View Full Version : S&W SW380 - Any opinions?

September 27, 2005, 07:33 PM
I'm looking into picking up a S&W SW380 Sigma and I'm wondering if anyone's had any experience with this gun. I don't know much about it since it pre-dates my entry into the world of handgunning. But I like the size, the weight, the concealability, even the look. But I'm wondering if anyone's had any good or bad luck with this little pistol.

Any input is much appreciated.

September 27, 2005, 07:38 PM
Its a sigma, dont buy it. If you want a .380, get a seacamp.

September 27, 2005, 07:50 PM
Thanks for your note. What a coincidence that you would mention the Seecamp. I'm the webmaster for http://Seecamp.com and the new Seecamp Forum (http://Seecamp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl) and I have an LWS380 already reserved the minute they become legal here in the People's Republic of Massachusetts (I already have the .32). I KNOW this gun is no Seecamp - I've yet to see anyone match Larry's craftsmanship. This was just available fairly cheaply (and immediately) and I thought I might add it to my collection - as long as it's not junk. I've read some favorable reviews about the new generation of Sigmas, but it does seem like that word was synonymous with junk in years gone by. I was hoping this one might be different.

Really appreciate your reply. Many thanks!

September 27, 2005, 10:08 PM
I can count the pistols I will badmouth on one hand. Guess which finger I use for the 380 Smegma. :barf:
Possibly the worst piece of dung I've ever wrapped my fingers around, and that includes my old girlfriends. I would say it was a lousy single shot, but sometimes it wasn't even that good.

September 28, 2005, 06:45 AM
Thanks for the input - you saved me some money! I posted in a couple of other places in addition to here and it was a universal "thumbs down" across the board. I love my S&W guns, but I guess everyone makes an "Edsel" once in a while!

Thanks again.

September 28, 2005, 06:57 AM
They're garbage. I have no idea what Smith&Wesson was thinking when they made the slide out of zinc alloy :barf:

September 28, 2005, 09:08 AM
It's junk, a true disposable gun. Life expectancy was about 3000 rounds. Mine was lucky to make it through 20 shots in a row without a malfunction, could not wait to get rid of it. :D

September 28, 2005, 11:21 AM
They are junk. Cruddier than Taurus even. I kinda like the P232.


michael t
September 28, 2005, 02:05 PM
Be better off with a hi-point

September 28, 2005, 02:42 PM
Move On ---

If S+W wanted to re-gain and ounce of respect, they would offer a buy back program for the 380 or give folks a nice used model 60 or something usefull, that gun is horid and disposable, how could anyone buy one used --- the slide is only rated for x number of rounds (somewhere in the low thousands) and who knowse where it is in it's service life when you buy it used.

September 28, 2005, 05:49 PM
The original Sigmas were hit or miss propositions when chambered in 9mm or .40SW, but the .380 model never even made it to the plate. S&W should quietly buy them all back and act like that episode never happened.

September 28, 2005, 05:56 PM
Pot metal slide----funky mag release/catch----------a mutt with S&W stamped on it.

September 29, 2005, 06:38 AM
I have to agree with Okie on this one.
I am a Sigma fan. I own an SW40F. The 9mm kurz Sigma is as close to being a throw away gun as I have ever seen.
Here is an article I found. The gun was only in production for 5 years fro 1995 to 2000!!
Manufactured from 1995 to 2000 but still available NIB from some dealers. Polymer ergonomic frame, aluminum slide, DAO, 3" barrel, 6+1, 14 ounces (empty), fixed sights. NIB prices range from $250-$300. Used prices run $125-$175. Typical trade-in credit is $125 or less.

Introduced as the bottom end of the still-in-production Sigma model line, the "baby" Sigma was Smith & Wesson's first and only entry into .380 ACP as a very compact plastic frame weapon.
The size and weight make this a very easily concealed pocket pistol with suprising accuracy in spite of the short barrel length. It was in production long enough to see a good spectrum of holsters which fit it carried inside the pocket, inside the waistband, or on the ankle.

The pistol has no external safeties but as a double-action only firearm, using a striker plate rather than a firing pin, it does not fire if dropped. Only a pull on the trigger can do that and it can reliably be carried with a round in the chamber.

For some, it's one shortcoming will be that it will fire if a round is in the chamber with the magazine removed. This makes it somewhat dangerous if used by the unskilled or the unknowing and a special hazard around children. However, in some self-defense situations and when in the hands of either experienced or knowledgable users, the lack of an external safety will be, as it is on a revolver, a very desirable feature.


Smith & Wesson admits the "useful life" for this pistol is about 3,500 rounds. That means a pistol at or near such use should be returned for factory servicing (which may include replacing the slide). Your cost will be around $75 plus shipping.

If you purchase a used Sigma 380, look for damage to the poly black covering of the slide, especially around the muzzle and the ejection port on the slide. Such wear/damage should considerably reduce the value of the gun (which can be restored after a trip back to the factory).

S&W's ergonomic design make this pistol a comfortable fit in both small and large hands. Because of that, use of slide-on rubber Pachmayr or Hogue finger form grips actually make the pistol less comfortable to use and shoot.
The Sigma SW380 is a "plain-jane" piece and there is little to be done to improve or "jazz up" its appearance. Even an investment in engraving produces questionable results as shown on the left.

Emphasis is mine.


One wonders why S&W sold any of these at all!! Mein Gott!! A pistol that was only good for 3.5 cases of ammo!!! I have never seen one even when they were "out"!!! Nobody I know ever had one!! You would be better served by the Kel-Tec!!

September 29, 2005, 12:47 PM
To be fair to S&W, with as much as mine jammed it would have taken 3 lifetimes to run 3.5k rds thru it. Mine was accurate. You could hit a soda can at 25yrds...if you had a 24yrd long arm to hold it with.

September 29, 2005, 01:21 PM
mt Brother-in-law had a .380 sigma and could'nt stand it.
It took all kinds of abuse and would shoot when you needed it (when it did'nt jam) dirty and wet it would shoot.

He just did'nt like it.

September 29, 2005, 01:31 PM
How about a CZ 83 .380? Very comfortable gun, if a bit heavy.

March 7, 2013, 05:04 PM
I have had no problems with it. It is about 1200 rounds in and I only have a couple of quips with it. 1. The stock sight takes some getting used to but it is fairly accurate from 7 to 10 yards which is what it is rated for (it is a conceal and carry weapon not a big gun.) 2. The handle is short and could use a magazine that has a pinkie grip, but one was never made. 3. The trigger takes some getting used to and at first you will tend to over squeeze. Other than that a great CCW. Personally I believe that most of the people that talk **** on this gun have never owned one they simply base there opinions on the material it is made from and other peoples opinions that say they own one but also probably have never even held one.

March 8, 2013, 11:08 AM
Senior Member

Join Date: November 29, 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 778
[QUOTE]Its a sigma, dont buy it. If you want a .380, get a seacamp.[QUOTE]:confused:

Have you even used the .380 sigma?! Whats to hate about it?

I've owned one and it was a pleasure to shoot, accurate, and i never had a jam or misfire in the 400 + rounds that i've put through it. With all the safety legality devices being stuck on guns these days, I wish I still had mine.
Great piece IMO. Very fun and reliable. "yesss"- the seacamp is much smaller/ more compact,...but also with a very high price tag(800+)...- definitely not my choice.

If you can get a good deal: 220-260 dollars for a lightly used .380 sigma, go for it!
They are nice shooting compact pieces.

March 8, 2013, 11:45 AM

P232 is bad? please elaborate as it is on my wish list but I thought it was a reliable gun.

March 8, 2013, 12:41 PM
Shooter429, P232 is bad? please elaborate...
Viper99, this is the tower. We have a zombie thread on runway niner, repeat, zombie thread on niner. We need you to abort your approach and go around, please acknowledge. ;)

March 8, 2013, 01:07 PM

March 9, 2013, 09:19 PM
I like mine as well. I agree it is not a target pistol suitable for 1000's of rounds, but I use mine for self defence and occasional shooting only. Mine shoots a heck of a lot better than the P380. Never had any jams with mine, and it is surprisingly accurate, but what I like the most about it, is it's concealability. Would not have it for an only pistol, but it has a purpose.