Selecting a pocket pistol for comfort, safety, and protection.


Redtape

New member
I am going to purchase another pistol for my "full time" carry weapon. I have several larger pistols including a S&W .38 Special and a Bersa .380 Thunder. Both are great guns, but they are too bulky for a pocket pistol. I thought I wanted an S & W, M&P .380 when they get on the market, but why not be receptive to other suggestions since I have not made a commitment yet.

My primary objectives are: 1) small enough to be comfortably carried in a pocket (Bodyguard is 5.25 inches long and 12 oz.), 2) I very much would like a manual safety even though I know this requirement will draw a lot of flack, and 3) reliable enough to alleviate any worry about whether it will fire or not. I will use a pocket holster, and I know the safety requirement rules out a lot of great guns.

I think I'd like to stay under 16 oz. and the caliber is not that important since I feel even a .380 is enough to defend myself (I know that this small caliber may be controversial, but I wouldn't charge a guy firing a .380 at me). A lower price is better, but I'd be willing to spend in the $600 neighborhood. The M & P Bodyguard is quite a bit less expensive - under $400. I keep saying M & P because I would prefer not to have the laser that comes on the regular Bodyguard. I tend to focus on the dot and not use the gun sights. It's distracting probably due to the fact I'm just not used to a laser. Plus I don't want to concern myself about the laser needing repair / replacement, and I've heard some negatives on this laser.

Any suggestions would be appreciated
 

Bill Amsden

New member
Check out the Sig 238 (.380) or the 938 (9mm), both tiny pistols, slightly above your suggested price range though. Got my 938 out the door for 670.00 from my LGS. Both have thumb safeties. I shot the S&W bodyguard once and I really didn't like the double action trigger, that's just me.
 

Rocketgeezer

New member
Check out the Sig 238 (.380) or the 938 (9mm), both tiny pistols, slightly above your suggested price range though. Got my 938 out the door for 670.00 from my LGS. Both have thumb safeties. I shot the S&W bodyguard once and I really didn't like the double action trigger, that's just me.

Hi Bill I have a question, on your 938, how is it for felt recoil? and how many rds have you done at one session, we are looking for a compact 9mm, but the Sig is a little pricey, not knowing for dam sure we are going to like it
 

pbagley

New member
You may want to look at a Taurus PT738 TCP. Cheap, though my local Fleet Farm just raised the price $40 from $195 to $235. Mine is reliable, more so with Hydra-Shock ammo than with standard RN's. Accuracy is good, I'm generally able to put 10 for 10 onto a 25 yard repair center at 25 yards (with more 7's than I'd like). My son likes it more than my Kahr CM9. Good gun for the money.
 

Gretchen Morris

New member
My two cents

I carry a 238 gentler recoil than the 938 and easy to clean. Might want to read a blog post I wrote on caliber..bottom line is to shoot a lot of guns to find what you like. I thought I was buying the new glock 380 till I fired the 238 side by side with the glock. For me at that gun size and caliber I was more accurate with the sig. I also may add a shield 9 to my arsenal tho as I like that one too.

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I am going to purchase another pistol for my "full time" carry weapon. I have several larger pistols including a S&W .38 Special and a Bersa .380 Thunder. Both are great guns, but they are too bulky for a pocket pistol. I thought I wanted an S & W, M&P .380 when they get on the market, but why not be receptive to other suggestions since I have not made a commitment yet.

My primary objectives are: 1) small enough to be comfortably carried in a pocket (Bodyguard is 5.25 inches long and 12 oz.), 2) I very much would like a manual safety even though I know this requirement will draw a lot of flack, and 3) reliable enough to alleviate any worry about whether it will fire or not. I will use a pocket holster, and I know the safety requirement rules out a lot of great guns.

I think I'd like to stay under 16 oz. and the caliber is not that important since I feel even a .380 is enough to defend myself (I know that this small caliber may be controversial, but I wouldn't charge a guy firing a .380 at me). A lower price is better, but I'd be willing to spend in the $600 neighborhood. The M & P Bodyguard is quite a bit less expensive - under $400. I keep saying M & P because I would prefer not to have the laser that comes on the regular Bodyguard. I tend to focus on the dot and not use the gun sights. It's distracting probably due to the fact I'm just not used to a laser. Plus I don't want to concern myself about the laser needing repair / replacement, and I've heard some negatives on this laser.

Any suggestions would be appreciated
 

bofh

Banned
A few recent discussion threads to take a look at:

- http://www.usacarry.com/forums/concealed-carry-discussion/43626-what-s-best-380-a.html
- http://www.usacarry.com/forums/concealed-carry-discussion/43706-pocket-guns.html

The 380 Auto options you are looking at are:

- Kel-Tec P-3AT, ~11 ounces loaded with 6+1, no manual safety
- Ruger LCP, ~12 ounces loaded with 6+1, no manual safety
- Taurus PT 738 TCP, ~13 ounces loaded with 6+1 (or 7+1 with the +1 magazine extension from Galloway Precision), no manual safety
- Sig Sauer P238, ~18 ounces loaded with 6+1, manual safety
- Kahr P380, ~12 ounces loaded with 6+1, no manual safety
- Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380, ~14 ounces loaded with 6+1, manual safety

Any non-TCP owners, correct me if I am wrong. As I mentioned in the other threads, I have the:

Taurus 738 TCP with the +1 magazine extension from Galloway Precision (makes it 7+1), the Crimson Trace Laserguard, and Nitesiters Handgun Night Sights (photo-luminescent adhesive dots).

In contrast to most pocket 380s, this one locks back after the last round is fired. The trigger pull is long and has a a reasonable weight. The gun is hammer fired and the hammer is internal. The operation is like a striker-fired gun, i.e., you have to pre-cock the hammer by racking the slide and the trigger pull is consistent. There is no manual safety. It is lightweight enough for me to carry it while jogging (IWB, 4 o'clock, 5-10 km distances).

A few more tips:

- More weight means less felt recoil.
- Stay with the same type of action (SA/DA vs. SAO vs. DAO) on your carry guns to limit operator error in case of emergencies.
- For the same reason, stay with the same type of safety.
- Magazine extensions (+1 or +0) give you a better grip and reduce felt recoil. +1's give you even more capacity. Houge grips may help as well with felt recoil.
- Lasers vs. sights: There are many opinions. What ever you think is best for you. Remember to practice point shooting, especially without fully extending your arm. You may not have time for that. Note that the sight radius of a pocket pistol is tiny, i.e., accuracy using sights sucks at certain very valid self-defense distances.
 

gsim

New member
+1 on the p938...for the 3rd time in 2 weeks!

I've got over 3K rounds through mine and it is flawless with walmart loads and carry loads. I feel like the felt recoil is a lot less than my friends ruger lc9. For a short barrel pocket pistol it is fantastic.

Sig has a pretty good LEO/military purchase program for individuals on their website if you qualify. Otherwise, places have great deals on p938s if you look around (see one gunbroker listing below(I also turned around and sold the laser that came free for $80)). I got a similar deal at my LGS for just over $600 with tax and other state BS included. The rubber grips are great if you have larger hands. Some people like the extended grip, I prefer mine W/O. Jump on the bandwagon now...before it becomes cliche.

Sig Sauer 938 P938 9mm 2-Tone Laser 2 Mags NIB : Semi Auto Pistols at GunBroker.com
 

Bill Amsden

New member
Hi Bill I have a question, on your 938, how is it for felt recoil? and how many rds have you done at one session, we are looking for a compact 9mm, but the Sig is a little pricey, not knowing for dam sure we are going to like it

I was surprised at how light the recoil is in the P938, much lighter than say my LC9 which is a snappy pistol with a nasty trigger in comparison. I shot various rounds through it including the 115 gr bulk Remington rounds and had no issues. I have put approximately 300 rounds through it with the last 200 in one range visit. I am not the best shot in the world but I was able to maintain 3 to 5 inch groups at 5- 10 yards and even making head shots (at a silhouette) at 50 feet or more. I'm certain there was a breaking in period for myself and the gun but it's a real good shooter IMO. The recoil spring and rod can be kind of a PITA when reassembling after cleaning, especially with oily hands but after a few times I really don't have any problems. Can't forget to mention I think it has some real nice night sights. Maybe not for everyone but well worth the $$$$
 

fxstchawg

New member
My wife loves her Sig p238. happy with the weight and the recoil. The steel slide makes the recoil less than my LCP which I use as my alternate carry. I am thinking of trading my LCP in for another P238 with an ambi safety. (left Handed) and am very familiar with the SA for my daily carry is the 1911
 

Redtape

New member
Thanks for all the suggestions and comments - very helpful. . I have read each comment with a high degree of interest, and I plan on looking into several different guns now.
 

gunnerbob

PEW Professional
I can only tell you the "pocket" gun I prefer, the TCP .380 by Taurus. Very, very few hiccups in around 1000 rounds is a very good track record for a weapon of it's type. The few malfunctions I had were when I had just bought it, it seemed to require a 200(ish) round break-in. It's not the smallest of the genre but that helps in felt recoil, the weight is not an issue with carry either. It's as accurate as you can ask a 7yd pistol to be... I can hit a torso-sized target with all 7 rounds in a few seconds from the draw... that's effective in my book. I did get the pinky extension mag plates and put a 2" wide strip of bicycle inner tube on the grip, this greatly improved the shoot-ability for me. However, if you have to have a manual safety, I think you may have to go with the Sig or a Colt Mustang. I have not fired either one though, no input... sorry.
 

Happypuppy

New member
I have both an LCP and a bodyguard 380 that I pocket carry. No complaints about either. They are reliable and pretty accurate to boot. Personal choice but I am not a fan of the 238 or other lock and cock. Unnecessarily complicated IMO

just 'bout the action boss...
 

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