This is the story of my neighbor's quest to find the perfect carry gun. Many have probably heard or witnessed similar stories.
First let me say, my neighbor is a cheap skate when it comes to guns, he has never owned an expensive firearm, unless he was able to get it for a steal of a price.
He also doesn't like using holsters, he prefers to carry in his pocket and chooses his jackets that will allow for pocket carry. Carhartt jackets and vests are among his favorites....
So here is the story of the guns my neighbor has purchased and then sold in his quest for the perfect (and cheap) carry gun.
For years my neighbor did not carry a gun except in the woods, then he would carry his 44 Mag. This was also his nightstand gun for years. He didn't own anything small enough to carry.
When the 80's became the 90's crime seemed to be getting worse in our neck of the woods, he began the journey that I will describe below.
He started with an FEG PA 63 pistol in .380 ACP, this gun is a clone or copy of the Walther PP. He picked it up at a gun show from a dealer who specializes in surplus weapons.
It had a bare anodized aluminum frame and blued steel parts...not very pretty in my estimation.
The gun was introduced in Hungary in 1963 and became the sidearm of the State Police and Military of the Soviet Satellite State.
The guns were fairly light, weighing 21 ounces, but was not exactly small. While smaller than most full-size pistols, it was too big to carry in a pocket, especially with the strange thumb rest grips.
Capacity is 7 rounds, the blow back action, take down mechanism and styling are pure Walter PP.
He traded this gun off and went in search for the next best gun
He came across a used model 83 Bersa at a gun show, the price was right, so he bought the pistol. The gun was also a copy of the Walter, but this one was made in Argentina.
The Bersa was also chambered in 380 and weighed a bit more than the FEG at 24.5 ounces, the frame is steel, and one would think that would add more to the weight, but no.
While neighbor Joe loved the Bersa, it wasn't going to work as a carry gun.
Still enamored with the 380 cartridge, he sold the Bersa and bought another Walther PPK copy the Accu-Tek AT-380.
The AT-380 was all steel, stainless steel in fact, a gun that was smaller than his two previous pistols, but still weighed 20 ounces. The gun was also uncomfortable to shoot, and he was not happy with the ergonomics.
As before he put the gun up for sale and went in search for another pistol.
During this time I had purchased a Beretta 21A Bobcat on a lark, it was at the gun show and priced at $150, so I bought it.....he fell in love with the little gun and bought one...
He never carried the Charter Arms that I know of and asked me to help him sell it so he could buy another Beretta 21A
He tried a different approach and bought a Ruger SP-101 357 Magnum. He mainly bought the gun to be his nightstand gun but thought he could carry it. He did (and still does) carry it from time to time in a Glaco shoulder holster. The 5-shot revolver weighs in at 26 ounces empty.
In 2008 Ruger introduced the LCP, standing for Lightweight, Compact Pistol. The gun had a polymer frame and was chambered in .380 ACP. This gun actually lives up to its name....lightweight, it only weighs 9.4 ounces and compact at just 5.16" long and 3.6" high and less that 1" wide, it easily fits in a pocket.
Now Ruger didn't wasn't the first to come up with the idea, in fact Ruger copied the Kel-Tec P3AT, introduced 5 years prior....but Ruger did start a trend and soon every manufacture began making pocket 380 pistols.
The LCP was sold after he purchased a Kel-Tec P3AT. He claimed he liked the ergonomics better, and the fact that it came with a magazine extension/grip which gave his pinky finger a place to rest. The gun weighs only 8.3 ounces when empty, the lightest of the carry guns he has owned
This new gun has a 12+1 round capacity, real sights, a lightweight polymer frame and a smooth striker fired trigger mech.
The gun only weighs 18.4 ounces and is about as close to a compromise between a pocket gun and a "real" side arm.