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.380 that's enjoyable to shoot?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by YammyMonkey, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. YammyMonkey

    YammyMonkey Well-Known Member

    A couple of weeks ago I went shooting with a buddy of mine and tried out his Browning BDA 380. Now, I usually shoot a Springfield Loaded and Kimber Compact-sized Al framed .45ACP with no problems, but that BDA HURT to shoot. It was beating the hell out of my hand. I've heard of similar problems with other .380's and was wondering if there is such a thing as a .380 that isn't painful to shoot. I've been considering getting a small one to carry when I go running or mtn. biking, but if they're all similarly miserable (or worse, since the BDA is pretty big for a .380) to shoot I'll just put up with the weight of the Kimber.
  2. patentnonsense

    patentnonsense Well-Known Member

    I've been looking for a "full-sized" 380 myself - besides the BDA 380, I've also thought about the Beretta 84/85 (which I think is the same gun), and the Beretta 86 (the model with the tip-up barrel, which seems to be hard to find), and the Bersa - especially the older Bersa with the fat wood grips.

    I'm wondering if some of the complaints about 380 are due to having too weak a recoil spring, so the slide bangs against its stop??

    and most 380s are fairly narrow, so maybe a change of grips would help?

    380 seems to be (or have been) more popular in Europe, so I wonder whether there may be models from other European makers that might be a good answer? The Walther is a classic, but doesn't feel right in my XL hand.

    So I'm curious too - thanks for any comments or suggestions.
  3. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    There's always the brick - er, I mean, Hi-Point... :D

  4. Chuck Jennings

    Chuck Jennings Well-Known Member

    MY eyes!! My EYES!!!

    But seriously, the Bersa thunder is a great .380 gun. It is a tremendous value. I have not noticed any comfort issues with it at all. In trying it side by side with an older walther PPK, I just couldn't bring myself to spend so much more for not much more in the performance department.

    Of course another great .380 is the sig 232, but I still don't think it is anywhere near the VALUE you get from the Bersa.
  5. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    For a large .380 that is very easy shooting take a look at the CZ83, about $100 more than the Bersa, but is 10+1, comes with two mags, and has the option of 1911 style cocked'n'locked with ambi safety. Good sights.

    It'd be perfect for my wife's CHL qualifier except she can't rack the slide :-(

    I also find it pretty much impossible to part with $400+ for a .380, but I may have to if my wife can't handle the 50 rnd qualifier with my PT92 or Star BM -- the only SA autos I have that she can rack the slide. The Beretta 85 with the "popup" barrel (sorta like a .25 Jetfire on steroids) would be my last resort.
    She shoots the 9mm OK at first, but develops bouts of flinching as she gets fatigued.

  6. patentnonsense

    patentnonsense Well-Known Member

    The popup-barrel Beretta is the 86 I think - I was looking at one used near here for $425, but waited too long.

    The popup barrel is SLOW to load, but it's still a nice feature for ladies who might have trouble racking. There's always the Desert Eagle one-handed racking trick (catching the rear sight on the pants pocket), but that's probably not suitable for everyday women's clothing - can't you hear the rip??

    I like CZ, gotta check the 83 -

  7. Grunt

    Grunt Well-Known Member

    I hav ea Colt .380 Mustand that is pretty nice to shoot. Not that a .380 has a lot of recoil to begin with but when you have a locked breech rather than a blowback pistol, it helps cut back on the snappy recoil.
  8. wingman

    wingman Well-Known Member

    The makarov in 380 is a easy on recoil and very accurate, I have a high cap.
    russian model and it is a joy to shoot.
  9. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Well-Known Member

    Any of the Colt .380's are very easy to shoot. They all have a locked breech and even the lightest one (Colt Pony Pocketlite) is very easy on the hand.

    So, a Colt Govt .380, Colt Mustang in Stainless, Mustang Pocketlite or Pony.
  10. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    The colt .380s are very nice guns but they've been discontinued for a long time. Good luck finding one for much under $500, so its not much of an option for someone balking at the price of a new SIG or Beretta .380.

    Llama makes a nice looking "shrunk 1911" .380, I think they call it Micromax, for about $220, but its made by Llama :-( I looked carefully at a used one for $150 and it was pretty clear someone had boogered up the top of the mag lips clearing jams.

    The weight, wide ergonomic grip, and heavy recoil spring make the CZ83 a real pussycat to shoot. Still it hurts to pay for a .380 a price what gets you into the price range of good full power, full size guns like CZ40B, or various EAA Witness pistols, or Armscor 45ACP or FM HiPower etc.

  11. MrAcheson

    MrAcheson Well-Known Member

    At one point Springfield Armory was thinking about manufacturing their own versions of the Colt Pony/Mustang. This proves once again that the clone makers have better business sense than the prancing pony...
  12. Cortland

    Cortland Well-Known Member

    .380s are always going to kick a lot since they're small and blowback. However, I've found that the beavertail on the Bersa .380s makes them more comfortable to shoot than other comparable .380. The current manufacture Bersa Thunder .380 is 7+1, but when the AWB expires we'll probably see the 15+1 double-stack Bersas being imported again.

    I would imagine the Glock 25 would be in contention for "most comfortable .380" -- but it's not available in the U.S. (and why would it be?).
  13. 38snapcaps

    38snapcaps Well-Known Member

    I've had a little experience with .380's:

    I had a Makarov for a couple of years and finally sold it because I just could not find a way to keep the recoil from stinging my hand. I tried a friend's .380 Mak and it was the same thing.

    I had a PPK/s for one month. That thing hurt so bad it was giving my hand tingling sensations and the sharp edges of the backstrap were cutting into my skin.

    I now have two Bersa .380's, one for carry and one for fun and practice. Fun to shoot, accurate, and no pain.
  14. Gary in Pennsylvania

    Gary in Pennsylvania Well-Known Member

  15. gbelleh

    gbelleh Well-Known Member

    If you want a .380, I would recommend the Bersa. It would make a great biking/hiking gun and is a great value for the price.
  16. Clean97GTI

    Clean97GTI Well-Known Member

    Makarovs with the facotry plastic grips (i.e. Red Star type) were known to be a little hard on the hands. Still, this is no reason to let the best .380 or 9x18 pistol in the world slip through your fingers. Put a set of Makawraps or Pearce grips on and enjoy some sweet Soviet perfection.
    You can also pick up some very nice wood grips that help immensely.

  17. tbeb

    tbeb Well-Known Member

    A small .380, that I heard is not hard on the hand, is the Colt series '80 Mustang Pocketlite. It is a single action. It operates with a locked breech whereas most .380's operate by blowback. Seems to me it has like a double recoil spring. Gun's empty weight is 12 1/2 ounces. It has a 2 3/4" barrel and overall length is 5 1/2". I think magazine capacity is 5 rounds.
  18. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    Not to drift the thread, but why is it that every so often someone seems bent on finding a comfortable relatively small and lightweight blowback 380 when the market has tons of locking 9mms that are comfortable to shoot, cheaper to shoot, has one of the largest varieties in available ammo (subsonic for quiet, +P+ Rangers for carry, etc...) better terminal effect on soft tissue if the need arises etc...

    The Bersa is a nice piece, but I've never found the Mak to be very uncomfortable to shoot with Pearce grips but there are plenty of smaller affordable 9mms...the smaller EAAs and CZs, Stars... At a higher price point, Glocks, SIGs, HKs, Berettas, 9mm 1911s, Many viable options in 9mm.
  19. Carbon_15

    Carbon_15 Well-Known Member

    My Beretta 86 Chetah is a joy to shoot. It has more felt recoil that you would expect form a gun its size and caliber, but its not painfull.
    Besides that, its the most accurate handgun I own..no kidding
  20. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    Cheetah == CZ83 + $100 == Bersa +$200.

    All are good guns. I ruled out the Bersa because it can't do cocked'n'locked.
    This may not matter to you, but its well worth an extra $100 to me.


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