Pocket Performance

The Taurus 738 TCP .380 Has Great
Handling Qualities For CCW Users
; .

Chuck Stevenson, who isn’t a regular user of extreme
compact pocket pistols, shot the Taurus well.

Weighing right at 10 ounces and less than 9/10 inches wide, the Taurus 738
has proven popular among the modern generation of armed citizens. The loaded
chamber indicator rides along the top of the extractor, and the internal key
lock is visible at the top rear of the grip.

The current generation of micro .380 ACP pistols from various companies have quite a bit in common. Once a reliable design has emerged there is not a great deal of room for radical variation in a package this small. The Taurus TCP series shares the same overall dimensions, operating drill and disassembly routine as most of the DAO micro-pistols, emerging as a strong contender due to the light, smooth trigger pull, and its slide locks back when the pistol is empty. However, there were significant divergences worthy of note.

One unique peculiarity with the Taurus requires special attention by the user and has provoked some controversy. The trigger resets at about 1/3rd of its travel, creating an audible and tactile “click” capable of fooling the shooter into believing it is time to fire his next shot without the trigger having fully returned. Attempting to do this fails to engage the hammer and drops it out of battery without firing. Lacking double-strike capability, the only way to get back in action is to partially or fully retract and release the slide. I did this a couple of times before coming to the understanding I needed to be conscious of trigger manipulation with this pistol until ignoring the “click” and allowing the trigger to return all the way forward becomes “hardwired” into my subconscious and a reflexive action.


A very decent 25-yard sandbag group was shot with Black Hills 90-Grain JHP.
Most loads, like this one, hit about 3 inches left and 3 inches low at 75 feet,
a range quite beyond what is expected for micro pistols.


Some initial malfunctions (of the best sort) were failure to fully seat the last round from the magazine. These steadily diminished as expected during a break-in period. Otherwise, function was positive with the exception of a single, unexplained failure to eject with a ball load. After break-in, the Taurus functioned perfectly with the loads designed for optimum defensive use.

It is becoming common practice to evaluate the accuracy of pistols of this size at 50 feet or even closer in the hopes of getting something resembling groups. The custom with most handguns is to base accuracy expectations on 5-round groups at 25 yards. Tradition is what keeps the fiddler on the roof so, with some trepidation, I decided to start there. The result gave me no cause to shorten the distance. The sight picture is usable but is not, by any means, high profile.


These are Mike’s first three magazines fired Isosceles at 3, 7 and 15 yards.
The sights are not “highly visible” but they are usable. In this case, the dim,
early morning light was less than ideal, as was the flash sight picture, but it worked.

Range Performance

Most loads hit about 3 inches left and the same value low at 75 feet, and after I found the ideal trigger finger placement, I recorded groups ranging from 2.5 to 5 inches –– the average falling right at 4 inches. Before moving to distances more appropriate for pocket pistols, I fired 20 rounds at a B27 target (the same standard for the Texas CHL qualifier) and put 15 rounds in the 9, 10 and X rings and five into the 8––all maximum value hits as the target is scored at 10 yards greater distance. (About the single round I threw out of the scoring area and into the shoulder of the silhouette, the less said, the better.)

The TCP’s trigger responds to aggressive finger placement at the first joint rather than on the pad of the finger long accepted for placement with full-size handguns. It facilitates smooth travel of the long, 5-pound trigger, eliminating the painful bite occurring with the more traditional placement. I was able to maintain a straight-back pull with good point of aim with point of impact agreement at ranges of 3, 7 (more rapid cadence) and 15 yards (moderate speed).

The overall groups were satisfying from a practical standpoint. The Taurus actually distributes recoil more comfortably than my heavier Walther PPK American and is a comfortable shooter compared to some other micro-pistols. Getting on target from the DeSantis Pocket holster or the SOF Tuck, worn strong side behind the hip was rapid and uncomplicated––both are excellent deep concealment options. Nothing is faster than casual hand-in-pocket ready-stance if you are standing up or slower than pocket carry if you are sitting down. The provided Allen wrench allows nearly infinite adjustability of the SOF Tuck attachment arm for either strong-side or cross-draw configuration.

The available loads are quite varied, addressing various shooter-held opinions regarding bullet expansion vs. adequate penetration. They include jacketed hollowpoints and flatpoint bullets designed for full penetration, offering a more effective crush cavity than traditional ball loads. The 2.8-inch barrel is 1/2-inch shorter than the Walther and delivered velocity shortfalls of between 64 and 120 fps across several loads shot for comparison. Even so, my limited testing protocol suggests the JHP-loaded rounds are likely to perform as intended in practical use.

The Taurus TCP Series comes in a variety of finish options, including blue, stainless, black matte and 2-tone. It comes across as a viable choice for the armed citizen who seeks an optimum balance of size, practical accuracy and overall effectiveness.


Fingernails serve to disengage the assembly pin from its secure wire spring détente, and the only stumbling block is positioning the barrel correctly in the slide upon reassembly. Note the recoil system is a double spring on a steel guide-rod. The operating system uses a locked breech. It is much easier to work the slide than is the case with heavily sprung, larger, blowback .380 pistols.

Subscribe To GUNS Magazine