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Recommend a .380acp

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Water-Man, Apr 25, 2016.

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  1. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

    Mar 22, 2008
    JAX, FL.
    Recommend to me a .380acp.

    .good trigger
    .reasonably priced

    Thank you.
  2. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

    Jun 14, 2008
    SouthEastern FL
    Depends on the pockets in "pocketable."

    Bersa Thunder CC if you're skilled with DA/SA triggers. Ditto for Walther PPK/S.

    Glock 42 if you're more comfortable with their trigger type.

    Sig P238 if you like 1911-type triggers, but they can be heavy for pockets.

    Still too big? S&W Bodyguard 380 or Ruger LCP.
  3. Tirod

    Tirod Member

    May 24, 2008
    SW MO
    Pocketable .380's are numerous. This link to a sticky in this forum gives pictures and dimensions: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=171820

    Most small pocket .380's are in the 11 oz class unloaded. It takes polymer to get them that light, so it becomes a required item. Alloy frame guns are generally heavier and higher priced which don't make them worse but put them at a disadvantage if weight and price are used as a criteria.

    A decent trigger is important, and unfortunately it seems the most popular guns sold exhibit poor triggers and aren't the most comfortable shooters, either. To get a good trigger and a working gun pleasant to shoot costs money, and the least expensive ones on the market traded those benefits off to be the low price leader. Most pocket .380's are DA - you pull the trigger thru to fire it. Because of that they delete a separate safety but require a holster even in the pocket to cover the trigger.

    You have to go out and either dry fire or rent them to discover what trigger you prefer. It can't be done second hand off an internet screen. What can be done is to pay attention to the pound weight of the trigger listed and to sort them accordingly. Not everyone prefers a 12 pound trigger, and not all of us will suffer the additional cost of a trigger upgrade to "fix" it when you could have simply purchased a better gun for the total price.

    Length of trigger pull is also important. The P238 has a nice short crisp pull, the typical DA not so much. Some are quite long and where your finger rests naturally on them can also change it's feel - the higher up the shorter the trigger but heavier the pull. Hinged triggers are the norm and your natural gripping position can make one acceptable while the other a less optimal choice - even if the specs looked better on paper. Be aware some triggers requiring pulling almost all the way back to the frame to discharge - better to discover that up front before you buy.

    Another significant feature is a slide hold open on last shot. The less expensive guns delete the feature but it's a false savings for two reasons: First, a gun that holds open on the last shot signals You Are Out of Ammo, vs the dreaded "click" when you needed one more round. Second, a slide hold open means you don't rack the gun every time you load a magazine, and you don't have to load that mag against the stack pressure of the springs in it under the slide. It's a frequent and even amusing thing to see a magazine fall out of the grip at the range while racking the slide on those guns, but it's not funny when it's important, and it's less safe to have to rack it every time just to enjoy shooting a box of ammo.

    If you can't enjoy shooting a box of ammo with it at the range, you won't, and it becomes an unknown gun when you really need it. "I probably won't ever shoot it in self defense" doesn't really cut it as an excuse. And why buy a gun that is less than comfortable or has snappy recoil known to strike your shooting knuckles?

    Try a Kahr CW380 and see if the trigger falls inside your expectations. For many it's much smoother and shorter than a lot of other pocket guns. The recoil spring is stiffer but it shoots more easily and with the slide hold open you aren't racking it every magazine like it or not. It's also a much more pleasant gun to shoot at the range which increases your familiarity with it and you make less mistakes using it because of more proficiency. The trigger pull is DA but it's at the 6 pound end of the scale, not 12 like others recommended. It was done right the first time by a company who's triggers have always excelled, not like some others which immediately got aftermarket triggers to improve what was apparently a poor one to begin with. The gun weighs in the 11 oz class, it's polymer so it's under $350, in the typical price range of the better guns - unlike the cheaper stripped featureless ones in their third generation attempting to get the trigger right. It has magazines available at dealers and Mag Guts also makes +1 spring and follower kits to add capacity if that's desired, with good results across the board. That makes it a 8 shot pistol with one up, something not always available with others. Good sights are on it from the factory and night sights are available.

    I owned a first Gen LCP and the newer ones have reportedly better triggers but it doesn't make them better shooters at the range. They are snappy and two magazines were the limit. The Kahr got a box of 50 the first day and even loading the one magazine was a pleasant experience with controlled recoil and good accuracy. I can say you can definitely buy worse triggers than a Kahr in this category and constantly racking the slide on some of them - like the LCP - can definitely take some of the joy out of a range trip.

    Go shoot them if at all possible - It has to fit your hand and your expectations. It may even result in choosing something different, but if it works, good. If not, then it's another waste of time and money that was preventable and it only fills up another listing in a gun for sale forum as something that didn't work. We can all get used to any gun regardless, but for some certain features and time work against us and it's better to spend some of it up front sorting them out rather than later tossing them out.
  4. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

    Nov 6, 2006
    I have a KelTec P3AT and a Kahr .380. Obviously the Kahr is a much better gun with an excellent trigger, but at 2X the price of a KelTec or Ruger LCP. I have no experience with the CW.380, but agree with Tirod's post. He's done an excellent job of comparing the varjious .380s.
  5. Furncliff

    Furncliff Member

    Dec 10, 2005
    Western Slope of Colorado
    Bersa Thunder .380. When I first looked at these at a gun show I was not impressed, but a few years later I bought one... because for $225 I thought it was worth a try. Now I'm impressed. Good trigger, good sights, reliable and easy on the hands. I bought an extra magazine and rubber grips, so I have $300 in it now. Pocketable... perhaps, but I'm not comfortable with anything smaller.

    Makarov PM, slightly slimmer than the Bersa, slightly heavier, about the same price. Mine is Bulgarian, totally reliable, but smaller sights than the Bersa. Some of the Russian commercial models do have bigger adjustable sights.

    Don't forget to factor in a good pocket holster in your budget.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
  6. joem1945

    joem1945 Member

    Oct 6, 2014
    Kel Tec is what I carry. I have other .380's but I like this one.
  7. JohnnyFlake

    JohnnyFlake Member

    Nov 4, 2011
    Henderson, Nevada
    Over the years, I have had at least 5 pocket style .380s, until I finally settled one the one I now carry 24/7 about 5 years ago. Two different Bursa Models, Colt Pony, Kel-Tec & Khar. They were all decent but not as good as I wanted. I finally settled in on a Sig P238, slightly heavier than most others and a bit more expensive, but it is top notch, in every category! Anywhere I go, it goes, no exceptions! (except on an airplane)

    Here is mine:

    Attached Files:

  8. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

    Feb 10, 2016
    Fl panhandle
    Ruger LCP is everything you specified.
  9. huntsman

    huntsman Member

    Apr 11, 2003
    ohio's northcoast
  10. stoky

    stoky Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Colt Mustang or (if your feelin' flush) Sig P238
  11. stchman

    stchman Member

    Jun 13, 2009
    Saint Louis, MO
    The Ruger LCP.

    The LCP from what I understand outsells most every other pocket 380 by a good margin. The LCP can be had for about $220 these days. I personally own one and it is very reliable.

    There is a mindset that these little pocket 380s need to be "pleasurable" to shoot. Nonsense. My LCP is a real pain to shoot, it's not a range toy.
  12. TfflHndn

    TfflHndn Member

    Apr 27, 2013
    Gig Harbor, WA
    I have three .380s, and all handle and shoot differently. The P238 is easily the most manageable and has the least snappy recoil. I also have a SIG 232 and a CZ83. Both work well, both are quite snappy. The CZ is not very "pocketable." The 232 is, and I have pocket-carried it, but the 238 is probably the best of the three for pocket carry. Haven't shot or owned the LCP, and likely won't buy one since I already have two snappy little SOBs. Yes, they are not range toys and don't need to be pleasurable to shoot, but I don't want to dislike shooting them either.
  13. Nacho Man

    Nacho Man Member

    Oct 17, 2015
    Boiler Rm
    I have a G42 & LCP gen 2. Both have proven to be great guns. G42 has a ghost edge connector and LCP has hogue hybrid grip. Both were $20 parts and helped with each gun. I'll break it down in my experience.

    G42: Price $400
    Trigger: B (6lbs, short reset)
    Size: C (Kinda big for pocket)
    Reliability: A
    Shooting: B (Nice)
    Field Strip: A (Easy)
    Fit & Finish: A
    **Final Score: B

    LCP: Price $250
    Trigger: C (7.5lbs long reset)
    Size: A (Perfect for pocket)
    Reliabilty: A
    Shooting: C (Short grip/Long pull)
    Field Strip: C (Assembly pin sucks)
    Fit & Finish: B
    **Final Score: C+

    Well after owning, shooting, and carrying both pistols, the LCP rides in my pocket everyday. It just slips in my pocket easier and is less prone to printing. Its proven to be reliable and while not having the nicer sights, trigger and more comfortable grip like the G42, the LCP will get the job done in a nice compact affordable package, a true pocket 380. Both are great guns imo, I still have the G42 and keep it as a backup just in case my LCP ever goes down and as a range companion for the Ruger lol, two 380's are better than one. Good luck with your purchase, Nacho...
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
  14. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

    Jan 27, 2004
    I have a G42, P3AT, Bersa Thunder, Bersa CC, Sig P238 and a Taurus TCP.

    I have owned an LCP (long gone) and have shot the Kahr P238.

    Of the smaller and most pocketable the Taurus TCP gets my vote hands down.
  15. Tallball

    Tallball Member

    Oct 2, 2014
    I like 380's and own four.

    My Keltec P3AT is often in my pocket. It is light and tiny, easy to conceal in the lightest of clothing. The Ruger LCP is extremely similar. They are great to carry but not fun to shoot.

    My favorite 380 for shooting is my FiL's CZ83. It is doublestack and just barely "pocketable". But it is extremely accurate and pleasant to shoot.
  16. Anna's Dad

    Anna's Dad Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    Central Florida
    Check out the Beretta Pico. It has a lot of advantages if the reliability issues have been fixed. There was an upgrade to the gun (which can be applied to older guns) that was supposed to do just that.

    In fact, many say the reliability issues were only with practice ammo and even then conditionally.

    I believe there is a factory $50 rebate right now as well.
  17. Robert101

    Robert101 Member

    May 10, 2010
    My first 380 is a Browning DBA. Since that time I got married and have two daughters. At 21 I bought each a Bursa Thunder. The Bursa's have been great. Not too small, easy to shoot and maintain, and durable. My thoughts anyway. Currently I don't carry a 380 mostly due to my issuing agency not allowing more than 3 guns on my permit. Its CA, can't expect much regarding guns from them.
  18. m0par

    m0par Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    It is worth checking out, but it is definitely one you need to handle before even considering. The grip is so tiny.

    It is literally a one-finger grip for me without the extended mag baseplate, and the factory extended baseplate is too long to be pocketable.

    I wish someone would make a different grip/frame for it. The thinness and shortness are OK for what it is, but the distance from the trigger to the rear of the grip is too short--for me anyway. I'd love to see someone come out with a frame that had a substantial back strap on the grip and maybe just a little bit of a palm swell on the sides.
  19. Delmar

    Delmar Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Cedar Bluff, VA
    Ya had me till the "pocketable" part. The most fun I ever had loading and shooting a 380 has been with a Beretta 84, but that 13 round magazine means you best have cargo pockets!
  20. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

    Jul 9, 2012
    SC (Home), VA (Work)
    I don't have a specific recommendation, but I do have some input on one: Walther PPK/S.

    I bought my wife one a couple years ago. Beautiful gun (and, being a huge Bond fan, she loves it). It's very comfortable for me to hold and it's as accurate and reliable as one could hope for in a pistol.

    However, it's a very hard hitting gun in my hand, and I'm speaking as one who has no problem shooting larger caliber guns or carrying a full sized .45 ACP. The PPK/S really puts a beating on the knuckle/webbing area on my hand between my thumb and forefinger.

    It's also quite stiff to rack, though I have no problems with it.

    But it is sleek, beautiful, comfortable in the grip, reliable, accurate, and would easily fit the bill as a pocket gun. I'm going to get one for myself, just for these factors.
  21. GoldieMI

    GoldieMI Contributing Member

    Nov 29, 2013
    The Mitten- SE MI
    I'm a huge fan of the P238 and it's become my EDC. I sold my Bersa Thunder (blowback made the recoil feel more) than the 238. The 238 is a bit more expensive than the other options but it is a quality piece. the sights are still usable at 7 yards and the trigger is much nicer in my opinion.

    I got a good deal on mine from the used counter at the LGS but than I like used guns...someone is always looking to see one for a good price.
  22. Swing

    Swing Member

    Mar 17, 2012
    For everyday carry, the Kel-tec P3AT. For neat-o factor, Walther PPK/s. Honorable mention for EDC, the NAA Guardian.
  23. verdun59

    verdun59 Member

    Feb 16, 2009
    Virginia or South Carolina
    Don't go down the path I did, and try them all. Instead buy a Kahr and don't look back.
  24. Skribs

    Skribs Member

    Oct 29, 2010
    Lakewood, Washington
    Ruger LCP is great for CCW in my opinion, but I have a few gripes about it.

    1) The trigger is fine, but the amount of grip you have and the sights are what are going to be a detriment to accuracy.
    2) This is definitely not a range toy. It is the most brutal of my guns at the range, due to the light weight and small grip.
    3) While I have never had a failure to feed, it kind of stutters when feeding hollowpoints. I carry it with ball ammo just to be safe.

    I don't have experience with others, but I can say the Ruger LCP is probably the best pocket pistol for the money, in terms of its size, reliability with round-nose ammo, and price. These are just some things to watch for.
  25. JB357MAG

    JB357MAG Member

    May 17, 2012
    Over the hills & far away
    Taurus TCP 738 they work and have a real nice trigger.

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