Best .380 Pocket Pistols for Personal Defense [Updated 2022] By: AmSJ Staff


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.image

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
  • Glock 42
  • S&W Bodyguard 380
  • Kel-Tec P3AT

Let’s go over some pros and con.Down SideThe .380s are usually light in weight, this makes it harder to dampen the recoil thus affecting the accuracy of the shot.Another thing that can affect the recoil is the design.Having a high grip helps in handling recoil better than low grip.The grip size also helps in better control of the gun. The bigger the better.Last its obvious that the caliber is not the same caliber power compared to a .45.

UpsideSo 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.

38 special vs 380
38 Special vs .380 slug

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 AmmoAnother 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 .380imageSimilar 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 380The 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 MaximageThis 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.
    • Kahr CW 380This 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 .380This 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.
  • Glock 42Everyone 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 P238This 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.
  • Kel-Tec P3ATimageOne 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.

Bulk Ammo In-Stock

Final thoughtsMouse 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?

Looking to get some Ammo, have a look below.

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