There's always the Ruger LCP.
I have a general question for anyone wishing to reply. I am in the process of purchasing my weapon for my CCW and am torn. My only real requirement for my new weapon is that it be somewhat small - I am 5'7" and 175 and anything too large will noticeably print. To mitigate this, I will order an IWB Minotar or Crossbreed after I get the weapon.
Here is where I am torn. I already have an XDM 9mm and have received a lot of good advice about staying with the same ammo type. Other than the Kel Tec, it seems that all the competition is about the same size. Since there is such a wide range of experiences with Kel Tec among owners, I have ruled it out. So here is the issue. Do I get a smaller weapon in the .380 or stick with the 9mm and a little bit larger of a weapon.
There's always the Ruger LCP.
You can get a 9mm for the size of some .380s
I'd go with a 9mm...that seems to be the accepted "minimum" round for self-defense. I'm looking into getting a Crossbreed holster as well, for my Glock 23 (.40)....I think if you get a good IWB holster such as that you won't have a problem with printing even if you get a little bit larger weapon.
9mm is probably easier to find than .380 as well...
If you plan on shooting it in the next few months, go with 9mm, simply because the ammo is very much so easier to get.
9mm. Plenty of options in the sub-compact area like the XD9SC, Sig P239, Glock 26, S&W M&P9c, etc. Remember you can "dress around" any gun. I've seen guys here post they carry full-size 1911's. Any gun can be carried if you alter your wardrobe for it.
It depends almost entirely on what is acceptable to you as a carry mode.
If you need to carry it in a blue jeans pocket, .380 in the Keltec or LCP is about the best you can do. If you can carry it IWB all of the time, there are plenty of single-stack 9mm out there that should work, and they are most definitely preferable to .380 for a self defense gun.
I carry a .380 in blue jeans quite a lot, because it is just the best I can do, sometimes. But whenever I can carry in a method other than a pants pocket, I usually have a 9mm or .45.
I know you said you ruled out the Kel Tec, however, I own one and am 100% pleased. It shoots well. Is it a "fun" gun to shoot? An emphatic no! But I you are not looking for a plinking toy. I say go with the Kel Tec P11 or PF9. I have a P11 only because I didn't like the feel of the PF9. As one poster stated you can always dress around what you want to carry. When I am not carrying the P11, I either have a Sig P239 or a Springfield Micro Compact Operator. Never have I had an issue with anything I carry.
I would go 9mm no doubt. .380 ammo is very hard to come by and 9mm has a bit more power to stop. You can get very nice 9mm like a Kahr for instance that are very small and easy to conceal but dont kill your hand to shoot like the Kel Tec does.
All the sub 9 mms like XD, Glock 26, Bersa 9UC, Kahr CW9 or PM9 and everyone elses favorite brand when holstered correctly and dressed appropriately can be worn with only those trained to ssee can tell. I work in ann office wear shirts and ties or Kakkies and golf shirts tucked in. I carry everyday of the week in my office. No one is the wiser. Kaahr CW9 Cross breed Super tuck or on occasion an Ace tuckable when I neeed to remove it and put it back in.
Go 9mm for sure!!!!!
You will be suprised at what you can carry.... like Todd said if you dress around your weapon. Very few people are observant so what little bumps you pistol make that cause you to worry will never be noticed. I'm 5'-11" and weigh 209. When I carry it is a 1911 Commander. I either use a high ride pancake holster with an untucked tee or a jacket or my Supertuck with a tucked in shirt. It's a large but flat pistol. The trick is to find that spot were the butt of the pistol tucks into your side just right. Your clothing doesn't have to be skater loose neither. You need just enough extra material so it drapes over your pistol.
I wouldn't mess with the .380 and find yourself a nice slim 9mm.
No matter how you carry it, YOU will see it unless you're packing a mouse gun. That's just the way it is. With the Supertuck or any other IWB holster your hips are gonna look lopsided to YOU. If you wear a high ride holster with an untucked shirt there will be this buldge when you turn this way or that. If you take a little care nobody but you will see it. One the subject of small pistols....The smaller they get the harder it is to hit what you aim at quickly. The trick is to find a balance between size and your ability to shoot it well. Carry the smallest big pistol you can both hide and shoot.
I have a 2 .45's, a Glock 26, a Walther PPK/S, A Sig P230, a Sig P232 and a Ruger LCP.
I've carried each one of them concealed.
I carried concealed for years and just keep gravitating to smaller and smaller guns.
I carry my LCP all the time now in my front pocket in a DeSantis Nememisis holster.
Unless wearing a heavy coat when outside - then I carry my Kimber.
I'd rather carry the LCP than anything else now.
If you think the only way you will carry all or most of the time is if you get a gun the size of the LCP or Kel Tec .380 then go that route. They are extremely light and thin. I use the clip on the side of the gun to carry mine most of the time. You pretty much don't even notice you are carrying. Load it up with something good like Buffalo Bore +P Flat Nose 95 Gr. It will do plenty for an extremely small package. For me I am only carrying this when I can't carry anything else. This happens a lot!
My next step up for size and firepower is the Glock 26 and Glock 33. The 33 gets carried 100% of the time over the 26 for me but either will suffice. The problem with the gun this size is it's like a little brick in size/weight comparison to the Kel Tec. Still the 33 with 1 shot extension and a total of 11 rounds of .357 sig is a heck of a lot more firepower than the little .380. I carried it at 4:00 IWB for years. I recently started using a 5.11 holster shirt too. The 33 in that 4:00 position saved my life once. I will not go into details but the .357 sig is a definite stopper too. I am very glad I had it over the .380.
A good compromise might be the Khar PM9. I have not shot that gun so I don't know how it shoots. Size wise it seems very good! The Sig 239 in 9mm shoots great and is thin and easy to conceal most of the time. I think the PPS is similar sized. To me weight is a major issue so pay attention to that when making your decision. You need to pick a gun that you know will be comfortable to carry and conceal. Not one that will stay at home.
Some really smart person said that the first rule of gun fighting is to have a gun. If you are nervous about being able to properly conceal, you will eventually stop carrying all the time, and when you do that, you are just guessing at when you will need to defend yourself. That is a low percentage gamble.
By all means, carry a 9mm or bigger if you can. There's no question that that's the best, but if you just can't manage it, get something that you can manage and learn to shoot it well enough to give yourself a chance...and get used to the idea that you will need more than one gun.
No reason to write a book here.
9mm luger, I would go with nothing smaller in this day and age.
seems a lot of people are asking the same questions lately.
Before you buy. You might consider this pistol.
a slim 9mm for CCW, the soon to come Bersa 9 BPCC 9mm
I believe it is an 8+1 single stack mag. And should be priced at about 350.00
During the summer, I tend to carry my P3AT more than anything else, but I have to say that if you are going to get just one carry gun, then make it a 9mm. More power, cheaper to shoot, more model choices, and more types of range or SD loads to choose from. There are small nines that you can easily conceal. Take a close look at the Kahr CW9 or the more expensive PM9. The PM is only slightly larger than some .380's, and smaller than the larger .380's. The CW is about 1/2" longer/taller, and can often be found for under $450.
My PM9 is carried most during the other three seasons, unless I'm going to the big city, in which case I carry a Glock or a .357 mag......
9mm is a NATO round, which means countries are always producing it, there is less likely to ever be a serious shortage of this round as long as militaries are producing it. The cost is somewhat reasonable.
380 Automatic Colt Pistol is not a NATO round, when the supplies get low and people start snapping it up, the demand will drive the cost through the roof. Like we all saw in the past year.
I say stick with 9mm.
Thanks everyone for their insight on the ammo. It seems the consensus is to stay with 9 so I think I will! Thanks again ... the internet is AWESOME!
I carry either a .380 or 9mm and trust both. I carry a Bersa Thunder .380 loaded with Corbon Pwrball 70 gr ammo and at times I carry a Ruger SR9c 9mm loaded with Hornady Critical Defense 115 gr ammo. Either one will do the job.
This is a very old thread and a lot has changed including 9mm pocket guns that are close in size to a 380.
My Beretta Nano is on the heavier side for 9mm pocket guns, but the weapon is built to last and the extra 3 ozs over a Kahr PM9 makes for a very enjoyable trip to the range and a weapon that honestly can compete at self defense distances with the full size semi autos for accuracy. Expect 1 1/2 inch groups consistently at 7 yards with 7 rounds and that is coming from a guy that shoots with bifocals.
No question in 2012 9mm is the no brainer choice over 380 unless you plan to conceal in a speedo than I would go with a Ruger LCP.
9mm ammo is cheaper and my Gold Dot +P 124 grain JHP short barrel is packing 30% more punch over the hottest 380 load.
My 2 cents worth ...
Buy both ..my LCP in the pocket carry ..
My PM9 is my IWB primary carry ...
depends on where you live and how you dress
the pocket 380 is the minimum for SD so most people say
and its so light the pocket carry with a holster should be with you always
the 9's are harder to conceal so people use a vest or a wrap of some kind
not an issue with the pocket carry
the 9mm ammo is a lot cheaper
there are several good small 9mm manufacturers out there
I would suggest staying with the 9mm and go look at a Ruger LC9, $349 online, 7+1 , DA only w/slide safety, very thin. I really like mine.
Since you settled on the 9mm be sure and use high quality rounds designed for self defense.Federal,winchester and others produce quality rounds.Look at what the federal agents and large police depts use.These are choices based on lab and real world shootings.Although some are limited to LE only there are similiar rounds for civilians.You want a round above 1000fps,able to penetrate 12-15 inches and reliable expansion to somewhere around .60 diameter.Cost shouldnt be a concern on a primary carry round.This is the last place to scimp.Choices are a personal decision but look at the data out there on quality self defense rounds.Even experts dont totally agree but all seem to agree on some basic theories.There are no majic bullets but quality rounds along with sufficient numbers in a important vital area will stop the aggression.
The 9mm is a great round with proven performance.Now this part is just what I do.For practice I use a cheaper round that has closely the same characteristics.I do this as my primary carry round and range round perform pretty much the same.Be sure to fire primary carry to see how it performs.There should be no failures.Good to find out what went wrong at the range instead of when it is needed.Do some testing of your own.Use medium such as wet phonebooks,old car doors and homemade ballistics gel.There are recipes out there for gel that closely replacates 20% ordnance jell.It just requires a little work and it is fun to shoot.
I have ben doing A LOT of computer research, visiting LGSs, and shows recently since I am retired (lot of time available).
the only 380 I would get is the sig 238 - it a locked breech instead of a blow back
that ruger lcp tore my hand and my friends hand up with recoil - didn't get 100 rounds thru before quiting
I sold it
more and more people are finding and posting on the same thing i found
was thinking about the beretta cheetah or bersa thunder plus to have a large capacity gun but it is so hard to pull the slide because of them being a blowback design i gave up on them
I found a great thread on a different forum - with many replies - comparing the plastic 380 vs the sig steel locked breech
locked breech handguns are the way to go
don't think there are many blow back 9mms out there - just too much power
the new single stack 9s are wonderful but it seems from all my reading and my recent posted poll that the S&W Shield is the best single stack 9mm with that wonderful trigger
however IMO I want a pocket pistol so the sig 938 is my choice
I recently held one - by surprise i might say - thought it would be a long while before I saw one
it is just a bit bigger than the 238 sig but big enough to really make a difference
-> THE END ALL ANSWER
It's cute to say "oh i have big nuts and carry a 9mm/ .40 for self defense"
I have a .40 cal CCW G27 that i usually carry over my .380 S&W Bodyguard
BUT!!!! The .380 goes where the G27 doesn't/ can't... Consider that also 99.999% of the time you won't be drawing the gun anyways and itll just stay in your pocket. I will say I advocate having both a 9/40 ccw AND a .380 because you will be in better positioning with a 9/40, but the .380 will suffice