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?
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.
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 the Best Taurus TCP 380 Holster Options
Based on how I would prefer to carry the Taurus TCP 380, I have selected a variety of holsters.
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.
Desantis Ambi Nemesis Holster for Taurus TCP 380 – Features
Pocket holster style
Tacky outside material
Slick inside material
Interior foam padding
Wing base design
Basic design may fit different pocket styles.
Foam construction may wear quickly
Fits multiple handguns
Not form-fitted to the TCP
The wing and tacky outside material keep holster in pocket
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.
Holster World Front Pocket Holster for Taurus TCP 380 – Features
Pocket Carry design
Winged pocket snag
Bonded nylon stitching
Durable steer hide leather
Leather must go through a break-in process
Prominent wing to assist in draw
Once formed, holster may not work with other pistols
The LPV 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.
LPV Ankle Holster for Taurus TCP 380 – Features
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
Calf strap puts more surface area against the skin
Calf strap prevents slipping
Not form-fitted to the TCP
Gun can be rotated around to accommodate left and right hand draws
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.
OUTBAGS USA Leather IWB Holster for Taurus TCP – Features
• 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
IWB design requires an appropriate belt
Offers less concealment than ankle carry (and possibly pocket carry)
Form-fitted to the TCP
Taurus TCP 380 Holster – Conclusion
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.
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.