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  #1  
Old 08-23-2012, 3:38 PM
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Default 380 pocket gun recommendation

Looking for opinions from people that own them. I'm in the market for a 380 auto and it needs to be small. Its primary purpose will be to stay in the center box of my VW Jetta while I am driving since it will be easier to get to than my P11 which stays on my hip and is right against my seat belt buckle while driving. Because of where I am trying to stow it it cannot have a length from the bottom of the mag to the top of the slide that is greater than 3 3/4". Secondary purpose for this gun will be a pocket carry for when I just can't do IWB due to the type of clothing I will be wearing. I already eliminated my old favorite the S&W bodyguard as it is just a wee bit to big to fit. My current top 3 are the Hellcat 380II, the Ruger LCP and the KelTec P3AT and also the P32 as a possibility. I prefer the P32 only because of the last round hold open and the extra round over the LCP and P3AT and Hellcat. 380 doesn't have a whole lot more ummph to it than .32 and an extra round plus the significantly lower amount of recoil and the last round hold open forced me to consider it.

Seems like all of them have pretty much useless sights, with the exception of the Hellcat that has a dot on the front post, but just a bare notch in the rear, but definitely more pronounced than the others I am considering. All have lasers readily available so the lack of sights is a non-issue for the most part.

The only reason I haven't already bought the LCP is because I had an LC9 and hated, hated, HATED the trigger on that pile of garbage. Before anyone tells me I should have gotten the trigger upgrade from Galloway, I believe in NOT modifying a carry pistol, the last thing I want is some aftermarket part making the gun I am counting on to potentially save my life rendering my gun unreliable or useless. Besides the fact that it pisses me off when I have to modify a gun from factory configuration to make it feel like it wasn't put together by a monkey f***ing a football. Now I have gotten to dry fire an LCP at a local store and the trigger definitely was better than the LC9, but I still have a bad taste left in my mouth after that LC9, so I am not so eager to buy another Ruger at the moment.

I'm really interested to hear from anyone that has gotten to put rounds down range with the Hellcat, but would also like input from anyone who has owned any of the guns I am considering. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 08-23-2012, 3:45 PM
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Tagged. I too am in the marked for a pocket 380... The Hellcat or LCP isn't on the roster so you too may have trouble finding what you want.
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Old 08-23-2012, 3:48 PM
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I find my LCP to have a hard trigger to pull while staying on target. Same with my PF-9.

In contrast, my .380 Sig P238 is very easy to shoot for such a small gun. Kinda 1911 style ergos, being single action only and you'd carry in cocked and locked condition 1. And it comes with tritium sights from the factory, how cool is that?

Mine isn't on the roster, but there is a new version of the P238 that should now be on (they added a mag disconnect and a loaded chamber indicator I believe).
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Old 08-23-2012, 3:50 PM
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I love my Taurus TCP. There is one video out there showing it wont fire in "half reset" which I am not fond of because after over 500 rounds shot mine has never once not fired from half reset. Accuracy is about what youd expect from a pocket pistol. Now I realize its not on your list, and you may not like it, but it wouldnt be a terrible idea to at least take a look. You may be surprised...I was. What I do know is it is ALWAYS in my pocket and at work its perfect in my dress pants.
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Old 08-23-2012, 4:07 PM
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Really hard to beat the quality of the Kahr P380. EXCELLENT little gun. Very accurate, dovetail front and rear sights, last shot hold open AND slide release lever, match grade barrel (although it is a 2.5" barrel shooting a .380 so not like I matters too much, but it is very accurate), sexy looking and great quality parts. Downside is the price. I bought mine with Trijicon night sights, AND it had to be the CA approved model which added $100 to the MSRP. Walked out at about $775. Worth it.
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Old 08-23-2012, 4:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdawg86 View Post
Tagged. I too am in the marked for a pocket 380... The Hellcat or LCP isn't on the roster so you too may have trouble finding what you want.
Roster doesn't apply to me

Quote:
Originally Posted by stix213 View Post
I find my LCP to have a hard trigger to pull while staying on target. Same with my PF-9.

In contrast, my .380 Sig P238 is very easy to shoot for such a small gun. Kinda 1911 style ergos, being single action only and you'd carry in cocked and locked condition 1. And it comes with tritium sights from the factory, how cool is that?

Mine isn't on the roster, but there is a new version of the P238 that should now be on (they added a mag disconnect and a loaded chamber indicator I believe).
I lie the P238, 1911 ergos are due to the fact that is a colt mustang clone. Not a big fan of carrying with a safety, one more thing to have to remember and possibly have go wrong when I need my gun. It was pretty high on my list in the past, but when I really think about it, I really don't want to ruin a nice $550-600 gun carrying it around, and god forbid I ever actually have to use my carry gun do I want to be stuck with a $600 investment in a police evidence locker.

DAO triggers are something I have been used to for some time, staying on target with the long heavy pull takes practice. As long as its a smooth pull with a decent break its pretty easy after practice, and since my P11 is the same way I am trying to stick with that for carry. A lack of safeties on my carry guns means not having to remember what safety is where exactly and how do I click it off...

The last one I am going to lob onto the tail end of my list is the Diamondback 380, was talking to an owner at a gun store earlier and he had mentioned that it was his backup gun that he carried, looked like a mini-glock, striker-fired 380. 6 + 1 capacity. Unfortunately like the hellcat I have not really heard of them until recently.
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"Moms Demand Action" sounds less like a gun control group and more like the title of a porn flick from the mid-90s.
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Old 08-23-2012, 4:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drifter2be View Post

The last one I am going to lob onto the tail end of my list is the Diamondback 380, was talking to an owner at a gun store earlier and he had mentioned that it was his backup gun that he carried, looked like a mini-glock, striker-fired 380. 6 + 1 capacity. Unfortunately like the hellcat I have not really heard of them until recently.
STAY AWAY FROM DIAMONDBACK. They are JUNK guns. I was almost about to get one but did some research first and read about too many horrible experiences and quality issues people were having.

You get what you pay for.
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  #8  
Old 08-23-2012, 4:23 PM
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Roster doesn't apply to me
Whatever Mr. Arizona!
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  #9  
Old 08-23-2012, 4:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stix213 View Post
I find my LCP to have a hard trigger to pull while staying on target. Same with my PF-9.

In contrast, my .380 Sig P238 is very easy to shoot for such a small gun. Kinda 1911 style ergos, being single action only and you'd carry in cocked and locked condition 1. And it comes with tritium sights from the factory, how cool is that?

Mine isn't on the roster, but there is a new version of the P238 that should now be on (they added a mag disconnect and a loaded chamber indicator I believe).
I agree with you about the LCP trigger, it is a long trigger pull with small sights.

in a fight I would not pull the trigger on this pistol at anything over 7ft away.

not to say I wouldn't carry it but when carrying a minimalist pistol you must recognize its limitations
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  #10  
Old 08-23-2012, 7:56 PM
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The Kahr P380 was the right pistol for me for pocket carry. I like it a lot.
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  #11  
Old 08-23-2012, 9:08 PM
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Did a little more research and I think I am going to go with the LCP. Local shop down the road from me had one in the used gun cabinet in great condition for $280 with a lasermax laser, so it will be just a tad over $300 out the door, if not there was another shop that had one brand new for $270 without a laser. I liked the feel of the trigger on the LCP the best out of them, the P3AT trigger was slightly lighter but wasn't as crisp of a break. Yeah the sights are unusable on everything but the Hellcat, but I just can't find enough info on them to take the risk with both my money and my safety. Knowing myself I will probably end up picking up the P32 in a few weeks as well, since I am going to have to reload .32 anyway because my GF wants a Beretta Tomcat.
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Old 08-23-2012, 9:13 PM
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I really like the p3at.
THe wife carries one. A little polishing goes a long way on the break of the trigger.
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Old 08-23-2012, 9:16 PM
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And this can help the sights....
http://psenhancements.com/
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  #14  
Old 08-23-2012, 9:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M27 View Post
I agree with you about the LCP trigger, it is a long trigger pull with small sights.

in a fight I would not pull the trigger on this pistol at anything over 7ft away.

not to say I wouldn't carry it but when carrying a minimalist pistol you must recognize its limitations
Exactly. Now when I really try and focus, I can get good groups, but when you're pulling your gun out with your life in danger you aren't going to be in the same mindset.
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Old 08-23-2012, 9:42 PM
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i'd take a good look at the Kahr P380, and the Sig P238. The Kahr has a long but smooth trigger; the P238 has a very good trigger.

I don't know Jettas well, but it seems like you might be able to fit a small 9mm in just as well. Maybe an M&P Shield or 9c or 40c, or even a Glock 26, or Beretta Nano. A Bersa Thunder is an affordable but solid .380. A S&W j-frame is another idea.

The advantage of .380s is that some are true pocket guns. But for a car console, you might be able to go bigger. Or mount a holster under the seat somewhere.

T
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  #16  
Old 08-23-2012, 10:28 PM
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Nobody likes the Walther PPK/E?
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Last edited by blazeaglory; 08-23-2012 at 10:30 PM..
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Old 08-23-2012, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by blazeaglory View Post
Nobody likes the Walther PPK/E?
Might as well get a Bersa Thunder, it is half the price and just as good. Plus the trigger is better on the Bersa.

OP: Kahr, Bersa, SIG p938(9mm) and just a tad bigger than the 238, LCP, 3AT, etc..

If it is for a console in your car I would go a little bigger. But it is very hard to beat the size and firer power of a P11, that is why I love mine.
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by InGrAM View Post
Might as well get a Bersa Thunder, it is half the price and just as good. Plus the trigger is better on the Bersa.

OP: Kahr, Bersa, SIG p938(9mm) and just a tad bigger than the 238, LCP, 3AT, etc..

If it is for a console in your car I would go a little bigger. But it is very hard to beat the size and firer power of a P11, that is why I love mine.
I didn't know what a P11 was so I googled "P11 pistol" and this was the first responce

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler_%26_Koch_P11

It was funny when I first saw it.

Just a guess but I am thinking you are not EDCing an under water pistol

Second google responce took me to the keltec site and everything became clear
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Old 08-24-2012, 7:59 AM
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i have a colt govt 380...great small pocket gun...7 rd clip single action and shoots most ammo very well.....also have a browning bda 380 (berretta 84)...larger than govt with double stack 13 rd mag..shoots most ammo very well...single/double action...decocker and safety and larger size more diff to pocket carry but doable....good luck shopping !!!!...cheers..
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Old 08-24-2012, 8:11 AM
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I didn't know what a P11 was so I googled "P11 pistol" and this was the first responce

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler_%26_Koch_P11

It was funny when I first saw it.

Just a guess but I am thinking you are not EDCing an under water pistol

Second google responce took me to the keltec site and everything became clear
Lol, that would be very funny of me to CC an H&K p11. Thanks for that info, I had no idea that HK made such a pistol.
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Old 08-24-2012, 1:05 PM
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Might as well get a Bersa Thunder, it is half the price and just as good. Plus the trigger is better on the Bersa. ...
^^^^ Agreed.
I own a Bersa Thunder and believe it is a better choice than the Walther.
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Old 08-24-2012, 3:21 PM
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Yeah I forgot about the bersa Good little gun.
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Old 08-24-2012, 3:24 PM
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If the Bersa is small enough, get it. Otherwise the Kahr is a good choice if you get one that works. I have a PA-63 for the sale that is the size of the Bersa, in 9x18.
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Old 08-24-2012, 8:24 PM
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Originally Posted by paul0660 View Post
If the Bersa is small enough, get it. Otherwise the Kahr is a good choice if you get one that works. I have a PA-63 for the sale that is the size of the Bersa, in 9x18.
Bersa is much too big, I think in some aspects its a little bigger than the P11, I actually just picked up a lightly used KelTec P32 a few minutes ago, fits the bill perfectly, disappears in my pocket, completely unnoticeable when carried in an IWB holster, and fits perfectly in my center console. Will still be picking up a P3AT or LCP eventually as well.
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Old 08-25-2012, 2:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selfshrevident View Post
Really hard to beat the quality of the Kahr P380. EXCELLENT little gun. Very accurate, dovetail front and rear sights, last shot hold open AND slide release lever, match grade barrel (although it is a 2.5" barrel shooting a .380 so not like I matters too much, but it is very accurate), sexy looking and great quality parts. Downside is the price. I bought mine with Trijicon night sights, AND it had to be the CA approved model which added $100 to the MSRP. Walked out at about $775. Worth it.
I've never shot or owned this gun, but I love the size and shape. I seems much easier to conceal low in the beltline (yes, you lose combat grip... but many people place concealment higher in priority over accessibility).

Research reliability before buying any small guns.

Bigger, but the M&P Shield in 9mm or .40 is worth looking into if carrying on the belt as well. Larger, but 9mm/.40 as well. I have no problem with 380 effectiveness, I have issues with .380 price of ammo. I like 9 personally.

Last edited by voiceofreason; 08-25-2012 at 2:37 AM..
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Old 08-25-2012, 6:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blazeaglory View Post
Nobody likes the Walther PPK/E?
Quote:
Originally Posted by InGrAM View Post
Might as well get a Bersa Thunder, it is half the price and just as good. Plus the trigger is better on the Bersa.

then by all means... throw the Sig Sauer P230 variants into the mix.
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Old 08-25-2012, 8:59 AM
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^^^^ This a sig p230 was the first firearm I ever shot. It is small compact and fairly accurate.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:01 PM
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If I was in the market for a compact 380 the Sig p230 would definitely be my choice over the Walther and the Bersa. I used to have a Bersa and it was the least reliable gun I had ever owned. Constant issues with double feeding and the spring coming out of the trigger bar rendering the gun inoperable. Definitely not a gun I would ever have trusted my life to.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drifter2be View Post
If I was in the market for a compact 380 the Sig p230 would definitely be my choice over the Walther and the Bersa. I used to have a Bersa and it was the least reliable gun I had ever owned. Constant issues with double feeding and the spring coming out of the trigger bar rendering the gun inoperable. Definitely not a gun I would ever have trusted my life to.
Thank you for the report. That is the first reliable issue report I have heard about with that pistol
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:33 PM
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Car carry? 7.62x25 Tokarev TT-33.
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Old 08-25-2012, 1:36 PM
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I pocket carry a Sig P238, Rosewood model with a Galco pocket holster. I wear shorts almost year around and it fits perfect in my cargo shorts.
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Old 08-25-2012, 1:56 PM
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I was just at the range shooting my Mause HSc .380 pistol. It seems like the perfect pocket auto to me, very accurate, double action/single action, drop hammer safety, the hammer is shrouded so that the opening in the slide for the hammer is always covered so no pocket lint or dust can get into the action. Holds 7 rounds. I know it isn't on your list but something to consider. Post-war versions are affordable and reasonably plentiful. I got mine from a Calgunner and love it. I don't shoot it often and 30 rounds are enough for me when I do, but I would have complete confidence in it as a pocket piece for going out in social situations.
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Old 08-25-2012, 1:58 PM
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Quote:
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If I was in the market for a compact 380 the Sig p230 would definitely be my choice over the Walther and the Bersa. I used to have a Bersa and it was the least reliable gun I had ever owned. Constant issues with double feeding and the spring coming out of the trigger bar rendering the gun inoperable. Definitely not a gun I would ever have trusted my life to.
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