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Looking for a 380

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Ringer, Mar 31, 2003.

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  1. Ringer

    Ringer Member

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    I'm new to your forum. Been shooting guns off and on for the last 20 years though.

    I'm looking for a 380 to add to my gun closet. Not looking to spend a fortune but I tend to prefer quality over price, within reason. Possibilities are Beretta Cheetah, CZ83 and Sig P232 (not limited to those). My wife likes the CZ and the price is certainly reasonable. I know Sigs are quality guns, not sure I need to spend that much. I prefer the traditional Single/Double Action style and low recoil is important for this gun. Any comments on these guns or recommendations for similar ones?

    Thanks
     
  2. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

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  3. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    I recently fulfilled a long-hedged desire for a Browning BDA. These are made by Beretta for Browning, and are essentially Beretta 84s with closed slides and slide-mounted safeties.

    Pretty guns, very accurate, and easy to hold on to thanks to the double-stack grip. 13-round preban mags are still available, although 10+1 certainly ain't bad in a package that small. They're also a bit less expensive than the beretta 84, although not quite as much a bargain as the equally excellent CZ-83.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I've been happy with my Walther PPK (Interarms,) but have heard ugly things about the new models (Smith & Wesson.)

    I looked over the Browning in a gun shop recently, and was quite favorably impressed. I ended up buying a rifle instead, my first .22 in nearly twenty years, but can imagine myself buying the Browning down the road.
     
  5. Ringer

    Ringer Member

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    One thing I guess I failed to mention is that I'm assuming the 380 has less recoil then a 9mm. After doing some more searches and reading on the forum I'm not so sure that is the case, at least not to a large degree. My local range does not have any 380s for rent so I have not been able to shoot one. If the recoil is not much less than I would probably go for a compact 9mm.

    BTW, thanks for the quick responses.
     
  6. DMK

    DMK Member

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    As I believe you are starting to suspect, that has a lot to do with the weight and ergonomics of the gun. If the gun is heavy enough to dampen a lot of the recoil and the grip is comfortable for you, 9mm can be a real pussycat. If your range has any 32ACP guns, try one of those. 380 is a bit hotter, but many folks are quite surprised at how much recoil these pocket guns have when they shoot them first.

    You didn't state for what purpose you want the gun(ie. range shooting, home defense, conceled carry, etc). Perhaps we should start there.
     
  7. Selfdfenz

    Selfdfenz Member

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    Another vote for the CZ. Very nice. Accurate. Will likely last forever. Nice triggers on those 83s IMO.

    For something smaller and thinner and lighter and half the price (but fewer rounds) I think my Bersa Thunder 380 is a GREAT pistol.

    Let us know what you end up with and good luck.
    S-
     
  8. ambidextrous1

    ambidextrous1 Member

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    If you want a "fun" gun, try the Makarov. It has a way of rewarding the shooter with better-than-expected accuracy and reliability.

    I may have to buy a second one; my shooting pals take mine away and don't give it back until the ammo is used up.


    :D
     
  9. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    I second the Makarov ... I've got a Bulgarian in 9x18 and I love it.
     
  10. emann

    emann Member

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    That's easy, a Bersa Thunder .380 of course. One of the better bargains out there. You can find them in the $200 range.
     
  11. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

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    Welcome to THR, Ringer! :D

    Most .380s are blowback actions. Most 9mms are locked breech. That's basically why most .380s have MORE felt recoil than most 9mms.

    If recoil is an issue in your new acquisition, I'd suggest you include 9mm pistols in your search. :D
     
  12. Triad

    Triad Member

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    I would go with the CZ.

    lendringser, what is that knife in your pic? TIA.
     
  13. happy old sailor

    happy old sailor Member

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    don't forget that KelTec is coming out with a .380, very soon now.

    i like the P32 so well, i will be purchasing the first 380 i find.

    they should be in the 225 - 250 price range, and, just barely larger than the P32

    from experience of myself and others, the AMT .380 Backup is
    very uncomfortable to shoot. make that VERY uncomfortable.

    other pistols mentioned above this reply should serve you well.
     
  14. Dave R

    Dave R Member

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    I 2nd the notion of a Bersa Thunder. Maybe the best value among .380's. Low price, and not a thing wrong with it.

    If you can be patient for a few more months, check out Kel-Tec's P-3AT (phonetic for .380). Probably not a fun pistol to shoot, but extremely concealable.

    The Bersa, OTOH, is fun to shoot, and fairly concealable.
     
  15. Gunner45

    Gunner45 Member

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    I have been very happy with my Colt Mustang Pocketlite. It's a locked breach rather than blow back like most .380s. Kind of like a mini 1911.

    Weight wise it's olny 12.5 oz unloaded

    So farI have never had a jam with mine. :) And they are very easy to hide.

    Gunner45
     
  16. arinvolvo

    arinvolvo Member

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    Bersa thunder...Extremely affordable, reasonably accurate, and as reliable as any other 380...Just not the best looking, when next to the sig.
     
  17. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

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    Since it's a locked breech action, it might be a lot tamer in the recoil department than you'd think. :D
     
  18. WhoKnowsWho

    WhoKnowsWho Member

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    The browning BDA is 339 at CDNN now. Nice looking gun.

    I wanted to wait for the Kel Tec, but picked up the P32 for now instead... I'll get a 380 later.

    The Bersa Thunder felt really nice in my hand, and the price is right.

    If you weren't looking for the .380 caliber specifically, I would say get a Makarov, very fun!

    I vote for the Bersa. Haven't heard any negatives that I can remember about it.
     
  19. denfoote

    denfoote Member

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    In many cases, the recoil of the .380 is actually more than the 9mm. This is due to the fact that most .308 pistols are of the blowback design. Now, if you want a compact 9mm pistol that will serve you well for many years, give the Kahr MK9 a try!! :D

    Welcome to our little cadre' !!! :D
     
  20. CZF

    CZF Member

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    CZ83 for around $300.00 Fits most everyone. 10-13 shots.
    very accurate, low recoil as compared to other .380s i've shot.
    Wonderful DA and SA trigger. bigger sights than on most
    pocket pistols. Quality manufacturer.

    Same can be said for the Browning and Berettas. All three
    of the guns mentioned are very nice .380s.
     

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  21. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    That's a Boker Bud Nealy MCS with cocobolo scales.
     
  22. Ringer

    Ringer Member

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    DMK and others.

    The use for this gun will be primarily range shooting with the possibility of my wife using it for home/personal defense. I have other guns for home defense but they are really too large for my wife to handle should she need to. Also (assuming she will commit the range time beforehand) she would like something to take on an annual weekend trip she takes with her friends. Originally I was looking at 9mm but after firing them they seemed to have a bit more recoil than I thought she would be comfortable with. Maybe that had to do with particular gun and or ammo. She has shot my 357 Magnum with 38 loads and is comfortable with that recoil wise. It is a large frame with 6" barrel so practically has no recoil with 38s, but it's way to big and heavy for her. Just to clarify primary usage will be for myself, but I want something my wife could handle if necessary. Maybe I'm looking for the impossible in a single gun. Low recoil and small overall size is probably an oxy-moron.

    With all that said I realize now I should have said all that up front. Anyway, thanks for all your input.
     
  23. MJRW

    MJRW Member

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    Something your wife has to understand that as a general rule of thumb, as weight decreases, recoil increases. I can't say how many times I've heard the mistake "smaller, lighter, better."

    .380s don't have recoil, imo, as much as they have a bit of a bite. That blowback system is what really does it. A decent weight 9mm recoil will be much more tame than most .380s. Sig 239 and HK USPC 9 come to mind immediately.

    Another option is a SP-101 weighing in at about 25-27 oz. With 110 grain .38s it is fairly mild and light enough to carry.

    In .380s, and just overall, I love the Bersas. Don't be fooled by the price, it is a stellar firearm.
     
  24. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    If your looking for a good .380, check out the SIG's, P230 and P232. These are great pistols.
     
  25. mercedesrules

    mercedesrules Member

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    WKW said:
    Russian Makarovs come in .380 and are pretty easy to find at gun shows.

    MR
     
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