380 carry for the wife
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    Junior Member Audioi's Avatar
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    380 carry for the wife

    My wife is looking for something tiny to carry, she has a G43 and XDS3.3 but needs something smaller to fit her 105 lb frame. She picked up a Kimber Micro carry and liked it but I have read a few bad reviews, I am thinking a P238? What would you recommend?

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    Member Craigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audioi View Post
    My wife is looking for something tiny to carry, she has a G43 and XDS3.3 but needs something smaller to fit her 105 lb frame. She picked up a Kimber Micro carry and liked it but I have read a few bad reviews, I am thinking a P238? What would you recommend?
    All these micro size pistols are just plain hard to shoot well, but we all, including me, seem to desire them. We hope we can find that one which we can carry without really knowing it's there and yet be able to pull and use it in need like our favorite plinker. Well, it just ain't gonna happen, in my humble opinion. These little things make it a chore to practice, break in, and get good with. None are really comfortable to shoot. Like the Spanish trying to find the Fountain of Youth, I have been trying to find a comfortable mouse gun, and I just don't believe one exists. I think it's plain old physics which gets in the way. Sure, I can shoot a mag or two or even three without throwing it down in anger, but I can't shoot enough at a time to be called real training. Trying to get 300-500 rounds through one to break it in and to become a pretty good shot can try your nerves and your fingers. It's more work than pleasure especially when working out with warmer, heavier practice loads to match your carry load; so you can be ready.

    I love 1911 type platforms, but I really don't think it's the way to go for a pocket sized mouse gun like what you're considering. Often with smaller guns, things are tighter and stiffer. Just racking the slide is a bit harder with less to grab onto. It also has to be reliable and always feed that short 380 in hollow point. The sight radius will be short and the sights are often small, then you want to add the need to sweep a small safety lever?

    After trying and owning a plethora of these small guns, I settled on the new Ruger LCP II. For me, price was no object, and I did not settle on it because it's less than half the price of what you're considering. I chose it because it ticked all the check boxes I chose to be valid for a tiny pocket pistol. If you're interested, I put up a Range Report and mini review of this weapon yesterday in the Range Report forum on this site. Please don't dismiss it because it has the same name of the older LCP. This new generation is an entirely different gun. While the old model was double action only, this new one is single action only. A big difference. Brand new at the store, it won't be at its best. Clean, grease and put half a box of ammo through it and it's night and day.
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    Senior Member TAPnRACK's Avatar
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    My wife likes shooting my P238... as do I. Great gun with real sights and a slide that's very easy to manipulate. Safety is rock solid & will disengage when appropriate force is used as it is the perfect size. Unlike every other micro pistol I've tried, I can shoot this one all day at a range session without the palm sting felt by most other micro pistols & snubby revolvers. It is all metal which adds a little weight and eases felt recoil.

    Getting good groups at realistic ranges (for this type of pistol) is easy for both myself & my wife. My Copperhead model has Sig's night sights which are great... it's a Sig after all. Her friends that have tried it like it as well. I would definitely recommend getting the extended mag which will add to capacity and make the gun easier to grip properly without adding too much size.

    As to the Kimber... they are beautiful, but some can be very finicky when it comes to cycling ammo reliably as they tend to like only certain ammo types and don't feed reliably with what ever you have on hand or can find at the store. Some trial and error will be needed to find a round that will feed reliably.
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    Junior Member Audioi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craigh View Post
    All these micro size pistols are just plain hard to shoot well, but we all, including me, seem to desire them. We hope we can find that one which we can carry without really knowing it's there and yet be able to pull and use it in need like our favorite plinker. Well, it just ain't gonna happen, in my humble opinion. These little things make it a chore to practice, break in, and get good with. None are really comfortable to shoot. Like the Spanish trying to find the Fountain of Youth, I have been trying to find a comfortable mouse gun, and I just don't believe one exists. I think it's plain old physics which gets in the way. Sure, I can shoot a mag or two or even three without throwing it down in anger, but I can't shoot enough at a time to be called real training. Trying to get 300-500 rounds through one to break it in and to become a pretty good shot can try your nerves and your fingers. It's more work than pleasure especially when working out with warmer, heavier practice loads to match your carry load; so you can be ready.

    I love 1911 type platforms, but I really don't think it's the way to go for a pocket sized mouse gun like what you're considering. Often with smaller guns, things are tighter and stiffer. Just racking the slide is a bit harder with less to grab onto. It also has to be reliable and always feed that short 380 in hollow point. The sight radius will be short and the sights are often small, then you want to add the need to sweep a small safety lever?

    After trying and owning a plethora of these small guns, I settled on the new Ruger LCP II. For me, price was no object, and I did not settle on it because it's less than half the price of what you're considering. I chose it because it ticked all the check boxes I chose to be valid for a tiny pocket pistol. If you're interested, I put up a Range Report and mini review of this weapon yesterday in the Range Report forum on this site. Please don't dismiss it because it has the same name of the older LCP. This new generation is an entirely different gun. While the old model was double action only, this new one is single action only. A big difference. Brand new at the store, it won't be at its best. Clean, grease and put half a box of ammo through it and it's night and day.
    Craigh,
    I must admit they do feel like a tonka toy to me also but she still wants one for times when the bigger pieces will just not work. Funny you mention the LCP2 as thats where we started until she saw the 1911! I think the beauty of the Kimber caught her eye so after that I mentioned the P238.

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    Senior Member desertman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audioi View Post
    My wife is looking for something tiny to carry, she has a G43 and XDS3.3 but needs something smaller to fit her 105 lb frame. She picked up a Kimber Micro carry and liked it but I have read a few bad reviews, I am thinking a P238? What would you recommend?
    You might want to consider the Remington RM380. It's a DAO so there's no thumb safety to contend with it's about the same size as the Kimber Micro Carry and P238. It has an all aluminum frame, stainless steel slide and barrel. In my opinion it's one of the best 380's on the market for pocket carry and or deep concealment. It is a very close carbon copy of the Rohrbaugh 380 at about one third the price. For obvious reasons I'm not too crazy about carrying a single action semi auto in condition one (cocked and locked) in a pocket.

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    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Echoing Craig, I gotta note that if your wife wants to carry a mini-pistol for self-protection, she's gonna have to practice a whole lot with it.
    She's gotta get used to its recoil characteristics and handling difficulties before the fight ever begins.

    My wife chose a Kel-Tec P-3AT (.380) as her own carry gun.
    First, she learned to shoot a pistol using a full-size gun.
    When she was good at it, she tried every carry gun we owned at the time. None was exactly what she wanted.
    But one day I bought the Kel-Tec for myself, as a backup pocket pistol, and she latched onto it and has never let go.

    Be aware that if she's gonna use a .380 for self protection, she's got to become very short-range accurate with it.
    Shooting a cartridge that low in power means that hit placement is the most important issue.
    Being accurate very quickly also helps a lot.

    Practice, practice, practice!
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    Junior Member Audioi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Echoing Craig, I gotta note that if your wife wants to carry a mini-pistol for self-protection, she's gonna have to practice a whole lot with it.
    She's gotta get used to its recoil characteristics and handling difficulties before the fight ever begins.

    My wife chose a Kel-Tec P-3AT (.380) as her own carry gun.
    First, she learned to shoot a pistol using a full-size gun.
    When she was good at it, she tried every carry gun we owned at the time. None was exactly what she wanted.
    But one day I bought the Kel-Tec for myself, as a backup pocket pistol, and she latched onto it and has never let go.

    Be aware that if she's gonna use a .380 for self protection, she's got to become very short-range accurate with it.
    Shooting a cartridge that low in power means that hit placement is the most important issue.
    Being accurate very quickly also helps a lot.

    Practice, practice, practice!
    I wish I could shoot as good as she can and as I mentioned it's for the times that the 9mm won't fit.

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    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Yeah. I know.
    When my wife keeps her practice up, she can out-shoot me now too.
    But she gets complacent, and doesn't practice for weeks at a time.
    And then she wonders where her skill has gone.

    If she's gonna use a mini-pistol, she's gotta keep her practice up.
    It's not the same as shooting a full-size gun.
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    Junior Member pearsol's Avatar
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    20161024_084737_resized.jpg20161024_084930_resized.jpg
    +1 for the Sig p238 for your wife. It gives nice recoil control with it's metal frame. Is very reliable and feels good in the hands.
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    Member Craigh's Avatar
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    heheheh, my gal, Jan, outshoots me sometimes too. A lot of the time, especially when my health has taxed me like now. But, I do shoot better than she does with a tiny pocket pistol and for the exact same reasons Steve has stated. She just is not willing to put in the regular practice and training these small guns require in order to make them valid carry options, in my opinion. Why? Because at 68 years of age, 110 lbs. dripping wet, and 5'2" with small hands, practicing with these genre of handguns is just not fun for her. It's work and shooting is not something she really enjoys anyway. She'd rather be attending her book club or a concert.

    We've all read the reports which seems to suggest that individuals in home invasion and personal defense situations only get hits somewhere on the perpetrator 1 out of 10 times, if that. Moreover, the percentages don't seem to get much better with people, like me, who consider themselves not too bad at paper targets at the range or precision shooting. We still miss most shots when under all that stress. I mention this to emphasize the need to stack the deck as much as possible against that day which hopefully will never happen and you hear your back door being forced and your electric lines are cut. By stacking the deck, I mean things like extra weapons and magazines. I mean a flashlight close by and a previously made and practiced plan of action. I mean a gun which you can shoot well both fast up close as well as with careful precision at some distance. A gun with no safety.

    We also really need to try to come up with ways to learn how to shoot under stress. I've not figured that out yet and maybe we need a thread on that aspect alone. Even a short time ago, I believed and have opined here that I preferred to practice with round bullseye targets, but I've done a 180 on that these days. I was wrong. Thankfully not Dead wrong. I now think your targets should be the meanest, nastiest, thug looking, you can find. I'm not thinking this applies enough threat to be that effective, but it's better than all my NRA round targets for defensive training. This and maybe something like an IDPA club might go a bit of the way towards defensive training with some stress. As I said, a new thread asking others how they go about it might be helpful. I know it might be for me.

    thug.jpg
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    Member MoMan's Avatar
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    Another vote for the P238. I have one that is a dream to shoot. The recoil is very moderate, and I guess that is due to the fact that it has a bit of weight to it. The Sig Nite Sites are GREAT, as you would expect. What I really like about this handgun is that it is a 1911-esque SAO handgun, with a solid safety for cocked and locked carry.

    Sig P238.jpg
    Last edited by MoMan; 12-26-2016 at 10:32 PM. Reason: ADDED Picture:

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    Senior Member Cait43's Avatar
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    I also vote for the P238 Sig.... Nice trigger pull and as it has been stated recoil is manageable....


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    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craigh View Post
    ...I now think your targets should be the meanest, nastiest, thug looking, you can find...

    thug.jpg
    ...But please, not always the same thug. There are variations available. Use as many different ones as you can find.

    It is also useful to use obvious "no-shoot" targets, mixed-in with the thugs. There's lots of them, too.
    The shooter turns his/her back, and the helper moves the targets around and mixes them up. Then, when the helper is back behind the firing line, the time starts, the shooter turns to face the target, and he/she draws and has at it.

    I've always used IPSC silhouettes, which are not so obviously "people." I normally have painted the no-shoots white, and left the kill-'em targets natural buff cardboard. (Some buff targets are already paper-white on their backs.)
    You can staple two targets together, a white no-shoot in front and, behind it, a buff target that's only partly exposed (sometimes only the head shows).
    Any hit, even a mere "edger," on the no-shoot target is not permitted. Kill the no-shoot, and you, yourself, are dead.

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    Subcompact 1911s Just don't work wel

    Speaking of 3" type 1911a style guns for personal defense, I came across this video today and I certainly agree. I'm not sure it matters what caliber. Don't get me wrong, I love the 1911a platform and own several full size or Commander size models. If you take good care of it, keep it clean and lubricated, use ammo it likes, and train hard with one, it can be a good defensive shooter. I think less so with the micro versions of this platform. I don't think it's a quality issue, but a design which doesn't lend itself to reliable operation when downsized a lot.

    The video is only a minute or so long and by Rob Pincus, a well known trainer with a good reputation.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P0edDYdqXU

    Remember, this is my personal opinion. I understand it can be an emotional issue, but I think personal defense is very important.

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    Junior Member Audioi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craigh View Post
    Speaking of 3" type 1911a style guns for personal defense, I came across this video today and I certainly agree. I'm not sure it matters what caliber. Don't get me wrong, I love the 1911a platform and own several full size or Commander size models. If you take good care of it, keep it clean and lubricated, use ammo it likes, and train hard with one, it can be a good defensive shooter. I think less so with the micro versions of this platform. I don't think it's a quality issue, but a design which doesn't lend itself to reliable operation when downsized a lot.

    The video is only a minute or so long and by Rob Pincus, a well known trainer with a good reputation.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P0edDYdqXU

    Remember, this is my personal opinion. I understand it can be an emotional issue, but I think personal defense is very important.

    And we do appreciate your personal opinion otherwise I would have just bought what I thought was good, please give me as much input as you can, it helps the end result.

    When it comes to full size guns I am happiest with my 1911 45 cal. Dan Wesson, that said my personal carry says Glock primarily due to the reliability, it doesn't make me a Glock lover but I do support them when asked.

    The reason I came to the forum was to obtain info for a pellet sized pistol my wife can carry when her G19-4 or XDS 3.3 is too large.

    Originally I had chosen the LCP2 but when she handled it and said I want something better, maybe heavier we started looking at the small 1911 platform.

    What other tiny pistols fit?

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    Senior Member TAPnRACK's Avatar
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    Look at Kahr P380.... Kahr's are great quality at a reasonable price. Very thin and can take a beating (good quality to have for carry gun). Amazing triggers and great sights make this a viable option.
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    Senior Member tony pasley's Avatar
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    I had a Colt 1911/.380 and it was pleasant to shoot and had it till my youngest daughter wanted to borrow it, I am still waiting for her to return it 6 years later.

  20. #19
    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craigh View Post
    Speaking of 3" type 1911a style guns for personal defense, I came across this video today and I certainly agree...I don't think it's a quality issue, but a design which doesn't lend itself to reliable operation when downsized a lot.

    The video is only a minute or so long and by Rob Pincus, a well known trainer with a good reputation.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P0edDYdqXU
    In this case, I do not completely agree with Pincus.

    First, as a self-defense pistol, the 1911 is at least adequate. Properly set up, it is just as good as any other self-defense gun. Some are better than that, although at that level it all depends upon the training and skill level of the user. I am confident that my two full-size 1911s are superior self-defense weapons.

    Second, talking only about the "shortie," I agree with Pincus that the Colt's 1911 platform is not well suited to downsizing. I own a shortie 1911 that was built by a talented master gunsmith long before there ever was an Officers' Model .45 ACP. It works quite well, but only if it is kept scrupulously clean.
    On the other hand, I also own a Star PD, essentially a shortie 1911 (with a few small design changes), and it always works flawlessly. However, its heat-treated parts are suspect because its manufacturer's techniques were sloppy and inconsistent. One day, the wrong part will break at the wrong time, and I'll be out of luck.

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    Member Craigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    First, as a self-defense pistol, the 1911 is at least adequate. Properly set up, it is just as good as any other self-defense gun. Some are better than that, although at that level it all depends upon the training and skill level of the user. I am confident that my two full-size 1911s are superior self-defense weapons.
    Don't get me wrong on this. I'm coming at this "personal defense" issue from someone who has been a 1911a supporter and promoter all my life. Big ones, small ones, light ones, heavy ones. I was one of the early adopters to own a Detonics Combat Master at the suggestion of Jeff Cooper in a write up back in the mid-1970s. I'm sure you remember those. I've owned and loved the 1911a platform more than any other pistol design made, maybe all put together.

    The problem is I grew up in a somewhat rural environment where home invasions and car jacking didn't exist. I don't think dad ever locked the front door unless we went on vacation. Water Moccasin protection was more important than personal protection from a criminal. I used to ride my bike to a dove field down the highway with a 12 gauge shotgun strapped to the back and was never stopped by local law enforcement. Strict 100% reliability was just not something I thought about during years of competition, hunting, and plinking. If you failed to sweep the safety, it was an embarrassment. You got a stovepipe and you cussed.

    Today, the case is altered. I now live more in town. There seems to be a greater disregard for other's property and lives. Law enforcement officers are governed by stricter rules of engagement while criminals are often given a pass. I have an alarm system with cameras and have to lock my door even when at home. For the first time in my life, I felt the need to get my CCW permit and carry. So, in these new times, I just feel my favorite platform does not check all the boxes I set for a primary defensive handgun.

    That all said, my newest 1911 which is the Remington R1 Enhanced full size has been totally reliable so far and I've put over 500 (closer to 1000) rounds through it of mixed bullet type from old dixie cups to modern range ammo. Even some, I hate to admit it, 200 grn semi-wads I hand loaded over 30 years ago in really well used range brass. This earns it my backup house gun loaded with 230 grn. Hydro Shock.

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