Considering 380 pistols were derided at first, these pistols are now becoming extremely popular. Originally, handguns chambered in .380 ACP caused concern due to their lack of power when compared to their full-sized counterparts using larger cartridges.
Since the introduction of 380 pistols, ammunition technology has come on in leaps and bounds, with smaller cartridges now delivering a much greater expansion and energy towards a target. As power becomes less of an issue, and the positive attributes of having a pistol that is lighter and smaller, not to mention more concealable (considering most US states prohibit carrying guns ‘on show’), then it is easy to see why 380 pistols are gaining serious popularity. Here we look at the best 380 pistols available on the market today.
5 of the best 380 pistol options available
The Sig Sauer P238
Sig Sauer have become one of the most well-known firearms manufacturers in the US. Sig Sauer have a knack of creating pistols that appeal to the widest market possible, and the Sig Sauer P238 is no different. It is very stylish and compact, and comes is many different textures and finishes (everything from gloss to rosewood grips), to appeal to as many different people as possible. It is designed as a self-defence pistol for short range, and is single action only (SAO). It weighs around 15 ounces, making it heavy enough so you have good grip control, but light enough to conceal easily (although it is the heaviest pistol on our list). With casual users in mind, Sig Sauer have also made sure that recoil and trigger pull is extremely smooth, making this pistol the best 380 pistol when it comes to fun shooting on the range. The one major flaw we found with the Sig Sauer P238 is the safety. The frame mounted thumb safety does not feel very natural, and new users could find it difficult to using the slide mounted safety when in a situation full of pressure and emotions. A fantastic gun for self-defence, but make sure you practice with it on the range first.
The Glock 42
These double action only (DAO) pistols have had a tumultuous journey on their way to becoming a firm fixture in many people’s best 380 pistol lists. Originally, they were not taken seriously at all, due to their reliability concerns and ‘flimsy’ plastic frames. On paper, the Glock 42 seems like the most unimpressive 380 pistol on our list. This pistol weighs around 14 ounces and is very narrow, making it seem like a gun for dwarves. However, get out onto the range, and you’ll find the thinner dimensions feel much more natural when handling, whilst grip is very firm. It is also one of the smoothest 380 pistols to operate, with the lowest recoil force of all 380 pistols. Even new users will be able to accurately fire shots from around 15 yards. The best 380 pistol for reduced felt recoil.
Smith and Wesson Bodyguard 380
This is another 380 pistol that has come a long way since launch. Originally viewed as a ‘woman’s toy’, this double action only (DAO) pistol has garnered a large following due to its ease of use (recoil force is very good, as is gun grip), steel body parts (making this pistol feel quite substantial, although it does add to its weight at just under 13 ounces), and its unique selling point, the aiming laser. The laser is built into the frame and is activated by 2 soft buttons on either side of the grip, very well located to be pushed easily using your index fingers. What’s more, you can alternate between constant and pulsating modes, and the laser automatically shuts off after 5 minutes of use. The laser can also be easily removed for servicing, or for cleaning. When on the range, you’ll find that this laser works brilliantly, even in bright midday sun, and additionally, the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard 380 has some of the largest front sights we’ve seen on a 380 pistol. All this creates a weapon that is the best 380 pistol when it comes to accuracy – even beginners will do very well.
Kahr have built up a solid reputation for having some of the best pistols around when it comes to solid, study construction, and the P380 is no different. This is a double action only (DAO) pistol made from stainless steel and black polymer. Even when fully loaded, it weighs less than 10 ounces, making it one of the lightest P380 pistols on the market, and one of the most easiest to conceal. If you are looking for the best 380 pistol when it comes reliability and quality, then the Kahr P380 is your best bet. Accuracy is also not compromised in any way. The DAO trigger is smooth, which helps you to keep your sights aligned as you fire. We found it hard to fault this 380 pistol, with the only call to attention being to remember when reassembling the gun (after you have disassembled for cleaning) that the spring system and position of the slide stop has to be perfect. Otherwise the Kahr P380 may malfunction. One of the best 380 pistols on the market today.
Quite possibly the most popular 380 pistol in the US market at present, the double action only (DAO) pistol is also the lightest pistol on our best 380 pistol list, weighing in at a tiny 9.4 ounces (due to its glass filled nylon frame). Not only that, Ruger have made sure it is possibly the most concealable 380 pistol on the market; even the hammer doesn’t protrude (an issue with most other 380 pistols) When you first handle the Ruger LCP, you’re likely to think that it’s a toy gun. Don’t let’s its tiny dimensions and weight fool you. Trigger pull is very smooth, and the magazine can be reloaded and fired within seconds. Accuracy is also very good. The only small issue we had was that this pistol is so small, some users with larger hands may find that their pinky finger is not able to fit onto the hand grip, leaving it dangling. This may cause some issues with accuracy. The best 380 pistol, if concealability is your number one priority.
What do you think – what is the best 380 pistol?
The are going to be a lot of opinions on what is the best 380 pistol! Do you think there is a 380 pistol that is better than the pistols listed above? If you do, please feel free to share your thoughts on what you think the best 380 pistol is in the comments section below.