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Recently I have been looking into getting a new pistol to add to my collection, more specifically a concealed carry pistol. I used to carry my PT-99 AF, but it becomes increasingly difficult to conceal a full frame pistol as the weather gets warmer. As well, it is a little bulkier than I would like in a carry pistol. I started looking at smaller guns (M&P, G19, XD) but they are all stretching my budget. What does fit into my price range are a lot of "pocket pistols" ( LCP, PF9, Bodyguard, Nano, TCP, etc.). I was wondering what you all thought of guns these small. I am aware the recoil will be brutal due to the small size and light weight of these guns and they are not meant for great distances, but for the most part any encounter that would require the use of a weapon in defense would be within 15 yds. They appeal to me because of the extreme portability and carry options vs my PT-99 AF and i would be more inclined to carry it due to comfort (I will admit sometimes I leave my pistol home because of size). What about stopping power? I know when it comes to SP, there is always a huge debate. On one side are the people saying you need a .45, anything else will do nothing, while others are fine with .22. I understand the larger calibers will have greater stopping power, but can I be confident that a 7 round magazine of .380 will do the trick?
 

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I understand the larger calibers will have greater stopping power, but can I be confident that a 7 round magazine of .380 will do the trick?
From reading and seeing things online, you had better be a good shot under pressure with a .380. The video of the two youths(?) trying to rob a mini mart/poker place showed a .380 didn't "stop" anything. The criminals fled rather quickly, even after being shot, iirc.
 

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I love my PF9. I carry it everywhere it's legal to carry. I've got about 200 rounds or so through it and it has never failed to file, eject, or feed. Gets fired about once a month or so and cleaned even less.

It certainly is a hand punisher, but any small 9mm will be. For me, I don't really care. This gun is for carrying a lot and firing very little.

I'm not even going to step into the "stopping power" issue. That's almost as bad as talking politics IMO. I'll just say that I'm perfectly comfortable using a 9mm for personal and home defense. My wife carries a .22LR auto and I don't have a problem with that either. You're not looking to get into a gunfight, just to defuse a potentially bad situation.
 

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I had a PF9, it was a good little pistol. mine was really early, it did have some problems, but the issues were cleared later in the production line (pin for ejector rattles loose)

after that repair, it was perfect. I ran all kinds of ammo threw it, +p+ kicks like a mule, but still functioned.

I sold it to my father last year, he was looking for a small pistol to carry in his business, due to the clientel becoming less... savory. I wouldn't have sold it to him if I didn't think it was a good pistol. I hope he never has to use it, he's a terrible shot.:laugh:
 

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From reading and seeing things online, you had better be a good shot under pressure with a .380. The video of the two youths(?) trying to rob a mini mart/poker place showed a .380 didn't "stop" anything. The criminals fled rather quickly, even after being shot, iirc.
ahh, but they fled. They did not get hit and say, "I still want to attack this guy."

I have been looking for a CCW as well. Something small but not sure if I want a pocket pistol. Just something around a 3.5" barrel size.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
From reading and seeing things online, you had better be a good shot under pressure with a .380. The video of the two youths(?) trying to rob a mini mart/poker place showed a .380 didn't "stop" anything. The criminals fled rather quickly, even after being shot, iirc.
It may not have dropped them, but it did stop the crime from escalating.



That's what I'll be doing soon.
Not much of a revolver fan.


As for the PF9 I have heard mixed reviews. Some swear by it while others complain about FTE, FTF, and other issues.
 

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I had a PF9 for a while; nice little gun, but I sold it to upgrade to a Walther PPS. More pricy, but more comfortable, and I think I shoot better with it.
 

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Slowly but surely we're seeing an increase in sub-compact pistols which are damned good...so I see less and less reason to go to a micro-compact (pocket pistol).

M&P Shield
XD-S line
Walther PPS
Beretta Nano (borderline pocket sized this one...)
 

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I was able to try a couple of small pistols in .380 and 9mm, the PF9, LCP, PPK, P3AT, and LC9. I bought the LC9 after shooting it nearly as well as my P6. Yes, it kicks more, the trigger is longer, but not bad, and it has the lawyer crap on it. That said, it handled well, had a solid build quality, and packs a decent punch out of the spout. It helps to consolidate my ammo, too. See if you can find a range that rents some of the pistols you're interested in, or befriend some folks in your local gun clubs. A test drive can make a big difference in your decision.
 

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I have a PF-9. I have a side clip installed on mine, it carries just fine without a holster, and I have a crimson-trace laser so I don't have to worry too much about the short site radius. I like the size with the 7rd magazine, but they do offer an extended grip 8rd mag that might help if you have larger hands. I wouldn't say it has too much recoil, I'd prefer to say it's "snappy". The laser really helps with getting back on target after each round.

My dad owns two diamondback DB-9s. Both guns have had issues, one had a short chamber from the factory, but they did send him a replacement barrel at no cost. They're a little harder to get a grip on, and more susceptible to limp-wristing.

I have a theory that a lot of the reliability issues in these smaller guns is due to limp-wristing. If you have large, meaty hands, and can't get a good grip on the gun, even if you're a big strong man it's easy to limp wrist it. I've found the best way to prevent this for me is to get a good grip with my one or two fingers at the bottom of the gun's grip, and push into the back of the grip with the webbing of my hand, creating leverage that keeps the barrel down. It's not about how tight you hold it, or how stiff your arm is, it's about leverage.

I really do want a true pocket pistol, though. All the 9's are just a little too big to fit in pocket for a guy my size. I'd really like a bauer/baby browning, but I may drop a hundred bucks on one of the little FIE Italian .25 jobs.
 

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I've found the best way to prevent this for me is to get a good grip with my one or two fingers at the bottom of the gun's grip, and push into the back of the grip with the webbing of my hand, creating leverage that keeps the barrel down. It's not about how tight you hold it, or how stiff your arm is, it's about leverage.
That's how I've learned to grip mine as well. It really does a lot to control the muzzle flip. Another thing I did was make my own grip-sleeve out of a bicycle inner tube. I think I found the writeup on KTOG somewhere. That cuts down on the harshness of those stupid ribs on the back of the grip.
 

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your most reliable firearm for a first shot stop will always be a caliber 9mm or larger (.40, .357mag or sig, .45, or .38spl).

with that being said, i'd rather have a ruger LCP on me than my pocket knife...i daily carry a Glock 33, the baby size one in .357sig. it isn't easy to shoot, it kicks like a mule for its frame size, and there are definitely easier guns to conceal. however, i like the bigger bullet and reliable stopping power/barrier penetration that a larger caliber provides. particularly in Michigan in the winter, you've got a bad guy who very well could be wearing a leather coat, a sweatshirt, and two undershirts. That's a lot for a lower powered .380 or smaller to go through. With that being said, i'd say .380 is the smallest primary caliber i'd even bother carrying. much like the saying don't draw your gun unless you need to shoot, don't shoot at something without being to stop the threat. even if your intent is just to brandish your firearm and scare the bad guy away, you shouldn't be carrying something that won't actually stop them if they aren't fazed.

smaller pistols are innately less accurate due to short barrel lengths, small grips, and shorter sight radius. pocket pistols are not designed for longer distance shooting, because you will never use one long distance. if you're engaging someone at more than 15 feet, let alone 15 yards, you're probably not defending "yourself." Furthermore, finding quality ammo that feeds well is gun specific. try your carry ammo many, many times before trusting it in a pocket pistol. lastly, always leave money for a quality holster, this not only makes drawing your gun easier, but carrying it more safely as well. nothing scares me more than a guy with a trigger safety gun with no holster...bad idea.

that's a long and convoluted answer: in short, a 442 S+W, Ruger LCR or LCP would all be great CCW choices if you're worried about concealment. i wouldn't trust a caliber smaller than .380. best of luck.
 

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ahh, but they fled. They did not get hit and say, "I still want to attack this guy."
They were idiot kids trying to rob a quick buck. If they were serious criminals, it would have ended badly. I know- would've/could've/should've. I remember saying, back when it happened, I bet the kid actually had an airsoft gun, because they cut & ran instead of shooting back. I was close- it was a non-functional gun. Oh, and yes, the author is kind of an idiot: http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/022830.html
 

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It's better to carry something, rather than nothing at all. I'll probably get flamed for this, but even with a .22cal. I wouldn't want to get hit by a .22cal, let alone anything bigger. It may not stop me, but I'm definitely not going to be able to fight as long or as hard than if I wasn't shot at all.

Nevertheless, a .380 is fine. The Walther PPS and PPK (Sig 232 is a decent alternative) are some of my favorites (because they're thin) among sub-compacts, like a G26, G27, M&P Shield, or even an LCP. Whatever you carry has to be comfortable for you, what you do, what you wear. A good holster helps a ton, as well.

Good luck on your find.
 

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I love my PPK/S, but I wouldn't carry it.

one, its heavy,
two.. its just not that reliable,
three, its heavy and a .380.

love the little pistol, but not the right tool for that job.

modern plastic stuff is much better suited.
 

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I carry a Keltec P32. great little gun, no issues with it at all. small and light. :thumbup:
 

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I cross shopped the G26 and Walther PPS. The thin frame and ergonomics pushed the Walther to the front as the G26 was simply too thick. I'm now waiting on my PPS to arrive at my local shop.

I was waffling back and fourth between 9mm and .40 cal and went with 9mm. Magazine capacity (6/7/8 vs 5/6/7) was the driving force behind that decision. :thumbup:
 
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