The .380 pocket pistols also known as mouse guns or “get off me” guns can be a good choice for personal defense. Prices vary from $200 to $700, some current full size handgun model may be a better choice to go. But, if you’re looking for good concealment carry with a decent bite, then the .380 caliber is a good choice to consider. Before we get into the list, a quick word about .380 pocket size pistols and a pragmatic opinion. Besides the concealment attribute, most of these pistols aren’t that great. Full size semi-auto pistols are reliable, but the child size pistols are hindered with malfunctions during that melee.
While fishing to get the gun out of your pocket and wind up with a weird grip or you’re trying to create space when this 250 pound guy is hammering you from above – these are the things that tends to lead to malfunctions. Ok, lets get to the meat of this – Here’s a quick list of good .380 ACP pocket pistol for concealed carry to see if it works for you:
Bersa Firestorm .380
Ruger LCP II .380
Ruger LCP Max
Kahr CW 380
Sig Sauer P238
S&W Bodyguard 380
Let’s go over some pros and con. Down Side Firearms chambered in .380 caliber are typically lightweight, which can make it more difficult to manage recoil, leading to decreased accuracy. The design of the firearm also plays a role in recoil management, with a high grip design being more effective at controlling recoil than a low grip design. Additionally, a larger grip size offers better control and improved handling. Finally, it’s important to note that the .380 caliber is not as powerful as a .45 caliber firearm.
Upside So the positive is that its a highly concealed gun, but you still need to be aware of deep concealment. This would make it harder to access in a stressful situation. Another upside is the caliber, I know what we said earlier about bigger caliber.
But a closer examination against a .38, a .380 velocity is faster. Yes, it doesn’t hit as hard as the .38 due to the different grain weight. (158 grain vs 95 grain) In the context of personal defense shooting, its all about putting multiple shots to the vital points (center mass) of the body is the way to go.
Quick Word on Ammo Another equation to add to your equalizer is the ammo. Go with a decent hollow point ammunition. If you’re experienced with hollow points, then you know that all hollow points are not the same in terms of expansion when it hits the target. The only real answer is for you to get some and test it out then choose which ones to go with. Check out these .380 ACP self-defense rounds here.
Ok, here’s the description on these fine .380 pocket pistols:
Bersa Firestorm .380
Similar appearances to the Walther PP/K, considered reliable and accurate. Can pack 8+1 with an extended mag otherwise its 7+1.
Ruger LCP II 380
The newer LCP II 380 version is made from polymer with a 2.75″ barrel. A lightweight at 10.6 ounces can pack six with one in the chamber. If you’re looking for a bargain then this is it – MSRP $299. The only complaints is that it has a long and heavy pull. If you like lasers, it does come with a Veridian pre-installed.
Ruger LCP Max
This is the 3rd Gen LCP series gives you the ability to carry 10+1 rounds of .380 ACP while maintaining that pocket size concealment. Also weighing in at 10.6 oz, being this light also means that the pistol can be somewhat snappy as you’re puttin lead downrange. So be sure to have a firm grip.
This is also a polymer frame gun and the smallest from this list. The barrel is only 2.5″ with a weight of 10 ounces. This trigger is smoother than most with good sights. One thing to know is that you really gotta play with a variety of ammo, its not exactly plug and play. Some ammo makes the cycling awful on this piece. Some folks have said using the regular ball ammo is fine.
Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380
This Bodyguard weighs in at 12.8 ounces, sports a long heavy trigger pull with double-strike capability. This means if you squeeze the trigger and all you get is a “click”, pulling it again allows the cartridge primer to be struck a second time, hopefully firing it this time. This also comes with a Crimson Trace laser.
Everyone knows Glock makes good reliable guns. Their G42s performs very well. The barrel is longer than the other at 3.25″ and weighs more than the others at 13.76 ounces. This may be the reason why you can shoot quickly and accurately and not have your muzzle flip too much. This obviously has a higher price tag at $440.
Sig Sauer P238
This is more expensive than the G42, MSRP at $629. With a great name brand, the gun also performs well. The P238 “is 1911 Inspired”. This is an all metal gun which gives you extra control on the recoil, very accurate. Weighs in at 15.2 ounces with a 2.7″ long barrel. If you’re not used to taking a 1911 apart, then don’t get this gun.
One of the lightest .380 subcompact at 8.3 oz empty and 11 oz when loaded. However, many owners are saying though this little sucker is not a .357 Magnum but shooting this thing does bite. Its not fun shooting it. Trigger pull is at 5 pounds.
The following ballistic gel tested conducted a while back from Lucky Gunner shows some .380 loads produced surprisingly good results, most demonstrated either good penetration without expansion or decent expansion with subpar penetration. Only a couple of loads managed to exhibit satisfactory performance in both areas. The .380 ACP cartridge is frequently regarded as “underpowered,” but careful selection of ammunition can help to alleviate some of its shortcomings.
Mouse guns that roars with .380s are good if that’s what you want for personal protection but bear in mind. Realistically, you will need to rain down multiple lead to stop someone. So if you’re going to carry a pocket-sized .380, make sure you test fire it as much as possible, keep it clean, well-lubricated and practice your malfunction clearance drills.
Do you pocket carry a .380?