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Best .380 CCW for my mother

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by neededausername, Apr 23, 2008.

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  1. neededausername

    neededausername Member

    Mar 6, 2008
    I was talking with my mother today about why I bought a gun, I was prepared for a fight to defend my purchase, instead I hear "I should probably carry a gun". She is a Realtor and often has to be out alone in the country at night. She is 60+ and not a very strong woman. I told her I would research pistols for her and give her a recommendation. I usually hang out at rugerforum.com and right now all they can talk about in the semi-auto forum is the LCP so .380 immediately sprang to mind for my mom.

    Here's the relevant info

    She's an older lady, not very strong.

    I don't think she's ever fired a gun in her life, but I could be wrong. She said she would get trained and use to a gun before she CC with it.

    She dresses very feminine and very classy.

    She deals with a large variety of people and it's important that it is concealed, because you never know who would decide to buy a house from someone else because she was carrying.

    I'm thinking .380 would be the best for her. I don't want to get a lot of comments about how it's not the best for defense. Trust me when my wife and I get our CCW it will be .357's or 45ACP. I just don't think my mother could handle those. I just want to know what the best .380 out there is. Price isn't really a problem, she has the money. After a little research I was thinking a SIG P232? Any other ideas?
  2. mr.trooper

    mr.trooper Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    If shes not very strong, get something else. 380s tend to be very lite weight, and the recoil on my Sig 232 was VERY snappy. kicked as hard as my 9mm.
  3. GunTech

    GunTech Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    Helena MT
    If she isn't strong, racking the slide on a blowback 380 can be a problem. I'd suggest a Colt Government 380, or a Beretta 86. The Colt is a locked breech recoil operated 380, and it is far easier to rack the slide than a blowback gun. t also has a smaller form factor and fits small hands.

    The Beretta 86 has a tip up barrel, which also makes it easy to load for those without a lot of hand strength.

    Of course both of these pistols are out of production, and the Colt is commanding premium prices.

    The SiG 232 is very nice, but some women have trouble working the slide.

    Have you considered a small 38 revolver like a S&W 36 or any of the hammerless J frames?
  4. equitytrader

    equitytrader member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Get a High Standard Model G, they're classy.
  5. Doc S

    Doc S Member

    Sep 2, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    Not a Auto

    I'd probably get her a revolver rather than an Auto...
    I know you're probably interested in getting her something small, but beware, the recoil can be pretty severe (especially in smaller ones like Kel-Tec and Ruger). Additionlly, she may have difficulty charging the slide. Revolvers tend to be much better for less experienced shooters and are very reliable...

    I'd probably go with a .38 or the .32 magnum looks promissing.

    Just my .02 worth.

    God Bless,
    Doc S
  6. Treo

    Treo member

    Nov 30, 2007
    Co. Springs
    CZ 82 carried DA would be my RECOMENDATION but really SHE has to pick a gunthat fits her
  7. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    Have you considered something in a .38 Special? Standard pressure .38 Special rounds will probably have no more recoil than a .380 Auto and possible less depending upon the gun.

    If she isn't very strong you might want to suggest a revolver. A Ruger SP101, S&W M640 or M649 would be heavy enough to soak up most of the recoil from a .38 Special round while retaining the ability to conceal. Also, with a revolver your Mom won't have to worry about racking the slide or clearing a jam.
  8. jgo296

    jgo296 member

    Feb 5, 2008
    i back the 38spec argument
    if shes a weak old woman shes very likely to limp wrist and effectively make the 380 a one shot gun
  9. ARTiger

    ARTiger Member

    Mar 6, 2006
    Ruger SP 101 in .38 Special. It's heavy enough that standard pressure .38 loads will be very manageable. Add a good concealed carry purse and she'll not know it's there.

    I can see though that trying to advise a lady on what purse to carry could lead to getting hit by one. Look those up on the web and let her pick it.

    Lots of other guns that would work, but the revolver vs. semi auto is good advice.
  10. Albatross

    Albatross Member

    Jan 4, 2007
    .380 Colt Mustangs are popular carry weapons; small and reliable.

    You'll have to go the used market though (Colt stopped production years ago) and they aren't cheap, but ladies especially seem to be fond of them.
  11. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

    Aug 28, 2006
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Let 'er try a few guns. I'd suggest the CZ 83 - a doublestack .380 (or Beretta's equivalent. Model 84 or 86, if memory serves). Think it can be carried cocked & locked.
    Don't consider a revolver unless she can manipulate the (fairly heavy) DA trigger.
  12. owlhoot

    owlhoot Member

    Jun 10, 2005
    If the gun isn't very small and very light, she is not likely to develop the habit of always carrying it.

    Small revolvers are simple, but they are expert's guns. They are difficult to learn to shoot well and even with standard .38 ammo, I think they recoil more than any .380. Plus, they really aren't all that small.

    I see three possibilities. A Beretta Tom Cat in .32acp. She would appreciate the tip up barrel. Even the little Bob Cat in ,22LR is worth considering. Mine has 1000's of rounds through it and is very reliable.

    The new Ruger LCP .380 is worth considering.

    Larger but still light is the Kahr CW9. Even though it is a 9mm, the felt recoil is negligible, less than a light J frame.

    Whatever the choice the gun needs to be a DA with no safety to worry about. Just point and pull.
  13. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    A wise women it appears. Take her to the range. Start her with a .22, instructions on the basics, rules of safe handling (yada yada). Allow her to ease into the pool slowly increasing her exposure as she gains some experience. Make her shooting experience fun and enjoyable.

    Skills of arms are one thing (and a good thing one could argue). The development of her defensive mindset that should go hand in hand, worth its weight in gold.


    Nov 10, 2003
    Home of the Brave

    If she is intent on a .380, I'd suggest the COLT MUSTANG but using hollow-point self-defense loads. The Mustang is small, easily concealed, and with the proper self-defense load will have a 'bite' to it that's effective.
  15. lance22

    lance22 Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Minn Uh So Tah
    Gotta take her out and buy her whatever she picks out ...
  16. flyby

    flyby Member

    Mar 19, 2008
    Keltec P32 with a +1 extension for 9rds and better grip.
    recoil is light,slide is easy and will still meet or exceed the FBI 12" pen requirement with standard FMJ ball ammo.
    ..can also be beefed up a bit with hotter loads like Corbon,fiocchi,S&B etc..
  17. Pilot

    Pilot Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    A revolver would be a good choice, especially it she has a hard time racking the slide of a semi-auto.
  18. Linda

    Linda Member

    Sep 9, 2006
    central Ohio
    Have her go take her CCW class first. A class that offers several different types of firearms in different calibers. Then based on that: LET HER PICK OUT HER OWN GUN!!!!! Choosing a self defense tool is a very personal thing, just like picking out shoes. I wouldn't want someone else buying me shoes, and I sure as heck wouldn't want someone else picking out my firearms. Please, do not underestimate women and the semi automatic. Makes me crazy when guys think that ladies should only carry revolvers.:banghead:

    I am a Realtor as well. I am also a concealed carry instructor. I absolutely love having fellow Realtors in my classes.
  19. Ed4032

    Ed4032 Member

    Mar 26, 2007
    I got my mother-in-law a 38 spl. She could not rack the slide and had a hard time loading the mag on an automatic. But the revolver worked great for her. She could load it, cock the hammer and blast away.

    BUT, my dear sweet heart carries a 380 auto and a 9mm, because that's is what she wants. She is a better shot than me too.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2008
  20. usp9

    usp9 Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Bowling Green, Va
    The two .380s I'd normally recommend, the Beretta 85 and Sig P232, both have heavy springs and I believe would prove hard to operate by a weaker elder. You will need to find a pistol your Mom can easily operate.

    The Beretta 86 is ideal but is out of production I think. A used Beretta 86may be the way to go. No slide to rack, move a lever, raise the barrel, and load. It has a more full grip for easing recoil too. The only problem may be in finding one.
    info link
  21. Flopsy

    Flopsy Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    I'd vote for the Beretta 80 series. They are fairly small but have pretty light recoil, very accurate, hold up 13+1, and you can get a model with a tip-up barrel so you don't have to slingshot it. The only downside is that they are probably the most expensive .380 you can buy, but you said price is not an issue. I saw one new recently for $650.
  22. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    A .38 Spl. revolver.

    If shes not a "gun person", which she apparently isn't, a revolver is far safer, & totally foolproof. A .380 auto isn't.

    A revolver is either loaded, or it isn't.

    If it is loaded it will go bang when you pull the trigger.
    If it isn't loaded, it won't.

    No manual of arms to learn & remember.
    No safety or slide lock to worry about.
    No possible chance of removing the magazine and shooting the round in the chamber by accident.

    In short, load it and it's always ready to go.
    Unload it and it's not.

  23. Doc S

    Doc S Member

    Sep 2, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    Linda, Sorry


    It's not that we are looking on women as weaker and in the opinion that all women need only a revolver. He mentioned that she's not very strong. I'm imagining her having difficulty racking the slide. If someone told me they had a father or grand father that was weak, I would suggest the same thing.

    As was previously mentioned, with a semi-auto, the chances of her limp wristing one that's light with a fair amount of recoil is pretty good. I've seen young stocky men have problems with a Kel-Tec P3AT (.380).

    My mom's not frail and isn't "weak", but she can't shoot my P3AT very effectively. She limp wrists it and causes it to not go into battery. I wouldn't feel comfortable with her carrying that for protection. She shot my .38 snubbie pretty well, so I gave it to her...

    I don't think anyone here meant to be offensive or sexist. I know I didn't.

    Warmest regard and God Bless,
    Doc S
  24. AirForceShooter

    AirForceShooter Member

    Oct 31, 2004
    Central Florida
    first off she the one that gets to choose.
    I have 2 women in my life and neither would go near a .380.
    Have her look up the website www.corneredcat.com
    Mt daughter carries a 1911 and my wfe a J frame.
    A Lady Smith is classy as hell.

  25. XDKingslayer

    XDKingslayer member

    Mar 1, 2006
    Port Charlotte, Fl.
    Again I have to recommend the Bersa .380. I've been doing that alot lately.

    Out of all the .380s on the market it was the only one my wife could manipulate the slide on. She also has a tendency to limp wrist a little and so far it hasn't effected the reliability of the little Bersa.

    Have her give that one a shot and see what she thinks.
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