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Old 06-12-2018, 09:43 PM
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Iíve carried a J frame for almost 50 years but when the little .380s came out I was intrigued. Started w/Ruger, then S&W, Glock and Ruger LCP again. Recently I posted that the mag had popped out of my LCP a couple of times but I changed pocket holsters and tried again. Mag popped out the other day and that was it. Every .380 has had some sort of reliability issue and thatís a no go for anything carried for self defense. Itís a shame b/c I shoot the little LCP very well and actually like practicing w/it. Same w/the Smith M&P Bodyguard but light strikes, after two years of solid performance, did that one in.

I pulled the no lock 340PD out of the safe and went to the range to reacquaint myself w/it. Still shoots great w/standard pressure as well as +P, so my LCP has a permanent place in the gun safe (until I decide what to do w/it) and the 340 is back in my pocket. It could be the little auto loader is not for me but either way Iím done for good.

Thanks for indulging me, rant over.
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:51 PM
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The little 380ís are attractive but seem touchy.

I like the old M38.
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:58 PM
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About 15 years ago I had a .380 Sig P232 follow me home one day. I really liked it, carried it for over a year, and thought I had found the solution for all of my daily carry needs.

Excellent pistol in many ways. Very lightweight (about 16 oz. empty). Very good ergonomics. Easy to shoot well.

Range training sessions left me less and less enamored with the .380. The blowback-operated pistols produce unexpectedly sharp recoil, more than many might expect. I also found that I had to be very careful how I gripped the Sig, because a high grip places the fleshy part of the hand between the thumb and trigger finger in close proximity to (or in contact with) the lower edges of the slide as it cycles, and it wasn't unusual to have strips of skin ripped away during rapid-fire combat drills. Started carrying antiseptic wipes and band-aids in my range bag.

I had similar experiences years ago with the Walther PPK, and more recently with the Makarov. I decided that these compact pistols just weren't going to meet my needs, and I returned to the full-size 1911-style pistols and K-frame or larger revolvers for my daily use.

Perhaps some folks will benefit from these thoughts.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:41 PM
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I sold my M&P bodyguard 380 because of the light strikes. I would get one maybe every 75-100 rounds with quality HP loads and more frequently using FMJ range ammo. I tried different brands. No dice.

But because my 380 was mostly used as my traveling companion while going for long 5-6 mile walks down the trail in a urban area I wanted a lightweight pocket pistol and my 642 was still a bit cumbersome in the hot Texas heat. Soooooooo I picked up a Kel Tec P32.

Some people might say that the 32acp is not up to self defense standards. I say I wouldn't want to get shot by it. It holds 7+1 vs the P3-AT 6+1 capacity in basically the same size/weight. So far I've ran 200 rounds thru this featherweight and it has been 100% flawless.

P.S. my EDC is a 642
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:48 PM
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Autos are a passing fad
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rpg View Post
The little 380ís are attractive but seem touchy.

I like the old M38.
I agree in general. I've had good luck though with the Glock 42. It's been very reliable. Still...I keep coming back to the J Frames.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoboGunLeather View Post
About 15 years ago I had a .380 Sig P232 follow me home one day. I really liked it, carried it for over a year, and thought I had found the solution for all of my daily carry needs.

Excellent pistol in many ways. Very lightweight (about 16 oz. empty). Very good ergonomics. Easy to shoot well.

Range training sessions left me less and less enamored with the .380. The blowback-operated pistols produce unexpectedly sharp recoil, more than many might expect. I also found that I had to be very careful how I gripped the Sig, because a high grip places the fleshy part of the hand between the thumb and trigger finger in close proximity to (or in contact with) the lower edges of the slide as it cycles, and it wasn't unusual to have strips of skin ripped away during rapid-fire combat drills. Started carrying antiseptic wipes and band-aids in my range bag.

I had similar experiences years ago with the Walther PPK, and more recently with the Makarov. I decided that these compact pistols just weren't going to meet my needs, and I returned to the full-size 1911-style pistols and K-frame or larger revolvers for my daily use.

Perhaps some folks will benefit from these thoughts.
I've had similar experiences with the Sig P230/P232.

I really wanted to like that gun. Easy to shoot, lightweight and accurate. Plus, it just looked cool.

I just couldn't get over the railroad track like cuts it left on the meat of my hand every time I shot it.

I owned a P230 and then a P232. Wanted to like them...ended up selling them both.

I went back to the honest pain that comes with shooting lightweight J-frames.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:58 PM
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Had a first gen 380 sigma. You could not make it malfunction no matter how hard you tried. A 32 auto Kel tec, same thing. NEVER should have sold them!!! Carry a 38 snubnose now.

Be SAFE and shoot often!

Last edited by Execpro; 06-12-2018 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:59 PM
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Iíve had good luck with the Shield .45; with the Shield 9 and Bodyguard 380 - not so much. With ANY J-frame Iíve ever owned, from my oldest (Model 37) to my most recent (340PD), never a problem. I donít blame you one bit.
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Old 06-12-2018, 11:12 PM
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I've owned blue and nickle Chief Specials, M49 Bodyguards, Centennials, and liked them all but they just aren't pocket guns to me. I wear cowboy cut blue jeans most every day and have muscular legs from decades of weight lifting so the j-frame feels like a baseball in my pocket. My LCP II fits in the front pocket and is barely noticeable so it is my main carry gun but it's very common for criminals to have a high capacity 9m/m so I do feel a bit under gunned but I would with a snub revolver also.
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Old 06-12-2018, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old cop View Post
I’ve carried a J frame for almost 50 years but when the little .380s came out I was intrigued. Started w/Ruger, then S&W, Glock and Ruger LCP again. Recently I posted that the mag had popped out of my LCP a couple of times but I changed pocket holsters and tried again. Mag popped out the other day and that was it. Every .380 has had some sort of reliability issue and that’s a no go for anything carried for self defense. It’s a shame b/c I shoot the little LCP very well and actually like practicing w/it. Same w/the Smith M&P Bodyguard but light strikes, after two years of solid performance, did that one in.

I pulled the no lock 340PD out of the safe and went to the range to reacquaint myself w/it. Still shoots great w/standard pressure as well as +P, so my LCP has a permanent place in the gun safe (until I decide what to do w/it) and the 340 is back in my pocket. It could be the little auto loader is not for me but either way I’m done for good.

Thanks for indulging me, rant over.
I read a post by someone else on one the gun boards I frequent, where they were having this same problem.

The solution a couple of people recommended that had worked for them was to Dremel the mag release button down to where it was almost flush with the frame.

Haven't had to do that myself, but more than one person posted that it had worked for them if you'd like to give it at try. If it doesn't work for you, and you want to return it to original configuration, a replacement part shouldn't be too hard to find.

Last edited by BC38; 06-13-2018 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:02 AM
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I am still testing a Springfield Armory 911 380 acp. It's all medal, aluminum and stainless. It's been on the market a few months.
the grip appears just a tad longer, the mag has a pinky extension. The mag with the extension is seven round, the second mag is 6 rounds. It shots well manageable recoil, at 15 feet I was able to keep all my rounds within 4 in group.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:21 AM
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I carry 2 Charter revolvers-an on duty that weighs 12 oz's unloaded as is rated for +P 38 spl, and a charter bull dog 44 which weighs 21 oz's without the 5 44 spl rounds. Charter revolvers are known for safety and reliability, with many LEO's using them as backups. Couple of speed loaders and I'm ready.
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:49 AM
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I had the opposite trajectory. My first CCWs were .380s, then a 9mm, then I've cycled thru a few others until getting really, really sick of auto malfunctions. As soon as a gun malfunctions, I'm thinking, "ok, how much time and ammo will I have to invest before I trust it again? Will I ever trust it again?"

Finally, I broke out the Colt Police Positive Special I've had for 30 years but hadn't shot for 15 and couldn't believe how much I enjoyed shooting it, and also that I shoot it as well as almost any auto I have. During the next trip to my LGS, luck dropped a used-but-unfired 637 Performance Center in my lap, and it's been my primary CCW ever since. I still am in absolute lust with it. What a fantastic pistol - *beautiful trigger*.

These days I typically carry two revolvers, one AIWB and one in my pocket. The AIWB gun has changed a few times but is right now firmly stuck on my 3" M629, but 80% of the time my pocket gun has been that 637. I've flirted with a LCR327 I bought my wife (that I do love), and I just got a 2" M30 that will see some carry time for sure, but I have a feeling the 637 will continue to be my main gun for quite a long time.

And now I don't have to worry about malfunctions caused by the gun.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:23 AM
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My current LCP, the one that keeps popping out the mag in my pocket, has been reliable w/over 200 rounds of FMJ & HP, and accurate out to 7 yards. It WAS the perfect package, and w/ a spare mag, gave me 14 just-in-case rounds (seven round b/u mag). During my LEO career I had to use my revolver to defend myself and know these scenearios develop without warning. Grabbing the LCP from my pocket in an emergency, and discovering it’s a one shot wonder b/c the mag popped out, is not something I’m interested in experiencing. I’m going to call Ruger to see what they will do.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:37 AM
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I have carried a Kel-Tec P32 for over 20 years. Not ONE problem,none...and thousands of rounds (Yes,thousands) I have added two Kel-Tec P3ATs to the lineup based on the dependability of my P32. No issues with either one of those. None. Considering the negative things I hear about the Kel-Tec line..I think I am living in an alternate reality...
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:57 AM
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I've carried S&W .357 magnums since the 70's. Both 4" and 2" models 66, 686, 2 640's and my last carry revolver was a 640-1 Pro Series. Never one auto in all that time Until February, 2018 when the .380 Shield EZ no safety came out. I held one at my LGS and fell in love. Finally an auto that acted like a revolver. Since I've put 800 rounds thru her and I love her. Fun shooter. Very accurate with Remington 95 grain UMC FMJ. No problems at all. I sold my 640 Pro and only carry my 380 S&W Shield EZ.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:57 AM
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It's not helping your scenario, but when my husband and an LGS employee were determined that I should give semi-autos a chance, they sold me on a SIG P238, mainly because it was the only thing I could rack. That was in Oct. 2014. Since then, a half dozen novice shooters and myself have put about 2000 flawless rounds through it. It gets carried when it's small size is required.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:59 AM
Chief Wiggums Chief Wiggums is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malph View Post
I agree in general. I've had good luck though with the Glock 42. It's been very reliable. Still...I keep coming back to the J Frames.
Good luck w a G42 as well (the wife actually)
the 380 footprint just doesn't work for me , my level of confidence in accuracy is marginal.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:00 AM
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My current LCP, the one that keeps popping out the mag in my pocket, has been reliable w/over 200 rounds of FMJ & HP, and accurate out to 7 yards. It WAS the perfect package, and w/ a spare mag, gave me 14 just-in-case rounds (seven round b/u mag). During my LEO career I had to use my revolver to defend myself and know these scenearios develop without warning. Grabbing the LCP from my pocket in an emergency, and discovering itís a one shot wonder b/c the mag popped out, is not something Iím interested in experiencing. Iím going to call Ruger to see what they will do.
LCP or LCP II?
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:02 AM
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Considering the negative things I hear about the Kel-Tec line..I think I am living in an alternate reality...
I don’t think so. They look crude, but the ones I have been around all worked pretty darned good. I sold my Keltec in .380 to buy the Bodyguard, mainly because I like S&W products and I wanted the thumb safety. The Bodyguard looks much nicer, and feels better in my hand, but it turned out to be a mistake. If I had any sense I would liquidate the Bodyguard and go back to the Keltec, crude as it may be. The Ruger was a trigger-finger pincher for me. I would like to try the little Kahr .380 but have never been around one I could tinker with and after the bad luck with three different Bodyguards (ALL guilty of failure-to-fire ) I was done with mini-.380s for a while. J-frames are not a perfect solution for me, but they come close.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:03 AM
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I once owned a .380 Bodyguard for about 1 month, worse firearm I ever owned.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:13 AM
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I once owned a .380 Bodyguard for about 1 month, worse firearm I ever owned.
I have yet to see one that is reliable, and Iíve seen a lot of them. Iíve heard about reliable ones, mainly on the internet, but never seen it.

Sorry for the anti-Bodyguard thread drift, but I am with the OP on the reliability thing when it comes to J frames. I guess my experience with them has spoiled me. However handy it may be, a gun that wonít fire reliably is WORSE than a paperweight to me. How hard is it to make a gun go bang?
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:13 AM
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Different strokes for different folks. To me nothing is as easily concealed as a little .380 pocket pistol. I have carried a Kahr P380 for years which is reliable and with a good pocket holster simply disappears even with light summer clothing. There is nothing wrong with packing a J-frame if you are comfortable with it. In fact, I infrequently do so but, it is a bit more bulky than my Kahr. I know many LCP owners who are very pleased with them, The OP should have contacted Ruger C.S about his problems. They have a good reputation for quickly making things right.

Last edited by Jdavis; 06-13-2018 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:13 AM
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EDC since late 1960's, always as shown below M36, M60 and for the last 20 + the 637. S&W holster on a stiff heavy leather (Galco most recently) gun belt. Only variable was the finish of the gun and of course....the waist size of the belt (always larger, never smaller...for some unknown reason).

Never really tried much else...especially semi-autos simply because the practice time, hence comfortable zone for personal protection just wasn't available so reliability and knowledge that at least 5 will end up where needed if confronted became the only parameter that stayed with me to this day.

Op....you tried, it doesn't work (reliably) for you...return to J Frames and peace of mind...which is why most of us EDC in the first place.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:22 AM
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Forty years of "a J a day".
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:28 AM
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There are a few lock breach .380s out there.....I've got an old Colt Mustang Pocket-lite in .380......that really eliminates the blow-back recoil issue.

I guess the new Sigs are also lock-breach design?
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:22 AM
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Wife and I have had good experiences with the RM380. She can rack the slide with her arthritic hands and both guns have been ultra-reliable. I like the long, smooth DA pull. The only downside I see is that dratted take-down pin. If you rack the slide slowly while holding it at 90 degrees BTDC (Detroit cant) the pin may just drop out. There is only one way to hold the gun during reassembly to drop the pin back in.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:30 AM
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I carry a P3AT when I have athletic shorts on around the house, or I'm out for a run. It's been a good gun, maybe one or two hang-ups in 500+ rds. It's my "gun for when I can't carry a gun."

As soon as feasible, I step up to a 442. I recently bought a Kahr CM9 for the same purpose, but it's too heavy to replace the Kel-Tec.
It would be hard to justify the Glock 42 when the 43 is so close in size.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:43 AM
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Default S&W .380 EZ

The new S&W .380 EZ goes a long way in solving gun handling problems, especially for people who have difficulty retracting a slide. Yet, in you tube reviews, the reviewer had difficulty feeding and chambering the last round from the magazine. It appears to be a magazine issue but I'm surprised that S&W did not detect this weakness when testing the gun prior to release. In making the magazine easier to load, it appears that there is insufficient spring pressure to control the last round for proper feeding.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:57 AM
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I happen to like .380s and have several. For me its more about the gun than the cartridge. However I do believe the .380 will get the job done and I do carry one from time to time.
For a pocket size .380, I think the Colt Mustang can't be beat. Mine have been totally reliable, accurate, and the locked breech design makes racking the slide and recoil easy to handle.
With me being a 1911 guy, the manual of arms is quite natural to me.
For the record, I very rarely pocket carry. It just don't work for me. Even when I do pocket carry, its most often a jacket pocket where I just drop the gun in for a quick trip to the store or such.
But in a good holster the little Mustang just disappears and you don't even notice that you're carrying it.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC38 View Post

The solution a couple of people recommended that had worked for them was to Dremel the mag release button down to where it was almost flush with the frame.
Maybe the Europeans had it right all along by having the mag release on the bottom heel of the grip.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
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Maybe the Europeans had it right all along by having the mag release on the bottom heel of the grip.
For a pocket gun I believe you are spot on.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:44 AM
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I really like the .380 cartridge and the "little" guns it goes with. After trying a Kahr, and a Ruger, I settled on the Body Guard M&P when it was introduced a few years ago. The issues with the first variant of the BG have been solved. Nearly 1000 rounds trouble free with Hornady American Gunner and it's still great.




That said; this duo is still my favorite carry.

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Old 06-13-2018, 10:45 AM
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The 9mm Short, falls short with me too.

Got a lit'l Colt....But, at the end of the day it just left me wanting more.



.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:09 PM
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Welcome back to the fold !
I've had the same experience , an Air-Weight J-frame has proved it's worth.
To the crowd who insists that only semi-auto's are relevant , I say Horse Pucky !
Gary
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAM-BAM View Post
There are a few lock breach .380s out there.....I've got an old Colt Mustang Pocket-lite in .380......that really eliminates the blow-back recoil issue.
I have the Government Model - longer slide and grip (7 rounds).
Excellent little pistol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BAM-BAM View Post
I guess the new Sigs are also lock-breach design?
Both the Sig P238 and the Kimber 380 Micro versions are virtually identical copies of the Colt original Mustang. All are top notch, though slightly heavier than the 380 poly pistols. Colt solved that - they even make the Mustang in a poly-framed version. If you want a version almost identical to my little Government Model, the new Browning 380 is pretty darned close - just a tad larger. As long as you're comfortable with the 1911 "cocked and locked" manual of arms, any of them are a great choice IMO.

BUT, for an ounce or two more weight and about 1/4" more length a pretty compelling argument can be made for getting the Sig P938 or the Kimber Micro 9.

Last edited by BC38; 06-13-2018 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:08 PM
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I may be werd but, I enjoy shooting J-Frames. The 442 is the lightest I’ve shot and the 36 is the heaviest. With the right grips I believe I could shoot them for a few hours at a time. I used to rotate with a few other Snubs but, lately all I shoot and carry are the J-Fames. I’m surprised how if I shoot regularly I can shoot accurately at a distance. I never could warm up to small autos.
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:32 PM
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After two years of shooting the Smith M&P Bodyguard may just need a new set of springs to get I back to 100 percent .. You do have to maintain a pistol you can't just shoot it forever with out select maintenance after a certain number of rounds ..
I have a Sig P238 .. after researching all the little 38 pocket pistols I found the P238 HD with safety only on the left side was the one for me ..easy to shoot with out aiming at very close quarters seems to aim naturally in my hand(s)

The P238 is set up like a baby 1911 .. cocked and locked in a soft full trigger holster ..I carry it in front shirt pocket or back pants pocket ..found it to be great to carry when a larger pistol would be harder to carry (Conceal) due to clothing ,,
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:28 PM
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Twice, the mag of my Colt Pocketlite came out while it was in my pocket. I carry a j frame.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:18 PM
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Default LCP Original

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Originally Posted by Florida J Frame View Post
LCP or LCP II?
Not the LCPII, but the unofficial second generation LCP.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
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Not the LCPII, but the unofficial second generation LCP.
See if you can borrow or rent an LCPII. They really seem to have solved the issues with this little gun. It has a strong spring on the mag release (hasn't popped the mag out once in my pocket) and the trigger is much better. Been carrying mine for about 6 months now either pocket or OWB in a Mitch Rosen holster. You can also get a 7 round mag with room for a 3 finger grip so you have 8 on-board.
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:26 PM
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I have dozens of handguns and have had hundreds over the years. The only .380 that ever met my requirements for summer time carry is the Bersa Thunder. Have two of them (one is technically a Firestorm) and they have been 100% for thousands of rounds. They are larger than the current crop of micro pistols but they are smaller than the 3913 I carry a lot and much lighter than my steel J-frames. 8+1 rounds of 95 grain +P JHP ammo goes a long way towards making me feel good.
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:37 PM
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Another great thing about the J frames, especially with the "hamerless" or shrouded hammer models, during cooler weather you can have your hand in your jacket pocket with the gun in your hand and no one can tell. In an emergency, you can just shoot through your pocket. Surprise, Surprise! A semi auto usually will hang up due to the slide hitting the pocket material but a revolver works just fine. Hard on jackets but even harder on muggers.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:03 PM
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Default LCP II

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Originally Posted by Florida J Frame View Post
See if you can borrow or rent an LCPII. They really seem to have solved the issues with this little gun. It has a strong spring on the mag release (hasn't popped the mag out once in my pocket) and the trigger is much better. Been carrying mine for about 6 months now either pocket or OWB in a Mitch Rosen holster. You can also get a 7 round mag with room for a 3 finger grip so you have 8 on-board.

Thanks, I have handled them in the LGS and the trigger is pretty good but Iíve heard they are not drop safe. Rumor or fact?
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:02 PM
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When I draw the line with something and declare "I'm done", I really am done.

I get muley and sell what it was that annoyed me as quickly as I remove a rock from my boot. I don't much entertain the idea of placing a different rock back in my boot to give it a try.

I'm probably missing out on a lot of good stuff by being stingy with my second chances....like my .380 experience.

Decades ago when the North American Arms .380 Guardian came out I just had to have one. I worked for 10 years trying to like it. After all, it was the perfect size for pocket carry and it was American made.

That little thing was flawless....except it was heavy and I couldn't even see if it had sights on it. I really tried to talk myself into love with that little stainless steel auto.

As heavy as it was, it still had a very snappy recoil. And it was heavy.

In the end, I ended up talking myself out of love and traded it on a revolver. Every now and then I go back to the LGS where I abandoned my .380 dream boat. It's still laying there in the counter where I left it.

I'm done with .380 too.
Now I know it and have accepted it.

Last edited by Ingramite; 06-13-2018 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:16 PM
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You have to have faith in your carry gun.
That said, it's hard not to have faith in a 38spl J frame.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:26 PM
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I carried a BDA 380 15 years. The best 380 I've ever owned. Large enough to be comfortable in the hand, accurate, holds a bunch and field strip is a snap.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
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You have to have faith in your carry gun.
That said, it's hard not to have faith in a 38spl J frame.
I gave Hooker a like and my last name starts with Ing so he must be right.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old cop View Post
Thanks, I have handled them in the LGS and the trigger is pretty good but Iíve heard they are not drop safe. Rumor or fact?
Ruger recalled the original LCP for this very reason and there have not been any recalls that I know of on the II so I doubt that this is accurate. If it worries you send Ruger an email from their website. They are quick to respond. How do we really know any handgun is truly drop safe?
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