With the recent increases in terrorist attacks and random violent attacks throughout the world, more and more people are turning to concealed carry. The last 10 years we’ve seen an explosion in the sale of concealed weapons. One of the best concealed weapons out there is the 380 pistol. The reason is simple – it’s extremely small and versatile. To help you guys, we’ve built out this list of some of the best 380 carry pistols with the help of our readers and our staff writers.
The 380 Pistol – “Pocket Rocket”
The .380 is known as a “pocket rocket” due to the amount of power this semi automatic carries. Sales of 380 guns have grown and more people are looking for the best 380 gun models out there.
Our list doesn’t mean that other .380s aren’t great.
Yet I’ve seen many 380 gun models that consistently have issues, or fail to iterate on quality.
I’ve also been seeing a lot of debate amongst gun owners regarding 9mm versus .380 ACP. Our take on this is that modern tech is allowing smaller cartridges to pack a lot more “bang” and expansion than previously expected.
Tech and design advances have allowed for smaller and lighter ammo to become not only cheaper but provide one of the best options for self defense scenarios.
We realize that this post might turn into a heated debate for those pistol lovers out there, so let’s take a look at some fact from fiction.
A lot of people believe that guns using a .380 ACP are generally for newbies as the 9mm short has some of the smallest recoil of all pistols. The idea is that smaller guns are what new shooters should use, not heavier pistols.
This, unfortunately, isn’t exactly true.
When we talk about recoil we need to realize it isn’t just about the cartridge size. Take a look at the image below to see what I mean.
See the .380?
It’s one of the smallest cartridges in the picture. While size definitely dictates how much damage a bullet will do and the level of recoil, there are still other factors that come into play.
Gun’s vary in build and size. The internal components and mechanics are also a factor. A gun chambered using a .380 ACP are pretty small, meaning that they’re pretty light.
If you read our bullets and caliber guide you’ll remember that lighter guns actually don’t help with recoil. The heavier the gun the less recoil (generally speaking).
I think it’s better for newer shooters to use a heavier pistol when just starting out.
Heavier Gun = less recoil.
Less gun recoil = better control.
Design of the Gun and Recoil
The build of the gun also plays a huge role in controlling recoil. Generally speaking if you grip higher up on the gun you’ll get better control over recoil.
Holding your higher up allows you to transfer recoil down your arm more effectively.
Your pistol grips are also extremely important. The better constructed the grip the less recoil you’ll experience.
Smaller grips equal way less control which again feeds back into my theory about smaller guns being not the best choice for new guys or gals.
Either way these are some of the things that I think people should be aware of when going to purchase a new .380.
The best test of any pistol is to take it to the range and see how it performs and how you feel the recoil is.
Remember, everyone is different so it’s vital to pick a firearm you are comfortable with.
Mechanics and Power of the 380 Pistol
Every cartridge is made differently. When it comes to self defense a lot of people think that getting the biggest round possible is the best idea. The problem with big rounds is they need big guns and big guns are heavy which utterly defeats the purpose of concealed carry.
That being said, I will admit the .380 is less powerful than some of its more fiercesome brothers and sister.
But that being said. Self defense should be about defending oneself effectively not blowing off an assailant’s limbs.
While the .380 is slightly smaller than a .38 special cartridge it’s almost as powerful.
This is due to an overall faster velocity. The advantage of the .380 is in concealability and functionality. Carrying it around is incredibly easy and that’s why it’s one of the top choices for concealed urban carry.
Things I Love About the 380 Pistol
Here they are in no particular order:
Extremely easy to conceal
Bring it anywhere
Cheaper than some of its counterparts
Easy to find bullets
Lots of customization available
How to Shoot the 380 Gun Effectively
Since the .380 is smaller you’ll be able to pull of shots a lot faster than a larger pistol. This is an advantage and also a disadvantage.
If you aren’t used to shooting rapidly I’d suggest aiming for the center mass for maximum chance of impact.
So for self defense aim directly for the chest and try to shoot in smaller 2 shot bursts to avoid excessive recoil. I’d recommend hollow point ammo for your .380. Please make sure to check if your state/county allows purchase of hollow point.
The advantage of hollow point is that expands rapidly causing much more damage.
The most important thing with any pistol is to practice.
Spending time at the range getting used to the feel of your gun is vital to using it properly in a self defense situation.
A .380 pistol is a tool, and like any tool you’ll need to not only break it in, but also get a solid feel for your sidearm.
One of the biggest rookie mistakes is never using your gun and just “saving” it in case of a self defense situation, the problem with this approach is that when the time comes and panic sets in you’ll have no idea how to use it effectively.
Remember, practice makes perfect – especially for shooting.
What is the Best 380 Pistol for Pocket Carry, EDC and Self Defense?
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Hey everyone I'm Chris. Founder and editor at Gun News Daily. This site was originally started by my father who passed it on to me. Gun News Daily has been reporting on gun news and conservative politics since 2001. We are the original gun news source. Life-long Second Amendment Supporter.