer service was excellent, though. I had both guns back within 10 days - shipping paid by Ruger both ways - and the included two new mags (with finger extensions) and two $25 coupons for Ruger stuff. I posted the entire event in this thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=411170).

I picked the LCP over the KT p3at based on its cleaner fit and finish (among other things). I did suffer from buyer's remorse until today when I got them back from AZ.

December 18, 2008, 08:20 PM
Deleted duplicate post - sorry...

December 18, 2008, 08:26 PM
Have you checked out the BRAND NEW Kahr 380?

Looks like a winner!

Ol` Joe
December 18, 2008, 08:29 PM
Seecamp LWS380

December 18, 2008, 09:30 PM
First choice; if cost is not an issue you can get a 9mm and don't have to drop to .380 if you get a Rohrbaugh.

Second choice; in .380 if you really want a gun you can carry comfortably in a pocket, my personal preferences in order are:
1. Kel-Tec P-3AT (Best overall value)
2. Ruger LCP (Very good overall value)
3. Seecamp .380 (Expensive)
4. NAA Guardian .380 (A bit heavy in weight and trigger pull)

Third choice; a bit larger, but maybe still pocketable you can go to a more a powerful 9mm. My personal preferences in order are:
1. Kel-Tec PF9 (Best overall value)
2. Kahr PM9 (Expensive)
3. Kel-Tec P-11 (A bit thick because it's a double-stack)

Fourth choice; Bersas, Sigs, and Wathers for a .380 are quite large and heavy for pocket carry. The 9mm's mentioned above are smaller and lighter.


December 18, 2008, 10:22 PM
I bought a Bersa Thunder .380 It's a nice little gun, very inexpensive and accurate.

I am looking for a smaller gun yet for the same reason. I'm looking at the Beretta Tomcat in .32ACP

December 19, 2008, 12:21 AM
Add my vote for the Bersa Thunder; I'm carrying one now.
I once owned a nice Walther PPK/S, and was very pleased with it. Only downside was the lack of a slidelock. I had to let it go many years ago during some hard times.
The LCP looks nice, but I don't have the scratch (besides, I don't need another .380 auto.)

December 19, 2008, 12:41 AM
Another +1 on the Bersa

December 19, 2008, 07:50 AM
awesome customer service and super warranty and the lightest and smallest 380 I could find. The 9 mm is also a great shooter and pretty small. GET A KELTEC YOU WILL THANK ME!

December 19, 2008, 09:04 AM
Why choose a .380 over a 9mm?

P3At ____________ Pf9
Weight 8.3oz ______ 12.7oz
Length 5.2" _______ 5.85"
Height 3.5" _______ 4.3"
Width 0.77" _______ 0.88"
Cap. 6+1 ________ 7+1
Cal. .380acp ______ 9mm

Because a 20%+ increase in overall height and a 10%+ increase in overall length makes a huge difference. A P3AT and other similar sized guns can plausibly be made to print like a wallet. PF9s and so on are too big for that.

Just One Shot
December 19, 2008, 10:01 AM
I recently purchased a Bersa Thunder .380 and it's not bad considering you can get one for under $300.00.

So far I've only shot it at the range 1 time but it is accurate and I didn't experience any jams.

For some it might be a little heavy but it's not as heavy as my 9mm. Besides, I'll trade a little weight over say the LCP and the P3AT to get a grip that I can actually get more than one finger on.

Did I mention that the price is right? One model is priced at $239.00.

December 19, 2008, 10:04 AM

December 19, 2008, 10:37 AM
If your model 60 is a snubnose you can put it in your pocket. Tons of people carry j-frames in their pockets, including me.

+1. I had a Kel Tec P32 that gave me problems several years ago. I traded it for a 637 J frame that I carry in a Desantis Nemesis holster. It works great for me.

December 19, 2008, 10:48 AM
If I had it to do all over again, I'd go with a Colt Mustang.

December 19, 2008, 11:28 AM
Seecamp LWS380
(If you can find one)

December 19, 2008, 11:34 AM
I just sold my BT two tone that I'd had for several years for $175. Not because there was anything wrong with it, but because I'm getting 380 poor. Personally I think the BT is probably the best little 380 for the money on the market today. However, it's too large and heavy for me to want to pocket carry, but you might want to get a Kramer MSP Paddle holster. That would be a great match for ccw with :)any of the smaller 380's like the BT, Sig, Walther, etc.

December 19, 2008, 11:42 AM
Not to Pooh-pooh the whole question... but you specifically said you are looking for something because you want to tuck your shirt in...

I always tuck my shirt in, and I carry a full size 1911 (or a commander, or my officers... but that's not relevant)

they make IWB holsters, and then they make TUCKABLE IWB holsters. Crossbreed, CompTac and others make great ones.

(corssbreed's web site has a great little animation of how this all works)

I can think of several different manufacturers that have tuckables for the XD 40 in stock and waiting to send out.

Are you SURE you're not just in the market for a better holster???

December 19, 2008, 11:46 AM
But... to answer the question...

If you really do want to buy a .380 ;
Bersa 380CC is the way to go IMHO... small as the Sig232 or Walther PPK, and 1/2 the price. My brother bought one and is almost done talking me into getting one too (just for plinking ... and his alternative motive is that then I would be reloading .380 rounds. I would probably not carry a .380, but if I ever were to do it, it would be with a bersa).

December 19, 2008, 03:25 PM
For insight to the Bersa go to www.bersatalk.com

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