Newb seeking opinions on .40S&W compacts


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kulprit
September 23, 2010, 10:26 PM
Hey folks!

I stumbled upon this site a couple of weeks ago while researching my first handgun purchase and I was impressed with level of knowledge and discourse here, so I just joined.

Here's the quandary I'm in - I just bought a new Bersa Thunder .380 last week because it was far and away the best sub-$300 .380 for ME. I bought this as a CC weapon but, much to my dismay, about the only place I can carry it IWB - without the grip protruding mightily - is in the small of my back. And even that is a stretch.

I don't care for the smaller .380 options out there, e.g., Kel-Tec and Ruger LCP, so I figured that, since my gun is going to print anyway, I might as well step up to a .40S&W.

There are several out there similar in size to the Bersa .380 at or around $500, which would be my ceiling (I am but an impoverished law student, after all). I can't compare all of them side-by-side, so I thought I'd turn to y'all for advice/opinions. Here's what I'm looking at:

- Glock 27
- XD40 sub-compact
- Walther P99AS compact
- Bersa Thunder .40 Ultra Compact
- Glock 36 (yes, I know this is .45 ACP, but I'm hoping the single-stack will make it easier to conceal)

Now, I know that the correct answer is "fire them all, buy what you're most comfortable with," but I'd have to scour every gun shop within 50 miles to even hold all of these, much less fire them. Besides, finding out now about complaints and issues will help me pare this list down to just two or three guns that I CAN compare hands on. So, with that said, what are y'all's considered opinion of these fine weapons? Bearing in mind reliability, ease of maintenance, and concealability (this WILL be my daily carry).

Or should I just stick with the .380? ;)

Thanks! :)

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pt6998
September 23, 2010, 11:13 PM
Hey kulprit, I have not posted here in a long time but I always read these forums nearly every night. I use one of the weapons here and have tried variants of a few. My first CCW was a Ruger SR9. I liked the handle of it and capacity. I soon dropped it and wanted a smaller weapon so I bought the Springfield XD9SC. It is identical to the .40 version except less recoil and round capacity. I really enjoyed the subcompact XD. It was fun to shoot and a lot easier to conceal. I soon was convinced (mainly by reading these forums :cuss:) that I needed a .45. I soon traded the subcompact and bought a XD .45 compact. This is the only weapon that I have used for a while that could compare close to the G36. The XD.45C was easy to shoot, accurate, and was not too bad to conceal with a good inside the waist holster and belt. The downside to the XD, and why I did not choose the G36, is weight and size. I really enjoyed the XD but ended up selling it and going back to a subcompact.

This time around, I bought a G27. What I really like about the G27 is size and weight. It is a little smaller than the XD subcompact and weighs a little less too. The biggest difference is that the G27 has a very short grip. When I first held it, I thought I would not like it because my little finger was not on the grip. I found out that I really did not use it anyway. A shorter grip does allow for even better conceal carry even pocket carry sometimes (I could not do this with the XD9SC). I also really enjoyed the first complete disassembly of the Glock. It was very easy to do and there was no roll pin to punch out like the XD’s. I also like the caliber.

What I do not like about the G27, it is more difficult to have follow-up shots. This little baby Glock is very snappy if you do not control it. I have added talon grips and GAP floor plates that have definitely assisted this especially on hot summer days, but it is still harder to control unlike my XD.45 and Subcompact 9. In addition, it could be a little less like a block. :neener:

TexasGunbie
September 23, 2010, 11:37 PM
Sounds like you did a lot of research. Then you should already know that it comes down to the XD and GLOCK. Then between the two it's just your own preference. The Bersa Thunder shouldn't print at all, I can even fit it in my front pocket.

My preference goes to GLOCK and not XD because I can't stand a gun with a bulky slide. When I go to the range, simply pointing the XD at the bullseye can block out the whole target circle. I much prefer to see what's in front of me, and I feel the XD takes most of that away. I think being able to see what's mostly in front of you makes a different. A 1911 size slide like the GLOCK is my preference.

You will also hear the "grip is not so natural to me" argument. The XD is simply awkward for me while the GLOCK is natural. This can be vice versa for other people. So your job is to go to a gun store and pick up both guns to get a feel of the grip. You listed 5 guns for comparison, most shops will have them, so you're not really running all over town.

You won't get many post regarding the Bersa 40 because nobody has one. It's a good gun but simply because they don't have many fans out there, no one really know how reliable it is.

Magoo
September 23, 2010, 11:56 PM
Kahr PM40?

That was my compromise when I didn't want to "settle" for .380, but wanted something that could be a pocket-able pistol. It's not particularly fun to shoot, but it works.

ET
September 23, 2010, 11:57 PM
I've carried a Glock 27 for about a year now. I started out carrying it as a 40s&w. Then I bought a 40-9 conversion barrel and shoot 9mm out of it at the range. It saves me money. Then I bought a 357sig barrel and carry it that way now. I have fallen in love with the 357sig round. The Glock 27 platform is worth taking a look at.

DasFriek
September 24, 2010, 12:28 AM
I suggest keeping your Bersa for now and work on buying a good gun belt and a decent holster. The Bersa is smaller than all the guns you mentioned and if you cant conceal that you will never conceal the others.

You need to read up and research on how to conceal your gun before moving to a larger one. BTW i can conceal a full sized 1911 and even my Range Officer at my outdoor range couldnt even tell i had it under my T-shirt and shorts.

So stay with the smaller gun for now and get used to it and you also wont be so worried about printing after a while. I carry a touch screen cell phone next to my belt buckle and it sticks out 3 times more than my gun.

Kingcreek
September 24, 2010, 01:30 PM
seems to me like you skipped over the 9mm category altogether.

kulprit
September 24, 2010, 01:32 PM
I've carried a Glock 27 for about a year now. I started out carrying it as a 40s&w. Then I bought a 40-9 conversion barrel and shoot 9mm out of it at the range. It saves me money. Then I bought a 357sig barrel and carry it that way now. I have fallen in love with the 357sig round. The Glock 27 platform is worth taking a look at.
Funny you should say that, since I noticed yesterday after posting that the G33 is selling for slightly less than the G27 ;)

I suggest keeping your Bersa for now and work on buying a good gun belt and a decent holster. The Bersa is smaller than all the guns you mentioned and if you cant conceal that you will never conceal the others.

You need to read up and research on how to conceal your gun before moving to a larger one. BTW i can conceal a full sized 1911 and even my Range Officer at my outdoor range couldnt even tell i had it under my T-shirt and shorts.

So stay with the smaller gun for now and get used to it and you also wont be so worried about printing after a while. I carry a touch screen cell phone next to my belt buckle and it sticks out 3 times more than my gun.

Dimensionally (i.e., on paper) those guns aren't much larger than my 380. Of course, there's a lot more to concealability than LxWxH.

As far as working with the Bersa, that really is what I should do. I guess it wouldn't be so bad if my holster - Galco Tuck-n-Go, which I like - didn't ride so high. As it is, everything from the grip to the beaver tail rides above the waistline. This makes it easier to grab but more difficult to hide.

I don't really care for the way Glocks look, but they are the Toyota small-pickup of the handgun world, which makes them attractive to me as a 365-day carry. If Glock made the 27 in a single stack I guess the decision would be easy, but they don't and so I'm here. (I also wish they sold for $350 ;) )

kulprit
September 24, 2010, 01:40 PM
seems to me like you skipped over the 9mm category altogether.
I did. For most manufacturers - at least those I listed - the 9mm and .40S&W are the exact same gun, just chambered for the different rounds. They are also usually priced exactly the same. So if they're the same size, the same weight, have the same ergonomics, and cost the same, why not go for the bigger bang? Other than cost of ammo what would be the advantages of going with the 9mm? I ask that rhetorically AND seriously, so any input would be appreciated.

Jbabbler
September 24, 2010, 02:39 PM
The only possible advantage I see is that the 9mm version of a subcompact usually holds 1 more round. I'm with you though, I like .40.

basicblur
September 24, 2010, 03:08 PM
Other than cost of ammo what would be the advantages of going with the 9mm?
Reduced recoil, and more importantly, reduced muzzle flip (faster, easier double-taps?).
I originally went with the XDSC40 as way back when I bought mine (pre-Melonite) the 9mm short mag held only 1 more round than the 40. When they redesigned the 9mm short mags to hold 4 more rounds than the 40, that and the reduced muzzle flip prompted me to move to the XDSC9.
You're talking almost 50% increase in capacity with the 9 over the 40 in the short mag, and 'bout 33% with the long mag-that ain't nuttin' to sneeze at.

You also have a number of options AFA 9mm ammo-+P and +P+ etc if you think regular 9mm SD ammo doesn't have enough oooomph.

I've tended to move down in caliber over the years as SD ammo has improved.

BTW-I did have to add a Pearce Grip Extender to my short mags as I really hate a danglin' pinky!

basicblur
September 24, 2010, 03:13 PM
As a self-admitted newb, you are aware of conventional wisdom that says a 40 snaps, while a 45 pushes-I'd have to agree with that. Many folks would rather shoot a 45 than a 40.
'Course, a 9mm is generally regarded the next level lower on the recoil scale.

kulprit
September 24, 2010, 06:58 PM
I just got back from the range. I rented a G27 and put 50 rounds through it. I couldn't keep it consistently centered for the life of me - everything was pushing left. Could be that I couldn't control it with the short grip, could be that the sights were off, but it could also (likely) be because it wasn't a .380! :o

It was a good lesson though. Now I know that a compact .40 might be a little above my current skill set. I need to spend more time at the range working on my skills before jumping right into a compact .40 and .45. I have to drive back up to Hampton Monday to get printed for my CCP, so I'll swing by the range again and take a swing at a compact 9mm and a full-size .45ACP to see if I can do a better job of managing those. (the G27 wasn't substantially smaller than the Bersa, so I probably won't bother with the G26).

As an aside, let me tell you how much I love shooting that Bersa! :D Now THAT I can put on target all day long. With eight-in-the-head at 7 yards maybe I don't need a .40 after all? ;)

Thanks again for all your replies.

hirundo82
September 24, 2010, 08:56 PM
As far as working with the Bersa, that really is what I should do. I guess it wouldn't be so bad if my holster - Galco Tuck-n-Go, which I like - didn't ride so high. As it is, everything from the grip to the beaver tail rides above the waistline. This makes it easier to grab but more difficult to hide.I find a high-riding holster to be a benefit for concealment. You should be able to hide a gun as small as the Bersa under a t-shirt, but as others have said a good gun belt is important--just a standard leather belt won't cut it. Something like the Wilderness Instructor's Belt (http://www.thewilderness.com/storepinnacle/index.php?p=product&id=2309&parent=142) will make a major difference in concealability. The belt is even more important with high-rise holsters as they will tend to sag away from your body without sufficient support.

Also experiment with carrying the gun at different positions. Carrying at 3 o'clock (right underneath your arm at the point of your hip) doesn't lead to good concealment --the gun tends to stick out like a tumor. Carrying at the 4 o'clock position tends to work better with a canted holster like you have, but it is different for everyone's body. You should be able to experiment and find a position where the gun fits into the curve of your body.

DasFriek
September 25, 2010, 12:06 PM
Since .380 ammo is available again but still a little on the high side, Your still better keeping the Bersa and learning on it. Unless you plan on shooting the gun alot it may very well be worth trading in on a 9mm since ammo is usually half priced.
This is just me, But when a holster doesn't do what i want it to i change and modify it.

hirundo82- Has alot of good suggestions for you that i agree with. Every single ccw gun ive owned would fit differently and feel better in other spots. And each required a holster designed just for it and the position its meant to ride in.

ET
September 25, 2010, 12:27 PM
Funny you should say that, since I noticed yesterday after posting that the G33 is selling for slightly less than the G27 ;)

Yeah, I have seen that phenomenon recently also (as much as $60 cheaper). When I bought my 27 it was about the same price as the 33 and readily available. Now I'd probably get the 33 instead, but I didn't want to scare you off with a 357sig up front. :eek:

The Lone Haranguer
September 25, 2010, 03:44 PM
The S&W M&P compact should also be on your list. :) Something to consider with most of these guns is that they can be quite thick despite their short height and length, so they may not be as comfortable or concealable as you might think. One compact .40 that is compact and slim is the Kahr K, P or CW40, but with 6+1 capacity you will sacrifice 3-5 rounds of ammunition, too.

surfinUSA
September 25, 2010, 05:55 PM
I like the 40. In that caliber I like the Glock 27 (yes I know its a sub compact not a compact). But If you really want a great compact 40 I'd look at the Glock 23 or if you like a single stack D/A the SIG 239. You won't be sorry you bounght any of these guns.

Jbabbler
September 25, 2010, 06:11 PM
I owned both a Glock 23 and a Glock 27. I found the Glock 27 to be no easier to conceal than the Glock 23. It was too wide to really make the smaller grip worth anything to me. In the end I sold my Glock 27 and bought a CW40 for summer conceal. I still have the G23 for the rest of the time. It's a good combo for me.

Browns Fan
September 25, 2010, 06:14 PM
Bersa makes a .40?

Jbabbler
September 25, 2010, 06:52 PM
Bersa makes a .40?
http://world.guns.ru/handguns/bersa_mini1.jpg

djboo4you
September 26, 2010, 12:05 AM
Definitely check out the S&W M&P .40 Compact.

GojuBrian
September 26, 2010, 12:16 AM
http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/vv360/sanchin31/EDC002.jpg

xd40sc od green. :)

Jed Carter
September 27, 2010, 06:25 AM
One thing we have here is a lot of opinions, welcome to the high road. I am not a big fan of the .40 S&W in a compact or subcompact. But if you must have it in .40 then either a Glock G23 or a SIG P239 P229. You may prefer the 9mm in pistols of these sizes, I know I do. My CCW of choice is a CZ PCR an 3.9" barrel compact 9mm. Save money on practice ammo, shoot more, improve proficiency, lower recoil=faster more accurate follow up shots. The .40 against 1 assailant may be better, with a compact against 3 assailants, using the 9mm may help you neutralize all three. In a real life situation, fast follow up shots on multiple target could make the difference.

Sgt_R
September 27, 2010, 07:29 AM
The S&W M&P compact should also be on your list.

+1

I really, really, really like my G27. However, after shooting a G26 and a M&P9c side by side at the range the other day, if I was in the market for another compact handgun, I would have to seriously consider the S&W.

R

Ben86
September 27, 2010, 08:31 AM
The S&W M&P9C is my favorite compact .40. It has really soft recoil and is very accurate.

obiwan1
September 27, 2010, 03:26 PM
#1: Good leather for the Bersa

#2: Any Kahr (CW40 in your price range).

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