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Old 07-27-2008, 08:03 PM   #1
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Default Suggestions on small semi-automatic?

About 5 yrs ago I was compelled by the threats of a lunatic to buy a .38 to keep around the house for protection.

I've just changed jobs and the new job will have me occassionally travelling into some of the worst neighborhoods in my city. The .38 will stay at home at all times, but I want something to take into those bad parts of town with me.

Ideally, I'd like something a bit slimmer and lighter than the .38. I was considering the Bersa Thunder 380. I would probably like to come in under $400, but that's not set in stone.

Can anyone comment and/or make suggestions?

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Old 07-27-2008, 08:15 PM   #2
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I carry a 1911A1 .45. It's considered a large auto but I don't have any trouble concealing it under a t-shirt plus it's pretty slim since it's a single stack. I've heard some good things about those Bersas and my cousin is a Indiana State Trooper and he uses one of those Kel-Tec 9mms for his backup gun, cause they are pretty small. Well, that's all I know of right now. Hope I helped a little.

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Old 07-27-2008, 08:33 PM   #3
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Banta - Well, first the legal info. Are you licensed to carry in your state? What is your level of training and skill with a handgun?

Having a weapon, and not being proficient with it, is probably worse than not having one and being equipped with a cell phone instead.

I carry a 1911 .45ACP as well, and have for many years. You really won't get a good 1911 in your price range, so it's probably not the direction you want to pursue unless you are willing to add a few hundred to your price range.

I know quite a few people who are in and out of the car on travels who carry a good, hammerless revolver as their primary carry piece. It is easy to use, it is going to go bang every time and because it has a long trigger pull, the chances of a negligent discharge is going to be quite slim.

Obviously, no one on an internet website forum is going to be able to tell you what will work for you. Your hand size, your frame size, your skill with a weapon, your environment are all going to play into your final discussion.

I think the best thing, if you want some direction, is to fill in some of the blanks for the guys here to relate to your environment and background.

As I have said several times before, a .380 or .22 mag isn't going to do you any good in Minnesota when the guy accosting you is going to be wearing long johns, three shirts and a heavy down parka. An all steel 1911 in .45ACP, or even .50AE, isn't going to do you any good if you can't carry it because you are walking the beaches in Miami...

JD

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Old 07-27-2008, 09:27 PM   #4
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Don't get me wrong; I've owned and used a Walther PPK-S in 380 auto for more than 30 years, now. Fine little pistol except, like most of its genre, it's blowback operated; and, for it's size and weight, it kicks like a mule!

Wow! a 38 special for home defense - Just wow! (Sure wish I lived in such a nice safe neighborhood where all the criminals were old fashioned and tame 98# weaklings.)

Unless you've got that 38 spl revolver loaded up with either 135 grain Speer JHP Gold Dots, or (even better) +P 158 grain LSWC-HP's, (the, 'FBI load') you're exposing yourself to unnecessary risk by attempting to use an anemic 38 special revolver for home protection!

(You do keep that house gun under, 'lock and key' right? One of my worst nightmares is coming home to face my own gun!)

While you don't say anything either way: Usually, you need to be licensed by your home state in order to legally carry a handgun around with you - especially inside a vehicle where all states consider such a handgun to be a concealed weapon.

You seem to have a penchant for smaller pistols. OK, that's fine. Personally I would suggest you take a look at a Glock Model G-30SF. It's one of the most accurate pistols in the Glock model lineup, holds ten rounds of big 45 acp, 'manstopping' 230 grain FMJ bullets, and is relatively easy to conceal inside a comfortable IWB holster.

The Glock Model G-30SF,



The G-30SF costs more than $400 bucks, though; but, then again, how much is your life really worth!

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Old 07-27-2008, 10:00 PM   #5
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I'm assuming by the title to this thread that you're interested in semi-autos. In that case, there's a good size selection of firearms that meet your criteria. If you're planning on leaving the gun in the car, a larger frame, such as Ruger SR9 or P85 would work well and stay within your budget. If you plan on obtaining a carry permit, I'd have to agree with G2145 and recommend the Glock 30. I've had mine for 8 or 9 years and have had excellent luck with it. I've also enjoyed my Glock 26 9mm, which is smaller than the 30. If it were me, I'd go to a gun store and handle several guns within my price range before making a purchase. Also, I'm not sure about your state, but here in FL, you don't need any kind of permit to carry a weapon inside your vehicle. Definately check your local laws first.

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Old 07-27-2008, 10:20 PM   #6
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Default Makarov!

You need look no further....



You can still find them for around $250. Shoots the Russian 9mm Makarov cartridge (9x18). They are available from Russia, East Germany, and Bulgaria. Nice all steel contruction and a fixed barrel to boot! Easy to take apart and put back together, well most of the time....

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Old 07-28-2008, 02:46 AM   #7
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Dillinger-- thanks for the reply. I'm not licensed to carry at this time, but I wouldn't carry until securing the license. I researched the requirements back when I bought the 38.

In college I took a hands on training course with the local gun club and I've test fired my 38 500 times.

As far as my environment, I am in central Indiana. I prefer something small and lightweight for convenience sake.

I bought the 38 at the suggestion of the dealer at the dealership. At that time, a delusional freak had been secretly observing my wife, daughter and myself to memorize our daily routines. When he "snapped" and started calling me and telling me where my wife had driven to on her lunch break and what my daughter wore to school that day, I wasn't risking anything else with him.

He has been out of the picture for about 3 years now. But I'm never putting it out of my mind, so I'd rather pick up a second gun than start carrying the 38. It needs to be at home for my wife if there is ever a problem while I'm out.

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Old 07-28-2008, 05:51 AM   #8
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1911s are easily concealable and these days come in lighter chamberings than .45 ACP. Kimber makes them in .38 Super, 9mm, .40 S&W and 10mm. Though a .45 ACP is my round of choice, it can be a little much for everyone, especially when fed through a 1911.

My best advice is to make a trip to a rental range or 4 and shoot anything that looks good to you. Find what fits you best and what is the largest round that you can still handle easily. Often times these place will sell range guns that just need a little TLC to make them highly reliable carry pieces.

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Old 07-28-2008, 08:54 AM   #9
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Banta it sounds like when that whole ordeal was going on your wife NEEDED the carry license and that 38 close by 24/7 .

No offense here but in saying you've test fired your 38 500 times in all these years it speaks volumes as to what kind of gun owner you are , which is just a tad better than your typical one who buys a gun solely for protection and never really practices with it .

500 rounds through a single handgun is a mere 2-3 trips to the range for me alone and thats if I can make it out the door without a kid or two in tow .

I personally hesitate to suggest any semiauto to someone like you who isn't a dedicated shooter because unlike the Double action revolver you are now dealing with a very light trigger pull and you've just released a bullet , perhaps unintentionally .

The Glocks while no doubt designed brilliantly around the simple principal of "If you don't pull the trigger it doesn't fire" is to me the most dangerous of all handguns for those not dedicated to practice and 100% diligents when handling them . You must beat it into your brain , keeping your finger off the trigger of that weapon or you will have an accidental discharge as you do not have a separate manual safety to fall back on .

A 38 revolver really isn't all that much harder to conceal and can be had in very light weights these days , it is only about 1/2 of an inch wider than an auto and can be hidden just as easily under a loose shirt with a properly holstered weapon .

A second 38 that is double action only with a lighter frame would be just about perfect for what you want .

If you do buy a semiauto , please , spend far more time becoming and maintaining familiarity with it than you have that 38 , the last thing you want to have happen is an AD in your home endangering the very loved ones you seek to protect with it .

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Old 07-28-2008, 11:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by BigO01 View Post
Banta it sounds like when that whole ordeal was going on your wife NEEDED the carry license and that 38 close by 24/7 .

No offense here but in saying you've test fired your 38 500 times in all these years it speaks volumes as to what kind of gun owner you are , which is just a tad better than your typical one who buys a gun solely for protection and never really practices with it .

500 rounds through a single handgun is a mere 2-3 trips to the range for me alone and thats if I can make it out the door without a kid or two in tow .

I personally hesitate to suggest any semiauto to someone like you who isn't a dedicated shooter because unlike the Double action revolver you are now dealing with a very light trigger pull and you've just released a bullet , perhaps unintentionally .

The Glocks while no doubt designed brilliantly around the simple principal of "If you don't pull the trigger it doesn't fire" is to me the most dangerous of all handguns for those not dedicated to practice and 100% diligents when handling them . You must beat it into your brain , keeping your finger off the trigger of that weapon or you will have an accidental discharge as you do not have a separate manual safety to fall back on .

A 38 revolver really isn't all that much harder to conceal and can be had in very light weights these days , it is only about 1/2 of an inch wider than an auto and can be hidden just as easily under a loose shirt with a properly holstered weapon .

A second 38 that is double action only with a lighter frame would be just about perfect for what you want .

If you do buy a semiauto , please , spend far more time becoming and maintaining familiarity with it than you have that 38 , the last thing you want to have happen is an AD in your home endangering the very loved ones you seek to protect with it .

No offense taken. Firearms aren't a hobby for me. I shot the practice rounds that I did so I'd be comfortable handling and firing it.

I understand where you and others are coming from regarding safety. I think I will go with another 38 and see if I can find onthat is a bit lighter. The one I have is a Taurus and I'm sure they make a lighter frame.

Thanks for the input and feedback.
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