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; I have two .38's, a PPK/S and a Ruger LCP. The Ruger is the easiest to carry (it's tiny) but at 15 feet the other ...
I have two .38's, a PPK/S and a Ruger LCP. The Ruger is the easiest to carry (it's tiny) but at 15 feet the other day, I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. I haven't shot it a lot yet but in low light, aiming was mere guesswork. I'm with you on the sexiness of the PPK. Love the way it looks, feels (I'm not a big guy). Mine is an Interarms one and can be finicky about ammo. Remington Ball tends to not cycle properly leaving me jammed. MagTec seems OK and I've not had a miss feed with the SD loads but to be honest, I haven't spent a lot of money shooting them, they're not cheap. I carry this gun with a Ritchie IWB holster. Pretty easy to conceal.
This leads me to my Smith and Wesson .38's. They never fail to feed, they are a bit jumpy but I find the accuracy MUCH better than my .380's. They are cheaper to purchase, cheaper to buy and below is a picture of the bullet that comes out. The .38 was just trying to exit a 4" by 4" block of treated when it stopped. The .380 kind of glanced off and out the side without doing much to the wood. I'd prefer to carry the .38 with a hollow point any day over the .380.
Just my $.02. Have fun shopping and shooting. Welcome, your questions are great and we're happy to respond.
You may be setting your sights too high (pun intended) in looking for a concealable gun for a petite woman AND that you can play with and enjoy at the range. Sure, some people (men and women) are fine with carrying bigger heavier metal guns but in my experience most are not.
My recommendation is to start off with the lightweight concealable gun, which pretty much means a revolver in 38 special or a polymer pistol in either 380 or 9mm. Lots of good options there. Also, get yourself a range/home-defense gun also for general fun and practice probably in 9mm so that your ammo is cheap. 9mm is a fair bit cheaper than 380 and can be bought online in bulk for maybe $10-12 for a box of 50.
I know this isn't exactly what you asked, but I think a lot of people (myself included) start off looking for ONE gun that can do it all and then realize that they either bought a range/home-defense gun and it's too big and heavy to carry, or they bought a concealment type gun and realized they didn't like shooting it a whole lot at the range. When push comes to shove you're not going to be bothered by the recoil of the small polymer pistol/revolver if you have to fire in self defense.
Therefore, I recommend this non-requested option for your consideration:
-A Ruger LCR in 38 special for carry (no need for the 357 magnum). Small, light, reliable. Also worth considering a lightweight 380 but reliability concerns go up a bit in the small form factor semi-autos.
-A big, perhaps even full size, 9mm for the range and home defense. Perhaps a Glock 17 or 19, or a Sig P226/229 depending on how much you want to spend. A friend has a FNX 9mm and love it - it's a great fun gun to shoot. There are a LOT of options for this gun.
Of course, you'd practice with both guns at the range to ensure proficiency, but probably find yourself using the full size more just because it's nicer to shoot.
Night sights are sights that glow in the dark. For home defense I would strongly recommend you consider getting these as most bad stuff is going to happen in the middle of the night. Keep a quality flashlight with push button control (no twisting on/off) near the gun.
The .38 specials just seem...too big to be concealed! At least without wearing baggy clothes. Ever since I held the little .380s, everything else seems gargantuan. But what do I know? Clearly you all are the experts.
You all have given me so much to think about! Thank you! I'm excited to go back to the range and put all this new information to work.
Last edited by LaraCroft10; October 3rd, 2012 at 08:03 AM.
You asked what night sights are... here's a photo: http://www.gungearusa.com/nightsight.jpg
They have tiny fiber optic rods that glow in the dark, to give you the ability to line up your shot when it's too dark to see regular steel sights.
You can also get a laser sight that mounts on the trigger guard, or that's built into the grip. Grip sights are nice because most are designed to automatically come on when you squeeze the grip. The trigger guard lasers reduce your holster options, are more likely to get knocked around during unholstering/reholstering, and aren't intuitive (you have to switch it on, which is an added step).
My Sig came with a Crimson Trace trigger guard laser: http://cdn1.cheaperthandirt.com/ctd_...od/7-LG492.jpg, but I didn't care for it. I'm replacing it with night sights.
"...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!!
Listen to your head and to your heart! The P238 would be a perfect gun for you, and you already have the experience of shooting it and falling in love with it.
I own the 238 and it has been my primary summer carry for a couple of years. I have not had one failure of any kind with this gun after thousands of rounds.
I don’t know where you came up with idea that you would be sacrificing safety carrying a gun cocked and locked with one in chamber and the safety ON. This gun was designed to be carried this way!
The Sig safety is not loose and requires a dedicated effort with your thumb to disengage it. However, once you get used to it, it just becomes part of the firing sequence. As the weapon clears the holster, the thumb flicks the safety OFF as the gun is approaching the firing position.
As far as safety goes, a friend of mine dropped a loaded, cocked, and chambered 238, with the safety ON, onto a tile floor. The gun landed on the hammer and it did not discharge. As long as the trigger is covered while the gun is in the holster, it is perfectly safe to carry with one in the chamber, cocked, and safety ON. This gun will not discharge unless the safety is moved to OFF and the trigger pulled.
The final decision is yours, so try not to be overly influenced by the opinions of others, including mine. We all were beginners at one point and regardless of how many or how few opinions you get now, everyone will agree that this first purchase won’t be your last.
As your experience grows, you will learn to trust your own instincts and analysis more, but you have made a good choice leaning towards the 238 from the start. You won’t regret it if you buy this gun and if the worst case scenario appears on your doorstep and you want to sell it, you will be swamped with buyers. There simply aren’t that many used 238’s that remain unsold.
Whatever your final decision is, make the one that is best for you!
This may help...
Click the link below, then click on the blue "Self Defense" block, then on the red "PocketAutoComparison" block.
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There are some older guns that fit the bill.
The Mauser HSC
The Colt 1909
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USMC RET 1961-1971
FWIW, this is the last year the CZ 83 is being made. Great gun -- I have two (.380 and .32) -- and their military sibling, the CZ 82 (9 Makarov). Surplus 82s and 83s can be found online periodically, from about $200 to $230 plus shipping to your local gun shop plus a transfer fee. Quite a few folks are refinishing these and ending up with very nice pistols; e.g.: Show off your refinished CZ-82.
While the SIG Sauer P238 is a subcompact, the CZ 82 and 83 are compacts. My guess is you could find a way to conceal one, and you'd have a far superior range gun. And, you'd have 13 rounds instead of 7, and the option to carry Condition 1 (cocked & locked) or Condition 2 (hammer down with a double-action pull needed to fire the first round).
Ever consider a used Sig P230? All metal, slim, DA/SA.
SIG P230 Sig - Sauer/Sigarms Pistols > P230 for sale, gun classifieds or gun auction from JBJIM. Buy or bid on this SIG P230 in the category Sig - Sauer/Sigarms Pistols > P230 on GunsAmerica.
Everyone knows that Raspberry Jello is the most robust gel. Peach, now that's an easy one shot kill.
Welcome to the forum Lara. Nobody has really recommended a Bodyguard 380 yet. So, allow me to be the first. My wife got hers for her B-day last year and LOVES it! (Loves her Bersa too!)
It was extremely accurate right out of the box and it has been 100% reliable! IMHO; The Bodyguard has the BEST sights of any pocket pistol. (Which helps her shoot >1" groups at 10yrds without the laser)
The only thing that needed getting used to was the long trigger pull. But, once she realized it breaks almost at "full" pull, it became easy to overcome.
The P238 is the perfect gun. It's extremely pleasant to shoot. Very concealable, reliable as gravity with Gold Dot ammo. It is fun to shoot, a gun you will practice with, and comes stock with night sights. My wife and I each have our own. She got hers first,
didn't want to share it (I don't blame her) so we went to Cabela's and I bought my own.
I also have a West German made Walther PPK/S
and an LCP.
The PPK is not nearly as pleasant to shoot as the P238 and has a much harder slide to manipulate. Same for the Ruger LCP.
If you are right handed, get one of the P238's that has a right hand only safety. Mine is an ambidexterous safety, my wife's is right hand only. Neither of us has ever had a problem with the safety being bumped off. I pocket carry mine. She purse or belt carries hers.
The P238 also has an 8lb trigger which is frankly less likely to be bumped and fired than the long light double action triggers on some DAO semi automatics.
My wife has had several revolvers including an LCR. She kept her 686 for her home defense gun and her S&W M17 as a practice gun, but she doesn't carry them ever. She did "not" like shooting the LCR. It hurt her hands. She does like shooting my sisters Colt Detective Special, an all steel 6 shot snubby that went out of production sometime in the 1980's, but those are hard to find and expensive, and bulky to carry.
For what you are looking for, the P238 is about perfect. Stick it in a MiniTuck and you are good to go. Then practice practice practice.
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I really appreciate all of the input. I'm a little more sold on the idea of carrying cocked and locked and it being safe as long as the safety's on. I believe I would also be able to train myself to pull the safety down as I draw. What I'm still worried about is that FTF with a semi-auto will always be an issue. And God forbid the time I need it is the time it jams and those extra seconds to unjam cost me my life.
Scary stuff. I just don't know, y'all. *siiiiiggghhhh!!!*
But thank you all so much for your advice, nonetheless.