At only 11.5 ounces, the ultra-compact Beretta Pico pistol is easy to carry all day long. Chambered in .380 ACP, the Pico was designed by Beretta to be flat and snag free, so that it slips into a pocket or holster without any obvious bulges. Even in a diminutive package, this gun comes equipped with three dot sights. MSRP: $398. (<a target=blank href=http://www.beretta.com/en-us/pico/>http://www.berettausa.com</a>; 800-929-2901)
The Bersa Thunder 380 has long been popular with shooters. The gun uses all-metal construction with a traditional DA/SA action. Capacity is 7+1, offering slightly more firepower than many other .380 ACP handguns. The Bersa Thunder 380 has a slide-mounted, manual safety and three-dot sights. A 3.5-inch barrel is standard. Unloaded, the gun weighs 20 ounces. There are a variety of models and finishes available. (<a target=blank href=https://bersa.eagleimportsinc.com/bersa/firearms/thunder-series>http://www.bersa.com</a>; 723-493-0333)
The original single-action Colt Mustang has always been popular with shooters. The new generation of Mustang XSP takes the design into the 21st century. The XSP uses a polymer frame, which helps lighten the gun to 11.8 ounces. An undercut triggerguard, along with an enhanced grip texture, allows shooters to get a higher, more secure grip on the pistol during operation. Magazine capacity is six rounds. MSRP: $672. (<a target=blank href=http://www.colt.com/Catalog/Pistols/380Mustang®.aspx>http://www.colt.com</a>; 800-962-2658)
Introduced in 2014, the Glock 42 is the company’s first .380 ACP handgun for the U.S. civilian market. Experienced Glock shooters will immediately notice how much thinner this gun feels when compared to standard Glock pistols. Unloaded, the G42 weighs 13.76 ounces. Though small and light, recoil is very controllable in this gun. It has a 3.25-inch barrel and holds 6+1 rounds. MSRP: $480. (<a target=blank href=http://us.glock.com/products/model/g42>http://us.glock.com</a>; 770-432-1202)
Part of the company’s Value Series, the CW380 pistol from Kahr really does offer a lot of bang for the buck. Weighing a mere 10.2 ounces (unloaded), this polymer-framed pistol uses the same double-action-only (DAO) trigger system found on other Kahr pistols. The slide is a mere 0.75 inches wide. The barrel is slightly longer than 2.5 inches and the mags hold six rounds. MSRP: $419. (<a target=blank href=https://www.kahr.com/Pistols/Kahr-CW380.asp>http://www.kahr.com</a>; 508-795-3919)
One of the smallest and lightest .380 ACP pistols on the market, the Kel-Tec P-3AT is a great gun for deep carry. It hides easily in a pocket or on an ankle, but sill gives a shooter 6+1 rounds of defensive firepower. The DAO trigger has a relatively light 5-pound pull. Weighing only 8.3 ounces, the aluminum-framed P-3AT is ideal for all-day carry. MSRP is $318. (<a target=blank href=https://www.keltecweapons.com/our-guns/p-3at/pistol/?hc_location=ufi>http://www.keltecweapons.com</a>; 800-515-9983)
Light and small, the Ruger LCP took the concealed-carry market by storm when it was introduced. Popular with armed citizens and law enforcement officers alike, the gun is small enough to carry discreetly in almost any situation. The gun weighs less than 10 ounces unloaded, and it is only 0.82 inches thick. The Ruger LCP holds 6+1 rounds and has a concealed hammer. MSRP: $389 (<a target=blank href=http://www.ruger.com/products/lcp/models.html>http://www.ruger.com</a>)
Chambered for the .380 ACP cartridge, it is the bigger brother to the company’s LCP. The LC380 has a larger grip and sights, making it an easier gun for many people to shoot. It weighs in at 17.2 ounces and holds 7+1 rounds. A very thin gun at only 0.9 inches wide, the LC380 makes for an excellent concealed-carry option. MSRP: $449. (<a target=blank href=http://www.ruger.com/products/lc380/models.html>http://www.ruger.com</a>)
One of the highest quality .380 ACP handguns, the P238 has become one of the best-selling pistols made by Sig Sauer. The P238 is a single-action handgun that’s similar in operation to a 1911-style pistol. A standard P238 magazine holds six rounds. The gun can be had in a variety of finishes and with standard or night sights. Currently, the company offers more than a dozen variants of the pistol in its catalog, including the version with rosewood. MSRP: $679. (<a target=blank href=http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductList/pistols-p238.aspx>http://www.sigsauer.com</a>; 866-345-6744)
This compact, polymer-framed pistol from Sig Sauer is slightly larger than some other pocket .380 ACP pistols, but in exchange the shooter gets very good sights and a grip that fills the hand. The 20.5-ounce pistol ships with a six-round magazine and an extended eight-round mag. There are few external controls to hang up on clothing during a draw, and the gun features a double-action-only system. MSRP: $513. (<a target=blank href=http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/p290rs.aspx>http://www.sigsauer.com</a>; 866-345-6744)
The M&P Bodyguard 380 pistol has been an unqualified success for Smith & Wesson, and it’s not hard to understand why. These guns are small, lightweight (only 12 ounces unloaded) and affordable. The gun also holds 6+1 rounds of ammunition, and S&W recently upgraded the M&P Bodyguard 380 to include a Crimson Trace laser as a standard feature. The MSRP with the laser is $449 and without a laser the M&P Bodyguard retails for $379. (<a target=blank href=http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_832547_-1_792654_757781_757781_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y>http://www.smith-wesson.com</a>; 800-331-0852)
In spite of being a compact pistol, the Walther PK380 is not a tiny handgun that will get lost in your pocket. The additional size and weight of this gun—a 3.66-inch barrel and 19.2 ounces, respectively—help the shooter better control the gun due to less recoil and a longer sight radius when compared to smaller pistols. The gun holds eight rounds in each magazine, a distinctive advantage over other .380 ACP pistols. MSRP: $399. (<a target=blank href=http://www.waltherarms.com/pk380/>http://www.waltherarms.com</a>; 479-242-8500)
A respected icon in the concealed-carry market, the Walther PPK is a dependable choice for a shooter wanting a .380 ACP pistol. Available in both blued and stainless steel finishes, these metal-framed pistols hold six in the magazine and weigh in at 22.4 ounces (unloaded). These guns use a traditional double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger and feature a pocket-friendly width of only 1 inch. MSRP: $699. (<a target=blank href=http://www.waltherarms.com/ppk/>http://www.waltherarms.com</a>; 479-242-8500)
With advances in ammunition and gun design, the .380 ACP is very much alive in today’s handgun market. Some might even say that the cartridge is experiencing a renaissance because of the number of guns being sold in this caliber.
Modern bullet design and load development have greatly improved the .380 ACP cartridge for civilian self-defense. Just a few decades ago, many firearms instructors hesitated to recommend this caliber for personal protection. Now, there seems to be no shortage of people willing to stand behind the performance of the premium defensive loads on the shelves today.
Manufacturers offer a wide range of defensive handguns for the .380 ACP. These range from the very small for discreet carry to medium-sized pistols that offer much larger sights and reduced recoil. Here are a few of the .380 ACP handguns for concealed carry on the market today.
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by Personal Defense World / May 4, 2015