When it comes to concealed carry, I always look for a handgun that is easier to carry and draw. While I heard a lot of trash talk about the 380 pistols, I have found them to be quite reliable and comfortable. Not only are they compact, but they include extensive features that make it easier to conceal and carry.
These highly concealable pistols are actually widely used by law force agents and self-defense users. You can easily carry them with you in your pocket or in a belt holster where no one can see them. But the real question is:“Which is the best 380 pistol?” Well, read ahead to learn my take on how to choose the best 380 pistols as well as my favorite choices.
At a Glance: Our 6 Best 380 Pistol for Concealed Carry
- Ruger LCP 380 Pistol
- Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 Pistol
- Kimber Micro .380 Pistol
- SIG Sauer P238 Centerfire Pistol
- Ruger LCP II Centerfire 380 Pistol
- Walther PK380 Semiautomatic Centerfire 380 Pistol
- My Top Choice
- Background on the .380 Pistol
- Factors to Consider When Buying a 380 Pistol
- Features You Should Look For
- How to Make the Most of a 380 Pistol
- Top 6 Best 380 Pistols
My Top Choice
The Ruger LCP 380 Pistol is by far the best 380 pistols in terms of concealability. With a 2.75-inch barrel length and 9.6-ounce weight, it is comfortable to carry around. Also included is a checkered grip which makes it easier to grip and reduces recoil. Furthermore, it is quite reliable and ensures perfect target accuracy.
Background on the .380 Pistol
Most of the .380 Automatic Colt Pistols available in the market have been around since the 1900s. The modern ones may have more modern features; however, the basic design of these pistols is the same. John Browning at Hartford, Connecticut designed the gun and Colt manufactured it according to its high-quality standards.
These guns were incredibly easy to carry and draw. Furthermore, they were merely 6.75 inches in length and weighed about 24 ounces. This made it easier to carry the gun inside your pockets. As a result, they are called pocket rockets.
The Second World War saw an increase in the use of the 380 pistols. However, the pistols truly gained traction after the war as it became the weapon of choice for most detectives and agents. Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, and various other famous arms dealers carried a 380 pistol with them for protection.
After a century of customization and newer technology, the modern 380 pistol is even smaller and lighter. In fact, most 380 pistols weight about 18 ounces while the nominal length is 5 inches. Consequently, modern guns are not only highly concealable but they are quite durable as well owing to the newer materials.
Factors to Consider When Buying a 380 Pistol
Before you buy a 380 pistol, there are a few factors that you need to consider.
Purpose of Use
The first question you need to ask yourself is how you intend to use. Be sure you know the difference between concealed carry weapons and self-defense weapons. Concealed carry weapons are almost exclusively to be carried on your person. If you intend to keep it around the house or car, some of the other caliber guns may suit you better.
Size and Weight
Since you’ll be carrying the gun around, you need to ensure that it is small and light enough to be easily carried. If you choose a gun that is too small and light, you might have difficulties in mastering the weapon. On the other hand, guns that are too larger and heavy may be uncomfortable and might have problems fitting inside your jacket.
This mainly differs from one person to the other. If your hands are too small, going with a gun with a wider grip may not suit. In addition, it can cause stress on your palms. A comfortable fit will ensure a secure and firmer grip.
Furthermore, it will make it easier to handle any recoil. Also, for those who have bigger hands, some of these guns come with a finger rest magazine that allows for more space to rest your fingers.
If you’re already familiar with handguns, then choosing a 380 one might not be too hard for you. This is because you already have some idea of which features you like and which you don’t. On the other hand, if you’re a beginner who is looking for a 380 pistol, you might have to research a bit more.
You can also try borrowing from a friend to know what a specific gun feels and shoots like. Also, you can try renting one.
Revolvers vs. Semi-Automatic Pistols
The main decision is between choosing a revolver or semi-automatic pistol. I personally like the semi-automatic pistols more than revolver due to the slimmer and more concealable profile. However, if you like a simpler operation and handling, then you can choose the revolver.
On the other hand, revolvers tend to be harder to load and unload which can make all the difference between life and death in the face of any threat.
Features You Should Look For
When buying a 380 pistol, you need to consider which features you desire the most. Is it the sight? The accessory rail? Generally, these are the features you should look for:
Most 380 pistols are smaller in size. As a result of the smaller barrel, they use gutter sights. Gutter sights only involve two sight posts instead of three. The middle of the slide contains a trough. Also, you’ll find some offer adjustable sights while others offer fixed ones. I highly recommend the adjustable ones as they are easier to customize.
Another important feature is the trigger. The trigger pull mainly depends on the single or dual action of the pistol. A dual acting pistol may have a tougher pull as it performs two functions at once while a single acting pistol has an easier-to-pull trigger.
Additionally, consider the size of the trigger. If it is too large, it might not fit your hands.
Choosing the correct ammo will help elevate your shooting experience. There are basically two types of ammo on the market. This includes ball and hollow ammo. Hollow ammo, as you might be familiar, expands more while the ball ammo penetrates more. I recommend you go for the hollow ammo for self-defense purposes and the ball ammo for training purposes.
How to Make the Most of a 380 Pistol
If you don’t make the most of your 380 pistols, your gun might end up rusting in one corner of the room. You need to ensure you care for it properly.
You might never find the perfect pistol on the market, but who says you can’t make your own. Customizing a pistol can help you change it according to what you like. For instance, you may want to replace the long and heavy trigger with a lighter one. Or perhaps you may want to change the grip to a more textured one. Such customizations can help improve handling and performance.
Buy a Holster
Buying a high-quality holster can drastically improve the comfort and concealability of the gun. It can heavily affect how you carry the gun around. The best part is that since these guns are so small and compact, almost any holster will suit them.
You need to be completely familiar with your handgun. This involves knowing about any frequent jams and misfires. If you keep it locked up, then it might fail you when you need it the most. You need to hit the range and practice with your gun.
Also, the smaller barrels and the shorter sights might be new to you. You need to invest some effort and time to get used to the recoil.
Top 6 Best 380 Pistols
Ruger LCP 380 Pistol: Best Overall
The Ruger LCP 380 Pistol is the perfect solution for all your concealed carry needs. The Ruger is not only compact and lightweight, but it is deadly as well. With extremely reliable feeding, the pistol ensures maximum power when you need it the most.
- A capacity of 6+1
- Includes a hardened steel slide as well as nylon grip
- Features fixed front and rear sights
- 75 inches barrel length while the weight is 9.6 ounces
What Other Users Are Saying
Most users were impressed by the rugged and sturdy construction of the small gun. This is due to the hardened steel slide as well as the one-piece construction. However, this does not mean that the gun is heavy. In fact, the LCP is quite lightweight at 9.6 ounces. Also, it is compact which makes it easier to carry in your pocket or on your belt.
Furthermore, the checkered grip includes a nylon construction which strengthens the grip. As a result, you’ll find yourself with a secure yet comfortable grip. In addition to that, users noted that the LCP came with a finger grip extension floorplate that you can add to your magazine. This is perfect for those with larger hands.
On the other hand, there are a couple of fixed rear and front sights on the slide which help you acquire your target more accurately.
For a real-time review, watch:
- Compact and lightweight, making it easy to conceal
- Easy, comfortable and secure grip
- Can be used with all kinds of holsters
- Rugged and sturdy construction so it will stand the test of time
- Allows you to be accurate as it comes with sights
- Includes a pistol storage case
- No safety switch
- Recoil and loading may be too hard for women
Overall Rating: 4.9
All in all, the Ruger LCP provides you with the perfect threat-stopping power in a small package. With rugged and sturdy construction, it is bound to last a long time. Lastly, the Ruger’s reliable and smooth feeding ensures you’re always safe and sound.
Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 Pistol: Best Value for Money
In case you’re looking for a more affordable option that still includes all the bells and whistles, then the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard Pistol is perfect for you. Equipped with a Green Crimson Trace Laser, the pistol ensures you never miss a single shot.
- Barrel length is 2.75 inches while the weight is 12.8 ounces
- Includes Crimson Trace Green Laser Guard
- Features adjustable stainless steel rear sights
- Comes with two magazines
What Other Users Are Saying
The double action gun is what most users desire in a life or death situation. Since it uses dual action, this makes it easier and faster to engage. Furthermore, the lightweight and the compact size further enhance your ability to easily draw the gun out. Mostly, users were impressed by the slide lock that opens after the last shot. As a result, the gun is easier to reload.
In addition, the gun comes with two different magazines. One of these includes a flat butt plate while the other includes a finger rest butt plate. The ergonomic grip is yet another feature the users loved. The black polymer grip, when combined with the non-corrosive Black Armonite finish, makes for a durable and ergonomic pistol.
Moreover, it includes sufficient capacity of 6 to 7 bullets. Lastly, the real showstopper is the Green Crimson Trace Laser which makes it easier to shoot accurately.
For information, watch:
- Highly concealable and extremely easy to draw
- An ergonomic grip that is enhanced by a finger rest magazine
- Non-corrosive and durable finish to increase longevity
- Allows users to make accurate shots
- Easier to reload as the slide lock open automatically
- A little heavier than others
- Mag release is too easy to press
Overall Rating: 4.8
Overall, Smith & Wesson proves to be quite reliable due to the laser system. This makes it easier to shoot at targets accurately with minimal risk of any collateral damage. Also, it’s easier to load, use and conceal carry, all due to its compact size and lightweight.
The Kimber Micro with its mini size is the best 380 pistol for those who have smaller hands. Women, especially, can benefit from such a small and lightweight pistol. With exceptional safety features as well as a sturdy and durable frame, the Kimber Micro is the best you can get.
- Aluminum construction to add to the lighter weight
- Includes a thumb safety and a magazine release
- Single action trigger and includes steel sights
- 75-inch barrel length as well as 13.4 ounces weight
What Other Users Are Saying
Most users enjoyed the compact size of the gun. However, they, like me, thought that the gun could be a bit lighter. Regardless, they found that the aluminum and steel construction ensured a sturdy and durable construction that is bound to last ages. Furthermore, most users liked the thumb safety feature which made handling the gun much easier and safer.
The slide and magazine release is easy to use as well. Some users were disappointed by the single action trigger as it took more time to shoot. On the other hand, other users remarked on how the single action trigger made it easier and smoother to pull. Also included are steel sights that help you position your gun in line with your target.
Moreover, a flared ejection port helps increase the reliability of the gun and ensures smoother feeding. It includes a magazine capacity of about 6–7rounds.
Watch how it performs:
- Incredibly reliable and smooth feeding
- Easy and smooth trigger pull
- Includes a thumb safety feature to ensure a secure experience
- Durable and non-corrosive stainless steel and aluminum construction
- Compact and easy to carry
- Heavier than other options
- The single action design takes more time to shoot
Overall Rating: 4.7
The Kimber Micro Pistol is your best bet when your life hangs by a thread. Its reliable feeding and smooth trigger pull ensure you waste no second in defense. Due to its small size, it is extremely easy to carry by folks of all sizes.
Sig Sauer is one of the best pistol brands with reliable and high-quality guns in its armada. So, it’s no shock that their P238 Centerfire pistol is among the best 380 pistols on the market. With a small and compact size, they are quite easy to conceal and draw.
- Barrel length is about 2.7 inches while the weight is 15.2 ounces
- Includes removable night sights
- Rugged steel slides as well as anodized-alloy beavertail frame for durability
- Comes with a lockable steel case
What Other Users Are Saying
The Sig Sauer Centerfire Pistols include an all-metal frame that adds durability to the gun. This can include the anodized-alloy frame as well as the steel slide. Users found that these also contributed to the lighter weight of the gun. A feature many users loved was the G10 Piranha grips. Basically, the grip is textured which allows you to get a better grip on the pistol.
Users found that the magazine capacity of the pistol, 6+1, was quite sufficient for most concealed carry purposes. Where others weigh about 10 ounces, this pistol weighs 15 ounces. However, you can easily overlook the fact due to the excellent craftsmanship. The night sights are adjustable and can be easily replaced. They ensure you never miss your target.
Also included is a lockable case for those moments where you don’t want to carry the gun around. In addition, it features reliable and smooth feeding to ensure high-quality performance.
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- Sights are removable and adjustable
- Construction includes rugged materials that add to the durability
- Easy and smooth trigger pull due to the single action mechanism
- Highly concealable and extremely easy to carry
- Includes Piranha Grip that leads to better traction
- Single action mechanism involves more time
- A little heavier and little bigger than other guns in this list
All in all, the Sig Sauer P238 pistol is one of the best 380 pistols in terms of durability and ruggedness. Its expertly crafted materials are non-corrosive and ensure that your gun lasts a long time.
Another best 380 pistol from Ruger, the LCP II is not only easy to conceal but it comfortable to carry as well. With a lightweight and compact design, the LCP II can fit in almost every holster you come across.
- Hardened Steel slide as well as nylon-textured grips
- Single action trigger for a smoother pull
- Also includes fixed sights
- Barrel length is 2.75 inches while the weight is 10.4 ounces
What Other Users Are Saying
Buyers are initially attracted to the small and lightweight design which makes the LCP II easier and more comfortable to carry. It includes a single action mechanism that allows for a smoother trigger pull. Also, the trigger breaks clean to help minimize any pulled shots while shooting. Furthermore, the large, textured grips allow for easier handling and provide you with a sure and strong grip.
Not only this, but the grips help in reducing recoil. Moreover, the construction of the LCP II screams durability. Users were deeply impressed by the one-piece construction and the non-corrosive materials used in the gun. Other than that, users enjoyed using the fixed rear and front sights that allowed for quicker target acquisition.
Users also found that the slide was quite easy to use and move. Furthermore, it stayed open after the last shot, making it easier to replace the magazine. Lastly, the package includes a pocket holster as well as a 6-7 round magazine.
Interested in watching it perform in real-time?
- Textured grips provide a secure grip and minimize recoil
- One-piece durable and non-corrosive construction
- Quicker target acquisition due to the front and rear sights
- Easier to slide and reload the magazine
- Smooth trigger pull where the trigger breaks cleanly
- No thumb or trigger safety
- The wide grip which may be more difficult to hold
Overall Rating: 4.5
With a couple of advantages over its LCP predecessor, the LCP II leaves no stone unturned in trying to provide you with best 380 pistols. While it may lack safety features, it still is undoubtedly packed with various other features that completely justify buying it.
Like this Ruger? Check out the SR9C here.
If you’re looking for a more reliable concealed carry weapon, the Walther P380 is the way to go. With multiple features such as polymer sights as well as an eight round magazine capacity, it is one of the best 380 pistols on the market.
- Barrel length of 3.66 inches as well as a weight of 18 ounces
- Includes a slim grip and various accessory rail mounts
- A magazine capacity of 8–9 rounds
- Tenifer coated barrel and grip reduces corrosion
What Other Users Are Saying
Unlike some of our other choices, the Walther is a bit heavier and larger. However, this also results in a larger magazine capacity for those who need it. Users with smaller hands found that it was quite easy to operate slide and easy to grip the pistol due to the slim grip. Furthermore, the slide and the barrel are coated with Tenifer that resists corrosion and add to the life of the handgun.
Users also loved the low profile, three-dot polymer sights that allow you to acquire your targets much easier. Moreover, a screw adjustable rear sight allowed for windage. Another remarkable feature is perhaps the loaded chamber indicator which allowed users to quickly find whether the gun is loaded or not. Also, the magazine release lever is ambidextrous which makes it easier for left-handed users.
In addition, the P380 also features an accessory rail where you can customize accessories such as a flashlight or a laser.
Want an expert’s opinion? Watch:
- Easy to use for everyone due to slim grip and ambidextrous lever
- Allows you to customize and add your own accessories
- Easier to aim due to various rear and front sights
- A durable and non-corrosive coating
- Includes a loaded chamber indicator which makes it easier to know when the gun is loaded
- Can be a little temperamental if used with cheap ammo
- Not for pockets due to a larger size
Overall Rating: 4.4
All in all, the Walther P380 Pistol is perfect if you need a gun with larger magazine capacity. It is durable, non-corrosive and easy to use for folks of all sizes.
Other Great 380 Pistols
- Browning 1911-380 Black Label Pistol
- Glock Subcompact Slimline 380 Pistol
- Beretta Pico 380 Pistol
- Remington RM380 Centerfire Pistol
Overall, the 380 pistols are best suited for pocket concealed and carry. They are small, compact and lightweight making them easier to carry. However, the Ruger LCP 380 Pistol is perhaps the lightest of them all weighing about 9.6 ounces. As a result, it stands as my top choice for the best 380 pistols.
It features a one-piece construction that lends to the durability of the gun. Furthermore, it can be used with all kinds of holsters and features a sight for accurate target aims.
When you’re ready for something heftier, maybe it’s time you check out Magnums.