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Thread: The pistol James Bond should have - CT380 review

  1. #1
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    Cool The pistol James Bond should have - CT380 review

    The pistol James Bond should have - CT380 review.

    Many years ago, Virginia required the holder of a CCW to list a maximum of two handguns on the permit. What I had and what I listed were a Seacamp in .32acp and a Smith & Wesson 442 in .38 special. The Seacamp was great for deep concealment pocket carry. The S&W J frame was either in a jacket pocket or IWB at 4 o’clock. The Seacamp was in the category of ‘not fun’ to shoot. It was so small that it hurt to shoot it, even though it was ‘only’ .32acp. The J frame was ‘OK’ but much more pleasant with light hand loaded semi-wadcutters. While these two side arms are at first glance very different, they are the same in that they are of the grab grip, point, pull trigger type of manual of arms.

    Then, one day, in a major city, I was really wishing I had something with more than 5 rounds. No shots were fired. No weapon was drawn. But I did have my hand on the grip of my 442. Four guys in blue bandannas turned and walked away as I took a stance between them and my elderly father and my three very young daughters. Soon thereafter a Kahr P9 covert was added to the safe. Laws changed. Now I can carry anything I can conceal. The Kahr would kind-of sort-of go in a front suit pants pocket. I started wearing suspenders. For higher threat environments the Kahr went with me. The Kahr was great because it had basically the same manual of arms as the Seacamp and the Smith 442 in that when you needed to shoot you grabbed the grip, drew the weapon, lined up the target (Seacamp had no sights, but even so) and pulled a long double action trigger. I got good at doing this with the J frame (and several other revolvers). The Kahr P9 covert was an easy transition.

    Then I saw a Kahr P380. Yes, it was a little problematic with WWB and some other ammo. But it functioned flawlessly (even out of the box) with Hornady Critical Defense FTX. It has sights, actual functional sights. I can shoot it pretty well, and it doesn’t hurt to shoot - at least not too much. It is light. It is thin. And it reloads faster than a J frame. Magazines are small and thin. No pocket bulges. It became my EDC (Every Day Carry).

    Some years back, maybe shortly after CT380 came out, I saw a video of a young lady shooting a CT380 at a gong at 100 yards. She was hitting it. That video is long lost in the ether of the web. [There is a youtube of Justin Moon and Doug William hitting 4/7 at 100 yards with a CT380 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAEt0mUWzzs ] Now any .380acp round at 100 yards is, well...it’s not a good idea. But I was impressed. Every once in a while I would look at a CT380 review on line.

    Recently at a local gun shop I handled a Walther PPK/s. The Walther was James Bond’s gun for a long time (I know, I know, it’s the movies). I felt the trigger (heavy for that critical first shot). I looked at the sights (ugh). In the aftermath of a serious use I would have to remember to use that decocker (and then push it back up). Now the Walther was state of the art in 1929 (design) and 1931 (PPK intro?). But this is now. And I don’t have muscle memory for DA/SA trigger change like what the PP/PPK/PPK/s requires.

    Now in the Bond novels Bond carried a PPK (in .32acp). In the movie what was handed to Sean Connery by Major Boothroyd was the slightly larger PP. (I know, I know, it’s the movies - Walther is still selling the PPK/s, probably because of the movies.) I really like my P380, but what if it was just a little bigger. Could I then shoot it better? The only way to find out is to shoot one. I ordered one. I ordered extra mags.

    When the CT380 arrived I did not take in right to the range. I took it home and field stripped it. Cleaned and lubed it. And had to wait ‘till Saturday to get to a range. I had not been to a range for a while (way too long actually). I knew I would be rusty. So I was going to principally fire for function. I was wrong. Tight groups were appearing on the target. They were a little left, but they were tight. After just a few mag fulls down range, adjusting to new trifocals, and correcting (or paying better attention to) my trigger pull, things tightened up more and moved right to the center.

    I had two stove pipes in 100 rounds. The gun was new, got dirty, and I was out of practice. I tightened up the grip and no more stove pipe problem. This was with Blazer brass case FMJ, and some WWB and some assorted leftovers.

    A second trip to the range and the next 100 rounds seemed fine.

    There are not as many holsters for the CT380 as for the P/CW380. I had a Talon pocket holster for the P380 that I was not using. (my P380 rides in a seemingly now no longer available Uncle George pocket holster.) The Talon holster did not allow for a easy draw because the higher front sight of the CW380 did not have room to slide out. The holster was coming out of my pocket with the pistol. So, I found a scrap piece of 10ga insulated wire and trimmed it to fit between the front and rear sights, taped it in place with blue painters tape. This made a form for a channel for the taller front sight on the CT380. I wet the holster with water. Put the pistol in a plastic freezer bag and shoved it into the holster. In two days I had a pocket holster that will stay in the pocket when I pull out the CT380 (because the front sight now has a channel to slide out).

    I even found a leather paddle holster for some other (unknown) automatic in a bargain bin. It was probably never used because the Kahr almost wouldn’t go in (and there’s not much thinner than a Kahr P/CW/CT380). I suspect the previous owner had no idea how to break in a leather holster. I soaked the holster from the inside with drug store 91% alcohol and shoved the CT380 into it with a heavy freezer bag over the pistol (It already had a channel for a front sight). Now I have a perfectly form fitted black leather paddle holster that hides well under a suit coat or sport jacket.

    I now had two holsters that fit the Kahr CT380. This problem has a solution. Order another CT380. This second one did not go directly to the range either. I did work the slide on the newest one at least 200 times. (Wear leather gloves.) I did more than field strip it. I disassembled the slides of both, cleaned the striker channels (and did not leave residue), and lubed the rails.

    Next trip to the range CT380 #1 completed the 200 round break in with no events other than making holes in paper. I even shot it (at least 4 mags) weak hand. CT380 #2 was up. Slide locked back. Mag in. Hit slide release. Weak hand, single hand, lined up sights on a new target. Squeeze - bang. Dead center hit! I was impressed with myself. I was more impressed with the little CT380.

    Just being a little bit bigger than the P/CW380 makes the CT380 much more controllable for me. I have J frame size hands. A Ruger SP101 or new Colt King Cobra are as big a revolver as fit me really well. I can shoot a 1911 or Glock 19 just fine. I can remember shooting a buddy’s model 29 (with a scope and 6 throttle to the fire wall hand loads) at a 16oz Coke bottle at 130 yards. I didn’t hit it, but I scared it good. My hand really hurt afterwards. Smaller guns fit and feel better.

    The CT380 is a big little pistol, or a little big pistol. It is thin! It is tuxedo pants front pocket thin. It is under a dress shirt in a shoulder holster with two buttons behind your tie unbuttoned thin. It has real sights. I think the Kahr triggers are wondrous. No, they are not like 1911 competition triggers. I once knew a gunsmith who knew just how to make a Smith K frame trigger very smooth - a real pleasure to squeeze. I find Kahr triggers are about like that out of the box.

    Yes, it is possible to carry a ‘full size’ pistol every day. I can and have carried a Glock 19 and two mags in a shoulder holster rig. I weighs a ton, but it is doable. But most civilians are not in a threat area where that is needed. And it is not really feasible on a hot summer day to not take off your sport coat or suit jacket because one is toting around a big gun and 45 rounds of ammo. If I lived on the Gaza boarder, yes (along with an M-79 grenade launcher and a dozen grenades in a back pack). But I don’t live in Chicago or Philadelphia, let alone on the Gaza border.

    I find the CT380 form factor, just a little bigger than the P380, significantly easier to grasp properly with its slightly longer grip. The slightly larger sight radius helps. The larger sights are great. If I as the shooter do my part the bullet is going to exactly where I aim it.

    It the Kahr CT380 for everyone? No. The tiny Kahrs are far to difficult for someone with hand or arm weakness to use effectively. It is hard to rack that slide. It requires a firm grasp, a tight hold. You have to be able to stroke the trigger like a light DA revolver (this is not a bad skill for anyone to have) while really holding on. To get really good at it takes some practice.

    The CT380 is in a sweet spot of being small enough and light enough to carry all the time. It is big enough (at lest for me) to shoot as well as larger pistols and revolvers. Modern .380acp is practically as good as or better than the .38 special in 1-7/8 barrel J-frames that were used (almost universally) by detectives in what is still living memory.

    James Bond could do a lot worse that use a CT380. As a modern James Bond gun it makes much more sense for deep concealment coupled with serious use that the now geriatric Walther PPK. (Would Walther still be making those things if it were not for the movies?) I know Major Boothroyd, were he alive today, would recommend to M that the whole “00” section be issued CT380s.
    Last edited by Chaplain; 02-15-2024 at 07:03 AM.

  2. #2
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    Nice write up of a much under appreciated .380.
    I really liked mine and it was a fine easy shooter that fit my small hand much better than the original LCP.
    It wouldn’t shoot WWB, but it gobbled up everything else including Hornady Critical Defense like a champ.
    However, you are correct about the difficulty in racking the slide with arthritic hands, so I reluctantly gifted it to one of my sons.
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    A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition
    -Rudyard Kipling

  3. #3
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    Nice write up! I remember the youtube video with the woman hitting the 100 yard target. I may remember wrong, but thought she was shooting a CW9. Maybe another with the 380 was made? I remember thinking she looked like “freckles” from the tv show/series “Lost”.

    EDIT: I found the video I was thinking about. I did see the 100 yard video that the OP was talking about as well. This is a 200 yard shot, done with a CW9:
    https://youtu.be/bc4lF_eVXdw?si=U6Qf75doAWMJPZxp

  4. #4
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    From a movie standpoint, Bond should have used a blunderbuss, or a MR .50 cal. From a concealment aspect, not so much................

  5. #5
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    Lol! Pulls out a blundebuss loaded with nails & shrapnel. Yes, that would certainly be more entertaining!

  6. #6
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    Yeah, a good review - and well written. I'm not a fan of the 380 cartridge, but that almost makes me want to get a CT380. I know I'd like it, since I like every other Kahr I've handled.

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