The best 380

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by Pastor C, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. Pastor C

    Pastor C New Member

    Jun 12, 2009
    I don't like alot of recoil, who makes the best 380? or is my thinking all wrong about the smaller the round the smaller the recoil?
  2. Lotsdragon

    Lotsdragon New Member

    Apr 5, 2009
    Potosi, Mo
    I have an early 80's Star 380 that I really like and a Hi Point 380 that is a lot of fun to shoot but it is a lot bigger than the star.

  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    Generally, the smaller the round the less recoil. Howsomever, when you have a smaller round you usually also have a smaller gun. Smaller equals lighter, which means more recoil.

    If you want the least recoil in a 380, I suggest you get a High Point. Because they are oversize for the cartridge.

    As to who makes the best - I'm quite fond of both my 1908 Colts and my Interarms PPK. Neither of those are being made anymore. :( The Beretta 84 is both a very good gun, and large for a 380. Comes with a 13 round magazine. Physically, about the size of a Colt Commander. I don't think it's still being made, either.
  4. Actually, it's relative to some extent, Pastor; i.e., what matters is the relative size and weight of the pistol vis-a-vis the force generated by the round fired. For example, a .380 in a very small, very light pistol like one of the Kel Tecs felt recoil will seem rather smart. That same round in a heavier pistol like a Walther or Sig, the felt recoil will seem much less.

    For my money, the best .380 on the market today is the Sig Sauer P232.
  5. graehaven

    graehaven Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    Which means you'll want a heavier gun - which reduces the likelihood you'll actually carry it.
  6. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver Active Member

    Mar 4, 2009
    SW. Florida
    It depends on what you want to do with your .380. If you want something small for the ultimate in concealablity go with something like a Ruger LCP or the Kel-Tec 3AT. They'll both easily fit into your pockets and are not heavy guns to carry. The down side is that they are more of a "belly gun" meant for personal defense out to about 7 yards. They are not range guns at all.

    For myself if I'm going to carry a .380 in a holster concealed inside my beltline, I have a medium sized Beretta Model 84 which is an awesome little pistol. It's basically a half-sized Beretta Model 92F like the military issues. It holds 13 in the magazine. It's never failed me in any way and is very accurate out to about 25 yards. It can shoot farther OK, but for .380 why would you want to.

    Like Pistol says above, the Sig 232 is also a very good pistol. Both the Beretta and the Sig will cost a little more than some of the other brands but are well worth it in my opinion. :)
  7. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    If you have not already done it, go to a range, borrow or rent a .380 and shoot it. You will be in for a surprise. For their size they have a fairly sharp recoil.

    The only .380's I ever used were the Colt Mustang and Beretta M1934, nice gun's but if I were selecting today I would go along with snakedriver and his Beretta M84, more rounds on board and more to hold on to and control.
  8. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    very subjective question... the best 380 is the one you're going to carry and practice with to ensure reliability. opinion time get a sig or a beretta 84/85 or a used pre-smith and wesson walther. the ruger already had i recall, the kel-tec though they have a good following remind me to much of the piece of junk grendells if you plan on small look at the naa guardian and dont dis-count the bersa's good guns fort the money.used markets have the astra constable and the mauser hsc , or a star bm, llama etc....
  9. 6x6pinz

    6x6pinz New Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Mesa, Az
    Looks like you should be getting the idea by now. Personally in 380 I like the walther/interarms ppk/s but for a new pistol I would look towards the sig 232. As has been mentioned before if it is for CC and not recreational the Kel tec is hard to beat. Recreational shooting the larger beretta is a great choice though I prefer my HSC over my beretta for range time. I bought the Bersa for my wife but find myself shooting more than she does. She has taken to my 9x18 pistols and left the 380's for a while.

    Also if you are looking for just range time and want centerfire rounds the 32 is a great light recoil option. Though not felt by many to be an effective SD round it has better ammunition options than the 22lr or 25acp. Some folks around the forums forget that old arthritic hands can't carry and handle 45's anymore and still want some protection.:)
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
  10. LurpyGeek

    LurpyGeek Active Member

    Nov 30, 2005
    I carry a Bersa Thunder 380. It's basically a cheap knock off of a Walther PPK, but it is reliable and about half the price of the PPK. It is slightly large for being chambered in 380, but that helps with recoil. It carries really well too.
  11. Pastor C

    Pastor C New Member

    Jun 12, 2009
    This will be mostly for the range (hole puncher) My son wants to shoot with me, but we both get a little tired of the uneventful 22's we shoot by the hundreds

    AND----- why do gun companies ONLY make 32's and 380's in small,tiny guns?
    Wouldn't it be smooth to shoot light action rounds through a moderate gun?

    AND another thing-- lol-- does a moderate .45 1911 kick the same as the average .32/.380 in a smaller gun?

    I'm through now
  12. Pastor C

    Pastor C New Member

    Jun 12, 2009
    The Bersa might be the ticket, I'm also a Beretta fan
    Hmmmmm ,-----fun to think about
  13. BillP

    BillP New Member

    380s have always been sort of an enigma for me. The small size and lack of good sights makes them tough to shoot accurately. I have also found that a lot of them are troublesome in regard to reliability, some of the highest quality guns are the worst when it comes to malfunctions.

    Surprisingly, the one I like best is a S&W Sigma that was marketed to police officers as a backup weapon. Still not much for sights but it points very naturally and has been flawless regarding reliability. It fits the role of a last ditch carry weapon but it's not much fun on the range for someone like me who would prefer to be shooting a rifle.

    Anyone thinking of buying a 380 should carefully think about just what they want. It's a round with a very small niche. In most cases a 38 special or something else is a better choice. Sensitivity to recoil should not limit anyone to a 380. Often it's the gun rather than the round or a lack of training. A good example is that some shooters have trouble with round butt J frame S&Ws but do perfectly well with a square but J frame and love to shoot a K frame.
  14. rideflhtc

    rideflhtc New Member

    Jun 15, 2009
    I don't know if it is the best 380 but, a very comfortable, economical and accurate gun is the "Bersa Thunder". It is not the lightest but is a full function pistol that should prepare a young person for a "1911" TYPE 45ACP in the future i.e., exposed hammer, double/single action, safety, de-cocker, magazine safety and easy straight forward teardown process. I know two ranges that rent them and they tell me the gun is very dependable.

    costs = $200-$275.
  15. Laserlips

    Laserlips New Member

    Dec 19, 2004


    Forgot you aren't fond of recoil... The LWS380 has recoil, no doubt.. But it's also small enough to make the trip with you 24/7, and if you ever have to defend yourself with it I doubt recoil will be the primary concern on your mind at that moment.. :D:D

    My LWS380 is carried daily, it's absolutely reliable, and it's built like a swiss watch...

    Best Wishes,


    P.S. Did I mention it's not very big?

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