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442 or LCP


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I currently have a Walther PPS in 9mm for IWB. I've pocket carried it a few times but it's just not that manageable. I find myself wanting something to just toss in my pocket and go...

I'll be keeping the PPS for situations where I can IWB carry easily, I'm in love with it after all :hand10:.

My question is for pocket carry which would you pick, I have it narrowed down to two firearms:


Smith and Wesson 442



Caliber: 38 Special +P
Capacity: 5
Barrel Length: 1 7/8"
Length : 6.375"
Height: 4.25"
Width: 1.1875"
Weight: 15 oz.
Cost: $416

or

Ruger LCP



Caliber: 380 ACP
Barrel Length: 2 3/4"
Capacity: 6 + 1
Height: 3.6"
Length: 5.16"
Width: .82"
Weight: 9.4 oz.
Cost: $379


The 442 gets the nod in a better cartridge, reliability, and easier to draw out of a pocket categories.

The LCP wins the in the capacity, barrel length, length, height, width, weight, and cost dimensions.

I'm particularly worried about the .380 ACP being able to get the job done, the Ruger's reliability, and being able to draw it easy from pocket. I have concerns about the lack of capacity on the 442 and the "Cue Ball" in the front pocket effect.

What would you choose and why? Any input would be GREATLY appreciated, thank you very much.
 

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442...hands down.
 

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For me it's the LCP.

Both are great for what they are, up close and personal, but I'll take more rounds and faster reloads any day. The fight may need more than 5 rounds and the newer .380 defense rounds are pretty darn good. Over 10" penetration in ballistic gel with 3 layers of denim is good enough for me.

I carry my LCP daily in either my strong side front or back pocket depending on slacks, or jeans. I have several hundred rounds DR and have no doubts about the reliability of the pistol. No golf balls in my pockets.:blink:
 

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As a matter of principle - if you don't have a J frame yet, you must have one in the collection next.
 

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Give that I do pocket carry in many situations, would choose the Ruger LCP (or similar) for that role.

I've had the S&W 442 Airweight (10yrs ago) .38 spl. It was 15.8oz, reliable. Never had problems. Though, the newer Airweight guns are lighter and stronger, even going to .357 (in scandium).

I've also had the KelTec P3AT .380ACP. It was .380ACP, reliable. Though, after many thousands of rounds, I had a small part break in the P3AT. (Have had a part break in a CZ P-01, Browning BDM and Browning HiPower as well.)

The big difference is size. The LCP sized pistol is significantly smaller. It's very thin, 1" shorter, 1" less tall, and lighter. The overall size/shape of a holstered J-frame revolver is visible in some circumstances, pocket carried, at least for me. Of course, this heavily depends on the size/shape of a person and the specific clothing used. Whereas, in those same circumstances, the LCP disappears. In this sense, the LCP-size of gun can cover be carried in more situations, at least in the pocket.

Yes, it's .380ACP vs .38 spl. Yes, it's relatively new vs the tried-and-true J-frame S&W. But if there are circumstances where a pistol of the size of the J-frame won't do, there is little choice but to go smaller. And, the LCP size/shape is significantly smaller in a pocket than the J-frame. If we're speaking of IWB, it's probably irrelevant, but in the pocket it can make the difference.

That all being said, I am still wrestling with the "fit" of the Kahr PM9, given my requirement of pocket carry and decent match to my size/shape/clothing. I've spent some years altering my clothing to accommodate both IWB and pocket carry. Had a PM9, for a time, though it had quite bad feeding problems. Sent it back to Kahr, where they did their magic. It was fine afterwards, but it soured me on the model, for now. Still, there is no better package in terms of power/size/shape than the PM9, on the market, IMO. I'll get back into one, at some point. Have been looking over the past month or so, casually, looking for a deal under $500. They're close. 9mm, strong, can be made reliable (via gunsmith attentions), and feels far better in the hand with stout 9mm loads than either the J-frame or LCP with stout .38/.380 loads.
 

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i'm not sure i'd call the S&W 442 a true pocket gun..yes it's small and fits in the pocket fairly easily,the Ruger LCP just fits the definition of "pocket gun" much better..i've also felt the 2 extra rounds you get with the 380 evens things up a bit when comparing the .38 to the .380..either one would be a good choice,but the LCP is the better "pocket gun"
 

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I had a 442 and tried to pocket carry it in a Nemesis holster and unless you had pretty loose pants with big pockets, it just was too lumpy and big to pocket. It had the small wood grips which made it pretty unpleasant to shoot. I put a bigger, thicker rubber grip that made it a bit nicer, but then pocket carry was not possible anymore.

On the other hand, my LCP in a Nemesis easily goes in any of my pants and its flat profile makes pocket carry a breeze. It's snappy, but I can still do 150 rounds at a session without killing my hand. With the snubbie, unless I had a shooting glove and the thicker grips, I was done after 25 rounds!

It's your call; 5 rounds of .38, lumpy, reloads slow or 7 rounds of 380, flat, quicker reloads.
 

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My friend, it's all about SIZE. Your size. Depending on how big you are, your pockets may easily carry the revolver. If you're big enough (hence your pockets are) then there's no choice if you're serious about your own self defence and that's the .38 vs the .380.

You'll find a lot of opinions on any forum but the bottom line is that you can always load out that J frame revolver to be far superior ballistically than you can ever load out that .380.

Another fact, there is practically no such thing as a reload in a civilian defensive scenario. It doen't happen, it's WAY over considered, i.e., ease of reload. Almost all civilian defensive situations are at 7 yards or less, last only a few seconds and are 2-3 shots at most and then they're done. At that point someone is dead, running away, or your taking cover, etc.

That's not to say you won't be in a situation where a reload is necessary but you need to be realistic. I'm a LEO I'm going to carry a full size hi-cap weapon w/multiple mags because of the risk assessment and probabilities. So 5 shots of a superior caliber vs even 7 shots of a weaker caliber is almost a non issue because in 99% of the times the fight will be over within 2-3 shots and it's whether-or-not your first 2-3 shots hit the target and whether-or-not they stop the bad guy that count. WHEW! :gah:

Now the .38 WILL ALWAYS BE SUPERIOR TO THE .380 if you load it out proberly. If you carry the lightest mildest .38 and then the hottest .380 then they'll me more matched but you wouldn't/shouldn't do that.

Now getting back to the size. If you can carry the 442 in a pocket holster by RKBA, then it'll be stable and concealed and the Airweight is a gem for all day carry. I'm a smaller guy at 5' 7" and 160 lbs. In dockers or dress pants (fuller pockets) I can carry my 642 well. I do notice the thickness (think cylinder and Golf Ball), but It carry's well. In my favorite Wrangler Jeans, the pockets aren't as deep so the back of the grip is actually visible to anyone looking down into my pocket. In those cases (wearing the jeans) I'd rather wear an untucked shirt, move to IWB and step up to 9mm or my .45.

I do have both a Keltec P3AT and the Ruger LCP and both of mine are reliable but I KNOW that either has a higher probability of simply not firing one time when I pull the trigger as compared to my Smith. I've had a keltec break as your pulling the trigger and it did fire but wouldn't fire again. I think the LCP might be a bit better but I don't know enough about the insides to be certain. It just seems better made. The Smith, well, no question, it'll go bang.

I will admit that in some cases I will carry my LCP when it's hard to conceal anything else and I can't go untucked with a cover garment. I won't even get into tuckable holsters. For me the don't work.

So for pure convenience, the LCP gets it because it's flat and compact. But for ballistics, if you think you're just as good as a .38 you're simply deceiving yourself so you'll feel comfortable about your convenient choice. At least be honest and admit that you're going in very nominally armed. There's a reason by ALL experts agree that .38 and 9mm are the basement as far as what's acceptable as a defensive caliber.

For some small guys (like me) and women, I believe there may be times when you really can only get away with a LCP and if that's the case then go for it, however, I think we should look for ways to accomodate the larger .38 (assuming we load it out properly).

For me it was wearing untucked shirts when not at work. I hadn't worn an untucked shirt in 30 years but I started to so I could carry IWB during summer with a 9 or .45.

I started being more selective with my pants so I could pocket carry my 642 in the summer and I've learned that the quality and design of a pocket holster makes a world of difference in how comfortably and effectively I can carry my 642. I've tried too many and I'm about to try one from RKBA. I'll let you all know in a couple of weeks how that works out.

So as I started out saying, it's about size, your size. My vote is for the 442.
 

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As far as the debate between the .38 and .380, another point I'll make in favor of the .380 LCP is that I can get headshots at 7 yards, one handed, with this little puppy, while I often had trouble with hitting any part of the silhouette with the 442, two handed.

IMO, the .38 MAY be the better round, BUT I am way more comfortable knowing I can get 7 rounds into the kill zone of a BG with the .380, while I may miss with the .38!
 

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If the issue is simply pocket carry then the LCP is the winner hands down. With the Honady Critical Defense ammo it is a great pocket defender. I have a J frame and it is not a pocket gun. I find that I can best utilize either an ankle holster or the Smartcarry holster. As such, I chose the 357 load and that eliminates any question about the power of the round.

Good Luck

Armydad
 

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Both are good but for every plus, there’s an equal minus. Be it size, weight, round count, terminal affect or reliability, the dilemma remains. Heck, I watched a guy get shot in the leg with a .22 and it dropped him instantly. Turns out, most of us humans don’t fare too well being hit with anything. Still, I’m in the latter group of reliability freaks, so I’m prepared to sculpt my wardrobe around the larger j-frame.
Regards,
 

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I have to vote 442. Ask yourself this: Why do you carry? The answer should be because there is a slight possibility that you will actually have to shoot someone or get involved in a gunfight. Given that as the reason to carry, which of the two would you rather have if you were involved in an actual gunfight? The .38 Special is more powerful, and the 442 is at least as reliable as any auto, and probably moreso.

On the other hand, the LCP gives you two more rounds of a significantly less powerful cartridge and sights that are actually worse than those of a 442. It is not a gun I would want if actually involved in a shooting.

The 442 is bigger and heavier than the LCP, but unless you wear emo pants you shouldn't have a problem fitting one in jeans or slacks, let alone any of the 5.11 style pants. Yes, there will be a slight buldge. However, if you pick the right pocket holster that buldge will not look like a gun.

I've been carrying an Airweight J-frame in my pocket since I started carrying in 1995. It is, IMO, the best pocket gun available.
 

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I chose the 357 load and that eliminates any question about the power of the round.

Good Luck

Armydad
+1

.38 vs .380, not a dimes worth of difference ballistically. .38 +p vs .380, go with the .38 +p. .38 +p vs .357, well the choice there is a easy one.

Autoloader vs Revolver, little more tricky. I think it's more a confidence thing and not so much a better platform. Less moving parts, true, but nothing is a given in a gunfight, or any kind of altercation for that matter. What ever platform you chose, you should be proficient and well trained. A good handle on the Tap Rack Present drill will always help add confidence when choosing the autoloaders.

Basically, .38 or .380. If it comes out and one round is needed, he's gonna getum all, so the reload is part of the drill. To put that at the backside of the scenario IMO is a mistake, but to each his own.:danceban:
 

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I went with the 442; wheelgun reliability, an edge in round performance...and, a personal reason: my big fat meathooks just don't work with itty-bitty autos.
 

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442, my freind was shot with a 380 and it did not penetrate his leather jacket. The LCP feels too small in my hand. I like Revolvers for carry better no matter what their size.
 

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LCP, thiner and lighter, especially as a BUG. I would love to have a revolver for this but the thickness, height, length and weight don't work for me. I would drop a round to move to a revolver.
 

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If your speaking strictly pocket carry, I have to go LCP. I've never found the J-frames to carry comfortably in any of my pant pockets. Any other type of carry and I'll pick the 442.
 
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