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Posted: 8/30/2008 6:20:14 AM EDT
Hello all,

My Fiancee decided that she wants to get her CWP, and I'm trying to decided on a good carry gun for her.  I don't own any .380's, but I think it would be a good caliber choice for her.  She doesn't want a revolver, and she would prefer something with a manual safety.  I also would like something that will lock back after the last shot, which some of these don't do.  Here are a few guns that I was thinking about:

Sig P232, they are a bit pricey though, and no manual safety
Taurus Millenium Pro, just don't know much about them
Beretta 85 Cheetah, seems a bit big for a .380 though
Walther PPK
Ruger LCP, don't think the slide locks back on these
Keltec, although I'm not really a fan

Did I miss any?  Any suggestions would be appreciated


Link Posted: 8/30/2008 6:52:20 AM EDT
Bersa Thunder 380
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 7:08:58 AM EDT
I really like my LCP. The slide locks back manually, but not on the last shot.

Link Posted: 8/30/2008 7:12:09 AM EDT
Don't know too much about the Bersa.  Looks similar to a PPK.  How is the quality and reliability?  I've never thought much of the Bersa brand, but I'm keeping an open mind.



Originally Posted By ZekeMenuar:
Bersa Thunder 380
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 7:32:20 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Mike92GT:
Don't know too much about the Bersa.  Looks similar to a PPK.  How is the quality and reliability?  I've never thought much of the Bersa brand, but I'm keeping an open mind.



Originally Posted By ZekeMenuar:
Bersa Thunder 380


They're a great all around pistol.  I use it as a back up and deep concealment.
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 7:32:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Mike92GT:
Don't know too much about the Bersa.  Looks similar to a PPK.  How is the quality and reliability?  I've never thought much of the Bersa brand, but I'm keeping an open mind.



Originally Posted By ZekeMenuar:
Bersa Thunder 380


You are correct, the look and size is VERY similar to a PPK but the slide doesn't bite you the way a PPK will (and my hands aren't all that large).  I bought one last year (after 2 months of research) and I am very happy with it. I train CQC with a few other guys and about half of them liked it enough to pick one up. No...we don't drill with it! It's a backup/CCW.  Accuracy at 7-10 yrds is acceptable and repeatable ( I have actually laid up 1.5" five-shot groups at 7 yrds).

Summary: Get one. Best bang for the buck I've found/used.
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 7:47:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2008 7:48:01 AM EDT by 87GN]
My 1st choice: P232...the best 380 made and it's a Sig DA/SA so it wouldn't have any more safeties than a P226/P220/etc...

2nd choice, or the gun I can carry anywhere: P3AT. I've bought 4, put about 800rds downrange between the 4 of them and had no failures.
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 8:01:28 AM EDT
Thanks for the replies.   Anyone have any info on the Taurus Pro Millenium?   Any good?  I like that it has 12+1 capacity in a reasonably sized package
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 8:04:46 AM EDT
I personally don't care for a manual safety, but she kinda wants one.  She plans on having it in her purse, and it would make her feel a little better to have a safety on it.  Does the P232 lock back after the last round?  How about he PPK or Bersa?


Originally Posted By 87GN:
My 1st choice: P232...the best 380 made and it's a Sig DA/SA so it wouldn't have any more safeties than a P226/P220/etc...

2nd choice, or the gun I can carry anywhere: P3AT. I've bought 4, put about 800rds downrange between the 4 of them and had no failures.
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 8:26:45 AM EDT
I think everyone has hit the Big 3 .380 - Sig, Bersa and the Kel-Tec..

I have a Sig P230 in Stainless steel and love it. its very narrow and easy to carry .. the biggest drawback to the Sig is the heel mounted mag release (im not sure where the mag release is on the others though)..

Good luck picking what works for your gf

Brian
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 9:26:05 AM EDT
Just a thought if you want the slide to lock back after the last shot, the Kel-Tec .32 locks the slide back after the last round, but doesn't have an external slide stop.  It is down in caliber, but a good gun overall after you do a fluff and buff on it.  
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 9:44:33 AM EDT
I bought the wife a bersa.  Then I took it back from her to keep in my truck.  good bang for the buck.
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 10:27:21 AM EDT
The Sig P232 slide does lock back on an empty mag but it does not have an external slide stop.  It also has the heel mag release.  I had one and had some issues with it failing to extract.  I was shooting soft points.  Clearing a jam in that pistol is a pain but that is partly due to the small ejection port.  

The current Walther PP series has the button type mag release.  I believe it has always locked back on the last round.  The current crop also has an extended beavertail so that slide bite is reduced but the problem still arises.  Maybe it is just the grip shape but I find it to be less comfortable to shoot than the Sig.

I had a Kahr P9 that I had bought used and was 100% for me for a few hundred rounds.  That said, I would look at the new .380 that they are making.  They are priced higher than some on your list but have all the good features except the safety.  
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 11:20:05 AM EDT
I have a Walther PPK - plenty lethal with the right ammo and a decent shooter.  Fits my hand well, small enough to conceal.  Really cool little finger rest on the bottom of the mag.  Really fits like a glove and plenty accurate.
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 12:08:40 PM EDT
I carry a P3AT every day in my back pocket, I don't care what is said, mine runs 100%. I polished the feed ramp and put a couple hundred rounds of practice ammo through it to break it in, mine runs great!
Most women don't like the Bersa, it's blowback operated and tends to hurt the web of their hand.
The Taurus isn't a bad gun, but it's the same size in .380 as 9mm, so why waste the firepower get the 9mm, ammo is cheaper and no more recoil.
My favorite .380 is the Beretta 84, 4 of 5 ex girlfriends still carry one to this day, and they all had the same choices as you.
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 12:11:55 PM EDT
PPK/S...

Doesn't 'bite' like the original...

Link Posted: 8/30/2008 5:54:29 PM EDT
So does the PPK lock the slide back on the last round?  I was looking at some pics and there doesn't seem to be a slide stop on the frame.  How are they reliability-wise?  I know a couple guys that had some issues with theirs.  The new Kahr .380 looks nice, pretty tiny too.  If it had a manual safety I think it would be perfect for her.  She's really hung up on having a safety for some reason
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 5:55:01 PM EDT
Gotta love the size of the Kel-tec P3AT and Ruger LCP. I would probably go with the Ruger though since they look nicer.
Link Posted: 8/30/2008 6:41:09 PM EDT
Colt Govt model 380 or 1 of the ponys.
Link Posted: 8/31/2008 3:11:32 AM EDT
I carry a CZ 83 on a somewhat regular basis. Not sure if it would fit what you're looking for, but it's a great pistol. My girlfriend has a somewhat small frame and hands, and she loves it and shoots it extremely well.
Link Posted: 8/31/2008 8:35:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Mike92GT:
Hello all,

My Fiancee decided that she wants to get her CWP, and I'm trying to decided on a good carry gun for her.  I don't own any .380's, but I think it would be a good caliber choice for her.  She doesn't want a revolver, and she would prefer something with a manual safety.  I also would like something that will lock back after the last shot, which some of these don't do.  Here are a few guns that I was thinking about:

Sig P232, they are a bit pricey though, and no manual safety
Taurus Millenium Pro, just don't know much about them
Beretta 85 Cheetah, seems a bit big for a .380 though
Walther PPK
Ruger LCP, don't think the slide locks back on these
Keltec, although I'm not really a fan

Did I miss any?  Any suggestions would be appreciated




got several questions:

why a .380?  ballistically, its not exactly the most optimum performer....it seems that all of your choices are based on the .380 caliber, eventhough it leads to the next question:

is there a size/weight or concealbility issue? i ask this b/c you have a vast variety of sizes of models that you seem to be lookin at

compartively, you can get a 9mm or better sized auto that is cheaper, ballistically better, comparble handling (if not better depending on the platform) and more options  (considering there are more 9mm platfroms vs .380s out there that are worth its salt)

if you want a REALLY small pocket gun, then the Ruger LCP or KT P3AT would probably be your best bet; if you want a slightly larger .380, then the Bersa, Sig P232 (my choice) and Walther PPK would be nice

h/w, bear in mind, eventhough these are in .380 caliber, they all are a handful (compared to a full/mid size/weight auto in 9mm etc) b/c of the small, lighter weight of the gun itself--

which leads me to: if you want something (gun) bigger wise, i would suggest you migth as well opt for a sub-compact 9mm:

Khar arms has a great selection, as is the Walther PPS

for a little larger, i would rather opt (vs the Beretta couger) for the Glock 26; other options include: SW slim 9 autos (like the SW 439?), Beretta Storm, HK P2000sk, SA XDsc, Sig P239, etc

all i'm saying is why opt for a .380 when there are more readily available 9mms out there that are "better" (for the lack of a better word) and more options...

Link Posted: 8/31/2008 9:18:36 AM EDT
All good questions.  I am personally not a big fan of the .380, and I agree that a 9mm would perform better, and that there would be more guns to choose from in that caliber.  That being said, I was mainly looking at the .380 because I felt it would be a better choice for a female shooter.  I don't feel that a .22 or .25 or .32 is ideal for self defense, but I figured a .380 would be a good compromise.  I figured a .380 would have slightly less recoil than a 9mm, making it a little easier for her to shoot.  I could be wrong I guess.  So a 9mm really isn't out of the question at this point.  Size and weight is somewhat of a concern, but not really a deciding factor.




got several questions:

why a .380?  ballistically, its not exactly the most optimum performer....it seems that all of your choices are based on the .380 caliber, eventhough it leads to the next question:

is there a size/weight or concealbility issue? i ask this b/c you have a vast variety of sizes of models that you seem to be lookin at

compartively, you can get a 9mm or better sized auto that is cheaper, ballistically better, comparble handling (if not better depending on the platform) and more options  (considering there are more 9mm platfroms vs .380s out there that are worth its salt)

if you want a REALLY small pocket gun, then the Ruger LCP or KT P3AT would probably be your best bet; if you want a slightly larger .380, then the Bersa, Sig P232 (my choice) and Walther PPK would be nice

h/w, bear in mind, eventhough these are in .380 caliber, they all are a handful (compared to a full/mid size/weight auto in 9mm etc) b/c of the small, lighter weight of the gun itself--

which leads me to: if you want something (gun) bigger wise, i would suggest you migth as well opt for a sub-compact 9mm:

Khar arms has a great selection, as is the Walther PPS

for a little larger, i would rather opt (vs the Beretta couger) for the Glock 26; other options include: SW slim 9 autos (like the SW 439?), Beretta Storm, HK P2000sk, SA XDsc, Sig P239, etc

all i'm saying is why opt for a .380 when there are more readily available 9mms out there that are "better" (for the lack of a better word) and more options...

Link Posted: 8/31/2008 9:59:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ZekeMenuar:
Bersa Thunder 380


This


The bersa has a longer barrel vs keltec - ruger lcp = more velocity, important with .380 Auto
The bersa has a longer sight radius
The bersa has better sights
The bersa has a better trigger + is DA/SA

Link Posted: 8/31/2008 8:00:15 PM EDT
Pocket: Ruger LCP or Kel-tec P3AT

Belt: Sig P232, CZ-83 or Bersa

My LCP so far is great.   I also have a CZ-82 that is a wonderful shooter but to big for the caliber, IMHO.

Might also consider a Kahr PM9 in 9mm, mine is in my pocket as I type this.
Link Posted: 9/2/2008 12:20:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By stevemc:
Pocket: Ruger LCP or Kel-tec P3AT

Belt: Sig P232, CZ-83 or Bersa

My LCP so far is great.   I also have a CZ-82 that is a wonderful shooter but to big for the caliber, IMHO.

Might also consider a Kahr PM9 in 9mm, mine is in my pocket as I type this.



I agree with everything here, but I would go with a kahr MK9 instead.  Here are some comparison photos I have.  The pink one is the Bersa Thunder .380.





Link Posted: 9/2/2008 1:05:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By passive:

Originally Posted By stevemc:
Pocket: Ruger LCP or Kel-tec P3AT

Belt: Sig P232, CZ-83 or Bersa

My LCP so far is great.   I also have a CZ-82 that is a wonderful shooter but to big for the caliber, IMHO.

Might also consider a Kahr PM9 in 9mm, mine is in my pocket as I type this.



I agree with everything here, but I would go with a kahr MK9 instead.  Here are some comparison photos I have.  The pink one is the Bersa Thunder .380.

i292.photobucket.com/albums/mm33/passive101/DSC00638.jpg
i292.photobucket.com/albums/mm33/passive101/IM000718.jpg
i292.photobucket.com/albums/mm33/passive101/IM000720.jpg
i292.photobucket.com/albums/mm33/passive101/IM000721.jpg
i292.photobucket.com/albums/mm33/passive101/IM000722.jpg


mmmmmm........Special Kitty Cat Treats!  Yummmmmm!!!!!!

That is actually a very cool set of comparison pics there.  Well done.
Link Posted: 9/2/2008 2:02:20 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ZekeMenuar:
Bersa Thunder 380


I bought this when I was in college and first got my CCW.  I still have it and carry it during the summer.  Now that I actually have a good job, I'm looking to move away from it by next summer.

The good:
It feels better in my hand than a wather (I have big hands and the extended beaver tail of the bersa is better for range sessions).
I have not experienced any malfunctions with it so far.
I bought mine for $180 back then, so if it gets beat up no big deal.

The bad:
The trigger pull is a little bit long and heavy.  Although its not as bad as my buddies Makarov.
Trigger parts on the outside of the gun.  (I donno if this is a problem, it just bugs me)
When the gun is locked back and I slam the next mag in the slide will sometimes it close.  I've read up on it and apparently it is a common problem with them.
It has a magazine disconnect.

Based on my experience I wouldn't say I'd recommend it as my choice of a CCW gun. However, If you are on a tight budget I'd say its about as low as I'd go for a gun that I would intend to use in self defense.

Just $.02



Link Posted: 9/2/2008 2:22:31 AM EDT
I agree the Bersa .380 is a hell of a choice. I bought the wifey a .380plus, which has a capacity of 15rds + one in the pipe. Very concealable, reliable, and inexpensive.
Link Posted: 9/2/2008 4:09:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2008 4:09:43 PM EDT by GT86]

Originally Posted By Mike92GT:
All good questions.  I am personally not a big fan of the .380, and I agree that a 9mm would perform better, and that there would be more guns to choose from in that caliber.  That being said, I was mainly looking at the .380 because I felt it would be a better choice for a female shooter.  I don't feel that a .22 or .25 or .32 is ideal for self defense, but I figured a .380 would be a good compromise.  I figured a .380 would have slightly less recoil than a 9mm, making it a little easier for her to shoot.  I could be wrong I guess.  So a 9mm really isn't out of the question at this point.  Size and weight is somewhat of a concern, but not really a deciding factor.



Most .380's have harsher felt recoil than a 9mm, mostly due to the small size of the gun.  Another factor is that many are straight blowback, which really adds to felt recoil.  Best bet may be to take her to a range where you can rent a few different guns and see what works.

My wife really liked my PPK/S until she shot it, and complained it kicked more than the 1911 she was shooting just prior to that.
Link Posted: 9/2/2008 5:50:41 PM EDT
A Russian commercial Makarov also fits your stated needs. The commercial Maks are availables in 380. The biggest advantages are that they are reliable and simple. The biggest disadvantages are the adjustable sights that can snag on clothes, they only hold 8+1, and they are heavy (which limits felt recoil slightly).
Link Posted: 9/2/2008 8:12:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2008 8:13:26 PM EDT by spd2230]
NAA/Kahr make some really nice stainless .380 pocket guns.  The added weight of the stainless helps with the felt recoil.

I routinely carry a Kel-Tec P3AT as an off duty/BUG and I love it.  However, most of my shooting buddies hate to shoot it and my wife put one round downrange and handed it back.

If size is not an issue I would recommend a subcompact Springfield XD in 9mm.  XD's are nice, flat shooting guns and 9mm > .380.  In my experience many .380's have harsher recoil than a comparably sized 9mm.

My final recommendation is to take the Fiancee to the range and have her shoot a few different guns/calibers to see what she likes.

Good luck!
Link Posted: 9/2/2008 8:53:07 PM EDT
Thanks for all the replies.  I might very well just end up getting her something in 9mm, but I'm still debating.  Her request for something with a manual safety really limits my choices, especially in 9mm.    
Link Posted: 9/2/2008 9:16:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2008 9:29:22 PM EDT by ALPHAGHOST]

Originally Posted By Mike92GT:
All good questions.  I am personally not a big fan of the .380, and I agree that a 9mm would perform better, and that there would be more guns to choose from in that caliber.  That being said, I was mainly looking at the .380 because I felt it would be a better choice for a female shooter. I don't feel that a .22 or .25 or .32 is ideal for self defense, but I figured a .380 would be a good compromise.  I figured a .380 would have slightly less recoil than a 9mm, making it a little easier for her to shoot.  I could be wrong I guess.  So a 9mm really isn't out of the question at this point.  Size and weight is somewhat of a concern, but not really a deciding factor.



depends....on a LOT of aspects, namely, the shooter (regardless of sex, but what they are comfortable shooting) and the platform you are shooting the cartridge in; that said, the recoil of a .380 and a 9mm are pretty comparable...what it boils down to is the size, weight, and build of the actual firearm firing that particular cartridge, which as the previous poster pointed out: .380s tend to be in smaller,/lighter guns=more recoil, harsher handling

the BEST bet is to get HER to try out a variety of diff platforms and diff calibers to get a "feel" for what SHE prefers/is comfortable with...



Originally Posted By Mike92GT:
Thanks for all the replies.  I might very well just end up getting her something in 9mm, but I'm still debating.  Her request for something with a manual safety really limits my choices, especially in 9mm.    


again, i would highly suggest that she try em out before either you or her buys anything...shooting em is best, as its like test driving a car--you (or her) wont really know how it feels until you actually use it

as to the 9mm semis w/ manual safeties, there are a lot of em:

HK USP Compacts/full sizes/P2000, etc



Ruger, incluiding the new SR-9 and the P-series (P89.95, etc)...but they tend to be more full size guns

Smith and Wesson (metal frame ONLY), the 3913, 908s, 469, etc area pretty compact

www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=11101&storeId=10001&categoryId=15712&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=15708&top_category=15708

Berettas (including the subcompact Storm:
www.berettausa.com/product/product_pistols_main.htm

Browning Hi-Power (one of the best, smoothest handling 9mms out there imo) and the CZ series:

www.cz-usa.com/products_handguns.php



of course, there are the other countless brands, such as Glocks, Sigs (P229/8, P239), 1911 manf (Kimber, SA, DW, etc), the XD, SW MP, Walthers, etc that dont fit all the criterias, specifically the manual safety requirement, but offer great 9mm platforms

Taurus is another brand that does offer compact manual controled 9mms, but i would NOT recommend anything by em hardly...

the really compact, (ie: rougher to handle) slim 9mms include the Walther PPS, most of the Khar line, SA EMP, HK PM7,
Link Posted: 9/2/2008 9:50:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2008 9:51:38 PM EDT by dhberry]
"depends....on a LOT of aspects, namely, the shooter (regardless of sex, but what they are comfortable shooting) and the platform you are shooting the cartridge in; that said, the recoil of a .380 and a 9mm are pretty comparable...what it boils down to is the size, weight, and build of the actual firearm firing that particular cartridge, which as the previous poster pointed out: .380s tend to be in smaller,/lighter guns=more recoil, harsher handling

the BEST bet is to get HER to try out a variety of diff platforms and diff calibers to get a "feel" for what SHE prefers/is comfortable with..."

I totally agree with ALPHAGHOST about lettting her decide.  Way back when I took my wife to the range where I worked, I thought I would introduce her to handgunning in small steps, beginning with an S&W model 10 loaded with wadcutters and work up.  I was actually astonished at how well she shot it at 7 yds, and I told her so.  She asked why I would not let her shoot the Gold Cup .45 I was wearing, saying "My Papa taught me how to shoot one of them when I was 14!"  It turns out that her Papa, who was a Lt Col. in the Philippine army and a Bataan Death March survivor, taught her on his issue 1911!  I handed her my Gold Cup, and she proceeded to drill the center out of the target!  So much for the "weaker sex!"  Just let your GF pick what suits her best, then get her the best training you can afford, then sit back and relax.  With proper training, it is my experience that women tend to shoot one hell of a lot better than we men give them credit for!  God bless all!  "You want respect, you gotta earn it!" - My Dad
Link Posted: 9/3/2008 9:10:37 AM EDT
Thanks guys.  That subcompact Beretta Storm looks like it would fit the bill, I wasn't aware they made a subcompact till now.  Next time we go shoot I'll let her try some of my 9mm's and see how she does.     I have a S&W 3913 that she can try.   I got her a Walther P22, and she loves shooting that.   I just don't think it would make a very good carry piece, mainly because of the caliber
Link Posted: 9/3/2008 11:08:50 AM EDT
"You get what you pay for."


Link Posted: 9/3/2008 4:50:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2008 4:52:51 PM EDT by Gelgoog]
just get her a smith and wesson PPK, it has the external safety and solves the hammerbite. besides, more recoil is not something your going to notice much when the adreniline is pumping.

Link Posted: 9/4/2008 3:08:07 PM EDT
Based on the photos, I'd go with a 9mm over a .380.

The 9mms have more power, less recoil and I'd argue a bit more overall reliability.  My Kahr PM9 is 'my' ideal gun for the situation you outlined and I only carry my KelTec when I need a very lite bug gun.  
Link Posted: 9/5/2008 12:02:41 AM EDT
The Bersa .380 is a very light shooting .380 since it has a metal frame and more heft to it.  Very reliable and accurate to boot :)

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