The .380 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) has come a long way since John Moses Browning designed this little straight-walled cartridge over a century ago. Once considered too small for self-defense work, the .380 ACP is now much more effective at stopping attackers than it once was thanks in large part to improvements in bullet design. And, since it is so compact, the .380 ACP is easy to carry.
All of this makes the .380 popular with CCW permit holders, but the real question is which of these pocket pistols is right for you? We’ve rounded up nine of the best compact .380s with an MSRP of less than $700.
1. Ruger LCP II: Price $349 At .91 inches wide and just 5.17 inches long, the LCP II is an easy gun to carry and conceal, thanks in large part to its snag-free rounded edges. The grip design makes it more comfortable to shoot than its predecessor, the original LCP, and a new single-action trigger system reduces the trigger pull from 10 pounds to just 6. The sights are fixed and have a low-profile design so they won’t hang up during a draw, but they are also functional for defensive applications. This gun weighs just over 10 ounces and comes with a finger extension for the six-round magazine as well as a pocket holster. Ruger.com
2. Kahr CW380: Price: $419 Kahr’s CW380 measures just under 5 inches long and weighs a bit over 10 ounces without the magazine, making it one of the smallest guns in this compact .380 class. The polymer frame has textured pistol grips that are quite comfortable, and the rear combat sight is drift-adjustable and easy to see. The front sight is a low-profile polymer ramp, and the slide is made from 416 stainless steel with a matte finish. The “safe-cam” design of this DAO (double action-only) pistol provides a smooth trigger pull and makes recoil manageable so you can deliver fast follow-up shots. Magazine capacity is 6 rounds. Kahr.com
3. Glock G42: Price $480 Glock launched the G42 as a compact carry alternative to their larger striker-fired guns, but this pistol retains many of the quality features that have made Glock’s other pistols so popular with shooters. The trigger pull is just 5.5 pounds, and the polymer grips are well-designed and make recoil quite manageable. The rear sight is dovetailed into the steel slide, and although this gun is slightly larger than other pistols listed here (length is 5.94 inches, and unloaded weight is 13.76 ounces), it’s both easy to conceal and comfortable to shoot. The nitrite-treated steel slide has a matte finish that can stand up to the rigors of daily carry, and this single-stack magazine holds six rounds. Glock.com
4. Taurus 738: Price $355.66 At 10.2 ounces, the trim Taurus 738 is a very light pistol, and with an overall length of just 5.25 inches it’s easy to conceal even under light clothing. The low-profile fixed sights are very basic, but they won’t hang up on clothing when you draw, and capacity is 6+1. This is a DAO (Double Action-Only) design, so trigger pull is fairly long, and the polymer grip is very comfortable and makes this gun easy to control. And, like other Taurus guns, it’s backed by a lifetime warranty. TaurusUSA.com
5. SIG Sauer P238 Nitron: Price $651 SIG’s P238 is a metal-framed .380 inspired by the popular 1911. As such, it utilizes a single-action-only design with an exposed hammer. The manual safety and slide lock are easy to manipulate, but are compact enough that they won’t impede your draw or irritate you when you carry the gun all day. Overall length is 5.5 inches, and the hard-coat anodized aluminum frame and the Nitron-finished stainless steel slide are resistant to perspiration, which is an excellent feature. The included SIGLITE night sights are very good, and although it isn't the lightest gun on the list at 15.2 ounces, it certainly isn’t hard to conceal. With an MSRP of $651 (street prices will likely be lower), it barely makes the $700 cutoff, but this 6+1 .380 certainly deserves a spot on the list of best pocket pistols. Sigsauer.com
6. Beretta Pico: Price $399 Beretta’s DAO Pico .380 is extremely thin, measuring just three-quarters of an inch wide and weighing 11.5 ounces. That means this pistol is easy to carry under light clothing without printing, and the stainless-steel slide is very durable. Like the other guns here it has a 6+1 capacity, but the slide is very easy to manipulate, and the dovetailed three-dot sights are excellent. The Pico comes with two magazines—a flush-fit version that is perfect for maximum concealment, and an extended mag that allows for a better grip when shooting a bunch of rounds on the range. Takedown is fast and easy, and the magazine release is ambidextrous, making this a great choice for both left- and right-handed shooters. Beretta.com
7. Remington RM380: Price $436 Remington’s compact .380 features all-metal construction; the frame is made of lightweight but durable aluminum, and the slide is steel. The low-profile sights are functional, and the large slide serrations make it easy to manipulate the slide when chambering a cartridge. It’s a DAO design, so trigger pull is fairly long but consistent, and the extended beavertail helps promote a high grip while protecting the hand from the moving slide. This gun weighs just over 12 ounces and measures 5.27 inches long. (To read a more comprehensive review of the RM380, click here!)Remington.com
8. Colt Mustang Lite/Pocketlite: Price $499 Colt’s Mustang is a great option for concealed carry. Like the SIG, it’s based upon the venerable 1911, and as such it’s a single-action-only pistol with an exposed hammer. It has a manual safety, a crisp single-action trigger that breaks between 4.5 and 6 pounds, and a dovetail rear and machined post front sights. The Lite version comes with a polymer frame and weighs in at 11.5 ounces. The Pocketlite (shown here) has an aluminum alloy frame and weighs just one ounce more. Both versions have a stainless-steel slide with a brushed stainless finish, and both measure just 5.5 inches long, making them true pocket pistols. Like other .380s here, these guns have a capacity of 6+1. Colt.com
9. Smith & Wesson Bodyguard: Price $379 The Bodyguard is Smith & Wesson’s take on the pocket .380 pistol, and it’s loaded with features, including drift-adjustable stainless steel sights, a stainless barrel and slide, takedown lever and an exposed manual safety. Both the barrel and slide are made of matte-finished stainless steel and these guns come with two six-round magazines—one with a flat base and another with a finger extension. The durable polymer grip is comfortable, and for an additional $70 you can opt for the Bodyguard with a Crimson Trace laser. At 5.25 inches long and just 12.3 ounces (standard model) this gun is one of the smaller, lighter .380s on the list. Smith-wesson.com