January 8, 2018

The 5 Best 380 ACP Pistols

Gun Tests readers ask all the time "What gun should I buy?" We answer that question in every issue of the magazine, but many concealed carry shooters want more specific advice, and many CCW shooters have asked me about 380 Auto recently. So here are my "Top 5 380 Auto Pistols" based on previous tests in the magazine, plus my own personal experience with these models.

[Updated April 11, 2019]

What many concealed carry consumers do is use Gun Tests grades and write-ups to identify problems and things to look for when purchasing a firearm. But the final decision has to be made by the buyer, because a gun should fit the shooter like a pair of well-worn shoes. That requires very personal decision-making for the CCW licensee. With that said, here are five handguns I believe stand out above the others if you’re looking for a handgun with modest recoil.

Top 5 380 ACP Pistols

No. 5: CZ Model 83 380 Auto

You’ll have to find this one used, because it was discontinued in 2012. This 380 caliber test gun was slightly used, had modest bluing wear on the sides of the slide near the muzzle, and a few other signs of light wear. The all-steel frame gave this gun somewhat more weight than most 380s, a factor for concealed carry concerns. We got accuracy groups on the order of 2.5 to 3 inches at 15 yards. We were impressed by the intricacy of this design. It wasn’t beautifully finished inside, but the work was well done and extremely sturdy looking. There were no problems at all with the gun. It fed, fired, and ejected perfectly. Again, we had fun shooting it fast, so if you buy one of these, be sure to stock up on ammo because we think CCW shooters will like shooting it, too.

CZ Model 83 380 Auto

CZ Model 83 380 Auto

No. 4: Glock 42 380 Auto Subcompact Slimline

The function of the firearms in this test were as portable, concealed carry self-defense guns, and their sights weren’t made to win matches. How much aiming does a concealed-carrier with a 380 caliber handgun have to do with a bad guy 15 feet away? Lasers made us able to shoot them on par with much bigger guns. When we added a Viridian Green Laser R5-G42 Reactor to the G42, it unquestionably helped our shooters’ accuracy. This laser model automatically ignites instantly when drawn from a supplied leather and polymer holster. Additional holster options are available from many holster manufacturers.

Glock 42 380 Auto Subcompact Slimline

Glock 42 380 Auto Subcompact Slimline

No. 3: Kimber Micro Carry Advocate Brown 380 Auto

The Kimber, tested in September 2015, featured three-dot sights with tritium inserts, a big advantage on a 380 caliber concealed carry pistol. The Kimber uses the internal extractor common to other 1911 handguns. However, the Kimber does not use a grip safety. In this design, with a pistol bordering on tiny, a grip safety would have been difficult to incorporate into the design. The frame of the Kimber extended in a generous beavertail tang that aided in comfortable firing. The pistol disassembled much the same as any other 1911, except that the pistol featured a metal one-piece guide rod and wound recoil spring. The Kimber also uses the angled camming surfaces of the Browning type instead of the 1911 swinging link. When the pistol is disassembled, there is a loaded spring under the slide stop to maintain pressure on the stop. Reassembly isn’t difficult, but attention must be paid to the small wire ejector, which must be depressed. The Advocate showed superior fit and finish, had tritium sights, and a spare magazine. It would have earned an A grade except for its too-heavy trigger.

Kimber Micro Carry Advocate Brown 380 Auto

Kimber Micro Carry Advocate Brown 380 Auto

No. 2: Ruger LCP-C Custom No. 3740 380 Auto

In the October 2016 issue, "380 ACP Shoot Out: Ruger LCP Takes On Remington, Rock Island," we noted we have tested several iterations of the LCP 380 in the past. In the June 2008 issue, the inaugural version of the 380 caliber graded an A-. In the July 2013 issue, the #3701 model ranked a B+, the same grade as a Ruger LCP-LM No. 3718 with laser earned five months earlier. Then in the January 2014 issue, we tested a laser-equipped LCP-CT, fitted with a Crimson Trace red laser. It earned an A- grade. In the Custom version recommended here, the sights and trigger action are the primary improvements concealed carry consumers will want that earn it a slightly higher grade than previous versions.

Ruger LCP-C Custom No. 3740 380 Auto

Ruger LCP-C Custom No. 3740 380 Auto

No. 1: Rock Island Armory Baby Rock No. 51912 380 Auto

Tested in the August 2016 issue, this got a Grade A ranking from our testers. It is not a pocket pistol by any means, but in benchrest accuracy testing, the Rock shot a best group of 2.0 inches effort with the blistering hot Black Hills Ammunition 60-grain Xtreme Defense at 1250 fps. The Baby Rock is by far the most comfortable pistol in this list to fire from a bench. The 380 caliber Baby Rock is a true miniature 1911. The pistol features a plunger tube on the frame and also uses a grip safety, something the other small 1911 handguns do not. The slide is machined from steel. The extractor is an external type. The ejection port is generous. There are two sets of cocking serrations front and rear. The forward set is smaller but effective. The sights are excellent for a small pistol suitable for concealed carry.

Rock Island Armory Baby Rock No. 51912 380 Auto

Rock Island Armory Baby Rock No. 51912 380 Auto

Gun Tests Reader 380 ACP Favorites


Colt Mustang Pocketlite

The Colt Mustang Pocketlite .380 Auto was available in blued or stainless finish while it was made. The all-steel Mustang was available in three finishes: blued, stainless, and nickel. The Pocketlite was introduced in 1987, and its all-steel brother a year later. Colt’s made the guns for a little over ten years. They were discontinued when the Colt company decided to concentrate on military contracts a few years ago.

Because of their usefulness as being among the smallest pocket-carry weapons in a meaningful caliber, both types of Mustang remain very popular. Prices for good samples of the Colt Mustang and Mustang Pocketlite may be expected to continue to escalate, and these Colts ought to be good collectibles in the long haul, in our opinion.

colt mustang pocketlite

More Colt Mustang coverage here:

A Quartet of Pocket Pistols from SIG Sauer, Glock, Kahr, and Colt
Pocket Pistol Pair-Off: We Test A Set of .380 Surplus Handguns
Colt Mustang Pocketlite 380 Auto
Colt Mustang XSP Pocketlite Polymer O6790 380 ACP

Walther PPK/S

The PPK/S is a double-action-first-shot pistol. A long press of the trigger both cocks and drops the hammer. The slide then cocks the hammer for subsequent single-action shots. A slide-mounted decocker safely lowers the hammer from the cocked position. This lever also acts as a safety. When manipulating the safety, it wasn’t difficult to reach the lever to move it to the Safe position, and it wasn’t difficult to use the decocker to lower the hammer. The grips gave adequate purchase. Earlier PPK pistols had a reputation for the slide cutting into the palm of the hand. We did not experience this. The double-action first shot of the pistol was heavy at 16 pounds, normal for the Walther PPK series. The single-action press was crisp enough at 6 pounds. The sights are smaller than the other pistols, which is a drawback. Walther lists an XS replacement sight set on its website, which would likely improve this pistol’s overall grade a full notch if installed.

walther ppk/s

More Walther PPK/S coverage here:

Walther Announces Relaunch of the Classic PPK and PPK/S Pistols
380 ACP Pistols: Ruger’s New LCP Wins Against PPK, Taurus
Revisiting the Walther PPK
A Trio of Pocket .380 ACPs: Steer Clear of NAA’s Guardian
.380 Autoloaders: FireStorm Beats Walther PPK, Hi-Point CF
Walther PPK .380 ACP

Comments (59)

How about updating this article and bringing us up to 2020

Posted by: Gunny506 | January 17, 2020 9:43 AM    Report this comment

There is, in my not so humble opinion, no reasonable substitute for the one that started it all the Walther PPK or its elegant successor the Sig P232! I own 3 Walthers and two P232s one alloy and one stainless frame. They just cannot be beat!

Posted by: oldsetter | December 22, 2019 9:12 AM    Report this comment

I can tell you the Sig P238, the Sig P250, and the M&P EZ are great 380's, and each for similar and differing reasons. Both Sig's have a proven reliability. Try to find a Sig P250 in 380 for sale...owners keep them. Too bad Sig didn't follow up with a P320 in 380. Both EZ, P238, and P250 slides rack easily for those who have less strength. The P238 has a proven track record as a small concealed carry. I researched, purchased, and fired many makes of 380's before trusting my wife's life to these three. We all have differing views, but I'd ask you to check these out, as I did, before making a purchase, especially for a loved one.

Posted by: Bob R | December 19, 2019 8:34 PM    Report this comment

Seems a bit dated reading .... mmmmm
Experience proves
anything Springfield or Crimson Trace (laser)
will be a happier experience than what I'm reading here

Further, why go 380 when same money, size, etc. in 9mm gives more defense power?

Of course, anything less than 45/357 is not my cup o tea ... so each to their own

I usually agree with this source in gun testing/reporting, that said.

Posted by: Islands7 | December 19, 2019 12:11 PM    Report this comment

I've found that my Sig P-238 is the best .380 that I own. I finally found a Baby Rock and was expecting great things... However.. The trigger pull is around 15 pounds which accounts for God awful accuracy. It is also really difficult to rack. Weapon is clean, etc. A great disappointment and I'm thinking I should send it back since they do back their products. I have their 1911 in 9mm which outshoots my Kimber and the 22 TCM is a good handgun. If anybody has a clue to getting this thing running before I send it back I'd appreciate your input. Fred

Posted by: drfred | November 15, 2019 3:56 PM    Report this comment

Colt Pony, Colt Mustang both pocket lite versions are fine for what they are intended to do. That said An old LLama in 380acp is a bit larger & heavier for those that wish for a 1911 mini it's superlative is its 32acp twin. Sights could be better on all of them but that's a personal choice easily done in a variety of ways to satisfy the owners preference.

Posted by: oncewas | November 15, 2019 12:51 PM    Report this comment

I have owned, shot, and carried the Ruger LCP "custom" red trigger for 3 years.
While there are more powerful compact handguns in terms of knock-down power, the LCP is so light, flat, and easy to carry in a pocket totally unnoticed.

Unlike others, I appreciate the fact that it does NOT have a safety - just something else to focus upon should a confrontation occur. I do not find the recoil of this piece to be more than I can handle.

IF I had any complaint about the Custom, it would be the magazine release. In a panic situation, I can see a possibility of my right thumb accidentally hitting the magazine release upon drawing it from the right front pants pocket..............so I make myself aware of the location of that button when practicing a draw.

Ruger Custom LCP..........great simple product with no unnecessary frills. Sad that it is no longer produced. Bo in North Carolina

Posted by: bocash3 | November 15, 2019 10:34 AM    Report this comment

Huh? Shameful! This article in my old favorite Gun Test magazine?

.....my "Favorite auto with a small engine (less than 300 hp) is: a Ford F150, Cooper Mini, Chrysler Town and Country, Jeep Wrangler, and an old by well preserved Dodge Dump Truck. ....

Posted by: jimmyo | October 22, 2019 8:29 PM    Report this comment

I own a Glock 42, 48 and the S&W 380 EZ from their custom shop. The EZ is hands down the most accurate and easy to manipulate CC hand gun I own. The others are not bad, but S&W hit a home run with this custom 380.

Posted by: Gunrunner2016 | October 22, 2019 3:15 PM    Report this comment

Still thinking about the S&W M&P EZ as a CC pistol. Would like a chance to shoot them to see how they do with my 71 year old hands!

Posted by: dogwalker10 | October 2, 2019 12:03 PM    Report this comment

SIG P230 with Hogue wraparound grips

Posted by: BMWTwisty | September 26, 2019 10:36 AM    Report this comment

I have been carrying a Keltec P3AT for 16 years; every time I think about replacing it and try out other 380's, I keep the P3AT. It has never failed at the range after break-in and is very accurate compared to the heavier 380's on the market. I am very satisfied with it.

Posted by: Jeff C. | September 26, 2019 10:27 AM    Report this comment

I used to own a Walther PPK/S and found it to be highly unreliable and would jam frequently. The integrated sights were also very hard to use.

Posted by: Jim Parker | August 10, 2019 5:18 PM    Report this comment

Skipping comments on better calibers for pocket carry ...
MUCH Better 380s are
Sig Sauer for gals
(new) Springfield Armory guys
(untested) Taurus w/light+laser (only red, sorry)

IMHO: best selections can be equipped with a laser (green preferred) but a light only if it's integral, not a clothes hook

The worse was Ruger for gals when handling, racking and recoil
The rest listed are really big enough so as to beg the question, get a more powerful caliber in same size?

Posted by: Islands7 | August 7, 2019 3:09 PM    Report this comment

All very beautiful about the 380s , but I,Don't change my Glock 27 with+2 for anything ...

Posted by: Tired | August 6, 2019 1:39 PM    Report this comment

I own a Browning BDA in Nickel (or shiny anyway) bought new in '88 (Sweet gun). I own a full dozen Pocket 380's. Two Glock 42's (they are his & hers, biggest of my pocket 380's, very nice, accurate, reliable)
I have a S&W Sigma 380 (Ugly, blocky, it has a fixed barrel attached to the short gripped frame, and in spite of having the worst sights of all I own, it is consistently accurate and reliable.)
I have a Colt Mustang XSP (now called the Mustang Lite) I love it except it has GI sights and ho hum accuracy, external safety.
I have a Springfield 911, It has great sights, most accurate pocket 380 I own, external safety. I actually carry it in a ankle holster as a Bug (It can use my Mustang magazines). The Mustang and 911 are not 'baby' 1911's, quite a bit different.
Remington RM-380, metal frame, easiest to rack of any, very long, but smooth and easy trigger pull, mediocre sights like most, but accurate and reliable, Trigger pull longer than I like, but a good gun for arthritis sufferers. I have a regular Ruger LCP, Custom LCP and the LCP II. I have added a Hogue Handall sleeve to the grips of the Custom and LCP II, really helps with the brutal recoil of the LCP. I like both guns, the Custom for it's better sights, the LCP II for a better trigger. These two are carried around the house. Not easy to rack.
I have a bigger, but still pocket sized Ruger LC-380, most can rack it, 7+1 so slightly higher capacity, has a external safety, still pretty flat in pocket, good, but small three dot sights, recoils less than most, accurate and reliable.
Kahr CW-380, my smallest, accurate, soft shooting, very picky with ammo, even some FMJ, but great with what it likes. Hardest to rack of any others I own.
Taurus Spectrum, not bad in any respect, not a standout for me. My son carries his daily.

I might have missed one, but my time is up.

Posted by: Pandaz3 | August 6, 2019 11:28 AM    Report this comment

I tried both the Ruger LCP (hammer fired) and the S&W Bodyguard and chose the Bodyguard. They are similar but I preferred the feel of the Bodyguard.

I'm surprised the Bodyguard it isn't included in the list.

Posted by: ID-Engr | August 6, 2019 9:40 AM    Report this comment

I am truly glad the imaginary baby rock is #1 on the list. Having looked hi and lo for one since 2016 I myself would have named the Starfleet phazer a better weapon of choice since neither one exists.

Posted by: may5183 | June 30, 2019 2:55 AM    Report this comment

F Y I:

The Sig P938 is NOT a .380 as you indicated, but rather a 9mm; however,
the Sig P238 IS, in fact, a .380.

Easily confused, they are otherwise virtually identical, except, of course, their calibers !!!

Posted by: ElTejanoViejo | June 27, 2019 2:27 PM    Report this comment

Looks as if everyone has their favorite 380. My daily carry in warm weather is the G42 and when I'm feeling nostalgic I get out my trusty Colt Government 380 which I had night sight put on special and it is extremely accurate and reliable. All my tactical courses were with Glock so the familiarity with them is a given. I'm still an old timer with 1911 love affair, but I have modernized my armory a bit. :)

Posted by: IndyMac | June 27, 2019 12:48 PM    Report this comment

Even though it wasn't mentioned, it was also the first pistol I ever purchased, I like the Browning BDA380, it has the same operating controls as the Beretta 92FS, carries 13+1 rounds, and is in every one I've used besides mine, 100 percent reliable. It's only drawback was it's really nice bluing. You have to stay on top of her or she will start to rust. Accuracy is also very good!!!

Posted by: Leighton45 | March 7, 2019 6:04 AM    Report this comment

Quit screwing around with the sissy .380. The Rohrbaugh, in NINE MM, is smaller and lighter than EVERY .380 on the list.

Posted by: 1lugerfan | March 3, 2019 12:20 PM    Report this comment

I really like my Beretta 85 380. I love the unique dot on v-dot sights. It is very well made and shoots much like my 92fs.

Posted by: Popnrock | March 3, 2019 12:01 AM    Report this comment

"Best" based upon what? Modest recoil? I might agree that in my hands, the LCP Custom would not recoil that much, but in less experienced hands, or in the hands of a less stout person, recoil would be significant, especially compared to the CZ or Baby Rock.

While I like many of the comparisons and conclusions made in your publication, I am befuddled when I read so many articles comparing apples to oranges. OK, they are both round, but that's about it... You can't honestly compare a pocket pistol like the LCP to the CZ 83! They are two completely different weapons built for different purposes. Each has advantages over the other, depending on its intended use.

You're never going to please everyone, because there's always someone out there who has a personal favorite and will be offended that you didn't mention it. That's just the way of it, and I understand. You have to limit the selection if you're ever going to get the article published in a timely manner, while keeping it informative, yet succinct.

I am more and more dismayed by some of the comparisons I've seen in the past two years. It is as though someone is getting desperate looking for something to write for. If you're going to test something, then do it. List the pros and cons, what you liked, and disliked, and let us make the decision whether or not to purchase. If you're going to rate one gun against another, make sure they are in the same category and were made in the same era.

Posted by: Raven 6 | March 1, 2019 8:21 AM    Report this comment

You surprised me. The Baby Rock is a joke. The dealers don't even have them.
The trigger on the new Springfield Armory is the best by far. Super smooth, crisp and no creep.

Shame on you.

Posted by: bobacehigh | February 28, 2019 6:42 PM    Report this comment

I'm also wondering why the Colt Mustang wasn't on this list when 2 other 1911 builds are. It's a great pocket pistol with minimal recoil.

Posted by: JamestownNC | February 28, 2019 5:00 PM    Report this comment

I'm dismayed that no Colt is mentioned. I've got a Mustang Pocket Lite that performs with all ammo,after market Tritium sights added to it make ideal for its purpose. I've also acquired a Colt Pony some what smaller & lighter my wife likes the easy slide retraction and has no trouble with the trigger. I may mount a laser on the trigger guard of it for her.

Posted by: oncewas | February 28, 2019 11:13 AM    Report this comment

You have mentioned the CZ-83 and the fact that it is no longer produced, but yet you fail to mention the Sig p230/P232 (which is no longer produced)? The Beretta models 84/85 are still in production and these were omitted? In my opinion, I beleive these pistols are better than some of the ones you've reported on and should not have been left out.

Maybe this article should have been titled... "Five best .380's priced in the $300-"400 range"?

Posted by: NEBeachcomber | February 28, 2019 10:55 AM    Report this comment

I have the 2nd rated Ruger LCP-C Custom and one of the few objections I have to it is it's lack of a safety. It is very compact and a nicely made pistol, but somewhat difficult to disassemble and reassemble. I believe this model Custom with the red trigger is no longer made, but you may be able to find it at gun shows or on the internet. However, I would not buy a gun without a safety...........my mistake. Also, the newest model of the LCP is an ugly pistol compared with this older model. I would go with the CZ model 83 ( if you can find one ) or the number 1 rated Rock Island Baby Model ( although it is quite a bit larger than the Ruger LCP-C Custom ).

I also have two Bersa Thunder 380s ( the normal and the concealed carry ) which are very similar to the Walther PPK. I find them well constructed and attractive pistols. However, in shooting them I was surprised by the recoil ( kick ) of these Bersa pistols which was greater than some larger caliber pistols in my possession . Perhaps this is because of the weight and size of these pistols. Regardless, I would put these on this list of desirable 380 pistols. They also have a safety ! I am 84 years old and a gun NEEDS a safety !!!

Posted by: Nautical Art | February 28, 2019 10:33 AM    Report this comment

Kahr P380 Perfect

Posted by: wjbii58 | February 28, 2019 10:26 AM    Report this comment

Any current review of .380's that does not include the Smith & Wesson .380EZ is silly. Try it .. you'll agree.

Posted by: RangerGus | February 28, 2019 9:59 AM    Report this comment

Apparently these writers have not tested/shot many 380's. A shallow and lackluster useless article. Unusual for this outfit.

Posted by: Jack Zeller | February 28, 2019 8:35 AM    Report this comment

I disagree but for the first time with evaluations from this source
The Sig is best
and no mention of top rated Springfield Armory's new contribution
LCR always a joke but not the Ruger name, tops in other departments like LCR357

Posted by: Islands7 | August 29, 2018 3:17 PM    Report this comment

Check out the new S&W shield EZ.

Posted by: Cliffdropover1 | August 29, 2018 6:37 AM    Report this comment

I carried a Walther PPKS as a backup gun and off duty gun for years. I then carried it as a CCW gun, eventually replacing it and giving it to my son, who carries it still. As a LEO I has to qualify with it just like my duty pistol, which I did at the Expert level every year, including from the 25 yard line.
The only problem I ever had was that I have very meaty hands and the slide sliced my hand open the first time I shot it. I honed the rear edges of the slide and that problem went away.
As for accuracy, reliability, and trigger pull, all were excellent. I carried a round in the chamber all the time using the DA/SA as it is designed. It should be on the list!

Posted by: GrandpaHalfdime | August 28, 2018 12:07 PM    Report this comment

I own a Walther PPK/S in 380 and I do not think it would be suitable as a carry pistol. The slide is a total bear to rack. Due to that, I have had misfeeds on the first round. I think the slide spring is stiff because it is a blowback piston. A locked breech pistol with a lighter spring might be the way to go.

Posted by: Uncle_vito | August 28, 2018 12:00 PM    Report this comment

No one ever mentions the SIG P238, an excellent 1911 style pistol in .380.
I believe it received an A or A- in a Gun Tests review.
Though they are not inexpensive they cost less than the Kimber and make a great pocket carry pistol.

Posted by: skot | August 28, 2018 11:29 AM    Report this comment

I generally carry a Glock 43 and also have an LCP for times when the 43 just won't do. However my favorite is my Glock 19 Gen 3 which I am able to carry about 10% of the time.

Posted by: Corpsman1 | August 28, 2018 10:07 AM    Report this comment

I have a FEG 380, and it shoots excellently,

Posted by: Python09 | August 28, 2018 9:56 AM    Report this comment

The Sig 938 (with Viridian green laser sight) was my daily pocket CCW for over two years without any complaints whatsoever until I made the mistake of letting my adult daughter with two teenagers take it to the range . . . which was the last time it saw the inside of my pocket ...ever ... again, as it quite suddenly became "her" daily CCW . . . Her street confidence and range results both improved most rapidly (i.e. - immediately) !!!

Posted by: TejanoViejo1 | August 28, 2018 9:51 AM    Report this comment

A few, brief comments:

As has been noted, the LCP II is much improved over the original version. Kimbers are great guns, but they are simply too finicky in terms of ammunition for me. I have owned several Sig P238s, and they would probably be my first choice had I not purchased a P938 for just a little more. My reason: 9 mm ammo is too cheap to pass up and more effective than .380.

And finally, my favorite carry gun is the .22 magnum Smith & Wesson 351PD revolver. Lighter in weigh than all but maybe one of your five choices, at least as many round capacity and more than most of your five, and just a great little shooter. To my way of thinking, if you feel comfortable with a less potent round than a 9 mm or a 38 special revolver, I personally feel just as comfortable carrying a .22 magnum revolver than I would a .380 semi-auto. It's also way less expensive.

Posted by: KeithWM | August 28, 2018 8:55 AM    Report this comment

I like the CZ83. I have one in 9 Makarov and I find it rugged, reliable, and pretty darned accurate.

Posted by: Whiskey Bill | August 28, 2018 8:35 AM    Report this comment

I have for years had the perfect pocket-carry -- Taurus PT 788 .380 with an extended mag. It offers complete concealment and easy access.

Posted by: WesTexan | August 28, 2018 8:33 AM    Report this comment

I agree with most of the selections in this article, and am vey partial to the Baby Rock, but was very surprised to not see listed, my personal choice for first place...the ageless and dependable Walther PPK. I Castries on as a backup weapon for 30+ years and have yet to find a weapon that is superior.

Posted by: Charles Lane | January 31, 2018 6:58 PM    Report this comment

I have a Browning Black Label with a 4.25" barrel. Flat and light, great for summer carry. It launches a 90 gr. Underwood at 1280 fps.

Posted by: jwash111 | January 11, 2018 8:23 AM    Report this comment

Meh . . . a very lackluster article based on what?

Posted by: blackgunsmatter | January 10, 2018 9:46 PM    Report this comment

I own the Kimber in 9mm and I really like it.. I also own the Sig 238 and have never had one, not one hiccup out of it. I LOVE that gun. It has night sights and I believe its still in production . I hope to buy the 938 once I'm convinced Sig has all the bugs out of it. It's about the same size as the P238 but in 9mm.

Posted by: Menace | January 10, 2018 2:35 PM    Report this comment

I usually AGREE with preferences from this site, as well as Hickok45 presentations. This one, however has me scratching my head ... perhaps the longer barrels = more tiny 380 "punch" was the factor that deviated these choices away from others that better fill the bill using this theme in the title? When shopping for gals, with them & at range, this criteria seems more foolproof when they are self protecting:
1. CT green laser (w/light optional), no other laser that stays on or is red (for night only)
2. Night sights
3. Will not fail to feed 90 Grain FTX - Hornady Critical Defense = best expansion + penetration ref. lucky gunner labs self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests #380ACP
4. Most friendly to handle & conceal was ...... SAUER P238 Night Sights, Tan finish
5. Best fit holster or purse & automobile carry - all must cover trigger

Posted by: Islands7 | January 10, 2018 7:00 AM    Report this comment

An often overlooked .380 is the FEG Mark II, deep blue black, steel, well made 380 that is smooth, doesn't need 'dehorning', great finish all around and shoots like a dream due to the ergonomics,thumb rest on the left grip and weight. Several 380ties are not a lot of fun to shoot. a Hungarian-made FEG Mark II AP semi-automatic pistol, double-action (DA/SA) pistol is patterned after the world famous Walther PP. It features a 3.9" barrel, and fixed sights. Like the Walther, the hammer is exposed, and there is a slide-mounted safety/decocker. Bottom line you won't find a better shooter and it is affordable, I like steel guns. Imported until 1998 but available on GB or Private Sales.

Posted by: CitizenJohn | January 9, 2018 6:43 PM    Report this comment

I have an original, made in Germany, Walther PPK purchased in 1966. I bought the piece when I was being readied to ship out from Fort Polk, LA. The ship out never happened but I have had the pistol ever since. It has always behaved 100%, but does not like cheap-ass ammo. I usually carried Hi-Vel ammo but it does bite a bit with that load. I later obtained a PPK in .22LR. That is sweet to shoot but less powerful than some prefer.

The Ruger LCPs has a REALLY nice trigger and is so affordable now it's hard to believe. I actually now carry a Glock 43 with a CT laser. Its a 9mm and not a lot larger than these .380s.

Posted by: GreyFox 73 | January 9, 2018 5:02 PM    Report this comment

The newer Ruger LCP II should be on this list also as well as the Beretta 380.

Posted by: cimarron68 | January 9, 2018 3:53 PM    Report this comment

The LCP II is much improved over the original LCP, and is very reasonably priced and widely available.

Posted by: gnw | January 9, 2018 2:24 PM    Report this comment

I have had two Sig P230's and never had a problem with either.

Posted by: nursesteve | January 9, 2018 2:03 PM    Report this comment

I have to agree that my Sig 232 stn stl w/ factory nite sights probably should be counted among the best. I bought one for myself and one for my daughter some years ago when the $$ cost was reasonable;
My post ( or should I say my vent) has to do with Gun Reviews: Some years ago I purchased a Bersa Thunder based on a "Glowing Review" that I read in a magazine that I trusted. This gun had been De-Horned and since My Sig 232 was ever increasing in value I wanted something less valuable for every day carry. This Bersa could not fire two rounds without stove piping or jamming. additionally it would only chamber ball ammo, any hollow points wouldn't even load in the Mag. I sent it back for factory repair twice with no change in performance. They finally told me that I must be limp wristing the gun. Keep in mind that I have never had any problem firing the other (5) hand guns that I have chambered for .380...I now carry the Ruger LCP .380 and have for the last two years with no problems. Bottom Line "lessons learned" : Like buying shoes..."Never buy it until you try it" Thanks

Posted by: Firebird | January 9, 2018 11:09 AM    Report this comment

At the range that a little pistol like these would be used I would think that the .380 that held fifteen or more rounds would be more important than the .380 that is accurate but only holds five rounds!

Posted by: skylinefirepest | January 9, 2018 10:48 AM    Report this comment

If you are left handed - substitute the Sig p238 for the Kimber Micro Carry - You can get Sigs with an ambi safety on some P238 configurations or buy the parts and do it yourself on the others. I own three and am very happy wit them.

Posted by: TominCA | January 9, 2018 10:10 AM    Report this comment

You forgot the Sig which scores high on any list.

Posted by: Cliffdropover1 | January 9, 2018 9:23 AM    Report this comment

Whatever happened to the Browning 380 semi auto and the Beretta 380 semi auto? Both quality made firearms with a proven and lengthy track record. Both are still available in both new and used condition. They are not cheap but you get what you pay for. The Browning is an older design from the 1910 version and it came in a target version to get around the 1968 Gun Law about imported small firearms. The Beretta both in the 1934 WW2 version as well as the new hicap version make superb pistols. Look them up. Also how about the Mauser HSC 380 semi auto made by both Mauser and the Italian version? Also WW2 versions are still out there

Posted by: Douglas DiToro | January 9, 2018 9:22 AM    Report this comment

I my not so humble opinion you missed two of the best:

The venerable Walther PPK or PPK/S the one that could easily be said is the one that started it all, that is still in production since 1929!

My personal favorite the SigP230/232. A little heavy in all stainless but there is an aluminum alloy frame model. A gorgeous rock solid performer.Every time I find one in reasonable condition I buy it. Not brought to this country since 2014 so there are occasional safe queens found.

Posted by: oldsetter | January 9, 2018 8:48 AM    Report this comment

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