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Rise of the 380? Which is best?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by PhoenixRookie, Mar 22, 2009.

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  1. PhoenixRookie

    PhoenixRookie Member

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    So, what exactly is the cause of the rise of the 380?

    It was always my understanding that only European police and the mafia use the 380. Now it appears to be THE hot item.

    It seems every time I get my American Rifleman or pick up Guns & Ammo there is a new 380 being developed. Beretta & Walther have been making them forever in the PPK, but even they have gotten in on it with their new PK380 which looks exactly like the P22.

    Kel-Tec had their mini one which is been copied by Ruger. (I hate my LCP, by the way).

    Taurus and Magnum Research now have new ones.

    Kahr even has new one.

    So is the successful sales of Kel-Tec and the hard to find LCP that has made them all jump into the fire? Is it that more people are getting their CCW and want something small for their pocket?

    On the flip side, I am going to guess that this is why that 380 ammo is now difficult to find. Ammo makers simply weren't ready for these sales.

    Since the LCP not only hurts my XXL hand but gets lost in it, what would one recommend instead? The Walther P22 is a fun little item. Will the Walther PK380 fit the bill?

    Thanks everyone.
     
  2. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    Bersa 380 CC, very cool! easy shootingt and accurate to 10 yd.
     
  3. gmh1013

    gmh1013 Member

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    Yeah, Bersa is cheap, I paid 229 for mine last year.
    500 rounds through it no problems.
    Clips are kinda high.....but thats the only complaint I have.
     
  4. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

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    More CC = more pocket guns = more .380's
     
  5. Famine

    Famine Member

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    I got tired of trying to get an LCP, so I'm wide open to suggestions too.
     
  6. lev83

    lev83 Member

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    My vote goes to the CZ 83, Bersa Thunder is a close second.
     
  7. RX-178

    RX-178 Member

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    Don't forget Sig.

    They're coming out with a little .380 that's basically the Colt Mustang equivalent of their GSR 1911s.
     
  8. usp9

    usp9 Member

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    No answer on the new Walther because they are not available yet.

    The best .380acp IMHO is easily the Beretta 84/85. These are extremely well made, reliable and easy to shoot. The Beretta 84 is the same weight as the Bersa, the exact same size as the CZ, and some great deals can be found on well cared for used Berettas that make them the best deal in many cases. The most I ever paid for one was $400, and that was a new one.

    The Sig P230 or older P230 is also an excellent .380. Sig offer several finishes. These are small, very accurate, and very high quality guns.

    The CZ is an OK gun. Mine gives me hammer bite and I don't like the factory grips much, but it is reliable and pretty accurate. It's one downfall is it's weight...it's the heaviest of the bunch. Some pretty good deals can be found.

    I'm not a Bersa fan, so I'll let others tell their story.

    If you have a large hand, the Beretta may be your best bet, the Sig a close second, the CZ may be a good option and if you look at the Bersa, you may as well get the Bersa Plus with it's larger mag well, (15 rounds) and thus larger grip.
     
  9. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    I have a Beretta M85FS that I often carry. Its slim, light, accurate and conceable, but its no pocket gun like the Ruger or Keltec. But, if you have large hands, it will fit and not hurt you.
     
  10. Mad Magyar

    Mad Magyar Member

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    With my PPK, size, weight, portability....There are certain times, like the other evening going out to dinner, strapped on the .45 (damn it felt more heavy today); placed the .380 on the hip and out the door....:)
     
  11. panther22

    panther22 Member

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    The Beretta, or the Cz83, would be the best for larger hands. Although Taurus did make a bigger .380 at one time. I forget the model number, but I did see a few at the gun show this weekend.
    Hopefully the ammo situation will change soon, for all these new guns. There was no .380 ammo for sale at any of the tables that had ammo at the show. I don't know of any gun store that has any either.
     
  12. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    Sig P232
     
  13. searcher451

    searcher451 Member

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    Walther PP.
    Walther PPK.
    Walther PPK/S.

    You can never be too rich, not too thin, nor own too many Walthers.
     
  14. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

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    Best is a subjective term.

    Since the purpose of any firearm is to go "bang", best might be described as the most reliable.
    Maybe to you best would be the lightest, or smallest for CC.
    Or best might be the one that has the nicest machining, or design.
    Best might also be the one that "best" fits your hand.
    Finally, best might be the most expensive, so you can show your friends that you bought the "best".

    In reality, there is no "best", that's why we keep looking.
     
  15. memphisjim

    memphisjim Member

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    wow really?
    how about the seecamp lws380
    "rolls royce of pocket pistols"
    takes near a year to order one, but you can get a personalized serial number
     
  16. HisSoldier

    HisSoldier Member

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    I like locked breech .380's. People talk about .45 ACP being too much recoil but a 1911 is much more comfortable to shoot (opinion here) than a blowback .380, or the little plastic guns even with a locked breech. In a pinch though all that matters is hitting a vital area after drawing from concealment. The PPK/S is much more accurate in my hands than a Kel-tec. The Colt Government .380 fills both locked breech and comfort, but not as accurate as the PPK/S for me. Heck, I like any all steel handgun. :D
    No doubt that "shall issue" is the big driver of .380 popularity.
     
  17. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    In Order Of My Preference

    a) Seecamp LWS-.380
    b) Walther PPK
    c) SIG-SAUER P230
    d) KEL-TEC P3AT
    e) Ruger LCP
     
  18. PX15

    PX15 Member

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    Just my old fart opinion, and it's a prejudiced one at that..

    As I see it, the only reason to carry a 32, or 380 cal. pistol for personal protection is because you need a firearm actually small enough to conceal easily under most conditions, OR if you are a small person female or male who simply cannot handle the drama, recoil, etc. of a larger caliber weapon.

    There are simply too many better choices now, not the least of which is the Rohrbaugh, which is an extremely small pistol, and in 9mm.. The Walther PPS is extremely slim and offers a 9mm round also.

    The Berettas mentioned are fine pistols. But they come from the era when there were few larger caliber pistols available in a small size so the fine 380cal. Sig (forget the number, but it is extremely high quality, but huge in comparison to some of the new compact 380's), the mentioned Berettas and the Browning BDA (I bought one new, and it was a very nice pistol) were the best choices in the 380 caliber.

    But you plunk down a BDA380, Sig or Beretta 380 side by side with my Seecamp LWS380 and it is readily apparent that one is a tiny, easily concealed 380, and the others are huge in comparison.

    I'm a big fan of carrying the largest firearm with the largest capacity you can honestly conceal for personal protection... Trouble is in the SE (Ga) in the summer the extreme heat and humidity prevents you from carrying such a weapon.

    I've NEVER found a place I couldn't carry my Seecamp in my Hedley rear pocket (wallet style) holster.. Trouble is it's so easy to carry concealed you often forget you even have it on, and in those places where firearms are forbidden you've to stay alert. I walked into the local Courthouse and was stepping right on through the metal detector when my brain kicked in and I did a quick retreat..

    The Police officer at the detector laughed and (having never seen I was carrying) said you might wanna lock "that" up in the trunk of your vehicle and we'll do it all over again. He was very cool about the whole deal, but some police under those situations don't necessarily have as good a sense of humor as this gentleman.

    Just personal opinion, no offense.

    Jesse

    P.S. Some folks think the LWS380 is too pricey and takes too long to get, but the LWS32 is not (IMO) too pricey, and it's the same size as the LWS380 and lots of folks consider the modern self defense ammo (I use Gold Dots) in 32 as "almost" equal to the same round in 380. I've always felt perfectly armed with the 32 or 380, but my wife has a 32 and prefers it. (less drama, recoil, etc in such a small firearm).

    I have plenty of larger caliber choices, and when I can I like my S&W CS45 a lot... Something about the 45ACP round that just brings a smile to my face, but EVEN when I can carry my CS45 I STILL have my trusty LWS380 stashed away in my back pocket..

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    100_0145_01.jpg

    100_0115.jpg
     
  19. Spyvie

    Spyvie Member

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    I don't know if any of these are the "best" but I'm happy with them.

    A picked up this SW PPK used on consignment, I have no knowledge of it’s history or why it was sold. I’ve put about 400 rounds through it since I’ve had it with no troubles at all. It is amazingly accurate and I really like the safety/decocker setup. Unfortunately it’s now subject to a recall… I registered on the SW site a month ago and have yet to hear back from them. Mine works fine, I’m not sure I want to send it back if they ever do respond.

    The NAA is small but heavy and goes bang every time. Basically it's "inspired" by the little Seecamp. The quality is apparent. There is a lot of stinging trigger slap so it's not much fun at the range, but I trust it if I ever need it.


    380sjpg.gif

    I also have an LCP, not pictured, but it's the most likely of the three two reside in my pocket.
     
  20. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Member

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    If you are a big fella, you could just go with a sub-compact 9mm... Kahr, Glock, XD, etc. The 380 only makes sense to me for a pocket pistol, anything larger than a pocket pistol and you may as well get a small 9mm IMO.

    As for the LCP, I like it but the prices are bloated. I can get 2 Kel Tecs for $500 or only 1 LCP for $400. They both work the same. You can decide.

    ...
     
  21. PX15

    PX15 Member

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    FWIW:

    Absolutely nothing wrong with the PPK or NAA..

    I've always thought the original Walther PPK's were among the most beautiful pistols ever made, and the extended "tang" of the S&W PPK's are, to me, a plus in that it solves the old "slide bite problem" of the originals..

    I had two NAA 32's, and they were fine pistols. I have nothing bad to say about NAA at all. Some folks even prefer the NAA to the Seecamp because of the different mag release, and takedown button..

    Best Wishes,

    Jesse
     
  22. Spyvie

    Spyvie Member

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    Nice pics PX15.

    Question for you. I mentioned the NAA Guardian does have some trigger slap, my trigger finger starts to sting pretty good after a couple of mags. How are the Seecamps in that department? Are they comfortable to shoot?
     
  23. 007BondJamesBond007

    007BondJamesBond007 Member

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    I got a Walter PPKs and love the feel and is very accurate. The Walter design is about as classic as John Browning's 1911.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walther_PPK

    I bought it because of the history brhind the pistol. Hitler had 2 Walter 380 acp/ 9mm Kurtz and 32 If it was good enough to kill old Adolf it good enough for me. How many Nazies did Glock kill?
     
  24. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    The best .380 is a 9x19mm Parabellum. I'd follow that with the .357 SIG in a properly-designed double stack... or do you mean guns chambered for the .380 ACP? Well, I'd have to say the Beretta model 84.
     
  25. PX15

    PX15 Member

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    Spyvie:

    I got my first LWS32 a year or two before my LWS380, and I had no trouble at all with "trigger slap" excessive recoil, etc.. I'm of the opinion that almost anyone would be comfortable shooting the LWS32 for self defense, although I don't think the Seecamp would qualify as a "pleasure plinker". :D

    Now the LWS380 is a whole different ballgame, for ME.. I'm probably just a woose, but if you want to shoot the LWS380 for pleasure you NEED real bad to WANT to shoot the LWS380 for pleasure.:uhoh:

    Having said that, I carry my LWS380 daily, and I would have absolutely no problem or hesitation pulling the little jewel's trigger 7 times in self defense. I'm of the opinion that in a crisis the last thing I'm gonna be worrying about is whether or not my trigger finger is going to be tender after the last round is fired.

    What I have found in my LWS380 is absolute reliability, and I can hit the center mass of a threat consistently at three yards (yep, three yards, or less... That's what I consider self defense range, and that's the distance I practice my "point and shooting" from.)

    I don't say that everyone might want, or care for a Seecamp LWS380.. The price of admission is high, but if it's too high, buy the LWS32.. What I have seen over and over on the Seecamp forum is new members come along and ask the "32 or 380" question, and without fail those folks with considerable experience will tell that person to buy the LWS32..

    What happens then is those folks buy the LWS32, fall in love with it, and THEN still want a LWS380.. Not everyone, but a considerable amount.

    You buy the LWS32, then you place an order for you a personalized serial numbered LWS380 and it'll cost you pretty near $1000 after all's said and done, and take 12-16 months to get it too boot.

    Then when you get your LWS380 recoil and trigger slap and expense and the long wait are forgotten you have yourself an example of what I consider (and many gun writers & experts have called) the best mouse gun in the world.

    You HAD intended to sell the original LWS32 to help finance the LWS380 but now you have no intention of doing that.. You know that IF you are dissatisfied with the new LWS380 you CAN sell it, and quickly, for probably as much as you paid for it, often even more, seldom less... :) Try that with your new $35,000 automobile..

    But, you won't sell it.. You will start checking off the heirs to determine which one you might leave the Seecamp pistol (s) to.. Seecamps ARE that good, and you will love one if you buy one, trust me on this.

    But honestly Seecamps are not for everyone. I'm sure there are several options out there for the knowledgeable firearms shopper. If you are NOT a "gun person" you will be well served with one of those. Probably get less drama and "trigger slap" in the bargain.

    But as for me, I'm 66 years old. I've been buying, selling and searching for the perfect cc pistol since I got my first conceal carry permit in the summer of 1965.. I've tried a pile, NAA, KelTec, Beretta & others among them in mousegun nitch, and 9's and 38's and 45's galore in larger caliber, but NONE have brought a smile to my face, and given me the pleasure of ownership that my Seecamps have..

    Any yep, my wife has one too.. (32cal).

    I don't want to come across as a gun snob, nor do I have bad things to say about other manufacturers products. What suits one does not necessarily (in fact not generally) fit all... What works for me means only that, it works for me.

    But I will say in my experience on the Seecamp forum I have found Larry Seecamp to be a fine gentleman, who is making the pistols he and his late Dad (Ludwig Seecamp) designed and developed, and he takes pride in each and every one that goes out his factory door in Milford, Ct. The Seecamp forum is an extended family, and if you have a question or problem with you Seecamp you can ask your question to Larry directly (thru the forum) and he will answer you pretty quickly, and if he thinks more than a written answer is needed he gives the person with the inquiry his cell phone and says "give me a call"...

    At Seecamp building quality pistols is not just job one, it's the ONLY JOB.

    As I said, I'm prejudiced in favor of Seecamp pistols... But it's not a prejudice based on ignorance, I've tried most of the competition, and some of them are excellent.. But they aren't Seecamps..

    No offense to ANYONE! If I offended you and your particular firearm I apologize and claim senior citizen status of saying what I want to and I am never hindered, nor is my mind changed by facts to the contrary of my opinion..

    Best Wishes,

    Jesse

    100_7066.jpg
     
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