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View Full Version : I really love some of the smaller pistols in .380, but...


Elliottsdad
September 15, 2011, 09:49 AM
It seems every concealed carry pistol that catches my eye (my next firearms purchase will be my first ccw) happens to be in .380 ACP. I think the Sig Sauer p238, and the larger p232 seem great, and I like the Walther PPK. But I set my caliber "floor" at 9mm, and all these are .380.

It just so happens that most of the 9mm subs people rave about on here don't do it for me. I guess what I'm getting at is that I understand there are more powerful pistols out there in the similiar sized packages, but it just so happens that a lot of the handguns I'm attracted to are chambered for a weaker round.

Should I get over this, and make myself fall in love with a subcompact wondernine or Kahr... or would it be sacrificing an important bit of safety going with one of the sexier, but more anemic .380s? Flame on!

AK103K
September 15, 2011, 09:52 AM
Get what you like. Youre just going to have to wade through all of this and learn from your mistakes like the rest of us. :)


Experience with as many different guns as possible is really the only way to know whats right for you.

Elliottsdad
September 15, 2011, 09:55 AM
But mistakes are so damned expensive! I want to piggyback off other people's mistakes from now on...

LordTio3
September 15, 2011, 10:02 AM
I am fully aware that I have an unfounded prejudice against the .380 chambering. I just don't like it. Putting one on my belt feels like drinking orange juice after brushing my teeth. Yuk.

Contrarily, I have a warm affection for the .32 ACP chambering. PPK, 3032, FN1910, Colt 1903, etc... I don't really know why, but I have a theory. It's probably because the .380 sucks and the .32ACP rules (in jest).

~LT

PS- might have something to do with JMB's personal touch of excellence.

threegun
September 15, 2011, 10:03 AM
Many of us with a caliber "floor" similar to yours have used the .380acp as a back up gun because of its size. While I would feel less than comfortable with it as a main carry gun it can get the job done if needed and deployed properly.

I would get what you like and worry about it later.

carguychris
September 15, 2011, 10:06 AM
Relax and feel free to love the .380. Plenty of other people do too. It's socially acceptable. :)

Although you don't really ask about this, FWIW the reason there's so little crossover between .380ACP and more powerful cartridges is that .380ACP is nearly the most powerful cartridge that's practical in a reasonably small and lightweight pistol with a fixed-barrel, unlocked-breech, straight-blowback action. More powerful rounds require a locked-breech short-recoil action when they're used in a reasonably lightweight pistol. (As an aside, Hi-Point 9mm products are straight blowback, but they're neither small nor lightweight!)

PSP
September 15, 2011, 10:11 AM
IMHO, you should buy that P232 that caught your eye, practice till you're good with it, load it with the best/hottest/most reliable ammo you can find, and don't look back.

If that decision doesn't allow sound sleep at night then IMHO you should buy that Kahr P9 that didn't catch your eye, practice till you're good with it, load it with the best/hottest/most reliable ammo you can find, and don't look back.

Either way your problem is solved. ;)

KyJim
September 15, 2011, 10:18 AM
I agree with a couple of other posters. Just because you get a small .380 doesn't mean you have to abandon larger caliber handguns. I pocket carry a small .380 when (1) clothing makes larger pistols difficult to carry (like shorts with elastic in the summer) and (2) for some reason I really don't want to carry a gun and I'm not going to a high risk area. After all, the first rule of gun fighting is to have a gun, right?

For many years, most "experts" have said a .380 is the smallest caliber one should carry for defense. More recently, I've seen a trend of Internet posters saying the smallest caliber is 9mm or even .40 SW but for no apparent reason other than they're making these calibers in smaller packages. My point is that .380s have been effective self-defense guns for a long time and nothing has changed that.

Ultimately, it's your decision and you should do what you feel comfortable doing.

AK103K
September 15, 2011, 10:36 AM
I want to piggyback off other people's mistakes from now on...
And what lessons would "you" have learned?

Ive had a number of guns that others repeatedly bash, but they worked out great for me. Ive also had guns others swear by, and I cant imagine for the life of me, what they are thinking.

The only way to know whats right for you, is to jump in and start wading. Trust me, its fun, and its only money. :)

CWKahrFan
September 15, 2011, 10:37 AM
You can get Hogue Pau Ferro grips for the Kahr K9, MK9, and T9. Those are all thin, nice-looking, reliable 9's in a variety of capacities/sizes.

http://www.kahr.com/Pistols/Kahr-T9-w-Novak-Night-Sights.asp

http://www.kahr.com/Grips/Kahr-Wood-Grips-Checkered-K-Series-and-E9.asp

DiCarnage
September 15, 2011, 10:46 AM
I'm in love with that Sig 238, and I'd snap one up in a heartbeat!
For a tiny, ultra-concealable piece you've got a surprising amount of stopping power in your hands. If you like a thing, go for it. I say get over your self-imposed limit, and find the .380 that really makes your heart sing, because when it really comes down to it some IS better than none, and you'll be a lot happier than compelling yourself to go with something you don't like.

lamarw
September 15, 2011, 11:13 AM
I was and am caught up in the .380 love affair and carried a Bersa .380 and a Beretta model 85 in .380. I now have a Sig P250 SubCompact, and it has become my ccw. It is no larger than the Bersa and has less sharp angles to poke your mid-section or snag up while removing. It is also a 9 mm and will hold 12 + 1. More power and more rounds than the Bersa/Beretta and more comfortable to carry.

I either carry it in the upper pocket of cargo pants or with a belly band elastic holster under my shirts. Believe me if I printed, my wife would quickly let me know. Lucky her, she carries her Beretta Tomcat in her purse.

I hate the little tiny .380's since I can only get about two fingers on the grip. I do not have large hands.

I have posted this picture before, but here it is again comparing the Sig and the Bersa. The Sig is on bottom. Notice the size and the fewer sharp angles compared to the Bersa.

C0untZer0
September 15, 2011, 11:26 AM
http://www.rohrbaughfirearms.com/products

http://thefiringline.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=70057&d=1304744420

pgdion
September 15, 2011, 11:32 AM
I'm waffling right now between the Bersa Thunder (small, .380, 7 rounds) and the CZ RAMI 2075 (also small, 9mm, 10rds). The Bersa gets great reviews and has a great price but the RAMI is just is small, shoots 9mm, and holds 10 rds. If the RAMI shoots nice, it might win out (costs twice as much as a Thunder though). The RAMI is worth looking at if you want .38 size but 9mm punch.

DiCarnage
September 15, 2011, 11:39 AM
I don't think you posted the pic you meant to.
That photo only shows a .380, not a comparison of two pistols.

aarondhgraham
September 15, 2011, 11:46 AM
The picture is of one pistol laying on top of another pistol.

The second trigger is a dead giveaway. ;)

Aarond

BConklin
September 15, 2011, 01:18 PM
or you could trick yourself with semantics...remember, .380 ACP is just another name for 9 mm Corto (Kurtz, Court...etc, etc.)

oneounceload
September 15, 2011, 01:33 PM
+1 for the Rohrbaugh - 9mm in a 380 package

group17
September 15, 2011, 01:36 PM
"I was and am caught up in the .380 love affair and carried a Bersa .380 and a Beretta model 85 in .380. I now have a Sig P250 SubCompact, and it has become my ccw. It is no larger than the Bersa and has less sharp angles to poke your mid-section or snag up while removing. It is also a 9 mm and will hold 12 + 1. More power and more rounds than the Bersa/Beretta and more comfortable to carry."

Bersa makes a plus model that holds 15 rounds and Beretta makes an 84 double stack that hold 13 rounds. The Sig P250 is a DAO pistol while the Bersa and Beretta are DA/SA like my other guns. With the newer SD rounds in 380 you would be pretty well defended IMO.

I agree the little 380's are a bit to small for my grip but they do fit nicely in the pocket.

C0untZer0
September 15, 2011, 01:44 PM
If anyone ever shot me with a 380 and I found out about it - there'd be hell to pay !

loose_holster_dan
September 15, 2011, 01:57 PM
380 is fine for summer carry or in warm climates where heavier material coats aren't an issue. a 380 hollow point is known to be stopped by heavy leather jackets. if you are going through something like a tshirt, most 380 hits will be a 1-shot stop. if not, hit him again!

as to choosing a 9mm in the size you are talking, check out the hk p7 psp. harder to find in a local shop, but they abound on the internet. my personal carry weapon of choice, and the gun i would be most comfortable with in a fire fight.

Viper99
September 15, 2011, 02:10 PM
Try the Walther PPS 9mm. It is probably the same size as the Sig P232.
Kahr PM9 is another but they are kind of finiky or at least mine was.

Vermonter
September 15, 2011, 02:36 PM
So first off I couldn't let a thread about the .380 go without mentioning that I love my Ruger LCP to death. This little thing has come with me to work in professional dress every day. I too was worried about the caliber. Now I picked up an LC9 earlier today. I figure in casual wear I will carry the lc9 and during work I will carry the lcp.

Thanks, Vermonter

RsqVet
September 15, 2011, 02:45 PM
Bad luck with kahr here so I would rather a 380 that worked than a 9 that does not.

I do not think anyone is under gunned with a 380 if you know how to use it.

FWIW Uzi Gali when he died had a sig 230 380 next to his bed

wnycollector
September 15, 2011, 03:03 PM
I think you should get one of the SIGs (or walther) you like rather than trying to make yourself like a 9mm that just doesn't do it for you.

I personally feel perfectly comfortable carrying my Beretta 84 with 14 rounds of BB 100gr hard cast FP .380 loaded in it. It weighs only 4oz more loaded than my all steel S&W Model 36 snubbie and is has very comparable dimensions (length, width and height). The Beretta is very easy to carry IWB and allows me carry a very accurate reliable handgun most of the time. In the winter the added layers of clothing will allow me to carry my SIG P220 more, but the beretta will still see significant belt time.

lamarw
September 15, 2011, 06:08 PM
When communicating the responsibility to get their point is the communicator; therefore I appologize for the poor communication about my picture. :o

I did mention the Sig was on the bottom, but I gather my point did not come across.

So, here is another picture with the two pistols side by side: