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I'm in a quandry and need help in deciding what to do...

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Beachcomber, Nov 29, 2022.

  1. Beachcomber

    Beachcomber Member

    Apr 10, 2005
    New Hampshire
    I presently own a Beretta Model 84 .380 ACP (both 84 and 84FS actually) and a Kahr K9 9mm. Both handguns fit my hand and carry very well for my concealed carry purposes.

    Here is a link related to the above listed hand guns on HandgunHero...


    Okay, now my question to you is...

    Would you chose to carry a harder hitting 9mm (Kahr K9) that has a capacity of (7+1) eight rounds... or ,a weaker hitting handgun that has a capacity (13+1) of 14 rounds? (The extra two ounces of weight on the Kahr K9 would make no difference as I would be carrying the firearm in a belt or IWB holster.)

    I shoot both sufficiently and I'm trying to find a reason why I should prefer to carry one handgun over the other?

    Thanks in in advance,
  2. Great Scot

    Great Scot Member

    Dec 9, 2004
    As long as they’re reliable, you’ll do well with either. That said, modern ammo developments have closed the gap between 9mm and .380. Some .380 rounds from Lehigh and Black Woods appear exceptionally potent in both penetration and wound channel, and with the Beretta you get 14 on tap. That said, according to most research, civilian gun encounters involve less than 3 rounds.

    Pick the gun that gives you the most confidence, and you’ll be well armed!
    Beachcomber, sparkyv and GooseGestapo like this.
  3. Larry in wyoming

    Larry in wyoming Member

    Dec 10, 2021
    I had the opposite situation, I was carrying a 7 round 40 but switched to a 12 rnd 9. Why? Because trouble seems to run in packs now and days and more rounds makes sense. I used to think if I couldn't get it sorted in 7 rounds then I couldn't get it sorted at all. That may still be the case. But at least I have the option now
    Beachcomber, sparkyv, Yo Mama and 2 others like this.
  4. defjon

    defjon Member

    Oct 22, 2005
    If you shoot them the same, I'd go beretta in this case. More rounds , long enough barrel to get the 380 up to penetration/expansion threshold. Less recoil maybe, more rounds on target faster.
  5. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

    Jan 26, 2010
    Compare them to some of the newer 9mm guns You could probably find one smaller and lighter with more ammo .:)
    If you carry on the belt then even a bigger gun. Springfield or Sig.
    sparkyv likes this.
  6. Alllen Bundy

    Alllen Bundy Member

    Jul 8, 2021
    Murderapolis, Minnesota
    Better to have it and NOT need it than to need it and NOT have it!

    Having experienced the "Minneapolis Mostly Peaceful Protests" first hand, I don't leave the house without my 9 mm pistol loaded 14 + 1 and carrying Three extra 14 rd magazines. That is the physical limit on what I can conceal carry. If there were any mostly peaceful protests occurring I'd also carry a steel lockbox with an additional 8 loaded 14 rd magazines in it.
  7. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Member

    Apr 1, 2005
    Which do you shoot better? I'm betting the 380 because it seems it would have low recoil. I've had Kahrs, admittedly not all steel ones just polymer ones, and I didn't care for them. I'm also not huge on the 380, if it were me I'd ditch both and get either an M&P Shield Plus 9mm or a Glock 43X. That way you get 9mm but with better capacity.
    sparkyv likes this.
  8. js8588

    js8588 Member

    Mar 15, 2013
    I'd carry the Beretta. More rounds, similar efficacy.
    Beachcomber likes this.
  9. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

    Jun 5, 2013
    If you aren’t going to consider another higher capacity 9mm pistol, I’d go with the Beretta .380 and either Hornady Critical Defense, Winchester SXT or Federal HST ammo on board.

    Odds are you will never need it. But if you do the Beretta is a good choice.

    Stay safe.
    Beachcomber and sparkyv like this.
  10. dweis

    dweis Member

    Oct 2, 2022
    Southeast PA
    I would opt for higher capacity in 380. While accuracy is important so is capacity. I’d load with Underwood Extreme Penetrator ammo to eliminate expansion failure and to obtain deep penetration. I say that for 380 not 9mm.
    Beachcomber likes this.
  11. 5-SHOTS

    5-SHOTS Member

    Dec 26, 2008
    I'd carry the Beretta 84, hammer down (better yet in the half cock position) and safety off. But with DA/SA pistols with thumb safety it is important to practice to draw from the holster as the safety was on, just in case. So, when you draw, always put your thumb on the safety to make sure it is off.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2022
    Beachcomber and d'zaster like this.
  12. d'zaster

    d'zaster Member

    Aug 24, 2013
    If you have holsters for both then you get to see which one is "better" for you.
  13. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

    Jan 19, 2010
    Galveston Bay is an Hour Away ©
    Let me see . . .

    Beretta 84 in .380 ACP
    Thick for caliber
    Blowback action
    13+1 capacity
    Manual safety levers
    DA/SA hammer fired

    Kahr K9 in 9x19
    Thin for caliber
    Locked breech tilt barrel action
    7+1 capacity
    No manual safety levers
    Striker fired with DA like trigger pull

    Felt recoil should be similar between the two due to the different action types and similar weights with 9x19 still more powerful than 9x17. Thinner is usually a good choice in a carry gun, and I moved away from manual safety levers long ago for carry guns.

    So, I'd give up the 6 extra rounds of the Beretta and pick the Kahr K9 in this comparison mostly because I'm conditioned to carrying non-safety lever guns.

    Edit to add: Knowing the fully loaded weight of both guns would be interesting. I'm betting 14 rounds of .380 might make the Beretta equal in weight to the fully loaded 8-shot Kahr.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2022
    luzyfuerza, Rexster, Smaug and 3 others like this.
  14. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

    Nov 12, 2018
    People's Republic of California, Central Valley
    If no other factor sways you, I'd take the Kahr's extra terminal effect over the Beretta's extra capacity.

    Given that every round you fire in a self-defense situation has a personal liability lawyer attached, eight should be enough. FWIW, I usually carry a 5-shot J-frame.
    Smaug and Beachcomber like this.
  15. unclenunzie

    unclenunzie Contributing Member

    Sep 6, 2009
    I own both. I'd carry the Kahr. I prefer 9mm gold dots or hst with its 3.5 inch locked breach barrel action over any 380, especially against a blowback.
    Beachcomber and chicharrones like this.
  16. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    Have had at one time or another, all three of the aforementioned guns. I felt after using and carrying them for awhile that the Model 85 was too big in comparison to like minded single stack 9mm.s. The Model 84 was a bit on the wide side for concealed carry and I eventually delegated it to the role of home defense.

    I still have the Kahr CM9 but I am beginning to phase in a SIG P365X as it's future replacement.

    And if you want a small .380 with a lot of rounds to go with it, there's the Ruger LCP-MAX.
    Wildbillz and unclenunzie like this.
  17. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

    Sep 15, 2007
    The Mid-South.
    It probably doesn't matter which of those chamberings you carry, as long a threat is seen and --chooses-- to reveal bad intentions while you have time to react.

    What also would matter very much is when a thug (typically) attacks you from a blind spot with one or Both Hands, whereby you are far too busy grappling with both of Your hands--While trying to keep from going down onto the ground-- to be able to separate yourself from him/her and then grab the gun.

    A gun is carried by at least one of our black belt Krav Maga instructors, but he reminds us that so many attacks are grabs, various chokes, or a punch from blind spots, typically with no warning ( = no time).
    Good luck.

    My CZ-83 (.380) might be carried next summer vs. my CZ PCR (9mm), but career thugs won't give you the chance to reach for a gun, whether or not they have a gun vs. a knife or fists.
    They might not have studied Econ 101 and Western Civ....and they Ain't Dumb.....
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2022
    Tallball and Blue Jays like this.
  18. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

    Jun 2, 2005
    North Chesterfield, Virginia
    I do carry a Beretta 84F these days. If 13+1 rounds isn't enough to get me out of whatever trouble I've gotten into (plus I do carry a spare magazine), well, I'm just having a really bad day. I shoot the gun well, or at least as well as I shoot anything these days. The next malfunction will be the first one. The sights are sort of small, but a little orange nail polish has helped them. I don't think the recoil is bad at all, certainly not in the same class as a Ruger LCP I had. That little booger kicked.


    Yea, it's got a manual safety. Well it's got a decocker/safety. I never use it as a "safety." Just use it to drop the hammer, then click it off and depend on the DA trigger to prevent unintended discharges, something I've always done with DA/SA type guns. This safety is at least frame mounted, and swipes "down" like a 1911 if you do want to carry it on.

    I suppose it's big for a 380, at least compared to some more modern 380's. Is it heavy? I don't think so. No heavier than some of the small 9mm's I've tried over the years. In an IWB holster, that really isn't a big deal to me. It's certainly not as big/heavy as my Hi-Powers or my CZ-75 clone.


    What can I say? I'm an old guy, who likes old school stuff.
  19. Tallball

    Tallball Member

    Oct 2, 2014
    I have a Beretta 84 and the 40 caliber steel Kahr.

    The Beretta is a nice shooter. I enjoy it so much that I snatched up one of the 32acp versions when they were available. Beretta is one of my favorite makes of pistol.

    The steel Kahrs are really nice. I'd like to have one in 9mm and 45acp, also. My Kahrs have been as reliable as my Berettas, which is to say perfectly reliable.

    The Kahr and its holster fit in the back pocket of my jeans.

    The Beretta 84 is a belt pistol. (It's the dinged-up one on the left, Israeli surplus.)

    Thus, I will occasionally carry the Kahr, but the Model 84 is a range toy.

    Beachcomber likes this.
  20. WYO

    WYO Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I would go to a range with both guns and the holsters and ammo you would use with each. Starting cold, with the guns carried the way you would carry them, run a realistic drill with each using a timer or someone timing you with a stop watch. If the results are close, it doesn't matter. If there is a glaring difference, pick the one that performs the best for you. I would normally recommend a .380 for someone who does not shoot that much (I do not know if this is or is not the case with you), if the recoil is less than the 9mm under consideration.

    As noted by defjon, the barrel length on the Beretta is on the longer side for a .380, so you will get the most out of the ammo.
    Beachcomber likes this.
  21. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

    Feb 10, 2016
    Fl panhandle
    9mm for the win. The $ saved in practice ammo will make me better with it, and the extra power will be welcome if I actually needed it.
    chicharrones and Alllen Bundy like this.
  22. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

    Nov 4, 2009
    N Idaho
    The Kahr, not so much because it's 9mm, but because it doesn't have a safety, which is better for less experienced shooters, IMO, especially in little, compact handguns.
  23. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

    Jan 19, 2010
    Galveston Bay is an Hour Away ©
    CZ PCR over CZ-82/83 every day of the week. Locked breech vs. blowback. The PCR feels smooth when shooting, the 82 feels snappy. Might as well launch 9x19s down range.

    Last edited: Nov 30, 2022
  24. Smaug

    Smaug Member

    Apr 18, 2004
    SE Wisconsin
    I'd go with 9 mm, if it's reliable. (Kahrs aren't always, from what I've read)

    I've read that getting the first shot on target quickly is what matters the most, as most times, you would need either 0 or 1 shot. Remember, when they're after you in court later for killing their poor little boy, you have to justify why you kept shooting after he turned to run. You want that first shot to do the job and 9x19 is more likely to do it than 380. (since you can use expanding ammo and know you'll have enough penetration)
  25. Rexster

    Rexster Member

    Mar 25, 2007
    SE Texas
    My first priority would be to determine which weapon I could really, truly, shoot better, under stress, even on a bad day. I would value the first, accurate shot, more than which weapon facilitates follow-up shots. The goal here seems to be personal self-defense, rather than pressing an attack against multiple opponents, so magazine capacity would not be a high priority.

    In my personal case, I tried, and ultimately rejected, the Kahr K9, because its trigger was not located in an ergonomically-favorable position for my right* trigger finger, requiring me to contort my trigger finger “just so,” in order to shoot accurately. I loved the Kahr K9’s grip, but the position of the trigger defeated me. I did not feel that my accuracy, under stress, would be there, for me, if needed.

    .380 ACP is documentably capable of breaking a human femur, which is the strongest bone in the human body, so, is “enough” for face-to-face personal defense, but, a bonded-core-construction 9mm is capable of penetrating a car door, with enough force to cause injury to occupants of the car. If my personal threat assessment envisions a significant chance of being attacked by miscreants inside automobiles, that would favor 9mm.

    There is nothing wrong with the DA/SA trigger system, if the shooter is accustomed to it. I am not afraid of the long-stroke DA first shot, and, in the past, have used a DA/SA SIG P220 as a police duty pistol, which I purchased with my own money, so, have nothing negative to say about DA/SA aspect of the Beretta 84 option.

    I used to own an S&W 3913, a Third-Generation S&W DA/SA auto, in the early Nineties, used it for some amount of personal-time carry, and strongly considered using it as a primary duty pistol, on the sometimes-mean street of Houston, Texas. For nostalgic reasons, I recently “replaced” my old 3913 with a 3913 TSW, and then a 3913 NL. These may well become carry guns, which indicates I am still OK with DA/SA, and also comfortable with the idea of carrying a relatively small 9mm pistol, that uses single-column magazines. (Now retired from LEO-ing, I still live in the Houston area, and, for now, tend to carry revolvers. Two revolvers, much of the time, but, yes, revolvers…)

    I have never owned a Beretta 84, and have never fired a Beretta 84. I shot my Kahr K9, quite a bit, when I owned it. If I had to choose between the two, today, well, the above thoughts are what I would consider. The difference is that either would probably be carried on my left side, because my left hand has aged better than my right, so, can still tolerate shooting compact 9mm pistols, and is the hand I would better trust to provide a firm platform to ensure reliable cycling of a .380 ACP pistol.

    *I seem to recall that the K9 fit my left hand and left index finger better than my right hand and right index finger. That was ~25 years ago.
    Beachcomber likes this.
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