As I sit down and write this, I look at my .380 resting inside it's holster, and can’t help but laugh at how everything comes full circle.
My first 'carry' gun was a Bersa .380 that was given to me by my father. I'm sure he chose it due to the fact he had just returned home from overseas, and the gun was in wide use by foreign troops he was with. It even had some gaudy gold overlay from the manufacture, meaning a female MUST obviously like it for the bling factor. Each morning as I strapped it on, I felt as though I was part of some horrible 70's movie that included gold chains and leisure suits! I couldn't get it out of my hands quick enough.
Looking for guidance in what to carry, I turned to my younger brother, a former NOLA police officer for help. My brother had an extra Glock 17 in his safe, so I started using that as my CCW. Although fairly larger than the .380, this 9mm felt amazing in my hand. I decided to jump on board. I started shooting with it regularly, and did my first actual training class with this gun because it was with me 24/7. I quickly fell in love with it’s reliability, minimal recoil, and always forgiving genetics. The only flaw, was that the Glock 17 is a BIG gun, and I’m a SMALL girl, so concealing this gun was no easy task. Again, I turned to some folks with much more experience than me on what I should be carrying. Smith & Wesson Body Guard, Ruger LC9, Kahr PM9, Glock 27, M&P Shield, Kel-Tec, LCP, Beretta Nano, Springfield XDs, 9mm, .380, .40, .45…it seemed like the options were endless. I felt like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, with WAY more options than just hot or cold porridge and a soft or lumpy bed. The guns were either too big, too small, too blocky, too heavy, too much recoil, or too ugly…then finally I found a Glock 19. It was PERFECT! Smaller than a Glock 17, fit my hand better, same ergonomics, and seemed much easier to conceal on my person. THIS was the gun I'd have next to me until the day I died. Case closed.
I loved my Glock 19, it was easy to shoot, a popular caliber, lots of upgrades available, but it still ended up being cumbersome to carry. I found myself carrying it in my purse more often than not, which I knew isn’t the best place to carry, but my other options were slim. I felt like I was back at square one, and needed to start this process all over again.
Fast forward to December 2013, Glock announced a new model that would be revealed in the coming weeks at SHOT Show. Surely it would be a single stack 9mm since that is what the public had wanted for some time! To everyone's dismay, it was a .380! The Glock 42, what a disappointment! I hated it. Why would Glock make a puny .380? No one wanted another sub caliber, mouse gun. The internet hated it, and so did I. Stupid, insufficient .380’s! Now to continue the search, because I didn’t want another, weak .380 pistol.
Well, it’s rare for me to admit when I’m wrong, but this was one of those times. I got the chance to handle the Glock 42 while visiting Thunderbird Tactical in Wichita, Kansas. They were one of the first places to get one, and I LOVED it. It FIT my hand, and FELT perfect, two of the most important factors when choosing a defensive firearm. I was still on the fence though, because after all, despite how amazing it felt in my hand, it was STILL a .380! I started to do more research on the caliber, looked at charts, and graphs about ballistics, read articles people had written, and stumbled across one by Grant Cunningham on the Personal Defense Network’s website. The article entitled “Why does a .380 beat a 9mm?” (http://www.personaldefensenetwork.com/380-beat-9mm/) totally turned everything else I had read by internet commandos on it’s head. Knowing who Grant is, and the time, effort, and energy he puts into his research, I trusted what he had to say, because it ACTUALLY made sense, and had FACTUAL information as opposed to unrequited bias. That did it for me. I went out and got a Glock 42, the most maligned gun on the internet!
The Glock 42 is probably one of my favorite firearm purchases thus far. It’s small enough to finally, comfortably, conceal and carry, but not so small where it doesn’t fit my hand. It has the ergonomics of its larger counterparts, making it feel just right in my hand. I’d stayed away from other .380 guns because they were VERY jumpy while shooting. I’m not recoil sensitive, but being able to get fast, accurate follow up shots is something that’s necessary for a defensive pistol. The 42 doesn’t have the recoil issues as other guns in its class. The gun handles recoil amazingly well for it’s size, and is more accurate than I expected from such a short barrel. It comes with the usual reliability of a Glock, eating all types of ammo I’ve thrown at it. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this little gun. So here I am now, back with the caliber I so vehemently despised, but in a much more efficient package, and with a greater understanding of it’s capabilities.