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Which is the best small blowback .380 that ISN'T a Kel-Tec or Seecamp?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Eightball, Mar 10, 2008.

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  1. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Pretty easy question--what is, in your opinion, the best smallish direct blowback non-KT or Seecamp .380 pistol (or something that's dang near similar to the both of them)? Presume that it would be a conceal piece, and possibly range fun toy.

    Why the "no Kel-Tec" caveat? Because I'll be buying one of those anyway, so that "pocket gun" niche will be filled :D

    And please don't say to get a different calibre, as it's outside the intended query of this thread.

    EDIT: oh yeah, don't know how this would differentiate anyone's opinion, but it would be used in temperatures ranging from 100* and crazy humidity, to -5* and no humidity (Summers in KY, winters farther north).
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
  2. johnle

    johnle Member

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    Bersa?

    Bersa_Thunder_380_L.jpg
     
  3. birdbustr

    birdbustr Member

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    I second the Bersa. I have the same one pictured above. The PPK may be just as reliable, but cost is about $200 more. Got to go with Bersa. If you have it stolen out of your car you are only out $250, and you can go pick up another one that will be just as reliable as the last.
     
  4. owlhoot

    owlhoot Member

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    Define "best" and define "small."

    I don't know that I've owned the best .380, but I've owned a great many that were keepers. If a pistol is reliable, durabile, sufficiently accurate for its intended purpose, is ergonomically designed with the controls in the proper place, is the right size, feels good in the hand, and has no bad habits, then it is a good gun. And it might qualify as a best gun candidate. But that is a PERSONAL best gun list.

    Make, model, and price won't give you a best gun. The gun that fully meets YOUR requirements is a best gun.

    The Bersa might be a candidate if you don't care about size. The PPK might be a candidate if it doesn't bite your hand. The little SIG is great if you don't mind the size and price. The Colt Mustang and its siblings might be great if you can find one. There are plenty of possibilities out there.
     
  5. yhtomit

    yhtomit Member

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    Cz-83s sure feel nice in the hand.

    (And Ruger's new .380 technically is not a Kel-Tec, but if you want to see some griping about the similarities, the search function is ready ;))

    timothy
     
  6. takhtakaal

    takhtakaal Member

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    Beretta 84, hands down.
     
  7. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    For a concealable yet fun range toy in .380 the larger end of the scale Beretta 84 or CZ-83 would be more fun at the range. Since you're also getting a Kel-Tec anyway for deep concealment why not get a slightly larger .380 for more range fun that you can still easily carry IWB.

    Oh, and just an FYI, the Kel-Tec P32 and P3AT are actually tilt barrel locking breech guns, not straight blowback.
     
  8. gb6491

    gb6491 Member

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    Some good recommendations so far; with the Beretta and the PPK/P230/Bersa.
    The Bersa might be the best value of those mentioned.
    Regards,
    Greg
     
  9. guntotinguy

    guntotinguy Member

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    Yeah...Bersa is the one for me on the .380,never a FTF and field strips easy!
     
  10. shootinstudent

    shootinstudent Member

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    Sig P232 stainless.

    Tackdriver, reliable, and it won't rust on you so easily.

    Some even come from the factory with night sights.
     
  11. denfoote

    denfoote Member

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    NewPPKGrips001small.jpg

    Why the PPK/S of course!! ;)
     
  12. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Member

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    I've had both a Walther and a Bersa, and of the two, I prefered the Bersa to shoot and the Walther to look at. The Walther was a beautiful gun, but the Bersa was more reliable and didn't slice the webbing in my hand like the Walther.
     
  13. usp9

    usp9 Member

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    I'd love to have a HK K3 however, the best made, highest quality and affordable .380 is without question the Beretta 84/85. The Sig ranks very high, the Spinx AT380 is very nice, the CZ is laudable, the PPK is tried and true, and the Bersa is OK. The Beretta has all the qualities you want in a great firearm and has no weakness'. I've owned all of the above and a few others that warrent no mention, and it is always the Beretta, in either the single or double stack, that stands out from the rest.
    Here are two of mine, one new, one old...
    TwoBerettas.jpg
     
  14. markmc753

    markmc753 Member In Memoriam

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    Makarov... very simple, unbeatable reliability, accuracy, and slight more power than a 380
     
  15. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    I've got a Beretta M85FS and like the other poster indicated its a fine shooter and wonderfully made weapon. The Makarov can be found in .380 and they are great also, but much more common in the slightly more powerful 9x18 caliber. They can also be rebarreled to .380 and use the same mags, but 9x18 is readily available.

    For a smaller more similar in size to the Seecamp or Keltec, I have read good things about the Naa Guardian but have no personal experience. Ruger's LCP which is just coming onto the market is similar in size and design to the Keltec.
     
  16. Browning

    Browning Member

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    Since you mentioned Kel-Tec and Seecamp in the same breath when asking about a suitable .380 ACP then I'm guessing that you're looking for a pocket pistol for concealed carry. Is that right? If that's the case then here's my pick for that.

    NAA Guardian DAO .380

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They're small (that's a womans hand in the picture above) and with a pocket holster they're perfect for concealed carry, they're way more affordable than the Seecamp could ever hope to be and they're sturdier than the Kel-Tec.

    http://www.naaminis.com/380.html
     
  17. Spyvie

    Spyvie Member

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    The Beretta's are excellent guns, but for the size, weight and price you can easily get a good 9mm... you did ask about .380s though, so yea the Beretta, the Sig or the hard to find Sphinx are probably the “best”

    Picked up a used SW PPK with aftermarket grips for $325. I see a lot of complaints about the SW version on this and other forums but mine has preformed perfectly with every round. I'm not sure what I'd have to do to force it to malfunction. I think it gets a bad rap because people don't take the time to break them in as the tolerances are very tight. Slide to frame fit is rock solid and nothing on this gun rattles or shifts in the hand. If I take a moment to line up the little 2 dot sights it is amazingly accurate as well.

    The NAA Guardian is a great little gun, inspired by the Seecamp but 5oz heavier. I purchased a used one with the Kahr frame for $275, fired it once and the transfer bar broke... the gun was shipped to NAA at the FFLs expense and returned to me 6 weeks later “repaired as needed” for free. It now works excellent except for a little trigger slap. I did break a magazine base plate, ordered a new one on the NAA website on a Thursday, received the part in my mailbox the following Saturday! NAA service is as good as I have experienced.

    380sjpg.gif
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
  18. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Technically it's not a direct blowback design, but I think the Colt Mustang would fill the bill very nicely. Definitely my all time favorite .380 companion.
    DSC02409.gif vvvv[/IMG]
     
  19. rantingredneck

    rantingredneck Member

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    Count me as another vote for the NAA Guardian. Great guns. Around 400.00 or so. I've heard that NAA has them back in production now. They've been out of production for awhile after NAA's deal with Kahr fell through. My NAA has Kahr stamped on the frame. The newer ones will not as NAA will be/is making them fully in house.
     
  20. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    Colt 1908 in 380.
    [​IMG]
     
  21. NGIB

    NGIB Member

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    Sig P232, absolutely great gun...
     
  22. enfield

    enfield Member

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  23. ashtxsniper

    ashtxsniper Member

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    Have to go with the Bersa on this one.
     
  24. txcoyote

    txcoyote Member

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    Bersa - definitely one of the best values on the market today.
     
  25. dbshabo

    dbshabo Member

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    Quality + Price = Bersa Thunder 380
     
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