baklash 1337 wrote:.380, 9x19mm, or 9x18mm for conceal carry?
Depends on your personal needs. I am going to go 9x19mm because it's $11 a box for Tula FMJ (at least where I am), so I can shoot it a lot and readily find cheap plinking ammo for it. .380 is going to be smaller and easier to conceal, but may be slightly harder to find cheap practice ammo, plus the smaller guns may be harder to get a proper grip on (depending on your hand size). I like 9x18mm because the guns are cheap, but you will have a harder time finding proper defensive ammo for it. Also, you will be limited in your firearm options. You likely already have a gun in mind, but it's probably not an ideal concealed carry gun.
If you can find a local range that rents handguns (and can afford their rates) I would suggest you try a few out. I realized I hate .40 S&W because I fired one at a commercial range.
Yeah, I'd go to this one place nearby when I turn 21 next month, but the new owners are scumbags. I'll have to think about it. I'm 6'1", kinda strong, but thin. 9x19mm might be about the biggest round I'd want to carry, just talking mass-wise. Something like a fatty Glock 26 would just put a bulge in my jacket. Single-stack is king, but so is power.
If I were going the .380ACP route, there's a plethora of choices. I've fired a PPK in .32ACP and I thought the simplicity of it was pretty thrilling. But .32ACP is expensive and crappy, and .380ACP is still an option. Only reason why I would even consider it because it's proven. I know that the Ruger LCP and Kel-Tec P-3AT are cheaper and probably better performers, but I'm skeptical of newer firearms... I mean there's a reason why the PPK has been popular for over 80 years.
The main reason why 9x19mm is still appealing to me (9mm handguns are mas expensivo ._.) is because of the insanely good press that both the Ruger LC9 and Beretta Nano get. I've shot a Beretta M9A1 before, and the overall quality of the pistol was INSANE for such a reasonable price. Folks say that the Nano is the same way. Same kind of trigger too. But I'll have to try it myself.
9x18mm is probably a last resort. Yeah, cheap, cheap guns too. But I haven't seen any ammo that wasn't FMJ yet. And like you said, there's few choices. Realistically, there's two choices: PM and CZ-82. The latter is actually cheaper and uses a double-stack mag. Plus it's a CZ. From what I've heard, both are totally worth it. Fixed barrels, proven design, but they're both way heavier than anything else I would have in mind...But cheap. Absolutely better than nothing. However, I feel like getting either one will be hit-or-miss seeing that in-store retailers don't actually carry them.