Best .380 Pistols [2019]: Pocket Rockets

Best .380 Pistols

  1. Ruger LCP II .380
  2. Kahr CW 380
  3. Sig Sauer P238
  4. Glock 42
  5. S&W Bodyguard 380

Can a .380 ACP pistol save your life?

These “pocket rockets” have the ability to conceal well but also are plagued by limited ammo and doubts of stopping power.

Ruger LCP II
Ruger LCP II

We’ll go over what’s fact and what’s fiction.

And help you choose the best .380 ACP pistol for self-defense and concealed carry.

Table of Contents

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Popular .380 Myths

It’s a common belief that pistols chambered in .380 ACP are great for newer shooters because the 9mm-short (as it’s sometimes called) is so small that guns shooting it are super low in recoil.

Sadly, while we wish that were true…it isn’t.

When discussing felt recoil, it’s not just the size of the cartridge.

Handgun Caliber Smallest to Largest
Handgun Caliber Smallest to Largest

You can see the .380 is one of the smallest rounds in popular pistol calibers.  While size does have a direct correlation to the amount of felt recoil, it’s not all that should be considered.  For more info on other calibers, check out our Bullet Guide.

The size and design of the gun must also be taken into account.  As well as shooting mechanics.

Often times, the guns chambered in .380  ACP are tiny enough to fit into your front pocket.  Because they are so small, they don’t weigh a lot.

When a gun is light in weight, it doesn’t help dampen recoil as much as a heavier gun does.

This is one of the reasons why I almost always recommend people learn how to shoot on a bigger handgun, with low to moderate recoil.

A good example is this Sw22 Victory that fires the tiny .22LR round.

SW22 Victory
SW22 Victory

Or, this Ruger MK 2.

Ruger MK 2
Ruger MK 2

Another thing that affects recoil is the design of the handgun itself.

The higher you can get your hand on a grip, the better the recoil management.

Springfield with High Grip
Springfield with High Grip

That’s because your hand acts as a pivot point to the recoil that comes back from the barrel.  In an ideal world, you’ll be right behind the gun.  But for now, you’ll have to settle for a high grip.

Straight Behind The Gun, Miculek
Straight Behind The Gun, Miculek

Lastly, the size of the grip itself can also help you handle the recoil better.

Having more gun to hold on to helps you get better control of the gun.  It should go without saying that pocket pistols have small grips that give you a dainty look.

Sig 938 9mm, Pinky Off
Sig 938 9mm, Pinky Off

The only real way to know for certain how a gun is going to handle is to shoot it before you buy it.  It’s always a good idea to shoot a gun to get a sense of how much recoil is present when the trigger is squeezed.

Going to a range and renting as many .380s as you can is a great way to try them out and see which one is the best for you.

Enough of the recoil…what can the .380 really do?

Capabilities of the .380

There are basically two methods of thought when it comes to self-defense cartridges.

The first one says that if your bullet size of choice doesn’t start with a “4” it’s insufficient for self-defense.  Think .40 S&W and .45 ACP.

The second thought is all inclusive and says “carry whatever you can handle comfortably enough to prevent someone else from taking your life.  And, be confident enough to accurately use it.”

Another way of looking at it is…the gun you’ve got on your hip is better than the one you’ve got in your sock drawer.

Gun in Sock Drawer
Gun in Sock Drawer

So Where Does the .380 Stand?

It’s good enough to get the job done with several shots, but obviously not the best choice out there.

Drawbacks

Every cartridge has different things holding it back when compared to others.

Plus, there is almost always a more powerful self-defense round out there.  When you get up to the most powerful ones, the guns are so big and cumbersome that it doesn’t make sense to carry them.

S&W 500 Magnum, Fate of Destinee
S&W 500 Magnum, Fate of Destinee

The .380 ACP is, technically speaking, underpowered when compared with some other mainline self-defense cartridges.

Where does it fall?

Somewhere under a 9mm, and about equal to a .38 Special (depending upon the gun, barrel, ammo type, etc.).

Handgun Caliber Smallest to Largest
Handgun Caliber Smallest to Largest

Even though it’s a much smaller cartridge, the .380 is about as strong as a .38 Special.

.38 Special vs .380
.38 Special vs .380

Depending upon who you ask, it beats the .38 in terms of velocity but doesn’t hit quite as hard as the revolver cartridge does (because a .380 bullet weighs 95 grains and a .38 Special bullet weighs up to 158 grains).

No matter what you choose, the gun on your hip is better than the one you’ve left at home or in the car – even if it does only hold seven rounds like most .380 pistols.

S&W Bodyguard 380
S&W Bodyguard 380

Positives

We started with the drawbacks…now let’s hit some of the positives.

.380 guns tend to conceal better than many others out there on the market.

Therefore, the tradeoff may be worth it.

Then again, those guns which are deeply concealed tend to be harder to access in a stressful situation.

IWB .380
IWB .380

This is why it’s so important for people to choose the right gun/caliber combination.  And the right kind holster too.  Check out our Guide to Holsters for Any Methdo You Carry.

Shot Placement

If you take aim at an attacker with your .380 pistol but miss four out of five shots, you may just end up angering the person coming at you.

These tiny pistols, especially the really lightweight ones, tend to pull the front sight off target more than others because of the associated recoil.

In order for you to be effective at self-defense, you need to choose a gun that enables you to rapid fire your shots, and actually hit your intended target.

At the very least you should be able to place all of your rounds at center mass.  Think of center mass as the torso of your attacker.

Center Mass Target
Center Mass Target

If you cannot shoot center mass, you need a different gun/caliber combo or to practice a heck of a lot more.

The most important thing in a defensive situation is shot-placement.  If you can land multiple shots on an aggressor, in any caliber, they’re more likely to give up or succumb to wounds.

A Word About Ammo

There are some things that can help you greatly when it comes time to stop an attacker.

The most important thing here is…proper ammo selection.

In order for you to effectively stop a threat, you need decent hollow point ammunition (if your area allows you to use it). Please also note that not all ammo is made the same, and some expand better than others.

38 Spl (Hollow Point)
38 Spl (Hollow Point)

There are some who believe target ammo (or, FMJ, otherwise known as full metal jacket, ball, etc.) is superior in these pocket .380 pistols because they tend to penetrate further.  All that’s important is that you’ve got quality ammo which has been tested in your firearm.

Check out our Best Places to Buy Ammo Online.  Or jump straight to .380 ACP self-defense rounds.

Please Practice

You’ll often hear people say that they buy two different types of ammo, only practicing with one of them.  They’ll buy ammo for target practice and ammo for self-defense.

I strongly suggest that you practice with both for two reasons:

  1. You need to know that your ammo of choice works in your gun of choice.  A friend of mine carried a gun for months with ammo that didn’t cycle.  Not good.
  2. You need to know how your self-defense ammo handles in your firearm so it doesn’t take you by surprise.

Phew…we are done with all the background…now it’s time to go over our top 5 picks of the best .380 pistols out there.

Best .380 Pistols

1. Ruger LCP II 380

Most Affordable .380 Pistol
299
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

While the LCP was a popular pistol, the LCP II is a refined and much improved version. A polymer framed pistol with a 2.75” barrel, it weighs just 10.6 ounces and has a magazine capacity of six, with one in the chamber.

This is one of the best bargains you can find in firearms today, with a street price in the $299 range.

To sweeten the deal, I never hear of anyone having significant malfunctions with any specific type of ammunition, unlike some of the others on this list.

However, the trigger pull is long and heavy, so be prepared for that.

Another great thing about the LCP is that it offers a snag-free pull with its smooth edges, making it great for pocket-holster carry.

The LCP II also comes in a laser variety with a Veridian Laser pre-installed.  Check out our full review.

LCP II .380 with Laser
LCP II .380 with Laser

What’s your take on the LCP II?

Readers' Ratings

4.66/5 (544)

Your Rating?

2. Kahr CW 380

Smallest .380 Pistol
349
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Standing out as one of the smallest on this list, Kahr isn’t a brand you hear a lot but this is definitally an option you should consider.

It weighs just over 10 ounces with a barrel length of 2.5”.  The trigger on it is smooth with a clean break, and the sights are also really good.

This is the budget model that Kahr offers, with an MSRP in the $349 range.  I can say that the ones I’ve fired were picky about the type of ammo they shoot.

After performing an in-depth review on one, I found that certain types of ammo didn’t cycle properly, to include steel cased, some hollow points, and really high-end self-defense ammo (.Lehigh Defense)

But YMMV…

I can say that cheaply made ball ammo seemed to cycle fine in this six in the magazine, one in the chamber pocket pistol and so do a lot of others.

.380 ACP Plinking Rounds
.380 ACP Plinking Rounds

Once I found ammo that worked, it ran like a champ.  Check out our full review of its 9mm brother…the CW9.

Karh CW9 with 8 Round Mag
Karh CW9 with 8 Round Mag

3. Sig Sauer P238

Best Looking .380
629
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Small, tucks out of the way…and Sig makes great firearms.

It also just happens to be the best looking (and most expensive at $629) gun on this short list.

Aesthetics always take a backseat to functionality, but you can’t argue with a good looking gun.

The P238, as Sig would say, “is 1911 inspired.”

I can say that they are similar, and this is the only gun on this list that is of all metal construction.  This is great because it gives you some extra recoil-fighting weight.

The slide is stainless steel, and the frame is an aluminum alloy.  The two metals combine to make this small handgun tip the scales at 15.2 ounces, with a barrel length of 2.7” long.

If you’re looking for an easy to take apart gun, opt for one of the others on this list.

While it certainly isn’t difficult to take down and reassemble, there are easier ones out there.  If you take it apart the wrong way or forget to move the ejector upon reassembly, you could damage the gun.

4. Glock 42

Most Reliable .380
399
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Glock makes great handguns.

While I don’t personally own one, I’ve fired my fair share and can say that they are reliable and accurate.

The G42 is one of their latest additions (not to mention smallest) and performs how we’ve all come to expect them to at the range.

The G42 has a barrel of 3.25”, one of the longer ones on this short list, and weighs in at 13.76 ounces.  It’s a polymer framed gun with a capacity of six in the mag, one in the chamber.  They can be found in the $440.00 range.

5. Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380

379
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The Bodyguard .380 is a small, polymer framed handgun weighing in at 12.8 ounces.

The barrel length is just 2.75”, and its capacity is also six in the magazine, one in the chamber.

It sports a long, heavy trigger pull with double-strike capability.

What this means, is that if you squeeze the trigger and all that happens is a “click,” pulling it again will allow the cartridge’s primer to be struck a second time, hopefully firing it this time.

It should be stated here that, while I’ve not had many malfunctions shooting one, this is my least familiar gun on the list and plenty of others have had picky ammunition issues from this $379 pocket .380.

It also comes with an integrated Crimson Trace laser at that price.

M&P Bodyguard with Laser
M&P Bodyguard with Laser

Finally, while the Bodyguards do come with a safety, they are hard to disengage.

In a firefight, should you ever find yourself in one, you may not get it off in time.  If you plan to use it, train with it often.

Check out our full review of the Bodyguard .380 ACP.

6. Bersa Thunder/Firestorm .380

Best James Bond CCW Clone
270
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you’ve ever seen James Bond’s classic Walther PPK and wanted it, you might want to consider the Bersa Thunder or Firestorm instead!

While the PPK is a nice gun, it is a bit dated. The Bersa .380 takes the classic, proven design of the PPK and pluses it up a bit with some modern features like a slide hold open and a decocker/safety.

Bersa Firestorm
Bersa Firestorm .380

One of the best things about the Bersa is that even if you have large hands, this is a very nice gun to grip and hold. Just enough meat on it to feel right and give you something to hold on to, but still in a sub-compact footprint for CCW.

Read all about it in our Complete Review of the Bersa Firestorm .380!

Conclusion

That’s our top 5!

Pocket .380s are great firearms if it’s what you carry for self-defense.

While there are other, more powerful rounds out there, this is likely the smallest one you’d ever want to trust your life to.

They get the job done, but several shots may need to be fired to get your point across.

And if you ever have to use it…please check out my review of CCW insurance that will cover your legal fees and other important things.  It’s something you’ll really wish you had if you’re serious about concealed carry.

Do you have a .380 or plan on getting one?  Let us know which one you chose and how you like it!  And want more of our favorite guns & gear?  Check out Editor’s Picks.

242 Leave a Reply

  • Alexander Kulik

    I’ve been a lawman for over 40 years and I’ve carried many handguns both in uniform and plain clothes. For the last 15 years as a plain clothes Detective, I chose to carry the nickel finish Beretta 84FS Cheetah. I like the 13+1 capacity. It’s looks great and feels great in my hands. It always feeds, fires and ejects regardless of what ammo I feed through it. It’s not a subcompact pistol, but it’s much easier to shoot than a subcompact. Also, I never carry a handgun in my pocket. It’s always in a secure IWB or OWB holster. Recently, I also purchased the Bersa Thunder plus 380 (15+1 capacity) and it too hasn’t failed to feed, eject or fire with Ball or JHP ammo! Great pistol!

    1 second ago
  • Pete B.

    I have several Sigs, S&Ws, Rugers, and a Glock 20, so I would have thought your list would serve. l looked at those models on your list (and several others), but found what I was looking for in the Springfield 911, which, in my opinion, was far superior in design, construction, features, and feel. As a combat vet, I don't want anything without useable sights, which the 911 demonstrably has (excellent night sights) and is accurate (again, the 911 is surprisingly competent at extended ranges). Good trigger, too. Why get a self defense weapon if it's essentially useless in limited visibility conditions? If you want something toylike with questionable or useless sights, the author's list will serve you. (The Glock and Sig feel bulky and have lousy sights; the Ruger's "sights" are a joke; the Smith's aren't much better.) Did you even consider the Springfield?

    1 week ago
  • Juan

    Thank you for your reviews. However, in the .380 you are missing the very best of them. Rh CZ P07 & CZ P10c chambered in .380. They chew any Ammo you can think of, with ease and practically no malfunction!

    1 week ago
  • Gene

    You say the LCP2 has a long stiff trigger not true the first gen LCP did the LCP2 are one of the best triggers available on a 380 hadgun

    2 weeks ago
  • Anthony Ray D.C.

    What are you talking about the .380 is underpowered and is equal in power to a .38 special ? The .38 spl. has put a many people under in the world and was the sidearm of many law enforcement agencies in the U.S. for several decades. I know the California Highway Patrol carried .38 spl. Many years. I own a .380 and I'm confident it will neutralize an attacker upon the first of 1 or 2 shots. Some survivors who survived being shot from .380 remembered going into paralysis before blackout . So don't underestimate the power of calibers starting with 3. I've seen police videos when 4 shots from a .45 acp failed to stop an attacker.

    2 weeks ago
  • Nwflsr4x4

    Pocket carry brings up a very specific need and a very specific gun, in my opinion. Why? Because your firearm is potentiallypointed at your junk! For this reason, I recommend only 1911 style p238 firearm, hammer uncocked but a round in the chamber.

    2 weeks ago
    • Steve

      copy that

      1 week ago
  • 2kmaro

    I started with a KelTec P3AT that fit nicely with a custom holster into a back pocket. What I didn't like about it is the double-action trigger; by the time you get it pulled, you've probably pulled way off target in a crisis situation. Helped GF decide on a pistol for her own self-defense and ended up with the Sig Sauer P238 and I liked it so well that I got one for myself to replace the KelTec. Plus side for smaller folks is that the slide racks easily and you can even fully load the extended magazine without a helper tool. Recently helped my niece choose one for herself and budget was part of the equation and she ended up with a Springfield Armory model 911 in .380 and she absolutely loves it - and says it is easy for her to use, load and maintain.

    1 month ago
  • Brad

    I have a Bersa thunder cc chambered in 380 ACP. I bought it because it looks so much like the Walther PPK. Three years later and about 1100 rounds, I have mixed feelings. There’s not a pistol I shot more accurately then this Bersa. I have had almost 20 failure to feed malfunctions with this pistol, 3 different magazines and every brand of 380 that Walmart sells I’ve tried. . Safety lever broke off, still could move it up-and-down with what was left, but still a hassle, And the extractor broke on me. Replacement parts were free from Bersa and I did the labor myself, pretty easy to work on. Bottom line for me on this pistol, I’ll never get rid of it, but I would replace it as a daily Carry.

    1 month ago
  • Scott03

    Here's a plug for a very specific P238, from a very specific source. It's called a Sports 12, it comes with two 6-round mags and one 7-round mag with extension so you can get all your fingers on the grip (I can, anyway). Has tritium night-sights, plus front sight is also fiber optic, they are excellent. Comes with a Hogue rubber grip as well. A P238 with rosewood grips may be prettier, but this one is a no-nonsense carry piece and looks it. How about all that for $459.00 in a plastic box? You have to get it from Palmetto State Armory. Other places have it, online, for near that price, maybe at that price if you look harder than I just did, but I've not seen one for less. Also, it doesn't show up on Sig's website. At first I thought it was an older model that was being closed out, but it may be more likely it's an exclusive production run for some of these sellers. I bought one for my wife back in March, and another for me about 2 weeks ago. Patience will get you free shipping, too, as Palmetto makes that available every so often. Extra patience is necessary at the moment since the 12 is temporarily out of stock (other 238's are in stock but at much higher prices). I couldn't believe it when I first saw it, but now I have two. Best .380 (arguable, I know), best carry features (arguable, I know), best price for a P238 (can't argue there).

    1 month ago
  • Daryl Walker

    I bought a Springfield Armory 911 380 as an alternative to my 9mm EDC when I need a smaller form factor. The 911 has a light, crisp SAO trigger, great night sights, and the 7+1 extended magazine has enough grip to make it easy to shoot. I carry it cocked and locked. Use of the external safety becomes automatic with practice. I think it is better than the SIG p238 and at a better price point. Thanks for the great article.

    2 months ago
  • AZ

    Joshua, do you pull any weight at Ruger? Could you convince them to make an LCP II in .32 acp?

    2 months ago
  • Jimmy R

    I currently own 4 .380 pistols. Sig P230, Ruger LCP, Kahr P380 and a Beretta Pico. I have lasers on the Kahr and Beretta. The best shooter is by far the Sig , as a matter of fact , it’s the most accurate pistol I’ve ever shot. The drawback is the size, not bad , but nowhere near as easy to carry as the others I own. My edc is the Kahr. It’s the best combo of size, carry and shoot ability. Also, I have not had any problems with any ammo. The Beretta Pico is a nice gun, very very thin. I found that carrying it on your waist with the extended mag was slightly annoying as it is very long. I wouldn’t carry any of these micro pistols without the extension, I need to have all 3 fingers on the grip. I have a 1st edition LCP. I have nothing bad to say about it except it feels cheaper than the others. I have had no problems with it and it is the lightest of them all. What is very important to me is having a laser and being able to shoot juiced up .380 rounds. That’s why the Kahr is the winner here. I like how the CTC laser activates just from gripping the gun and not having to worry about finding a button to activate laser. I like that I can use Buffalo Bore ammo without issues and that Kahr is rated for their use. The BB ammo gives you specs that are very close to a 9mm round in such a small package. It is also the best shooter out of the very small .380’s. Just my 2 cents. Be safe.

    2 months ago
  • Chris

    I have the LCP2 and the P238. Both are easy to carry and both shoot well. I have hundreds of rounds through both and I haven't had any malfunctions with either of them.

    2 months ago
  • Karl Vanhooten

    Thanks for getting the Bersa Thunder 380 on the list. I've had one for 6 years; love it. No failures or issues (other than the small sights - still waiting for some company to make fiber optic replacements). Carries 7+1, decocked and hammer down, great SA, eats any brand ammo.

    2 months ago
  • Billie Weber

    Bought the SW body guard, it is great, easy to conceal.

    2 months ago
  • Wayne Benedict

    I have had several .380 pistols, and currently have a Sig P238 that I really like. Small, easy to carry and just plain sexy, I have to say it's my favorite so far. Mine is the Tribal edition. While size really isn't that much of a issue for me, as I carry my Glock 20 10mm quite often, the P238 is easy to pop into a pocket when I'm in a hurry.

    2 months ago
  • Pete

    Rented an LCP II this weekend. Wow, what a horrible experience. I'm sure it is because the rental wasn't maintained well. The problems: 1, Mag wouldn't load properly. I had to push really hard and when I finally got it into the mag well FOUR rounds came out of the slide opening! 2, When I picked up the rounds and reloaded the mag the same thing happened when I got it in the gun. 3, when I tried to release the slide there was a failure to feed, this with only three rounds in the magazine, 4 I manage to drop the mag, clear the jam and fire three rounds and reload. 5 Same issue with the sticky magazine, rounds flying out of the opening in the slide. 6 I get the mag in, release the slide and it doesn't go fully into battery. 6 I get the guys who work at the range to clear the gun, took a FULL five minutes, he fires two rounds and I tell him to take the gun back, I won't fire it again. Oh, and the first time he put a full mag in the weapon three rounds came popping out for him just like it did for me!!! They gave me an Smith and Wesson 380 EZ instead, functioned flawlessly and I shot it well.

    3 months ago
    • Grayson Brown

      I don't think your experience here is typical for the LCP line and you are probably correct that it was due to being a rental. I have owned an LCP for over 10 years, gave another one to one of my daughters, and both have always worked flawlessly with whatever ammo I fed it. For what it is, I really like the gun and most reviewers feel the same. Still, shoot whatever makes you most comfortable; that S&W is a fine choice. Stay safe.

      2 months ago
  • Joe

    I have an AMT Backup in .380 (I also have one in .45 acp). I take it everywhere. Fits my hand with my natural point so no need to try to find the non existent sights. Can put 5 shots into a trash can lid point and shoot at 25 yards. I use old Supervel. I still have a bunch of old stock and they feed and shoot well.

    3 months ago
  • Todd V King

    I'm not sure where you learned to count/measure Josh. I went to Government schools too :-) but there is more than I can ignore. The picture captioned "Handgun Caliber Smallest to Largest", that you used twice, isn't even close. It shows .38 Special being a larger caliber than .45 ACP and 9mm being larger than .380 among other errors.

    3 months ago
    • Kenny M McKenzie

      9mm is larger than 380!

      3 months ago
  • gerard samoleski

    why is the .25 cal never up,i have a 1994 950bs that I shoot without using the sights [which are useless]at about 10 yards and have no problem hitting the target.

    3 months ago
  • Bert Green

    I have a S&W Bodyguard. I do like the safety feature. Of course one must practice with any firearm to learn the particularities of that gun. The safety feature is no problem if you practice. I think it is a great gun. I highly recommend it.

    3 months ago
  • Tim

    You left of far and away the best .380 on the market the Springfield 911, best of the bunch as far as recoil and a beautiful gun optically, sights are top of the line right out of the box

    4 months ago
    • Bobo

      Ahh yes, the less expensive knockoff of the 238 (which in and of it self was a knockoff of the colt mustang) brought to you by the company who sold the residents of IL down the river for the all might $.....No thanks, you can keep it.

      4 months ago
      • Ed

        Before the Colt Mustang there was the F.I. Model D, based on a Star design that goes back to the 1920's. The F.I. Model D serial numbers started with the characters "CPA".

        2 months ago
  • Johann

    Sharing my experience. My favorite carry firearm is my Kahr P380. I prefer the 7 round extended magazine, plus 1 in the chamber. Initially it only liked ball rounds, but after the break-in period (Kahrs have super-tight tolerances), it runs perfectly. The 'P' series has a Lothar Walther match barrel - the thing is ridiculously accurate! As long as its kept clean, the firearm is flawless. I've been using Hornady Critical Defense in it. Mostly carried in a Desantis SuperFly pocket carry.... prints like a wallet.

    4 months ago
  • J R

    Bought my wife a Walther PK380 because with her arthritis , she can still rack the slide. I didn't see any mention of this pistol here. Too bad because it's a fine firearm.

    4 months ago
  • Jan

    Does .380 make sense, if one legally cannot carry HP/JHP ammo?

    4 months ago
    • David, PPT Editor

      I would say no - unless you really needed the ultra-compactness and reduced recoil. HP/JHP ammo is the definitive defensive ammo type, but if you're not allowed to carry it then you need to rely on a larger caliber to do the same job.

      4 months ago
      • Jan

        Thank's David! On a bit of a related note. As I carry 9x19, I was trying to find out, what round has the smallest chance of overpen. It's hard to find something online, as almost everyone is talking about JP/JHP rounds. Is some heavier, SP round good for carry, if I wan't to minimize danger to others, besides the intended target?

        4 months ago
        • David, PPT Editor

          Heavy bullets have more penetration, I would stick to 115gr in 9mm. Hornady Critical Defense and Sig V-Crown is what I carry - there is a ton of info and recommendations in our Best 9mm Ammo article!

          4 months ago
  • Bill Rose

    No problem with the safety or trigger on M&P .380 Bodyguard. The trigger pull is hard, very similar to a revolver, but on a pocket gun that is a good thing that won't affect me if I have to use it plus I practice with it all the time. I have no issues at all deactivating the safety. It's not a lot of the fun at the range as it is small and powerful and beats up your hand but it's not supposed to be. It's reliable, accurate enough and easily concealable no matter what you are wearing which is why I own one. If I can't wear my 9mm Shield 2.0 the Bodyguard is my next choice and I have no doubt it will perform effectively in a life and death situation. My Bodyguard did have a few issues with Hornady Civil Defense ammo but Federal HST 99 grain JHP has been off the charts in accuracy and reliability. As for range ammo I have had no issues with Federal, Fiocchi or Winchester. Still mystified by the issues with Hornady as that is my 9mm choice for personal and home defense. , If I were to replace my Bodyguard the Ruger LCP would be my choice.

    4 months ago
  • Shad Holland

    I did get a .380 3 or so years ago. It was a Bersa Thunder 380 CC. I never really liked it. To start, it seemed heavy so carrying it in my pocket felt pretty funky. Then there are the teeny tiny sights. Not adjustable and too hard for me to comfortably see down. At the range I could hit the target, but not even close to as well as I could with other handguns. Then finally, it jammed all the time. At the time I didn't really think to try different ammo. But it did jam on the cheap stuff as well as Critical Defense .380 which I thought should have worked better. The gun now sits high on the shelf in my basement bicycle/workshop. It's there as last resort if I happen to be down there and unarmed when an intruder comes in. But honestly, I don't even know if I trust it to do that. Other things I didn't like. The plastic grip sides come loose after shooting it. There is a screw, I tighten it down and it works loose pretty quickly while at the range. Maybe some loctite, but maybe the manufacturer should already have that resolved. Today I have a Glock 43. It's oh so slightly bigger (barely) than a Glock 42. I figured why not have 9mm since it's only slightly bigger yet still as easy to conceal comfortably. I have fired a wide variety of 9mm rounds out of it. It has never misfired.....not once! It has had at least 2000 rounds through it. I have cleaned it once. I plan to clean it again soon. It gets dirty and dusty just from carrying it. I even saw lint and crap in there when I went to the range. I didn't clean it because I wanted to see if it would cause any issues. Nope! Never skipped a beat. It's hard to not be a Glock fan.....it really is.

    5 months ago
  • Karl Vanhooten

    You forgot or ignored the Bersa Thunder 380. 7+1 rounds, all-metal, a decocker, and the look and feel of a Walther PPK, but with a better trigger, and it's priced right.

    5 months ago
  • Hogg70

    Had a Keltec P3AT And will say I had no problems with it, that being said I have heard others not so lucky sold mine to a friend that had to have it when I bought my P238, once I polished the feed ramp on the Sig it worked flawlessly was pissed that I had to polish the feed ramp on a $575 dollar pistol when a $199.00 pistol ran like a champ. Will say that I really liked the Sig because of the night sights,cause goblins come out at night

    5 months ago
    • Terry Cowan

      My p3at , is great. Slips in and out of my back pocket with ease. Shoots great with a CrimsonTrace laser. Never a jam

      4 months ago
  • Simón Olguín

    Self defense means close shooting. So, .380 will do the job.

    5 months ago
  • Italo Morello

    I own a spanish Gamo rifle 4.5 mm caps and a Turkey made ,38 rubber bullets revolver brand Ekol The later is for personal defense I live in Colombia, the only ountry in the world where self defense is prohibited Anyway I decided to purchase the revot in spite of that absurd and stupid law

    5 months ago
  • Auroch

    No love for Springfield 911? Easily the best .380 weapon out there in terms of cost, reliability, features & looks. Yeah, yeah... they got caught in some controversy, but I'm sure all weapon manufacturers are subject to lobbying BS.

    5 months ago
  • Capt kirk

    I've owned the Bodyguard and the Ruger and currently own the Glock. Actually, I purchased all of them for my wife. Of course, like all good husbands, i shoot her handguns too.......to keep them running. And like many of us, we have/or have had a bunch of weapons.....some very nice.....and some inexpensive. To my point, the VERY BEST 380 that we have currently, in terms of dependability and easy for her to rack, is th Bersa Thunder 380. That's right, of the 4-5 that we have , the Bersa has never ever had a problem and it was under $200 out the door. It's gets shot more than occasionally and rides under the truck seat when not in use. This is one very inexpensive pistol that works very well. I know snobs won't like it, be I do. PS?.....and the worst pistol I ever had in my hand was the 380 Bodyguard. The trigger pull was beyond bad.

    6 months ago
  • harry

    I got rid of a bodyguard. The pull was so long that i would miss the reset when trying rapid fire. i moved up to a p938 since it isnt much larger. May as well have a 9mm for about the same size. as those 380s.

    6 months ago
  • Majin

    Any thoughts on the bersa 380 cc? Small, all rounded edges, 7+1 and shoot anything from cheap ammo to non standar +p

    6 months ago
    • David, PPT Editor

      I wrote a review on the Bersa .380 Firestorm, I like it. It's one of my two main CCW guns now.

      6 months ago
  • Bill

    I bought a LCP II but the extended clips don't work in it, so I am still carrying my old LCP in my front pocket. Don't make me reach for what you might think is my wallet.

    6 months ago
  • PCB

    I evaluated all of these and bought the Springfield 911. Far superior in almost every way (great sights, for example (lifelong soldier and combat vet; got to have useable sights, no matter what I’m shooting)). Quite accurate, too. Surprised it didn’t make the list.

    6 months ago
    • Jack W Harris

      Tell me more.

      6 months ago
  • Eugene

    I took a chance and bought a Remington RM380 and I'm not disappointed. Consistent, smooth trigger pull from start to finish, very controllable, and accurate for short distance work, and it doesn't look bad.

    7 months ago
    • LazrBeam

      I’m with ya on the Remington RM380. Solid, all metal gun. Got three of them, one of which is an initial commemorative model (still in box, never fired). They’re made about 15 miles from where I sit right now. Trigger pull was stiff at first but now is just a deliberate pull.

      5 months ago
  • Greg

    I have both the kahr and the Sig . And I have had Issues with the kahr after about 10 rounds , Not with the Sig so you know what is in my belt always .

    7 months ago
  • Karl Vanhooten

    It may be slightly larger than the pocket models, but I prefer my 7+1 Bersa Thunder 380 for concealment, great hand fit, trigger, & DA/SA with decocker. Have owned (and traded) a Ruger LCP II, not fun to shoot and has tiny, almost useless, sights for my old eyes.

    7 months ago
  • kevin

    I bought the glock 42 and have used a lot of different ammo(hollow point and fmj) and it has never failed very nice gun

    8 months ago
  • Ron

    My bodyguard was $225 shipped. Runs laquered steel to brass with a single hiccup, 900 rounds total. The trigger pull is long but it's not a gun for more than 25 feet anyway. No idea what he is talking about when he mentions the safety being hard to engage, but I guess you gotta make one pistol the scapegoat lmao

    8 months ago
    • Clyde

      He said the safety was hard to disengage. The safety on my Shield .40 was the same way. Part of my problem though was my huge hands.

      8 months ago
  • Danny

    The LCP II is bigger than the original LCP and is a blocky and unattractive turd. It looks like something that belongs in a pawn shop case. That is good because that is where I see a lot of them ending up. The original LCP is smaller, weighs over an ounce less, still has a decent trigger for a 380 and is straight up sleek and sexy. Amazing look and design for a small gun. Best of all they are around $200 easy maybe a bit less to the new versions $350 (to find it for 300 you will have to really look around online). The original is one of the biggest selling personal carry pistols of all time. Pass on the II and get the original. Ruger still sells them brand new.

    8 months ago
    • chucktelfot

      This is a person-specific thing. I prefer the LCP II because it doesn't have the long double-action pull. (ps: author disses the LCP II trigger, and I wonder if he was thinking of the original, or if the LCP II he had was a different trigger design, as my wife's II has a great trigger). The majority of reviews of the two models say the II is preferable because of its better trigger and better sights, and this fits my experience.

      8 months ago
      • Jaye

        I prefer the long trigger pull on the original. If it's something that's stuffed in my pocket, I want to make sure firing it is as intentional as possible. Wouldn't trust a striker gun in my pocket, even with a pocket holster.

        5 months ago
      • Jim

        Hi Chuck-I was thinking the exact same thing in regards to the trigger. The author must have been thinking the original LCP, as my II has a great trigger as well. I also disagree with Danny-I think the II looks much better than the original.

        8 months ago
  • conrad

    Underwood's use of the Arx +p is significant, and not listed.

    9 months ago
  • John K

    I have carried and shot many many rounds through both my LCP 2 and my sig P238. Even though the P238 is much more expensive I find it the better pistol if you can afford it. I have extended mags for both but the LCP 2 is still a lot snappier then the sig making it harder to get back on target. The sig comes with superior sights out of the box and the trigger even though plastic has a very nice pull and reset compared with my LCP2. I’m not keen on having to carry condition 1 with the safety on but with training that can be overcome quickly. All in all Sig for me is the better choice.

    10 months ago
  • Tom Deem

    You may want to research a little. The original LCP had a long hard pull trigger like the S&W .380 bodyguard. The new LCP II has a light very crisp awesome trigger for a small .380. The new LCP II is single action only unlike the other 2

    10 months ago
  • Jim

    "ole reliable" would shoot barbed wire if would cycle. Have shoot over 1500 rd of all types of ammo. Only issue was my wife's hands are frail so she had limb wristing issue, which she has not had with the Sig P238 and she could not rack the 42/43 which was the main reason for the Sig P238. All being said; the little guys are all hard to shoot without a lot of practice with solid grip. I carry the 42/43 since both are he same platform and only caliber difference so with either on I don't need to "think" which gun do I have today

    10 months ago
  • Seven Wonders

    Great review! I love my Sig P238 so much that I bought another one (in a slightly different "flavor") for my Wife

    10 months ago
  • Pito Perez

    No, no, none of the handguns you recommend are a good 380 ACP choice, get yourself a Glock 25, that is like a Glock 19 but chambered in 380 ACP, that gun has almost no recoil and it is concealable but wait a minute, now I remember, you are in the USA so a Glock 25 is a no, no for you.

    10 months ago
    • SumYoungGuy

      Yeah... congrats... you live in a heavily restricted country that doesn't allow you to own "military calibers"... you must be so proud.

      9 months ago
    • Pito Perez's Daddy

      Lol, the Glock 25 was made for countries with strict gun control. A .380 bullet in the size of a Glock 19, lol. Just get the Glock 19.

      10 months ago
    • Michael S Tenenblatt

      pretty sweet passive aggresive comment there

      10 months ago
  • Harry Mitts

    I, and my brother both have a Kahr CW380. I have had zero problems feeding anything. In fact, I currently shoot Lehigh defense ammo. My brother, on the other hand, has sent his Kahr back to the factory for the 4th time! This time he is either getting his $ back, or a replacement. This seems to be a hit and miss gun as far as quality is concerned.

    10 months ago
  • E. Teasley

    Try the Remington RM380, it was a pleasant surprise.

    10 months ago
  • Caleb Longstreet

    I have and carry the G42 routinely. It just fits perfectly in my hand. I also carry, on occasion, the SW 442 but, it kicks like a mule and is hard to find the RIGHT holster for soooooo, it sits a lot.....also carry the Tarus TCP 738...yes, Taurus....this thing has been FLAWLESS, is 8 years old and you simply can't beat it for deep concealment (pocket without a holster)….it is everything the Ruger LCP 1 was not....locks to the rear on the last shot, actually has rudimentary sights, light as a feather, better trigger (long and consistent albeit lighter than most and 1/2 of the workout you will endure with the ruger's trigger and I LOVE ruger products!)…..I bought the stainless version with that goofy holster in 2010....this thing has always worked for me and I can punch the torso of a full silhouette at 10 yards without too much issue, quickly no less....it works....they sell the all blued version on sale as low as $159....I just like my stainless, grease the rails after a good cleaning (very, very lightly) and 4 drops of oil in critical places, wipe off the excess and bam! This thing rocks.....

    10 months ago
  • Lucas Shell

    I'm carrying a Kel-tec p3at in a Velcro ankle holster at work. I've put fmj rounds through it as well the defense I carry at work. No malfunctions of any kind. It's not one of your top 5 but works for me. Very small, very conceable. Technically, it's against policy for us to carry on the boo boo bus and if I ever have to use it, I will lose my job. Everyone in the department takes that risk. We are often alone in situations where LE isn't dispatched to clear our scene because of the 911 nature of the call. Things go bad fast and I want to go home at the end of my shift. The p3at hasn't failed yet at the range. Just putting it out there for those looking. Got a good deal on mine. If anyone has a legitimate reason I shouldn't use this particular weapon for self defense, please respond. In not new to guns, shot IPSC for a while. I an however new the these little pocket pistols though. The weapon I carry must be conceable, in an ankle holster. Glad I found this site.

    11 months ago
  • MichaelE

    Shot the S&W .380 EZ and you'll dump your Ruger LCP or S&W Bodyguard!

    11 months ago
  • Alex

    You forgot to mention the Bersa Thunder 380. It’s all metal, has extended mag for 9 round capacity and highly reliable.

    11 months ago
  • Brian

    Sorry, with all due respect, I simply cannot agree with your equating the .380 ACP and the .38 Special. Both cartridges are most similar when the .38 Special ballistics are compared when coming from a snubnosed revolver with a 2" (or slightly shorter) barrel. Even then, with properly chosen ammunition, the .38 has an edge in terms of kinetic energy and penetration. But it is still comparing the .38 Special, with one hand tied behind it's back, to a .380 ACP which is allowed all the advantages. Let's make a fairer comparison. In terms of kinetic energy, the .380 ACP always lags down near the 200 foot-pound line, and struggles to add another 10 or 20 foot-pounds of KE due to limited case capacity. There are no ".380 ACP +P" loadings for that reason. Penetration is iffy, as is expansion. By contrast, the .38 Special, when shot out of a revolver with the standard 4" barrel, easily gives kinetic energy figures of 280 foot-pounds, and with +P loadings from Corbon (and others) can deliver over 300 foot-pounds of energy. That's about 150% more kinetic energy than the .380 can bring to bear! Adequate penetration is not an issue, either, and bullet expansion can be expected. (Even the slightly easier to carry 3" barrel models can provide fairly similar figures.) While I'd agree that we've never had a better selection of ammunition for the .380 ACP, and that it is a viable alternative to a .38 Special snub gun, the .38 Special really deserves to compared to the 9 mm Parabellum. This is especially true if 147-grain 9 mm loads are compared to the higher-performance loadings in the .38 Special; it is uncanny how similar these are, especially given the differences in how barrel lengths are measured in pistols versus revolvers. Simply put, the best .380 ACP gun/ammunition combination cannot begin to match a plain S&W M10 with a 4" barrel and high-performance +P ammunition. The .380 only offers easier concealability, but not equivalent performance.

    11 months ago
    • Meadview Ken

      My thoughts exactly when I read the authors comparisons between the the 380 and the 38 special. The 380 is in between the 22/25 pocket pistols and the 38spc/9mm sub compacts. And far closer in performance to the 22/25's than 38+P. I tell new CCW people to carry the most potent weapon they actually can conceal and get comfortable with, not the smallest and lightest available. It's the bullet that hits the bad guy, not the gun. Stopping power can often be the difference between giving the police a witness account and being a murder victim. Any bullet however beats a rock. If I really have to go little my 22 Beretta is in my pocket. But my 99% of the time my CCW weapon of choice? A Glock model 30 which is a compact 10+1 45ACP. With even a loose fitting shirt it's incognito. Accurate and adequately handles the recoil of best defence ammo available. Final thought? Practice, practice practice.

      10 months ago
  • Ryan Short

    LCP 2 has a long heavy trigger? I haven't fired one yet but every review I've seen says it's the best 380 trigger out there. I think I've seen it test at 5-5.5 lbs. Were you perhaps thinking of the first gen LCP?

    11 months ago
  • Lou

    Why was the S&W 380 ez not in this list?

    11 months ago
    • MichaelE

      My son bought one, I shot it once, sold my LCP and bought the S&W EZ!

      11 months ago
  • Vic

    YouTube has a fascinating video discussing the Best Handgun Calibers. It looks at over 1700 firearm incidents involving police, military or private citizen armed encounters and looks at the weapons used, incapacitation and lethal effectiveness. It includes rifles, shotguns and a wide variety of handguns. Here's the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nycYxb-zNwc&index=48&t=0s&list=WL Some of the results of this study show that rifles and shotguns are very effective (duh!) and pistols shooting shotgun rounds are very effective (e.g. The Judge). The thing that got me was for handgun rounds from 380 to 44 Mag, the lethal/incapacitate results were pretty much equal! Now this is real world data and results. Amazing. I prefer my 357 Mag but I'm seriously considering a 380 due to their size and less recoil. Anyway, a great video.

    11 months ago
    • Brian

      Shotshell equivalents are nothing new. These were offered decades ago for the Thompson-Center Contender. I was actually shooting .410 loads in a handgun in the 1970s, and the Contender could boast a choke and a significantly longer barrel (as I recall, about 9" in mine). The barrel was also ported to dampen recoil and to prevent gases from blowing a hole in the shot pattern. (Makes the "Judge" seem crude by comparison!). Plus it quickly converted to a .44 Magnum! Great hiker's gun. (I preferred to use it on woodchucks, however, out to 100 yards, with a good Leupold scope and a .22 Hornet barrel.) While the shotshells were fine for small game, I cannot image them being the least suited for self-defense. A .410 is barely an excuse for a shotgun, and should never be used when a 12 or 20 gauge is called for. There is nothing magical about the the .410 slug, either. It should be telling that the "Judge" (or it's equivalent) has made NO inroads with law enforcement, security, or the military. It's a joke.

      11 months ago
      • tsli120

        I wouldn't discount the veracity of a small, low-recoiling cartridge for two reasons: One, there are people who are better suited to very low-recoiling firearms, not necessarily children or the elderly, and a .410 is probably the most prolific low-recoil shotshell south of the 20, and Two, they can still kill you or me or many a beast on this earth. I gotta say I agree with your sentiments about the slug.

        11 months ago
    • David

      Interesting video. Without seeing his actual data, I would agree with 95% of what is said. 2 major things I would contest though: 1) .22 LR for bugging out - using it for human threats I would agree is a poor idea. However, it's role in a bug out isn't for humans but rather for small game. And for that, it is king and an absolute item to bring if possible. 2) .410 for defensive, I strongly disagree with the assumptions made. Based on meat tests and gel tests of .410 out of a pistol, it is barely effective at anything except the shortest range. Also, the penetration is very low. Too low, imo. The theoretical gain it offers is not worth the proven disadvantages it displays.

      11 months ago
  • Jeremy Buchanon

    I have owned a Remington RM380 for about 9 months now. I really like it because it's all metal and so dampens the recoil. It's also rock solid reliable...Over 100 rounds of mixed ammo types without the first hiccup. And all models are made from stainless steel and gun grade aluminum.

    1 year ago
    • Bob

      How does the RM380 pocket carry for you? I really like the feel of it but am debating between it and the LCP II.

      6 months ago
  • Tony Polichetti

    I like the feel and dependability of the Glock 42. Carry it anyway you like, in a situation you hope never to have, the 42 will be there for you.

    1 year ago
  • Joshua

    The short lived Sig P250 in .380 is my favorite. Great performance and a 15+1 magazine.

    1 year ago
  • Dennis

    I am not sure why Kimber was excluded from the list of .380's. The Micro 380 is a miniature 1911. It is made in Brooklyn, New York, USA. Kimbers are not made out of a polymer plastic; I think the Kimber pistols are sexy, if not a piece of art, and the tolerances of the moving parts I feel is the best in the firearms industry. The Micro 380 now comes with a 7-round magazine; The Micro 380 weighs a mere 13.4 oz. For me, it is the Mercedes Benz of hand guns. I strongly suggest checking out Kimber. I also have a Micro 9 which is a bit larger than the Micro 380. Both guns are extremely accurate. I have also put Crimson Trace Laser on both guns for shooting in low light. And for the record, I don't work for Kimber.

    1 year ago
  • Van Kennedy

    I recently purchased the Kahr after reading this article, and many others. I acquired two pinky extended mags, and applied my requisite Talon grips. 400 rounds later with only one ftf, I couldn't be happier with the decision. I'm more accurate with it than my j frame, and carry two additional rounds. Tucked into a J&J wallet holster, it's gone but easy enough to deploy. The trigger and grip feel are top of the list imho.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Awesome, glad to hear!

      1 year ago
  • Lorne Martin

    I have a Glock 42 and I’m a realtor. I carry it a lot because of how I dress. Great in pocket holster or ankle holster. +1 pierce extension & 1 in the chamber gives you 8 rounds. I also carry an extra mag.

    1 year ago
  • Derrez

    What do you, or you guys, think about 380 caliber gun( converted zoraki) with extended mag? I re-size my 380 ACP rounds so there fit more into the chamber. It is also fully automatic and is suprisingly loud.

    1 year ago
  • RC Cash

    Don't do plastic guns ..... put to many rounds thru to many of them and about the ONLY one worth a flip is a p99 .... .... anyhoo, the sig can be had for $450-500 if you shop it and it's worth it and more .... .... By far, It's the best quality gun of the bunch, takes all ammo and won't fail after a ton of rounds if you really want to make a habit of .380 practice with a pocket gun. The little heavier metal gun helps recoil (won't beat you up if you're a rook/woman) and it won't come apart when you bang/drop it and a heavy/quality holster won't mess it up with heavy use. Has Excellent sights (tritium) and safety and did I mention, it's a real gun, not some plastic wannabe. But, I always preferred the M14 to the M16 and walnut stocks on my bolt action rifles. ........ Yea yea, .380 is underpowered, etc, but if you need something you can handle and/or throw in your pocket, .380 beats a .22 or .32 and anything else is to large to pocket.... besides, if you hit the target, the .380 WILL do the trick. ......... Typically carry colt ofcr .45, but sometimes just can't. Won't go wrong with the Sig, the Real gun, Besides it last long enough to pass to your grandkids .... the plastic won't.

    1 year ago
  • DDD

    I like my Ruger LCP II - light weight, I can handle the recoil. But the lack of a grip safety worries me. I have tried the pocket holster that came with it. I also purchased Uncle Mike's. Both tend to come out of my pocket stuck to the weapon. Not funny. Has anyone found something that works reliably. Another point: I have been working on the Center Axis Relock shooting stance. The problem is that my LCP II ejects the spent shells into my forehead. That's not funny either. Is it just me? Or do other pocket guns eject toward the rear?

    1 year ago
    • Brian

      Hey, I understand! Not fun! Hot cases! Try adjusting your grip, i.e., grip,the gun a little more tightly, or a bit more loosely. This seems to affect where the cases end up. You might see if the pistol sends cases into the forehead when someone else shoots the gun. If it doesn't, it suggests it is your grip. If it hits the other shooter's forehead, it the gun, maybe gun/ammunition combination. Changing brands of ammunition might help. It ultimately has to do with the ejector. Ammunition will differ slightly in energy, and that affects ejection. You might check on a Ruger-oriented forum, on Ruger's own website, or call Ruger customer service. They are very helpful and want you to be happy with your pistol. I am sure others have had the same issue at some point. Or you may have to adjust your stance? I am a pistol instructor, and I never teach students to rigidly adopt any stance. We can learn from trying different stances, but none is perfect or "THE" answer. A good shooter should have a variety of stances in his/her skillset. A Ruger-oriented forum could help with the holster issue. Google it. Good luck!

      11 months ago
  • Mike

    I've had the Kel Tec P3AT but didn't like the fact that it wouldn't lock the slide back on an empty magazine, so I sold it and got a Taurus Spectrum. I do believe this is a sleeper...here is a gun that Taurus didn't release until they had it right. It has a slide stop (not too useful as a slide release but it holds the slide back when you're empty), and second-strike capability which I've had to use. It works. The thing is so ergonomically-designed, you don't even know it's in your pocket (holster) most of the time. The soft-touch panels are great, too. The color variety? Don't need that. I have a plain gray/black one, but whatever melts your butter.... For about $230-250 new, you could do worse. Other pluses include a lifetime warranty and a free year in the NRA. "He must work for Taurus or at least a gun shop", you say....nope to both. Have I had problems with Taurus guns? Sure. It just seems like they got this one right-check it out!

    1 year ago
  • Patrick

    I personally enjoy my Bersa Thunder 380. The concealed carry version has a smaller beaver tail which can get in the way on the standard version if you are a bigger guy.. Great gun for the price and easy maintenance.

    1 year ago
  • Gibson

    I have the Springfield 911 and that gun is amazing compact good grouping lightweight are amazing

    1 year ago
  • Darren B

    I sold my Ruger LCP (original model) and bought the Glock 42. Love the Glock. Haven't tried the new Ruger. I front pocket carry the Glock, stock. It's fine for that. Happy with my choice.

    1 year ago
  • MBMarcher

    I love my Bersa Thunder Combat. It is a little heavier but the recoil is super manageable. It also feels good and is stupid accurate. With the added magazine flair, my hand (including pinky finger) fits great.

    1 year ago
    • Lazy Glenn

      I agree the Bersa Thunder series is great ! It seems to be ignored often when discussing .380 's

      1 year ago
  • Bubba Blackimon

    S and W bodyguard is great if you can get used to the long , heavy trigger pull. Trigger feels like a revolver. Mine has more than 500 rounds with no malfunction other than slide failing to lock back after final round a couple of times. A laser definitely helps with the short barrel. I carry it inside waistband or front pocket. It is very light and not bothersome at all. You forget it's even there.

    1 year ago
  • Dennis Golden

    Picked up a Sig 238 and never looked back - just drop it into a pocket Also picked up the larger 938 - and carry either one depending on how I am dressed Yes there is a difference but not enough to be an issue

    1 year ago
  • Pocketgunner

    Man you really missed one of the best out there. The Beretta Pico is top dog. I am a Pocket gun enthusiast that has been shooting these guns almost weekly for 10yrs. Forget the Ruger LCP's, reliable until they are not. Meaning they do not hold up to a lot of ammo down range. I know, I had 4 of them. Split rails, cracked frames, cracked grips, broken take down pins etc. Stay away from any of the cheap aluminum pocket guns. The Pico is soild stainless steel, with a stainless steel chassis, and a modular design where you can work on many parts yourself, and change grips. Even ships with a stainless steel recoil guide. Best sights in class. And can add night sights easily. Heavy take down pin, Double strike capable. Stainless steel Magazines with stainless steel follower. The look like high end custom 1911 mags. They are not only built like tanks, but will shoot Plus P ammo milder than most guns shoot standard ammo. I mean they are freaking mild to shoot. Trigger is perfect for CCW.. The Gen 2 is about 8lbs of pull, Smooth all the way through and deliberate. They are built super sleek, appear as if they were designed in a wind tunnel. And they are ultra reliable. I have over 5.000 rounds of mixed ammo through one of them and over 1,000 rounds through the other. They run like sewing machines. And yes, Pocket guns require diligent training. And that is why you need a gun that can handle a lot of ammo down range. I could go on and on. But you get the idea.

    1 year ago
    • Brian

      Thanks for your detailed review of the Pico! You hit all the points I had questions about. I didn't even know that there was a gen two! I have a Beretta 9 mm Storm carbine, and it's quality really impresses me. And not just quality -as my wife pointed out, it has style. It is well thought out, and was crafted, not just cranked out. It is how you do things after making guns continuously for hundreds of years. While I appreciate the clever workmanship expressed in my Ruger LcpII, it doesn't wow! me. It speaks to me in a purely utilitarian language, which is fine, it has it's place. I think the Pico would, on the other hand, please me the way my older S&W revolvers do, when I just handle them -they seem to ask for, and certainly get, appreciation as something more than a tool. Again, many thanks!!!

      11 months ago
  • ErikwithaK

    All the expensive, name brands. Smh I recently bought a Taurus tcp 738 (on sale for $149, shoulda bought two) and really like it. It, and my .38 special, are my everyday carries, over a 9mm and a .357, sometimes, depending where I'm going, I'll carry both. Easy, real consealment, they disappear under my clothes. The revolver, obviously, shoots every time, and, knock on wood, the .380 has never had a feed, fire or ejection problem, either. Considering that just showing a gun is going to stop most altercations, a shot, hit or not, is going to stop most of the rest and a hit will stop pretty much all the rest, stopping power is overrated. The chances of actually having to draw is really small, and the chances you're going up against someone who will shake off being shot are almost nil. Carry what makes you comfortable, I guess. See ya at the range.

    1 year ago
  • Gravy

    Kahr CT380 is a great choice as well. A little larger than the CW380, and much easier to hold for large hands.

    1 year ago
  • carson

    Glock 42 is the best pocket rocket I've shot yet.. The extra half inch of barrel imporives accuracy dramatically and tames recoil even more dramatically. It is just fun to shoot, unlike most mouseguns.. Got one for the Mrs and liked it so much I got a second for myself. Great tool.

    1 year ago
  • Gary Spitzer

    I agree with most of what you say in this article, but find that you failed to mention one very real consideration. The harder hitting calibers you mention often tend to over penetrate the human body endangering anyone nearby. Since I don't know where or when I may have to draw and fire my weapon this is an important consideration for me (we are reminded that we are responsible for EVERYTHING that bullet may hit and/or damage). If you're at the mall, theater, gas station, busy parking lot, etc., when attacked I doubt that I will be worried about what's behind my assailant.

    1 year ago
    • David

      Absolutely, this is why 10mm is great for a woods carry gun when you're facing four-legged threats but less of a good idea when you're in the city facing two-legged. Know your target and what is beyond it!

      1 year ago
  • Fred Bar

    The Glock size is kind of oversized for pocket. As a matter of fact is 1/2 inch longer than a Kahr CM9. I don't know why it keeps appearing in these 380 pocket lists, must be advertising? Don't get me wrong, Glock makes great pistols but as far as the pocket models in 380 and 9, they are a Johnny-come-lately-me-too and it shows.

    1 year ago
  • Kevin Barnes

    Those are all brand name and very fine and reliable guns I am sure but I have a Taurus TCP 738 pocket rocket and I love it. I watched a u tube vidoe and made a slight adjustment to the magazine and it runs like a champ now where as before it would failure to feed almost every other shot but the little tweek I made fixed the problem and I haven't had a failure of any kind since. It shoots fine now and have over 200 rounds thru it since the magazine tweek. I even carry it sometime in my pocket as back up to my Glock 17 which I should say it way sweeet (the 17). I just recently purchased the SW M&P .380 EZ which is also sweet. Its in my opinion size wise as in between my Glock 17 and my Taurus pocket rocket. I have read alot of bad about the Taurus TCP 738 but I love mine and at $239 and reliable as heck with the fix I did it"s alot cheaper than the top 5 in this article, not trying to take anything away from the top 5 or anyones personal choices..

    1 year ago
  • techs

    Kimber Micro .380ACP TLE — I'm liking it a lot. I was worried seeing a lot of internet Kimber slamming between the time I bought the pistol and the time I had a chance to run it. I wouldn't say the gun is proved after 110rounds, but I'm not worried now. I picked up five loads for function testing from those showing good terminal ballistics at Lucky Gunner — 1st round of Win White Box failed to chamber a couple times off the top of the 1st magazine; I hit the magazine release by accident on the 2nd magazine; no other function problems yet with a variety of useful loads FMJ-RN, JHP-RN, and JHP-truncated cone. For the short test, out of box function and flexibility of this gun is fine. I'm returning to shooting after a near 40yr layoff, and find the Kimber handles nicely. But I learned gunning on a Detonics Mk Zero (2.5" barrel, chopped M1911 4.5" x 6.5"), so have never considered running a [well-designed] small gun to be particularly difficult. After running a few boxes through the Detonics for function and selection of new ammo, I find I am able to put 5 into 5 at 5 with about six seconds not feeling rushed. The .45ACP pushes harder, the .380ACP is a bit sharper, but with one in a heavy gun (31oz empty) and the other in a light gun (16oz loaded) they handle very similarly. During decades with firepower sitting in my nightstand, I never ended up frightened enough to hide 2lb of steel on my person at all times. I'm hoping one pound will make my actual carry more likely in these crazy days. I carry a 3" folder, but not a Bowie. Seatbelts have saved my life, but I drive without a helmet and 5point restraints. I've not needed to use deadly force in my 1st 60yr, and I hope to make the peashooter suffice during my second. Happy surprise — the G10 grips are awesome secure! Unhappy surprise — I haven't found an extended safety, and I can't put the stock lever to "safe" without shifting my grip or using my off hand. [Moving from "safe" to "fire" with a shooting grip is no problem, so I consider this more gripe than fail.]

    1 year ago
  • Scott Neal

    I purchased a Ruger LCP last month, ftf/fte, 35 out of 50 rds, 95 gr. Fmj, cci, winchester, and remington, sent back to Ruger, replaced slide, back to range, same issues, took to local gunsmith for evaluation, awaiting results, Ruger missed the mark on this one, not acceptable performance, from a name like Ruger, not acceptable for personal defense, do not recommend for purchase, own a P-89, will feed anything, own an American .243, extremely accurate, again, Ruger missed the mark with the LCP.

    1 year ago
  • frank furtive

    What good is stopping power if you aren't comfortable with carrying at all times or can't put bullets on target. I'm a novice and feel quite comfortable with ALL aspects of the LCP 2.

    1 year ago
    • Matthew Collins

      This has always been my approach. Other things being equal, a 9mm or .380 is easier to shoot than a .40 or .45. There's just less to correct for shot to shot. Shot placement is always going to trump "stopping power" and modern 9mm hollowpoints are just as effective against a living, breathing target as older .45 rounds.

      1 year ago
  • ammo.user.45

    I have an LCP II and love it. IMHO the trigger is much smoother and easier to use with a lighter pull than the original LCP or the S&W Bodyguard .380 I was comparing. The LCP II is my usual EDC because it's size and weight make it so comfortable and easy to carry in a kydex IWB holster from Concealment Express. I addressed the black sight visibility issue with a little white nail polish and have no issue picking up the sight picture, so long as I get my tri-focals lined up correctly. That last is not the gun's fault, just my age, and it is a problem for me with every gun I shoot, long or short. I also put a drop of a different color nail polish on the visible part of the back of the hammer to help me see when the pistol is cocked. I also added a Magguts conversion to add one more round to the magazine, so now I have 7 + 1 available if I ever need it. After several hundreds rounds I am confident the conversion is reliable in my gun. I had been carrying a S&W M&P Shield 9 mm, with the Magguts conversion for 9 + 1 rounds, as my EDC until I picked up the LCP II. The Shield is not hard to carry and conceal, but my .380 is so much more comfortable and concealable that it is the one I choose most of the time. So I trade off a couple of rounds and a little fire power in order to have the gun with me more often rather than back home in the safe. The best gun for any emergency is the one I have with me. My only complaint about the LCP II is that I wish the trigger was more rounded where my finger makes contact. When firing repeatedly at the range, the recoil, which I find manageable overall, causes the edge to push into my finger, After a couple of dozen rounds that gets uncomfortable. I practice with the .380, but my sweet shooting Shield is still my favorite range gun.

    1 year ago
    • frank furtive

      EXACTLY. I'm a 65 yr old novice and it only required 30 seconds to select LCP 2. Have you tried magazine extender that permits 3 finger grip, or does that magazine you mentioned offer that?

      1 year ago
  • Bruce

    I completely agree with your #1 pick. Sometimes multiple things come together in one gun, and LCP II has it. It's light. The trigger is amazing. The size is perfect. The accuracy is very nice (I am going to paint my sights). No sharp edges to bother me in my pocket. I love this gun for my pocket pistol. What decent pistol can you put in your pocket and forget it's there? Ruger did a very nice job here. Thanks for the review. Also, I think if it were not for the loooong and resistant trigger of the Bodygaurd, that pistol might have done better. Simple. LCP II

    1 year ago
    • Matthew Collins

      The Bodyguard triggers have gotten better, but I absolutely agree. It's hard to find a pocket-carry gun that can top the LCP II, but the new SIG P365 might do it for me. I'll be reviewing one soon, so keep an eye out!

      1 year ago
  • Patrick

    A few BIG points about the Sig P238 that should be in most any article about them: The SIG P238 has a single-action trigger that is light, crisp and easy to shoot. Also, the P238 slide is easier to rack/manipulate than many other mouse-guns. This matters with hands that are not as strong, or that might be arthritic. My mother comes to mind. That said, it is expensive as hell. I'd suggest hitting local gun shops and getting a deal on some of the more..."creatively designed" (ahem) versions out there. Sig has made more than 20 styles (colors, etc.) of this gun and not all were winners. You can still find some of the more garishly (rainbow?) decorated guns for a "get it out of my shop" discount. Maybe swap out grips and get something less hideous? The best of class (IMHO) is the old P238 HD. It is all stainless steel, rather than using an Aluminum frame. It's about 30% heavier as a result, but it shoots awesome. I think they make it still, but in a CA-compliant model only. We have a few of the guns in this article, and I have shot them all quite a bit. Our favorite is always that P238 HD. I've got thousands of rounds through it. It's actually fun to shoot, unlike a lot of small guns.

    1 year ago
  • David

    You will want to read this: I own an LCP, Sig P238, and a Bodyguard.... Three of the top 5 here....I have spent A LOT of time testing ammo with all 3 of these 380's because even though I have an LC9S Pro 9mm and a Sig P938 9mm, I WANT to carry the 380 because its just more comfortable in summer to carry. I get it... you are thinking "carry the 9mm", but I like the lighter weight and low recoil of 380.... so I need all 6 of 380 on target to make a stop, no problem, we practice constantly and hopefully I can do that, as shot placement is king. So I went on an ammo quest with all 3 of my 380 firearms to find the best Self defense round... watched every video on youtube from Paul Harrell, Shooting The Bull (who did ammo quest and voted Precision One the BEST 380 SD round) , TN Outdoors, Hickock45 and everyone else....you name it....and now hundreds of rounds personally downrange. All the biggest ammo players. I could have done an "Ammo Quest" video myself. I was primarily interested in WHAT SD ammo can cycle in my gun RELIABLY but is still a VIABLE load that will expend, not UNDER penetrate, and not OVER PENETRATE. Looking for the FBI specs 12 inch to 18 inch in ballistic gel...But here's what I found after all the Self Defense 380 ammo testing. It's kind of like the old Sears "Good, Better, Best" thing. I put LCP in "Good", Bodyguard in "Better", and Sig in "BEST".... and I WANTED to dislike the Sig (all metal freame, it's HEAVIER). I WANTED to carry the LCP but I CANNOT carry it after owning it and my testing. 1. LCP is a JAM-O-MATIC that I wouldnt trust my life to. Consistently turns into a JAM after a few mags either FTE or FTF, usually FTE. It MIGHT be OK in a totally CLEANED gun first 6 or 7 shots but that's about it... reliability goes out the window after the first mag. (Takedown all 3 of these guns and you'll see why. LCP is the CHEAPEST and SMALLEST springs, etc on a 380 ever). I LOVED it for its size and wanted it to come in #1! But under conditions, I will NOT carry it, because it WILL NOT perform consistently time after time after time.... Jams HST. Jams all Underwood Xtreme Penetrator or Defender. Jams Precision One. Jams other 380 hollowpoint. Hell, it jams FMJ BALL AMMO after a few mags. I wanted to LOVE the LCP because its SO easy to conceal. But if you are carrying it.... BEWARE. Now here;'s the good about the LCP....It Feeds CRITICAL DEFENSE like a champ.... cant make it jam off of Critical defense. So if you like Critical Defense ammo (with the red polymer plug), get the LCP, it works GREAT and EVERY time. But I didn't like that ammo because it UNDER PENETRATES in 380.. My LCP is now sadly a Safe Queen loaded with Critical defense in case I ever have a real problem or need my 3rd backup gun... I know that critical defense ammo will cycle in my LCP... but Critical defense is my THIRD desired ammo... So... given all this my LCP is in the category called "GOOD". 2. S&W Bodyguard... "BETTER". I can't jam it. It literally Runs almost EVERYTHING. I would trust my life to the Bodyguard... It runs Underwood penetrator, defender, Federal HST, Precision one, critical defense, you name it, The only reason I dont carry it is because it jammed on an HST ONE TIME. (might even have been me Limp wristing it) but still it should cycle... And the trigger is probably the LONGEST trigger EVER. That can be both GOOD and BAD, but Beware of that trigger. However, I felt very safe carrying it because it would never be an UNINTENDED DISCHARGE candidate. . Otherwise, I REALLY like the bodyguard and would feel 95% to 99% comfortable with it. The few failures I have had maybe are my fault. So Bodygard is "BETTER". 3. BEST: Sig P238. This gun is amazing and feeds/extracts EVERY ammo I give it. I have tested them ALL... I don't care for the whole 1911 thing, I'd rather have a single or double action striker... but this P238 is amazing. I literally went out and bought a P938 in 9mm because of the P238's reliability. So, when it comes time that you have to rely on your 380, think long and hard about what's in your hand, and what ammo you are feeding it. It makes a HUGE difference! Do the tests, try out your piece with everything. I can say I have spent a lot of time, effort, etc on my 380 quest. The final answer: Sig P238 with Precision One Hollow Point or Underwood Load Lehigh Defense Extreme Penetrator or Extreme Defender. Your mileage may vary. As always, be safe out there and thanks for taking time to read this.

    1 year ago
    • Norm

      I, too, love the Sigs. My two sons, their wives, my wife and I, and my wife's sister all have the P238. I have the Scorpion model, and it shoots to point of aim. I can put double taps into three inches at 6 yards. Opens up a little bit more at 10 yards. Of the 7 Sig 238s we own, we have had zero FTF or FTE with factory loads, having fired over 3,000 rounds combined. We had one jam with my initial reload recipe, since corrected. This little gun is so easy to hide in my front pants pocket, or jacket. I carry it in a de Santis pocket holster, condition one, so I have 8 plus a spare 7 round mag. I also carry the Sig 938, which is almost as good to shoot as the little one. The 938 goes in a hip holster, condition one, with a 7 round spare mag. I shoot the 238 better than the 938, but not by much. I do not feel under gunned when carrying either gun. I load them both with Hornady Critical Defense FTX and feel those will do the job, when I do my job with placing the rounds where they will have the best effect. I practice double taps, two to center mass, two to the head. Thanks for your comment.

      1 year ago
    • ammo.user.45

      I appreciate your thorough discussion, BUT ... the Ruger you are comparing is the LCP while the #1 gun in the article is the LCP II. These are two very different guns. I looked carefully and tried both, as well as the S&W Bodyguard .380.. IMHO the LCP II trigger is much, much smoother and easier to use, although I do wish the shape was more rounded where my finger contacts it.. I found the triggers on the LCP and the Bodyguard 380 both unpleasantly stiff by comparison.

      1 year ago
    • Marc Hanson

      Great read, I carry the bodygaurd. I’ve put probably 3000 rounds thru it of every kind of ammo I could find. And just like my performance center 9mm shield it will run anything without fail. I’ve heard a lot of story’s about failure to fires and light strikes but I have never had one. Only complaint I have is that long trigger pull. I’ve trained it out but I was pulling it left every shot because of that long hard pull. If I could I would carry my shield daily, it’s just not possible at my job, the bodygaurd is small enough it conceals much easier. Thanks again, your post was very informative.

      1 year ago
  • William Bell

    The Sig comes with a 6-round magazine, but Sig also makes a 7-rounder for the P238, so you could carry 7 + 1 if willing to carry it cocked and locked. (I'm not, due to the absence of a grip safety.) Another good one not mentioned in your list: Remington's RM380, which like the Sig is all metal. I have one and I like it. It's got a long trigger pull, but I don't think that's a problem with a concealed=carry gun for close-up self defense. It's cheaper than any of the guns in your list.

    1 year ago
  • Paul Temple

    I bought a Ruger LCP II after Christmas and it has become my everyday pocket carry gun. Compared to my Taurus PT 709 Slim it is harder to be accurate but worth it from a carry standpoint. My original idea was to buy the S&W Bodyguard but after looking at both decided to go with the Ruger. Turns out I should probably should have gone with the S&W. This is because it is slightly heavier and I find I can shoot small, but heavier guns more accurately than light small guns! Still very pleased with the gun. After much video reviewing on the internet I went with Hornady American Gunner 90 gr XTP. The XTP bullet has a good track record with several calibers but was one of the top performers with the .380. Surprisingly enough the XTP bullet actually expanded with a .25 caliber bullet in several tests! That is saying something about the bullet design. The Ruger is light, easy to carry concealed and is very accurate. It does have small sights and is a mini-beast to shoot. I have some arthritis in my hands and find that the LCP II kind of beats them up. Still I would highly recommend this pistol, especially if you need to pocket carry.

    1 year ago
  • Darth__KEK

    380 ACP Hollow Point from a short barrel (i.e. CC) tend to expand inconsistently on "real" targets, that is solid targets covered in cloth, etc.. Paul Harrell has done a lot of testing on his meat targets and he came to the conclusion the Underwood's Xtreme Penetrator Ammo, which he does not recommend for larger calibres, is a superb choice for the 380. It's basically a flat-nose and doesn't expand, so doesn't need to hit expansion threshold, and as a result works consistently. By comparison, the UXP still worked fine in 9mm, but he was able to find dozens of 9mm hollow point rounds that expanded consistently and only cost a fraction of the price.

    1 year ago
  • Rich

    I own a Glock 42, Sig Sauer P238, and the Ruger LCP II. If I had to bet my life, my choice would be 1) Sig P238 2) Glock 42 I have put a thousand rounds of all kinds into these beauts and only 2 FTFs.

    1 year ago
  • Brian

    I think a good one for the list would be the Remington rm380. I know there is bad talk about Remington pistols, but this one I have rocks. It will digest about anything I throw in it, cheap ball ammo to top notch hollow points, it’s not finicky and the accuracy for me was great. I really like mine, small and compact. It’s an updated design of the old Robaugh, I hope I spelled that correctly. Great little pistol that I think is worth a mention, thanks

    1 year ago
    • Fdmccarty

      I like mine too but my wife has a lcp2. Mine performed flawlessly with critical defense ammo, but flat out refused the less expensive ammo. So embarrassing she emptied the box of low cost ammo and then shot the ammo that my gun rejected. She wiped it off loaded it with critical defense and kinda politely sneered at my Remington. I can’t win. She knows a good gun.

      1 year ago
  • John

    This article stated the trigger pull on the Ruger LCP II is long and heavy, that is incorrect, in fact that is one of the improvements over the original LCP.. Chambering a round cocks the hammer and the trigger pull is almost that of a single action pistol....

    1 year ago
  • javadog

    You should do a part II to this article and evaluate a few of the other guns that were mentioned in the comments. I have not shot one, but think the new Smith & Wesson Shield EZ is going to eventually grow into a popular CCW firearm.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Yup, we're looking at an update this year!

      1 year ago
  • Rick in MI

    Any list discussing pocket-carry guns that does not at least mention the best on the market, the Seecamp, is incomplete.

    1 year ago
  • Dennis

    Have both the Sig 238 and 938. Have fired hundreds of rounds with both. If you can afford a Sig you will not regret it. The 238 is very easy to conceal. The 938 is very close in size and does have a more punch. Either one will give a bad guy some reasons to reconsider his actions.

    1 year ago
  • John

    In your evaluation of the Ruger LCP II you stated it has a long and heavy trigger pull. I think you may have been thinking of the original LCP.. The LCP ll has a new improved trigger and is similar to a striker fired pistol.

    1 year ago
  • David Charles

    I'll take a high capacity 380 over a low capacity pocket 9mm any day in a real world gun fight. In a real world gun fight capacity rules over caliber. As the US Seal replied when asked if his 9 mm was powerful enough and would he prefer a 40 cal? "When I put two in your chest an one in your forehead, you'll never know the difference."

    1 year ago
  • James Wagner

    I can't believe they left one of the best, if not THE best .380 on the market, The Beretta Pico.

    1 year ago
  • Blake

    I have the Bersa Thunder Combat .380 and love it. Easy to shoot, very reliable and inexpensive (~$285).

    1 year ago
  • David

    What actually causes recoil in a (combat caliber) semiautomatic handgun? In addition to a pistol’s caliber, recoil (felt, perceived, or mechanical) is determined by the type of breech lockup that a pistol uses. A blowback action is going to ‘kick’ the most of all, followed by a partially locked (or, as they say nowadays, a modified Browning lock-up) breech; and, the lightest recoiling pistol is invariably one that employs a locked breech. With a puny caliber like the 380 Auto (9mm kurz), shot group placement is everything — Everything! If a shooter can keep his first three shots inside a nice tight 4 - 6 inch circle @ COM, and do this consistently from a minimum of 7 1/2 - 8 yards, then, yes, he’ll have a viable chance of surviving an armed attack unscathed; however, it’s been my general experience that most people who are foolish enough to buy a 380 Auto for personal (walk around) protection, in the first place, are almost invariably too anemic in their pistol shooting skills to consistently hit COM well enough to guarantee their own survival; (and I watch dozens of people shot all different sorts of pistols every month.) There are pistols that can be relied upon to save your life in a surprise CQB pistol gunfight, and there are other pistols, like 380's, that do little more than make a handgun carrier feel safe. I call these comfortable little handguns ‘pacifier pistols’. (You know, after those calming rubber nipples that young children like to suck on.) These discussions are frequently exchanged between strictly internet gun forum aficionados (armchair commandos at best); so, perhaps, a little background information is in order: I once became very suddenly and very unexpectedly involved in a cleverly set up, triangulated, 3 shooter ambush; and there I was, right, at the center of the deadly triangle!. Now, contrary to the great internet gun forum 3 x 3 x 3 myth, my attackers were smart enough to begin the engagement at almost 10 yards’ distance, and before I had a chance to draw my pistol. If I hadn’t been carrying a high capacity Glock Model 21 I very much doubt that I’d be writing these words right now. It takes a lot more than just having a gun in order to survive an armed surprise ambush. A unique combination of circumstances: alert mental acuity, the right pistol, the right caliber, and a mature determined mind, along with a much better than average ability to ‘reach out and touch someone’ are ALL required. Feeling safe while carrying a sidearm is NOT the same thing as actually being safe. With a pistol carrier/user like me a 45 ACP caliber handgun will always be king! I wouldn’t trust the preservation of my life to anything less than a CQB pistol caliber of either 9 x 19mm or 45 ACP; and I use the term ‘caliber’ very loosely — OK. Neither would I want my pistol's barrel to be anything less than 4 inches in length. In my considered opinion anything less than either a 9 x 19mm, or a 45 ACP pistol is for people who don’t know any better to drool over and covet. Another thing: With me the 40 S&W caliber is, also, out. ‘Why?’ Because, over the years, I’ve watched a very great number of pistol shooters OUTGUN THEMSELVES by trying to shoot a 40 caliber pistol consistently and well. Yes, some pistoleros can do it; but the vast majority of 40 S&W caliber pistol shooters cannot; and, for anyone who might like to test this opinion THIS is a readily observable fact!

    1 year ago
  • Doug

    Wow...no North American Arms Guardian .380? So much for credibility of the write up. I don't even own one (yet...next on the list). But the omission is glaring. Solid stainless to reduce felt recoil and improve longevity, but only 19 oz. empty., double action, made in USA, HIGHLY rated by every police and LE blog or review I've read (very popular for ankle, backup, etc for our cops).. These write ups for .380 always list guns like the P238, colt mustang, etc....without explaining the issues with carrying SA only pistol (especially in a pocket). DA trigger safer, easier (no external safety), albeit heavier. It's probably as small as any on this list, at only 4.7" X 3.6"

    1 year ago
  • Greg

    I’ve owned and fired every caliber from my little Colt target 22 to my 50 cal Desert Eagle. When it comes to a 380/9mm Kurtz however, without question, my old Stainless Sig P232 was and remains my favorite. The gun has that phenomenal Sig quality, is very comfortable in the hand and shoots extremely well! The Sig was my carry weapon until I began carrying a ported barrel M & P 40 S&W with night sites. Both are very easy to conceal and I never doubted the reliability should I ever need to use either. Greg

    1 year ago
  • Mark P.

    I noticed the Kimber Micro .380 didn't make the list. Although the price may be too steep for many shooter's budgets,... I've found the fit and overall feel of the pistol to be more favorable than the Sig 238. The Sig has a more "boxy" feeling to the slide, whereas the Kimber's slide is more "melted" along the edges, making for a more comfortable pistol for all day carry. The Kimber also has many "factory custom" options such as a lowered ejection port and a flat wound recoil spring to aid in the pistol's reliability factor.

    1 year ago
    • BelloMori

      I have a Kimber RCP (lg) that I picked up a while back. Though it is probably one of the most expensive 380's on the market, I don't think that should matter when it comes to defending yourself and loved ones. It has a longer mag for those of us with larger hands, built in Crimson Trace laser grips, will shoot any ammo you put through it, the fact that it is a hammer fired pistol it eliminates the trigger pull issue that some of the others have, it also has a metal frame and slide, and it looks great(not that that's important, just an added bonus).

      1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Mark. I do like the Kimber Micro too.

      1 year ago
  • Joshua

    We have a Ruger LCP II and we use Hornady Critical Defense 90 gr FTX ammo with it. We watched the ballistics videos on youtube and it seems like a solid combo. I thought this would be a good combo for the lady, but she has had difficulty using it on the range. I moved her to my S&W M&P Shield 2.0 9mm and she can fire and control it much better. The S&W is the pistol she will be using to qualify for her Texas License to Carry CHL class. However, the LCP is her pistol and she still wants to carry it.

    1 year ago
    • Dennis

      Had the Ruger and so typical of the brand it was a pain to take down. Why Ruger makes its guns difficult to disable for cleaning is beyond me.

      1 year ago
  • Lance Mitchell

    I don't know if anyone else has mentioned it, but it's almost a sin that you did not put the .380 Seecamp at the very top of this list. Maybe you forgot. I know, it's expensive and maybe not popular, but WELL worth the price. I don't need to make a case for it, it speaks for itself as most will know. I LOVE mine and I'm very proficient with it.. In this caliber your discussing I wouldn't carry anything on this list simply because they're all too big with too many bells and whistles for me especially living in my "environment" (South FLA.). Lasers are a joke on a .380 and I don't like sights that may snag for deep concealment.. They won't save your ass in a jam. Time is not on your side in a crisis. You need the quickest deployment possible and the point and shoot Seecamp is the only one that makes sense. You do get spoiled with the Seecamp and everything else looks like a brick in your pocket once you carry it. . IMO it's the best .380 concealed carry on the planet! I wear shorts mostly all year around and this is the best of ALL the rest for deep reliable concealment. hands down. You can wear your bathing suit anywhere and feel pretty safe with your gun not being noticed at all. The "other" gun will show before this one let's put it that way. Save up your money guys and get the Seecamp if you want the best .380 to carry. Never jams, ran all kinds of ammo threw it. It does not fail. I get that it's so expensive, but I tell you, it WILL the best investment you'll will ever make!!!

    1 year ago
  • Maricica

    I got a Bodyguard a couple years ago. I saw it looked well made with a laser which I feel is only an extra. I have taken the module out and battened down the hatches that covers it, securing the screw with blue lock Tite.. I shot a few hundred rounds of the various shelf ammo available so now I can say I'm used to it. I found a Desantis pocket carry for it to ride in. The Bodyguard seems to work best with Fiocchi fmj, Hydrasocks, and WWB. I would suggest if you plan to carry any mini handgun try to get a mini version of the full size pistol you use in order to avoid learning another system.

    1 year ago
  • Bruce

    I purchased a Browning Black label Pro with 4.25 inch barrel , I also own 9mm of different mfg. Comparing my 9mm to the 380 isn't hard. I love the gun and the 380. It is now my daily carry gun and probably will be from now on. With the proper ammo this weapon can't be beat for carry and at 10 yards put your shoot where you aim it. The hornady personal protection ammo is a good match for the gun. I always thought I needed to carry a 9 or 45 now I know I don't.

    1 year ago
  • Eric

    I got the ruger lcp. First time I shot it the slide cut my thumb.

    1 year ago
  • Mike

    I dress then chose a pistol from my collection that fits concealed with the most stopping power. In the rotation is the LCP 2 and the G42. Both serve me well. I think the human interface of the grip and trigger is different with each individual shooter. For me the other pistols you mentioned don't fit my human make-up. I have put rounds through all of the pistols in your post. For example the Sig is not accurate for me. But my buddy I shoot with he is very accurate with the Sig. So for folks just getting into the 380s. Take the advice. Rent and shoot them all.

    1 year ago
  • RC West

    Great review on the 380's. Anyone have feedback on the Bersa Thunder 380?

    1 year ago
    • Dave M

      For the size & weight you could carry a Ruger LC9S in 9mm that does everything better. I mostly like the Bersa Thunder .380, but, reliability can be a concern. I do not own one, friends do. It looks like a Walther PPK, which is neat, but other guns beat it.

      1 year ago
  • Sylverbullit

    I bought the Kimber .380 Raptor after a day of shooting a buddy's. A little pricey, but very accurate, no malfunctions, has tritium night sights, and a real pleasure to shoot. We both shoot and carry with a +1 magazine for better control and comfort. I use Alien Gear IWB, and put the extra mag in my back pocket.

    1 year ago
  • javadog

    I recently looked at the ammo testing done by Shooting the Bull. The Precision One XTP round did excellent. On their website they recommend the +P version for the Glock 42. The Fiocchi Extrema 90 grain XTP did very well also.

    1 year ago
    • john perry

      i also see this,, bought the 42 with precision one ammo,, fired over 200 rounds yesterday,, excellent patterns at 25 and 50 feet,, also bought the haugh hand grips and the finger extension on the magazine,, realy helped on accuracy. had the 40 cal. ,, always sat home,, too big... this goes everywhere with me,, can fit in pocket.

      1 year ago
  • Chris

    Also a quick not for those that carry a .380 I would look at the new XP Extreme Penetrator and XD Extreme Defender ammo by Lehigh Defense. This is the round to go to in the 380. It is also used by Underwood ammo who produces it in a +P and +P+ plus loads. you can see it on Ammoquest .380 youtube if you want to see how it performs..awesome round for the 380

    1 year ago
  • Chris

    I laugh at all those that say a .380 is enough gun to get you killed....Really, Having No gun will get you killed ! and let me say Where the hell do you expect to conceal your .40 S&W on a 96 degree August day in Florida.! concealed carry is about .concealment..It will vary dependent on many factors..like the weather and where you plan to carry..You don't carry a cannon in to a movie theater or other crowded event because every missed shot has the potential to kill innocent bystanders..

    1 year ago
    • Lance Mitchell

      Well said Chris. Many people place a little too much emphasis on caliber and many are not proficient with their "Big Guns". I love those kind too, and all kinds of guns for that matter, but those big .40, .45's etc.. have there place and it's not in your pocket feeling like a brick.. You understand living in Florida. Concealment is key in our world.

      1 year ago
    • john perry

      agree totally with yu chris,, retired police,, had 40 cal. glock but too big to carry,, traded for glock 42,, excellent patterns at 25 and 50 feet,,at range yesterday,, over 200 rounds,, use the precision on ammo plus p,, called them,, they said this best ammo out there ,, 12 inch penetration with 1/2 in hole,, you right,, if you don't hav it you can't use it.,,also bought finger extension on magazine and haugh grips,, excellent helpers and made patterns alot better.

      1 year ago
    • Larry

      Your comment is interesting. I personally carry my Beretta PX4 Compact in .40 S&W concealed during the 96 degree days of summer all the time. I also carry this 'cannon' into theaters, libraries, to the park, to the zoo, etc. It has never been a problem. I'm not saying that there is any problem with a 380, but people shouldn't be swayed to a smaller firearm if a larger one suits their needs.

      1 year ago
  • Bob 1

    The Kahr CW 380 is my concealed carry gun. Add Pearce grip extenders and a Pachmayer grip for a perfect .380 great trigger (practice makes perfect) gooot sights and shoots like a dream for me. Comfortable for pocket quick to aim and easy to hit your target. Hard to rack the slide if you’re weak handed so practice - I’m 81 and can do it. Love it so much bought the CM 9 big brother for IWB holster use.

    1 year ago
  • Mikestat

    Just shot 4 of the 5 on the .380 list. Being S&W & a Ruger fan, I was so disappointed in the Bodygaurd & the LCP. To the point of I wish these two models didn’t even exist. The Sig was great w/ the Glock being my runner up.

    1 year ago
    • Johnboy70

      I had the Glock 42 FTE all the time and the Bodyguard kicked almost as bad as my 38 didn't like either one.

      1 year ago
  • Dave W

    Hard to believe you put the Kahr on a top 5 list. That thing is a piece of garbage. Buyer beware! I could see if this list were entitled "Top 5 guns most likely to get you killed"

    1 year ago
  • Mark Wynn

    Like everything about the Ruger LC380 ... except the trigger, and would buy another one if Ruger gave it the same, striker-fire setup as the improved LC9S Pro. Find the LPC a bit small for my hand. As far as grip, pocketable size, melted corners and good sights, the LC380 is Goldilocks just right, for me. (However, suspect Ruger will go with the LCP II as their .380 and discontinue the LC380.)

    1 year ago
  • gordo53

    A slight correction. The Ruger LCP has a long, heavy trigger pull, but the LCP II does not.

    1 year ago
  • Gary Sutton

    Patrick O. And Howard H - I couldn’t agree more. My wife’s CC gun is a Bersa 380 and mine is a Bersa 380CC. We have fired hundreds of rounds thru nothin the last several years with only a few issues. Steel case hollow points seem to be the most disagreeable. I would recommend a Bersa to anyone entering the world of Concealed Carry.

    1 year ago
  • alvaro alteri

    I have the kimber mucro 380 that i replaced with the new micro 9 with the laser grip and the extended mag and in a pocket holster when i wear shorts and it shoots great vwry easy to hit your target and it has a great trigger i have iver 30 hand guns but thats my favorite Pocket Gun next to that is my Glock 19 when I have regular clothes and i am a member and have the insurance and you guys are great very informative

    1 year ago
  • Patrick O.

    My first handgun I ever purchased was a Bersa Thunder 380 standard capacity, 7+1. I have had this firearm for approx. 16 years and fired thousands of rounds through it. Very reliable, I have only had one brand of ammo that gave me feeding issues, and that was some cheap wal mart steel case surplus ammo, that would still fire but I had to reduce the amount loaded in the magazine for proper feeding. Pretty much any brass case standard ammo you can think of has gone through this gun and fired flawlessly. I have owned many firearms since, but this is my all time favorite little handgun. It does what it's supposed to do, with a really good factory trigger, pretty decent little sights, it's withstood the test of time, and it's a pretty sexy little gun (mine is the matte black with brushed nickel highlights).#1 380, hands down Bersa Thunder 380's, oh ya, and at a very affordable price. It's not space age polymer, but rather a look a like of the ppk (James bond gun) for a much better price than the ppk, and functions just as well or better.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks for your experience, Patrick!

      1 year ago
  • Howard Harris

    i bought a Bersa thunder plus with a 15 round mag for 350.00 bucks and it has never had a failure to feed or any other issues. i would put it up against any you recommended plus i have twice the ammo for defense

    1 year ago
  • David Muscato

    While I have a number of guns, my carry gun is the Ruger LCP. The size and weight make it very easy to carry especially with the screw on belt clip. Slide it on your waist band or pocket and you almost forget it's there, so I carry it all the time. I keep tactical rounds in it for extra stopping power. All that said, when I go to the range I have to force myself to shoot it. While I do find it accurate it is NOT fun to shoot. After running a number of clips through it .your hand will begin to hurt from holding such a small grip on a gun with a good amount of recoil., Never had a jamb with any type of ammo, overall a great reliable little gun

    1 year ago
  • Dr. MIke

    What about the. ll-Tec P3AT?

    1 year ago
  • Kent

    I have a Keltec .380. It’s never mentioned in articles about .380 pocket pistols. I love mine. It was inexpensive, and I’ve never had a misfire or a jam.

    1 year ago
  • Bill

    To say that the 380 has limited stopping power is a moronic statement. Getting hit in center body mass with 95 - 100 gr hollow point will take the fight out of 95% of the human population. I am 6'2" and was shot in the gut in a drive by shooting and I doubled over in pain. The object of concealed carry has only ONE OBJECTIVE....to stop the threat. It's not about killing the perp, just ending the threat and after getting shot with a 22 or 380 the perp will run away because of the pain and noise which will bring attention to the perp. I carry a Ruger SR22 and I can fire off 10 fast shots accurately due to no recoil..

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      True, it is to stop the threat. I personally don't want to take the chance in case it's a huge guy with several layers of clothing, and hopped up on adrenaline or drugs.

      1 year ago
  • RiverManPaul

    I think you hit on a lot of good points. I would like to comment on a takeaway I have. I am one that will NOT keep a pistol if it ever has a failure to feed regardless of the type ammo fed through it. In line with your sock drawer comment, if there is even the remotest possibility that I will have a malfunction, I don't have any use for that pistol. The Glock doesn't fall into my "favorite" handgun catagory of the pistols I own or have owned but I have never had a failure to feed or failure to eject nor have I seen a FTF or FTE at the qualifications range...no, that's not true...one time during qualifications, a new officer was having FTE's with her issued Glock. The range officer called for a cold range and inspected her Glock in disbelief. He then raised his voice and advised her that you don't shoot 9mm in a 40 S&W and sent her off the line to go change out her ammo. I have owned several in different calibers and have carried them on-duty and have the utmost confidence in them. That said, I will continue to practice my tap-rack-bang exercises...even with a Glock. Cheers

    1 year ago
  • Buckeye 63

    The Taurus TCP is the top of the heap for reliability and value ..by far the most relaiable out there and great trigger also

    1 year ago
    • Johnboy70

      I have a slim 9mm Taurus has never failed in any way my main carry. Just for the 380 Kimber micro haven't shot it yet, hope it is not the ones that have the FTE problem. I watched my son in law shoot his 40 cal Glock at the range it blew a piece of the slide right out with normal ammo I think Remington, after calling them he sent all the pieces to them and they had the gun repaired all free but kept it 6 mos. kind of scary.

      1 year ago
    • 33ww

      There are a lot of disparaging comments about the TCP on the internet, but I love mine. Super reliable, very concealable. The Pearce grip extensions help with control.

      1 year ago
  • Bubba

    I got a 380 many years ago because I "print" way too easily, and found I could carry an AMT 380 with no problem. It was an upgrade from a Beretta Jet Fire 25. The AMT has a small finger hook at the bottom that helps with recoil. It comes as a 5 +1 with a grip and thumb safety. I found that if I cut about an 1/8" off the spring in the magazine, I could make it a 6 +1. This gun has never had a FTF except with Corbon hollow points. I couldn't get even I magazine to fire without 2 or 3 issues. Hydroshoks work great in this gun, it's all metal, but still stings a bit when you shoot it. I always wanted something similar, but in a 9mm and something that had a better magazine release set up. I finally found it a few years back, in the Kahr CM9. I haven't looked back! This gun has less felt recoil, is about the same size, super easy to conceal, but with 9mm firepower. I still have my AMT, but my EDC is the Kahr CM9. For some of us the best 380, is actually going with a mini 9. It was a tough choice initially between the Sig 938 and the Kahr CM9, but the Kahr had a great trigger, no safety to worry about and the 1st shot speed and confidence this DAO provides. No feed or FTF issues at all. It's worth a look.

    1 year ago
  • Diamondback

    The only two on that list I'd even consider trusting my life to would be the Sig and the Glock. I have a S&W BG that's basically a paperweight. If I could find my wife a SC 9mm that she felt as comfortable shooting as the P238, I"d dump the .380 round altogether for reliability of avail firearm issues though and not because it's a "puny" round. Do they consider the .38 Sp "puny"? Plus search YouTube for "Texas Rancher Wild Hog .380" and watch his video. But, if you can't find a reliable handgun, what's the point? The .small 380s are plagued with failures with many off the shelf ammo choices. THAT should NOT be!

    1 year ago
    • Johnboy70

      I just shot a sig 238 at the range rented man that was a nice shooting gun and right on target every time.

      1 year ago
      • elizabeth

        I am a 76yr. old woman and I love my WaltherPK380. Everything about it is perfect for me. Should be on the list!

        1 year ago
  • Eric Hung

    From Reader Robert C: I used to carry a Colt .380 Government Model. It recently was retired to my safe in favor of the Glock 42. I had trouble finding carry holsters that I considered safe to carry in condition one. I frequently found that the holster had bumped the safety off, This was not an extreme problem as the .380 Government Model had the series 80 firing pin block; but it was something that shouldn't have been happening. If a person were looking for a 1911 style .380, I would recommend the Browning .380 over the Sig you listed. The advantage of the Browning is the added grip-safety. As far as the nature of .380, I have always considered it adequate. The, much lauded, FBI study is not highly relevant to CCW, purely defensive, needs. The ability to shoot through car doors is a significantly lower level of concern than the hazards of over-penetration.

    2 years ago
  • Will B.

    I have an LCP II and have sent it back to Ruger twice but it still misfeeds on but FMJ and JHP. Looking to replace it with something more reliable.

    2 years ago
  • robert pierpoint

    Love the sig p238 tried the lcp gave to my brother. I guess I'm just as a 1911 fan . Carry sig in ankle holster . Deep carry a kimber ultra raptor II for primary weapon. . Cor-bon dpx works well in both and a good defensive round . Thanks very informative article .

    2 years ago
  • Tom Spears

    Great review. I have a Glock 42, which I love, and a Bersa Thunder which is always in my truck. I have owned a Ruger LCP but it was just a little too small for me but thats just a matter of personal choice. I have no qualms on the 380 as a self defense weapon and am a strong believer in shot placement. If you can't hit the side of a barn in a pressure situation the caliber of your weapon isn"t going to save you.

    2 years ago
  • Guy

    I was carrying a Kruger 357 mag short barrel ed I am a big guy But I have to go to a place 4 days a week now I needed deep concealment I read a lot and I use to have a Body Guard and did not like it don't know why bottom line is I went with the Ruger LCP 2 and luv it to me there is not much kick fits my hand well with the extender on the mag with 200 rounds of all kindsll thru it not 1 single f2f or ff I carry it with Gold Dots for a lot of reasons but that's what I ed in all my guns with all the improvements 9n the new LCP2 2 imho for the money there is no better 380 acp on the market

    2 years ago
    • Eric Hung

      Glad to hear it working out for you, Guy!

      2 years ago
  • jeff bell

    Ive used many .380s but the best is the bersa thunder 380 cc . i love it and would not trade it for a sig or khar any day....

    2 years ago
  • Timothy McGee

    I have a KAHR CW 380. I practice with it often and agree that it is picky on ammo and that the cheap FMJ ammo cycles the best. Unfortunately, after three magazines, my gun tends to malfunction on any ammo and must be cleaned in order for it to function properly. The slide will stop short of full closure and must be bumped from the back to complete the closure. Which surprises me due to how hard the slide is to pull back. Since I only have 3 magazines for it, it really doesn't bother me. (My LCP had the same problem.). I like the accuracy, the sights and the fact the slide locks back when empty. It's small size is great in my front pocket and performs great with my colleagues pressure drills.

    2 years ago
  • phillip whitt

    I own a LCP and it's my EDC. I go to the range often and am a big fan of the Walther PPQ and Creed models. My biggest fear with the LCP as an everyday carry is that most micro 380s have the reputation of being a bit finicky. I went to the range last weekend and intentionally gathered up all 380 reloads from my house that I could find. Different primers some Full Metal Jacket some hollow points. After 100 rounds ran through the LCP, not one single malfunction. It should come as no surprise to me since I own other ruger's and they have all been Flawless operators. (Except for a 10/22). I highly recommend the LCP as an everyday carry

    2 years ago
  • Mike T

    Not going to cycle (read) all these awesome responses to this well written article except to say that if a woman like my wife showed me the barrel of her 380 and hit me with a couple-three rounds -- I would be one hurting unhappy camper. The .380 cartridge is as nasty as any other small one! OUCH!

    2 years ago
  • Jeremy

    I "HAD" 2 kel-tec 380's (both garbage). Have the Ruger LCP. really like. Have the Taurus TCP really like it. (both very lightweight and extremely easy to conceal). And I have the Sig Sauer p238 (IMO) the KING of the small 380's. The quality and reliability is absolutely worth the extra weight and money. I added a grip glove that really added extra grip for my large hands and, of course, helps tame the recoil issues with the small framed 380's. However, I highly recommend that you opt for the extended magazine to get use of your pinky and the extra round. That being said I prefer the Ruger or Taurus if I am wearing shorts and a T shirt... But if I am wearing pants, belt, etc I opt for the Sig. Bottom line is I would put my life in the hands of either one of the three guns mentioned.

    2 years ago
  • Sgt Jim

    I carry a Springfield XDS in45acp. I appendix carry with a desantis holster. It is slightly heavier, but packs a wallop with Corbon flying ashtrays. It's easy to conceal and plenty powerful.

    2 years ago
  • LEO

    I am a retiring Law Enforcement officer. I routinely carried my duty weapon (early years .357 S & W mod 19) and back up .38 S & W Chief Special with +p ammo. Later issued Glock 19 9mm for duty and carried a Sig P230 .380 as back up. Last 10 years carried a Glock 36 . 45 ACP as a duty weapon as an administrator. I decided for retirement to go back to a .380 for concealed carry, as it is easier to conceal in Florida's weather. I went with the Glock 42 and enjoy shooting it, additionally I am a Glock armorer which factored into the decision. I have qualified with it twice and I have full confidence in shot placement. With practice and qualifications I have shot 1,000 rounds and had no issues. Use Winchester FMJ for practice and Speer Gold Dot HP for carry. A recent shooting in my county was a one shot stop with a .380 to the chest at close range.

    2 years ago
    • Jeremy

      Your last paragraph says it all... Bullet placement is the key.

      2 years ago
  • Kraig Knutson

    Great reviews, here 's my 2 cents. Bought the Beretta Cheetah 84sf Nickel Probably one of the prettiest guns in the safe, shots very well and 13 round magizine's . Cons mucho $'s, and it's next to impossible to rack the slide without cocking the hammer first. So went out and bought a Bersa "Fire Storm"...fell in love with the 380 cal. over again. Great all metal pistol, a bit Lg. for CC, I have a Lg. hand and it works well for me. The Bersa is a Great Value that gets the job done without fail! l

    2 years ago
    • Kraigo

      I forgot to mention, AMMO for home defense I strongly suggest G6 Research Radically Invasive Projectile (RIP) Ammo 380ACP. Erraicates unwanted subjects from your residence without using a 45, Good Luck and Good Hunting.

      2 years ago
  • Rocket Man

    As a lifelong 9mm shooter (starting with my very first....Browning Hi-Power) I recently purchased a Bersa Firestorm in .380. I simply bought it because of its price (too low to mention???)its features and.....how it looked. Looking into the warranty impressed me, as did many of the online reviews. After 100 rounds of CCI FMJ at the range...not one misfire! Decent groups, although early on, I was working out my shooting kinks. It simply is the best gun, dollar-for dollar I own. Have I fired it in anger? Not yet, and hopefully never will, but it WILL be the one that rides with me. (PS-I had a local 'smith do some smoothing of the edges and it's amazingly easy to get in and out!) PSs-I've owned/own Brownings, Rugers, Sigs, Smiths, Springfields...add Bersa to the list!

    2 years ago
  • Krae xox

    I bought the Sig P238. Absolutely love this lil gun. How it feels in my hands like no other. Can't go wrong with this one. Truly perfection! Thank you for the info

    2 years ago
  • Linda Burton

    As a gal new to the conceal carry scene, I looked the .380"s over very carefully and settled on the Sig P238. I've never regretted my choice....it is awesome. I have a S&W M&P9 and a S&W Shield so was leaning toward the Bodyguard, but its trigger is unbelievably heavy, so heavy I could barely get it pulled. My first experience with what was certainly a 30 lb. trigger!!!!!! I had to pass!

    2 years ago
    • Dave

      I just purchased a S&W Bodyguard ($50 manufacturer's rebate through June). Yes it does have a heavy trigger pull, Not quite 30 lbs., actually more in the neighborhood of 10 lbs., but probably not for most women or anyone without strength in their grip. Personally, I don't mind the heavy trigger pull. I know it's not going to accidentally go off unless I intend it to. With the after rebate price, it was just too good to pass up.

      2 years ago
  • Alex

    I've owned a Bodyguard (without the laser) for years now and I've gotta say, I love that little guy. I've heard the same thing about it being a bit picky on ammunition, but never experienced it. Mine has gone through hundreds of rounds from every brand I find, and there's no more than an occasional jam. The double strike feature is great too, particularly when using cheap reloads. Won't lie though, "long and heavy" sure is accurate on the trigger pull. It goes on for miles and catches me off guard every time I go for more than a short time without firing it. All in all, I wouldn't trade it for anything of its type!

    2 years ago
  • Bobo

    "They get the job done, but several shots may need to be fired to get your point across." Same could be said for Any common pistol caliber ammo....

    2 years ago
  • Mike M

    Personally, I like the Bersa Thunder .380 plus. While it's not pocket size, some features I like are the safeties it has, (so when not in use it can be locked without having to put a trigger lock on it and cannot fire without the mag), it has a fixed barrel, it is a 15+1, and while the initial trigger pull is long all others are short and the recoil is nice for control. I have put over 1000 rds through it without one failure. The one drawback is the lack of comfortable holsters. But it is accurate and true and the cost is $350. I have big hands and the pocket .380's don't work for me. I had a Ruger LCP and after the third round, the pistol began bouncing around in my hand, not good.

    2 years ago
    • Bernie

      I also have the Thunder plus. Same thing with big hands. An accurate piece and conceals pretty well for a double stack. I would recommend it.

      2 years ago
  • Glenn K.

    Great article--wishing I had spotted it before purchasing my Kahr P380 which pricewise is above everything on this list. I've had a Kahr PM9 for years, thrown everything I could at it, and it has never failed to feed, fire, or lock the slide. When I wanted to downsize somewhat for summer carry I went with the P380. Talk about a pistol that's finicky with ammo! Well, at least the one I have. Even after 500+ rounds or so it took just about every manufacturer and bullet type to find one with 100% reliability to fully feed, fire and lock the slide 100% of the time (my winner is the Winchester 95 grain in FMJ and JHP). I will say it shoots beautifully and the night sights it came with are excellent. Center mass has never been a problem from the get go. As a side note, during the interim and before I found ammo that would feed consistently I purchased a Ruger LCRx in .38spl. While it carries a little heavier, it's easier to find and pull and I know it's always going to chamber and fire. The downside is it's only five rounds and bites a lot harder, especially in +P.

    2 years ago
    • Eric Hung

      Hey Glenn, thanks for writing in! Sucks to hear about the pickiness of the P380. I'm sure your testing will help out some of the other readers.

      2 years ago
      • Glenn K.

        To clarify and in all fairness to Kahr many have no problem out of the box and many have experienced what I have (according to the forums). Since I now have 100% reliability I can't attribute it to shooting technique or any pistol defect. And in a .380, what's working for me might not work in someone else's pistol. That's why your comment on the necessity of range time with your carry ammo is dead on the money.

        2 years ago
        • Eric Hung

          Thanks for the confirmation Glenn!

          2 years ago
  • Ralph Jannelli

    I recently purchased a S&W Bodyguard with the laser. Like you said the safety is difficult to disengage but with the double action trigger and long trigger pull I feel comfortable carrying with the safety off.

    2 years ago
    • Eric Hung

      Hey Ralph, that's great to hear. The trigger just takes a lot of practice to get right.

      2 years ago
  • Jeff Smith

    What do you think about the Beretta Pico? I have read conflicting reports about it.

    2 years ago
    • Eric Hung

      Hey Jeff, it seems great in concept but haven't had any hands-on experience with it.

      2 years ago
  • Paul

    I own a Taurus TCP 738 which I upgraded with Galloway trigger and springs and NiteSighter sight dots. It is like the Ruger but fit my hand better. I am quite accurate out to 10 yards and have gotten used to the recoil. I have also shot the Bodyguard, Glock, Ruger LCP2 and Sig at rental range. Taurus and Bodyguard quite snappy but you can adapt. Glock surprisingly snappy for its size and felt cheap. LCP2 was pretty nice, especially with an LGS price of $280. Snappy but controllable and also pretty accurate for the size. Sig 238 was amazing if you can afford it. Felt and shot like a Swiss watch, as it should. Minimal recoil. Utterly smooth in every way. If buying today, I would buy Sig if money were no object and LCP2 if looking for a good price and good performance.

    2 years ago
    • Eric Hung

      Nice! Thanks for the insight.

      2 years ago
  • Alan McKean

    I have had a Bersa Thunder .380, a Ruger LC380, and now a Glock 42. For me, the Glock works the best. Significantly less felt recoil than the others, smaller, and lighter. It also fits my hand perfectly and I can shoot it better. IWB in a Multihoster or a Remora (works for pocket, too), it hides very well. All in all, I love it.

    2 years ago
  • Mike

    One of the big box sporting good stores ran the Ruger LCP 380 for $199 on black Friday. Boy, did I sure miss out on that one.

    2 years ago
  • M Sussman

    I have the Glock 42 and love it! It's a good fit for my small hands, target shooting is fun, it conceals beautifully and I have confidence with my ability to hit the target with a tight group of rounds. Try it, you’ll like it.

    2 years ago
  • JH

    I carry an 9mm HK P30SK and my backup gun is a hand-me-down Walther PPK/S (.380). The only .380 cartridge I'd ever use, is Precision One. You can check out ammo quest on YouTube for thorough ballistics testing and these are top for the .380.

    2 years ago
    • Alan McKean

      He posted another eval after his wrap-up because he discovered another ammo that out-performed the Precision One ammo. The Lehigh Defense Extreme Penetrator. It's what I carry now.

      2 years ago
  • Bill in La Mesa

    Another 380 that didn't make this list, but considered top 5 on many others is the Bursa FireStorm. At around $325, the solid metal construction and excellent build quality complement a very accurate and reliable pistol. A lifetime warranty you will probably never use is yet another reason you might be sorry you didn't consider a FireStorm, if you're interested in a nice 380.

    2 years ago
    • Mike

      I agree. Bersa 380 is the best 380 out there. No comparison in my book.

      2 years ago
    • Jeremy

      I have the Bersa thunder and love it... It feeds anything that I put in it. I haven't had a chance to get the firestorm yet but am looking forward to getting one soon. Bersa never gets the credit it deserves.

      2 years ago
    • ehung

      Haven't had a chance to try that out but thanks for the rec.

      2 years ago
  • Legend

    How come the Kimber Micro isn't on this list?

    2 years ago
    • ehung

      Hi, we had to choose our personal favorites although it's a great gun too.

      2 years ago
      • Singh

        Which gun to purchase which is light weight firm grip, small pocket size, but great accuracy?

        1 year ago
  • Charles V Failla

    Excellent review. I would suggest in this instance photos of the various Guns. This adds to the visual/narrative of the text.

    2 years ago
    • ehung

      Hi Charles, are the pictures not showing up on your end? You might need to refresh or clear your cache then.

      2 years ago
      • Mike

        I had no images on Chrome, but Firefox was fine.

        2 years ago
  • Mike Shelton

    I bought a ruger LCP I love it the long trigger pull makes it a excellent pocket pistol. I can forget and drop my car keys in my pocket without shooting myself.

    2 years ago
    • Bobo

      Never carry in a pocket (or elsewhere for that matter) without a proper holster...

      2 years ago
    • Alan McKean

      I had the same thoughts when I bought the Ruger LC380 but I found the long trigger pull made me less accurate so I went to the Glock 42. My groups are much, much smaller now. The long trigger pull didn't help in the pocket because I won't carry without a pocket holster. The Remora works great!

      2 years ago
      • James Peterson

        The lcp 2 resolved the trigger issue of the lcp 1. I think it is the best pocket ccw out there load it with the all copper Underwood self defense ammo and the lethality of the round will compare with a traditional lead 9 mm, which is the best of all possible worlds for cc. I own both lcp pistols. I prefer lcp 2.

        2 years ago
        • Mark

          Thanks for mentioning that the Underwood works in the LCP 2.

          2 years ago
    • ehung

      Great point Mike!

      2 years ago
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