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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ruger LC380 – Newly designed .380 by Ruger for 2013. It was built for, and marketed to the growing number of women shooters and concealed carry permit holders. Personally, I think this was a brilliant move by Ruger to build a real carry weapon designed for women, instead of just relying on what they already had available. Now, I know there are a lot of very capable women shooters out there, who have been shooting for years, or their whole lives, and can shoot anything you put in their hands. However, I believe there are far more women shooters, like my wife, who are fairly new to pistol shooting and are having a problem finding a carry weapon that fits them. I think most weapons that have a comfortable recoil are too large to carry daily. And, the ones that are small enough to carry comfortably will knock you down with recoil.

Just to reiterate this, let me compare a few concealed carry weapons, based on recoil factor in ft-lbs. First, let’s look at my Ruger LC9…the 9mm version of the LC380. It has a 7.72 ft-lb recoil factor, which is quite a bit for a lightweight pistol. I’d say it took me a couple hundred rounds to get used to it. Compare this to my Baby Desert Eagle in 9mm steel, weighing in at 40 oz, having a recoil factor 3.64 ft-lbs, and the best-shooting pistol I've ever shot...you just don't want to carry it around with you every day. Now, let’s look at the Bersa Thunder 380…it only has a 2.81 ft-lb recoil factor, which is about the lowest there is in a .380 caliber weapon. The problem here is the Bersa Thunder is a fairly large .380 and weighs 23 oz. But, let’s compare its recoil factor to the ever-popular Ruger LCP in .380 ACP…the LCP has a 6.64 ft-lb recoil factor, which for a little bitty 9.4 oz weapon is huge. Most women really hate shooting this little pistol, and a lot of other small pistols that men seem to think they would like, due to the high recoil factor…and I believe if you hate to shoot it, it is not a good carry weapon. Another popular women’s carry weapon is the S&W Bodyguard…it has 5.27 ft-lb recoil factor, which is not bad at all for a .380 caliber weapon weighing only 12 oz. Now, let’s throw in the new Ruger LC380…it has a 3.69 ft-lb recoil factor and weighs 17 oz. It’s in between the Thunder 380 and Bodyguard for weight, but its recoil factor is much closer to the Thunder 380. Kinda reminds me of the 3 Bears…and this is the one that is “just right”. Now, let’s consider a revolver. A lot of men will say that their wife or girlfriend can’t shoot a semi-automatic for various reasons, and run down and buy them something like a Ruger LCR, double-action revolver, chambered in .357 Magnum. She shoots it once, and never wants to shoot again. Why is this, he wonders. Well, this little revolver, weighing in at only 17 oz, firing a .357 round, has a whopping 19.47 ft-lb recoil factor…that’s why. Then, there’s the Ruger LCR in .38 Special. It only weighs 13 oz, but still has a 7.43 ft-lb recoil factor. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to carry a weapon with a recoil factor over 7 ft-lbs, I’d much rather carry an 8-round LC9 than a 5-round LCR.

Built on the hugely popular LC9 frame, the LC380 even uses the LC9 magazine, except with a spacer in the back to enable them to use the shorter .380 ammo. If using an UpLula to reload your magazines, you will have to use the 9mm UpLula…not the .380 UpLula. The LC380 is recoil-operated, double-action only. And, it does have that long trigger pull that the LC9 has. It has an internal lock, manual safety on the frame…not on the slide. It holds 7+1 rounds, and has a glass-filled nylon frame, and weighing in at 17 oz. It has a low recoil factor of 3.69 ft-lbs. The barrel length is 3 1/16” long, it is 5 13/16” long overall, has a 4 5/8” height, and a 15/16” width. (NOTE: the overall height I measured includes a magazine with the finger rest, which adds 1/2” to the overall height.)

We’ve only put a couple hundred rounds through the LC380 so far. This includes 6 different brands of ammo, and we have not had one failure of any kind. It will feed, fire, and eject everything you throw at it. It seems to be just as dependable as the LC9. I’ve fired over 1000 rounds through my LC9, with 8 different brands of ammo, and have never had a failure of any kind…which is what I expect for a concealed carry weapon.

Now, the main thing about a concealed carry weapon is how it shoots, and how comfortable the shooter feels with the weapon. My wife absolutely loves the LC380 for ease of use. It is by-far the easiest to rack semi-auto pistol I’ve ever seen. And, she likes having .75” x 2” area on the slide to grab ahold of. It has no decocker/safety on the slide to get in the way, and the slide lock does not get in the way. Just a big, smooth area to allow you to get a lot of hand on it, making it easy to rack. The LC380 is sleek, with all rounded-off corners, making it a perfect concealed carry weapon. It seems to be the perfect size and weight, and my wife shoots it like a charm. She did have a little issue with the long double-action trigger on the first 5 rounds she fired with it…but got used to it very quickly. In fact, I’d say she was used to it, and shooting it very well, before she even finished the first box of ammo. But, I’d say it took me close to 300 rounds through my LC9 before I felt completely comfortable with it. So, if there’s anything my wife said she would change on the LC380, it would be the trigger. She does like the DA/SA trigger on the Thunder 380 much better than the long DA only trigger on the LC380.


Bersa Thunder 380 – Designed in 1995. The Thunder 380 is blowback-operated, double-action/single-action. This means the first round fires in double-action…everything afterwards is single-action, making each round after the first one much easier to shoot. It has a slide-mounted decock/hammer block safety, holds 7+1 rounds, and has an aluminum alloy frame, which makes it a tad heavy at 23oz. But, the added weight also slows recoil in this blowback-operated pistol. It has one of the lowest recoil factors of any .380 at 2.81 ft-lbs. The barrel length is 3 1/2”, it is 6 1/2” long overall, has a 4 3/4” height, and a 1 1/2” width with the Crimson Trace laser grips installed. (NOTE: the overall height I measured includes a magazine with the finger rest, which adds 1/4” to the overall height.)

We had problems with ProMag magazines causing a stove pipe round on the very last round fired, no matter if you loaded 5, 6, or 7 in the magazine. We have not had this issue using the more-expensive Bersa OEM magazines, except with a couple of brands of ammo. It also seems to not like certain brands of ammo. A few brands we’ve tried in the Thunder 380 have had constant FTFeeds, FTFires, FTEs, etc. And with today’s ammo-shortages we’ve tried a lot of different brands of ammo that we’ve never tried before, as we’ve learned to take what we can get, no matter what brand. If you want to shoot, you’ve gotta have ammo, and if we’d been waiting for a certain brand to become available, we wouldn’t have been able to shoot at all. I will say the Bersa Thunder seems to love the Winchester and Remington ammo…and if you can find plenty of those brands, I’d say you’d have no worries with dependability. And, even though we did find several brands it didn’t like, what is worrisome to us is our particular Bersa Thunder 380 does not like the Hornady Critical Defense rounds.

My wife likes the Thunder 380 OK for ease of use. And, even though its slide spring is not heavy by any means, it is harder to rack the slide on it, as compared to the LC380. With the decocker/safety on the slide, it seems to get in the way when racking the slide, as does the slide lock. Even for me, I can see that the Thunder 380 is a little harder to rack than the LC380 is. And, if you take into account the size of the slide, minus the area taken up by the decocker/safety and slide lock, you’re only looking at an area about 3/8” x 1” to be able to grab on the slide when racking it.


Thunder380 CT Grip-LC380 CT Laserguar Hogue Grip Sleeve.jpg Thunder380 Length.jpg LC380 Length.jpg Thunder380 Height.jpg LC380 Height.jpg
 

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It looks to me like recoil factor is a useful number for me in comparing firearms. Where are you getting the recoil factor for various models?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
gwgw60, go to genitron.com and search for whatever you want. For example, here is the link for the LC380: Ruger LC380

Genitron.com will give you detailed information for each type of weapon, including recoil factor.
 

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If I were to carry a .380, the bersa was tops on the list, since I like a heavier gun. But the LC380 would match well with my SR40C and my LCR :)
 

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Does the Ruger come without the PINK grips??
 

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Interesting comparison and I agree that website has some very useful information.

Just out of curiosity, I looked up the recoil factor for my Walther PPK and I was surprised to see that it's at a low 2.87. Now I admit that I'm a 380 newb as I have always shot 9mm or bigger...but for such a small pistol the PPK has a nice little kick to it.

I was at a LGS as of an hour or so ago...hoping to find a Bersa to look at, mainly due to the multiple posts that I've read on a few different forums that speak highly of it. While I was there, I looked at an LC380 and although it felt good in hand...I just didn't like the long trigger pull. I have looked at the Bersa Thunder 380 in the past and if they would've had one today, I probably would've bought it since I'm on a bit of a 380 kick after getting the PPK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
JT353...yes, the Bersa Thunder 380 is basically a very good clone of the Walther PPK, in all aspects. And, I totally agree about that long DA trigger pull. But, you do get used to it...and it's not designed to shoot good groups on paper. For what it's designed for, the longer heavier trigger may turn out to be a better option, as the adrenaline will have you pumped up so much, it will not seem long or heavy. One thing I will stress on the LC380 is the ease of racking the slide. It's a big slide with a lot to grip and my wife really likes that. An older female friend of ours cannot rack my wife's Bersa Thunder 380 at all, but has no issue racking the Ruger LC380.

You can see the difference in the grip area of the slide in the attachments.

LC380 Slide Grip Length.jpg Thunder380 Slide Grip Length.jpg LC380 Slide Grip Height.jpg Thunder380 Slide Grip Height.jpg
 

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Great report. Have you or your wife tried the SIG P238? If so, what do your think of the Sig compared to the LC380?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Great report. Have you or your wife tried the SIG P238? If so, what do your think of the Sig compared to the LC380?
Haystacker, we have not tried the SIG P238...mainly due to price. So, I can't compare them...but, of course, the SIG is a great gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I hear you Haystacker...I've always been a Ruger fan myself, from way back. Have Rugers from the 80's...Redhawk, Security Six, Single Six, Mark II...all in stainless. Love them all...so when I started shopping for CC weapons, I tried to stay with Ruger for myself. Did a lot of research, shot a few, and settled on the LC9. The wife was shooting the Bersa Thunder 380, and I just got tired of finding more and more different brands of ammo that wouldn't work in it...and felt it wasn't dependable enough for her to carry. So, as soon as I found the LC380, I got one for her to try. Needless to say, she loved it and shoots it very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Great report!
Thanks Gunowner99...just my findings and opinions. Others may have different opinions...and I realize all guns have their own characteristics. Bottom line is, between the Thunder 380 and the LC380, I wouldn't bet my life, or my wife's life, on the Thunder 380.
 

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Great post! Just have one minor correction. The Bersa has a safety / decocker - you can have SA on every shot if you chose. I haven't handled a LC380, but now I'm interested in checking one of them out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Great post! Just have one minor correction. The Bersa has a safety / decocker - you can have SA on every shot if you chose. I haven't handled a LC380, but now I'm interested in checking one of them out.
Exactly right Warmon...and if I were carrying it, that's exactly how I'd carry it, just like the old 1911's...cocked and locked. But, my wife would not carry it like that...so her first round was always DA. LOL!! Yeah, checkout the LC380...great gun, shoots good, easiest slide I've ever seen. Basically, a gun any woman can shoot, and most guys would like. My wife likes being able to "womanize" hers with the pink Hogue Handall Jr grips. I really enjoy shooting it much more than my LC9...but of course, it has less than half the recoil.
 

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The lc380 is the same size I believe as the lc9. If I were to carry that size I would go with the 9mm for a better cartridge. I have the thunder 380 and I feel its a good gun for the 380. And the larger calibers the smaller you go I feel would be getting into reliability issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The lc380 is the same size I believe as the lc9. If I were to carry that size I would go with the 9mm for a better cartridge. I have the thunder 380 and I feel its a good gun for the 380. And the larger calibers the smaller you go I feel would be getting into reliability issues.
Yes, it is the same size as the LC9...I believe I stated that fact. And, I stated that I do carry the LC9. And, I stated the reason for the LC380 is it's designed for women, which makes it a great pistol for my wife. My wife loves it...and that's all that matters. And, as I stated, she does NOT like shooting my LC9 at all, because the recoil factor is more than double the LC380. And, yes, the Thunder 380 is a "good gun for the 380". However, for me, the bottom line is, I would not bet my life, or my wife's , on the Thunder 380, as compared to the LC380. To me, the Thunder 380 cannot compare to the LC380 when it comes to reliability...period.
 
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