Linda and I made the weekly pilgrimage to Champion Arms but this week we had a purpose- for Linda to test-fire four guns and pick a favorite. She got to shoot the Chiappa Rhino, her Kahr E9, the Para-Ordinance LDA .45 and her newest, a Taurus PT738 .380 side-by-side. It was the first time out of the gate for the Taurus and she was eager to try it.

The Taurus is a very small, flat gun weighing only 12 ounces fully loaded. It’s 5-1/4 inches long by 3-5/8″ tall including the magazine base, which forms an integral part of the handle. The gun fires from a locked breech and has a six-round magazine.

A lot of small .380s can be rather snappy to shoot but the Taurus, while it has a lot of muzzle-flip, doesn’t beat you up. With factory ammunition it was 100% reliable in my hands, but Linda had some issues, which increased the longer she shot. The gun would occasionally either fail to strip the next round from the magazine or fail to fully come into battery. Since I didn’t have any similar problems I think she is having issues with grip sensitivity. She’s going to work on her hand strength, and I am pretty sure this and practice will solve the problem.

My first .380 ACP hand-loads did not fare so well; I erred on the side of caution on the powder charge and they were just a bit too wimpy to cycle reliably. Live and learn, I guess.

Linda had no trouble at all keeping her shots on the paper at seven yards, as you can see-


Next up was the Chiappa Rhino. Linda adores this gun and has a ball shooting it. She found it very pleasant to shoot with my wadcutter hand-loads. Factory Fiochi 125 FMCFPs were a little stout for her, but she is sure she will get used to it in time… in fact she’s eager to try it with some .357 Magnum loads!

Linda’s 7 yard double-action target

I did a bit of shooting with the Chiappa myself. When I originally tested this gun I found it shot quite low at seven yards, but I have since discovered that it was me. It’s a weird gun, and not just because the barrel is in the ‘wrong’ place. I’ve found that the faster I pull the trigger the more accurate it is! Like I said, weird- but very, very good. I bent the range rules rather a lot to shoot this seven-yard rapid-fire group at a rate of two shots per second-


I also tried a double-action group at twenty-five yards- not spectacular but not tragic for a 2″ barreled gun. I’ll keep practicing…


Linda also enjoyed shooting the LDA .45 and her Kahr, but then she always does. The Kahr remains her favorite- by a narrow margin- but the others? She can’t choose.

I also tried a new load for the S&W .32 Double Action snubby.  This is more like it! The muzzle-blast cracks instead of phfarts and the holes in the target are much cleaner. There’s bit of authority to these rounds, but they are only slightly snappier than Remington factory loads. I like them a lot- these are going to be my new standard loads for this pistol. Seven yards, rapid-fire-


This is a fun little gun, but it’s not an easy gun to shoot until you get used to it. Oddly I tried the gun single action, and I can actually shoot it more accurately double action. I guess it’s just what I am used to.

The successful loads used this evening were:

.38 Special- 148gr. BBWC on top of 3.3gr. of Unique

.32 S&W- 96gr. LRN-FP on top of 2gr. of Red Dot

9x19mm- 125gr. LRN-FP on top of 4.3gr. of Red Dot

.45 ACP- 200gr. LRN-FP on top of 5.3gr. of Unique.  This load was a very good soft-shooting target round that functioned perfectly in the LDA.

All loads use CCI primers.

We had a great time, and I am glad that Linda is coming with me regularly now. Reloading my own ammo has made a huge difference- when we had to spring for factory ammunition it was hard to afford for us both to shoot.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 09 Aug 17

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