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The "really small" handguns are just not very shootable in my hands. I have seen others do wonders with theirs, and I'm jealous. The Kahr K9 is about as small as I can go, and I foolishly traded mine off a few years ago. You never see the steel frame Kahrs in local shops, or I probably would have replaced it by now.

Good luck in your search!
 

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@Talldog Lots of good advice. I'll mention a few as well.

The S&W Bodyguard 380 is my current backup carry. I would not feel too undergunned with it, should it be all I can get to. I carry Precision One XTP's or Underwood Extreme Defender or Extreme Penetrator.

My daughter has a Sig P238 that is an excellent pistol, but is a little pricey.

My wife carries a Ruger LCR in .38 Special when she doesn't have a way to fit the Shield 9mm. The LCR is another excellent small gun with far more adequate ammunition than used to be available.

I cannot conceal a revolver as well as some of the very small semi autos, but that is just me. Others find the revolver conceals very easily.

One other mention. I have two Kel-Tec PF9's that are almost as easy to conceal as any of the above. I have pocket carried it at times and it isn't out of the question. I mention this only because if you decide to try this, contact these fine folks and they can get you one that is far better than stock. Not that there is anything wrong with stock, but the M-Carbo guys make it a lot better.

https://www.mcarbo.com/kel-tec-pf9-accessories.aspx

FORGOT: All these go in pocket holsters - DeSantis Nemesis
 

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My Kahr CW380 has been perfect right out of the box, through a couple thousand rounds. One thing to note however is the slide is hard to rack compared to most others. Not a problem for me, but for someone with arthritic hands, it may be.

I've got night sights on mine and this little gun is very accurate for me out to 20 yards. It's also a soft shooter for such a little guy.

I highly recommend it for someone looking for a very small concealable gun.
 

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I’ve only shot a few small 380s, but I prefer S&W Bodyguard. The P238 is nice as well, but I prefer the manual of arms on the BG.
 
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The OP can't have something smaller than a G42 and shoots comfortably. Pocket rockets aren't exactly known for being soft shooters.
Comfortable to carry? Yes
Comfortable/fun to shoot? NO

Maybe look into the S&W EZ 380. Bigger than the pocket guns but easier on the hands.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Thanks for all the responses. Just to be clear, my G42 is pretty small and very soft shooting, and I conceal it very well in a Vedder LightTuck carried at 2:30. However, I need to up my game as far as concealability is concerned, meaning thinner and a shorter grip height, but hopefully a .380 and not much harsher than the Glock.

ETXhiker said:
I have a Kahr CW380. It required only to clean and relube, rack the slide about 100 times, and leave the slide locked back for a couple of days. Totally reliable since. They make these things with very tight tolerances and the recoil spring is very stiff, so it does require some breaking in. . But it is very shootable - good sights for a tiny pistol, great trigger and it just feels like a bigger gun than it is. I have a 2nd. gen LCP, which I like, but I am much more accurate with the Kahr.
Thanks for this info. I just found a gun store/range about an hour away that sells the P380/CW380, and has the P380 available for rental. I plan to head down there Monday or Tuesday to rent it. I have no issues with the trigger; I've dry-fired Kahrs before, and the trigger pull is no longer or heavier than my SCCY CPX-3, which I shoot very well.
 

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Have you been to a Rheumatologist yet? When my rheumatoid arthritis flared up I had no idea what it was. I was hard pressed to pull any double action triggers, even my smooth K frame, so J frame revolvers would have been out of the question. Handguns I once shot all the time were now too physically heavy. My Family Physician finally sent me to a Dr. specializing in Rheumatology and who also specialized in Internal Medicine. After many blood tests and checking for blood clots, nothing pointed exactly to ra, but by experience, she diagnosed it as rheumatoid arthritis (ra) and started a medicine treatment which is keeping it in check. I thought I was finished before seeing this Dr. Now most all of my strength and movements are back to normal - at least for a 72 year old.

I would have needed a light trigger pull, something like the Sig P238 or the Ruger LCP 2 back then. In revolvers, if you tried many LCRs and picked one with a lighter trigger than the others on the shelf, it would have worked also, but been larger than the pistols. Now, after treatment of pills daily, I can shoot all of mine without a problem.

If you have the other types of arthritis, then that's another story, but I will say that my knees and shoulders that had osteo-arthritus from age and injury and needed shots have not been bothering much at all now.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Grizzly2 said:
Have you been to a Rheumatologist yet?
Yeah, I have. I've got mild arthritis in both hands, but that's not my real problem. I have severe degenerative arthritis in the pinky finger of my shooting hand, and it is not treatable. The only option if it becomes too much of an issue for me is to have the last two segments of the finger fused. I won't do that if I have any other choice.

In real terms, what this means is that any gun that I can't get a full grip on has the potential to be painful to shoot. I'm still EDCing my G26, but I can no longer shoot it with 10 round mags that don't have pinky extensions. My G42 doesn't bother me at all to shoot, but obviously, anything smaller/lighter than that is going to have to be considered carefully.
 

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P3AT was pretty snappy in such a little gun , But they did come in 32 ACP. For a deep concealment gun, You might take a look! There are also some pretty thin Surplus guns floating around. CZ 50, CZ70, Makarov, CZ 82 and 83. all of those were police issue. and built well. There are also the classic PPK in 32 or 380. All of those are thin and made to be concealed. But they are not in the deep concealment range like the ruger, P3AT, or the P32. I have arthritis and have trouble shooting the really small guns. About the smallest 380 I can shoot well is the Bersa Thunder CC it just has enough grip to get all my fingers on it. Good Luck
 

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For easy to shoot .380's +3 (or whatever) for the Sig P-238 and M&P .380 EZ. Both are excellent choices! I would also look hard at a 6 shot snubby like the Colt Cobra & Detective models or the tried and proven Ruger Six series. (The Speed Six is a very easy to shoot snubby!) Good luck!
 
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Shootable Small Handguns

I have a need for the absolutely most concealable gun that I can carry, in a caliber that can get the job done. Something even smaller than my G42. My problem is that I have arthritis in my hands, and it is severe enough that I can't even shoot my G26 any more without a pinky extension on the mag. I'm thinking that .380 is probably as small as I should go, but it has to be shootable, e.g. not something like a KelTec P3AT. I've known a couple of folks who owned those and told me they were painful to shoot. I'm thinking about the Kahr P380, and I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with that pistol. Or if anyone has any other ideas. Again, it has to be really small, but it has to be shootable for someone with physical limitations. I might also consider a .32ACP, but I already know that a 9mm in the size I'm looking for would be unfeasible.
I have tried most of the available .380 ACP pistols. The G42 is one of the easiest to shoot for me. BUT, as you are wanting smaller than that, here are some of my opinions based upon my experience shooting and carrying .380s, with some consideration for arthritic hands.

Beretta Pico - Great sights (for small pistol), accurate, well made, difficult to rack for me due to narrow slide and small serrated area. Longer grip than some other small pistols makes it somewhat easier to shoot. One of the most narrow pistols made.
Kahr CW380/P380 - tight tolerances require break-in, recommended by manufacture. I have had several and always follow a routine of feed ramp polishing, slide racking a minimum of 400 times, and shooting 400 rounds for break-in. Some will find this pistol difficult to rack, due to slide spring, but this does help in recoil reduction. I like the standard sights of the dot/bar, but some will not. Magazines receive a lot of hate mail due to tendency to lose the top round if carried in pocket. The metal used in the magazines have always reminded me of something you would find in a "Saturday Night Special", but I haven't had issues with them, just the "looks" bother me. Mine have all been accurate and I haven't experienced the malfunctions that some report of jamming, failure to feed, etc., but I do prep the pistol.
Kahr CT380 - What was said about the CW380 can be said for the CT380, with the caveat that the CT380's longer grip makes it easier to shoot and more difficult to conceal. @Talldog, for your condition of the arthritic pinky finger, this just might be the ticket!
Ruger LCP I - Another pistol I have owned several of, starting with their first released ones, which had to be returned to Ruger for a modification. Anyway, the LCP I has a double action only very stiff trigger pull, essentially non-existent sights, a barrel that will rust if exposed to sweat, salt water, etc., the slide doesn't lock back on the last shot fired, and is one of the smallest pistols one could carry. Mine have been very reliable for about 150 shots, then needed cleaned or they would jam. I have one of the "Custom" models, too, which actually has a decent trigger pull and better sights. With the LCP II available, I can't recommend the original model to anyone unless they are totally spooked by the striker fired action of the LCP II and the light trigger pull.
Ruger LCP II - Could have been named something different than LCP since to me it is a totally different pistol. Striker fired, safe trigger, wider, better sights, slide lock after last shot, and only slightly larger than the LCP I It is, for me, much easier to shoot than the LCP I. One of my often carried pistols when I need something very small, carried in my front pocket.
Sig P238 - I have one of the "pretty" ones, engraved with fancy grips and night sights, but that is cosmetics on what is a very well made pistol. Easy to rack. Trigger pull could be better, as I find it heavy for a single action pistol. Accuracy is adequate, but what do you need for a little .380? Very good pistol, but it is somewhat pricey.
Kimber Micro .380 - I have had one of these since they first came out, before Kimber started making some many different models of this pistol. Mine is the basic stainless model with rosewood grips. Of all of my .380s, this is my most accurate one to shoot (for me). If there is a downside for me with this pistol, it is Kimber's recommendations of changing out the recoil springs after a relatively low round count of 1,000 rounds, less if you use +P. The springs are cheap, so this really isn't an issue, just my gripe.
Taurus 738 - I have had a couple of these and found them easier to shoot than the Ruger LCP I. Slide locked back after last found fired. Better sights than the LCP I. No longer made, the last ones being offered new could sometimes be found for as little as $130, NIB!.
Sig P290 RS - Small, but not as small as some others. Long trigger pull. Mine had Sig night sights, which were very good. These came in two different configurations, one with re-strike capability and one not. The "R" in the model numbers were the ones with re-strike capability. Good quality. Mine was very accurate. With the wider grip and larger size, the felt recoil is low. I gifted mine to one of my sons and he likes it very much. No longer available new. IMHO, this pistol's size excludes it from consideration, but I thought I would add it anyway, as you might come across one and like it.
Remington RM380 - Most know that this is a copy, with a couple of modifications, of the Kevin Rohrbaugh designed double action only trigger pull, hammer fired pistol. All metal, stainless slide and aluminum frame, it is slightly heavier than most of the other small .380 pistols. I put this into the same class as the Sig P290RS, slightly larger than the others, but easy to shoot. It is not as tall as the G42, and just a little wider. For me, accuracy was okay, not stellar. At one time there were some good deals on these with heavy discounts and manufacture's rebates, making it a good buy.
 

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Might have already been said, but the smaller the pistol the less shootable they become. And 380 felt recoil isn't much different than 9mm. If minimal size of pistol is paramount, a Beretta TomCat in .32 auto might be the way to go. Keep in mind, Beretta specifically warns against using any .32 ammo over 130 ft lbs of energy, and many modern 32 loads exceed that.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beretta_3032_Tomcat
 
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I love my LCPII. Good clean trigger break, ok sights, shoots well, reliable, very small and light. The relatively light trigger pull makes a Kydex pocket holster a must.
Some say it is "snappy," but it IS a small polymer .380. I don't find the recoil bothersome at all.
The difference in weight of 10 oz. for the LCPII vs. the 12.5 -- 15 oz. weight of most other .380s is HUGE in my pocket -- just my opinion. 15 oz. in my pocket feels like I'm carrying a brick.
 

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If it hurts but you can still shot then maybe a centerfire handgun with a comparable 22 RF practice gun. I am thinking specifically the Ruger LCR in 38 special and 22 RF version. Make sure initially the LCR in 38 special is reliable even if you have to have someone else test it. Then fire LCR 38 special very infrequently doing your practice with 22RF version. Once you have assured LCR in 38 special is reliable can be pretty sure it will stay reliable with any quality ammo. LCR is maybe not the smallest package but its shape conceals well for most people and double action is generally good out of the box.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Big Western said:
Might have already been said, but the smaller the pistol the less shootable they become. And 380 felt recoil isn't much different than 9mm. If minimal size of pistol is paramount, a Beretta TomCat in .32 auto might be the way to go.
I haven't ruled out .32ACP, but I'd like to stay with .380 if I can. I'll be shooting a P380 on Monday.
 

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I haven't ruled out .32ACP, but I'd like to stay with .380 if I can. I'll be shooting a P380 on Monday.
I have a G42 and 2 P238's. I prefer to carry the SIG's because they are so much easier to rack the slides and really soft and accurate shooters. HOWEVER: Even though the P238 is measurably smaller than the G42 - the Glock CONCEALS BETTER!!!! I do not know why, but it definitely has a "flatter" profile.

I carry my guns IWB in Vedder holsters, a bit in front of my hip bone. I shoot left handed due to severe arthritic deterioration in my right hand which was my shooting hand for 20 years.

I sincerely wish you luck with your search for the right gun for you for your needs and with your limitations!
 

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I've owned many of the guns posted in this thread, and my concern with many of these recommendation is they will be snappy or it will be difficult to manipulate the slide.

The only guns I can recommend are:

SIG P238: easy to rack the slide, light-ish trigger.

Ruger LCP II: Not too bad to rack the slide, light trigger.

If they won't work for you, the only thing left is to move down to a 32 ACP - Keltec P32 or Seecamp.
 
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