The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Semi-automatic Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 8, 2023, 11:36 AM   #1
cmdc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 1, 2010
Location: Florida Gulf Coast
Posts: 721
380 pocket pistol recommendations

I’m interested in which of the itty bitty offerings anyone would recommend and why.

Thanks
cmdc is offline  
Old March 8, 2023, 12:48 PM   #2
RickB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2000
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 8,503
I'd go with the SIG P238, or one of the variations on the theme made by Kimber, Colt, or Springfield Armory.
I'm a single action/external hammer/manual safety kind of guy, so manipulating the SIG requires no additional or alternate training.
It's a locked-breech design, so there will be less felt recoil, and easier racking of the slide than most or all blowback designs.
Even though it's all-metal, it doesn't weigh any more than most other compact .380s, though it's big enough to feel like a "real gun", and full-sized sights makes it easy to shoot.
I have over 5000 rounds through the 9mm big brother, P938, and if I needed something just a little smaller and lighter, the P238 would be my choice.
__________________
Runs off at the mouth about anything 1911 related on this site and half the time is flat out wrong.
RickB is offline  
Old March 8, 2023, 12:53 PM   #3
Rothdel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 9, 2015
Posts: 190
Assuming since this is in the Semi forum you are not interested in revolvers. if that is not the case let me know and I will include those.

I have tried many of the "pocket" .380s over the years. I say "pocket" because what fits in my pocket may not be comfortable for you and vice versa so recognize this is only my experience.

Currently I carry a Ruger LCP Max and I'm very very happy with it thus far. Solid capacity for the size and mine has been reliable. Recoil is manageable. I don't love taking it to the range to shoot it but practice is not painful over a box of ammo or so. Sights are decent but trigger is long and heavyish due to being double action. I shoot it OK but would be nervous for anything much past 15 yards. I'm not the best shot so a really good shooter would probably be fine past that I'm just not.
Rothdel is offline  
Old March 8, 2023, 02:19 PM   #4
dogtown tom
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 23, 2006
Location: Plano, Texas
Posts: 3,053
Quote:
RickB I'd go with the SIG P238, or one of the variations on the theme made by Kimber, Colt, or Springfield Armory.
I'm a single action/external hammer/manual safety kind of guy...
Precisely why thats not an ideal choice for a "pocket pistol".
John Browning knew why an external hammer wasn't ideal......lint and debris.
Thats why his "pocket pistol" designs didn't have exposed hammers.

****and by the way, I have a dozen .380 semiautos with exposed hammers and manual safeties. Colt Government Model, Colt Mustang, Browning BDA, Star S, SS, SM, Walther PPK/S among them.

The smallest gun I'll carry is my Ruger LCP "Coyote Special". Its no fun to shoot but conceals about as well as no gun at all.
__________________
Need a FFL in Dallas/Plano/Allen/Frisco/McKinney ? Just EMAIL me. $20 transfers ($10 for CHL, active military,police,fire or schoolteachers)

Plano, Texas...........the Gun Nut Capitol of Gun Culture, USA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pELwCqz2JfE

Last edited by dogtown tom; March 8, 2023 at 02:29 PM.
dogtown tom is offline  
Old March 8, 2023, 03:22 PM   #5
Loupgarou
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 9, 2002
Location: Nunya
Posts: 111
I've found that a great solution to pocket carry, for me at least, is not a .380 ACP of any kind, but either a S&W J-frame or a Walther PPS M2 in a Aholster or Alabama pocket holster. Both provide easy access (particularly the J-frame) and I soon felt comfortable with the weight. But for me, it has to be cargo pants with a capacious front pocket. This setup makes it simple and convenient for me to carry in this mode. YMMV.
__________________
I know who I am. I'm the dude playing the dude disguised as another dude.
Loupgarou is offline  
Old March 8, 2023, 07:57 PM   #6
lowercase
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2012
Posts: 287
I had an old model LCP, and was a first generation one at that.

That little gun saw more carry time than almost any other gun I own. It was also very reliable. The only trouble it ever had was with steel cased Tula ammo. I think the ammo may have been out of spec, but my LCP 2 has also refused to run Tula, so I just stay away from it.

That old LCP carried great. I own an LCP 2, and have always felt that the original carried better for me. The slope of the rear slide also helped it not to print in the front pocket of jeans. I gave the old LCP to my brother-in-law because he didn't have a carry piece and was interested in a small, discreet pocket pistol. He still has it and carries it every day.,

With all that being said, I have been looking at getting another old model, but 2nd generation LCP. I've always read that the 2nd gen triggers are much better than the 1st gen ones. I've specifically homed in on the one with a stainless slide and a metal, skeletonized hammer. I think it is some sort of anniversary model, but in any case, it is the one I want.

Here's a link to what I'm looking at.
https://www.kygunco.com/product/ruge...k-polymer-grip

I know the old-school LCP probably isn't the most exciting recommendation for a small .380, but mine was always good to me, and the improved trigger of the 2nd gen is a bonus.
lowercase is offline  
Old March 8, 2023, 08:09 PM   #7
481
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2011
Posts: 540
I'm kinda partial the Glock 42.

It's light, thin, flat, and certainly small enough to cover & conceal easily, yet still large enough (albeit barely) to get a reasonably decent grip on.

Spare parts, aftermarket parts, are all good due to the cottage industry that seems to follow the brand.

3.25 inch barrel gets .380 ball into decent velocity range.
481 is offline  
Old March 8, 2023, 08:44 PM   #8
zaitcev
Member
 
Join Date: January 8, 2022
Posts: 18
I have two G42s but I found them to be too long for a rear pocket.
zaitcev is offline  
Old March 8, 2023, 10:44 PM   #9
Doc Intrepid
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 22, 2009
Location: Washington State
Posts: 1,037
My favorite pocket .380 is the Kahr P380.

https://shopkahrfirearmsgroup.com/p3...ights-kp3834n/

As far as I know it's still the thinnest .380 pistol manufactured. There are actually two versions, the P version and the CW version. The former is the Premium pistol, the other is their less expensive version.

From Google - "What is the difference between Kahr CW380 and P380?
The main difference is that the Premium Series guns have more accurate match grade polygonal rifling. Similarly, while both the CW and P380s have drift adjustable white bar-dot combat sights, the former's are pinned down whereas the P380's are replaceable."

I wound up replacing the stock sights with XS's excellent "Big Dot" sights, as my eyes are not what they were 40 years ago.

https://xssights.com/products/dxt-bi...ghts-kahr.html

Obviously, the pistol you'll shoot best is the one that fits your hand best, but the Kahr P380 pistols are top of the line for quality and reliability. I've owned this one since around 2003 or so if I recall correctly, and it feeds and fires anything I've put in it.

ETA: Review @ https://lynxdefense.com/reviews/kahr-p380/

YMMV.
__________________
Treat everyone you meet with dignity and respect....but have a plan to kill them just in case.
Doc Intrepid is offline  
Old March 9, 2023, 01:44 AM   #10
Mosin44az
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 15, 2006
Posts: 2,578
After a break-in period, my Ruger LCP Max has been reliable and is decent to shoot, and in my view is the best of the “itty bitty” choices. Max has 10 round capacity to the regular LCPs’ 6, is more comfortable to shoot, and comes with a front night sight standard.

My Kel-tec P3AT was absolute crap.

My early Glock 42 had issues but my Glock armorer buddy who bought it from me was able to get them fixed. Glock apparently replaced some of the parts. I assume current examples work well. Shoots much nicer than LCP, but holds only 6 rounds if that’s an issue.

My SIG P365 9mm is very controllable and reasonably comfortable, and I assume the new .380 version would be even more so.

My SIG P238s were finicky and never fully reliable, and are single action which is awkward for a pocket-size piece. They shot nicely but I never was able to trust them.

My early Smith Bodyguard .380 was junk. Smith gave me a really fast turnaround on warranty service, and paid shipping both ways, but didn’t fix it. Even if a new one is more reliable, it still has a crappy trigger you would need to pay Apex or someone to improve. More comfortable on recoil than the LCP however, although the Max, with its wider 10-shot frame, is pretty close.

My Kahr P 380, like my other Kahrs, was an ammunition money pit. After expending hundreds of dollars on ammo trying to get it running, it was never fully reliable, and Kahr warranty service didn’t fix this.

As you can tell, I spent alot of time, effort and money trying to find a good pocket.380. Learn from my tale of woe.

I have since moved on to pocket 9mms, but still have three LCPs for when my pockets are too small or flimsy for the P365. Of the LCPs, the Max is the best.

If you are OK with slightly bigger and heavier, the P365 .380 and Glock 42 will shoot better.

I personally will never again buy any gun made by Kel-tec or Kahr, based on multiple bad experiences including those above. Oh and Taurus….
Mosin44az is offline  
Old March 9, 2023, 07:01 AM   #11
Ed4032
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 13, 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 304
The P365-380 works great for me. I can pocket carry it and that’s my preferred method.
__________________
Gun control is like stopping drunk driving by making it harder for sober people to drive.
Ed4032 is offline  
Old March 9, 2023, 11:14 AM   #12
Armybrat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 10, 2009
Location: Round Rock, Texas
Posts: 974
Lowercase,
Grabagun has that stainless LCP for a bit less (they do charge $7.99 shipping):

https://grabagun.com/firearms/handgu...to-pistol.html

I have carried my LCP almost daily since 2008, but am retiring it in favor of the new LCP Max.
Armybrat is offline  
Old March 9, 2023, 01:51 PM   #13
481
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2011
Posts: 540
Quote:
Originally Posted by zaitcev View Post
I have two G42s but I found them to be too long for a rear pocket.
Then you'll need to use a different (or bigger) pocket.
481 is offline  
Old March 9, 2023, 02:56 PM   #14
Mosin44az
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 15, 2006
Posts: 2,578
Or maybe a little cutout at the bottom!
Mosin44az is offline  
Old March 9, 2023, 04:14 PM   #15
TailGator
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 8, 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 3,786
My wife and I have Sig P238s, hers for a purse, mine for occasional pocket carry. (I more commonly carry a 9 mm IWB.) We haven't had any reliability problems with ours. I keep them reasonably clean of lint and such, but I'm not fanatical about cleaning them. They are quite pleasurable to shoot and accuracy is pretty amazing for such a small pistol. I'm not anything exceptional as a shooter, but I can keep rounds in the oval of a half-sized silhouette at 50 feet.
TailGator is offline  
Old March 9, 2023, 04:35 PM   #16
481
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2011
Posts: 540
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosin44az View Post
Or maybe a little cutout at the bottom!
Like ''chaps'', butt for pocket carry.

481 is offline  
Old March 9, 2023, 06:19 PM   #17
PSP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 2, 2006
Location: Bowling Green Virginia
Posts: 4,482
I currently carry a Beretta Pico in my pocket. I chose it over the other pocket guns available then because it had the features I wanted. The Pico is very light, very thin, has a hammer, good sights, and Beretta reliability. I like the DAO trigger and really like that there are three different frames available; standard, laser equiped or light equiped. I use the laser. Purchased mine in 2016 to replace a Seecamp. There has not been a single problem. It feeds and fires and ejects with great reliability as any carry gun should. It feels a bit odd in the hand but works very well. A good choice for a picket carry.
PSP is offline  
Old March 9, 2023, 10:20 PM   #18
Sigkid79
Member
 
Join Date: November 5, 2020
Location: Tampa, fl
Posts: 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosin44az View Post
After a break-in period, my Ruger LCP Max has been reliable and is decent to shoot, and in my view is the best of the “itty bitty” choices. Max has 10 round capacity to the regular LCPs’ 6, is more comfortable to shoot, and comes with a front night sight standard.

My Kel-tec P3AT was absolute crap.

My early Glock 42 had issues but my Glock armorer buddy who bought it from me was able to get them fixed. Glock apparently replaced some of the parts. I assume current examples work well. Shoots much nicer than LCP, but holds only 6 rounds if that’s an issue.

My SIG P365 9mm is very controllable and reasonably comfortable, and I assume the new .380 version would be even more so.

My SIG P238s were finicky and never fully reliable, and are single action which is awkward for a pocket-size piece. They shot nicely but I never was able to trust them.

My early Smith Bodyguard .380 was junk. Smith gave me a really fast turnaround on warranty service, and paid shipping both ways, but didn’t fix it. Even if a new one is more reliable, it still has a crappy trigger you would need to pay Apex or someone to improve. More comfortable on recoil than the LCP however, although the Max, with its wider 10-shot frame, is pretty close.

My Kahr P 380, like my other Kahrs, was an ammunition money pit. After expending hundreds of dollars on ammo trying to get it running, it was never fully reliable, and Kahr warranty service didn’t fix this.

As you can tell, I spent alot of time, effort and money trying to find a good pocket.380. Learn from my tale of woe.

I have since moved on to pocket 9mms, but still have three LCPs for when my pockets are too small or flimsy for the P365. Of the LCPs, the Max is the best.

If you are OK with slightly bigger and heavier, the P365 .380 and Glock 42 will shoot better.

I personally will never again buy any gun made by Kel-tec or Kahr, based on multiple bad experiences including those above. Oh and Taurus….
What did you experience prior to your break in period of your LCP Max. I ask because I had 2 LCP Max’s. Both purchased a year apart. I had the same exact issues with both firearms, resulting in me selling both.

Failure to feed, failure to eject, constant jams, failure to lock back after the last shot, etc. The first LCP Max was purchased immediately after it was first released and I attributed the issues to it being new. I purchased the 2nd one a year later hoping that the kinks were all worked out. I had the same exact issues all over again.

Did you have the same, or similar issues? And how many rounds did you fire during your break in period before you realized that you no longer had any issues?
Sigkid79 is offline  
Old March 10, 2023, 01:21 AM   #19
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 10,962
Small, lightweight guns are very susceptible to "limp wristing." Not holding the gun firmly enough can cause all sort of malfunctions.
__________________
Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
www.billdeshivs.com
Bill DeShivs is offline  
Old March 10, 2023, 11:53 AM   #20
ammo.crafter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 25, 2006
Location: The Keystone State
Posts: 1,964
baby pistol

I absolutely love my Sig P365. Never a FTF or FTE withh all kinds of ammo.
__________________
"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".
--Thomas Jefferson
ammo.crafter is offline  
Old March 10, 2023, 12:32 PM   #21
Mosin44az
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 15, 2006
Posts: 2,578
SigKid,

Per my logs I had 5 malfunctions in the first 280 rounds, all failures to eject. 1 each with a variety of loads.

I usually run at least 100 rounds through before deciding that a defense load is reliable, and very frustratingly, the Max had FTEs on the 92nd round of Hornady American Gunner and 75th round of Ammo Inc. jhp, wasting my jhp money.

I started to think that Ruger had not designed the double stack mag properly, and started tracking the mags to see if they were the problem. At one point only one of the three I have was working perfectly. After that one ran for 130 rounds (mix Ammo Inc. jhp and PMC fmj) I started shooting with the “bad” mags, and lo and behold, they started running fine.

I have now gone 300 rounds without a malfunction, mostly running Ammo Inc. jhp and PMC fmj, so consider Max now reliable. Was able to pass 100 round test with Ammo Inc., on the second try.

Took awhile. 580 rounds total, with all FTEs during the first 280.

Bought my Max in May 2022, it took until September to consider it good.
Mosin44az is offline  
Old March 10, 2023, 04:38 PM   #22
Mosin44az
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 15, 2006
Posts: 2,578
I should note that all my LCPs have the small finger extensions on the mags( I think they ship with at least one), and also have the Hogue wraparound rubber grip.

These add significantly to control and comfort when shooting, though recoil is still stiff. My original LCP would literally try to jump out of my hand without the pinkie extension on the mag.
Mosin44az is offline  
Old March 10, 2023, 09:17 PM   #23
603Country
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 6, 2011
Location: Thornton, Texas
Posts: 3,993
I have a Bodyguard 380, and yes the trigger was not great. Had it replaced and all is well. Shoots pretty good. Perfect size for the pocket.
603Country is offline  
Old March 10, 2023, 11:24 PM   #24
JasoninSD
Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2006
Posts: 86
I'm partial to the S&W Bodyguard 380 as well as the Kahr CT380. They both have long heavy double action trigger pulls, but I started out on double action revolvers so they feel fine to me. The Bodyguard is certainly smaller and should fit into any pocket. The Kahr is just slightly bigger but it is easier to shoot and will still fit in most pockets.
JasoninSD is offline  
Old March 11, 2023, 01:59 AM   #25
lowercase
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2012
Posts: 287
This thread got me looking more at small .380s and I came across the Diamondback DB380. It's smaller and lighter than the original LCP, and only weighs 8.8 ounces.

I own 2 DB9s (4th Generation) and love them. Diamondback just released a 4th Generation DB380 that has some improvements (Glock 42 compatible sights and a better trigger).

The 4th Gen DB380s are so new that they don't yet have any reviews. I may get one just to see if they're any good. DB380s have had quality control problems in the past, but the later guns get much better reviews. My DB9s have been great, but the earlier ones had tons of problems too. In any case, I'm not too worried about having to send a gun back to be fixed. My LCP 2 required 2 trips back to Ruger before it would even make it through a magazine without malfunctioning.
lowercase is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:09 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2021 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Page generated in 0.12340 seconds with 9 queries