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Well this all came up as the mrs. Is searching for a carry pistol. She's only about 5ft1 and can handle a 9 but feels most comfortable with a smaller caliber. Just curious of how decent or effective a 380 really is.
 

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Yes the .380ACP is an effective cartridge. While not up to 9mm. or .38 Special in power in most loads,even our of shorty pistols, it does a commendable job and is carried by pros as backup,off duty, or the main CCW carry when some larger gun is not or cannot be warranted. Also can be used for those who are recoil sensitive.

Flatness of the pistols for discreet and easy carry are two of the advantages of a .380 ACP pistols.
Yes, I realize that there are 9mm. pistols,snubby, and other small package guns that are as compact or more so than some .380 pistols. Recoil sensitivity is being considered here.

Heck, there are plenty of those pros, military,ex- military,police, or retired LEOs who carry a .32ACP pistol in complete confidence. But then they train extensively with them. So even this is an option.
The links are .380ACP related.

http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=1673.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=5683.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=3920.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=6304.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=1325.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=7507.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=1521.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=5470.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=4356.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=3205.msg25696#25696
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=3316.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=449.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=474.0

Oh,yes. The Bersa guns are in the links.

Let's assume the .380 ACP is the cartridge you wife wants to go with.
It might be a good idea to let her try 9mm. or .38 Specials of various bullet weights and let her decide if that hasn't already been done.

There are the Taurus PT138 guns, CZ83, Bersa 85,Firestorm series,Beretta 84/85/86 series. There are other, but lets keep things simple.

The Beretta 84/85/86 Cheetah guns offer somewhat compact guns that work like a full size Beretta 92 or Taurus PT92. Yet these offer a smaller package. Also have decent but not overpowering mass to absorb recoil. 3.8 inch barrel for all variants.

84 has a 10 shot magazine.Model 85 has 8 round mags and is a single stack pistol.
One version of the,the model 86 (used only market these days) has a tip up barrel so the racking the slide is not needed for loading or unloading.

There's a Beretta 87 in .22lrf for cheap practice when .380ACP ammo prices make practice iffy.

CZ83s are chunky guns, but are medium weight as is the Beretta. Built solid and are durable. This design has been around for years and was known as the CZ82 for the Czech military in 9x18 caliber. Price is less than the Berettas.I have small hands and could hold a CZ83 easily. Might just be me.

Bersa has the 85 which is similar to the Walther PPK family. Not a direct copy. Good ,solid,budget priced, reliable gun. The links presented so far back that up.

If a slim double stack is a need then there is the Taurus PT138.
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=346.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=1521.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=483.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=3600.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=1308.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=6123.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=2322.0
http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=2226.0

CZ83 can be had in .32ACP. So can the Taurus PT132.

If recoil is still a factor there are the Ruger SP101s in either .32 H&R magnum (used market only now) or the .327 Federal magnum.

Ruger SP101 .327 magnum revolvers can take .32 H&R magnum or the lesser .32 revolver cartridges.

The 32 H&R magnums come in Taurus 731 form as a snubby.

Simple manual of arms and use make revolvers a good possibility.

These have more power than a .32 ACP, but not significant recoil. These are close or surpass the .380ACP for the most part. Depends on the particular load.

There you have it unless she decides a .22lrf revolver or pistol is all she can handle.

Has she taken a women only or basic handgun course from accredited instructors?
This would immerse here more in what's out there in all calibers and let her try them in a relaxed atmosphere.
Husbands and boyfriends sometimes need to step aside and let others mentor. Maybe not completely, but it is something to consider.

She might decide that something more powerful such as the .38 Special/9mm. in a mid size package might be her cup of java or tea.
 

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well with the exception of the kel-tec p3at most guns that can fire a .380 are'nt gonna need to be much bigger to fire a 9mm..

the rounds are very similar in size, and just so no one gets confused im not saying you can fire a 9mm in a 380 im saying that most compact .380's are'nt much smaller then 9mm's

with that said .380 is'nt a bad round it is more expensive then a 9mm and not as powerful.. it's closer related to standard pressure 38spl.

i would not feel out gunned with a 380 or a .38spl however my caliber of choice is the 9mm.

if she is happier with the .380 let her have a .380 it most definitely will stop & even kill an attacker.
 

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It depends on how much recoil She is comfortable with... A .380 in a Small Poly Frame is a real Snappy little thing...
 

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If recoil is an issue, try to locate a Colt Government Model .380, or a Colt Mustang in the used market. These are metal guns, and fire the .380 from a locked breech. This mitigates the recoil quite a bit. The government model holds 7 rounds in it's magazine, the Mustang 6. My wife uses the government model (mine) as her CCW.

The 9mm mini-guns tend towards locked-breech actions, as well. However, the recoil of a 115 gr. load, designed to make 1100 fps from a 4" barrel, is much more noticeable in recoil, blast, and flash in the shorter barrels.

If a light 9mm is needed, look at the Kel-Tec PF9. Use ammunition designed for the short barrellled guns from Speer, and ler her try it.
 

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bugs said:
Well this all came up as the mrs. Is searching for a carry pistol. She's only about 5ft1 and can handle a 9 but feels most comfortable with a smaller caliber. Just curious of how decent or effective a 380 really is.
Anyone want to volunteer to take a round and see if it's effective? :) Didn't really think so.
 

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tman said:
Anyone want to volunteer to take a round and see if it's effective? :) Didn't really think so.
My thoughts exactly. Like my grandfather used to say, "A .22 in the eye is worth more than a .45 in the gut."
 
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