Help on .380


December 26, 2002, 12:40 PM
Does anyone have either one of these and how do they like or dislike them?? SIG P232 or a Walther/S&W 380. I am kind of confused on which one..


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Matt Sutton
December 26, 2002, 12:51 PM
I had a Walther PPK/s imported by interarms. 380ACP blowback operated guns have very snappy recoil. I ended up selling it for a Sig P239 9mm which is not a lot bigger, and recoiled less.
I've seen several Kahr MK9s for $400 lately. They are virtually the same size as the PPK, but shoot 9mm and are locked breech.

December 26, 2002, 12:57 PM
Yup--stay away from the blow-backs---recoil is all out of proportion to their power.

December 26, 2002, 01:08 PM
Yup, stay away from blow-backs they are accurate and reliable. I don't think they are harsh in recoil, but to each his/her own. The 9x18 Makarov I have has seen some pretty hot ammo, but I shoot it accurately and don't mind the recoil. It is all steel though. Look for a Mak in .380 if you want a .380 cheap. Otherwise the 9x18 is a good round and is available as cheap surplus, but not at Wallyworld. Many gunshops carry 9x18 though.

December 26, 2002, 01:12 PM
Go with the Walther.

December 26, 2002, 01:18 PM
Or if you can find one do your self a favor and get a Colt Mustang Pocketlite. Mrs. Gunner45 got me one for christmas two years ago. It's my "allways" gun. I just drop it in my front pocket as I grab the car keys. A good friend of mine has the sig. It's a very well made gun, just a little big for the .380 in my opinion. Colt did make a DAO mustang like gun called the Pony. I havn't shoot a pony to tell you about the trigger, but my mustang has a sweet trigger.


Oleg Volk
December 26, 2002, 01:34 PM
I used to be a big fan of Colt Mustang/Govt 380. Then I owned one and it was 1) inaccurate (5" at 10m) and 2) repeatedely self-destructed over 50-100 rounds due to soft metal used in the slide and barrel lugs :eek:

Tried a PPK in .380, that was painful!

Makarov in 380 or 9x18 is cheap, accurate, reliable and streamlined. It is also heavy and I dislike the safety design.

Currently have a Sig 232 which I wouldn't have picked had I not fired it first. More expensive and finish is prone to rust. But it is slim, simple to the extreme, very accurate (1" at 10m) and recoil, though brisk, isn't painful due to well-designed grip. I'd pick a Kahr P9 over it if I had to pick, but 232 is a reliable and light 380.

December 26, 2002, 01:41 PM
If a .380 rings your chimes, wait until after the SHOT Show in February to see what new offerings are in store.

December 26, 2002, 01:59 PM
I know its not on your list, but if you are considering a .380 that is the size of the Walther or the SIG, you should probably also check out the Bersa.

Its dirt cheap, but extremely reliable. You can check the archives at TFL, and you will see a ton of people who have them and love them, me included.

Just another option for you.


Kentucky Rifle
December 26, 2002, 02:06 PM
Did your Colt .380 happen to be a blue model? I've heard those soft slide stories WAYYYyyy to much to ignore them. However, they've always been about a "blue" model. Never the stainless. I have had a stainless slide/alloy frame Mustang Pocketlite for years and keep a close eye on the slide catch notch on the left side of the slide.
No wear to report. Mine also seems quite accurate out to about 40 or 50 feet. (I haven't tried to fire my Mustang at greater ranges than ~50 feet.)


December 26, 2002, 03:20 PM
My Mustang is a Stainless Pocketlite. I have not had a single problem. Slide lock notch still looks it did when came out of the box. My mustang shoots so well that after shooting mine two of my shooting buds ran out and got one each. Kirk got a blued pocketlite and Michael got an all steel Mustang. By the way you really can feel the differance in the weight when its in your front pocket. Both or thier mustangs have been sweet shooters as well. All though I think that mine has the best trigger of the trio.


December 26, 2002, 06:07 PM
If it's for defensive carry and you want .380 so it's small, be sure to look at what Kahr has done with guns like their pm9. Lots of .380s are bigger than the better small 9mm, which seems kinda pointless for defense.

Of course, if you just want a .380 because, well go for it!

Oleg Volk
December 26, 2002, 06:40 PM
My Govt.380 was nickeled blue carbon steel, not stainless. It was an expensive and unpleasant disappointment, as I've wanted one for many years.

Walther P99
December 26, 2002, 08:15 PM
I own the SIG P230 which is pretty much the same as the P232. It's a great gun and very concealable but I have to agree with the others who say the blowback action leads to a very snappy recoil. It's actually has the most felt recoil of any gun I've owned.

December 26, 2002, 08:49 PM
CZ---83--you can't go wrong with this one.

December 26, 2002, 11:13 PM
I did a bunch of research on this because a .380 is on my buy list for when I get my CCW.

The Walthers are a crap shoot. The new S&Ws are a step up in quality and have taken steps to counter many classic Walther problems like slide bite, sharp corners, and finicky feeding which made the Interarms PPKs less than desireable carry guns.

The Sig is a nice gun by all accounts. Good sights etc. Heavy but thats not uncommon for a .380.

Try a Bersa if you can. They look a lot like a PPK/S and they're inexpensive but not cheap (~$200). They're accurate and reliable and have the mag release where it belongs on an auto unlike the Walther and Sig. Lots of folks have tried and like them. Do a search of TFL using "bersa thunder .380" to see a few.

December 27, 2002, 01:02 AM
Honestly ...I agree with the 'why not 9mm" crowd on this one....
For the same money as either gun your talking about..a Kahr is simply a very nice gun at the same price and bigger boom.
If your set on a .380....The Sig is smooth and refined...not that heavily built, limited capacity and very spendy..the Walther is the same style gun but somewhat smaller...not as dependable...more heavily built, gorgeous and still has smaller capacity......
If you want the Walther style gun...for the money get a Bersa...seriously. Its controls are Sig refined, very accurate...a Sig without the Sig price....
If you want the .380 to have; get a CZ83.....built on the Makarov chambered CZ82 frame, so it will take +p for a lifetime, holds 14-15 rnds with the right mags...trigger is HEAVENLY...points better than the others and mine grouped 1.9" at 25 yds from a fixtured rest.....5 rnds.
Not that thats really good for a sub 4" barrel compact gun....imported and bought for around $300.00.....its excellent.
Shoot all of them that you can and see what you like......
shoot well

Walther P99
December 27, 2002, 02:33 AM
OK, since we're talking .380s, how about a Sphinx AT-380? I've heard nothing but good things about the Swiss-made Sphinxes.

Although they currently have no US importer, I've been in contact with them and they report that they have an improter lined up and will return to the US shortly; I'm very interested in their AT 2000 models for my next CCW/home defense handgun. ;)

Anyway, I'm not sure if they'll still import the .380 model, but it's definitely worth looking into. Used models are available for around $450-$500.

Happy hunting.

December 27, 2002, 04:20 AM
Never shot the Walther but the SIG 230 I shot was pretty sweet. I thought long and hard about buying one on a number of occasions.

When I finally did buy a .380 I went with a Bersa instead. Why? They are well made (though not up to the fit and finish of the PPK or 230/232), decent looking, highly reliable and incredibly accurate (the fixed barrel helps)- all traits of the SIG, but it only cost me $215 brand spanking new (or in other words, I paid less money than I saved on the cost of a SIG 230/232 or Walther PPK in that I saved $250-300).

December 27, 2002, 07:45 AM
I know where there is an Sphinx AT 380 for around 350$...if your ever in the southwest.....Shoot well

December 27, 2002, 08:02 AM
I have the Walther. It conceals and shoots well, but not as well as the Makarov!!! ;)

Don't like Sigs!! :rolleyes:

December 27, 2002, 08:09 AM
I'll throw in for the SIG P230's. I have a couple, I like them that much. I've had Walthers, and if its German made and assembled, its ok, stay away from the ones made here. I never noticed the recoil on the SIG being "snappy", the Walther, maybe a little. I think 9mm is snappy, no matter what you shoot it in, unless it has a stock. :) I carry one of my 230's daily, and have had no rust problems with it, I do wipe it twice a day though. I got mine at good prices so I didnt have a choice of finish with that or I would have gone stainless. I sweat like a pig and its not good for anything but hard chrome or stainless. But so far, the SIG is doing ok.

Captain Bligh
December 27, 2002, 09:57 AM
I'll chime in here. I own a Sig 232. I think the .380 is much maligned on internet forums. Invariably someone asks the "this .380 or that .380?" question. You can always count on the posters that reply "buy 9mm." I think some guys already own 9mm and just want a .380. My goal is to have one of every caliber and my .380 is a Sig.

I like my 232 a bunch. It's not my preferred carry gun but it's a sometimes carry gun. The blowback recoil is stout but not uncomfortable. It's nothing like shooting my .357. I think some expect a .380 to recoil like a .22 because the bullet is so small so they are surprised that it recoils like a larger caliber. I'm not recoil sensitive so that's not an issue for me.

The 232 is very well made and very reliable. Mine has never suffered any kind of functional failure. None. I can't say that about other semi-autos that I own. I like the slim profile. It's flatness aides concealment considerably. It's hard to find a thinner gun to carry. Yes, the Kahr is about the same size but it's a lot thicker. Yes, the .380 round is the minimum you'd want to carry for self-defense but the gun is pretty accurate so I think accuracy makes up for that. Shot placement. Shot placement. Shot placement.

I hear that Walther's are iffy. Some good; some unreliable. Many also experience web bites on their hands from Walther slides. That has been corrected with the new design (S&W) but is a problem on older ones. This happens less so with Sigs but you may want to check it out to see how your hand fits.

Life is short. If you want a .380 in the collection, buy it. If you want a Walther for it's sleek lines or James Bond image, buy it. As for me, I sure like my Sig. 232!


December 27, 2002, 10:12 AM
Are you thinking of a Glock.....????????????? Comparing a Kahr to a Sig 232 in thickness.........
The Sig is 1.200"
The Kahr is .900" at the slide and 1.06 at the widest steel pt of the gun........grip included...the P series is thinner... .900" across the board.......
The Sig is a large gun for a single stack it to a BDA/CZ83...same size and they hold 2 times the bullets....but the alloy gun is lighter than either one......
Shoot well

Captain Bligh
December 27, 2002, 10:43 AM
Are you thinking of a Glock.....????????????? Comparing a Kahr to a Sig 232 in thickness.........

I think maybe we're both right. The Sig website lists the 232 "overall" thickness as 1.2 inches. Actually, that is the width of the 232 butt at its greatest thickness. I just took a micrometer to my 232 slide. The slide itself is roughly 7/8 of an inch in thickness.

That being said, I was surprised to see the dimension you listed for the Kahr because I do think of the Kahr as being chunky like the Glock. That is probably my perceptual error because of the Kahr slide's squarish profile while the Sig's is more rounded. I confess I have a bias against square, blocky slides.


December 27, 2002, 11:05 AM
For the size & expense, you can go w/ a 9 mm pistol and end up with a better self defense round. Check out the baby Glocks & the Kahrs in 9 mm & 40 S&W for comparison.

Kentucky Rifle
December 27, 2002, 11:21 AM
If I had only known, I could have warned you off on the blue model. The stainless slide model makes all the difference in the world.
It's (at least for me) a VERY disappointing experience to get a new pistol, dance all the way to the range--and find out that it's a bummer/lemon the first day. Sorry pal.
Lots of guys seem to just trade lemons off. I just can't do it. I put them in the very bottom of my safe hoping to never see them again.
I know that my conscience would hurt to sell someone a lemon and then read in the next day's newspaper that they were killed with a full mag because the gun jammed. Nope, not this guy. I've got far too many "checks" on the bad side of the ledger now, I don't want to add any more.


December 28, 2002, 04:22 AM
The SIG P230/232 is arguably the best .380 auto on the market. The problem is the size. It is easy to find 9mm and .40 cal guns that are smaller and weigh less than a stainless P232. If you have your heart set on a .380, the Walther PPK is significantly smaller. I have an Interarms stainless as well as a German blue version and both have been reliable and accurate. Some people have had trouble with the Interarms guns, but I am not one of them and mine has a serial number in the 3000 range. I have had work done to it, but that was done before even firing the first shot and my changes may have improved its reliability.

Dave R
December 28, 2002, 02:26 PM
Do yourself a favor and at least check out the Bersa Thunder before you buy your .380. It costs much less than the SIG, and is NOT as refined. But it fulfills the same mission, and shoots very well.

December 28, 2002, 03:15 PM
then, by all means, check out a CZ 83. Somewhat heavier than a P232 it has IMHO less felt recoil. All steel, reliable, and an excellent shooter. Comes with 10-round mags and costs a bunch less than SIGs. FYI Good shooting:)

December 28, 2002, 04:38 PM
I have a Walther (Interarms) PPK in .380. I got it used for $350 and have put about 400 rounds through it without a hiccup. It has not cut my hand and the recoil is okay.

The big advantage of the gun is its concealability - it is very flat, about 0.8 inches thick throughout, and has a short grip (2 fingers on grip with pinky tucked under. I have carried it when nothing bigger works. The best carry I have found is a Bianchi suede IWB holster, which adds virtually no thickness to the gun.

I admit that the stopping power of .380 is marginal. I use Hydrashok 90 grain hollowpoints, which have 1000 fps velocity and 200 ft-lbs of energy. Marshall gives them a 69% OSS. The gun holds 6+1, and has a heavy DA pull, but a good SA pull. I actually prefer it to a J-frame .38 because it gives you 2 more shots and slightly better stopping power.

December 28, 2002, 05:11 PM
Maybe I have been shooting a different PPK from some of those I read about here. I dont find the recoil objectionable and I can't say I've ever experienced hammer bite from it. What I can say is that I found it to be completely reliable and combat accurate with a variety of loads. IMO, the design would not have lasted all these years if it wasn't acceptable. I vote PPK

December 29, 2002, 03:30 PM
I have a German PPK/S. I love it but since I got the Mac in .380 and the Kel-tec P11 in 9mm, I haven't shot it in 3 years.

December 29, 2002, 06:15 PM
You can find Makarov's in .380 or change the barrel to .380. But why? 9MM Makarov caliber is slightly better, cheap and plentiful. Get a Mak, you won't regret it. Another great, yet somewhat more expensive option is a CZ-83 in either .380 or 9MM Mak.

December 29, 2002, 06:25 PM
I carry the NAA Guardian 380 every day in a Ron Graham rear pocket holster loaded with Magsafe Defender rounds.

December 29, 2002, 06:27 PM
If you like the Walter, I would spend some money and have Teddy Jacobson work on the action. The Walther trigger pull sucks. Teddy somehow seems to work magic without cutting any springs or tampering with any sear angles.

December 29, 2002, 07:15 PM
I'll add a second vote for the CZ 83 in .380. Well made, fits the hand extremely well and accurate. Just a joy to shoot.


December 29, 2002, 08:40 PM
When it comes to .380s, this is the only pistol that comes to mind...

Kahr carrier
December 30, 2002, 06:25 AM
Actually both are nice ,but I like the 380 Guardian.:)

December 30, 2002, 09:11 PM
Another vote for the Bersa. I've been shooting mine for a year now with out any type of failure. Great gun regardless of price

December 30, 2002, 10:23 PM
I've got a Star Super S that I've had for years. When the Colt Mustang came out I looked at several thinking I'd like to "upgrade". What I saw led me to keep the Star.


Ala Dan
December 31, 2002, 05:27 AM
Greeting's All,

My daughter has the American, stainless Walther PPK
as distributed by InterArms. While most reviews bash
these little gem's, this one has functioned flawlessly;
even with JHP ammo. And, it was purchased NIB in
January of 1995!

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

December 31, 2002, 01:40 PM
I had one that got the slide replaced once by Colt, and the slide stop chewed the cut away AGAIN. Colt ended up giving me back my full retail price including taxes and fees for the gun. Yes, you heard right, they admitted they couldn't fix it and sent me a check.

My stainless and nickel Gov. .380's work flawlessly and I carry one every day. Very slim frame, locked breech. My second choice is a Walther or Walther-like .380.

December 31, 2002, 05:45 PM
The only 380 I would ever own is a colt mustang!:uhoh:

December 31, 2002, 06:39 PM
Hi, the 380 right now is pretty much worthless unless you can find an older, smaller platform for can get a 9mm that is not much bigger, or a 32 which is way smaller..the 9mm will do more than the 380, and so for that matter will the 32 in a proper loading...

Stay away from Bersas....

Wait till after the shot show to see whats new.

Dave R
December 31, 2002, 07:43 PM
We ought to mention .380 loads.

I did some informal penetration/expansion testing with Remington's 102gr. Golden Sabre and I was pleasantly surprised with the performance. Its not that far behind a standard 9mm. In my FEG PPK clone, it is very accurate and reliable.

December 31, 2002, 08:27 PM
I also have an FEG Walther clone. Best gun for the money I've ever bought. As accurate and reliable as any I've shot. Mine has an aluminum frame and a steel slide. Very sharp recoil.

Jamie B
January 1, 2003, 10:05 AM
I just purchased a Bersa Thunder .380 about 2 weeks ago.
Haggled at the local gun store...they wanted $269, and I got it for $219.

I have not yet had the opportunity to shoot it yet, but it seems to be a solid gun with a good trigger.


January 1, 2003, 10:22 AM
Holly Crap, Batman!!
I guess I've had good luck with my blued .380 Colt Govt. model. I bought it used, put over 300 rounds thru it already, and it still looks as good as new. :eek:
I guess if I have a run in with the slide problem I could ask Colt to use a stainless slide in the repair??

January 1, 2003, 10:44 PM

The Bersa Thunder .380 is a well made, reliable, slim platform for this round. Put a Hogue Handall grip sleeve on it and you can hardly go wrong for the price.

Stephen A. Camp
January 1, 2003, 11:25 PM
Hello. I bought one of these a year or two ago and while I've shot it some, I just don't shoot .380 ACP all that much. Finally decide it was time to really see what the thing might be capable of.

The Pistol: The CZ83 is most often seen in .380, but I think some examples are around in 9x18 Makarov. If memory serves, the pistol was also offered in .32 ACP, but I could be wrong on that.

Like the larger CZ pistols, this is a conventional DA/SA pistol that allows for "cocked and locked" carry should that be desired. The generous tang prevented the spur hammer from biting me, despite my somewhat large hands. The DA pull is long, but extremely smooth and quite light. The trigger is not grooved. This was surprisingly good. The SA pull is light, but like the CZ75, the hammer's pushed back very slightly in the SA pull before it falls. This precludes the crisp "glass rod" break most often seen on tuned 1911s. This does not mean that the SA pull's hard to use; it isn't. It is a straight blow back as are most .380 pistols.

Sights are fixed and the same as those on the CZ75/85 B pistols, i.e., very usable and easy to see at speed. They're the 3 Dot variety and have the "glow in the dark" paint. I'd be happy with plain black-on-black.

This picture shows the sights, ambidextrous, frame-mounted thumb safeties, but does not show the ambidextrous magazine release located at the rear of the trigger guard.

Original-capacity magazines in .380 were 13 rnd, but my gun came with two 10 rnd mags that were easy to load and appeared quite well-made. This pistol also has the hooked trigger guard that's checkered on front rather than the older, rounded one. (I prefer the rounded.) Stocks are black, partially checkered plastic secured with one Phillips head screw on each side. (I think these screws look "cheap" and would much prefer slotted or hex head given my druthers.) The pistol has an external slide release.

The slide release is not ambidextrous and well-positioned.

Ammunition: There is a wide selection of ammunition around for .380. I used one FMJ round in the test with the rest being JHPs. Ammunition used:

Fiocchi 95 gr FMJ
PMC 90 gr JHP
Federal Classic 90 gr JHP
Federal 90 gr Hydrashok JHP
Winchester 95 gr "Deep Penetrator" JHP
Corbon 90 gr JHP +P

I do not have any personally chronographed figures for any .380 loads, but the Corbon is rated at 1050 ft/sec with the others a bit shy of 1000 ft/sec. Rounds were ejected to the right about 18 ft or so.

Shooting: Ten-shot groups were fired with the above loads at 10 yards, standing w/2-hand hold in slow-fire, single-action and the same for the 25 yard test.

Sights were dead-on. Top left: Fiocchi ball, Bottom Left: PMC JHP, Top Right: Federal JHP, Bottom Right: Winchester JHP, Middle: Corbon JHP, Top Middle: Federal Hydrashok.

The gun "shoots." The PMC shot the tightest group with the rest about equivalent. For what it's worth, I've not been able to get PMC's JHP to expand in any informal expansion tests.

Since many folks use Federal's 90 gr Hydrashock as their defensive load in this caliber, I opted to use it for the 25 yard target.

I think it is plenty accurate enough for defensive purposes. I did have one malfunction with this load, but none with any of the others. One round failed to fully chamber. Test your defensive ammo regardless of your pistol choice. I found this surprising as chambering rounds off full magazines was "slick" and without hesitation with any of the rounds tested. The Hydrashock round that hung up was the 4th round.

The following group was fired as quickly as I could get on target using the Corbon +P 90 gr JHP at 10 yards. It consists of 5 "controlled pairs." Since this gun does allow for cocked and locked, I fired only the first round double-action. It is the low one!

Recoil is not "sharp" as has been reported by some, but I suspect this is with the smaller .380 pistols.

Observations: The CZ83 is easy to shoot and shoot well. While it is large for caliber compared to many of the smaller and more potent 9mm & 40 caliber pistols, it does have enough bbl to take advantage of what velocity the .380 has. Though NOT on my short-list of preferred defensive rounds, I'd likely use the 90 gr Federal Classic JHP for this purpose of the ones tested. This round's "worked" in various informal expansion tests, at least to my satisfaction. I've not "tested" the Winchester round. I might also test it and the Remington 102 gr Golden Saber for this caliber if serious about it.

Metal fit and finish was quite satisfactory and the blue was even.

If interested in a .380 ACP pistol, even though it doesn't have the almost mandatory decocker, I suggest looking long and hard at this pistol.

Comparison to Makarov: This is likely the one to be made by many folks. For those interested, a range report on the Mak can be found via the link below.

The CZ has the lighter trigger pulls in both SA and DA.
The CZ has cocked and locked capability; the Mak does not.
Out of the box, the CZ has better sights.
Neither pistol has an internal firing pin safety. The CZ's is retained via the traditional firing pin retaining plate.
The Makarov is a bit more powerful.
Magazines for the Mak are much less expensive.
CZ magazine holds 10 in current form; Maks hold 8.
No magazine disconnect in either pistol.
The CZ comes with more visible sights than the Makarov, but the latter pistol can be bought under $200 while the CZ's costs around $300. Better sights can be put on the Makarov should the owner desire and the cost difference becomes negligible.

While I find the CZ83 more "refined" than the Makarov, I do like the feel of the Makarov better when fitted with Pearce grips.


January 2, 2003, 08:50 AM
Mr. Camp,
As usual, your write ups are beyond reproach! You can write a review on my guns fact you have on a couple of occasions. I miss my 83's...but more are on the horizon.
IMO, they have one of the best triggers out of the box on just about any trad d/a BDA rivalled my first 83 for overall trigger greatness second was quite close.
I tell people about my little .380 grouping 1.900" at 25 yds with Silver tips and get alot of eye rolling :rolleyes: Your results far surpass my best.....excellent shooting.
Thanks again...Shoot well, Eric

January 2, 2003, 03:10 PM
My understanding is the problem only occurred in Mustang slides of a certain lot. It just happened to be the final lot of production. Your Gov.380 should be fine, as are my two (nickel and stainless).

January 3, 2003, 10:17 AM
This material and some other related data now has a URL:

Used by permission.

Will Beararms
January 4, 2003, 02:32 AM
Why doe Beretta 84/85's always get overlooked in the .380 debates!

They are accurate, well made with quality materials, safe and easy to shoot.

Yes they are a little larger than others but look at em!

Robby from Long Island
January 4, 2003, 06:04 PM
I agree with "Will Beararms". I purchased a Beretta 84F 12 years ago and definitely think it is the best made .380 out there.

True, they are not cheap but you get what you pay for. Mine was NIB when I got mine and I paid $420 for it. Being a double stack holding 14 rounds, it's not small but its size helps soak up recoil on that blowback design.

I have to admit I would rather wait a few months on the purchase of a new gun while I saved more money for what I consider to be the best available.

Safe shooting.

January 4, 2003, 08:03 PM
I feel sorry for people who think recoil from a PPK is bad.

The people who complain about hammer bite from a PPK must have big fat squishy hands.

January 6, 2003, 10:56 AM
So-called "hammer bite" can be caused, my be more likely to be caused, by small hands, limp wristing. For big handers suffering hammer bite the Hogue Handall grip sleeve would probably help.

And, as happened the first time I experienced hammer bite (with a new Bersa 380), it went away with some range time.

Al Thompson
January 6, 2003, 11:02 AM
I have non-squishy hands, but suffer from hammer bite with stock 1911s, BHPs and the occassional PP series.

It's more of a matter of grip than anything else. I would much rather adjust my firearm to my tastes than my grip to my firearm.

January 6, 2003, 09:28 PM
I was wondering when someone would eventually get around to talking about the Beretta in .380. I have a model 84 with 13 rd mag and I use it a lot as a carry gun. I love the looks of it and it functions flawlessly. I bought it at about the time when gunmakers were starting to downsize pistols for pocket guns. The only problem I have with the idea of a .380 is that you can buy nines and forties that are the same size or slightly larger. More power in the same sized package.

I just can't seem to find the desire to get rid of it though!!

January 7, 2003, 06:09 PM
How is somebody supposed to post a good word for the CZ 83 after Mr. Camp has?


January 7, 2003, 06:21 PM
Well here's my three .380s. I do not carry the Mustang but the Sphinx and Pony are backups at various times (both are DAO). All three have functioned 100%. The Sphinx is unbelievably accurate.

Sphinx AT380M.
Larger & heavier than either Colt but holds 10+ rounds ("they" say there are 15 round mags but I've only seen 12 rounders).

Colt Pony Pocketlite. Can't find the picture without the holster. I'll edit this post a little later with an actual picture of the gun.

Colt Mustang Lady Elite.

January 8, 2003, 11:00 AM
Of course, you could wait until March and buy the Kel Tec P-3AT. I've been pleased with my P32 as a BUG (it is undedectible in my front pocket even in jeans) but given the fact that the .380 will be virtually as small as the P-32, I'll be upgrading to the more powerful caliber. Anybody want to buy a P-32 in March?

January 8, 2003, 11:57 AM
I carry a Sig P232 as my off-duty gun. I'm not a big fan of the caliber, but the Sig is about the only pistol on my dept's off-duty/back-up list that I wanted.

The gun is reliable (after one odd hiccup which Sig fixed, no questions asked, a case of one defective part). The gun is ergonomic as heck. I can't think of another pistol that is as pleasant to shoot as the P232. It is fast and accurate. I don't think the recoil is snappy at all- very mild.

Many state, correctly, that you can:

1. get a 9mm the same size as the P232


2. You can get a .380 a lot smaller than the P232

Thats all well and good, but IMHO anything smaller than the P232 is getting a little uncomfortable to shoot. I dislike not having enough space on the grip for my pinkie, or feeling like I'm holding some child's toy instead of a gun. This "large size" might adversely affect concealability, but I'd rather hit what I'm aiming at, thanks.

Also, a 9mm in a P232-sized package is probably not as easy to shoot quickly and accurately. However, I haven't shot one, so I dunno. YMMV.

I love my P232.


January 8, 2003, 01:36 PM
If the issue of .380 hammer bite and recoil were major
considerations (such as getting a pistol for a lady), one
might give consideration to what many have written off as
a "junk gun."

The S&W Sigma 380 has taken a lot of of criticism because
of its zinc-alloy slide and the fact that after 3500 rounds it
needs some factory work. The gun is now discontinued and
can be found for well under $150 used, about $200 if still NIB.

I own two and have a web page about this model at:

While it's ugly and oft maligned, I've found it always
comfortable to shoot and the bullets go to point of aim
making it good for one-handed instinctive shooting. I use
them as "car guns" but it's easily concealable and fairly

This post is only provided in a discussion that is becoming
wider about the .380 and because this pistol is notably
lighter than all metal pistols of the same general size.

January 9, 2003, 07:33 AM
I just found out about the New Keltec .380 and since I have a P32 andhave had good luck with it. I might just have to wait to check that out first.. Thanks for all the reply's.

January 9, 2003, 07:57 AM
Well, good ahead and jump all over me...but. I went out to find a 32 cal Tomcat. Ended up with a S&W SW380 plastic gun. Half the price, light weight, small in size and goes bang everytime I've pulled the trigger. Run about 250-300 Federal 105's through it. Got it for summer pocket carry when bigger isn't practical. I know this gun isn't going to last 50 years but works well for me at this time.

January 14, 2006, 03:32 AM
Regarding your comparison of CZ-83 to Makarov:

I respectfully disagree with your statement that the Makarov is more powerful than CZ-83. The reverse is true actually, if you are comparing the CZ-83 to the Makarov with both chambered in 9x18. The CZ-83 was made for Checkoslovak (spelling?) 9x18 ammo, which is 20% more powerful than Rusky 9x18 ammo. That means the CZ-83 is 20% more powerful than the Makarov when both are in the same caliber, if you can find really hot 9x18 ammo like the Checks made. This would be like a 9x18 ++++P.

Then there's Makarov 9x18 PMM ammo made for the new high capacity, high power commercial Makarov PMM, which shoots 9x18 PMM ammo. Think of this as a 9x18 Magnum, which is about equivalent to a 9mm Parabellum +P or +P+.

You should never put 9x18 PMM ammo in a traditional old style Makarov (PM) or a CZ-83 because PMM ammo is 70% more powerful than the standard 9x18 Rusky ammo, or 50% more powerful than 9x18 Check ammo. 9x18 PMM ammo is only for the new high capacity, high power Makarov PMM, which shoots 9x18 PMM ammo. The PMM ammo is really scary because it fits regular Makarovs and CZ-83s, but would probably blow them up in your face. This is like if a .357 Mag cartridge were same size as .38 Special. That would be really scary if you put .357 Mag in a .38 Special, wouldn't it?

Back to the point. The CZ-83 is 20% more powerful than the traditional old style Makarovs (PM) if comparing both in 9x18, assuming you shoot the ammo in each that it can handle. If you compare a CZ-83 in .380 to a Makarov 9x18 PM (traditional Mak that shoots traditional 9x18 ammo, called PM ammo), they are equal power because the CZ-83 can shoot .380 +P all the time without damage or undue wear. This is what the CZ-83 was made for. .380 +P has equivalent power to standard 9x18.

So depending on what chamberings you compare, the CZ-83 has either equal power or 20% more power than a tradtional Makarov, but the CZ-83 has less recoil due to the genius of its design. I'd like to own a traditional Makarov PM for the history and experience, but the CZ-83 is the better gun hands down and has its own history.

The Makarov PMM on the other hand, is far more powerful that either a traditional Makarov PM or a CZ-83. The PMM is really a 9x18 Magnum, but why bother with 9x18 PMM this since you get the same power from a 9mm +P Parabellum. The Parabellum ammo is probably much cheaper and easy to get than PMM ammo too.

Comparison to Makarov: This is likely the one to be made by many folks. For those interested, a range report on the Mak can be found via the link below.

The CZ has the lighter trigger pulls in both SA and DA.
The CZ has cocked and locked capability; the Mak does not.
Out of the box, the CZ has better sights.
Neither pistol has an internal firing pin safety. The CZ's is retained via the traditional firing pin retaining plate.
The Makarov is a bit more powerful.
Magazines for the Mak are much less expensive.
CZ magazine holds 10 in current form; Maks hold 8.
No magazine disconnect in either pistol.
The CZ comes with more visible sights than the Makarov, but the latter pistol can be bought under $200 while the CZ's costs around $300. Better sights can be put on the Makarov should the owner desire and the cost difference becomes negligible.

While I find the CZ83 more "refined" than the Makarov, I do like the feel of the Makarov better when fitted with Pearce grips.

January 14, 2006, 04:01 AM
:) +1! Mine has yet to fail me. (Nor do I expect it will any time soon).


1911 guy
January 14, 2006, 09:05 AM
My wife shoots a P232 and likes it. For not much more size, though, you can go the P230 route and get 9mm.

As for reliability and accuracy, thumbs up on the Sig. Easy to take down for maint. and cleaning. More difficult with the PPK.

January 14, 2006, 09:30 AM
then, by all means, check out a CZ 83. Somewhat heavier than a P232 it has IMHO less felt recoil. All steel, reliable, and an excellent shooter. Comes with 10-round mags and costs a bunch less than SIGs. FYI Good shooting:)

I agree the CZ 83 is a quality handgun. My only complaint is that it can't be dry fired without using snapcaps or the plastic thingies that come with it.

January 14, 2006, 11:32 PM
Why a thread that been closed for 3 years reopened?
I say get a PPK/S and the PPK/S has the mag release in correct place Thats for who ever posted it didn't 3 years ago.

January 14, 2006, 11:57 PM
Who in the hecks drags out an almost four year old thread to disagree with someone talk about a troll.:cuss:

January 15, 2006, 12:01 PM
Why doe Beretta 84/85's always get overlooked in the .380 debates!

They are accurate, well made with quality materials, safe and easy to shoot.

Yes they are a little larger than others but look at em!

I agree. My primary carry is sometimes a Beretta 85FS in .380. I like the slimness, lightness and 4" barrel. I carry the 90 grain +P Corbons in it. I think most people "forget" about it due to its expense, although the Sig 232 is at least as expensive or more so. The Beretta is slightly larger than the 232, but I like the way it feels in my hand better than the 232.

Most people seem to be going to the Kahr 9MM's which are actually smaller and lighter than the 85FS or 232. I don't blame them, but I don't feel underamed with the Beretta or a Makarov which I also carry.

April 28, 2006, 08:48 PM
Threads probably get sooo long because people are quibbling about details that don't really matter. But, what the Heck, we are here to have fun with our toys.

I have shot the PPK for many years. Interarms stainless. It jammed frequently when it was new but an hour with a very smooth diamond file took most of the, too sharp, rough edges off. After I had fired a few hundred rounds it began to break-in and it has been reliable ever since.

I got a P230SL (I love classics). A dream. More ergonomic than the PPK, much better stock grips. Much smoother out of the box.

Hardware differences: P230 much better grips. Smoother DA. P230 slightly bigger but no noticeable difference in carry or use. Magazine release differs - whatever turns you on, both work fine. May be just my pistols but magazine is a tight sliding fit with the P230, you need to pull it out whilst the PPK mag falls free at the push of the button (must fix that).

Use differences: None that you would notice if you were in an exciting situation. Both pistols surprisingly accurate. Both pistols have sights that look like a joke at first but they turn out to be "operationally" perfectly usable. Recoil is not a problem at all, repeat not at all. You do need a firm grip but no more than you should be using with any handgun. MOST IMPORTANT THING - BOTH GUNS ARE NATURAL POINTERS. Walther and Sig know about the correct grip to barrel angle which is a failing on several of the other autos mentioned in the thread. Colt take note.

My choice. For carry both work fine (I even use the same holster for both). Where you actually shoot very much, which is my situation, I go with the P230. It is just more comfortable to shoot a lot of rounds.

April 29, 2006, 09:50 PM
Ive had both the Smith and Wesson import Walther PPK and the Sig P232.

Im sure it was a fluke but my PPK was a turd. Constant jamming, failure to fire then finally around 25 rounds the gun broke and that was it. I wont comment on reliability since I really believe mine was a fluke. I though the gun was heavy......and the sight sucked.

My Sig P232 was everything the PPK wasnt. Light, handy and the sight were far better. It also wasnt a turd....downside, heel magazine release but I got past that fairly quick. I really liked that little of the few I wished I hadnt traded.

April 29, 2006, 11:25 PM
I've got the Walther (S&W) PPK and it's awesome. It feeds any handload I put thru it with the utmost of reliability and accuracy. The first 50-75 rounds were touch and go, but that's a break-in period. I've fired over 400 more rounds out of it and it's great. Trigger pull is a bit heavy, but is smoothing out.
Recoil? What recoil. I can't see how anyone can complain about the kick of a 380. Maybe it's just me. I can keep that sucker right in there during rapid fire a bit better than either of my 45's and they recoil more than a 380! It's a nice summer gun.

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