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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well gentlemen you were so helpful on how to carry for a woman, I wanted to ask your advice on a purchase. I own a CA 38 special, a Walther P22 with laser but now I am thinking instead of a 9 or a 40, I would like a little Bersa 380. I cannot stand purses and this is so small it can be carried so easily. Of course, the price is also nice. Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks
 

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Hello Ms. reelgirl,

Mr. Camp's website has a number of favorable reviews of the Argentine-made Bersa Thunder .380acp semi-auto pistols, for example:
http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/BestBuys.htm

Those full-size .380s are nice to practice with. I'm no expert at all by any means, but as a civilian CHL in a relatively low-risk threat environment, I think a .380 pistol paired with good ammo, perhaps the Hornady "critical defense" 90gr. FTX jhp, and plenty of regular practice, that it could be a viable and relatively inexpensive carry option. Do give some thought to the holster design and where you will carry the pistol with a view to drawing it smoothly. Try to test shoot one and see what you think. I have seen some folks with very weak hands and fingers have a hard time with the blowback operated auto-pistols like the Walther PPK, SIG .380, and Bersa, while others can rack the slide with ease. I think a Ruger LCP or Keltec mini-.380 might be very concealable, but a bit more difficult to shoot well. The price on Ruger's LCP has really gone way up recently too because of brisk sales. Good luck with making your ccw selection.
I'm sure other folks will chime in soon with recommendations.
 

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The Bursa is a great gun for the money, no doubt. I have looked at it several times myself and it took quite a bit of willpower to put it back down and not pull out the plastic.

Lately, though, with all the ammo price increases and availability problems, .380 has been very hard to find. I was talking with a guy the other day in my local shop that ad been all over the state looking for .380 ammo. He found 2 boxes there but was having no luck elsewhere. Just something to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks so much. I went to my weapons class the other night and the instructor said there is no ammo for it. The Sheriff department runs the range I use and they don't have any ammo for it. I think I will wait or get a sub-compact 9mm. I just really liked the size for concealment.
 

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I really don't want to discourage you, Reelgirl, but I know the ammo shortage in that caliber is a factor. Perhaps things will loosen up in a few months if supply catches up with demand. It's a big if, though.
 

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Howdy Reelgirl,

I am certainly no expert maam. But since you are asking for opinions, I will offer mine to you. First I think there is no such thing as a "magic bullet or caliber". Unless the round is placed properly on the threat/target, I do not expect it to seriously incapacitate and stop the threat the person poses. So to me shot placement is more important than caliber used.

But as a former homicide detective and long time firearms instructor, life experiences have caused me to form some opinons on various calibers too. I personally feel the .380 is at best "marginal" for self-defense. Most federal agencies and many local agencies have banned it use as a back up weapon in recent decades, simply because it was not an effective incapacitator in deadly force situation.

I remember my agency banned it use as a back up weapon, within one week of DEA doing so, back in the late 80s if I recall correctly now. A DEA agent undercover, armed only with a .380 was forced to employ deadly force. He made several good hits on the bad guy, who eventually died, from bleeding out. But before dying the bad guy was able to shoot and kill the DEA agent. The immediate effect post shooting of this agent was that DEA banned the use of this caliber for any purpose. My agency then quickly followed suit, as did many others.

The effectiveness of JHP bullet designs have improved a great deal in the ensuing years, to include the .380acp projectiles. But that said maam, I still consider the .380acp to be at best a "marginal caliber" for self-defense purposes. I personally feel you would be much better armed with at least a 9mm caliber. Just my opinion, but that is what you are asking for too.

Just wanted to give you something to think about in making your choice.

twoguns
 

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Reelgirl---

Quick question: what kind of platform are you looking at? DA, DAO, SA? There are a lot of good guns out there, but you were interested in ease of concealment/carry, and price is always a factor. I'd recommend the Springfield EMP, if you're interested in a compact 1911 pattern pistol, but they cost $900 and change.

I have to second TwoGuns and others on the .380---not just the availability of ammo, but its effectiveness. Not to get into the old argument about calibers, but I wouldn't go smaller than a nine.

Good luck. Keep looking. And keep shooting.

All the best,
David
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think this would be the time to listen to some very knowledgeable people. I think I will abandon my thoughts on the .380 and follow your advice of a subcompact 9mm. But since I am so interested in all guns, I probably will buy a .380 for the range...

thank you so much, Dede
 

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Well, my wife is a tiny person at barely 5'2". She also has to dress "professionally" and that doesn't mean LE-type work where a fiream can be worn openly or if inadvertently exposed, it is no big deal. It is true that dedicated carry involves changes to the wardrobe. It is also true that this can imply different things for men and women. But realistically, day-to-day carry for her involves a gun that is the last thing you'd want to have, other than no gun at all, of course.

All I'm saying, is that there are compromises. Some folks are entirely unwilling to compromise on calibers that strike them as particularly inadequate. Many dislike "mouse guns" that are talismans rather than more effective pistols. But there is something to be said for a firearm that can "always be with you 24/7" regardless of dress styles, weather, and other considerations. Good luck making your choice.
 

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First, let me state that a Bersa appears to be a pretty well made gun for the money. You could do much worse.

However, I am opposed to the 380 as a defensive gun. It is not only expensive to shoot, not very effective regardless of magic bullets but in blow back guns (as opposed to locked breach designs) the recoil action is actually stiffer!

The 38 SPL is superior in a revolver and the 9mm in a pistol. What most find so attractive in the 380s is the size of the pistols. In today's shops it is not hard to find a 9mm that is about the same size like the Glock 26. The problem with the G26 is that it is fat and heavy when loaded. There are some alternatives such as the KelTec PF-9 and Walther PPS but they also have some draw backs. The SA EMP is a great gun if somewhat costy.

A good 5 shot 38 revolver is hard to beat for a concealment gun in the personal defense mode. You can now get them very, very (almost too) light. Alternatively, a nice S&W 3rd GEN single stack 9mm LadySmith comes to mind if you can find one. As I recall they are tiny little single stack 6 shooters with aluminum frames.

In many ways I prefer the 22 LR to 25, 32 or 380 guns. At least you can afford to practice and the effect on targets is about the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Results of all your help!! I bought a S&W M&P 9mm compact. What a beauty! Great to feel and that is what I am going to carry for concealment. I know there are so many ways to go now and thanks to everyone who helped me. I will be changing some of my wardrobe but it is worth it! I am going to my arms class Monday to work on dialing in my targets! I think I have made the wisest decision and look forward to a great session.
 

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As a S&W stock holder, I think you have made an excellent choice. Remember to read the book of words in the box and that you will be limited to the use of +P and standard pressure ammo only. The guns are not apparently rated for the +P+. I recommend the use of Speer 124 grain Gold Dot JHP +P for carry ammo. Buy 100 rounds and shoot just enough to verify that it works well in your new M&P9C. And, stock up on extra magazines. They do wear out. I generally like to have a dozen for each of my autos but with these guns, that is a bit beyond the pale.
 

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Howdy reelgirl,

Congrats maam on your newest purchase. I too think you could have done much worse in your choice. I also second the suggestion to go with the Speer 124gr Gold Dot HP as you self defense load. I would only add I use that same round in either standard or +P velocities, and do not feel the bad guy would be able to tell the difference between the two loads as long as I do my part and put the rounds where they belong.

Please don't be bashful either maam. Normally we ask the member who has made a new purchase to share their thought with us, once they have had the chance to shoot it. So I would ask you to do the same once you have been able to shoot your newest Smith.

Also if you have more questions on ammo, practice techiques, weapons - whatever, please feel free to ask them.

twoguns

P.S. I do understand that ammo can be very difficult to find right now too. I do prefer the Speer 124gr Gold Dot HP as my first choice for carry purposes. But if I can not find it, I would also suggest the Remington 124gr Golden Saber, Winchester SXT, Federal Hydra-Shock or any other main line ammo offering.

But I would suggest you shoot enough of the round you choose to carry to make certain it functions well in your pistol, and POA-POI is not an issue. Anytime you change brands or bullet weights of your carry ammo, I would suggest you again shoot enough rounds to verifty proper functioning and sight alignment. Please do not assume because a 124gr JHP of brand A worked great for you, that a 124 gr JHP by brand B will work just as well - shoot it to be sure maam.

I also second the suggestion to get extra magazines. How many is up to you, but I suspect their price and availability will only continue to worsen as time goes on too. So I would say as many as you can afford while they are still fairly easy to find.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks so much on your suggestions. I would be happy to share after I have shot my new pistol. That will be Monday night. Thank you for the tips on ammo. Another addition is I am able to obtain two free magazines from S&W. I think owning stock in any good gun manufacturer has got to pay off eventually. Thanks again!
 

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Hello reelgirl,

I apologize for being so late to this thread, but I have followed it with interest.

First, congratulations on your purchase of the M&P Compact 9mm! If it fits well in your hand and feels comfortable with the manual of arms, then you've already have a handgun that will do well for you.

To echo my dear friend twoguns post, we hope that you can post a thread under the General Semi-Auto section on your first hand shooting impressions of the M&P Compact. We would dearly enjoy hearing about it!

As for dressing around concealed carry, most of us have to make some important wardrobe decisions, i.e. trouser design, jacket length, and holster selection. What make's it worst is changing physique, age, and weapon choice!

Where I live, in the Winter, I can conceal a full length handgun under a sports coat, and in the summer carry a compact length pistol under a full cut "aloha style" shirt. Most of my fashion and clothing decisions are based on concealed carry.

The only thing I haven't figured out is how to carry a pistol in a bathing suit when I walk three blocks down to the Atlantic Ocean?

It's all good and congratulations on your new handgun!

Best,

Chris
 

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reelgirl,

Like Chris, I'm a bit late to this thread...
First, I want to welcome you AND your husband to the forum. It's got great/knowledgable membership and is probably one of the most courteous sites on the internet.
As an instructor, I often tell my students a defensive handgun must fit, have a managable trigger, and be in a suitable defensive caliber. Sounds like you have that covered with your small S & W 9mm.
My wife is a petite 5'1" and finally chose her S & W M-60 .38 Spec. with the 3" barrel and full underlug. Great little revolver and it got her away from her .380 ACP Beretta.
Enjoy your new pistol and welcome to the forum.

Wes
 
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