There are other advantages to using a medium weight weapon such as the PPKS and the not much lighter Sig 238 is that the gun will recoil less. This can be a huge advantage to those people who are recoil sensitive and can make the .380 a more potent weapon in their hands than a small 9mm.
380's are great for lightweight carry and easier to shoot, and I do really like to shoot my Bersa 380. And, with todays 380 HP ammo, I carry with complete confidence.
But I still prefer to shoot 9mm's....
I also find I am more accurate with the 9mm's, so I prefer them.
My Bersa 380 has been totally reliable and my favorite until I found an Astra A-60.
Beretta 84BB and Llama 380c are on my wish list.
I personally love the Bersa Thunder UC.
It has never failed me and that is saying allot because I shoot every weekend.
It's slim,light and leaves no footprint.
I also carry the 9mm Bersa which has become my gun of choice over my XD 45.
It's just easier to manage and it has less to go wrong with it and it goes bang, every time I pull the trigger.
I am a woman and I have a CZ83. The magazine holds 12 rounds and it is very accurate, BUT it is not a small gun. It is heavy and the grip is almost as big as my CZ P-01. I don't really think it could be called a pocket pistol.
... and then there's the trade-off between smaller guns and larger ones, in similar calibers....
small, short barrel, light weight = easier to carry/conceal, and greater perceived recoil....
large, longer barrel, heavier = faster/more accurate follow-up shots, and less perceived recoil....
The best .380 pistol is the one that YOU can carry all the time, shoot accurately, and has a very high rate of reliability. Thats my "best" answer to this very subjective question.
Beretta Cheetah series would be my #1 choice of a 380 that WASN'T bought to be a pocket gun ...
Don't forget the SigSauer 232, which I liked a little better than the Beretta when holding and dry-fire comparing at the gun store.
However, what's up with the wierd mag release on the bottom of the Beretta and Sig guns?....that is one thing the Cz has over the others in this class.
But, THE BEST 380 is the Bersa Thunder or Thurnder CC for concealment and could be considered pocket carry for larger pockets. The Walther PPK 380 is the elegant version of this design, but much heavier....the Bersa wins this one, IMHO with the alloy frame.
But the best 380 pocket guns are the Ruger LCP and Bodyguard 380Auto...
Put some MagTech 85Gr or Hornady XTP in them and reasonable shot placement and you have a deadly weapon.
I've mentioned this on these forums a before but I'm a pretty big fan of the Ruger LCP. I carry a Sig 226 9mm when I'm at home or out of state and it fits me fine but the GF is smaller with smaller hands. After shooting a dozen different models we came down to the LC9, LCP or the Sig P238. Having owned a Sig I was all set to buy her the 238 and be done but in all honesty she was more accurate with the LCP and it was a couple of hundred $$$ cheaper. From talking to everyone reliability is also extremely high so I felt comfortable buying it. We desperately tried to step up to 9mm but just couldn't find a model that was small enough to fit her hand that wasn't too snappy. The LC9 is a great piece but too much snap for her at this time (Only been shooting 18 months or so). We might step up to one in a year or so after a few thousand more rounds... I've put about 500 rounds through the LCP and she has about 1000 without any kind of failure.
As for stopping power...... I'm confident that .380 will save her life. I've seen the tests and it's almost as effective as 9mm but we ultimately made the decision because .380 was the largest caliber she was accurate with so I felt that 7 rounds on target was better than 15 rounds of something larger and I don't want her to think she can spray and pray.... The last couple of sessions I've had her shooting 8 inch dollar store paper party plates at 25 ft. The last session she shot a 100 rounds. 50 two hands with various stances (Hit 47 of 50). 25 left hand (hit 16 of 25), 25 right hand (hit 21 of 25). We also practice low ready, raise and fire which simulates what you would do in an actual event. Basically she holds the gun two hands in the low ready. I tap her shoulder at random times and she raises, acquires and fires. The last time we practiced this drill she had 18 of 21 on target again at 25 ft. Eventually I'm going to buy either a LC9 or a Sig P239. When she can duplicate these results with 9mm we'll move up. Until then I'm confident with her abilities and the LCP's stopping power.
As for me... I rarely carry the LCP unless I'm really dressed in something that won't hide the 226 or the odd time where someone catches me at the door etc. I do like it and i'm glad we have it. Actually shooting the gun takes practice because it is so short and the sights are minimal. The trigger pull is also long and doesn't break until the very end of the pull so it takes some getting use to but also makes it a very safe carry gun. Odds are I will never sell it even after moving her to something larger.