Best handgun in .380 Auto for concealed carry?


May 8, 2011, 02:52 AM
The wife never enjoyed shooting my Glock 26 9mm, but after trying out a friend's Walther PK380, she loved it. Except that it had a lot of issues with jamming, FTF, FTE, etc.

Maybe just a bad instance, but for CC, you really want to have something you can absolutely depend on to work on that first shot and through the rest of the next two mags if need be.

Is there anything out there in .380 Auto that is great for concealed carry - works in after being stored in adverse conditions for months, dependable and has a happy magazine size?

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May 8, 2011, 02:59 AM
Kahr P380, Ruger LCP, Kel Tec P3AT, and Colt Mustang are all good choices. The Sig P238 has had its issues but I think they've all been worked out.

May 8, 2011, 03:09 AM
My wife used to use a Glock 23 but cannot do so any longer so I got her a PK380. In the brief shooting we have done, there have been no failures at all. A recent magazine test of all the little .380's showed failures with all of them if I remember correctly. It seems as though the .380's all need a break in period, especially the smaller ones. The PK380 is a great little gun for those who may not be able to pull the slide back on other guns and those who like limited recoil. As long as you can get it to be reliable for you.

May 8, 2011, 04:18 AM
Sig P232?

A touch heavier than the PK380 (23 vs. 19 ounces) and a little pricey, but reliable and smooth-handling. Capacity is 7 +1, which I'm not sure qualifies as "happy" in your book.

May 8, 2011, 05:04 AM

May 8, 2011, 07:16 AM
If I were currently in the market for a .380 for concealed carry, I suppose the Rohrbaugh R380 would probably qualify as the best. If I was looking for something a little more affordable I would consider the Kahr P380 and the SIG P-238. After that, the Ruger LCP, KelTecP3AT, the S&W Bodyguard 380, the Taurus TCP, and the new Colt Mustang would be next on my list of .380's to consider.

May 8, 2011, 07:30 AM
If reliability is paramount, and it always is in a CCW, then it's hard to not consider the Beretta 84 or 85. These are very reliable, easy shoot well and accurate, but a tad bit hard to load as the slide is harder to rack tan some.

The Sig P232 is another excellent choice for a reliable pistol. It too suffers from "heavy slide" syndrome, but makes up gor it in other ways.

My brother recently bought his wife a PK380. They seem to like it. I don't know how reliable it is been though.

May 8, 2011, 07:33 AM
I have a Walther PPK in .380---kel-tec P3AT-Sig P-238
I carry( summer) off & on--P3-AT & P-238

May 8, 2011, 07:40 AM
If you have the budget... Sig P232
If you don't... Bersa Thunder 380 Concealed Carry

(yeah yeah yeah, the Bersa's not an "heirloom quality" firearm, I know).

May 8, 2011, 08:08 AM
P3AT - I've looked at a lot of posts in just about every group I can find. Also have a Micro Eagle and a Beretta 84. But the P3AT is so small and light that you really can stick it anywhere. People I've talked to that own them never leave them at home. Shoot it alot, including dry firiing with snap cap. Keep them clean and lubed. Mine takes anything I feed it. If I wanted more gun I'd stick with the KelTec line and take my P40.

May 8, 2011, 08:08 AM
The Sig P232 or P238. I just bought the P238 and love this pistol. It is very reliable and controllable for a pocket gun. Since it is a recoil operated/locked breech design and not a blowback (as most 380's are), the perceived recoil is very light. I believe that this gives the the P238 a big advantage since small 380's can be quite snappy and a bit difficult to control, especially for those with large hands who can't get a good grip on a small pistol.

May 8, 2011, 08:26 AM
For concealment something the size of the LCP is probably the best, but accuracy and range enjoyability can suffer with a gun that small. For a good shooter thats going to be fun the Bersa Thunder 380 is a great bargain, but for concealability it's quite a bit larger then the LCP. I can put hundreds of rounds through my Bersa with no problem, but 50 is about all I can do with my LCP.

May 8, 2011, 08:30 AM
I carry a p238 and my wife carries a mustang. If i were to get one to replace mine. It would be a kahr all the way

The Bushmaster
May 8, 2011, 08:35 AM
For the money and absolute reliability...Bersa Thunder .380 if you must carry a .380.

Insure that she has a high quality HP in at least 90 to 95 grain.

May 8, 2011, 08:52 AM
I have a P3At that rides in my right pocket most of the time.

For "dressy" I have a Colt 80 Series .380.

May 8, 2011, 08:53 AM
In pocket my LCP, on my waist my Sig P238 Equinox (little heavy for the pocket IMO), when I'm serious... my Wilson Combat Bill Wilson Carry 45 ACP!

May 8, 2011, 08:54 AM
Astra constable two in (.380 cal)

May 8, 2011, 09:13 AM
Sunday go to church gun = Bersa 380 CC model. Lots of rounds no problems.

or a smith 649 :)

May 8, 2011, 09:18 AM
In pocket my LCP, on my waist my Sig P238 Equinox (little heavy for the pocket IMO)

It's a tad heavy, but I carry mine in my pocket all of the time (front or back, but mostly back pocket).

May 8, 2011, 09:23 AM
Depends on how she wants to carry it. If in a pocket, one of the smaller pocket autos would work great. I can't comment on the function of anything but my LCP, but it works well. It's a little difficult to shoot, but the reliability has been 100%.

If carrying in a purse or OWB/IWB, then I'd probably go with a Bersa instead.

May 8, 2011, 10:19 AM
I would check that PK380, if I were you. I would also check the ammunition. I have a First Edition PK380 (the 313th made) and even right out of the box, it has been reliable and fun to shoot. Recoil is negligible and the slide is easy to rack. With the price, it is possibly one of the best .380s on the market.

I can't fault the Browning BDA or Beretta 84 or 85 Cheetah. The Browning and Beretta 84FS are the capacity champs: 13 + 1 in the chamber. The BDA is prettier but the Beretta has a better safety. I get the best of both worlds: my wife has the Browning and I have the Beretta.

The Bersa is a good choice: two of my wife's sisters have Bersa Thunder .380s.

The LCP is a knuckle-rapper: too small and not enough grip. The P238 is a conundrum: it's single action so in order to be useful as a SD weapon, it has to be carried in Condition 1 (hammer back, safety on) which to me isn't the best thing to stick in a pocket or purse (where a pocket holster is just something else to get in the way). But it is cute. I think it mostly appeals to people who think it's a baby .45 that will grow up to be a 1911.

But, back to the Walther: I have had mine since November 2009. I do carry it for a SD weapon, which means I think it's reliable enough to stake my life, and the lives of my family, on it. In fact, it's second only to my S&W J-frame Airweight (which I most emphatically DO NOT recommend for a person of smaller stature) in percent of time on my person. i highly recommend you see if there's a problem with your friend's gun (magazine, cheap ammo, whatever) before looking elsewhere.

Ghost Host
May 8, 2011, 10:24 AM
Interesting post. “…great for concealed carry – stored in adverse conditions for months – happy magazine size” are all very subjective. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

My EDC is a Beretta 84FS - .380 x13. With a “made to order” holster and gun belt I frequently CC in excess of 12 hours without any problems.

Never have had an FTF, FTE, etc. with mine. 3 mags x13 – plus one in the pipe = 40. Happy enough? Stored in adverse conditions for months is tricky. If I really believed “adverse” I would send my choice to Robar for complete NP3 Plus plating.

Possible drawbacks: pricey and dependant on grip/arm strength the blowback design could be difficult to rack the slide.

Good luck with your quest.

May 8, 2011, 01:56 PM

The colt pony is a dream 380 .... but it's $700.

May 8, 2011, 02:09 PM
Bersa thunder 1/2 price of the jammer PPK and way more relieable

next up smallest KelTec P3AT

softest shooting Colt Mustang New Mustangs soon to be released by Colt. Old ones very expensive.

Bersa beast all around carry and range.

May 8, 2011, 03:25 PM
I like my Kahr P380, but I agree that small .380 type pistols can be finicky. I have a Rohrbaugh 380, a Sig P238 and a Seecamp LWS 380, and the Sig is my favorite all the way in terms of ergos, shootability and looks. It really is a sweet little pistol, beautifully made, and it fits my hand like a glove.

But, the Kahr is the one that's with me most of the time. It's light, flat, rugged, easy to shoot and conceal, and it has a great trigger (IMO). I would give it, or any small pistol, a thorough run-in period and make sure it's reliable with the ammo you want to carry, but I love the gun.

May 8, 2011, 04:11 PM
i just picked up a bersa firestorm 380 last week
right out of the box it ate 150 rounds with out a problem id recomend this lil pistol to anyone looking for a small caliber semi auto

May 8, 2011, 05:02 PM
Everything I've been reading lately seems to indicate that the Walther PK380 isn't known for jamming / FTF / FTE issues. The wife really liked the 'large than mousegun sized' frame for recoil control. Wish I knew someone in Dallas with a Sig P228 / other larger framed .380 gun.

May 8, 2011, 07:31 PM
Here's a list of the most popular .380ACP pistols including suggested retail price (you can almost always get a good discount), capacity and action type. They're listed in alphabetical order.

Beretta 84FS Cheetah - $770.00, 13+1 double action/single action
Bersa Thunder .380 - $335.00*, 7+1, double action/single action
Browning BDA - $779.00, 13+1, double action/single action
Kahr P380 - $649.00, 6+1, double action only
Kel-Tec P3AT - $318.00, 6+1, double action only
Ruger LCP - $$373.00, 6+1 rounds, double action only
Sig Sauer P238 - $679.00, 6+1 rounds, single action only
Sig Sauer P232 - $649.00, 7+1 rounds, double action/single action
Smith & Wesson Bodyguard - $399.00, 6+1 (includes integral laser sight)
Walther PK380 - $393.00, 8+1 rounds, double action/single action
Walther PPK - $626.00, 6+1 rounds, double action/single action
Walther PPK/S - $626.00, 7+1 rounds, double action/single action

*Bersa doesn't list retail prices on their website.

The point is that your wife likes the PK380 and it holds more rounds than any but the Beretta and Browning, but you are giving up on the gun because of something that might not even be the gun's fault. Give it another try with some good ammunition in it after carefully checking the magazine. Also, while she's shooting, make sure she has a firm grip on the pistol; a weak grip can cause FTF and FTE problems in all sorts of automatic pistols.

It's just my opinion, but steer clear of the mouse guns (LCP, Bodyguard, P3AT) as they are somewhat unpleasant to shoot and guns that are unpleasant to shoot don't get shot often enough to acquire proficiency.

May 8, 2011, 08:07 PM
Bought my wife a Bersa 380 Thunder after much research and testing. Easy slide, easy load and surprisingly accurate. She hated the 45 acp, disliked the 9mm but loved to shoot 22 out of my little bull barreled Ruger. Well she dumped the 380 "too much recoil". Go figure. I however carry the little guy when I'm dressed for summer. My 45 was always a tad bit hard to hide in shorts and a tee shirt (I never carry in my pocket). Which 380, there are many to choose from but the Bersa suits me just fine.

Trad Archer
May 8, 2011, 08:10 PM
Bersa Thunder

Frozen North
May 8, 2011, 08:15 PM
Bersa thunder CC. It has a great trigger, super reliable, and DIRT CHEAP.

June 25, 2011, 08:24 PM
If you have the budget... Sig P232
If you don't... Bersa Thunder 380 Concealed Carry

(yeah yeah yeah, the Bersa's not an "heirloom quality" firearm, I know).
neither is the Sig....

June 25, 2011, 08:30 PM
Best ever: FN/Browning 1910 or 1955. No sights, beavertails, hammers or other square/sharp corners to snag on the way out of your pocket.

June 25, 2011, 08:52 PM
:scrutiny:Why is everyone recommending tiny, jumpy, mini LCP type pistols? Unless she real wants a tiny pistol get her something she can shoot at the range and enjoy. If she's after a mouse, I recommend the Kahr P380.

Walther PPK or PPK/S would be my recommendation. All metal with very light recoil. Great ladies gun, without being to small to handle easy.

I know it's a rare gun. I found a pic that shows it's scale compared to a regular 1911 and Han Solo's blaster.

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