July 2013

Old Against New Pocket Pistol Duel: Mauser HSc vs. Ruger LCP

The Mauser HSc has been around since 1936, but is this pistol long in tooth compared to the newer Ruger LCP? Or does its old-world quality stand up to today’s gun-making techniques?

Pocket pistols chambered in 380 ACP may seem like a recent trend, but the 380 cartridge has been around since 1908. During WWII, Colt, Walther, Mauser, Beretta, Sauer and others built small, compact pistols for this round. There are numerous examples of these old-school pistols still available. The HSc was Mauser’s attempt at building an inexpensive pistol in 1936. It was the first time Mauser used stamped steel in its pistol designs, and the handgun was originally made for the commercial market. But during WWII, the German military purchased more than 160,000 HSc pistols, mostly for the country’s army and naval forces. The HSc was produced and imported through 1977, and online and in used gun–shop cases, you can still find these sleek pistols. And they can be had for a song. So we wondered, if we had our druthers, would we chose an old-school HSc with its pedigree or would we prefer a contemporary pocket pistol such as the Ruger LCP, a more recent and contemporary design that’s actually a knock-off of the Kel-Tec P-3AT pistol?

Though these pistols may seem at opposite ends of the spectrum for self-defense use, they were both designed for ease of manufacture, consistent reliability, and the ability to be easily concealed. Our testers compared the two pistols on cost, utility, and concealability. Here is what they found:

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