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Concealed Carry: 21st Century Style

Wiley Clapp reviews the latest concealed carry handguns chambered for the increasingly popular .380 ACP cartridge. From the article "Concealed Carry: 21st Century Style."

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37 Responses to Concealed Carry: 21st Century Style

Lord Ligonier wrote:
February 19, 2013

When I discovered the P3AT in 2008 I researched it and knew all about the reports of malfunctions...for some. Faultless...for others. I gambled and lucked out...mine performed flawlessly. So I called my older brother to share this new lightweight wonder with him. "I've already got one," he said. "Let's go shooting", I say. So, up in the hills and mine works fine, as usual. My brother can't go through a single magazine w/o a problem. His is a 1st generation, if that matters. Mine's a 2nd. The upshot of all this is just as the author stated...a crap shoot. My luck's been good and I'd buy another. Heck, I bought a Kel-Tec SU-16(.223)and it's been great. Others, not so much. One final thought, Kel-Tec service is supposed to be exceptional. If you're patient and willing to send it back to the mother ship, they'll eventually make it right. I've read many reports...barrels, actions, entire guns replaced for free. And that's the good and the bad of it.

John wrote:
January 21, 2013

I purchased the TCP at a gun show on Saturday to serve as my primary CCW. I was absolutely amazed with how well the weapon performed. Using 95 gr. ball ammunition, I was able to keep a 3" group at 7 yards, a 4" group at 15 yards and put 5 of 6 rounds in the kill zone of the target I was using at 25 yards. It is a great defensive arm, but one that I am not afraid to take a longer shot with if necessary. After 200 rounds, I had no FTF or jamming of any sort. I am very impressed with this weapon and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a highly concealable sub-compact pistol that can still be controlled and shot reliably.

Tara wrote:
November 30, 2012

I purchased a P3AT and I don't like it. The trigger is hard, the recoil is horrible and my hand was sore when I left the range. Number 1 thing I don't like - IT JAMS! The casing sticks in the chamber and doesn't eject. In order to get it out I have to release the clip while holding the slide back, tilt the barrel up and rock the slide. This happened at least once in every clip when I ran a box of FMJ through it. Not acceptable by any form of the imagination. I have sent it back to KelTec for repair. If it doesn't work when I get it back I'm going to trade it in. I need something that I can keep in my purse and I need to know that I'm guaranteed more than the first round. I picked out a Walther that I like (I haven't shot it yet), but its a 22 and I want to stay with a .380 because I have a very expensive box of DRT.

Morgan wrote:
July 22, 2012

I bought an LCP July 19th 100 rds through it, no malfunctions. Trigger pull is awful. very good groups at 3 to 7 yards. My wife prefers her LCR 38 special.

Mike wrote:
April 09, 2012

Bought the weapon a couple of weeks ago. So far I've shot about 90 rounds through it with no problems at all. Nice weapon for the price.

Fred Mannis wrote:
December 28, 2011

Although no longer in production, the Colt Mustang and Pony were fine 380 pistols. I sold the Mustang a while ago, but still have the Pony and often carry it in the summer in a pocket holster. Some of the OEM parts left much to be desired, but after a tuneup by Scott & McDougall Gunsmiths it is a very reliable piece.

Tom D. (NRA Member) wrote:
November 27, 2011

I purchased the Ruger LCP 380 and was not satisfied so I purchased the Walther PK380, only then did I get what I was looking for. The lcp is difficult to hold because it is to thin and short. The PK grip is hand length and has a full size grip, it also shoots GREAT! Try it, YOU MWILL LIKE IT.

Doug wrote:
September 24, 2011

Bought this because it's the only .380 listed that slide stay back after last round. Pleasure to shoot and very accurate up to 30', no FTF so far with about 50 rounds through it. Very light and compact perfect for summertime CCW. Highly recommended.

bob wrote:
August 01, 2011

an accurate and easily concealed pistol. fun to shoot.

doug wrote:
April 10, 2011

i was determined to make this gun work. i studied the technique to avoid FTE. 200 rounds later i had 28 FTE with numerous brands of ammo. funny thing is i shot my friends with no problem. the reviewer is right. inconsistant and unreliable.

D.L Thomas (Life member) wrote:
March 16, 2011

I have a Keltec P3AT that has worked, no matter what, and no matter the ammo. It saved my life not long ago. It works when needed. I will buy another one.

Michael G wrote:
July 30, 2010

My p238 has worked flawlessly. I've not experienced a single failure. It's accuracy has exceeded my expectations.

Jason Montague wrote:
June 27, 2010

This gun strongly resembles the old Seecamp 32ACP blow back semiautomatic 'micro pocket pistol' that I used to have.

Jason Montague wrote:
June 26, 2010

The Sig/Sauer P238 is a 'Dead Ringer'for my Colt Mustang Pocket Light .380 aluminum alloy 12oz semiautomatic single action pistol.My Colt has never(that I can remember)failed to feed/chamber/or fire in ~25yrs.

Joe wrote:
June 05, 2010

I own a Ruger LCP, and have had no problems with it. It eats anything I put in the magazine. Other than that, your assessment is "Spot On"! A great little weapon for summer carry.

rodney lasseter wrote:
June 01, 2010

I have owned p3at for 2 yrs.No ftf.What sharp edges?It is easy to carry and I shoot it accurately out to about 60 ft.

Fred Bartlett wrote:
May 20, 2010

I had no malfunctions or failures to feed or fire with my new NAA .380 Guardian. I would recommend laser grips for anyone that wants to use this as a back-up weapon as the sights are inadequate. The pistol is very well made, but the trigger pull (as the original article states) is VERY heavy on purpose. It is a good backup.

Kirk wrote:
May 01, 2010

This is one fine gun. As the article implies, it takes a 100 round break-in period. This is probably the most reliable (feeding) of all the pistols tested. I highly recommend this pistol over any of the others featured in this article.

Joe wrote:
April 28, 2010

I own a Ruger LCP and it eats anything I put in it. No FTFs or stovepipes. An all round good CCW piece.

teach wrote:
March 22, 2010

I have no idea what sharp edges he means or malfunctions. I have had neither and have been shooting it steadily for almost three years. Unfair comment

Jim wrote:
March 13, 2010

I did trade my LCP in on a S&W 317 and took somewhat of a beating, but I'm now happy. The S&W 317 is a great gun and anybody who can survive eight shots of stingers can have me!

Jim wrote:
March 01, 2010

I recently purchased this gun as a concealed carry weapon, but am having second thoughts. In addition to the painful recoil, this gun requires operating the slide to chamber a round before firing and that costs time in an emergency situation. I know that the gun can be carried with a round already chambered, but I feel that is just too dangerous, since the gun has no safety feature. I'm thinking of trading in my Ruger LCP .380 on a point and shoot double action revolver, maybe a S&W 432, a Tauraus 94/22, or a S&W 317.

Richard wrote:
February 25, 2010

I have shot this gun both before and after having the recall mod added and had no malfunction problems using several brands of ammo with multiple mags.

Carlo wrote:
February 24, 2010

Just suscribed to this magazine today. Great articles. Though the BERSA .380 is not a new model, I do agree it is an excellent carry choice. Reliable, compact, light, etc,etc, and,... excellent value.

Jim wrote:
February 13, 2010

I looked at both and purchased the Ruger LCP for $365 at the local gun store and my buddy bought the Taurus TCP for $356. At the shooting range we shot both guns and neither experienced any problems. Both guns shot amazingly accurate, but both also had strong recoil action that started causing hand pain in the valley between the thumb and trigger finger after ten shots or so.

Jerry wrote:
January 31, 2010

The only drawback of the .380 as a CCW, that I can see, is the low availability of ammo, & the high expense when you are lucky enough to find it.

Martin wrote:
January 31, 2010

I'd have to agree with MIKE on this one. Why wasn't the Bersa .380 included in this article?

Peter Kent wrote:
January 26, 2010

Where are the sharp edges and corners. I've been looking for them since the article was written. Unfair comment! And after about 25 rounds, mine doesn't miss a beat with several flavors of ammo including reloads.

Mike wrote:
January 25, 2010

I got rid of my kel-tek after it would not fire, the gun worked fine then I got it out to run some rounds through it and it would not strike a primmer. this was a 32 cal but that should not make a difference. On top of that the groups were awful it shot 12 inch groups at 20 ft.

Mike wrote:
January 25, 2010

I bought a Bersa because of price and reputaion and the little 380 has never jammed and shoots tight groops, I will get it out after sitting 6 months and fire 50 round through it with no problems, clean it and then carry it.

Don wrote:
January 21, 2010

"several kinds of ammunition"? Well, mine runs Golden Sabers, Hydra-Shok, Silvertips, Magsafe, Federal, etc. with no problem. Even my Kimber called for a 500 round break-in, and had 2 feed jams before I found out it's picky about it's oil, not so much the ammo. My P-3AT and P32 both shoot great and don't have any "sharp edges and corners", unless you're talking about the checkering. Well, that's so it doesn't slip out of a bloody hand if you're already injured. It's not a comfy range gun, fun plinker, or engravable presentation piece. It's an "always gun", waiting "for that day", as Max Von Sydow said in "Three Days of the Condor"...

Kevin wrote:
January 20, 2010

This gun has never malfunctioned on me in the 1 and half years I've been its owner. It worked perfectly out of the box and has a better track record than my XD. It points great and I shoot it very well. I can't think of a better every day carry gun.

Michael (NRA Member) wrote:
January 17, 2010

I enjoyed your article I'm curious why you didn't include the Bersa 380. How would they compare with those you reviewed. Thank you for your response.

Steve Larson wrote:
January 16, 2010

I have owned two LCP's. I have never experienced any problems whatsoever with this little dandy. The only problem is obtaining ammo for it.

Danial Judd wrote:
January 15, 2010

Dear Sir, I have used a S&W sigma .380 for several years and have NEVER had a jam from this piston with any kind of amo. It is also easy to conceal carry. Can you advise as to why you would exclude this from the mix? Thanks, Dan Judd, Ocoee, Florida.

Vincent W. Unrue wrote:
January 15, 2010

I have a KEL-TEC .380 and have not had a single malfunction firing it. Since I added a laser when purchased I have shot groups under 3" at 25 yards. I find this gun to be a perfect carry weapon.

George DeFranco wrote:
January 15, 2010

Not sure why yours did this to you. I actually own two of these little pistols, one is converted to 32NAA and have found it to be very reliable with Speer Ammo. I now use the new Hornady Critical Defense ammo and again, no feed issues there either. Finally I have used the Cor Bon XTP and Magtech First Defense and again, no troubles. Maybe you need to clean your gun.