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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, my girlfriend is thinking about getting a pistol. She really likes my 9mm pistols, but she doesn't like the kick too much. Not that there is a lot of kick with a 9mm, but she would rather have something smaller for shooting at the range, and maybe, MAYBE, getting her permit and carrying it. I was just wondering if anyone has experience with any of the .380 autos and which one has the best rep. I looked around and found a few:

Sig P232, Bersa Thunder, Taurus PT 138, Walther PPK/S, Beretta Cheetah

She likes the look of the Sig P232, and the Taurus PT 138, and maybe the Walther PPK/S. She hasn't hefted any yet, so we might go down to Doug's or Sportsman's to check some out.

I know a lot of you are going to say that the .380 is too small to carry or shoot or yada yada yada, (all you .45 lovers) but this is for a girl who wants to shoot something small and have a lot of fun with it.
So please, only .380 auto owners or people who have shot them, and which ones they like, dislike, etc. I have also heard that some of them have problems with pinching your finger down where the magazine finger grove is, anybody notice that at all?

Thanks!
 

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mqondo said:
So, my girlfriend is thinking about getting a pistol. She really likes my 9mm pistols, but she doesn't like the kick too much. Not that there is a lot of kick with a 9mm, but she would rather have something smaller for shooting at the range, and maybe, MAYBE, getting her permit and carrying it. I was just wondering if anyone has experience with any of the .380 autos and which one has the best rep. I looked around and found a few:

Sig P232, Bersa Thunder, Taurus PT 138, Walther PPK/S, Beretta Cheetah

She likes the look of the Sig P232, and the Taurus PT 138, and maybe the Walther PPK/S. She hasn't hefted any yet, so we might go down to Doug's or Sportsman's to check some out.

I know a lot of you are going to say that the .380 is too small to carry or shoot or yada yada yada, (all you .45 lovers) but this is for a girl who wants to shoot something small and have a lot of fun with it.
So please, only .380 auto owners or people who have shot them, and which ones they like, dislike, etc. I have also heard that some of them have problems with pinching your finger down where the magazine finger grove is, anybody notice that at all?

Thanks!
Why a .380???

What kinda 9mm has she tried ???

Go to a Gun shop and rent a few different guns and calibers.Let HER decide. Surprise enough...she MIGHT shoot better than you :lolbang: AND like a caliber larger than yours. It really makes a difference to shoot a .45 glock vs. a 1911 ( kimber as for example). Let her try wheel guns vs. semi-auto's.

Sure my wife likes her Bersa Thunder .380 but also a .38

Just my .40
 

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My wife did not like two of my nines but likes the firestar (w/1/2" more barrel). She also does not like my 2" snubby 38 but is very happy with the 2 5/8" Charter 38. So barrel length, gun and load of ammo, not just calibre, are all factors that seem to make or break shooting enjoyment. I don't think us hairy chested men quite understand the female shooter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have a Sig P250 9mm, and a Beretta PX4 9mm. The Beretta is a full size auto, and the P250 is a compact. I also have a S&W .357, S&W .44 Mag that she has shot. She mainly doesn't like the weight of the guns, nor the recoil. My .357 is the model 360 Airlite, so it's very light, but still kicks too much for her. I pretty much only put .38's in the .357 so it won't recoil as much for her. I could shoot it all day with .38's and it would be super comfy. She would just prefer to have something that is more gentle. She loves my Walther P22, but that is way out of the question for carry if she ever decides to get her permit. I would rather her use something larger than a .380, but it's up to her in the end.

Oh, and she has also shot my friends Springfield XD .40 and didn't like it too much. She can handle all of the above fine, but would rather have the smaller gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
And as a matter of fact, she is a better shot than I am. :crying: I'm pretty sure that she could shoot the wee wee off a fly at fifty yards with her eyes closed.
 

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I know you are looking for .380s, but it would behoove your girlfriend to look into something like a 9mm. There are so many more options in 9mm and similarly larger calibers that are also small in size. Most .380s tend to have quite a bit of kick to them and are not desirable as primary carry weapons. A 9mm not only kicks less than most .380s, but it is also cheaper and more prevalent - thus allowing her to shoot more and become more proficient. If she wants something small and sexy, check out the Kahrs. They make some excellent firearms and really cater to the modern, sophisticated females who want small, reliable defense weapons.

The reason I bring this up is that I haven't shot any small .380s that I thought were enjoyable and compact. Sure, when you get into a small 1911 size or so, they aren't so bad, but everything compact like the Kel-Tecs, etc aren't the nicest guns to shoot.
 

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To build on what GeneticsDave said, many of the currently produced .380s are of blowback design and likely have a greater perceived recoil than a locked-breech design, like the discontinued Colt Mustang (my wife loves hers). A blowback .380 may have a greater perceived recoil than a 9mm or even a .45ACP. A blowback .380 generally has a stronger recoil spring than a locked-breech model and it may be more difficult to operate the slide.

I would support the suggestion of renting various pistols for her to try out.

By the way - I generally carry a .45 but would not feel defenseless with a reliable .380. In my opinion, shot placement has a greater importance than bullet diameter.
 

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I will add my vote for the colt mustang if you want a .380--that's what I shoot and wouldn't sell it for anything. They can be found on gunbroker although cost more now than they did when they were in production . . . see if you can find one to borrow first. I'd let her take mine out and shoot it if you want to make the trip down to Emery county. Ultra reliable, not too big especially in the grip, manageable recoil--I can easily put 100 rounds through it and not have any ill effects from the recoil (usually don't have time to shoot more than that in one trip to the range). Haven't shot any of the newer .380's so can't offer an opinion on them. Good luck!
 

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GeneticsDave said:
I know you are looking for .380s, but it would behoove your girlfriend to look into something like a 9mm. There are so many more options in 9mm and similarly larger calibers that are also small in size. Most .380s tend to have quite a bit of kick to them and are not desirable as primary carry weapons. A 9mm not only kicks less than most .380s, but it is also cheaper and more prevalent - thus allowing her to shoot more and become more proficient. If she wants something small and sexy, check out the Kahrs. They make some excellent firearms and really cater to the modern, sophisticated females who want small, reliable defense weapons.

The reason I bring this up is that I haven't shot any small .380s that I thought were enjoyable and compact. Sure, when you get into a small 1911 size or so, they aren't so bad, but everything compact like the Kel-Tecs, etc aren't the nicest guns to shoot.
My wife doesn't reply very often in this forum so I'll do some speaking for her. I think that if she does reply, it'll be a lot like what GeneticsDave has said.

She started out with a Charter Arms .38 spl. Absolutely hated it! It has lots of recoil even with the lower grain ammo AND the trigger was hard to pull (compared to my XD40). She didn't want to go shooting anymore but she knew she had to find some way to carry a weapon she liked. So, I did some research and got a lot of recommendations for the Kahr line of firearms. She finally went out and bought the CW9 all by herself! Needless to say she LOVES it! The perceived recoil is less, the trigger is a little lighter (for her anyways) and the grip allows for her hand to fully hold the gun which in turn gives her a better shot. A few weeks later, she bought her and I an annual pass to the range for us to both go shooting at! :crown:

If she still insists on getting a .38, you might want to check out the Kahr P380. The reason why I say this is because Kahrs are known for their "thinness". The one other problem my wife had with her revolver (that was not in regards to firing it) was that it was hard to conceal. With how thin the Kahrs are, she is now actually able to conceal on her body and not have funny bulges sticking out of her already small-framed body! :dancing: Oh and did I mention that she LOVES shooting it? :lol2:
 

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I have the KelTec P-3AT (.380), and while it's a very concealable gun, it is not my favorite gun to shoot. In that very light-weight package, it kicks pretty hard. After a box of 50 rounds, my hand starts to get pretty sore.

For pleasure, I shoot my heavier guns, even in much larger calibers. They're all easier on my hands than the .380.

Best have her try a variety. I'll bet you could find a 9x19 gun that would be very easy on her hands. The Glock 26 is small and compact, but very easy to shoot. You could also try an XD 9, though I haven't shot that one.
 

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Jeff Johnson said:
In that very light-weight package, it kicks pretty hard. After a box of 50 rounds, my hand starts to get pretty sore.
I wonder if that might be caused by the abrasive (if the P3AT is anything like the PF9) surface of the Kel-Tec grips? I can shoot my Sigma 380 all day with pinky-less grip.

:?:
 

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Ruger Collector said:
Jeff Johnson said:
In that very light-weight package, it kicks pretty hard. After a box of 50 rounds, my hand starts to get pretty sore.
I wonder if that might be caused by the abrasive (if the P3AT is anything like the PF9) surface of the Kel-Tec grips? I can shoot my Sigma 380 all day with pinky-less grip.

:?:
It is not the abrasive grip, it is the gun. HOWEVER, the abrasive grip does not help. I took an old bike tire inner tube and cut a section of it and made my own grip cover. Makes the abrasive grip much less of an issue and make the gun more comfortable to shoot. It does NOT change the fact that it is a small, light, gun with a kick like a mule. (My wife hates it and will never shoot it again)

You can see the homemade grip in this picture.

 
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Jeff Johnson said:
I have the KelTec P-3AT (.380), and while it's a very concealable gun, it is not my favorite gun to shoot. In that very light-weight package, it kicks pretty hard. After a box of 50 rounds, my hand starts to get pretty sore.

For pleasure, I shoot my heavier guns, even in much larger calibers. They're all easier on my hands than the .380.

Best have her try a variety. I'll bet you could find a 9x19 gun that would be very easy on her hands. The Glock 26 is small and compact, but very easy to shoot. You could also try an XD 9, though I haven't shot that one.
I can't disagree with this. I own a Kel-tec and while they are easily concealable guns yada yada yada, I think you are going in the wrong direction. If the main concern is her aversion to recoil, going smaller and lighter even if it is a smaller caliber is not the answer as this will simply magnify the recoil even from a .380 round. I would try some heavier fuller sized guns and see what she thinks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It's not just the recoil, although that's an issue. It's the weight too. I guess I'll just have to have her try some of the larger ones to see what she thinks. I want her to have at least a 9mm, so we'll see what happens. Maybe a Kahr CW9 or XD subcompact....
 

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I have the new Ruger LCP 380 and it too kicks like a mule. Much more than my new (yahoo) Kahr CW40. My wife shoots a Ruger SP101, 6 rounds in 32 magnum (I would say it is some where between the 380 and a 38 spec as far as bullet energy) and it has little more recoil than a 22LR. They do have them in the new 327 round that is like a 32 super mag, which will also shoot most all the smaller 32 rounds including the 32 mag. The cons are that the ammo cost more (reload and anything is cheap to shoot) and that the SP101 is heavier. My son's wife bought my Sig P239, 9mm and 27.5 oz. She could out shoot me with it. She loves it, and she is about 105 lbs. She and my wife didn't like shooting the air-weight S&W 38 spec.
Scallywag

PW, good idea for the grip on the P3AT, maybe I'll try that on the LCP.
 

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May I suggest a 22 LR? With this she can learn to shoot and shoot lots without breaking the bank. Later she may want to get something else when she becomes completely familiar with the 22.

22s are fun man. Everyone should have one. My wife has a Walther P22 and loves to shoot it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have two .22's, she does love to shoot them, but she wants something with more punch. I have a Walther P22, and a Browning Buckmark that she spends most of her shooting time with.
 
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If you are stuck on .380 I like the beretta 96 they where discontinued years ago the .380 with the tilting barrel. Downsides mags are 40.00+ hard to find, there all used, and big for the caliber.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Little update. I went to the range with the lady, and let her shoot a couple guns. First a 9mm PX4 storm, which she liked how it felt, and a .357 mag loaded with gentle .38's. She did really well with the 9mm, but for some reason with the .38 flinched a lot. I need to get her out shooting more. She flinched more with that one this time than she ever has with my .44 mag. Oh well. We have been looking online at different guns: Bersa .380, Sig 232....yada yada yada. We came across the Kahr CW9 and she really liked the way it looked, so then we went to Doug's and checked them out. She REALLY liked the way it felt and how slender it was. Plus it's only $400. :p I can dig that. I think it may be the overall winner. the only thing she didn't like about it right off the bat is that it doesn't have an external manual safety. I have a Sig P250 that doesn't have one and I don't mind a bit, even carrying hot. But that's just me. My dad has a Kahr 9mm, not sure which model, but says that if the magazine is fully loaded, and he racks the slide back, the gun won't fully chamber and he has to hit the back of the slide with his palm to get it to chamber. Anyone else have this problem, or know if that has been fixed with the newer models? I think his is probably about 2-3 years old, maybe a bit more. But other than that, he loves it. Thanks for all your input, and keep it comin! :D
 

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mqondo said:
My dad has a Kahr 9mm, not sure which model, but says that if the magazine is fully loaded, and he racks the slide back, the gun won't fully chamber and he has to hit the back of the slide with his palm to get it to chamber. Anyone else have this problem, or know if that has been fixed with the newer models? I think his is probably about 2-3 years old, maybe a bit more. But other than that, he loves it. Thanks for all your input, and keep it comin! :D
I've worked with a couple Kahr 9mm pistols. Nothing like what you have mentioned. He might need to check the ammo he is using (feed issues) and possibly have the feed ramp polished up a bit. It might also be a recoil spring issue - not strong enough to chamber the first round. He might want to be sure he is racking the slide all the way back as well, a half-hearted rack can cause jamming. But I would check ammo (check with multiple types of ammo), feed ramp and finally magazine lips and spring.
 
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