Would a J frame snubbie be more concealable than my Bersa .380?


February 7, 2011, 06:26 PM
I keep hearing about people that carry a J frame in their pockets, on ankle holsters, ect. On the continuum of carry guns is it more or less concealable than my 7+1 Bersa 95?

Now assuming it is more concealable, which one should I consider? I'm thinking of it as a 21 foot gun as in that is the distance a ccw gun is likely to be employed. I'm pretty good at 7 yard point shooting.

As far as power level. .38 spl +P that I can practice with w/o wearing it out in my lifetime.

Thanks for insights, I'm in learning mode on this.


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February 7, 2011, 07:09 PM
I don't own a Bersa so I can't really say much about the size comparison. The J-frame Smith (or equivalent) does have a shape advantage over autoloaders for pocket carry. It's not flat, the rounded shape breaks up the bulge making it easier to conceal and the rounded grip shape makes it easier to grab and draw. The Centennial models with internal hammer or the spurless hammer models are particularly smooth with nothing to snag. Revolvers can also be fired through pockets in an emergency without jamming and are less likely to get crudded up with pocket lint, dust and debris.

February 7, 2011, 07:23 PM
Just me but I have both.
I find the 380 comfortable but the J frame is comforting.
Most of the time I carry a 9mm CZ or a ruger security six.

Saying this I realize I have been no help. You just have to develop your own style.

Good luck

February 7, 2011, 09:18 PM
I carried a Bersa Thunder .380 off and on for a year or so and now carry a 642 everyday. The 642 is shorter in length and height, which makes it more pocket-able (my primary mode of carry.) The flat-sided Bersa was more comfortable when carried IWB, but the height difference made drawing the Bersa almost impossible from the pocket of all of my pants, so I never bothered to carry it that way. There's also about 5 oz. of weight savings with the Airweight j-frames over the Bersa. Not a big deal when carried in a belt holster, but noticeable (for me) in the pocket. That's the primary reason I chose an Airweight over a steel framed j-frame.

I gave the Bersa away as a gift. It's a heck of a gun for the money, but I was never really comfortable with a .380 for defense.

February 7, 2011, 10:32 PM
I would suspect in most cases the J Frame is more concealable, but that really depends on the carry method. If as you indicated pocket carry likely by all means. I tried to pocket carry a BERSA Thunder in the pocket and it was way too heavy. Next I tried a 642 and I personally found it still to heavy at 16 ounces. I then went to a M&P 340 J Frame at 13.3 ounces empty and found it about right. If the 340 PD had different sights at 12 ounces I would probably have gone that route. What I really like is the Seecamp .380 at 12 ounces though.

February 7, 2011, 11:21 PM
Carry either one, depends on the clothing I wear. Or if I want 5 rounds or 10.


February 8, 2011, 01:41 AM
Would a J frame snubbie be more concealable than my Bersa .380?
I can't speak for the Bersa but I can talk about a J frame. I carry a J frame every day in my front pocket and there's absolutely no way of anyone knowing it's there. I use a pocket holster and it disappears in my pocket. Also, at 15oz it's an easy all day, every day carry.

February 8, 2011, 09:56 AM
I own a PM9 and find that it's flat shape is easier to conceal than a small revolver on the belt OWB. Also it is easier in a boot. IWB the flat shape is less uncomfortable.

I have never been able to pocket carry in my pants. Perhaps if I worked as a circus clown.

Pocket carrying in a jacket, which I can wear 20 days out of the year, is fine.

This sounds like I am pro-auto but actually I carry a D-frame most days. I shoot them well and they are worth the extra space. I LOATH inside the waistband carry. Usually carry OWB under an untucked shirt. When I can't the Kahr in a underarmor styled shirt with holsters sew in works well or boot carry.

FYI, I got rid of a Guardian 380 to buy the Kahr. Similar size, more firepower. I mention this because the Bersa seems rather large for a .380. Just sayin'

Keep your powder dry

February 8, 2011, 07:55 PM
I used to own a Bersa 380 and still own several J frames.

IMHO, Brandign asside, if your going to carrya 20+ oz handgun, it should have more firepower and better reliability than a 380.
i.e. I'll take 5 rounds of 38+P or 357 over and 380 load any day.

February 8, 2011, 08:51 PM
If you lay one on top the other, there isn't a huge amount of difference in 'footprint'.
If you are determined to pocket carry, there's a lot to be said for the scandium/Ti Centennials, which are really light. However, the butt of my Centennial peeks out of my jeans pocket when I sit down, as would a Bersa or PPK.
Haven't ankle carried in years, but lighter is better there, too. Too much weight on one foot makes you walk funny...

If you are really determined to pocket carry, you are much better served with an LCP or Kahr P380.

February 8, 2011, 09:00 PM
j frame ... iand i own both

February 8, 2011, 09:10 PM
The J frame SW 1 7/8 in a Bianchi R9 [ Steve Mc Queen bullet holster] can not be beat in my opinion. Clam shell barrel up is quick and easy to carry. The harness could be a bit better as the strap rides too close to the collar for my perfect shoulder holster.
My 640 has been a mainstay for a long time. At $225 in like new shape it is a prize for sure.
The Bersa , PA 63 size gun carries about the same as my Glock 27, easy choice here.

February 10, 2011, 10:29 PM
I own a Bersa and a Charter Arms Undercover (well, two, actually.. just inherited another one.) The revolver is definitely easier to conceal than is the Thunder for me, though my method of carry, which is in an IWB holster worn between the belt and pants, pretty much removes most of the differences. The Thunder is, for me, too big and heavy for pocket-carry.
That being said, I rarely carry either anymore, as I have switched to a Kel-Tec PF-9, which is easier to conceal than either.

Edit: I just saw the model designation of your Bersa, and I'm not familiar with it. Mine is the "Thunder". I am also familiar with the smaller "CC" model. Which is comparable to yours?

February 10, 2011, 10:55 PM
There is a X42 thread running, I've held a 642 today, got to dry fire it, I liked it, I'm ready to buy one just as soon as my profit sharing check gets handed over. Should be a few days they normally drop it on us middle of Feb if we earned one which we did this year.

No, I don't work for Chrysler or GM in case anyone is wondering.


February 11, 2011, 11:28 AM
The little J-frame Airweights are easy to drop in a pocket and light enough to carry all day long. On the other hand, the combination of light weight and .38 Special +P can produce a rather unpleasant shooting experience, especially if you stick with the micro-grips that come on the gun. You wind up with a lot of recoil and an inadequate grip that can slow down your ability to deliver a follow-up shot. At belly gun ranges, a good .38 Special round will do a good job.

If you want to use the +P ammo, I strongly suggest you consider a Model 60 or even a Ruger SP101. These are heavier, but they do a much better job of soaking up the recoil.

I have both a Model 637 Airweight and a Model 60 with a 3-inch barrel. The Model 60 is a belt carry piece but it can handle up to .357 Magnum rounds and +P is much more controllable. I keep my M367 loaded with .38 Special and am confident it will do the job if needed.

February 11, 2011, 05:27 PM
I carry my J frame 38spl in my pocket

February 11, 2011, 06:13 PM
I'm now leaning to the 442 just because it is black and easier to sight with imho.



For those with other suggestions, keep in mind I'm a gun collector, I'll likely get to your suggestion with enough overtime. ;)

February 11, 2011, 09:31 PM
On the other hand, the combination of light weight and .38 Special +P can produce a rather unpleasant shooting experience
Could be your grip? Or maybe just what does/does-not fit a particular hand?

.38+P shoots comfortably with my 642. YMMV.

I also have the .380 Bersa Thunder. I take it to the range, but I carry the 642 or my M&Pc 9mm.

The Bersa Thunder is a "tweener" -- falling between my 2 carry guns. It's as big as the M&Pc, so why would I not choose the higher caliber and capacity for SD? For a pocket gun, the Bersa is bigger than the 642 and a step down in caliber. I really do like the Bersa and shoot it well, but there are better choices for CC and for plinking on a budget.

February 12, 2011, 08:18 AM
On the other hand, the combination of light weight and .38 Special +P can produce a rather unpleasant shooting experience
Could be your grip? Or maybe just what does/does-not fit a particular hand?

Stock/grip fitment to the hand does have a lot to do with it. The stock Uncle Mike's boot grips work fine for me on my 642. After about 75 rounds my hand starts getting a little achy though. OTH, my bro-in-law just picked up a 642 with S&W wood stocks (finger groove) and was surprised to find just how pleasant the little 642 was to shoot with those wood stocks. Very nice, my groups were noticeably tighter (3 shots landing into a 1.5" circle at 7 yards, 3" group overall 5 shot group - normally I do about 3-5" with my Uncle Mikes at that distance). Only problem with those stocks is that they extend below the bottom of the frame a bit. Not sure how that would effect pocket carry, guess I'll have to try his on for size sometime.

February 12, 2011, 09:37 AM
I carry 642 with the 305 crimson trace grips. In front pocket, all day without even noticing.If myshirt were tucked in, a person, at just the right angle might get a glimpse of something black, so I wear it out.I can draw, get the laser on target and fire in well under 2 sec

February 12, 2011, 05:23 PM
Ordered the 442 just now. Thanks for the advice all.


February 13, 2011, 12:38 AM
Well for pocket carry I would also say J frame I have never been able to pocket carry my Bersa Thunder. Not even the CC model. I can however pocket carry my old Inter arms PPK/S Its thinner and just works . If you go belt carry or IWB then I would choose the Bersa .

February 13, 2011, 11:37 PM
I had a Bersa Thunder .380. I shot well with it, but it was too large for pocket carry. A 642 fits nicely in my pocket, but only if it's NOT in a holster. It very nice on the belt though. For pants pocket carry I haven't found anything more comfortable than the LCP. The 642 is fine for jacket pockets or large cargo short side pockets.

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