Before I could pick my top Taurus TCP 380 holster, I had to consider how I would utilize this snappy little .380. Would it be my daily carry pistol? Could it serve as a backup gun? Is this the answer to carrying light in the warm summer months?
These are the possibilities I considered when selecting my favorite TCP holster: the DeSantis Ambi Nemesis Holster.
Allow me to answer my own questions. No, the TCP would not fill the role of my daily carry gun. Yes, it could serve as a backup. And yes, it could serve me on those days I want to carry light. Before selecting the best holster for your needs, let me help guide you through your own answers.
|Product||Where To Buy|
|DeSantis Ambi Nemesis Holster|
|Comforttac Ultimate Ankle Holster|
|Holster World Front Pocket Holster|
|Lirisy Ankle Holster|
Get Great Guns and Ammo Deals!
Taurus TCP 380 Holster: Considerations Before The Purchase
Primary vs. BUG
There are two roles any carry pistol can fill. Is your TCP a primary weapon or a backup gun (aka, BUG)?
Defining the primary role is simple. If you carry just one 380 pistol, that’s your primary. If you carry more than one gun, your primary pistol is the one you train yourself to draw first in a lethal force confrontation. Most people place their primary weapon in a position which can be accessed quickly.
Several reasons exist for carrying a backup gun. If you have emptied your primary gun, and the threat has not stopped, you use your BUG. In a situation where your primary gun malfunctions or is damaged (because it got shot), the BUG is all you have. BUGs could also be given to unarmed friends or family to defend themselves in active shooter situations.
The .380 ACP: Is It Enough?
Some would argue the .380 ACP cartridge is underpowered and should not be used in the primary role. Others would disagree and say that .380s, like the TCP, are lightweight and comfortable. People are more likely to carry smaller .380 pistols. Being armed with a .380 is better than not being armed with the bulkier 9 mm you left at home because it is too cumbersome.
Without getting into a lengthy discussion on ballistics, I can summarize a few points. The FBI has an ammunition testing protocol which measures factors pertaining to stopping an attacker.
They evaluate many things, but most of the emphasis is placed on penetration of the bullet into the target (the bad guy). In general, the .380 ACP lacks adequate power to penetrate enough to score well in the FBI protocol. The anti-.380 crowd points to this data to substantiate their argument.
However, .380 guns are easier to carry. The .380 ACP cartridge is shorter than the 9 millimeter, which causes it to create less pressure inside the chamber of the gun. This means .380 pistols, like the TCP, can be made smaller and lighter in weight.
On The Hip
One method of carry puts the gun on the strong-side hip. There are two ways to carry on the hip: inside the waistband (IWB) and outside the waistband (OWB). IWB holsters are designed to position the gun between your body and the inside of your pants. OWB holsters simply attach to your belt on the outside of your pants.
IWB carry provides more concealment than OWB. The gun is closer to your body, and the bottom of the holster is covered by your pants. On the other hand, OWB carry may offer more comfort because the pistol is farther away from the body. Since your TCP is a smaller gun, you may find minimal differences in comfort.
Smaller pistols lend themselves nicely to pocket carry. Not only are they small enough to actually fit in a pocket, they can also be effectively drawn from a pocket. Some may think a holster is unnecessary for pocket carry, but it does provide huge benefits.
Holsters cover the trigger. Recall the four firearms safety rules. Remember the one about keeping your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire? Even when the gun is in your pocket, it is still imperative to secure the trigger.
Good pocket holsters maintain the orientation of the gun in the pocket. If you need to draw, you want the grip of the gun to be the first thing your hand touches. Pocket holsters prevent the gun from rotating to the barrel-up position.
Ankle holsters secure your firearm around your ankle. Most attach with Velcro and are composed of some sort of elastic material. The gun is secured in the holster with an active retention device (snap, Velcro, etc.). They are used for deep concealment, but draws from the ankle are slower.
Before you buy a holster, you may consider how fast you want to be able to present the firearm. Training and practice will help you find a balance between ease of draw, comfort and concealment.
Personally, when I evaluate the capabilities of the .380 ACP, I lean towards carrying a larger caliber in my primary firearm. To me, the .380 is a caliber for a BUG. My primary 9 millimeter pistol stays on my hip. Depending on what I’m wearing, an ankle rig or pocket holster (on my weak side) makes the most sense for me to carry a TCP.
My Choices of TCP Holsters
Based on how I would prefer to carry the Taurus TCP 380, I have selected a variety of holsters.
1. The Top Pick: DeSantis Ambi Nemesis Holster
In case you haven’t guessed by now, my choice of carry for the TCP is in a backup role. I feel the DeSantis Nemesis fills this role well. It has a rubber (or rubber-like) material on the outside of the holster designed to cause friction inside the pants pocket. The wing at the base of the holster also aids in pocket retention on the draw.
The feature which impresses me the most in the Nemesis is the ambidextrous design. Typically, I would carry a backup pocket gun in my left front pocket (my off-hand side), but the Nemesis would allow me to carry on the strong side, too. On light carry days, this could serve as a holster for a primary gun.
- Pocket holster style
- Tacky outside material
- Slick inside material
- Interior foam padding
- Wing base design
- Basic design may fit different pocket styles.
- Fits multiple handguns
- The wing and tacky outside material keep holster in pocket
- Can be used in multiple pockets
- Foam construction may wear quickly
- Not form-fitted to the TCP
2. ComfortTac Ultimate Ankle Holster
Another BUG option for the TCP is the Ultimate Ankle Holster from ComfortTac. You may appreciate the deep concealment of an ankle holster, if you are concerned about printing from a pocket design.
The offering from ComfortTac is fairly minimal in design and versatile in the different guns it can carry. If you collect pocket guns, you may like the options the Ultimate provides.
- Neoprene ankle band
- Foam padding between the gun and the leg
- Gun retention strap with metal snap
- Available in two sizes
- Elastic holster fits multiple handguns
- Deep concealment
- Fits multiple guns
- Comfort of neoprene and foam padding combination
- Larger size may fit over boots
- Slow access ankle design
- Holster is not form-fitted to the TCP
3. Holster World Front Pocket Holster
I like leather. It is natural and forms to a pistol over time. Also, I’m more familiar with its characteristics. When buying a synthetic holster on the internet, it may be difficult to evaluate its durability from pictures and reviews. Leather is less of crap shoot.
Though the Holster World Front Pocket Holster isn’t custom designed for the TCP, the break-in process should form it to the Taurus for a solid fit.
- Pocket Carry design
- Leather construction
- Winged pocket snag
- Bonded nylon stitchin
- Durable steer hide leather
- Prominent wing to assist in draw
- Leather breaks up outline of the gun
- Leather will form to the gun over time
- Leather must go through a break-in process
- Once formed, holster may not work with other pistols
4. Lirisy Ankle Holster
The Lirisy Ankle Holster is similar to our other ankle option, but not exactly the same. The calf strap feature may interest those of you who seek an increased level of stabilization on the leg. The adjustable hand orientation could also be a plus for you lefties who wish to draw from the inside of your right leg.
- Neoprene ankle strap with foam padding
- Calf strap included
- Ambidextrous hand orientation
- Universal gun fit
- Elastic retention strap with metal snap
- Available in two sizes
- Deep concealment
- Calf strap prevents slipping
- Gun can be rotated around to accommodate left and right hand draws
- Fits multiple handguns
- Calf strap puts more surface area against the skin
- Not form-fitted to the TCP
5. Outbags LOB4S-TCP
I couldn’t complete this list without providing a holster option for a primary carry role. If the TCP is your primary, you might consider this hip carry option. The Outbags LOB4S-TCP is an inside the waistband holster which clips to your belt. IWB designs are still fairly concealable. Through practice, you may find it is the quickest draw, too.
• IWB design with belt clip
• Handcrafted and hand-dyed leather construction
• Protective clear coat
• Cured and hardened
• IWB design allows for easy access and quick draw
• Durable leather
• Form-fitted to the TCP
• IWB design requires an appropriate belt
• Offers less concealment than ankle carry (and possibly pocket carry)
In case you haven’t guessed by now, my choice of carry for the TCP is in a backup role.Check Price
For me, the DeSantis Ambi Nemesis best fulfills my Taurus TCP holster needs. Whichever holster you choose, consider the role of your TCP and how you can best carry it. After all, it can’t protect you when you leave it at home.
One thought on “Taurus TCP 380 Holster [Best on a Budget 2023]”
I have a large collection and quite a few of them Taurus pistols and revolvers. I’ve yet to have any issues out of any my Taurus guns. I’m a gunsmith, dealer, and ex-instructror. For the longest time I carried the 10+1 45acp millennium pro compact (not much bigger than a TCP) and a TCP as a back up. I let my wife carry the the TCP for a little while and I bought her a sig p238 (380acp 1911 style pocket auto) and it was no where near as accurate. I’ve also shot the keltec p3at, LCP, and p238 and none of them were as good. I even looked at the slim 9 for myself at one point and it wasn’t good for me or my wife either as it liked to twist in the hand under recoil. Many people experience that problem. I used to “fit” alot of female shooters for self defense. Most loved the TCP but some older women with weaker hands or arthritic hands would get the bersa thunder 380. It’s a bigger gun with a milder recoil spring and is extremely accurate and reliable. Get the TCP if you want a great inexpensive pocket 380 and if your hands cant rack a TCP then give the bersa thunder 380 a look.
Just some advice from a guy that works alot fitting women to a gun that works perfect for them,
Jonathan Hudsin of Hudson Arms