Best .380 for ccw


March 3, 2009, 02:35 AM
Looking at ccw piece. I am a student looking (read: not rich) for a .380. Compact is good, but it doesn't need to be the smallest thing out there. I know there are good 9's but I have tried both and I like 380 better. I know that there are plenty of good 38 revolvers, but right now I'm looking at an auto.

Only criteria- I prefer a pistol with no de-cocker, I like an external hammer, but don't NEED one, though I would much rather have something hammer-fired than striker-fired, and most importantly: NO POLYMER FRAMES. I hate them.:barf:

Thanks ahead of time for responses!

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March 3, 2009, 02:52 AM
Kel Tec P3AT or Ruger LCP are BEST. Why carry a big chunk of metal around when you don't need to ?

March 3, 2009, 03:31 AM
Not quite as tiny as the other 2 but i love my bersa thunder .380

Enjoyable to shoot, VERY accurate, very reliable, and a good deal at <$300. I've got 2400 rounds through mine without a single hiccup. I think i got my 2 tone at Gander for $219 3-4 yrs ago.

get to a range and rent one if you can. you won't be disappointed.

March 3, 2009, 08:42 AM
"best" is a subjective term. only you can determine which is best for you. i have both a ruger lcp, and a kel-tec p3at. IMO,one is about as good as the other. each has it's own little things that i like. but overall, either will do the job at hand just as well. as for the bersa thunder, i did hold one before i bought my lcp. but it was larger and heavier than i wanted. i actually bought the second 380 for my wife, but she didn't like it (to much muzzle flip for her). no big deal. i have two kids, when they get old enough, they will both have a nice carry peice.

March 3, 2009, 08:44 AM
........I second the Bersa. The Bersa Thunder CC is a little more pocketable. It even carries an extra round over the standard Thunder. You do realize that .380 ammo is more expensive than 9mm?

March 3, 2009, 08:48 AM
Look for a nice used Sig P232 or a nice Beretta 85. I found a very nice P232, (two in fact), for a very reasonable $315 at Gander Mtn, a nice Beretta 84 at the same G.M. for a low $349, and not long ago bought a ANIB Beretta 85 for $400 on this forum. Either of these are world class guns.

March 3, 2009, 09:10 AM
Seecamp LWS380

More expensive than the rest for good reason. You can't buy a better built, higher quality, more concealable 380 anywhere, at any price.

There's a reason there is a HUGE waiting list on these fine guns - because they're worth it!

March 3, 2009, 09:48 AM
Beretta M85FS. Light, slim, accurate and reliable. Plus its just a classy piece. Not inexpensive though.

March 3, 2009, 10:05 AM
Just my opinion, but if it's not going to be carried in your pocket I can't see any reason to want a 380 over 9mm.

Why no plastic and why no striker? You've just eliminated some of the best pistols out there.

March 3, 2009, 10:26 AM
Kel Tec PF-9-It's plastic,but it's also 9mm...

But,if steel is the only thing you'll consider,check out the Kahr Arms MK series,have your wallet ready,though...

Not to mention,you hate poly frames,after carrying a steel pistol around all day,you just might end up hating steel,with all its extra weight,a lot more...

March 3, 2009, 11:16 AM
sounds like you really don't know exactly what guns are out there even. Most 380 pocket rockets are going to be polymer grips, weight is f actor for pocket guns. I think the desert mini eagle will fit most of your criteria for all metal frame but it is not a low pirced gun either. IMO the best gun for the bang right now is hte Ruger lcp, they have the bugs out of it and it is quality and for around $3 bills...

March 3, 2009, 11:31 AM
I really am fine with all metal. I like the (presumably) longer life of a metal frame, and I really hate plastic that much. I live in MN, and wear heavier clothes than most people, regardless of weather (just more comfortable that way). I didn't put a lot of consideration towards 9 vs. 380 because I have used and like 380 (a 232 that an acquaintance let me try at a range), but I did fail completely to check the price difference. I also have to say that I really like the simplicity of a blowback design.

But go ahead and educate me. What's there for little, metal, affordable 9's? Also, ambi controls are a plus.

March 3, 2009, 11:32 AM
As the man DID specifically request info on .380 pistols, I'd suggest that he look closely at the Bersa for his specifications. My daughter loves hers, and she's petite. Not everyone wants, or needs, a "pocket pistol". As he stated in post #1,

but it doesn't need to be the smallest thing out there. I know there are good 9's but I have tried both and I like 380 better. I know that there are plenty of good 38 revolvers, but right now I'm looking at an auto.


I am a student looking (read: not rich)

That's going to move the Seecamp, Beretta, and Sig pistols out of his range, unless he can find a truly hot deal, on a gun that is still reliable.

If you don't mind used, and know what to look for, older designs are still pretty cheap. The Colt 1903, the FN Model 1910/1922, the Astra Model 300, Star BK, Sterling Model 400 Mk. II, some older Berettas, a used Browning BDA .380, the Colt Government Model .380 (NOT the over-priced ones on the auction sites), and so on. Check the pawn shops. Many people have pawned guns today, in these economic doldrums, and pawn shop owners can be flexible in values, to move the merchandise.

If you're not comfortable with examining a used weapon, take along a friend who is.

March 3, 2009, 11:49 AM
.380 makarov if you could find one,otherwise the little hungarian smc .380 would work.

March 3, 2009, 12:05 PM
+1 on the Bersa.

March 3, 2009, 12:16 PM
I like the looks and feel of the bersa (never fired it), but .45 being my favorite round of all, what do people have to say about the bersa .45? I will test, and probably buy that 380, but I am a little turned off by the lack of ambidextrous controls, especially when their other offerings have them.

EDIT: I looked around, and despite the price of .45, I would rather go for the bersa .45 and get into reloading hard casts. Thanks for the info, everybody! Time to start saving!

March 3, 2009, 12:31 PM
Kel Tec P3AT or Ruger LCP are BEST. Why carry a big chunk of metal around when you don't need to ?

Why? Because old farts always think that polymer is inferior and they ALWAYS use a belt to hold up their pants.

You know that Pol-Eee-Mar is just a fancy way of saying plastic don't you?

March 3, 2009, 12:33 PM
go to a compact 9x19, stay away from the 380 altogether

March 3, 2009, 12:47 PM
The KelTecs are top of the list for me as far as money. The ones I have are very reliable, light, easy to shoot. My NAA Guardian is also reliable and well made but heavy and in an obscure caliber.

March 3, 2009, 12:54 PM
+1 on Kel Tec

I carry one everyday/everywhere (not .380).

March 3, 2009, 01:00 PM
small reliable, easy to conceal, accurate, but not inexpensive.

March 3, 2009, 01:02 PM
Sorry, folks. I think I've got my mind made up. But if everybody wants to keep posting, well, I won't (can't) stop you. Go nuts!

And, personally, I will never carry Kel Tec. I think that plastic just feels awful in the hand, regardless of reliability. Otherwise I'd already have an FNP-45. I think my preference for revolvers has just made plastic feel too alien to me.

March 3, 2009, 01:06 PM
The Sphinx AT380 fits the bill, all metal, no polymer, no decocker, external hammer fired. Also hard to find. You're specs eliminate almost every gun mentioned. If you are serious you'll have to accept some change in your ideal. What's wrong with decockers?

March 3, 2009, 01:32 PM
burnse, I can appreciate you position and that is what drove me to my 1st mousegun the Guardian. While it is not so heavy as to be intolerable when I held and shot the little KelTec I was sold. It is the gun that one can truly never be without because of weight or bulk, in fact I have now gone to packing 2 guns when a larger is practical.
I literaly don't notice it in my pocket and it fits a niche that none of my other guns does.

March 3, 2009, 02:02 PM
USP9, I guess as far as decockers go, I don't get the specifics on how it works, so rather the idea of it freaks me out, while I understand fully, and thereby trust the manual safety. If some education is in order, let me have it.

March 3, 2009, 02:31 PM
.........your appreciation of all metal handguns. Over the last couple of years I've gotten rid of even my aluminum framed pistols and replaced with steel frames. A lot of people don't like the weight. It doesn't bother me since the tools I wear all day are way heavier. The extra weight helps recoil, thus putting me back on target should another shot be needed. And it just plain feels better in the hand. I only have one more aluminum frame left and it's being traded for a plain jane Taurus .357 snubbie.

March 3, 2009, 03:15 PM

I think the only pistol that fits your decription would be the TAURUS model 58. This is a clone of the BERETTA 84 pistol. Like other TAURUS pistols, it has a frame mounted safety that allows cocked and locked carry and can be used as a decocker if you want. It also has an external hammer, push button magazine release and large capacity magazine, a nice feature on a .380.

I have not shot the TAURUS, but the BERETTA 84 is very reliable. Mas AYOOB rated the SIG 230/232 as the least reliable SIG pistols and they use a decocker. They also feature the slower heel clip magazine release and smaller magazine capacity.

If you can put up with a decocker safety, the BERETTA 84 series are excellent guns. I bought mine used for @ $360.00 including 3 magazines.


March 3, 2009, 03:57 PM
" Mas AYOOB rated the SIG 230/232 as the least reliable SIG pistols "

Guess he never fired mine. It's uber reliable.

March 3, 2009, 04:07 PM
Some of you guys need to READ. The OP wants:

1. No polymer frame
2. Inexpensive
3. Preferably with an external hammer
4. 380 ACP
5. Compact

In my opinion this perfectly describes only a few pistols. The only one I have any real experience with is the Bersa Thunder. You didn't mention a good trigger in your criteria but it has that too. :)

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