Itching for a new CHL gun


September 5, 2009, 05:56 AM
I currently carry a USP .40 and love that gun, but I'm looking for something smaller and cheaper to carry when I don't want to plan my wardrobe for carrying. At first I was looking at some snubby revovlers, but then I realized that I could get a semi-auto that carries 2x as much ammo and is about the same size for about the same price, and know I can't decide which direction I want to go.

So, does anyone on here have some suggestions for a small gun who's price won't scare my wife?

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September 5, 2009, 06:19 AM
What requirements do you have for it? Do you prefer da/sa, dao, assuming sub-compact, caliber requirements, max price range?

Right now I am looking into the cz 2075 rami BD. I'm seeing it at about 550ish, and it is small. It comes in both .40 and 9mm, can be used in da or sa. I don't know your wife, but it would depend on how easily she scares. There are compact 1911's that are 700ish, and there are keltecs at the 400ish price point.

September 5, 2009, 06:27 AM
I'm looking for a compact/sub-compact (maybe a single stack) for under $400. I'm fine with either DAO or DA/SA, and while it would be nice to get a .40 since I already have one, I understand that a subcompact .40 might not be too enjoyable to shoot a lot. Maybe a 9mm or .380 would be a better choice for this gun. I know that the guns in this price range aren't very well received, but I'm ok with that since I already have my excellent USP. Part of me even wants to go hold some hi-points and see if they are as fugly as people say they are.

September 5, 2009, 06:32 AM
My fathers keltec 9mm has performed flawlessly for the several hundred rounds through it. I probably have 50 - 100 rounds through it, he has A LOT more. I don't like how they feel in my hand, but some people do. I am seeing keltec p11's (9mm) on gunbroker with buy buttons for under 300 right now.

September 5, 2009, 06:39 AM
I'm not too sure how I feel about Kel-Tecs, I've seen a quite a few bad reviews of them. Granted, those reviews are on teh interweb so I take them with a grain of salt. Gunbroker is one of the places I've been poling around to get ideas on guns and prices.

September 5, 2009, 08:14 AM
really small you should consider the Ruger LCP or the Kelt-tec 380. I have a two LCPs, one for me and the other for my daughter, and they are without doubt the easiest carrying gun around. Slip it in your pocket and you can forget that you are carrying it. The Rugers work great for me and, I have a friend who is a good gunsmith who loves his KTs. He carries two, one in each pocket.:)

If you want to go a little bigger you could go with a sub-compact Glock in 9mm, 40 S&W or 357 Sig. While I don't own a Kel-Tec, I have got to say that the size, weight and, price of the p-11 really appeals to me. A buddy of mine has one but, I don't know how it shoots cause he has not shot it yet. An S&W 3913 is about the perfect size for what you want but, good luck finding one. The Kahrs also fit the bill, but, I think the price is a little high.

September 6, 2009, 02:36 AM
The Kel-Tec PF-9 ( is probably what you are looking for. (not the P-11) It's a small reliable pistol which carries 7+1 rounds of 9mm. I would have suggested a P-3AT in .380 Auto but since you carry a 40 S&W right now I'm guessing you would rather carry a 9mm over a .380 Auto. My "deep cover" handgun is a Kel-Tec P-32. You will probably find a new PF-9 for under $300 which is well under your $400 budget.

September 6, 2009, 03:18 AM
I'm definitely going to try and shop around and hold some of those Kel-Tecs to see if they feel right to me. I'm not opposed to .380 for defense, I'm one of those guys that is more concerned with shot placement than carrying the biggest caliber I can.

Is there a reason to choose the PF9 over the P-11? Did they change some design or quality problems?

September 6, 2009, 03:25 AM
The P-11 is slightly larger because it holds a double-stack magazine. Also, the trigger is heavier and there were also a few other problems with the P-11 that were all fixed in the PF-9. The PF-9 is a cross between the P-11 and the P-3AT and IMO a much better pistol than the P-11.

Like I said, I own a P-32 but my usual carry is a J frame revolver. A friend bought a PF-9 a few months back and he's extremely happy with it. I shot it and it's a good pistol IMO.

September 6, 2009, 03:28 AM
Thanks for the great input, it looks like the PF-9 is selling for ~$260 on Buds and hopefully close to that in town.

September 6, 2009, 03:29 AM
For "small" I like a 442 and/or an LCP.


September 6, 2009, 04:02 AM
The 442 is more than I'd like to spend. How do the Ruger LCP's compare to the Kel-Tec's? They look to be about the same price.

The Lone Haranguer
September 6, 2009, 07:45 AM
IMO you do have a "tactical niche" for a smaller gun, but there is no particular need for it to be cheap. I would suggest a pocketable autoloader like the Kahr PM9. It carries as easily as a snubnose .38 revolver, but is easier to shoot and fires a more efficient cartridge (and two more of them). Sometimes even that may be too large to completely conceal. In that case I suggest a .380 pocket auto.

September 6, 2009, 10:38 AM
How do the Ruger LCP's compare to the Kel-Tec's? They look to be about the same price.

My brother owns both and likes the LCP better, only because he says the really-aggressive checkering on the Kel-Tec chews-up his hand. Other than that, he says "they are the same gun".


September 6, 2009, 12:22 PM
I just purchased a Sig P238 for $399 and absolutely love it! It is extremely concealable as well.

September 6, 2009, 02:40 PM
The Lone Haranguer: While I would like to get a Kahr, they cost about 2x as much as I'd like to spend for this gun.

TimM: Was your Sig used? The ones I'm finding online are in the $500 range.

dogtown tom
September 6, 2009, 06:49 PM
Kahr CW9 can be found right at $400 NIB. I bought mine used for $350

September 6, 2009, 07:09 PM
A local gun store ( has the PF-9 for $277, so I think I might go with that. I went around and handled the P3AT and the LCP and liked both of them. The salesman said that .380 ACP is still pretty scarce, but I've seen 9mm everywhere now. How does $277 sound for a new PF9?

September 6, 2009, 09:43 PM
Since nobody else has said it in this thread, I will..

The Bersa thunder .380 is an awesome CC piece. Big enough to feel comfortable and still be decently accurate, but small enough to stick IWB and forget about. Pricing in at Sub-$300 for some models, it doesn't kill the wallet either.

I've got several hundred rounds through mine (never really counted), and it only malfunctioned on the 1st magazine (stovepiped) since then it's been flawless.

Here's a picture for your consideration:

September 6, 2009, 09:55 PM
TimM: Was your Sig used? The ones I'm finding online are in the $500 range.

No, the P238 was NIB. I purchased it here locally at Green Mountain Guns in Lakewood (303-985-7240). They still had one or two left... don't know about now. I consider it one of my better finds.

September 7, 2009, 03:16 AM
Zombienerd, that gun sure looks good, I'll definitely have to find one to hold and see how it feels.

September 7, 2009, 08:55 PM
How about a Walther PPS in 9mm? It is very flat and lightweight.

SKU: WAP10001
Model-: PPS
Caliber-: 9mm
Length: 6.3"
Height: 4.4"
Overall Width/Width without slidestop lever and takedown buttons: 1.04"/.91"
Barrel Length: 3.2"
Sight Radius: 5.4"
Weight (without Mag): 19.4 oz.
Standard Magazine Weight: 1.9 oz.
Action: Striker Fire Action, Pre-Cocked
Trigger Pull: 6.1 lbs.
Frame: Black Polymer

September 8, 2009, 12:54 AM
I'd like a PPS, but it's $600 which is way too high for what I'm looking for.

It looks like I'm going to be shopping around for either: Kel-Tec PF-9, Bersa Thunder Mini 9, Firestorm 9mm, or a Taurus 709 Slim if I can find a decent price on one.

September 8, 2009, 05:04 AM
I think $277 isn't a bad price and the store guy is right, .380 Auto ammo is extremely hard to find right now but 9mm ammo seems to be all over the place.

The Bersa is a good gun from what I heard but it's wider and heavier than the PF-9 and again, it's a .380, not a 9mm.

September 8, 2009, 05:57 PM
So the verdict is in, I'm going to get a Bersa Thunder .380 in Nickel. Went and handled it today, along with a PPS, Taurus Slim, snubby Taurus revolver, Ruger LCR, and a NAA .22 revolver. I should have it by next week!

About the ammo, the salesman said that they are short on .380 SD ammo, but they have plenty of "practice" ammo.

Regarding the PF-9, nobody in town has them or knows when they might get them. Same with the Bersa Mini 9mm, they only ship to the country 2-3/year, and they don't know when the next shipment is.

September 9, 2009, 05:47 AM
Regarding the PF-9, nobody in town has them or knows when they might get them. Same with the Bersa Mini 9mm, they only ship to the country 2-3/year, and they don't know when the next shipment is.
I have a feeling that's just a story the gun shop dealer is telling you. The Kel-Tec PF-9 is available if he is willing to order it for you. For the same money you spent on a .380 Auto from Brazil you could have bought a 9mm made in the USA. IMO he pushed the Thunder 380 because there's a larger profit margin on the Bersa but that's just a guess on my part.

As for ammo, .380 ammo is very hard to find and that's a real problem especially with a semi-auto. With a semi-auto the usual rule is you should shoot at least 200 rounds of the ammo you intend on carrying to be sure it will perform flawlessly. I hope you can find 5 boxes of .380 carry ammo so you can shoot 4 of them and have one for carry. All the practice ball ammo in the world will do you no good to achieve that reliability test.

Good luck with your new carry pistol, I hope it serves you well... (don't forget the pics when you pick it up)

September 9, 2009, 06:08 AM
None of the shops in town (or nearby towns) have PF-9's in stock. I haven't put any money down for the Bersa yet, so I can still change my mind. But out of all the guns I handled I like this one the most so far.

September 9, 2009, 07:50 AM
Congrats on the Bersa, you won't be disappointed :)

I've found that Golden Sabers work well in this gun, just FYI.

It's eaten every type of ball I've fed it, also.

September 9, 2009, 02:28 PM
After calling all the local shops about .380 and hearing that there isn't any in town (besides that one store), and how they haven't seen any for 1+ months I decided to call Philomath Gun Shop. He has the PF-9 in stock, he also has a Taurus 709 for about $100 more, and only has the Bersa in the larger version. Sooooooo, it looks like the PF-9 might be the winner after all.

September 9, 2009, 04:24 PM
+1 on the Walther PPS, which is as easy to conceal and carry as most anything you'll find on the market. It's available in both 9mm and .40 S&W, and I own one of each and have found both to be reliable and accurate. Make sure it fits your hand and eye, of course, but it's a heck of a good choice and well worth your consideration, IMO.

September 9, 2009, 04:54 PM
I like the Walther pistols, it's just way out of my price range for this purchase.

September 24, 2009, 04:26 AM
Update time!

I chose the Taurus PT709. I put 50rds of Blazer (?) FMJ through it right away and it was flawless. Then I headed to Bi Mart on the way home and got 50rds of Remington 115gr for $11, so cheap! Plus this is so much easier to CC than my full size USP .40.

Can you tell that I'm excited?

September 24, 2009, 04:56 AM
I never saw that pistol before. It looks like a good one and from what you are telling us it shoots well too. Congratulations on your new carry gun. I like the looks of it for sure, kinda looks a little like a black Walther PPK... (well, just a little)

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