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Discussion Starter #1
I thought you guys would all get a kick out of this.

I recently have had to help someone on a small budget find a CCW solution. This isn't everything you need, but it's a good starter package.

After testing another gun and considering many more, we finally went with the Bersa Thunder 380.

Here's basically what it costs for the hardware:

Bersa Thunder 380 : $199

Spare Magazine : $31

Mika's IWB Holster: $22

Brinkmann Xenon Flashlight (these are surprisingly good by the way!) : $20

Caliber specific cleaning kit: $10

1 Box of Speer Gold Dots (for carry): $15

1 Pistol Case: Free! I had one laying around and cut a hole in the foam to hold the cleaning kit so the whole setup fits in one case.

Only 1 more thing to add and that's some .380 ACP snap caps. I'll pick some up next weekend for $10 or so.

Grand Total: $307 more or less.

Now here's the best part. Her original budget was $200. We all chipped in and took care of the cost of the hardware. She can save her money for paying the application fee and taking a class.

I'm also tossing in a copy of "The Tactical Pistol" by Gabe Suarez. I'll get to see her for a couple days next month and we're going to spend some time relearning the Four Rules, learning the manual of arms, learning what the parts of the gun are called, and doing some excercises with the snap caps. I'm going to bring an Airsoft pistol and a qualification target too. At the end of the day I hope we're going to draw from the holster, "shoot" a snap cap, and then execute a tap rack bang.

I figure that'll get her ready for a real range session and a real class. After that it's up to her.

Being armed doesn't have to cost a lot of money. What's $300 next to your life?
 

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Euc - I would agree with your choice - that has to be IMO one of the best start-up-on-a-budget plans!! :smile: Some might also consider a Mak at a mere $149 - tho not perhaps quite as friendly re ammo choices.

My Bersa is 101% reliable, even with crap steel case Russian ammo - a superb lil' gun, well able to fill the CCW roll - and for a lady particularly so - as long as blowback recoil not too uncomfortable. It is not CCW for me tho - maybe if my wife gets on better with semi's eventually, it could well suit her.

Good result!


 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's the one she's getting, same finish and everything.

There's just something endearing about a little gun that isn't very expensive, and maybe it isn't exactly the best gun you've ever handled or shot, but it works pretty good anyway. I'd lump the Bersa into this category.

I actually like it but it just feels too small for my catcher's mitts and I don't like the idea of a magazine disconnect safety. If they'd lose the mag disconnect safety and offer a higher capacity magazine with a grip extension I would really be tempted to get one for myself!

I think my aunt will like it though. It is a bit of a compromise but it fits her description of what she wanted very well at its price point.
 

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Euc........Either way..it fits right into the budget ! Good little gun to start out on, and I'm sure it will eat just about anything :biggrin:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Actually George I agree with you for a lot of people. But without going into a long and painful narrative I can tell you she wouldn't like the Makarov. Me, I'd probably like the Makarov better.

You can also do this same thing with a Charter Arms Undercover Special, a Rossi, or a Taurus if you look around a little bit. I think a .357 magnum revolver is really hard to beat for price vs. effectiveness!
 

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Indeed a .357 snub is also a good option - Bersa fan that I am - I am also a snub fan too. Only downside might be arguably, the reduced capacity.

Even a humble 38 spl snub is worthy of consideration - instance my venerable ol' M85 - currently Mrs P95's carry piece. Just the std 38 spl loads but - a manageable piece and no hassles with slides and springs and things! Always worthy of consideration and this ol' friend would probably be on the shelves for not much different from $150!!!

I'm sure I posted this pic elsewhere - sorry for any repetition. BTW much holster wear and even some pitting from sweat (oh, that was the thread I posted this on!) ........


 

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Chris? Nuthin wrong about a gun that looks carried.. Gives it Charactor..
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Actually in a snub I'm a big fan of the .38+P Speer Gold Dots. I believe in shot placement over a bigger blast every time and I can control the .38 much more easily. To be honest I like snubbies and my main carry piece is a snub but I feel they're definitely a compromise gun. It's actually the second least capable firearm I have in my possession.

The thing is though, I am fortunate enough to own more than one handgun and I have a platform capable of launching the more powerful round comfortably. If I was only going to have just the one gun and it had to be a carry piece, I'd take a .357 Magnum just so I'd have more options. I'd probably still carry .38 +P though.

Now if my gun was on old .38 made before this +P stuff started, I'd just use the old Chicago load and be happy.
 

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A Taurus 357mag snub would put you in the same price range, but with much more power. It might be cheaper as reloads would be in bianchi speed strips. Also a small upgrade would be a Surefire G2 Nytrolon flashlight.

Taurus snub = $250
Bianchi Speed Strip = $6
Surefire G2 Nytrolyn = $40 when on sale
Gold Dot Hollow Points = $16
Don Hume IWB = $40
 

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Mak Attack !

I must be drinking out of George's coffee cup. I also vote the Mak ! (in 9 x18 only). If they were made in the US, they'd be in the $500+ price range. The only negative thing I can say about them is the ugly grips, but otherwise they function without fail. I bought my first one (s) a few years ago when Cheaper than Dirt had them for $99.95 in unused, unissued condition. I carry one as a truck weapon, another one is due to have Novak sights installed for a CCW backup. The Mak so impressed a buddy of mine, he traded me even for a old model Ruger Blackhawk in 41 Mag, with less than half a box of ammo fired in it, original box, papers, and case. Not a bad trade for a cheap (not cheaply made) gun. Plus, when I fire the Mak, I don't have to stay on pain pills for three days waiting for the wrist swelling to go down. LOVE them.
 

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The one thing I always think of when recommending a starter kit for someone is how committed, willing or even interested in practicing they are. If I don't get the sense that someone is going to really learn how their pistol works, and what to do when it doesn't, I always recommend a revolver of some sort. Sure you might get them to the range a couple of times and make sure they can hit what they point at and are safe, but that's just not enough for a semi-auto pistol.

There's really a lot involved in being effective with a semi-auto. You have to know how to clear jams, you have to make sure your chosen ammo feeds properly, etc. A revolver clears up a lot of these issues. If it doesn't fire, pull the trigger again. If it still doesn't fire, pull the trigger again, preferably while running away. If that doesn't clear up the problem, you probably can't fix it anyway, but at least you've started running.

Revolvers are generally not finicky about ammo, if it's the right caliber, it's going to come out the end of the barrel at a reasonably fast rate. You do still have to learn to load a revolver, but once you learn how to get the cylinder open, it's quite obvious from there, put the shiny brass things in the little holes. In most cases, they only go in the right way, so it's nearly idiot proof.

Don't get me wrong here, I love semi's, but I'm a gun-person, and so are most of us here, so we're willing and interested in learning the manual of arms for them. So, we get rewarded with higher capacity, faster reloads, etc.

Of course, this is all IMHO, so please take it with a small salt mine.

Mike
 
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