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Makarov vs Bersa vs Sig 232 for compact carry?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by 10 Ringer', Aug 7, 2003.

  1. 10 Ringer'

    10 Ringer' New Member

    Jul 28, 2003
    Adopted Texan
    At the gunshow last weekend, I also handled a number of pieces in the .380 and 9x18 super compact class and liked the feel of those almost as much as I liked the larger "compact designs" like the CZ P-01 and the S&W 457 (and the Sig 232 DID fit like a glove). From what I've heard here, the 9x18 is the way to go in that type of Walther PPK/Makarov style design and size, but from what I saw at the show, and in a bit of fear for the safety of the top of my hand, the beavertail backstrap top can only be found in Bersa .380s and the like. I also like the looks and value of the CZ 83, but it doesn't come with the nice safety/decocker feature found on many of its .380 or 9x18 size cousins.

    Anyway, I was wondering if anyone with experience with one or more of this class of carry gun could fill me in on how they compare on recoil, accuracy and so on for both chamberings. Also, do the alloy vs steel designs make a difference as far as contollability is concerned and what is a good deal on a used Russian or Hungarian or Bulgarian or..... Makarov? Thanks.
  2. 38snapcaps

    38snapcaps Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Let me be the first:

    I've owned a Mak, do own a Bersa, and just yesterday was looking hard at a 232 for my wife.

    Maks are stone reliable, ammo is $5. The sights are worthless, the gun is kinda big and heavy for CCW, and the recoil is a bit harsh. Double action trigger is stiff, single is very nice. Accuracy is good to very good. Heel release for the mag. Quality is pretty crude but that's its character appeal. Costs about $150.

    The Bersa is just as reliable, ammo is $6.50. The sights are pretty good and adjustable (yes you can actually target shoot with it). Its aluminum frame is lighter thus more comfortable and the pistol is slightly smaller.
    Recoil is not an issue. Both trigger actions are very smooth and light. Accuracy is very good to excellent. Quality is average. Button on side of grip mag release. Costs around $200.

    The Sig is beautiful quality. I've heard very reliable. Sights about the same as the Bersa. Its light in weight but a little big for carry use. I've heard recoil is snappy and I've heard just the opposite, I can't say from personal experience. Trigger actions are excellent. Can't say about accuracy. Heel mag release again. Quality is tops. Cost is $450!

    There, that should get you started, I guarantee there's more coming!:D
  3. No4Mk1

    No4Mk1 Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Yep, here's more! :D

    I'll argue about the 232 being "a little big for carry." It is my "always" carry and half the time I forget I have it on. Insanely accurate. Fits my hand like it grew there. I do find it to be a little snappy, but not uncomfortable in recoil. Trigger is positively one of the best although a bit heavy in DA.

    You can find them for less than $450, but you will probably have to do some looking. Is it worth it compared to the price of the other two? That is for each individual to judge, but for my money it was....

    There are more affordable and perfectly functional options out there, but the 232 to me is a highly functional piece of artwork.
  4. jc2

    jc2 member

    Dec 27, 2002
    I enjoyed my 232 though I did not see the accuracy out of my particular weapon--my PPK/s was noticably more accurate. It was probably just my particular weapon. They are rather on the large/heavy side for for a .380--you are really treading on 9x19 (Glock, Kahr, Kel-Tec) ground when you get as large as the 232. Overall though, it was an excellent piece of work EXCEPT every time I fieldstripped it the little lever that servces as the slide stop (and sometimes the spring as well) would fall out. For $400 to $450 (and the Sig name), you would expect a handgun that wouldn't fall apart when you cleaned it. BTW, it was just not my particular weapon--it is common (though not well-advertised) "feature" of the 232. So, if you go with the 232, you might as well call Sig and order a couple of the little springs that operate the slide stop--you might need them, and it won't work without them!
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2003
  5. Stinkyshoe

    Stinkyshoe Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    38snapcaps "The sights are worthless, the gun is kinda big and heavy for CCW, and the recoil is a bit harsh."

    How could the sights be replaced, modified so they wouldn't be worthless? What makes them worthless? Could you please explain more about your impressions of the Mak?
  6. MrAcheson

    MrAcheson Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Newark, DE and APG, MD

    The sights on a mak are really small and hard to acquire at speed. You can have better sights fitted if you would like, but the process will require machining and will cost as much as you paid for the gun. Stephen A. Camp has done this to one of his maks.
  7. SnWnMe

    SnWnMe Senior Member

    Jul 13, 2003
    Inland Empire
    The word is Maks are utterly reliable. Could be true. Mine has not jammed(I got it in 1994). The mags I use are the cheapest stuff I see in gun shows. The gun doesn't care! The sights are tiny. But I don't plan on trying ambitious 25 yd shots with it, especially in a self defense scenario,and the tiny sights make the gun more snag resistant.
  8. David4516

    David4516 Senior Member

    May 29, 2003
    WA State
    I have not shot the other pistols mentioned, but I do have experiance with Makarovs, and it has been a 100% positive experiance.

    The thing that has impressed me the most about the Mak is it's dependablity. It simply DOES NOT JAM. In a situation where your life is on the line, you want a pistol you can count on, and I feel very confident in the Mak.

    If you get the choice between 9mm Mak and .380 ACP, go with 9mm Mak. It is superior to .380 ACP, it is a larger bullet going faster. But, having said that, its still no 9mm Luger

    Alot of people will tell you that the .380 and 9mm Mak (aka 9X18 ) are obsolete, that you can buy something like a Glock 26 in 9mm Luger and it will do everything that a Mak will do only better. Don't believe them.

    A: The Glock will cost you 3 to 4 times as much

    B: The Mak is much thinner (it is single stack), makes it easy to conceal

    C: Recoil, the Glocks kick alot harder, makes follow up shots slower

    D: You can't find a compact semi-auto pistol that is more dependable than a Mak
  9. lee n. field

    lee n. field Senior Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Makarov sight jobs : http://www.makarov.com/slide/index.html . Someday I'll spring for this. Factory sights are dinky.
  10. PCRCCW

    PCRCCW Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    The Ice Cream Capitol of the World!
    Ive shot/owned/carried/stolen/borrowed/rented bla bla about every .380 I could get my hands on......in order of favorite to least favorite Ill list the guns Ive played with........

    CZ83 .380 and Mak
    BDA .380
    Bersa .380
    Sig 230/232
    FEG PMK/SMC .380 and Mak
    Makarov 9x18
    NA guardian .380
    Walther .380
    etc etc.......

    The sights on the mak suck...and I agree. That and the guns typical d/a trigger pull make it very hard for me to swallow. The one Ive seen with Novaks was a very nice gun...and had the $ to prove it.

    If you want a runner for not much money.....the CZ83 is my fav, but the Bersa is probably still the best deal going. Next would be the FEG....great guns that wont miss a beat.

    Good luck and shoot well.
  11. Pocket Pistol

    Pocket Pistol Member

    May 12, 2003
    Middle Tennessee
    I agree with No4Mk1

    My 230 is awsome, accurate, smooth jam free :)
    Sig makes one fine gun :)
  12. 9x19

    9x19 member

    Dec 30, 2002
    The Mak, based on the 9x18 cartridge, would be my first choice, heavier than the Bersa, but the weight makes recoil more manageable, sights are smaller than the other two, but can be dealt with or adjusted to.

    The Bersa would be second, given the same cartridge, it is more size efficient and just as reliable as the Sig, has good sights, and costs about half as much.

    The Sig is third, too big, and pricey, to be "just a .380", in my opinion.
  13. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002

    If you've not seen these already, you might find them of some help.










    I've not done a "range report" on the P232 and do not own one. The two P230's I owned in the past worked fine and while this part is utterly subjective, I prefer the feel of the Bersa to the SIG-Sauer. The next guy may feel just the opposite.

    Frankly, go with what YOU like the best. The choices you mention are all very good ones in my opinion.

  14. coldshot03/04

    coldshot03/04 member

    Jul 11, 2003
    Alabama, USA
  15. sarge48

    sarge48 New Member

    Jul 20, 2003
    Royersford PA
    Makarov with peirce grips.
  16. Matthew_Q

    Matthew_Q Member

    Feb 18, 2003
    Austin, TEXAS
    I'd go with the Bersa.... actually... I DID. I love it. Small, light, accurate... mucho bang for the buck. When I get off my butt and get my CHL, the bersa will be my primary carry gun. Until I can find a nice compact 9mm, .40 or .45 that I like, to replace it. (the Bersa/Firestorm .45 looks pretty sweet... )

    Get the Bersa for about $200, order a couple mags, and use the money you saved on practice ammo.
  17. Safety First

    Safety First Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Middle Georgia area
    question for bersa owners,or anyone who knows...

    The bersa web site says the weight of the standard 380 is 19.75 oz, but a couple of the gun rags say 22 or 23 oz. so can anyone confirm the weights of the standard 380 and the nickel???? I have sent two emails to Bersa and so far not getting a response. This gun really interest me as a possiblity for my wife...any help would be appreciated...
  18. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Hello. Mine is the "Duo-Tone" .380 with the aluminum frame. As best as I can tell, mine weighs about 17.5 oz w/o the magazine. With the empty magazine in place add about 1.5 oz for 19 oz. total. The scale I was using is not that great, but that's fairly close to the published 19.5 oz. I don't know if I'm wrong or they are, but I'd guess it is me.

  19. Murphster

    Murphster Member

    Jan 30, 2003
    I have a Bulgarian Mak which I keep in the glove compartment. Utterly reliable. Cheap. Accurate. And it doesn't really matter if it get's dinged around. My opinion is that it might prove a bit heavy for long term CCW, depending on how you carry it. I owned (and sold, darn it) a Sig 232. I rarely carry CCW on my person, but the Sig would be my choice if I was going to do so. BUT about every 25 rounds or so, the slide would remove a patch of skin from my hand aka slide bite. Wouldn't bother you in a life or death situation, but I plinked with it a lot and eventually found myself dreading the cut I was going to get everytime I shot it. But it was one great gun. If you're a gun cleaning nut like I am, the Sig has a couple of small sadist-designed parts that you have to be careful of when disassembling. I've heard nothing but good about the Bersa but have no first hand info. Looks like slide bite wouldn't be an issue with it due to the semi-beavertail design. You wouldn't go wrong with any of these weapons, just depends on your specific needs.
  20. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 20, 2002
    Enfield, NH
    I hear good things about the Bersa.

    I've owned both a Makarov and two SIG P232s. I still own a P232, and I consider it the best blowback .380 on the market. The alloy-framed P232 wins out over the Makarov by a hair due to the much better factory sights, and the lighter weight thanks to alloy vs. steel frames. My P232 clocks the scale at 16 ounces empty, is utterly reliable, and beautifully made. The Mak, on the other hand, does most of what the P232 does and costs a third of the P232's price tag.

    The Bersa may just be the best of both worlds...almost as light as the SIG, better stock sights than the Mak, and as reliable as both.

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