Sunday, January 17, 2010


Over at The Snubnose Files, that blogger has a post and a link about some testing by Wiley Clapp for the American Rifleman magazine regarding .380 Pistols and Reliability. After you read his posting and then the link to the brief introduction to the article, you can click the link in his post and go here to the Photo Gallery and see a picture of each gun and read how each gun fared.

Interestingly enough, this test did not include any of my old favorites, such as the Walther PPK(S), the Sig Sauer 232 or the Beretta Cheetah in either single or double stack configuration. Another well known .380 is the larger pistol manufactured by Glock in .380, for folks in certain countries where military calibers cannot be owned or carried by the public. In the 1980's, I owned a double stack Beretta .380 Cheetah that was very reliable as was the blued German made Walther PPK-S's that I bought in the 70's. I also owned the stainless PPK/S which I got in the 90's. Although the 1990's stainless Walther did experience a few failures to feed when I owned it, that was only with certain ammo. As long as I was using Silvertips with any of the .380's I have owned, I never had any problems with jamming.

The crux of the study was that only the Rohrbaugh .380 had no jams or fail to feed/eject. This is quite an expensive custom made gun that is also made in 9mm, which would clearly be my choice in an ultralight carry gun over a .380.

Nonetheless, it's good to see the blogger over at the Snubnose Files posting again. He's got some great posts in his history, and like me, shares a certain affinity for Snubnose revolvers. He has a great site, and I urge you to check it out sometime and read some of his archives and postings. He knows of what he speaks.

I have to admit, I've been considering buying a Ruger LCP in .380 for Texas summertime carry. I have not had the chance to shoot the Ruger or the Kahr yet, but I've been unimpressed with similar offerings from Kel-Tec. Everytime I have shot a Kel-Tec in .380 or 9mm there have been jams before the magazine emptied, and both of the guns I shot had been well broken in.

There are times in Texas when even a Model .38 or one of the other lightweight snubbie revolver designs by S&W or Taurus are too heavy to carry with lightweight summer clothing. Even in a pocket holster. I've often thought that a gun near half the weight of the already lightweight Model .38 would be nice to have. I'm going to give Ruger some more time to get the bugs out of their LCP, as they've had a recall already as far as I know.

I've read both positive and some negative stuff about the Rohrbaugh 9mm at various shooting forums. I'm not linking to the negative because you never know about the source. I have seen but not shot a Rohrbaugh 9mm, and I was impressed with the build quality. It felt leap years more solid than the Kel-tec or Kahr offerings I've seen, although several of my gun buying buddies are very impressed with various Kahr pistols in terms of quality.

One of my well-heeled friends who owns a Rohrbaugh 9mm says it reminds him of the Seventrees/ASP 9mm he owned in the 1980's, in terms of how it shoots and how it carries, although undoubtedly lighter. That's a heavy duty compliment in my world. I've wanted an ASP 9mm since I first saw one in a magazine. I'll never understand why S&W has not endeavored to buy the rights and build a true ASP 9mm Seventrees/ASP copy of that great single stack (complete with the lexan see through window in the left grip to check how many cartridges remain in the mag.

I'm perplexed by the latest .380 offering from Sig, the 238. Back in their respective days, I shot several Colt Mustangs and the even more popular and inexpensive Llama .380. The Llama was a mini-1911 complete with mini-grip safety, and was also offered in at least .22 caliber. It was a good shooting little gun. I understand that the Sig 238 has some improved features over the 1911 .380 clones that preceeded it, but still, it weighs in more than my Model 38 and right at what my Colt Cobra weighs.

What I really wish is that Sig would adapt the 238 to .22 caliber and offer a version of that, which would be a great plinker.

The venerable Sig 232 is still revered in many circles as being equal or superior to the Walther PPK(S), and it's an enjoyable weapon to shoot. I'm not sure that the Sig 238 is an adequate replacement.

But I'd buy a Sig 238 in a New York minute if it came in .22 caliber.

My friend Mikey in Houston doesn't care for .380 or 9mm. His summer carry gun is the old "C.O.P.", a four barreled contraption in .357 that features a heavy double action pull and a rotating firing pin, sort of a variation on the old pepperbox, except with the C.O.P., each barrel has a dedicated firing pin and the internal striker rotates to hit the four firing pins instead of the barrels rotating.

The COP is a top break design that is heavy (26 oz.) but small. Some years ago, Mikey loaned it to me for a while, and I found that it carried well in either the back pocket of my Levi's or in a front pocket in a pocket holster. It resembles an auto, except for the 4 barrels (two over two). It was a heckuva handful to shoot, even though I only shot regular .38 Special +P's through it when I tested it and not .357 magnum loads. At seven yards, it was plenty accurate for self defense.

If you know about handguns and watch movies, you know that in the 2nd Matrix feature that the character portrayed by Monica Belluci kills one of her husband's henchmen with this pistol, using silver bullets.

I've often wondered why some handgun maker has not bought the rights to this cool weapon, integrated a polymer frame with the heavy duty barrels and breech of the C.O.P. and make a lighter weight fine concealed carry weapon. Put a gun clip on the right side of the C.O.P. and you've got the perfect low profile carry pistol that can be dropped in a pocket, waist bag or purse or clipped to a belt for concealed carry.

Most gun fanatics I know do not share my admiration for the C.O.P. But I've shot one and found it an interesting gun, purely for self-defense. I've been trying to talk Mikey out of his for over 15 years, with no luck. He likes having it around.

Here's a few links to the much maligned COP:

The next website features lots of good info and pictures about the COP.

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