11 Best 380 ACP Pistols – March 2023

Performance Center turns M&P Shield .380 into a match shooter

You know the .380ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) is still a great option for everyday carry.

Yes 9mm pistols have taken over, to an extent, but there’s still a lot to love about the smaller .380ACPs. They are almost always small, which is great for a back-up gun, pocket pistol or even your EDC.

Smaller bullets generally mean surprisingly high capacity, though. Lower power also means less recoil. That’s good for new shooters or people that just want an easy to shoot semi-automatic. A good 380 semi-auto is cheap, easy to conceal, packs lots of ammo and relies on tried and trusted technology.

The best 380 pistols were standard issue for the police and military, so inevitably became the default home defense round, too. That means there are millions of these mechanisms out there in the world and most have been refined over the years.

So what are the best 380 ACP pistols and where can you buy yours?

Sig Sauer P365 380 ACP, you can even fit a red dot on this world conquering pistol.

1. Sig Sauer P365 380 Optics Ready

  • Price: $499.99
  • Barrel Length: 3.1 inch
  • Total: 5.8 inch
  • Weight: 0.98lb
  • Capacity: 10+1 rounds

The Sig P356 Nitron has redefined the concealed carry pistols genre and the only reason to keep it off the top spot would be to stop it winning everything. And that would be stupid.

So there we have it, the obvious answer quite often is the right one. We think that’s the case here with the Sig P365 380 ACP semi-auto pistol.

This 380 version is optics ready. So you can fit your own RomeoZERO mini reflex and they are becoming increasingly popular these days. Even law enforcement is starting to love them for a better back-up gun.

A Packaging Marvel for 380 ACP

Everything else you need to know about the 365 polymer frame pistol has already been said many times. It’s arguably the best micro-compact 9mm pistol in the world. And now you can argue that it is the best micro compact 380 pistol, too.

Obviously the company could have forced more bullets in there. But well, local gun laws and all it kind of makes sense to stay with 10. The best gun is also easy to conceal this way and it becomes a deep carry compact pistol, with a holster.

You can always buy an extended magazine and a flat trigger and all kinds of upgrades if that’s your bag and you’re allowed to. Even a Crimson Trace laser.

If you have a 9mm Sig P365, you’ll notice reduced recoil compared to the notoriously snappy P365 Nitron 9mm Luger. The 380 version really is a great gun and there are gun deals to be found. Get the best 380 pistol today.

Smith & Wesson M&P380 Shield EZ. Is this the best 380 ACP pistol for sale in 2022. Yes, we think so.

2. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 380 EZ

  • Price: $395.99
  • Barrel Length: 3.68 inch
  • Total: 6.64 inch
  • Weight: 1.15lb
  • Capacity: 9 rounds

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 380 ACP Pistol is arguably more complete than the Sig, but it is also bulkier and a 380 handgun tends to be a concealed carry pistol.

But if you have larger hands and struggle with the diminutive proportions of the Sig, or you’re just more comfortable with a slightly less sub-compact handgun, the Smith & Wesson might be the best gun for you.

You get a 1911 style grip safety on the Smith and Wesson, together with a manual safety on the frame and that is a big deal in this class too. Some people like switch to turn their gun off, and you’re not wrong for that.

An accessory rail for lights and lasers is also slung underneath and that’s kind of awesome., even if you never use it.

M&P 380 Shield has a Big Family

The Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield is another star in a range of calibers, including 9mm and 45 ACP Auto.

It’s a personal defense icon that deserves its place in the Hall of Fame and because it has been around forever, there are quite a few good gun deals. They include Performance Center models.

Now the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield is an icon in the 9mm carry gun class and other calibers, and so it’s a proper grown-up pistol in this company. If you like it, that’s a good thing.

And you can go much further with the Performance Center options that offer upgraded sights and other parts & accessories from the premium parts bin. You might want to start with the high end M&P 380 Shield.

Ruger LCP Max 380. A cheap 380 pistol that has become an icon for a reason.

3. Ruger LCP Max 380 ACP

  • Price: $359.99
  • Barrel Length: 3.1 inch barrel
  • Total: 5.94 inch
  • Weight: 0.7lb
  • Capacity: 10+1 rounds

The Ruger LCP Max 380 personal protection pistol is slim, lightweight and compact. Also, it’s cheap. That helps…

Its design is tailored to its role as a deep carry and defensive pistol. The Ruger LCP Max is not great for range shooting, but it’s one of the world’s best selling handguns and has been for years. So there’s that.

The single-action trigger on the Ruger LCP Max comes with a Glock-style safety and an internal drop safety to prevent accidental discharges on this pocket carry.

Rugged construction on the Ruger LCP 380 ACP includes a hardened stainless steel slide. The Ruger LCP Max 380 has blued stainless steel barrel, and a one-piece, high-performance, glass-filled nylon grip frame.  

It is easy to shoot, and there is a Lite Rack version that’s even easier to shoot. That is one of the best new pocket pistols out there.

The Original LCP 380 ACP and the LCP II 380 ACP

You can still buy the original LCP 380 ACP for less than $260 on a lot of popular gun sites. The narrower LCP II 380 ACP sells alongside the Max too.

A lot of people are prepared to forego the new features to get a cheap concealed carry. And you know what? They might be right.

The original LCP was so good they made more after all, and it is a reliable, accurate, subcompact handgun that is easy to conceal. There are always pros and cons but this is a well-balanced carry gun.

Ruger also got ahead of itself for a while the Ruger LCP Custom. But that is now a footnote in history.

Glock 42 380 ACP

4. Glock 42

  • Price: $399.99
  • Barrel: 3.25 inch barrel
  • Total: 5.94 inch
  • Weight: 0.86lb
  • Capacity: 6 rounds

The striker fired Glock 42 is another obvious choice and it’s a reliable 380 ACP pistol with a double action and a Glock Safe Action that includes a drop safety and that iconic trigger firing pin safety.

It would be so easy to give the Glock the win and rattle on about reliability, that it is a law enforcement favorite and that ‘Glock go bang every time’ kinda cliche. And it’s true.

But then the capacity is a real sticking point and that single stack 6 round magazine looks a little underequipped next to the big double stack magazine 380 pistols here.

The counterpoint is that it is a proven design, perfect for deep concealment and is a great pocket pistol. The lack of a thumb safety does count against it there, certainly as pocket carry pistols, but a simple holster should take care of that when you carry concealed.

You can also get a world of aftermarket parts for the Glock G42. They include night sights, Red dot ready stainless steel slides for your entire range of Glock semi-automatic pistols, a Crimson Trace green laser, what you want really. If you just want the best Glocks, then go here.

Walther CCP. A great 380 semi-auto pistol.

5. Walther CCP

  • Price: $424.99
  • Barrel Length: 3 inch
  • Total: 5.5 inch
  • Weight: 0.79lb
  • Capacity: 7 rounds

The Walther CCP is a delayed blowback semi-automatic pistol. That mechanism provides softer recoil, which will help you place your shots when it counts.

This 380 ACP pistol is designed for functional concealed carry, and you can also buy versions in 9mm and big bore carry guns with the same grip & frame.

Walther has lost ground to the likes of Glock, SA and Sig in recent times. But the Walther is a good pistol for the range, your home or your IWB holster and it is super easy to shoot with a sweet trigger pull, a fixed barrel and tool.

RIA Baby Rock, a 380 pistol that is basically a  1911.

6. Rock Island Armory Baby Rock

  • Price: $388.99
  • Barrel Length: 3.75 inch
  • Total: 6.6 inch
  • Weight: 1.47lb
  • Capacity: 7+1 rounds

The RIA Baby Rock has a longer barrel than the smaller pocket pistols here and it is an option for home defense if you need a low recoil handgun.’

It’s also a very solid concealed carry pistol, although as a shrunken 1911 it weighs more than the polymer frame pistols with a shorter barrel. That makes it easy to shoot, though, with reduced recoil and a sweet trigger pull. As always there are pros and cons.

A small beavertail grip safety and thumb safety on these single action trigger 380 pistols are also a big deal for some people who like to be absolute sure there will be no accidental discharges.

That makes them viable pocket pistols, without a holster, and that simply works best for some folks.

Colt Mustang XSP Lite 380 on sale now.

7. Colt Mustang XSP Lite Polymer

  • Price: $529.99
  • Barrel Length: 2.75 inch
  • Total: 6.1 inch
  • Weight: 1.37lb
  • Capacity: 6 rounds

We all love a full size Colt 1911, but they’re a little on the big side for a concealed carry handgun. The Colt Mustang, though, is anything but.

It’s an ultra lightweight mini 1911, of sorts, and a great complement to the Colt pistols, revolvers and rifles that we all know and love.

This Colt Mustang model slips inside your waistband, or inside a pocket, and just works as a concealed carry gun. There is a proper manual safety, beavertail grip and an undercut trigger guard. What is not to love?

Incidentally we have a bit of a love affair post if you’re really into the bigger Colts, as well as the Colt Mustang.

Walther PPK 380 ACP pistol on sale. James Bond's gun. Buy yours now

8. Walther PPK

  • Price: $799.99
  • Barrel Length: 3.3 inch
  • Total: 6.1 inch
  • Weight: 1.37lb
  • Capacity: 6 rounds

The Walther PPK is the small gun James Bond slipped into his immaculate suit, and that’s the main reason people buy them these days.

It is a nostalgia piece for spy fanatics, but it’s also a pretty solid 380 ACP pistol.

Kinda hard to believe it has been with us in some form or another since 1931, too, which makes the Walther PPK one of the longest serving pocket pistols out there.

It was literally designed for undercover police officers and the PPK stands for Polizeipistole Kriminal – Police Pistol Criminal. The Walther PPK was adopted around the world and is still a popular gun in many countries.

The fixed barrel design is much loved and the Bersa has a great reputation for reliability and durability. The basic mil spec sights front and rear are kind of fun and they work.

The Bersa Thunder is a much cheaper version of this layout, but you already know if you’re the kind of person to pay more for a Walther PPK 380 ACP pistol or opt for the cheap gun deals. And that’s free will at work.

Kahr Arms CW380 semi-auto pistol. A micro compact 380 that might be the brand's finest work.

9. Kahr CW380

  • Price: $338.99
  • Barrel Length: 2.58 inch
  • Total: 4.96 inch
  • Weight: 0.64lb
  • Capacity: 6+1 rounds

The super compact and lightweight Kahr CW380 is not just a cheap alternative, it might be one of the smarter striker fired pistols here.

The footprint on the Kahr 380 is tiny and it’s very Glock-esque, which really is never going to be a bad thing right?

You get a single stack semi-auto pistol that is great as a back-up gun or for deep concealment. The Kahr CW380 could be the best pocket pistol, too.

Bersa Thunder 380, one of the great .380 ACP pistols for sale in 2021. Get yours online here.

10. Bersa Thunder

  • Price: $258.99
  • Barrel Length: 3.5 inch
  • Total: 6.61 inch
  • Weight: 1.23lb
  • Capacity: 10 rounds

The Bersa Thunder 380 is a lightweight, compact, semi-automatic pistol with a serious magazine capacity.

This double action features a combat-style trigger guard and polymer grips, as well as an internal locking system for improved safety.

While the original concept for the Argentine Bersa Thunder started as a low budget Walther PPK clone with some Beretta 70 features, but it has evolved into a much more complete handgun.

The smooth profile, bobbed hammer and rounded trigger guard have made it a favorite for concealed carry in South America, where many gun laws restrict citizens to 380 Ammo. With a few changes over the years to get round import rules and simple evolution, the Bersa Thunder is still a hugely popular firearm in the United States.

Many feel the weight and recoil control of the light alloy frame Bersa Thunder gives the perfect balance for a CCW. It is reliable, easy to maintain and the Bersa Thunder ticks a lot of the main boxes for about half the price of the Walther, or less.

Inexpensive it may be, but the Bersa Thunder is reliable, accurate and powerful. Bersa Thunder pistols are among some of the best buys on the market and offers better value for money than the vast majority of its competitors. It’s a budget gun, but a great one too.

And you can get special editions with night sights, a polished finish, what you like really. There are lots of gun deals out there too.

The Sig P238 is a 380 ACP Mini 1911 that looks good and packs a serious punch. Buy yours online today.

11. Sig Sauer P238 Nitron

  • Price: $650.00+
  • Barrel Length: 2.7 inch
  • Total: 5.5 inch
  • Weight: 0.95lb
  • Capacity: 6 rounds

The matte black Sig Sauer P238 is modeled after the full size M1911. The P238 has an aluminum frame and a stainless steel slide.

Due to its compact size, it can be easily concealed and is a good deep carry option. All of the current models have standard night sights. Since 2012, many variants of the Sig Sauer gained an ambidextrous manual safety

The Sig P238 is a pretty simple shrunken Government model 1911 handgun with a really good trigger. You can get a range of finishes, including the Sig P238 Legion, classic Sig P238 Rosewood, the Sig P238 SAS Walnut and more.

For the full range of Sig P238 handguns, check here.

Springfield Armory 911 380 ACP Auto pistol on sale now. Get yours here.

12. Springfield Armory 911

  • Price: $503.99
  • Barrel Length: 3 inch
  • Total: 5.5 inch
  • Weight: 0.79lb
  • Capacity: 7 rounds

The Springfield Armory 911 is a compact semi-automatic pistol manufactured by Springfield Armory. A smaller version of a single-action hammer-fired M1911 pistol, the 911 is an incredibly good pocket pistol and a great marketing campaign in its own right.

Springfield Armory says it best – “When the police are minutes away and the threat is seconds away… 9-1-1. When you have to be your own first responder. Designed for concealed carry, the 911 is our modern micro-sized take on the classic full-sized 1911.” 

And a very clever compact pistol it is too. It may have been overtaken by the best 9mm pistols like the Springfield Hellcat and the 1911 EMP as a pocket carry gun. But this is still a solid option that can mix it with the best 380 pistols in the world.

Springfield Armory make some great Government Model 1911 pistols too.

Where to Buy 380 ACP Ammo Online

If you’re looking for real world self defense rounds,or plinking on range day, there is a type and price of full metal jacket 380 ammo that will suit you best.

Palmetto State Armory is one of our favorite suppliers. Palmetto State armory sells cheap guns, but also does some of the bets bulk ammo deals.

You will find the likes of Hornady Critical Defense ammo, too, which we think is the best personal defense ammo.

So take a look at Palmetto State Armory before you go down the list.

Sportsman’s Guide will sell you a 500 round ammo can of Sellier & Bellot and they’re one of our favorites right now for all handgun ammo.

Some of the best 380 ACP ammo for self defense include Hornady Critical Defense and Sig Sauer Elite Performance, which can both be found on Sportsman’s Guide.

They got rifle ammo, shotgun ammo, rimfire ammo, and the classic full metal jacket 9mm defense cartridge for personal defense and home defense.

Lucky Gunner is another one with Critical Defense 380 ACP and a range of others, from full metal jacket through to next gen hollowpoints.

There are pros and cons, mainly price vs terminal ballistics, but look out or things like free shipping as well. Hornady Critical Defense is a solid defensive round in the United States.

Gun Parts & Accessories

If you want an extended magazine, a Crimson Tracer laser, a new front sight or lots of other stuff, then our dealers have gun parts & accessories, guns, gear etc for you.

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  1. Mike September 29, 2021
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