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The 10 Best .380 Pistols for Concealed Carry

We have all heard it before. A .380 pistol is so underpowered – it will not hurt anything that’s larger than a mouse – hence, it has earned the nickname “mousegun.”

Skeptics say it simply doesn’t have enough stopping power to get the job done, and will only anger the attacker and cause him to retaliate.

However, while the ammo issue is probably warranted these days, doubts about .380 pistol’s stopping power is pretty much outdated nowadays. A .380 has now more stopping power which is largely attributed to the improvements in bullet design.

Since this pistol has an iconic compact design, the .380 is a very popular choice for concealed weapons permit holders.

Also, the .380 is a great option for a backup weapon.

For this post, we’ll talk about the advantages of carrying this weapon and we’ll also go through some of the best 380 pistol for concealed carry permit holders.

Comparison Table



Our Rating


Glock 42

product photo of Glock 42 .380 Pistol

Ruger LCP II .380

Ruger LCP II 380 pistol

Kahr CW 380

Kahr cw 380 pistol

Sig Sauer P238

sig sauer P238 380 pistol

Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard

Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 pistol

Why Carry a 380 Pistol?

While considered to be underpowered, the 380 pistol has certainly created a market for itself. Many people find this pistol to ideal as a personal defense weapon.

So why should you carry a .380? Here are some of the noteworthy advantages:

  • Lightweight: Due to the smaller rounds and compact design, this pistol is a lot lighter than other handguns. For instance, a Sig Sauer P238 only weighs about 430g compared to a standard 9mm Beretta pistol that has a weight of 950g. This makes the .380 the pistol of choice for women because they can conceal it in their purse, or for those who simply want a lightweight handgun.
  • Easily concealed: The .380 is all about effective concealment. Because of the compact design, .380 owners don’t have any trouble keeping their firearm hidden from view. The most effective weapons are those that you can carry out of view and just appear out of nowhere once the need arises.
  • Lots of model options: There’s a wide range of pistols that can fire 380 rounds. Some of the popular models are the Beretta Pico, Kahr P380, Colt Mustang, and many others. The options you have are seemingly endless.
  • Affordable price: When compared to 9mm handguns, the .380 pistol is far cheaper. You can get a compact handgun for less than $400 which is great for an average person who just wants a weapon for personal protection.

Which is the Best .380 Pistol for Concealed Carry?

As mentioned, there are many firearms that can fire 380 rounds. While the vast selection of options is good, it can also become overwhelming especially for first-time buyers. To help you out, below we will go through some of the best 380 pistols for firearm concealment.

Glock 42

  • Make: Glock
  • Model: 42
  • Cartridge: 380 Auto (ACP)
  • Capacity: 6+1-Round
  • Barrel Length: 3.25"
  • Finish: Gas Nitride
  • Length: 5.94"
  • Magazine Type: Removable

The 380 pistols are preferred for their compact design and weight. We are quite hesitant to include the Glock 42 since it’s easily the largest pistol on this list for concealed carry.

But we just can’t help ourselves.

This is a highly compact and lightweight weapon that’s chambered in .380 ACP. This handgun should have no trouble fitting into your jacket pocket. It’s capable of holding six rounds in a single magazine plus one bullet in the chamber.

It weighs no less than 14 ounces and is about 6 inches long. It’s a bit longer than most .380 models but not by much.

The Glock 42 is the ideal backup firearm, especially for law enforcers. This is because it is easy to use and has a trigger that feels like its big Glock siblings. It’s easy to draw and fire, so it’s a great tool for personal defense and concealed carry.

Any drawbacks?

The G42 can only hold six rounds which can be a deal-breaker for many people, especially when it’s a bit larger in size. However, this is a standard for most pocket pistols. The weapon has no manual safety features as well.

Overall, the G42 is a very reliable weapon that packs a considerable stopping power.

Ruger LCP II .380

  • Make: Ruger
  • Model: LCP
  • Cartridge: 380 Auto (ACP)
  • Capacity: 6+1-Round
  • Barrel Length: 2.75"
  • Finish: Black
  • Length: 5.17"
  • Magazine Type: Removable

This is actually the updated version of the LCP pistols, so you can expect a lot of improvements with this one. Many people didn’t like the first LCP due to drawbacks like the infamously long and tensed trigger pull.

Fortunately, the Ruger LCP II .380 has addressed such problems.

The compact size of the LCP II is still there but the trigger now has a smoother pull and includes a slide release once there are no more bullets. The gun now has safety blade right in front of the trigger which is similar to a Glock. You then need to depress the safety blade before you can fire the gun.

The LCP II also has plenty of upgrade options for improving efficiency and accuracy. A Crimson Trace laser would be a good fit for this handgun.

The pistol is 5.17-inch long with a 2.75-inch barrel, weighs only 10.6 ounces and is framed with polymer. It can hold up to six bullets with one in the chamber. The LCP II is a very popular concealed carry especially for civilians or as a backup weapon for law enforcers. Not to mention, it’s one of the most affordable compact handguns in the market.

There are not many drawbacks to the LCP II except for the small round capacity. Therefore, be prepared to bring extra magazines.

Kahr CW 380

  • Make: Kahr Arms
  • Model: CW380
  • Cartridge: 380 Auto (ACP)
  • Capacity: 6+1-Round
  • Barrel Length: 2.58"
  • Finish: Stainless Steel
  • Length: 4.9"
  • Magazine Type: Removable

For the most effective concealment, you want the smallest and most compact firearm. The Kahr CW 380 perfectly fits the bill since it’s one of the smallest pistols on our list.

With a weight of only 10 ounces with a barrel length of 2.5-inch, the CW 380 is the king of concealed carry. Even with the magazine on, the entire pistol only weighs 14 ounces at most.

In terms of firepower, the CW 380 can be compared to the Glock 42 or 43 minus the weight. You then have a gun that packs plenty of stopping power with just half the weight.

The black and grey color scheme also adds up to a beautiful handgun. Grip and comfort are on-point as it provides a solid and secure feel.

Another noteworthy advantage of the CW 380 is the smooth trigger pull which really helps in controlling the recoil. This is especially helpful since the gun only has a six round capacity. This enables you to make continuous with minimized kickbacks.

Any concerns?

There have been reports that this pistol can be a little bit picky when it comes to bullets. It’s possible that you will find bullets that won’t cycle well with the gun.

Once you can find an ammo that works, this one should work like a champ.

Sig Sauer P238

  • Make: Sig Sauer
  • Model: P238 Equinox
  • Cartridge: 380 Auto (ACP)
  • Capacity: 6+1-Round
  • Barrel Length: 2.7"
  • Finish: Nitron
  • Length: 5.5"
  • Magazine Type: Removable

The Sig Sauer P238 is undeniably a good-looking gun. However, don’t think for a second that it’s just a pretty firearm.

Most compact handguns are framed with polymer. The P238 differentiates itself with its all-metal construction. However, the gun only weighs about 15.2 ounces which is not that bad considering the metal materials. The slide is made of stainless steel and framed with aluminum alloy. Take note, guns with metal construction are more effective in handling those extra recoils.

The P238 is a single-action pistol with an exposed hammer. This means that all you need to fire is to cock and squeeze. It’s worth adding the trigger is rather smooth so all you need to fire is a small squeeze of the trigger.

In terms of safety, the pistol offers a slide lock that is quite easy to operate. We give it some plus points because the lock won’t hinder your draw or scratch the skin. If you want, you can install a Siglite night sight to improve accuracy.

Any disadvantages?

There’s no doubt about the gun’s dependability and reliability.

However, the P238 is actually a bit unwieldy when it comes to the assembly. There are cases where the ejector was not properly installed which can cause permanent damage to the gun. Also, the gun can be quite expensive but it still depends on the model you’ve chosen.

Overall, the Sig Sauer P238 is a dependable sidearm but it’s not for you if you’re looking for something easy to assemble.

Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard

  • Make: Smith & Wesson
  • Model: Bodyguard 380
  • Cartridge: 380 Auto (ACP)
  • Capacity: 6+1-Round
  • Barrel Length: 2.75"
  • Finish: Matte Black
  • Length: 5.25"
  • Magazine Type: Removable

The Smith & Wesson M&P line is widely regarded in the firearm community. And that includes the smallest entry to the line, the Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard.

Weighing in at 12.8 ounces, the Bodyguard .380 is a small, polymer framed pistol with a 2.75-inch barrel length. 

As with any standard compact handgun, the Bodyguard has a 6 rounds capacity and one in the chamber. The pistol features a double-strike trigger. This means that when you squeeze the trigger, you will hear a “click” and pulling further will cause the weapon to fire.

There’s also a slide stop lever that will prevent the gun from locking after the last ammo is fired. The gun also comes equipped with drift-adjustable stainless steel sights for better accuracy, especially with long distances.

The Bodyguard can usually be purchased with two 6-round magazines. A great thing about the second magazine is the finger extension that provides a more solid grip on the gun.

What’s not so good about the Bodyguard?

This pistol comes with numerous safety locks. However, these locks are fairly easy to disengage which can lead to unintentional discharge. It’s highly recommended that you practice operating on the locks before taking it with you.

For around $400, this is one of the best 380 pistol that you can buy in the market. At this price, it also comes with integrated adjustable laser sights.

Buyer’s Guide

Man firing a pistol

Image Source: Pexels

If for some reason, you didn’t find the right concealed firearm from our list, here are some factors to consider when shopping around.

  • Accessories: The current generation of pocket guns have their fair share of strengths and weaknesses. For example, some models like the Kel-Tec and Ruger LCP lack the sights. By adding a laserguard, your ability to hit targets at close range is greatly improved.
  • Trigger: Most gun owners prefer a double-action gun like the LCP. For some, they like guns with a single-action trigger. In this regard, it’s all about your personal preference.
  • Reliability and learning curve: It’s important that your gun can run the ammo that you chose for it in a reliable manner. A .380 carried for defensive purposes should be reliable. Thus, it’s important that you practice with your gun.

Found Your Concealed Firearm Yet?

pistol near holster

Image Source: Pexels

That wraps up our list of the best 380 pistols that you can use for a concealed carry. Hopefully, we have provided you with enough information to choose the right pistol for your needs.

When choosing a defensive firearm, the most important rule is to “have a gun.”

A .380 in your person is a lot better than a 9mm at home. However, you have to make sure you have the right ammo and that your gun can deliver the punishment once the need arises.