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Old September 3, 2012, 05:34 PM   #1
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380 Pocket Gun - which of these 3?

I have a friend that is looking for a 380 pocket gun for SD/CCW,

I suggested a Bersa CC 380 but he wants it to be simple, DAO and no hammer to catch as he will probably carry it in a pocket holster.

He's looking at the Ruger LCP, the Kel-Tech 380 and the S & W 380 Bodyguard. I pointed out that there is a price variance between the three with the Bodyguard being the most expensive but that it has a laser as well as a safety which I don't believe the LCP and the Kel-Tech have. Those features are not a deal breaker for him as he just wants a simple, pocket carry 380 and the price differences aren't a factor either.

His primary concern is reliability (which would be mine as well). i've never shot any of the three he's considering. (I personally CC a snubbie 357.) Can some of you that own one of these three makes comment on your experiences are and the pros/cons that you've experienced with them? He's new to CC and I've strongly advised him to carry an extra mag as well. I own six Rugers myself as well as a S & W but have never handled a Kel-Tech nor do I own a 380.

Thanks for any info/help - greatly appreciated!
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Old September 3, 2012, 06:05 PM   #2
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I have the LCP. You'll hate the sights - or lack of sights. The rest of the pistol is great. Slim and light weight - super easy to conceal.

I picked up the Pierce mag extension and a Hogue grip for mine. These made a decent gun great to shoot.

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Old September 3, 2012, 06:16 PM   #3
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I own the LCP and it's a great pocket gun. I have shot, but don't own the Keltec. I do own a Bersa 380 and while I like it, it's getting a bit too large for me to carry as pocket gun.

My LCP has been 100% reliable. I would describe it as "snappy".

A laser can be great, but they are almost impossible to see in daylight and bright light situations. They can be an advantage in dark or low light situations. I urge all my students to train WITH the laser and WITHOUT the laser so they don't become completely dependent on it.

I painted my LCP front sight (a nub) and rear sight (a channel) with white nail polish. I refresh as necessary to keep them visible.

Best of luck.

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Old September 3, 2012, 06:17 PM   #4
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Bodyguard 380. Usable sights and the best (all crappy) trigger of the bunch.

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Old September 3, 2012, 07:25 PM   #5
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I own the Keltec and have also shot the LCP. I liked the trigger better on the Keltec which is why I bought it over the LCP. Both are quite snappy and definitely not a 'range' gun. A firm grip is required to keep them cycling reliably. That said, mine has been 100% reliable.

I have no experience with the Bodyguard.
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Old September 3, 2012, 07:39 PM   #6
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Just got back from the range with my LCP, another 30 rounds without any problems. It's been my EDC for almost 4 years now.

My front sight is orange, rear white...helps a bunch.

My brother has the S&W it's a really nice little pistol and it also has a manual safety if that's something your friend is interested in. I'd love to see one in a 9mm with the same footprint.
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Old September 3, 2012, 08:05 PM   #7
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The LCP an excellent pocket gun. Reliable and very accurate within 7 yards although I'm sure with a little practice you could stretch that out a bit.

The LCP can be a handful at the range, but it is manageable. Ruger backs the gun with great customer service if you ever have issues with it.

I've got no experience with either the Smith or Kel-Tec other than handling them at the gun store. The Kel-Tec doesn't seem as well made as the Ruger or the Smith. The Smith seems very nice although the laser isn't my thing.
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Old September 3, 2012, 08:11 PM   #8
Bill DeShivs
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The Ruger LCP is simply the Keltec .380 in nicer packaging.
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Old September 3, 2012, 08:17 PM   #9
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LCP, yet to have a single failure over 300 rounds. I would say highly accurate for what it is. Sights are a bit of a challenge in low light. I put a side mount laser light on it, added 1 oz. I love it, easy to carry, reliable and accurate..
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Old September 3, 2012, 08:34 PM   #10
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I'd have to say LPC also. Been carrying one for about 2 years now either as primary in summer months or BUG in winter months. Over 1500 rounds and no problems! JMHO
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Old September 3, 2012, 08:37 PM   #11
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I have 2 LCP's. "nuff said.
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Old September 3, 2012, 08:54 PM   #12
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The sig 232 is the best 380 out there. Kind of expensive but would be my choice.
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Old September 3, 2012, 09:44 PM   #13
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I'm gonna throw a wrench in the works and strongly recommend the Taurus TCP. I love mine and it has things that a lot of the other ones don't. It has the slide stop with last round hold open and a much better trigger then all the ones I dry fired. Plus, no safety to mess stuff up and the internal lock that some people like.

That's my $0.02....

If I would have to choose between the ones you said though, it would be the LCP. Is the Bersa even in the same size class? I didn't like the BG at all when I held it. Like others have said the LCP is a more refined Kel Tec so the KT is out.

I would still go with my TCP though. The only ammo it doesnt like is the CHEAP Tulammo. The only thing I would trade it for would be the Sig P238, but that is over two times as much as the TCP.
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Old September 3, 2012, 09:54 PM   #14
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Why not bump up to a kel tec pf9? It's easily concealed in ones pocket and is chambered in 9mm.
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Old September 3, 2012, 11:52 PM   #15
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Sig p238, has night sights[$100 value] + all metal frame to withstand crushing if you sat on it, unlike other small plastic [mouse] pistols. Less recoil and bigger grip.
Has Taurus really spent more on shipping customers their firearms back to them than actual sales?
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Old September 3, 2012, 11:59 PM   #16
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I have owned all three, still have the LCP. It has proven reliable for nearly 2000 rounds.

My P3AT was junk. Wouldn't get through a magazine without a malf. The Ruger design is taken from the (public domain) Kel-tec design, but clearly improved in materials and with a noticeably beefed-up extractor. No way would I pick the P3AT over the LCP.

My Smith Bodyguard .380 also had multiple problems out of the box, and a very cheap feel in my estimation. It wouldn't disassemble properly, and the laser adjustment broke quickly. The laser I found to be useless due to the very heavy trigger. The laser does add recoil-absorbing weight which helps make the Bodyguard the most comfortable of these three to shoot. It also has real sights.

I sent the Bodyguard to Smith for service for the multiple problems, and their service IS truly fantastic. They send Fed Ex to your door, and the gun is back to you in a week, all on their dime. They fixed all the problems I had spotted, and even worked on the trigger, which I had complained about. They almost overdid it on the trigger, I think they lightened the striker spring to the point where I could only reliably fire U.S. ammo!

But the Bodyguard still proved excessively finicky as to what ammo it would feed. I couldn't find a hollowpoint it would feed for 100 rounds. Maybe I gave up too quickly, but I ditched it.

The problems with the LCP are the heavy trigger, the lack of sights, and recoil pain. The trigger smooths over time, the lack of sights doesn't really matter at close ranges up to 7 yards--just aim the slide and you can still hit your mark. Recoil pain is reduced by use of mag baseplate extensions from Ruger or Pearce Grip (which also helps you to hold on to the little bugger!) and a Pachmayr Tactical Grip Glove rubber grip slip-on.

The LCP is not a range toy, but you can get used to the recoil and it's really not bad after you get used to it.

If a gun isn't reliable, it's not suitable for defense. My LCP has easily been the most reliable small pocket pistol I have owned, and for that reason I kept it.
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Old September 4, 2012, 12:05 AM   #17
michael t
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I have 380 kel Tec and the PF-9 Neither are really range guns. PF is really snappy with a +P I also have 3 of the P-32's those are now mainly other 1/2 and my girls pistols
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Old September 4, 2012, 08:17 AM   #18
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I have owned the Kel-Tec .380 (3AT), the Kel-Tec P32, and the Ruger LCP. I sold both Kel-Tec's and will never sell the little LCP. The LCP has been my most reliable pocket pistol to date. It's an outstanding edc gun when you just can't/won't carry anything larger.
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Old September 4, 2012, 10:08 AM   #19
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I carry a LCP as does my wife, and daughter.
I put the pearce grip extensions on the magazines, and a Hogue grip on it, and it acually is fun now to shoot at the range, and much more accurate.
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Old September 4, 2012, 11:31 AM   #20
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Have 2 Kel Tec's one a .380 the other 9m/m. Both are great in a pocket holster(light weight and no print, small enough to put a money clip over), the .380 is easier to shoot, the sights are at best minimal, the trigger pull is long and heavy (probably why they don't have a safety), but at 22 feet you can still hit a human sized target center of mass with out a problem. The 9m/m is harder hitting and probably better for SD/CCW use but is a very hard pistol to practice with, hard recoiling with the same sights and trigger pull of the .380.
Best I could say is try to get him a bit of trigger time with all of the selections and then he can decide.
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Old September 4, 2012, 11:46 AM   #21
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I've not had any issues with my BG380. I do like the usable sights.
Try to find a place where you can actually hold all 3. There's probably not going to be a statistically significant reliability difference between any of them at this point, so it's just going to come down to which he likes best.
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Old September 4, 2012, 05:18 PM   #22
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I like the LCP much better than my Kel Tec and TCP. Never a FTF for any reason that is more then I can say about the other two that have FTF on every trip to the range for various reasons.
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Old September 4, 2012, 06:01 PM   #23
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Bodyguard being the most expensive but that it has a laser as well as a safety
he just wants a simple, pocket carry 380
A laser, and unnecessary safety are two steps away from simple!

the price differences aren't a factor either.
I can't personally comment on the Kel-Tec, but the slightly higher priced LCP has been noted as being highly reliable. Mine is 100% reliablr, accurate, and very easily carried without detection in a DeSantis Superfly, or Nemesis pocket holster.
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Old September 5, 2012, 06:46 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by CheapShooter
A laser, and unnecessary safety are two steps away from simple!

Edit: My father and I have put thousands of rounds through a P3AT without a hiccup. Our P32 that we owned needed some minor work and Keltec replaced parts for free. IMO, Keltec has great customer service so if you DO run into problems, you atleast know they will take care of it.

That is my $.02.
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Old September 5, 2012, 07:31 AM   #25
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I have a Bersa .380. Great gun, but a bit big for pocket carry. I use a Don Hume IWB for it and love it.
Of the other two, I have friends with each so I have fired them. Both pretty snappy. I personally don't pocket carry so I have no need for such a small gun, Besides, I have my Colt. Gov't .380 if so inclined. I highly recommend one.
Between the Kel Tec and the Ruger, I'd take the Ruger. Just felt it was a bit better made.
About sights-why do you need them for a pocket pistiol? If needed, it's going to be up close and personal. You would probably never achieve a shooting stance, let alone having the time to take careful aim.
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