I've said it before and I'll say it again: the .380acp is a professional's gun. If a pocket-sized mouse gun is your primary daily carry, be certain of your capabilities as a shooter as well as those of your weapon. Make no mistake: we live in a dangerous world and one day, you may be tested.
Recently, this was the case for one of our local clients. Last week, a feral youth with no morale compass attempted to rob our client and his girlfriend at gunpoint as they parked at a busy Applebee's location up the street from our shop. Thankfully, the good Lord was with them. Our client was able to sense the impending threat, react, swiftly draw his Kel-tec P3AT, and accurately fire 4 shots of 95gr Remington Golden Saber into the chest of the thug-- neutralizing the attack. Amazingly, the attacker survived his wounds-- which is an important lesson in the lethality of the little .380acp.
Thanks to our client's level of professionalism and situational awareness, his shots rang true and hit their mark. His weapon was well maintained and functioned properly-- and he knew how to use it. Indeed, the often finicky Kel-tec P3AT was "feeding good in the neighborhood." However, our client was in the shop later that week, upgrading to a Kel-tec PF-9 in the more potent 9mm.
All too often, a client will choose a .380acp Ruger LCP, Kel-tec P3AT, Kahr P380, or Diamondback DB380 as their FIRST concealed carry handgun. Why not? They're inexpensive and easy to carry-- so small that you hardly notice them in your pocket or purse. Heck, you almost forget you're carrying them at times! This is a problem, my friends.
With the recent proliferation of pint-sized .380acps, I believe many new concealed weapon permit holders choose one of these pistols with a false sense of reliability and have the potential to become dangerously complacent in their carry and training methods. More so than larger firearms, these pocket pistols must be maintained religiously, tested thoroughly, and trained with consistently. Before employing these pistols as a daily carry, you must fire a sufficient amount of rounds through them-- not only to break them in, but to figure out what type of ammunition the weapon likes, or most importantly: what it dislikes.
So, if you're carrying one of these .380acps as a primary weapon-- be prepared. Carrying a handgun is serious business and must be taken seriously. Heaven forbid, your life or the life of a loved one might depend on it someday.
Many moons ago, I started carrying my first concealed handgun: a full size Heckler & Koch USP 9mm. Although it was not easy to conceal and required more attention selecting my holster and wardrobe, it was easy to shoot and had a lot of firepower. I was always aware of its large frame at my side, which kept me alert and mindful of my decision to carry. After all, a concealed firearm should be comforting-- not comfortable.
With this in mind, I frequently recommend a compact pistol or snub-nosed revolver to new concealed carry shooters. The compact Glock 19 is an excellent all around shooter-- from range work and home defense to concealed carry and competition. It packs 15 rounds of 9mm into a slim and comfortable frame. However, if you don't like the aesthetics of the Glock, you might also try the Springfield Armory XD or XDM series or the Smith & Wesson M&P. In the revolver category, I recommend the classic Smith & Wesson model 642 and Ruger LCR. Their hammerless designs allow them to be fired from within a purse or jacket.
Remember, concealed carry is a serious business. It's very important to ask questions and keep an open mind when it comes to selecting the proper tool for the job. Everyone has different requirements. What's good for you may not be good for the next person. So, if you ever have a firearms-related question, I'm only an e-mail away and here to help: firstname.lastname@example.org -- your faithful servant. Until then...
Keep the Faith, stay On Point, and God bless! -- Evan