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  #1  
Old 01-21-2013, 8:26 PM
Harleymrc Harleymrc is offline
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Default Which .380 Sub-Compact should I get and what's available for sale in CA?

I was considering the purchase of a pocket sized 380 ACP pistol and could use some advice... The only one I've seen/held is the Kahr P380, which was very nice, but a little pricey. I googled and found the Kel Tec P-3AT and the Ruger LCP, but I've never seen them for sale in a gun store. Does anyone know if the Kel Tec and Ruger are on the CA approved for sale list? Are there any other pistols of similar size that I should look at?

Thanks for the help!
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  #2  
Old 01-21-2013, 8:44 PM
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Im in the same market as you...

I don't believe the LCP is on the list, but it still can be had. Kahr is producing another micro pocket .380 called the CW380. It's the same dimension at the P380, however, there are some slight differences between the two. List price I believe is at $419. No word yet on a CA model.
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Old 01-21-2013, 8:58 PM
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First search "single shot exemption"

I have a LCP and like it but it has its limitations. It is very hard to shoot accurately because of the small sights and long double action pull.

Its realistic effective fighting range is maybe 7 yards at best.

all this said, I like the pistol for its purpose, a short range, compact, personal defense pistol.

I have no experience with the other pistols you listed
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  #4  
Old 01-21-2013, 9:00 PM
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I'd really like a Sig 232...

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Old 01-21-2013, 9:00 PM
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I have an LCP that I bought through the Single Shot Exemption and I love it.

Here is the link that explains the whole process (very easy) and which shops can help you out: http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=383692
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Old 01-21-2013, 9:09 PM
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Sounds like your looking off roster which means Single Shot Exemption.

It looks like the new ruger 380 on a LC9 frame should be on the list shortly if you want to wait.


I just ordered my first off list firearm(Glock 35 Gen 4) and have two more on my shopping list(Ruger Charger and LCP).
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Old 01-21-2013, 9:34 PM
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I have the SW BG 380 with built-in laser. It was off roster so I SSE'd it. Just like the LCP and most of the 380 ACP pocket pistols on the markt it has a DAO trigger. There are a few 380 pocket pistols that have the SAO trigger like the Sig P238.

I was able to learn the trigger and shot bullseye at 7-10 yards with my Bodyguard 380, but you have to remember these pocket pistols were not meant for bullseye shooting. They're meant to bust a cap in someone's *** at close range for self defense.
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Old 01-21-2013, 9:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ambrown307 View Post
I have an LCP that I bought through the Single Shot Exemption and I love it.

Here is the link that explains the whole process (very easy) and which shops can help you out: http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=383692
That single shot exemption is an interesting option, however I only saw one dealer listed for the San Diego area. Do dealers charge full retail plus a little extra for their services? What modifications were made to the LCP to convert it to single shot?

Thank you everyone for your input so far!
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Old 01-21-2013, 9:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Harleymrc View Post
That single shot exemption is an interesting option, however I only saw one dealer listed for the San Diego area. Do dealers charge full retail plus a little extra for their services? What modifications were made to the LCP to convert it to single shot?

Thank you everyone for your input so far!
They change your barrel to a longer barrel (8" barrel) and put a block to the magazine to only feed one bullet.

SSE is usually $100-125 + DOJ papers.
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Old 01-21-2013, 9:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dumas1012 View Post
I have the SW BG 380 with built-in laser. It was off roster so I SSE'd it. Just like the LCP and most of the 380 ACP pocket pistols on the markt it has a DAO trigger. There are a few 380 pocket pistols that have the SAO trigger like the Sig P238.

I was able to learn the trigger and shot bullseye at 7-10 yards with my Bodyguard 380, but you have to remember these pocket pistols were not meant for bullseye shooting. They're meant to bust a cap in someone's *** at close range for self defense.
That BG380 looks pretty nice! The Sig is nice too but I think I'll stick with the DAO. Did you have to pay a premium for the BG380 for the SSE?
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  #11  
Old 01-21-2013, 9:51 PM
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I had a off roster Kahr P380 and I just bought my fourth Ruger LCP, Eben with the crude sights I found I shot the LCP's more accurately that the twice the price Kahr, so I traded off the Kahr, and I am a big Kahr fan.

I buy my LCP's at Tracy rifle and pistol and I'm picking up one tomorrow from PRK in Fresno$403.78 OTD

I've also shot the S&W Bodyguard
380 if you want a biult in laser it may be for you, I ranked it third but I only shot one mag out of it.
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  #12  
Old 01-21-2013, 9:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harleymrc View Post
That BG380 looks pretty nice! The Sig is nice too but I think I'll stick with the DAO. Did you have to pay a premium for the BG380 for the SSE?
To tell you the truth, if I was to do all over again, I'd spend the extra money to get the P238. The DAO trigger is a pain in the ***. You'll have to take it to the range and practice shooting it. The trigger pull is so long by the time it breaks, you'll be shooting left and low (right handed). The laser to me is pretty much useless. It's nice to have but I'll never activate it if someone breaks into my house.

The Sig has night sights, SAO and a better 1911 style safety. Everything I need for home defense.

I paid $350 for the BG380 + $125 for SSE + $25 DOJ fees + tax. You'll be lucky if you can find one under $500 online. They're marking them up so high it's ridiculous.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Dumas1012 View Post
To tell you the truth, if I was to do all over again, I'd spend the extra money to get the P238. The DAO trigger is a pain in the ***. You'll have to take it to the range and practice shooting it. The trigger pull is so long by the time it breaks, you'll be shooting left and low (right handed). The laser to me is pretty much useless. It's nice to have but I'll never activate it if someone breaks into my house.

The Sig has night sights, SAO and a better 1911 style safety. Everything I need for home defense..
Very good point. Does anyone know if the Sig P238 is on or off roster?
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  #14  
Old 01-21-2013, 10:02 PM
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One reason I prefer a DAO .380 is if its going yo be in my pocket, even in a holster I want that very long DAO pull, I would not feel comfortable carrying a cocked SA pistol in my pocket.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:07 PM
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You have to remember, maybe "you" have a CCW, but I can guarantee 90% (maybe more) of us Californians don't.

I'm talking about home defense. You're right, having a cocked and locked SAO pistol in your pocket is quite foolish, but some people do prefer it.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by brianm767 View Post

I buy my LCP's at Tracy rifle and pistol and I'm picking up one tomorrow from PRK in Fresno$403.78 OTD
.
That's a great deal!
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  #17  
Old 01-21-2013, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by brianm767 View Post
One reason I prefer a DAO .380 is if its going yo be in my pocket, even in a holster I want that very long DAO pull, I would not feel comfortable carrying a cocked SA pistol in my pocket.
Cocked and locked in my pocket would make me very nervous too.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Harleymrc View Post
Very good point. Does anyone know if the Sig P238 is on or off roster?
Yes, the Sig P238 in two tone is now CA Compliant. The hard part is finding one that still on a shelf.

Btw, for reference, this is the DOJ roster:

http://certguns.doj.ca.gov/

You'll find out from this list that not too many pocket pistols are CA compliant and will need be bought out of state and SSE'd.
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  #19  
Old 01-21-2013, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Dumas1012 View Post

Btw, for reference, this is the DOJ roster:

http://certguns.doj.ca.gov/
Nice! I just saved that one to my favorites! Thank you!
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  #20  
Old 01-21-2013, 11:14 PM
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I've got 2 Sig P238's (one for me and the other for my wife) and I can't tell you how much I like them. I have carried, locked but not cocked (perhaps as I get alittle more comfortable I'll start cocking it). One cool feature I like with the P238 is that I can cock the slide with the safety still locked, then drop the lock and I'm ready to play. Night sights and picking up some 7 round mags with the pinky extension are a plus! I did have to SSE mine, but the two tone ones are now on the roster ... maybe hard to find though.
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  #21  
Old 01-21-2013, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Harleymrc View Post
Cocked and locked in my pocket would make me very nervous too.
it would be next to impossible to get the LCP to go off incidentally. that trigger pull is long.

but you should have a pocket holster anyways
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  #22  
Old 01-21-2013, 11:59 PM
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If you want a pocket "pistol," think about a snubby revolver. Much more available in CA and fairly workable as a pocket gun if you wear the right clothes. Look up "38 snubby" on the web and you'll be amazed at what you might learn.
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  #23  
Old 01-22-2013, 5:44 AM
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If you want a pocket "pistol," think about a snubby revolver. Much more available in CA and fairly workable as a pocket gun if you wear the right clothes. Look up "38 snubby" on the web and you'll be amazed at what you might learn.
I carried a J-Frame in the pocket for a long time before recently swapping over to a M&P Shield... Revolvers are ultra reliable, but I feel that carrying them in the pocket (I preferred IWB) can be bulky, even with loose clothing (due to the width of the cylinder). Also, I hated the long/heavy DAO trigger pull and felt recoil w/ hotter loads.
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Old 01-22-2013, 7:19 AM
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I replaced my pocket carry J frame,with a Sig P-238 SAS. It's an accurate little sucker too.(still have the J )
I looked all over for the Ca compliant 238, I could not find one.
Even though it show on the Ca roster, BUDs would not ship the Two Tone to me. on Sigs website it says Ca.= NO. I'm not sure if they are shipping the two tone here anymore.
I did an intrafamily interstate Transfer to get mine.

My second choice was the KAHR 380,they seem easy enough to find,I even saw one at Bass Pro two weeks ago.
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Old 01-22-2013, 7:42 AM
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LCP fan here. I pocket carry it all the time and it disappears. Very comfortable and reliable.

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Old 01-22-2013, 7:56 AM
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I did a lot of looking around to find the Cal rostered Sig P238 which is designated P238-380-TSS-CA and never found one or found a GS that has sold one. It's the added "CA" that differentiates the California rostered model from the standard issued Two-Tone model that the rest of the world can buy and from what I have gathered, I don't believe any of the "CA" models have been built or shipped. I hope a Calgunner(s) will check in and disprove my statement.
If you want to acquire a new P238 in this state, the only route is a SSE purcha$e. The good news is that they come in a huge variety of selections. I chose the HDW model-rosewood grips and all stainless steel. The shop that I purchased it from a few months ago had eight or ten different models in the case.
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Old 01-22-2013, 8:13 AM
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I have a bodyguard 380 and for a pocket pistol I really couldn't be happier.
Yeah its a long double action pull, I can hit all black at 15 yards constistently with the occasional flyer.
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Old 01-22-2013, 9:59 AM
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I did a lot of looking around to find the Cal rostered Sig P238 which is designated P238-380-TSS-CA and never found one or found a GS that has sold one. It's the added "CA" that differentiates the California rostered model from the standard issued Two-Tone model that the rest of the world can buy and from what I have gathered, I don't believe any of the "CA" models have been built or shipped. I hope a Calgunner(s) will check in and disprove my statement.
If you want to acquire a new P238 in this state, the only route is a SSE purcha$e. The good news is that they come in a huge variety of selections. I chose the HDW model-rosewood grips and all stainless steel. The shop that I purchased it from a few months ago had eight or ten different models in the case.
What shop would that be? I wouldn't mind making the trek down to get one.
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Old 01-22-2013, 5:59 PM
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What shop would that be? I wouldn't mind making the trek down to get one.
For you, not a treck down but a 100+ mile one way treck to the north east-Elk Grove. Wild Bill's Old West Trading Post-916) 686-7699. Give them a call and find out what they have in stock as they actually answer their phone. I gave them a CC# over the phone to hold it, no extra 3% CC charge once I purchased it. SSE was $50.00 this last late summer!
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Old 01-22-2013, 8:57 PM
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For you, not a treck down but a 100+ mile one way treck to the north east-Elk Grove. Wild Bill's Old West Trading Post-916) 686-7699. Give them a call and find out what they have in stock as they actually answer their phone. I gave them a CC# over the phone to hold it, no extra 3% CC charge once I purchased it. SSE was $50.00 this last late summer!
For some reason I thought you were in the Fresno area. Lol. I called them 4 times with no answer. They must be busy. I would be really surprised if they had any left.
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Old 01-22-2013, 9:26 PM
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i heard through the grapevine that Bersa is in process of getting the Thunder 380 back on the roster. while this won't happen overnight, if you're patient you may be rewarded in several months with a high-quality, inexpensive and easy-to-shoot .380. while not as compact as the truly small ones, they're relatively small and flat. i put off buying one while they were available and am now kicking myself. won't make that mistake again.
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Old 01-22-2013, 9:45 PM
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Quote:
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For you, not a treck down but a 100+ mile one way treck to the north east-Elk Grove. Wild Bill's Old West Trading Post-916) 686-7699. Give them a call and find out what they have in stock as they actually answer their phone. I gave them a CC# over the phone to hold it, no extra 3% CC charge once I purchased it. SSE was $50.00 this last late summer!
I have bought several fire arms from these guys includeing 2 through SSE, a LCP, and a gen 4 glock. They are great guys but that store can get very busy so just be prepared if you go during peak hours.
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Old 01-23-2013, 7:38 AM
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The SIG p232 would be my pick for an auto. Not the smallest 380 out there but when a friend bought one we were shooting 3 in groups off hand at about 20 yards. Great little gun. If you want to go revolver I would recommend the Ruger LCR. It's only about a pound loaded and has a pretty clean dao trigger.
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Old 01-23-2013, 8:15 AM
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I carry an LCP pretty much every day, my buddy carries the Kahr P380. They're pretty much exactly the same size. The Kahr weighs more and has better sights. I ended up painting the front sight on my LCP white, now it does fine.

The LCP rides in my front pocket in a Desantis Nemisis holster, it's always there and I only notice it if I feel like I'm somewhere sketchy (the gas station at night for example). I know people say tht the .380 is too small for self defense use, but I love having a pocket gun that I'm able to carry everywhere.

One thing to consider with these small pistols is that polishing the feed ramp and the chamber with a felt polish wheel and jewelers rouge improves the reliability of feeding and ejection quite a bit.
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Old 01-23-2013, 8:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knucklehead0202 View Post
i heard through the grapevine that Bersa is in process of getting the Thunder 380 back on the roster. while this won't happen overnight, if you're patient you may be rewarded in several months with a high-quality, inexpensive and easy-to-shoot .380. while not as compact as the truly small ones, they're relatively small and flat. i put off buying one while they were available and am now kicking myself. won't make that mistake again.
Pretty sure they are still on the list. My dad just picked one up last month.
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Old 01-23-2013, 9:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knucklehead0202 View Post
i heard through the grapevine that Bersa is in process of getting the Thunder 380 back on the roster. while this won't happen overnight, if you're patient you may be rewarded in several months with a high-quality, inexpensive and easy-to-shoot .380. while not as compact as the truly small ones, they're relatively small and flat. i put off buying one while they were available and am now kicking myself. won't make that mistake again.
I bought the Bersa Thunder about 4 or 5 years ago and am very happy. I use it as my 'Travel Gun' on road trips. Transported legally of course. I do not CCW.
The Bersa is bigger than a sub-compact, but is very accurate and easy too shoot. I put several hundred rounds through it every year.
Almost everyone that shoots it, loves it.
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Old 01-23-2013, 1:58 PM
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When getting into the size of the Thunder, PPK and even the p232, you might as well go with a 9mm. There are a lot of great 9mm that size or even smaller. Bigger, cheaper and more abundant ammo (not so cheap now and abundant now).

The reason why I picked the .380 ACP was because of the true size of a pocket pistol. Overall length for a pocket pistol should be no more then 5.5" IMO. Anything bigger then that a is bit of a hassle to carry in a pocket especially in a pocket holster. This is just my opinion so please do not get offended.
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Old 01-23-2013, 2:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Dumas1012 View Post
When getting into the size of the Thunder, PPK and even the p232, you might as well go with a 9mm. ...This is just my opinion so please do not get offended.
No offense. This is why they make so many different guns and calibers. Everybody likes something different.
I have heard the .380 vs. 9mm debate many, many, many times and I have previously owned a full size 9mm in the past. I still own other handguns in larger calibers (.45acp and .357 mag).
For me, the Bersa feels good in my hand, shoots good, and it is fun to shoot. This makes me want to practice with it. When I previously owned a sub-compact and a .38 snubbie, I did not enjoy shooting them, I did not practice as much.
Because of frequent practice, i am very accurate out to distances I would never plan for in an HD situation. Shot placement is more important too me than superior ballistics.
If i was at home, I wood choose my 12 gauge or .357 or .45 over the Bersa. On the road, it is nice too have something decent in such a small pkg.
Good luck.
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  #39  
Old 01-23-2013, 2:25 PM
The King The King is offline
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Default Wassa Matta U? No Italians?

Not inexpensive but classy.
The Beretta 380 auto loaders have both single and double column magazines.

They are not shirt pocket sized but are easy to shoot.
Your wife will thank you.
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  #40  
Old 01-23-2013, 3:47 PM
WDN41 WDN41 is online now
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My first Semi-auto was the Bersa .380 and I've been carrying it for nearly
3 years. It took 200 to 250 rounds downrange to break it in, but since, it's
100 % dependable with the only exception being Tula ammo, stay away
from that. I carry it in a pocket holster in cargo shorts, or a pancake holster
during the colder months. Had not heard that they were no longer on the roster, but if so, I know you can buy a low mileage unit in the classifieds here,
in the $250-$300 range.
As far as balistics go, I've heard that any hit with
a .22 or .380 can really f***-up your day, and slow you down big time.
I feel good carrying mine.
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