What Are Some Great Pistols Chambered in .380 ACP?

from Primary Arms

There is a huge variety of semi-automatic handguns chambered in .380 ACP. But which ones are the best buy for your needs? Use this list as a guide to determine which ones will best fit your needs and what will give you the best deal. Compact pistols chambered in .380 ACP are wonderful to have on hand, especially when you are wanting something to keep around for home or personal safety. The .380 is often called a “pocket rocket” because it is easily concealable. Let us look at which pocket rockets are the best.

1. Ruger LCP Max

The LCP Max conquers the largest issue .380’s face; the lack of magazine capacity. This .380 holds 10 + 1 rounds and it is only 10.7 ounces unloaded. Talk about small, light, and well loaded! It is made with alloy steel barrel with patented cam to help reduce overall recoil. With the weapon being so small, recoil can be an issue that makes people turn away from purchasing this weapon.

However, it is a quality weapon that will help you to protect yourself. If you purchase it off the Ruger website, you will also receive a soft pocket holster and a magazine holder. For $380, you cannot beat this deal.

2. Kahr CW 380

At 10 ounces and a barrel length of 2.5 inches, the Kahr CW 380 is one of the smallest handguns available. Do not let the lesser-known brand Kahr get you down; they have made a weapon that packs a punch. Some marksmen have said that the CW 380 is picky about the brand of ammunition used.

This is one thing you want to take into consideration before purchase, and it may serve you well to do a test run at your local firing range. If you are able, find someone who has some experience with this particular .380 ACP and ask what types of ammunition worked best for them. The magazine holds 6 + 1, but you can upgrade your magazine to hold 8 + 1. For about $450 this lesser-known but well-made pistol can be yours.

3. Sig Sauer P238

Alternatively to Kahr, Sig is a very well-known brand that has always made quality weapons. The Sig website says that the P238 is “1911 inspired.” One look at the aesthetics of this pistol and you will understand why. It is quite a good-looking firearm. The weapon is made of all metal, making it heavy duty and it has some extra weight behind it to help guard against recoil.

If you are worried about a .380 ACP recoiling on you, test out the Sig Saur P238; it will not leave you disappointed. The slide is made of stainless steel, and the rest of the P238 is made of aluminum alloy. This handgun is 15.2 ounces and the barrel length is 2.7 inches. The P238 may not be for you if you are a novice, however, as it is a bit complicated. If put back together incorrectly, the gun could be damaged. For $670, this beautiful piece of machinery will not let you down physically or aesthetically.

4. Glock 42

Even if you are new to the firearm scene, Glock is a brand name you have heard of. They are one of the most popular, well-known, and trusted gun makers. Glocks are known for being accurate and reliable. Even with a presumed expectation of the smaller handguns having more recoil and being less accurate, the Glock 42 holds up to the prospects of its predecessors.

With a barrel length of 3.25 inches and weighing in at 13.76 ounces, the G42 is the smallest they have put on the market, but not at the expense of what we have all come to know and love. The only downside with the G42 is the magazine capacity; it only holds 6 + 1 rounds. While 7 rounds should be enough to do the job in a protective situation, it is always nice to have a couple more rounds “just in case.”

However, if this is the only downside to owning this weapon, Glock is doing something right, and only at the price of $400. This polymer-framed gun is worth looking at.

5.  Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380

If self-defense is your goal, could there be a more fitting name for a weapon? Smith & Wesson is another reliable brand. The Bodyguard .380 is another polymer-framed handgun. It is a tiny handgun, with a barrel length of 2.75 inches. It weighs 12.8 ounces, a few more than some other options on this list. However, unlike the aforementioned guns, the S & W Bodyguard .380 is fitted with an integrated Crimson Trace laser.

It also has a heavy trigger pull with double strike capacity, which means you can pull the trigger again with hopes of it firing in the event of a malfunction. Few have reported a malfunction in the trigger pull or the firing of the weapon, but it has been said that the Bodyguard works best with specific brands of ammunition. 

You will want to either talk with someone who has extensive experience with using the Bodyguard or check one out at your local firing range or gun store. Another detail S & W has added is an external safety, even though it may be difficult to engage or disengage depending on your grip strength. Even with the laser upgrade, this weapon is only $475.


There you have it; some great pistols chambered in .380 ACP. There are many options for you to consider, each with its own quirks, pros, and cons. Each handgun will protect you and your loved ones in the event of an emergency, and each is small and light enough to carry with you daily. Look through your options and see which fits you best; there is something on the market that will fit your unique needs!

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