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Which .380 pocket pistol under $600 is best and why?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Capp35, Apr 23, 2011.

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  1. Capp35

    Capp35 Member

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    I pretty much have it narrowed down to five: KP3833, LCP, DB380, 738 TCP and P238.

    I know the P238 is the most refined of the five, but is it a true pocket gun?
    I just got rid of my PM9 because it was not small enough.

    Thanks!
     
  2. phrogpilot

    phrogpilot Member

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    I have owned an LCP for over a year; unlike the KelTec and Walther .380's I've owned previously, I have never had a single failure of any kind, with any ammo, from ball to Critical Defense. Because of my frustrations with the other pistols, I have fired more rounds through the LCP than I normally would have because I wanted to be absolutely certain of its reliability (which in the end is all that matters with a CCW).
     
  3. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

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    Sig 238.
    The recoil is very mild, the slide locks back on the last round, it has real night sights, it looks good, and the slide is easy to rack. It's actually fun to shoot at the range, the LCP is not.
    Yesterday, I let a woman shoot my Sig, she loved it, and she's afraid of snappy guns.

    Is it a real pocket pistol? I also have a Kahr PM-9 and I agree, it's not a pocket pistol. The dimensions don't vary much to the Sig........but those 1/2" here and 1/4" there really add up once you have it in your hand. Even Sig says it's 1.1" wide, and that didn't seem right, so I measured mine with calipers, it's .8" wide at the widest, the safety.
    I guess Sig doesn't read their own specs.
    I've carried the Sig in my pocket, although I've now gone to a Seecamp. Now that's small, and well under $600 if you get the .32.
     
  4. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    What do you mean by "refined"? :scrutiny:
    In my experience customers have returned far more 238's to the factory than all others combined.

    The Sig 238 is considerably heavier and larger than the other pocket .380's. In fact it is closer in size to the PM9 you felt was not small enough. The 238 actually outweighs the PM9.

    Here is a great comparison chart: http://www.mouseguns.com/PocketAutoComparison.jpg
     
  5. 2wheels

    2wheels Member

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    Love my Sig P238.

    Easy to shoot, accurate, has better sights than most of the competition. And as noted above, a lot less recoil (and therefore more controllable) than a lot of its competition.

    And yes, it is a true pocket gun. I usually carry mine in a Galco pocket holster.
     
  6. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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  7. Capp35

    Capp35 Member

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    I guess by more refined, its more like my other 1911's in fit and finish
     
  8. Capp35

    Capp35 Member

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  9. verdun59

    verdun59 Member

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    Easy answer from this corner - Kahr P380. It Will fit in your pocket.
     
  10. Buckweet

    Buckweet Member

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    S&W Bodyguard .380 for $349-$369 is worth renting. I did last week (along with the P238). Very different guns, but I did like the way the S&W shoots (the laser is kinda lame - at least the one on my rental gun was). The Sig was very, very nice as well. Gander Mountain regularly sells the Sig P238 with Crimson Trace for $649 and occasionally has it for $599. The next time they put it on sale, I'm tempted to buy it.
     
  11. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    Kahr p380.

    But it is not without it's flaws. Some of the mag bottoms are crimped too loose. And the bottom plates button is not enough to keep the mag bottom on by itsself. If you carry OWB and accidentally rub the mag bottom, it can fall off and spit all your ammo down isle three of Walmart causeing an entire circus of people slipping and rolling around after stepping on said ammo. I tightened that crimp to solve the problem.

    Also the mags baseplate has raised edges. This can slow speed reloads when that edge hits the frame. I trimmed that edge back a hair.

    After that my Kahr has been flawless on Corbon Powerball. Weaker plinking ammo may cause it to choke a little until it smooths out.

    My p380 can hit targets out to 10 yards pretty well if needed. My Keltec p32 couldn't even get close to that range. Dawson offers even better sights if you need them.

    The Kahr trigger is really nice. A shorter J frame like trigger. Unlike a J frame or Keltec, you can accurately shoot the Kahr without proper finger placement. If I stick too much finger in, I can still rapid fire the mag empty. I can't do that with the Ruger, Keltec, or a J frame.




    I haven't seen the Sig 380 run well at all yet. Lots of warranty send backs. My local shop quit ordering them for now. Glad I didn't buy one.
     
  12. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Guess I'm The Only Lover

    of the KEL-TEC P3AT .380; or the rest of the gang ran and hid in the bushes :rolleyes: :uhoh: ;)
     
  13. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    No I with you on the KelTec in 380 or 32 I have 4 great pocket pistols

    My 380 has been flawless and loves Corbon DPX
     
  14. VA27

    VA27 Member

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    Have a look at the Micro Desert Eagle. It's a little larger than the Seecamp and a little smaller than everything else. It's the Czech designed Kevin, license built in the US by Magnum Research. It's a dandy little gun.
     
  15. PcolaDawg

    PcolaDawg Member

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    I've carried the Kel Tec P3AT and Bodyguard 380. Both of them great, reliable guns, and well under $600.00. The Bodyguard is more ergonomically designed, and the laser is included with the price, and is my favorite pocket gun at the moment, fwiw.
     
  16. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    Don't rule out Bersa. They're very accurate, affordable, and reliable. I'd take one over any of those you mentioned. Also, don't forget the Beretta 85 and Walther PPK/S.
     
  17. gofastman

    gofastman Member

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    I really like the way my TCP shoots (for a mouse gun of course)
    The trigger and recoil are pretty good IMO, especially compared to the LCP.
    I had 2 or 3 failures to feed in the first 100 rounds or so, but since then its been 100%
     
  18. jpwilly

    jpwilly Member

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    Have two LCP's and they have not had a jam and are accurate for such samall pistols.
     
  19. chicharrones
    • Contributing Member

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Out of those five, I only have experience with a couple LCPs. Not one bad thing to say about the LCP. It is small, it is light, it is inexpensive, and it shoots well.
     
  20. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    My Micro Desert Eagle is totally reliable but painful to shoot.

    My TCP is totally reliable, accurate and recoil isn't bad.

    my P3AT is reliable, but a little hard on the hand for extended range sessions.

    My son's LCP was similar to the P3AT but did not have as good a trigger as the P3AT.

    My Diamondback was a good shooter but I was never able to fire a full magazine through it without a jam.

    My P238 is by far the most accurate, has way less felt recoil than the rest, has by far the best trigger, has much better sights than the rest and has been totally reliable. The P238 is as you can see in the photo is significantly smaller than the PM9.

    [​IMG]

    By the way, I like the Bersa but when it is recommended as a pocket pistol IMO that is just wrong because it is huge next to most of the pocket 380 pistols. This is my Bersa next to my P3AT.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2011
  21. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

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    I too have both and agree with you.
    If someone asked me, "Is the P-238 a lot smaller than the PM-9?" I would have said "Heck yes, it's WAY smaller."
    So I was surprised when the tape measure shows they are pretty close on paper.
    But in the real world, there is no comparison. Hold both and you'll see what I mean.
    I never considered the PM-9 as a pocket gun, I've carried the Sig in my pocket.
    I now prefer the Seecamp, but that's another story.
     
  22. Usmc-1

    Usmc-1 Member.

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    Ive thought about .380's in the past but never bought one , I wouold suppose a Berso ,Kel-tec or CZ is where I'd look !
     
  23. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    While I currently own a Colt Mustang and a KelTec P3-AT, my choice from your list would probably be the SIG P-238. While not as light as one of the polymer framed guns, I think the SA trigger and available sights greatly improve the performance and accuracy potential of this .380 pocket pistol. You might also want to consider the S&W Bodyguard .380 as well.
     
  24. Dr. Leaky

    Dr. Leaky Member

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    My choices narrowed down to the LCP or the BG380 and I took the Smith & Wesson mostly because or ergonomics and the much better sights. No regrets at all - really a fine little pistol.
     
  25. Gun Geezer

    Gun Geezer Member

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    Agreed. I like mine very much. Though it is a tad heavy.
     
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