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  1. #1
    hideit's Avatar
    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    Whcih 380 would you choose or have made?

    I wanted to say what is the best 380 out there but choose different words.
    The current issue of G&A magazine (pg 14) got me thinking about the very small sizes of the ruger LCP and the Sig P238.
    These are very small guns for pocket carry but don't fit a lot of hands.

    I passed up, in 1971, a Walther PPK in 380 and wish I could take that decision back. Back then they were great guns, a lot better than is what is made today. (so I've read)
    IF THIS IS WRONG - PLEASE RESPOND

    Then I started thinking about the Sig P232 in .380 and wondered if readers here think it is better than the presently make PPK. IS IT?

    I'm not real sure about a 1911 commander in .380 but I understand where he is coming from - i.e. a .380 that fits the hand better.
    COMENTS?

  2. #2
    berettabone is offline Banned
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    To me, a 1911 in .380 would be a waste....if you're going to conceal carry something that large, might as well have a larger caliber for sure, and if you're going to open carry, still might as well have a larger caliber. I don't know about your area, but .380 ammo is getting really expensive...... PPk's are nice, old, or new, but I don't like the weight, or the trigger, personally...not to say that they are a bad firearm, just my tastes.......won't comment on the P232..don't know enough about it........I carry a S&W Bodyguard, because it's small, I can carry with a desantis holster, it's light enough, and I have fired it enough to trust it. Is it the most accurate.....no, but I do not intend to get into firefights with it, it is for close quarters only, and for that, I trust it.......just got rid of my Beretta 84fs, nice firearm, but too bulky for carry, and I just wasn't accurate enough with it. I am slowly fazing myself away from .380....it's just getting too pricey, and it's more enjoyable for me, to shoot larger calibers. The Bodyguard's, and the LCP's, and other such models are small in the hand, and take some getting used to, and lots of practice, and even then, they are for 12 yds. or less, in my opinion. I will keep my BG .380, but it will be the only one I own going forward. Other larger caliber firearms in the compacts, are still too difficult to shoot accurately. Like everyone else, I am still waiting for the perfect firearm, but I won't hold my breath....that's why alot of people own more than one firearm, for more than one application.

  3. #3
    Bisley's Avatar
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    The only value a .380 has for me is that it allows for a smaller platform than a 9mm - pocket size, to be more precise. The smallest 9mm (9x19 Luger) is just a bit too large for my pockets (without printing).

    So, anything in a .380 that is larger than a Keltec P3AT or a Ruger LCP is a 'too weak' chambering in a 'too large' platform, in my opinion. The PPK's and their many copies should be 9x19s, in my opinion. It's true that pocket pistols are too small to be comfortable in the hands of a grownup, but they can be adapted to. A small pistol in a weak chambering is already a compromise, so learning how to grip and shoot one somewhat accurately is just part of that.

  4. #4
    genesis is offline Member
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    Hi Hideit. I assume you're looking for a CC gun, or at least something small. I'm a revolver guy, so a 380 auto wouldn't interest me. I've had my share of autos and they worked just fine 99.999% of the time. The mag capacity of most small 380's isn't much greater than a Ruger LCR. My girlfriend has a Ruger LCR 38 Special-$399 (not the 357), which I have shot extensively. It's one sweet gun. Light as a potato chip, reliable as dirt, butter smooth trigger, and accurate as all heck. Don't tell me ya can't hit anything at long distance with a snubby. But CC guns are designed for close range work anyway. And that whole thing about recoil in a light gun is blown all out of proportion. I taught my 67 year old girlfriend how to shoot her LCR, and now recoil is no problem for her. She's gotten really good with it. 3 out of 3 on a pie plate at 15 feet in 3 seconds! I pity the poor soul she drops the hammer on! But we practice A LOT together. Drill after drill after drill, again and again and again! I reload for both of us. Drop an LCR in your front pocket, and you will literally forget it's there. It's that light! If ya need to use it, just pull it out and pull the trigger. BANG! I'm not a big fan of caliber or firepower either, as skill and presence of mind trump those things every time. But a 38 special is more than a tad better than a 380. Plus with a revolver, there are no safeties or malfunctions to deal with. I'm not saying a revolver can't malfunction. Happened to me in a match once. But I was able to simply pull the trigger to fire the next round, and still won the match. (True story - Bowling pin shoot) It all boils down to personal preference. I'd prefer a 5 shot revolver to any auto for CC. That's just my preference, plain and simple. Now don't you all flame me. You all are entitled to your preferences to. There's no right or wrong or good or bad in a preference. So the OP should get whatever he's most comfortable with. Then practice, practice, practice! And by practice I mean not only for accuracy, but practice evaluating and clearing malfunctions quickly. I notice he's a senior member, so he's probably already familiar with all that. But a newbie/rookie reading this post is not gonna be familiar with stuff like that. That's why I mentioned it.

    Good luck with your new purchase Hideit. Let us know whatcha get.

    Don <><

    Here's a 15 minute video review of the Ruger LCR in 38 Special.
    Maybe you'll like it and maybe you won't.
    I'm just trying to give you some choices.
    Maybe you just prefer autos. So be it.


  5. #5
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    A 380 that you won't be trying to conceal... Best 380 made IMHO - is the Beretta Cheetahs... I like the single stack version, because it just fits the hand so nicely. But, there is a 13 round doublestack one made too.

    If I was gonna CARRY a 380 as a mouse gun... For a pocket, I'd grab a Kahr P380.

    Carrying a single action in a pocket is not something I really want to do (the Sig 238). SO, I wouldn't buy that Sig...

    If I was going to carry a 380 in HOLSTER on my belt (either OWB or IWB)... I'd pick the Beretta or the Sig 232.

  6. #6
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    I may have to transition to a .380, the result of arthritis.
    If I do, it will be a Colt's M.1903 Pocket Hammerless, which is a medium-size semi-auto. (Some people call the .380 ACP version of the M.1903 a "M.1908," but that isn't really correct.)

    The reason for carrying such a "large" .380 is that ol' debbil arthritis: The larger grip makes this pistol harder to hide, but much easier to hang onto. Its single-action trigger, and safety lever (just a little too small), makes trigger control easier. (But I just hate its grip safety.)

    About that PPK...
    I am a firm believer in trigger actions which stay the same, all of the time.
    It's hard enough, to reliably hit what you're aiming at with a pistol, without then adding the complication of a changing trigger when your mind is occupied instead with saving your life.
    So my personal preference is that my carry pistol have either a double-action-only (DAO) trigger, or a single-action (SA) trigger and a safety lever. That decisively rules out the PPK's "traditional double-action" (TDA) trigger, with its DA first shot, its SA subsequent shots, and its hammer-dropping safety.

    I've shot SA-with-safety 1911s for years and years, so it's an automatic, built-in part of my drawstroke, to get my thumb onto the safety, press it down, and leave it there to stabilize my grip and the gun. If I'm carrying a gun in a OWB holster, it's a 1911; so if I have to reach for it at about "4:00," the thumb action proceeds without conscious thought.
    My EDC nowadays, though, is my AMT .45 Backup, which is DAO. I've carried that, and practiced with it, for years and years, too. If I'm carrying a gun in my front pants pocket, it's the AMT .45 Backup; so if I reach into my pocket, I am programmed not to deal with a safety, but instead to work with a DAO trigger.
    It's all a matter of practice, practice, practice.

  7. #7
    VAMarine's Avatar
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    And my answer is........




    Colt .380 Government






    Don't let the Government fool you, think of it as an enlarged Colt Mustang / 238


    I need to try and find one in rough shape and have it fluffed up and some decent sights added. The one pictured is too nice to carry.

    Would love to have one made up like THIS

  8. #8
    rex
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    I haven't seen the new PPKs,but the originals had an attrocious trigger and the bottom of the slide was sharp enough to draw blood on the web of your hand.I hads 2 Sig 230s and they were very good pieces,basically Sig's version of the PPK.The blue version was really nice to carry because of the aluminum frame,the stainless was quite heavy.Unfortunately Sig saw fit to revamp them in the newer 232 and had problems in the beginning with a redesigned breechface,but as far as I can tell the issue has been solved.

    I'm not a big fan of the 380,but if I were to get one I'd find an old blue Sig or the Beretta 84 or 85,whichever one is the doublestack.

  9. #9
    berettabone is offline Banned
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    I would have to agree that the Beretta Cheetah 84fs could be the best .380 out there, as far as feel, ease of maintainance, etc., but if you're a shirt tucker like me, can't CCW the thing, and you'd have to change the sights....atrocious.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwreck View Post
    A 380 that you won't be trying to conceal... Best 380 made IMHO - is the Beretta Cheetahs... I like the single stack version, because it just fits the hand so nicely. But, there is a 13 round doublestack one made too.

    If I was gonna CARRY a 380 as a mouse gun... For a pocket, I'd grab a Kahr P380.

    Carrying a single action in a pocket is not something I really want to do (the Sig 238). SO, I wouldn't buy that Sig...

    If I was going to carry a 380 in HOLSTER on my belt (either OWB or IWB)... I'd pick the Beretta or the Sig 232.

  10. #10
    chessail77's Avatar
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    Had a PPK and it was a bit risky to shoot as hand placement was vital to keep all your hide, was heavy and trigger was marginal, sold it and bought a Bersa which was modeled after it and shoots much better. ...JJ

  11. #11
    hideit's Avatar
    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwreck View Post
    A 380 that you won't be trying to conceal... Best 380 made IMHO - is the Beretta Cheetahs... I like the single stack version, because it just fits the hand so nicely. But, there is a 13 round doublestack one made too.

    If I was gonna CARRY a 380 as a mouse gun... For a pocket, I'd grab a Kahr P380.

    Carrying a single action in a pocket is not something I really want to do (the Sig 238). SO, I wouldn't buy that Sig...

    If I was going to carry a 380 in HOLSTER on my belt (either OWB or IWB)... I'd pick the Beretta or the Sig 232.
    thanks - that feedback is very good

  12. #12
    hideit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    I may have to transition to a .380, the result of arthritis.
    If I do, it will be a Colt's M.1903 Pocket Hammerless, which is a medium-size semi-auto. (Some people call the .380 ACP version of the M.1903 a "M.1908," but that isn't really correct.)

    The reason for carrying such a "large" .380 is that ol' debbil arthritis: The larger grip makes this pistol harder to hide, but much easier to hang onto. Its single-action trigger, and safety lever (just a little too small), makes trigger control easier. (But I just hate its grip safety.)

    About that PPK...
    I am a firm believer in trigger actions which stay the same, all of the time.
    It's hard enough, to reliably hit what you're aiming at with a pistol, without then adding the complication of a changing trigger when your mind is occupied instead with saving your life.
    So my personal preference is that my carry pistol have either a double-action-only (DAO) trigger, or a single-action (SA) trigger and a safety lever. That decisively rules out the PPK's "traditional double-action" (TDA) trigger, with its DA first shot, its SA subsequent shots, and its hammer-dropping safety.

    I've shot SA-with-safety 1911s for years and years, so it's an automatic, built-in part of my drawstroke, to get my thumb onto the safety, press it down, and leave it there to stabilize my grip and the gun. If I'm carrying a gun in a OWB holster, it's a 1911; so if I have to reach for it at about "4:00," the thumb action proceeds without conscious thought.
    My EDC nowadays, though, is my AMT .45 Backup, which is DAO. I've carried that, and practiced with it, for years and years, too. If I'm carrying a gun in my front pants pocket, it's the AMT .45 Backup; so if I reach into my pocket, I am programmed not to deal with a safety, but instead to work with a DAO trigger.
    It's all a matter of practice, practice, practice.
    steve: sorry to hear about the arthritis but yea it happens and probably to me soon.
    so here is a notable gun writer stating he would like to see a bigger 380 and he goes right to the top of the 1911 type guns. wonder if he even thought about Browning's original 380 design. You have a great point on this weapon - original design and by the famous JMBrowning.

  13. #13
    hideit's Avatar
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    yea VAMarine - i wonder how many even remember Colt's Government 380

    Didn't it have a lot of design problems - or did it just not sell because it was ahead of its time for the 380 crowd

  14. #14
    VAMarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hideit View Post
    yea VAMarine - i wonder how many even remember Colt's Government 380

    Didn't it have a lot of design problems - or did it just not sell because it was ahead of its time for the 380 crowd
    The latter, the Colt .380s actually run pretty well. When Colt trimmed back their offerings in the 90's, the .380 variants were axed.

  15. #15
    hideit's Avatar
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    thanks again SHIPWRECK AND STEVEM1911A1
    I already own 3 pocket pistols and a 1911 NIB west point pistol that i don't want to break in

    did some more research today and that colt pocket hammerless has about the same dimensions and weight as the Cheetah but it is a lot more expensive if you can find one. and I wouldn't want to carry a collector's gun.
    That Cheetah has almost identical dimensions as a glock 19!
    However recoil and over penetration are two reasons I like the 380.
    what started off as a little research from Patrick Sweeney's comment in the latest issue of G&A magazine has resulted in a new gun on my purchase list.
    now i gotta hold the cheetah 84 and 85 to see which feels better in the hand.

  16. #16
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    My favorite .380, overall, is my Beretta 84BB. The one I'd pocket-carry, though, is my trusty old Beretta Model 1934.

  17. #17
    Dragonheart is offline Junior Member
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    If you want a 380 I assume you want to carry? As far as full time carry in any kind of weather or dress means pocket carry. The best of the small 380's, suitable for pocket carry, that I have found, and I have looked and fired most of them, is the Sig P-238 and the Walther PPK/S. My opinion is based on reliability first and accuracy second. When I say accuracy, I mean a shooter with reasonable skills can empty the magazine into a six inch circle at 10 meters. Of the two my vote for #1 goes to the Sig due to it's smaller size, lighter felt recoil and the ease of racking the slide, which is a problem for a lot of women on most auto handguns. Obviously, there will be others with different opinions.

  18. #18
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by hideit View Post
    ...[I] did some more research today and that colt pocket hammerless has about the same dimensions and weight as the Cheetah but it is a lot more expensive if you can find one. and I wouldn't want to carry a collector's gun...
    Ours is not a collector's gun. Its condition is not fine enough for that.
    But it shoots to point-of-aim.
    It would be overpriced at $600.00, but they can be found for about $100.00 less than that.

  19. #19
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    Yes, check out the 84 and 85 cheetah to see which you like best. They really are almost like mini 92's. They are really overbuilt 380s, and would probably be the least recoiling current production 380s.

  20. #20
    hideit's Avatar
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    yea I looked at several youtube videos today and it is a mini 92 and thus i expected it to be overdesigned for a .380 WHICH IS GOOD
    less recoil, less over penetration - 14 rounds avail. - new 380 ammo is GREAT - what's not to like
    I used to own an LCP but sold it - when I practice I don't want to leave the range with a sore hand after 50 rounds - I usually shoot 150-200 rounds
    hmmmm I wonder if I can talk my wife out of that 38 spl snubby and into this? LOL

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