View Full Version : Which .380 would you buy???

September 18, 2005, 07:31 PM
I know this has been done once or twice :p

But, I want to get the wife a .380 to carry. She practices with a Glock 19, but just hasn't found a 9mm she feels comfortable carrying. She has shot my PA-63 in 9x18 and likes it, but I wouldn't trust my wife or my life to it. We have narrowed the field to the following:

Sig P323
Berretta Cheetah
Walther PPK

Which would you folks recommend and why? The wife has shot all three and feels comfortable with them.

I don't want this to be another .380 bashing. I agree that it is a minimum. But it is a gun my wife can shoot. And shoot well, I might add. ;)

September 18, 2005, 07:34 PM
of your choices i would pick the walther...

if i could find one i would get a Colt Government .380 but they are out of production and costly when you can find them...


September 18, 2005, 07:36 PM

September 18, 2005, 07:51 PM
I own both a Bersa and a SIG .380... and honestly, I like the Bersa better, the SIGs beaver tail just isn't big enough for me, so the slide's real close and its always biting my hand. The Bersa's tang keeps me good and clear of the slide.


SIG P-232 (http://www.genitron.com/HandgunDB/nfdetails.asp?ID=1210)

Bersa 380 (http://www.genitron.com/HandgunDB/nfdetails.asp?ID=512)

September 18, 2005, 08:00 PM
From your list, SIG.

But I've looked at a couple of Bersas, and have been very impressed. I'd buy one in a minute.

(It's a P232, btw.)

September 18, 2005, 08:14 PM
I've had a Sig 230 for about 15 years. It's very accurate and carries very easily. I've fired more than 5,000 rounds through it and never had a problem.

The Sig 232 is almost the same as the 230. The changes are internal and have no real effect on how it shoots.

Two things I dislike about it are:

1. Lack of a slide lock. It locks open on an empty mag but it will not lock unless
an empty mag is inserted. (You can reach in and move the lever when holding
back the slide, but it's awkward and if the slide slips, it will hurt.)

2. I don't like the European/Heel mag release.

I've handled the Bersa but never fired one so I can't make a comparison. It felt good in my hand,


September 18, 2005, 08:34 PM
I have a Sig in stainless steel and I love it. Never bites my hand, it's very accurate and quite pleasing to shoot. I agree that I don't really like the Euro mag release and lack of a slide stop, but that still doesn't come close to turning me off of it.

September 18, 2005, 08:35 PM

September 18, 2005, 08:52 PM
All are good choices. I personally like Walthers. Also, its not on your list but a Makarov is an excellent value and 9x18 performs very similarly to .380. And .380 is not a minimum, thats what the .32 is (also my carry gun).

September 18, 2005, 09:21 PM
I would look at a Bersa before I bought anything, especially with the new CCW model coming out. I bought my wife a duo tone, and that little thing is a gem. Packs and feels good, shoots unbelievably straight. Good sights, good finish, the only downfall is the high cost of magazines (~30.00).

When the gun only costs 175.00 out the door, the high dollar mags dont hurt as bad, though. :cool:

September 18, 2005, 10:06 PM
Sig P232.

September 18, 2005, 10:08 PM
I like the Cheetah. Granted I carry the 86 not the 85 which is a little less bulky. But the 86 was my first pistol and it'll stay with me. It has good sights and is very reliable.

I've shot the Bersa and it has a pretty good trigger on it. I disliked the small sights and the mags were a little testy.

I don't have any input on the Sig, I've never handled one.

September 18, 2005, 10:16 PM
If your wife has only shot one 9mm I would encourage you to let her try another one if you have any other range buddies. The 9mm is very managable for women and other guns may have a softer recoil. Reason being, the .380 is more expensive to shoot and you will have a much higher selection when a 9mm is considered. The makarov is a good choice as well and is neither 9mm or .380 but 9x18.

September 18, 2005, 10:57 PM
The Browning BDA .380 is made by Beretta - very nice and fun to shoot
Walther PPK/S another great gun -


September 18, 2005, 11:23 PM
The makarov is a good choice as well and is neither 9mm or .380 but 9x18.

Makrov.com has .380 barrels on their webpage. They drop right in and use the .380 mags.

September 19, 2005, 05:30 AM
CZ 83 is my choice.


September 19, 2005, 06:11 AM
I had the same thought... weapon my wife might be willing to use in a gun class to learn to shoot... as well as something I could carry... and possibly her in the future.

I had narrowed it down to either a Walther PPK or Sig 230/232... went to the gun show last weekend and couldn't make up my mind and so bought both...

I had never shot a 380 auto before.. I expected it to be somewhere between a 22 auto and a light 38 revolver round. Both autos kick like a mother... the Walther is worse than the Sig. I'm not sure my wife will like either... I think I'm going to go with a small 357 mag and have her shoot light 38 loads.

September 19, 2005, 07:58 AM
It seems as though Sig and Bersa are close, with the Walther right behind. I am surprised to see the Beretta so far behind. We looked at the Browning BDA, but I have seen smaller 9mm's. I like the 9x18 round, but ammo choices are limited. We had a CZ 83 in 7.65 Browning (32ACP) and liked it, but it had magazine feed issues. I'm not sure I would buy another. In fact I think it is still at CZ (about 5 weeks now :( ) But the wife liked it immediately and shot it well right out of the box. Maybe a CZ 83 in .380?

One very good point someone mentioned is the cost of ammo. But like I said she practices with the 9mm. So when she shoots the .380, she should not feel much recoil. Kinda like practicing with a 50lb. hammer and using a 25lb on occassion.

It's all still up in the air right now. We aren't going to buy until this weekend so you never know. I like the Kahrs but wife says their a bit heavy. But she hasn't seen some of the lighter model I have read about.

Bersa hmm? What's the warranty on those?

September 19, 2005, 08:19 AM
The locked-breech Colts, like the Government Model .380, and the Mustang, are nice. While out of production, there were many made.

The locked-breech reduces recoil much better than a blow-back action. They are small, hold 6-7 rounds depending on Model, and quite reliable. Accuracy is on a par with the Sig.

I believe that the Beretta line of .380s is being pruned of several models. I see the Model 84 at CDNN for decent prices. The Browning BDA .380 is the Model 84.

About the only high-capacity .380 left, if Beretta drops theirs, will be the CZ83. I guess that the idea of a 12 shot .380 just never caught on in areas that didn't restrict the ownership of "military calibers".

Taurus at one point manufactured a 14 shot .32 ACP semi-auto for sale in Brazil. The Model 57. The Model 58 was sold in the U.S. until the AWB. That one was a 12 shot .380. I bought one when they first came out, and it's been a fun weapon to shoot, but a bit large for a .380 CCW. The later versions were also available in SS, and all were decocker equipped. :)

September 19, 2005, 10:32 AM
Makrov.com has .380 barrels on their webpage. They drop right in and use the .380 mags.

My dad has a commercial IJ70 Makarov that he bought several years ago that came from the factory in .380. He paid $150 for it then but then Clinton halted their importation. The last one I saw went for $300 :eek: . Oh, and 9x18 and .380 both use the same mag.

September 19, 2005, 10:47 AM
Good call. I meant to type "makarov magazines". I had .380 on the brain as I am getting ready to purchase one also.

Sorry guys and girls :o

September 19, 2005, 10:50 AM
ONE more for BERSA. Mine shoots great, light weight and very dependable. New under $200, sometimes overlooked........ :)

Hard Ball
September 19, 2005, 10:53 AM
I would cet the Walther RRK or PPK/s.

September 19, 2005, 11:47 AM
Its too bad Glock wont sell the model 28 in the USA, the sub-compact 380 would make a great carry gun for someone not wanting the recoil of the 9mm.

September 19, 2005, 01:16 PM
I would go with Beretta's Cheetah. The Cheetah has the american magazine release and external slide stop. The Cheetah is also the cheaper of the three it's quality is on par with the Sig. Sig's P232 is an excellent pocket popper but expensive. The Walther PPKS' reliability over the years has been hit and miss.

September 19, 2005, 02:21 PM
.Its too bad Glock wont sell the model 28 in the USA, the sub-compact 380 would make a great carry gun for someone not wanting the recoil of the 9mm.

Too bad the 28 would most likely have more recoil than the 26, due to the fact that the 28 is a simple blowback. The 28 is a waste of polymer in the United States, as it makes no sense.

September 19, 2005, 02:30 PM
Beretta Cheetah all the way.

Davy Jones
September 19, 2005, 03:08 PM
Your really not missing out on this one. It dosen't shine in the compact department because its the same size as the other subcompact glocks. If someone wanted a subcompact glock w/ effective power & low recoil, the 26 9mm fits the bill. From the list, I would probably be more interested in the beretta.

September 19, 2005, 03:17 PM
Its too bad Glock wont sell the model 28 in the USA,

should say CANT sell the model 28 in the USA. it doesnt have enough 'sporting arms' features to qualify for importation. at least thats the story i heard...


September 19, 2005, 04:53 PM
If you're considering the Cheetah, look at the Browning DBA also.

I'd pick Walther over the SIG.

But...I'd choose a Bersa over the Walther. Check out www.bersatalk.com
Those guys will tell you honestly about the Bersa. My CCW instructor (who's also an NRA instructor) carries a Bersa .380 and has about 10,000 rounds thru it, says he loves it and it's been flawless.

Now, depends how small you want to go too. I own a Kel-Tec .380 that with a little help from the factory has been a decent gun. Would I buy another one? I don't know. But I would buy a North American Arms Guardian in .380 (or .32 or the wicked little .32NAA round). A Kel-Tec is effortless to carry, the NAA guardian is also small but a little heavier. But not nearly as heavy as a Bersa, Walther, SIG, or Cheetah. Again, weight is really not a factor unless she's gona carry the weapon.

michael t
September 19, 2005, 06:58 PM
I have a PPK/S and a Bersa. Bersa has a wider back strap than walter or sig Result is a whole lot less felt recoil in your hand. So I woulds go with the Bersa.I have a Colt Mustang also. Their is almost no recoil to speak of.But they cost, way to much money today. And parts can be little hard to find. I carry CorBon90grHP in all 3. Check out the Bersa 1/2 cost of PPKor Sig and will run with them

September 20, 2005, 02:16 AM
Another vote for the CZ 83 as the best 380. I took my wife to the SHOT Show in Vegas and had her try all of the most likely guns that would fit. She liked the Jardine Custom 1911 (which we couldn't afford) the Bersa, the Glock, GP100 3", and a few others. Leave it to my wife to pick one of the most expensive 1911 guns in the place - at least she has good taste. It is nearly impossible to guess what might be comfortable to a woman's hand!

September 20, 2005, 05:34 AM
I'd go for the Sig in a heartbeat. I've had a P232ss for over a year now and I'm still amazed at the accuracy and ease of use of this little gun. A bersa is a good imitation of it but an imitation nonetheless. I think a .380 is a great sized carry for her btw.

September 20, 2005, 07:43 AM
Ya know, one of the best things I hear out of this thread is how many wives we have getting into the sport ;) How cool is that :p
Anyway, I think it may be the Beretta. She seems to be a little more comfortable with the grip. We had a CZ83 in .32 and had to send it back to CZ because of magazine feed issues. Not to sure about trying again, but it was a nice little gun andshe liked it and shot well with it. A bit heavy though. My local dealer let her try an Erma, which she liked the feel of but the DA trigger was ungodly awful. I could't hardly pull it back.
So that's where we are right now. Although I like the Sig the wife prefers the Beretta and CZ. Unless someone knows of a 1911 style .380 with a good DA trigger. It's a shame Para doesn't make one with the LDA. Thanks for all the input. :)

September 20, 2005, 03:41 PM
You hit the nail on the head with "she feels more comfortable with the grip".
If it doesn't fit she will never like it. Had that problem with my wife. No interest in a pistol, liked the 649 but the grips weren't right. Got Pachmayr grips and problem solved. In reading this type of post on many boards, it seems that the ladies, having generally smaller hands, have a harder time finding a gun that "fits". If it fits and she likes a pistol as opposed to a revolver then you may well have your answer.

September 20, 2005, 09:20 PM
Sig 232 --

Great gun, shoots great and holds up to a lot fo use and some abuse, long standing support and service, plus can be had from the factory with night sights, though in a gun like the 232 I'm only really intrested in havign the front sight glow, they come with very functional 3 dot set up.

Combat Kenny
September 21, 2005, 06:26 AM
Hi guys and gals

What I read and in my opinion, .380 is a marginal round. And one must get use to the blow back. It is kind of hard compared to the 9mm. I have the S&W PPK/S, Bersa and the Makarov.

I like the PPK/S the best, but that is me and not somebody's wife. Some ladies don't like the hard to pull slide. The S&W made has a longer tang and is great for the larger hand. Hasn't given me any tracks on my hand yet. And for a extra level of deterent, I have a Crimson Trace laser grip on it. The gun works well for me, don't have any complain.

In my opinion, the Bersa is a PPK clone. Very inexpensive for the wife. It has a lighter pull on the slide. Not a bad little pocket gun.

The Makarov is a Russian surplus special. It had not jammed on me once. But I was buying chinese rounds and the range that I shoot at, don't like steel core rounds. One thing to remember on none american rounds. For changing it to 380. Nah, I'm collecting it, so I don't really want to modify it. But compared to the PPK and Bersa; I say it is very crudely made. Doesn't have the pride and nice touch like the others.

Last note, perhaps let the wife go the a gun range and rent some .380 and 9mm. Let her try it out and see which one is more comfortable with her.

Good luck and good shooting

September 21, 2005, 06:39 AM
Actually, truth be told, I would get a Makarov before I would get any of those!!

The 9x18 Makarov is a better round than the 9mm kurz and I have not had a Mak fail yet!!!!!


September 22, 2005, 01:23 PM
Makarov or Bersa. Both work, both are accurate. One comes with a warranty, the other is a bit more powerful. .380 ammo is more available and comes in a wider selection, 9x18 ammo is cheaper. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. I ended up getting a Bersa. Now, you could go with the higher priced models like you have suggested, but why pay more for something that does the same job just as well? Unless, of course, you like paying more.

September 22, 2005, 04:41 PM
+1 for Bersa Thunder .380. You can get a matte model for about 200 shipped from Bud's gun shop, or locally (Gander Mountain) get the Duo-Tone model for 220 out the door. That is the route I went, I like to see the actual gun I'm buying. Anyway, it's a great platform for the .380 and is really accurate. With 102 grain golden sabers, I don't think an attacker would notice the difference between taking one of those to the chest or a regular 9mm. Both will suffice. It is extremely light, and disappears tucked into the waistband. 100% reliable/600 rounds.

September 22, 2005, 06:40 PM
doesn't matter that the Glock 26 is available in the same frame size ( I have one also) I just like the 380 ACP cartridge and wouldn't mind a Glock 28 in that frame, Makes since too me, I love Glocks and 380's. IMHO