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Buying a .380 ACP...

11779 Views 74 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  Guest

Some like the gun/caliber while others don't, but IF you were going to get one, what would your pick of the litter be?

Thanks in advance.

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Good morning again. :)

Went with the SIG, only because we can't easilly get Grock 380's here. (Topic header said I could _only_ get a .380.)

Wouldn't feel bad if I was stuck with a PP or a CZ tho.


The PPK/S... I put the US because that's what I have. But it's an older one, and has never done me wrong.

And maybe I did buy a little into the 007 bit, but it's classic, and thin, and (with FMJ) pretty reliable.

And it looks cool (I know, "shame on me").
Hiya Ranger! Another Airborne troopie on board?

I agree about the classic look on the PPK; I carried one for a few years.

Only .380 I currently have is another classic: a Colt 1908 Pocket Pistol, Calibre .380 :)

Mine is similar to this one:


Someday I'd like to get a set of ivory grips for it.


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Hi there Stephen,

I currently own a Kel Tec P3-AT and carry it considerably as an alternative to my S&W 642.

It is a "second generation" P3-AT with a blued slide and black polymer grip. For size and capacity ratio, it is light years ahead of the traditional PPK/S and Bersa package. The engineering involved with the design of the P3-AT is very innovative. In terms of price, I paid around $275.00 for mine NIB.

I had previously owned a SIG P 230 which I didn't like because it didn't like me when the slide took a chunk out of my hand and the recoil was somewhat unpleasant for a pocket pistol.

With respect to the performance of the little pocket pistol, it has been reliable and has provided me with outstanding accuracy at combat ranges of 7 to 10 yards. In spite of earlier production problems with reliability, Kel Tec has come up with a "home run" on its second generation P3-AT's. Getting used to the diminutive sights is interesting, but it wasn't designed for target work.

It can fufill the role as an "always" gun down here in hot, sunny SC where it resides in a DeSantis Nemesis Holster in my right front pants pocket for those "social and business" occasions where a larger firearm would be frowned upon.

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I voted for Sig since I'm new into their firearms and feel they are awesome guns and their 232 reminds me of a Mauser HSc .380 pistol. But a close second is the PPK, Always wanted one. Don't think I could go wrong with either one.

In my contry (Mexico) the .380 acp is the largest caliber people can poses in semiauto, I have a german made walther ppks nice flat and concealabla gun but if I could I will buy a beretta 85F (single stack) or a Glock G28 in .380 acp just because I think these two will eat hp ammo realiably.

Yes the .380 acp is not a boomer but it's better tha trwoing rocks or bare hands.

The class act is the Sig P239/P232 pistol. Mine exudes quality but it has one fault. To get a Sig P239/P232 to shoot 100% of the time you have to grap it solidly, limp wrist it and it will jam. The Walther is also a class act but it tends to bite the hand that feeds it, I have yet to fire the Walthers by S&W. The sleeper is the Bersa Thunder 380, it is a low priced jewel. How good is it? I carry my Bersa on the weekends when I am in a less hostile environment. Regards, Richard
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My SIG 232 has never failed to feed or eject, except for one round of Hydra-Shock, out of at least 1500 of rounds (I stopped counting) and probably a dozen different JHPs and FMJs from various manufacturers. It has digested several hundred of the hot Cor Bon load without a single problem. Moreover, it has no external safety, and is compact enough for pocket carry. Nothing but very high marks for the gun from me.

I have always wanted a PPK, but others on this board talked me out of it a while back.

If Colt ever re-releases the Mustang, I will probably need to get one. Current prices for clean "pre-owned" examples are too rich for me.
Hello. My own vote goes for the Bersa. It is the most comfortable of the guns listed for me. Sights are fine and the double-action is surprisingly smooth. Malfunctions have been zero through roughly 1000 rnds. Is it of the same quality steel as the Walther or SIG-Sauers? That I cannot say, but in general a person gets what they pay for and the others do cost quite a bit more. I don't shoot the .380 very much (relatively speaking) and carry it less but were I toting a .380, this would probably be the one. At their cost, I might buy one to shoot and one to carry assuming both proved as reliable as the example I own.

Speaking only for myself, it is the right size for caliber. Others might very well prefer smaller or larger.

I voted for the Bersa before I read the rest of the thread and see that's Stephen's pick too. Mine was taken away from me by my wife. Of all my small handguns, .32's, 38's, 380's, 9's she picked the Bersa Thunder 380 after trying everything else at the range. She liked the low recoil, POI right on POA for her, and she could rack the slide by cocking the hammer. Some of the DAO pistols she couldn't rack the slide. Light weight too. Can't beat the price either.
BTW, forgot to mention, best trigger of all she tried too. She hated the P3AT trigger, sorry about that.
I'm kinda biased - after my Bersa Thunder went south after 1200 rds I replaced it with a Mak.

I figure if I was to get another .380 (and I'm in no hurry with the Mak on board) I'd step up in quality to a Beretta Cheetah or the SIG P232.
Howdy. I have the Kel-Tec P3AT. It's still a pretty new 2nd gen. I have learned that the K-Ts require a bunch of shooting to break in properly. It's been fluffed and buffed and I'm still shooting it till I'm satisfied it'll work properly, but you can't beat the size to power ratio.

I have heard many good things about the Bersa. A local gun dealer told me awhile back that our local coppers were buying them up, because they are inexpensive, yet very reliable and just the right size for an off-duty gun.

A friend has a CZ-83, which he bought at the BX when he was stationed in Germany about 10 years ago. He's not real knowledgeable about guns generally, so I had the privilege of field-stripping the CZ and giving it a good cleaning, which it needed. Very nicely built pistol and very reliable, but a little on the large side.

I guess my vote is for the Bersa....

This one :)

and this one.

and a Kel Tec 380
and a Colt 380 Government Model

and I don't even like 380.
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Yeah, but M2, isn't the 9x18 round a bit stouter (and available in 115 gr bullets approaching 9para results) than the .380

NICE pics though - like the sights on those bad boys. Although I like my Bulgy in all black.
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Hello. Yes, the 9x18mm Mak is a bit stouter than the .380 in some loads, but it is pretty close in most. I meant to include the 9x18mm in the original question, but forgot. (Doing several things at once)


I voted other, but my other is still a Bersa, it's the Bersa Series-95 thats very simular to the Bersa Thunder, except the Series-95 has a round trigger guard and a more flush fitting mag.

My old Series-95 works great, and I would probally buy another one, but only if I could find a nice older Series-95 without that dang trigger lock safety feature.

Take Care,
The Sockman
You simply cannot find a better quality pistol than the Bersa Thunder .380 in its price range. The Bersa is a quality pistol that I put way ahead of the Walther PPKS in performance (particularly because of its better DA & SA triggers and its ability to reliably feed any kind of ammo). The Sig P232 may be a slightly better pistol, but I can buy two Bersa .380's and ammo for the price of the Sig.

p.s. The Bersa is also my favorite carry pistol and performs far better in that role than the well made S&W Model 36 J-frame that I just sold.
Yeah, but M2, isn't the 9x18 round a bit stouter (and available in 115 gr bullets approaching 9para results) than the .380

NICE pics though - like the sights on those bad boys. Although I like my Bulgy in all black.
Yes the 115gr load is stouter than the 380 and there is room to load the 9x18 95gr faster than the 95gr 380 also.

The Makarov is built like a tank, and properly set up even the 380 performance can be increased using the 95gr 380 bullet.

I bought those two 380's because they were 1st Makarovs, 2nd 380's and 3rd because the 380 Mak is getting hard to find. Their intended use is just plinking, so their caliber doesn't matter. (I just bought the Mak 22 conversion for plinking also)

I already have a few 9x18 Maks, that are spread around the house and in the cars, but their primary use is still as a accurate inexpensive plinker.
I am a big fan of the Mak as well, but I sold my Mak and kept my Bersa for a number of reasons.

- Since Cor-Bon dropped out, the available U.S manufactured ammo in 9x18 currently isn't that much more powerful than .380 (although it surely could be) and you don't have that great a selection. (I prefer to shoot JHPs of U.S. design and with U.S. quality because we make the best ammo in the world.)

- The Mak is significantly heavier than the alloy frame Bersa, which makes the Bersa more comfortable to carry.

- The Bersa's adjustable 3-dot sights are better than the Mak's fixed or adjustable sights.

- The Mak's bottom mag release is more difficult to use at speed and my mags would not drop free when the slide was back.

- The Bersa's trigger is lighter and better than the Mak's.

Still the Mak is an excellent, well-made, and reliable pistol, and I plan to buy another.
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