Yep, +1 for the PPK.
This is a discussion on Double action non-polymer .380 pocket pistol - does this exist? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Yep, +1 for the PPK. And welcome....
Yep, +1 for the PPK.
I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it.
some of the suggested all metal guns here are about the same size as some small 9mm's. so if you're already willing to compromise a bit on the size and weight then have a look at the CZ Rami or Khar MK9 for small all metal 9mm options. the slight increase in felt recoil will be gone after a few hours of practice. more capable defense round as well.
however, that same logic holds with those snubs you didn't like as well as the light polymer 380's. you can get over just about anything with practice. the woman next to me this morning at the range was shooting her G29SF without any trouble at all. you can get use to anything.
welcome to the forum and enjoy the hunt for a new gun. and as soon as some salesman says to you "let me show you what we have for the ladies" leave the store or get another salesman. there's nothing in the store you can't learn to shoot as well as anyone man.
My suggestion would be to re-consider the Ruger LCR revolver in .38 Special. Not sure what ammo you were using when you tried it...? I carry mine with 158 grain lead semi-wadcutters. The recoil is mild, follow-up shots are quick, and the SWC will make full-caliber holes and penetrate to sufficient depths to be effective.
The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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Usual carry - Ruger SP101 .357 DAO snub + LCR .38
One thing to consider, if you wish to revisit the revolver, is to use a low recoil .38 ammo. 148 grain full wadcutters are noticeably easier to shoot then even standard range ammunition. Also, as a self defense load, many would consider this lower recoil round to be equal or better then any 380 round. (One ammo for both self defense and practice) I've tried this and many other .38 permutations for my wife, and she seems happy with this setup.
Just a basic 38 special primer:
148 grain full wad cutters and "cowboy action shooting" ammo are generally the lowest recoiling factory rounds they make.
Standard pressure rounds are the next in line: full metal jacket, lead round nose (ie non hollow point, range ammo), or standard pressure 158 grain semi wadcutters.
The highest recoiling are the 38 special +p self defense hollow points.
The ammo they gave me for the revolvers is "PMC Bronze Ammunition: 50 centerfire pistol cartridges; 38 special'
...Wait, pistol cartridges? I dunno. It's what the dude gave me. Ammunition is a whoooole 'nother thing I haven't even begun to learn yet....
Also, I forgot to mention, the Kahr P380 jammed up on me from the get-go.
Is FTF (look, I learned another acronym today!) more common in certain guns? I fired plenty of rounds through the Sig perfectly, but the Kahr jammed up enough that I had to go get a staff member (who seemed to shoot it with no problem, so I still have no idea what happened). Is this a quality issue? Is it just a matter of "breaking in" the gun? Or is it completely random/bad luck?
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NROI Chief Range Officer
The kahr p380 is a great gun if you get a good one. Mine had to go to factory twice, but works well now. A pain in the butt, though. Certain guns jam more then others, but the smaller gun is more likely to have issues.
And the PMC "pistol" is just a generic term they use for ammunition. Those PMC bronze will have kick some with a light revolver.
Had a bersa just sold it, didn't care for it...the young lady I sold it to loves it and shots it well. didn't like the way it disassembeled or the tiny sights good luck, was going to suggest the p232 but it's already been done..
I would rather live my life as if there is a God,
And die to find out there isn't, than live my life
As if there isn't, and die to find out there is.
The Holy Grail of defensive handguns is "the perfect pistol." Just as soon as you decide on which one that is, you buy it and start practicing with it, you realize that a different make or model is actually THE perfect pistol. Some of us start with big guns and end up with small ones, others start with pocket pistols and end up with full-size 1911s. Some of us who just really appreciate firearms have a range of guns to choose from depending on where we're headed today (i.e., an ice cream social at church or delivering pizza at midnight in the worst part of town). The bottom line is that no one handgun is ideal for all defensive purposes, so just do the best you can and realize that what you choose will be a compromise solution. But here's the good news: by deciding to arm yourself and seek advice (and hopefully, professional training) you are light years ahead of the great unwashed. You are taking large steps toward being responsible for your own personal security, and that is truly commendable.
OK, back to the guns. My very first centerfire handgun was a 1911 in .45 ACP, pretty much the same design as the P238, just bigger all over. The first year or so I carried it, I (foolishly) carried it with either an empty chamber, or worse, with the hammer down on a loaded chamber. Cocked and locked seemed "scary" until I got professional training, which came at the hands of a really great guy (Massad Ayoob) who "cured" me of my cocked-and-locked apprehension. But the neat thing is that from the start, I had to flick off a manual safety to make the gun go bang, and that's been with me for over 20 years. When I shoot my Kahrs or my Glock, the absence of a thumb safety doesn't slow me down a whit. If I switched from say, a Glock to a 1911 after 10 years with the Glock, I might still be fumbling with the gun. In a roundabout way, what I'm saying is that the single action P238 with its manual safety is perfectly safe to carry ready to shoot, as long as it's holstered (including pocket holsters), it just takes familiarity which breeds confidence with the gun and its features.
Keep us posted on your search and what you end up with! And do remember to budget a decent holster (or two) and training!
NRA Endowment Member
NROI Chief Range Officer
"To blame a gun for a mans decision is to foolishly attribute free will to an inanimate object"- Colion Noir.
Thanks Smitty - very good posts. I understand the flat spring was an improvement Sig made; the early P238s didn't have it. Do you know if any other 'pocket pistols use them? (I have no idea, so I can't answer that question).
Lara, I had similar concerns about carrying 'cocked and locked'. I carried with a loaded mag and an empty chamber for about a month until I finally realized that the safety was NOT going to get inadvertently knocked off, and I became confident enough to carry with a full mag + 1. The safety and the trigger on the P238 are fairly stiff.
That being said, frequent practice is a must with the Sig because when you are under stress, you're likely to forget to knock the safety off unless the motion has become automatic. You'll also need to practice how to correct failures to feed, eject, etc, because semi-autos have a much higher failure rate; especially the sub-compacts. Revos are as close to fail-proof as you can get. Pull trigger = bang, every time. I love mine, it's just too clunky to conceal with most of my deep-south summertime outfits because it's too heavy to wear without a stiff gun belt.
One last tip - think about how you'd shoot in low-light conditions. Do you want night sights, or laser sight? It's often cheaper to buy the gun & sights as a package deal, rather than buying add-ons later. I believe the Sig can be purchased with either one, but I preferred the night sights. I added a laser grip to my revolver.
Be sure to check out the Ladies' Carry thread pinned to the top of the Concealed Carry forum, if you haven't already. Lots of good info there!
"...people who carry a gun understand that they are arming themselves against a very unlikely event... People who arm themselves are not confused about the odds. They are concerned about the stakes. -Kathy Jackson
NRA Life Member
Welcome to the forum. I carry the P-238 and shoot it every Friday or Saturday year round. True, the P-238 is a SAO gun and has a safety. If you are right handed and practice with the safety it will soon become second nature to draw, release the safety, aim and fire all in one continous motion. After all, the original 1911s have been doing that for over a hundred years. The hammer back with a bullet in the chamber is a little intimidating for a new carry person but the safety makes that work. Also if you prefere and you want to get used to carry, you can have hammer back, no bullet in the chamber. I found that to rack the gun in a controlled situation only adds 1/2 second to your response time. In a force on force situation, a bullet in the chamber will be an asset. With the hammer back the P-238 is very easy to rack a bullet into the chamber. With the hammer forward, it is a little more difficult but still easily managed. Again, Welcome to the forum. You will find a wealth of knowledge here and no one minds helping a newbie, so ask away.
Retired AF pilot, Vietnam FAC 1967-68
I have a Sig P238 and it is by far one of the best pocket guns I own. I am very comfortable with the single action trigger however, I am a true 1911 fan. I also have a Masterpiece Arms Protector II in .380 as well. And it is exactly what you described. It is an all metal double action only gun, and with the ported barrel the recoil isn't nearly as harsh as one would expect from a gun of that size. I believe I may have posted a review of it on this site actually.
Congratulation on your decision to join the shooting fraternity-sorority!
The North American Arms Guardian fits your stated paramenters best. Mine is in .32 ACP. It feeds Winchester Silvertips and Federal Hydra Shok fine. The only one failure to feed was with a full metal jacket round. The .380 version did not exist at the time I bought mine.
Heavy??? Compared to plastic, yes. Weight is one of the many compromises made in search of the elusive perfect gun.
The trigger pull on the Guardian is longer and heavier than some other pocket pistol designs. If you handled the double action OK on the revolvers you shot you can handle this gun.
Pocket carry? Some swear by it, others swear at it. I am in the latter group. There are better carry methods but that is a subject unto itself for another thread. If you decide on pocket carry, be sure to use a pocket holster.
Your commitment to practice is laudable. Keep in mind that small pistols are more difficult to master than larger ones but with practice you can win some bets. Start close and work your way back over time.
The "try before you buy" and "one persons meat is another persons poison" mottos apply, and can save a costly mistake.
Best wishes in your quest for what works for you.
Lara, I didn't think to mention it when I suggested the CZ83, it is a double stack magazine, giving you a 12+1 capacity. However due to the double stack configuration it makes for a larger grip. Might want to call around to different gun stores in your area to see if anyone has one you can at least handle to see how it fits your hand.
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