Sunday, February 17, 2008


I want a new gun designed especially for concealment purposes. Since my Indiana conceal carry permit allows me to carry whenever I wish there has been a void in my arsenal for too long. My arsenal contains only one sidearm. I like it a lot but…

Carrying a concealed Glock Model 22 in .40cal is not a very comfortable experience. Unless you are able to wear a jacket and shoulder holster carrying a pistol as large as my Glock is a real pain in the ass, literally. Whenever possible it gets stowed in my laptop case, in the console of my Jeep Wrangler or in the back pouch of my Harley and that’s just not as accessible as I would like it to be.

I love Glocks as much as the gun snobs hate them. Some gun friendly folks are not very friendly when it comes down to superior technology I guess. I am a big fan of John Browning's sacred 1911 design, but to me it is time to move forward and embrace the better option, foreign or not. Call me a progressive when it comes to firearm technology but definitely not when it comes to politics.

I am NOT a gun freak, collector or firearms know-it-all by any stretch of imagination. My gun use and experience is limited to a lifetime of hunting, which means long guns, shotguns and a primitive style .50 cal. muzzleloader for this ol’ country boy. The ins and outs of shotguns is second nature to me. Knowledge of self-defense weapons is not. The choices are mind-numbing and I don’t want any buyer’s remorse.

Here’s what I want. I want a small pistol that can be easily concealed, like in the front pocket of my jeans and is easily accessible. I want one that can shoot somewhat accurately within ten yards. I want a small gun that has enough power to stop and hopefully end the life of any scumbag who dares to threaten my life or the life of an innocent bystander. I want a gun that is reliable when I need it and one that won’t break the bank.

Am I asking too much? Probably. I like the old saying that a small gun in the pocket beats that big, fat revolver, 1911 .45 ACP or Glock .40 that I left in the truck.

I have been looking at pocket guns for some time, researching, shopping and deciding. It’s not easy and the choices are as wide as Oprah’s hips and bigger than Rosie’s disgusting pie-hole.

First, how small is too small? Deciding on the load will help me narrow my choices. There are .22 rimfire mini-revolvers that are slightly larger than a Bic lighter and about as effective.

On the high-end of concealment is the snub-nose .38 special which is way too fat for concealment unless you are a detective with a shoulder holster hidden by a cheap plaid sport jacket 365 days a year. I’d rather carry my Glock. That .38 special load is fine but manufacturers limit that choice to revolver use only as far as I know. I want a slim, modern semi-auto with more than six rounds in the clip if possible.

Today I went to one of those local “gun shows” that the lefty gun grabbers and their media accomplices like to crap on. To my surprise the choices in pocket pistols there were quite slim.

Correct me if I am wrong but on the low end is the .22, then the .32, followed by the .380 and finally the 38 special revolver.

My interest is focused on the .380 auto. A 9mm would be preferred if I can find one that fits.

One that caught my eye was a sweet piece made by Kel Tec.

It is just the cutest little thing, if cute could apply to guns. I mean it is so tiny. It fit in my pocket and felt no bigger than a pack of smokes or a cell phone. Upon close inspection, common copper water pipes have thicker walls than the barrel of this thing. It was similar to my full-size Glock with the polymer lower end and metal on the business end, which makes it very lightweight and well balanced to me. The craftsmanship of the Kel Tec just felt so cheap . The best price at the show was $239 for brand new. My local gun dealer wants $300. for the same.

The cheapest .380 at the show is made by Cobra and that one went for $140. It felt substantial and seemed as if it was worth much more than the Kel Tek. But at $140 the Cobra is almost in the Saturday Night Special category to me. Why trust my life with a cheap pistol?

On the internets I discovered that Colt was coming out with a new 1911 style .45 ACP pocket pistol. Nobody has them is stock yet. I would like to wait and consider it. But being a .45 ACP I am sure it would be much too thick for comfortable concealment. Should I wait?

Another option I have yet to examine is the Ruger LCP .380 Auto. At the gun show today I overheard an owner of one complain to a dealer that his Ruger jammed a lot. The dealer excused this malfunction with a cleaning and lubricating solution, etc. Screw that.

All these pocket pistols have A 3” barrel or less. Accuracy beyond ten feet is very questionable with such a short barrel. Another thing I need to consider. Can I trust my life with a 3” or less barrel? Anything longer is not an option for total concealment. A 3” barrel beats nothing at all when confronted with a life threatening situation.

A few weeks ago a blog visitor was kind enough to send an email to Dan which Dan then forwarded on to Carl and I. Dan has been lusting over that sexy looking new Ruger .22 that comes with a scope and bipod. The reader’s recommendation for a conceal carry weapon was a brand I never heard of. It is the Bersa Thunder in .380.

None of the exhibitors at the gun show today had one on display. BUT, my local gun shop had an ad in the Saturday local paper with a Bersa Thunder on sale for $289. Obviously the ad was in response to the local gun show competition. So I went over to Blythe’s Gun Shop and shooting range to check it out. Blythe’s is less than two miles from my country bunker. Lucky me. Check out Blythe’s here:

The Bersa Thunder .380 is the best little concealable piece I have handled to date. It was larger than the Kel Tec. It had some heft and felt like quality and craftsmanship. Bersa is made in Argentina. I prefer buying American but if the Kel Tec (Made in Florida) and Cobra (made in Utah) are representative of American quality, we’re screwed.

Upon closer examination the Bersa .380 seems like nothing more than a smaller Walther PPK knock-off made in Argentina for much less.

In researching the .380 pocket pistol I visited many credible gun blogs including this guy:

Xavier really knows his stuff when it comes to packing heat. As Dan says, we shill for nobody and avoid linking to other sites here at LITGM but Xavier earns my respect for his time and effort testing in implementing conceal carry weapons and all other types of side arms. His posts are very well written and based on real life experience. He’s well worth a visit.

So tonight I will sleep on my choices. But something tells me I just may be buying that Bersa Thunder .380.

SIDEBAR: The photos posted were grabbed off the internets. Gun shows and gun dealers are very wary of cameras in their presence so I could not take my own shots. Can’t say that I blame them. Too many leftist gun grabbing paparazzi would love to take away our right to defend ourselves using photos that can be turned into propaganda.


PuGz said...

I own both a bersa thunder in 380, and a Keltec .380. They are both good carry options however I wouldn't count the Bersa in pocket carry. You would need some deep pockets and a good holster to hide the outline. The Kel tec is a much better option for pocket carry and is a nice reliable gun. A note on the Bersa, mine had lots of problems when I first bought it and would jam on eject.

I sent it to the factory and 2 weeks later had a gun that shoots awesome.

I have no experience with the Ruger but I cant imagine that there is that much of an issue with jamming. If there is Ruger would fix the issue.

If you want to go up to 9mm then look at the PM9 by Kahr Arms or the P-11 or PF-9 by Kel tec are 9mm wich are both smaller and carry more then the Bersa. I would look at Kel tec again and see if you cant find a 9mm that will fit your needs. Ammo is so much cheaper and the defensive hollow points are cheaper.

Its worth noting that you need to run plenty of your carry ammo though your new gun before you trust your life to it.

Gerry from Valpo said...

Hey Pugz, thanks so much for the info. All good points for me to consider too. Selecting the best option in a CCW takes time for me to sort out and I am very patient. Running a lot of practice ammo thru the barrel is something I really look forward to. =)

Anonymous said...

My wife, who works for a particular Federal Law Enforcement agency has the Bersa as her preferred C & C side arm. Tons of ammo shot through it and no problems -- great gun!

Annie said...

I have a Kahr PM9. It's a decent little pea shooter. However, I actually carry a .38 and really don't see that changing, so I don't shoot the 9mm as much anymore. I practice the most with the one I carry. I was going to list my Kahr somewhere to sell it because I don't have anything that ammo shares. I really don't know what keeps holding me back, other than I just like having it.

Anonymous said...

My Father carries a Keltec on occasion but only because of it's small size. I've heard nothing but good things about the Bersa but I really think one of the best .380 handguns out right now is the CZ83. I used to carry one in a IWB holster and it was very concealable. I eventually moved up to the 9mm CZPCR.

If you really want to keep a handgun in your front pocket you have to acknowledge the trade-offs needed to do that and the time it would take to get that handgun out of your pocket.

Just about any handgun can be totally concealed if you have the right equipment. (quality holster & belt) I've carried full size pistols like the 1911 & CZ75B before and never worried about being "made", although I do notice the weight by the end of the day.

Anonymous said...

I live in detroit and my daily carry gun a a taurus pt145 .45, I don't like not carrying something that doesn't have good stopping power.

Anonymous said...

If one looks at the size of small 9 mm pistols today, such as the Kahr PM9 or P9/CW9 there is NO REASON to carry something like a Bersa Thunder 380. The smaller Kahr 9 mms are the same size (or smaller), shoot more potent ammunition, and are cheaper to shoot (9mm is much cheaper than .380 ACP). Unless one lives in a country where they are limited to .380ACP (like some Latin American countries). The .380 doesn't make much sense anymore.

Anonymous said...

+1 vote for the Kahr CW9. I agree with the previous poster who said that with the size of small 9mm pistols today there's no reason to carry a Bersa Thunder .380. I purchased my Kahr NIB for $390, bought an extra 7-round mag and Pearce grip extensions, and decal grips on cheaperthandirt for an extra $40+ shipping, and still had enough left over for the requisite 200 rounds for breaking in the piece. It shoots well-enough for it intended purpose, is very simple to operate, has a smooth DAO trigger, and is light enough for unobtrusive carry. Its minuses are: 7+1 or 8+1 capacity (due to single-stack mags), slide lever needed some smoothing for comfort as well as the sharply textured back and front straps. Overall a great gun worthy of consideration.

Anonymous said...

Honestly I think your looking in the wrong direction. If you really want a great concealment option look towards the Springfield XD 9MM Sub Compact or the Glock 26 perhaps. Both have a respectable mag capacity along with their respected names. And if you need more stopping power the XD also has .40 in sub-compact and the Glock has .357 and .40 in sub-compact. Just my opinion, and once you shoot an XD you'll probably never go back.