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Posted: 12/31/2012 6:58:20 AM EST
My mom just turned 60.  

I’m trying to help her select a handgun to carry concealed when she is out with my daughter.
Money is no object.  From my point of view, it is life insurance for my daughter.

Mom went through the class, has a permit, and now wants a gun.

I thought the selection process would be easy,
but then my dad fell in love with my brother’s Bersa Thunder 380 Plus.
(Lightweight aluminum frame, 15+1 rounds, decocking safety)

My dad likes it because, as he puts it, he can tell by looking at it if it is loaded and ready to fire.
My brother’s praise was that it is very accurate, and a 380 round won’t overpenetrate.

My first reaction was that a 380 was completely unacceptable, simply because of the lack of power.
I'm pretty sure it fails to meet the FBI standard penetration tests.  
But maybe I’m not giving the 380 enough credit.
I’d much rather my mom use a 9mm, 45, or a .38 revolver.
Hell, I’d rather she use a S&W 500 magnum, but it is too heavy.  

And I prefer my guns to be point and shoot.  I don’t want to fumble with a safety.
My revolver doesn’t have a safety, nor does my Glock.
My brother pointed out that some people aren’t pro-freshinal enough to handle a gun without safeties.
*sigh*  that may be true.

I’m trying to get my parents to go to a gun show with me this weekend.
There are a few vendors with hundreds of types of handguns on tables.

Old Painless posted something I had just mentioned to my parents.
In the heat of the moment, you don’t notice muzzle blast.
Airbags went off in my car when I pulverized a Dodge Neon in front of me a few years ago.
I never heard the airbags go off.  
In the same respect, I suspect you wouldn’t even notice recoil.
So should those be considerations when buying a gun that might never be fired?
I don’t know.  
I guess it depends on if she ever wants to take it to the range for practice.
I suspect she’ll go to a range exactly one time.
I almost rather she wouldn’t.  
I’d rather just tell her to expect to feel like someone hit her in the back of the head with a Sears fall catalog when she pulls the trigger.  
Adding that she needs stay focused to make sure she stops whatever threat she is facing, whether it be dog or man.

It is my mom’s choice.  
Is it worth nudging her towards something I think is better than a 380?

Heck, if looking at a 380, why not go for the Kel-Tec 30-round .22 magnum pistol?  
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:02:04 AM EST
.327 Magnum revolver?



You pose a difficult dilemma.
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:02:59 AM EST
Pics of mom?


Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:17:59 AM EST
I'm light on caffeine this morning so let me hit the high points that jumped out at me, you can tell me if I missed something.

1. You want your mom to carry a gun for protection of herself and your daughter.
2. Your mom wants to carry a gun for protection of herself and her grandchild.
3. Everybody in the family has an opinion on what she should carry.

What has your mom hefted, fired and liked?  If she's not comfortable with what she's toting, she will not be effective with it.  Is there someplace she can rent a few things or is there enough variety in the family for her to get a "well-rounded education" and make her own decision?  There are types and calibers of guns that can inflict damage more easily on an attacker but a skilled, confident shooter with a .380 can be more lethal than a nervous shooter with a bad flinch toting "Tier Zero" hardware.  For all you know, she might be a x-ring killer with a 9x18 Makarov.  But she's got to be the one to make the decision since she will be the one in harm's way.
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:21:18 AM EST
Quoted:
I'm light on caffeine this morning so let me hit the high points that jumped out at me, you can tell me if I missed something.

1. You want your mom to carry a gun for protection of herself and your daughter.
2. Your mom wants to carry a gun for protection of herself and her grandchild.
3. Everybody in the family has an opinion on what she should carry.

What has your mom hefted, fired and liked?  If she's not comfortable with what she's toting, she will not be effective with it.  Is there someplace she can rent a few things or is there enough variety in the family for her to get a "well-rounded education" and make her own decision?  There are types and calibers of guns that can inflict damage more easily on an attacker but a skilled, confident shooter with a .380 can be more lethal than a nervous shooter with a bad flinch toting "Tier Zero" hardware.  For all you know, she might be a x-ring killer with a 9x18 Makarov.  But she's got to be the one to make the decision since she will be the one in harm's way.


You obviously have no idea what you're talking about. Carry gun choices are best left up to people who:
1. Dont know the person carrying the gun
2. Dont know the part of the country the gun will be carried
3. Dont know how the gun will be carried
4. Dont know desires or requirements of the carrier

Yeah, shouldnt mom be making these choices?
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:23:35 AM EST
The slide is harder to pull back on those blowback guns like the Bersa Thunder.  Might be something to check out first.
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:24:59 AM EST
I bought my wife a Ruger LC9 ... found out quickly what a crappy trigger it has on it and the recoil was just a bit too much for her small stature.  She shot my Bursa Thunder .380 at a range and liked it.  After looking at the target she destroyed, I have no issues with her carrying the .380.  Practice and shot placement is the key.
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:26:01 AM EST
I recently adopted the 380 Bersa Thunder as my MBR.
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:26:12 AM EST
I'm a man and I carry a regular 2 tone .380 Bersa Thunder

I paid $100 used for it so if I lose it in the woods or whatever, no big loss. Also it's fun to shoot



I always advise people to carry what they like. Period. If someone LIKES shooting a gun, the chances are better that they will practice with it.

More practice=better shooter, and a better shooter is less likely to make bad choices/bad shots if the need to use the gun ever comes up.



I'd rather have someone beside me with a .22 pistol who knows how to shoot it well, than someone with a .45 who can't hit shit





Speed
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:29:07 AM EST
While the Bersa pistols themselves are pretty good from my limited experience with them, I do wonder about the wisdom of givinga blowback operated pistol to someone in her declining years.  As long as your mom has the mental facilites to learn to use a semiautomatic I think she would be better served with a recoil operated semiautomatic on a polymer frame for recoil reduction.  After that it is just a matter of finding one with all the features she has decided she wants.
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:30:07 AM EST
Quoted:
You obviously have no idea what you're talking about. Carry gun choices are best left up to people who:
1. Dont know the person carrying the gun
2. Dont know the part of the country the gun will be carried
3. Dont know how the gun will be carried
4. Dont know desires or requirements of the carrier

Yeah, shouldnt mom be making these choices?


It's true.  I am an ignorant savage and drooling idiot.  Luckily, my mommy tells me I'm handsome and some guys on the internet told me which gun to carry.  I just wish this Nagant guy had made speedloaders for his armor-piercing, "silencer"-ready revolver.

Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:31:46 AM EST
I own a Bersa 380 Model 85, similar to the one your Mom likes.  There's no way I'd trust my life to it.  It's a nice pistol, but it jams too frequently.  


IMHO, the 380 is sufficient for defense.  If she puts a round or two in a bad guy, he's no longer going to be a threat to her.  





Since money isn't an issue, and she's set on a 380, have her look at a Beretta 84FS.  Nice styling.  Show these reviews to her.  


http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/13397/Beretta+84FS+Cheetah+.380+Nickel%2C+13+round







 
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:32:15 AM EST
Bersa Thunder 380 Plus for primary defense gun?


Short answer, no.

At least .38 special, 9mm or higher.  

First rule in a gunfight is to have a gun.

Second rule should be have "enough" gun.  

IMHO
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:35:12 AM EST
There are some .380 loads that will make 12" of penetration after passing through heavy clothing.






http://www.goldenloki.com/ammo/gel/380acp/gel380acp.htm












That being said, a CZ-82 will be similar enough that they'll still like it, but will offer the added punch of 9x18 and a steel frame to help even more with recoil.








 

 
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 8:32:17 AM EST
I love my Bersa Thunder CC.  It's weight offsets the recoil from the round very nicely, and I can shoot it all day (if I could afford .380 ammo to do it with).  That  The Bersa is larger , and therefore has to be carried inside the waist or with a shoulder rig.  I have never been able to comfortably carry it in a pocket.
That being said I also sometimes put my wifes Ruger LCP in my pocket or waist depending on the circumstances. The Ruger is not fun to shoot, but I'm carrying it for immediate protection not pleasure.  The last few months my Bersa has been in my safe while I tend to carry a Glock 22.  It's an endless loop I go through changing what I carry with me.  
Like most on here I can't make any decision for you.  I can only ]tell you my experience with the pistol itself.

ETA: You cannot even tell that I am carrying the Ruger in my avatar.
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 8:38:00 AM EST
Bersa makes some surprisingly good auto pistols.

The Thunder Nine is basically a Walther P88 clone.
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 9:08:33 AM EST
Quoted:
The slide is harder to pull back on those blowback guns like the Bersa Thunder.  Might be something to check out first.

+1

for those with weak hands, i'd suggest walther PK380 or Sig P238, both are easier to rack and use
comfortable for her to use is 10x more important than caliber difference imho

Link Posted: 12/31/2012 9:12:31 AM EST
Quoted:
Bersa makes some surprisingly good auto pistols.

The Thunder Nine is basically a Walther P88 clone.


I agree. I carry a Thunder 380 occasionally, and believe they are one firearm that give you more than you pay for.

However a lot of women can't operate the slide on semi autos, so you have to consider that.

Link Posted: 12/31/2012 9:13:11 AM EST
the Bersa is a sleeper IMO. I carried one for years and never had an issue with it. I think they're great pistols. Only draw back is as stated above.
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 9:13:17 AM EST
No.

There are much better 9mm choices. Mp9c
G26

Link Posted: 12/31/2012 10:52:24 AM EST
Quoted:
The slide is harder to pull back on those blowback guns like the Bersa Thunder.  Might be something to check out first.


Yep.

For some women, racking just about ANY slide is troublesome.

I also agree with the concerns about safeties - There's no guarantee that she'll remember to flip it off when she really needs it.

Has she shot any small revolvers?
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 11:14:01 AM EST
I routinely carry the .380 Bersa duo-tone. I have shot it a bunch, well over 1,000 rounds. When it was out of the box it had two FTF that required a double strike so it was probably ammo related, was some MFS Russian stuff. Otherwise it has been a great gun and very accurate. When carrying it I have Cor-bon 90gr. HP in it which have a very good review. It fits in a pocket with a leather paddle holster and works well for me.

That said my Wife's daily carry is a Ruger LCR .38. She does not feel confident clearing a malfunction or racking the slide on an auto. She likes her LCR and we practice almost weekly. We call it Guns and Grub! LOL our date night!
As it has been said a million times, you can't choose a gun for someone, they should try multiples and decide for themselves when possible.

I highly recommend the Bersa........... if it works for the person.
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 1:25:28 PM EST
Well, nobody is saying .380 is too weak for consideration.
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 1:27:35 PM EST
My wife loves her Sig P238. That's an option.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 4:47:49 AM EST
Quoted:
My wife loves her Sig P238. That's an option.


Only holds 6 rounds?
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 4:56:35 AM EST
Different strokes for different folks.  Just the point that she carries a gun is 99% better than the average sheep.  

.380 is not a good round, but if she is comfortable with it and it's reliable well that ain't bad
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 5:03:21 AM EST
.380 is a lot closer to 10mm than 10mm is to a rifle round.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 5:09:06 AM EST
One word.  

Deagle.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 5:22:04 AM EST


I was looking for a gun for Crabby.  She has a great deal of trouble in racking the slides of various pistols and for her the answer is a revolver.

I suspect that your mother might be better off with quallity double action .38 revolver.  Perhaps you can find a vintage S&W Model 60 for her.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 5:22:43 AM EST
Quoted:
The slide is harder to pull back on those blowback guns like the Bersa Thunder.  Might be something to check out first.


This is definately the first thing to consider.  
That said, nothing wrong with a bersa thunder,  I found them to be reliable and fine shooters
If she cannot work the slide,  then go revolver.  If you want her to practice with it, then I would suggest that 327 also and practice with 32acp rounds

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 5:35:26 AM EST
I cc a bersa thunder .389 because of its size, however it has a lot of recoil.
I would never recommend a subcompact .380 for new shooter when a larger 9mm will be easier to control
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 5:49:49 AM EST
I have a Bersa Firestorm and I've shot a couple hundred rounds through it with no jams or FTF.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 5:59:16 AM EST
380 or .38 are the minimum calibers for a self defense gun.
That said, if she shoots it well, it is better than a .45 she doesn't.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 6:06:04 AM EST
My brother pointed out that some people aren’t pro-freshinal enough to handle a gun without safeties


IMO they are the people that shouldn't carry one with a safety if they ever really needed to use it in battle.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 6:39:33 AM EST
Nothing wrong with the bersa thunder 380. Are there better calibers yes but she needs to shoot what she feels comfortable with, not what wthe op wants her to shoot. I have a bersa 380 while I rarely carry it, I have found women in particular love shooting it at the range. I haven't noticed any of them struggle with the slide.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 11:47:15 AM EST
Mom had no problem racking the slide on a Glock 19.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 12:10:06 PM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
My wife loves her Sig P238. That's an option.


Only holds 6 rounds?


7+1
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 12:24:22 PM EST
This fall on my farm, I shot a large sow pig (550Lbs+) between the eyes from about 8 feet away with my LCP.  Dead before it hit the ground. Usually we use a 22lr shitty bolt gun point blank, but decided to see what the .380 did to a large living creature.  I was impressed.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 12:40:15 PM EST
I have the exact gun you are asking about, and have used it as a carry piece for several years. It is now my wifes gun, and she loves it.

If she likes the gun, then go for it. .380 is sufficient for her purposes.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 12:44:06 PM EST

The safety vs. no safety is a HUGE issue IMO.

If there is even the most REMOTE chance the gun might be left loaded and unattended in a purse, car, etc with children around I would recommend she get one with a safety.

But if you do, you MUST practice FREQUENTLY with presenting, deactiviating the safety and firing in a course of fire.  Preferably under stress of some kind.  It is MUCH more complicated IMO.

I agree with you- for a loaded carry gun that is on my person 100% of the time, I prefer a gun with no manual safety: a glock, M&P, Kahr, etc.

Point and shoot.

Even one step further - one with a fairly long but smooth double action trigger pull.

YMMV but I also think the recoil of a .380 blowback pistol is pretty stout for how underpowered it is.

Maybe check out a S&W MP 9mm compact...   Tough choice.

Good luck.

4073

Link Posted: 1/1/2013 1:09:48 PM EST
Glock 26/19



M&P of whatever flavor



Quality holster the gun won't fall out of.  
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 1:18:25 PM EST
I was facing a similar situation with my wife.  She is very small, less than 5 feet tall and under 100 lbs, so finding a suitable self defense pistol was somewhat problematic.  We tried small revolvers in .327 and .38 Spl which were OK but she couldn't hit with them because her hands are so small that she could not get a proper grip and still reach the trigger and the muzzle flash spooked her quite a bit.  She likes shooting my Ruger .22/45, and while it is better than bare knuckles and fingernails it is not a very good defensive caliber.  She was able to shoot my G19 okay but her hand strength wasn't enough to adequately operate the slide.

Well, I decided I would just have to work with her to build up her hand strength and her confidence to the point that she can operate a G19.  I bought her her own G19 and a Advantage Arms .22 kit.  We work on manipulating the slide every evening while watching TV.  Over the course of just a few weeks she went from being able to rack the slide once or twice to over 50 times.  When we go to the range I have her shoot one mag of 9x19, then switch over to the .22 kit and let her shoot as much as she wants to (she shot over 400 rounds last weekend), then switch back to 9x19 and shoot two mags at the end of the session.

The results have been quite good!  The evening drills have greatly improved her hand and arm strength and the dry firing has improved her trigger manipulation and sight alignment skills.  The .22 kit has built her confidence level without breaking the budget and provides actual firing practice with the same frame/trigger/mag release/slide stop/sights and holster she will use if the SHTF.  Now she shoots actual groups at 7 yards instead of shotgun patterns, and most importantly she ENJOYS it instead of being intimidated by it.  Shooting has become "one of her things" now instead of "something her husband does".
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 1:19:57 PM EST



Quoted:




The safety vs. no safety is a HUGE issue IMO.



If there is even the most REMOTE chance the gun might be left loaded and unattended in a purse, car, etc with children around I would recommend she get one with a safety.



But if you do, you MUST practice FREQUENTLY with presenting, deactiviating the safety and firing in a course of fire.  Preferably under stress of some kind.  It is MUCH more complicated IMO.



I agree with you- for a loaded carry gun that is on my person 100% of the time, I prefer a gun with no manual safety: a glock, M&P, Kahr, etc.



Point and shoot.



Even one step further - one with a fairly long but smooth double action trigger pull.



YMMV but I also think the recoil of a .380 blowback pistol is pretty stout for how underpowered it is.



Maybe check out a S&W MP 9mm compact...   Tough choice.



Good luck.



4073



If the kids can pull the trigger they can take the safety off. The Bersa safety is more of a decocker anyway.





 
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 1:22:13 PM EST
If she likes the Bersa they do make several non blowback 9mm versions of the Thunder. The Thunder Pro is a decent pistol.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 1:23:01 PM EST
Personally, I recommend new/inexperienced female shooters to carry a .38 snub nose w/ +p ammo in it.   You want something that will go bang 100% of the time with as little risk of jamming as possible.  JMHO.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 1:28:06 PM EST
If you decide to go with the .380, I'd recommend that you stick to feeding it FMJ in order to ensure adequate penetration.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 1:30:38 PM EST
Quoted:
Personally, I recommend new/inexperienced female shooters to carry a .38 snub nose w/ +p ammo in it.   You want something that will go bang 100% of the time with as little risk of jamming as possible.  JMHO.


Good way to make someone hate shooting, plus I've never understood the fascination with offering women a revolver if they're going to carry it in their purse. I can easily picture a revolver getting chock-full of shredded bits of paper, dust, wrappers, pennies, etc. and not firing when they need it.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 1:34:47 PM EST
I remember watching one of those "48 Hours" crime programs a year or so ago on Netflix. Scene was at a car wash, some dude washing his car see's another dude eyeballing his woman or something menial like that and thought "he done disrespected me". Words are exchanged between the two. One thing leads to another and dude #1, who was about 6'5"/275 lbs, starts walking towards dude #2. Dude #2 pulls a little .380 and pops him once. Dude #1 takes one more step and is DRT. One round and down he went. Yeah, it was a good shot, but, no reason your Mom couldn't make a good shot with one too!

I have one and though the magazine is sorry it shoots pretty straight. Just my two pennies worth...
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 3:00:03 PM EST



Quoted:


If you decide to go with the .380, I'd recommend that you stick to feeding it FMJ in order to ensure adequate penetration.


Some of the newer hot 90ish grain JHP loads are fine.



 
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 3:04:36 PM EST
If money is no object................then for the love of God buy her something worthwhile.   I personally have a low opinion of Bersa.   But thats just my opinion.





GD
Link Posted: 1/2/2013 1:05:52 PM EST
Quoted:
If money is no object................then for the love of God buy her something worthwhile.   I personally have a low opinion of Bersa.   But thats just my opinion.

GD


I told her I'd buy her whatever she wanted.
In fact, I just started ordering holsters today so she can try some options.
Going to a gun show this weekend to let her handle a wide variety.
I even told her I would buy her top choices so she could try shooting them.
I want her to carry the most firepower she is willing to carry.
But the starting point is the laser training pistol I bought her.
(Glock 17 form, but it was the only option)


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