Tanner's Gun Reviews

   By Mike Coviello (Tanner)


Taurus 738 TCP .380 Pistol Review

If you are looking for a small, light weight pocket pistol in .380 caliber that you can slip into your pocket and forget about you have three main choices. The Kel-Tec P-3AT, the Ruger LCP and the Taurus 738 TCP. Kel-Tec was the first manufacturer to produce this gun. It was soon copied by Ruger and then Taurus with each including slight modifications to the basic design.


Taurus TCP 738
Taurus TCP 738 Pocket Pistol

TCP Problems & Jams TCP Extended Mag
Shoot .380 +P Ammo? TCP Pictures
Taurus 380 Pistol
Taurus 380 Pistol
Taurus TCP With Laser
TCP With Laser
Taurus TCP 738
Taurus TCP
Taurus TCP 738 Magazines
TCP Magazines

Why Choose A .380 Pocket Pistol?

The answer is simple. It's small size and light weight give you options. If you have ever tried to wear a concealed gun around waist, under your arm or on your leg you will find that it's not the most comfortable thing in the world to wear. You may even have to buy new clothes to wear to hide your gun and you will always wonder if others can tell if your wearing a gun by that bulge sticking out as you bend over or stretch to reach something.

Before you ever buy a handgun for carry purposes you should try one with different holsters and see how if feels before you buy it. You may regret your decision if you don't. I started out buying a 9mm Glock 19 and found that it was too big for me to conceal carry in Florida so I bought a smaller 9mm Glock 26 thinking that I could carry it in my pocket. Well, it turns out that you can carry a Glock 26 in your pocket but it feels like you're carrying a lead weight in your pocket and it's sharp corners "print" through your pants. I eventually purchased a Ruger LCP for pocket carry purposes. That was before I knew about the Taurus 738 TCP.

Price Comparison For .380 Pocket Pistols

Kel-Tec P-3AT
Kel-Tec P-3AT
Ruger LCP
Ruger LCP
Taurus Model 738 TCP
Taurus Model 738 TCP
Price: $256 Price: $299 Price: $282

The Taurus Model 738 TCP .380 Pistol has the advantage over the Ruger LCP and the Kel-Tec P-3AT because it's slide locks back after the last round is fired, has optional extended magazines and a safety lock feature.


Why Choose A Taurus 738 TCP Over A Kel-Tec 3PAT Or Ruger LCP?

My friend recently had to make a decision of which gun to buy. They are all the same gun, but with minor differences.

  1. The Kel-Tec 3PAT was the first and original in this model of gun but had growing pains and rumors or problems with inferior quality and frequent jams with certain types of ammunition. It also had no way of locking the slide back so if you had a jam or had to inspect the chamber or the "insides" of the gun you had to use both hand making it extremely difficult. The slide would not lock back on the last round fired.

  2. The Ruger LCP has a well recognized brand name behind it, is though to be better quality than the Kel-Tec and has the ability to manually lock back the slide. The Ruger LCP also has a slide that does not lock back after the last round is fired.

  3. The Taurus Model 738 TCP is the "new guy" in the group and doesn't have as much history behind it as the Kel-Tec and the Ruger. Also, the Taurus name ,over the years, had a reputation for "cheaper guns". The Taurus 738 TCP does have a big advantage over the other two in that it's slide does lock back after the last round is fired and also has a manual slide lock. Additional the Taurus 738 TCP has a safety lock system that the other's don't have. Before you buy one read Taurus 738 TCP Problems & Jams.



He ordered it online and to our amazement it was delivered the following day. I was with him when he picked it up at the local gun store and upon pickup inspected it for:


  1. Gun
  2. Case
  3. 2 magazines
  4. Safety lock key
  5.  Other accessories (if any)


  1. Verify no obvious defects
  2. Inspect the barrel and "guts" with bore light.
  3. Inspect both magazines. Push down on the followers.


  1. Rack it a few times (no magazine).
  2. Rack the slide with a magazine.
  3. Make sure slide locks back.
  4. Test the slide stop
  5. Test the magazine release.
  6. Test the slide release
  7. Lock and unlock the safety lock feature with the key. Pull the trigger a few times. Try both magazines

Everything passed inspection and he accepted delivery of the gun. He decided not to shoot it that day and wanted to wait until he had cleaned and lubricated it and was more familiar with the gun. Smart move. He had also ordered a Crimson Trace Laserguard laser to go along with the gun.


First Day At The Range With The Taurus 738 TCP

My friend brought and shot the following ammunition.

  1. 50 reloads bought from a local ammo supply company.

  2. 100 reloads that he reloaded himself (first time loading .380s)

  3. 50 rounds factory ammo

  4. A few rounds of hollow point defensive ammo.

He had some jams with the reloads as expected, no jams with the factory round nose ammo and each type of the hollow point defensive ammo would not feed properly. He will do an analysis on the feeding problem for the hollow points and get back to me.


Shooting The Taurus 738 TCP

The Taurus 738 TCP (with factory ammo) shot perfectly. The sights were accurate and it had a great trigger pull. Everything worked as advertised with no problems. THE PROBLEMS CAME LATER.


Using The Crimson Trace Laser With The Taurus 738 TCP

He let me try his Taurus 738 TCP with the Crimson Trace Laserguard. The laser was nice and bright and provided a very defined red dot at 50 feet. The only problem was that the light would go off when I pressed the trigger. My friend had the same problem at first.

The Crimson Trace laser is designed to come on each time you grab the grips of the gun. There is a button that activates the laser on the front of the grips that is depressed when you grab and wrap your hand around the grips of the gun. Unfortunately there is a small plastic guard or formed protrusion near this button that is part of the design of the laser sights. Somehow this guard interferes with the pulling of the trigger while maintaining pressure on the button. It may be due to the small size of the gun, my hand size and the shape and size of the guard but the action of pulling the trigger moves my grip position and lets off of the button causing the laser to go off. Later, my friend took a Dremmel to the guard and shaved it off and now reports that this is no longer a problem.


Size Comparison Of Pocket Pistols

  Kel-Tec P3AT Ruger LCP Taurus 738
Weight 8.3 Oz 9.42 Oz 9.9 Oz
Frame Width 0.798" 0.790" 0.775
Barrel Length 2.745" 2.796" 2.830
Slide Width 0.748" 0.741" 0.778"
Overall Length 5.14" 5.172" 5.195
Overall Height 3.576" 3.612" 3.625
Cartridge Capacity 6+1 6+1 6+1

Taurus TCP 738 Manual

The owner's manual for the TCP 738 can be found on the Taurus website at the following link.


Taurus TCP Pictures

Taurus TCP 738  Taurus TCP 738    Taurus TCP 738


Taurus TCP 738 Feedback & Comments


Taurus TCP 10 Round Magazine Problem

March 31, 2013
Message: I just bought the Taurus tcp .380 and the only issue I have so far is that the 10 shot extended clip that I bought for it wont feed. Im using Winchester fmj rounds. Any ideas? Timmothy

Response - Timmothy,

I have no experience with the Taurus 10 round magazine.

You didn't say how it would not feed. Does the first round feed, or is the problem with subsequent rounds?

The only suggestions I would have are:
- Do a close examination of a loaded 10 round mag and a factory mag and verify that the top round is positioned the same, that the followers are the same and that the upper lips of the magazine are the same.
-Then I would insert them (with the slide locked back) into the pistol and see the position of the uppermost round (being careful not to let the slide go forward). Making sure they are the same with each mag.
- I would probably also disassemble and clean the 10 round magazine and examine all the parts for defects.
- Try a different brand of ammo.
- Return it to the manufacturer.

Sorry, not a lot of help, I know.

Best regards,


Reply -That does help out man thanks. Its actually not even feeding the first round when I insert the magazine into the gun and pull back the top it just jams and the bullet gets stuck. I did do a quick comparison to the stock mag and this one and it does seem the same but I will go ahead and take it apart to see if it has any defects. I rally appreciate your time and answers man thanks. Timmothy,


Problem With My Taurus TCP 738

August 26, 2012
I bought a Taurus 380 TCP and took it to range. I loaded the mag and inserted into the gun ,chambered a shell and the slide would not chamber the shell correctly. ejected shell and tried a few more and the same thing kept happening. Any Ideas?

Response - Walter,
The first thing I would do is to SAFELY try other types of ammo (preferably round nose) to see if they chamber properly. I would also try a different magazine. Then I might try polishing the ramp. What specifically does it do when it does not chamber the round correctly? What type of ammo?

Reply - Hello Tanner,
I have tried Winchester, Lawman and Federal ammo. It is like the ammo does not go all the way in and stops the slide from closing all the way
Thanks Walter

Response - Walter,
It almost sounds like you have a squib or obstruction in the barrel.
Did you buy the gun new or used?
I would suggest field stripping it and examining the inside of the barrel.
I would also place a round into the chamber of the barrel and see how far it goes in.
I would also place a round into the chamber (with great caution) and at the range BY HAND, feeding it through the open slide and see if the slide closes all the way.
I would also take a close look at the extractor and make sure it is working properly.


Dissatisfied Taurus 738 Owner

April 28, 2012
I have a tarus pt 45 no problems there revolvers function just fine but the tcp738 380 is pure junk don't buy it. I BOUGHT MINE NEW AT XX. FIRST TIME TRIED TO LOAD IT IT JAMMED. ROUND STUCK BELOW BARREL. I took it back to XX, who not exchange it or refund your money They send it to tarus in Miami, fl takes 8 weeks to get it back so they say. I won't ever use this weapon again it is not reliable tarus knows it how have they made that they know are defective. Their site says all weapons are test fired, then why did my jam every time i tried to put a round in the chamber. Oh and by the way the place where I bought it will tell you it is federal law that they can't exchange it, well this is a lie you can take any gun to shooters or pawn shops or gun shows and they buy or swap it. So my advice is forget the tarus tcp 738 380 do yourself a favor buy a five shot Rossi they don't jam.


Problems With Taurus 738 TCP Pistol

March 14, 2012
Have similar problems as marv with Tarus 738. Results from first time at range: Slide locks with full magazine. Sometimes locks after one or two rounds. Sometimes fails to chamber next round. Store I bought it from gave me a box of different ammo. Will head to range tomorrow to test. A little disappointed at this point.


Taurus TCP 738 Ammo

March 9, 2012
I bought my .380 TCP about two wks. ago. Fired 1/2 box of .95 gr. fmj Winchester.1/2 box fed..95 gr. fmj. No problems. I found the Win to be more accurate for me. I just bought a 50rd.box 95gr.fmj Remington. I will fire a few rds. and find out if just as accurate as the Winc. ammo. its raining so I'm on hold for now. Frank


March 9, 2012
Purchased a Taurus 380 tcp and had issues. Misfirings, jamming, would not chamber bullets. Slide would go back and jam. Sent it back to Taurus and when i got it back i still had issues with bullets not chambering. This particular gun is not reliable. Marv


Recommend Taurus TCP 738

February 15, 2012
My mother and I both like the Taurus 738. It is easy to hold for people with smaller hands. Also we find that it is easy to fire for older people with arthritis. We both highly recommend this gun to anyone looking for the perfect concealed weapon. It fits easily into a purse. Charlie


Happy With Taurus TCP 738

July 28, 2011
Bought a taurus 738 2 weeks ago. Have put 200 rds through without a hitch. I am surprised at the accuracy of such a small gun. Bought a desantis superfly pocket holster and am good to go for carry. I have 2 taurus pistols and like them both.


Taurus TCP 738 FTE Issues

June 23, 2011
Hello, I'm debating between the KelTek P3AT and the Taurus 738. I've read several complaints on the Taurus having FTE issues. However, most of the complaints I read end with dates around 10/2010. Do you know if Taurus has addressed any design issues with the TCP 738? I've new to the handgun realm and need all the guidance I can get. Thanks! Lyn

Response - Lyn,

My friend has a Taurus TCP 738 (I went with a Ruger LCP). During the first few months that he owned it he too had a couple of FTE problems and eventually sent it back to the factory for inspection and/or repair. After waiting over a month for his TCP to be returned he decided to call and find out the status of his gun. If my memory serves me right, they told him that the gun was in their research/design department and that they couldn't find anything wrong with his it and that they were “making” him a new gun. Why they just did not replace his gun with one from stock, we don't know. My friend sees to think that maybe (or hopefully) they were incorporating a design change to fix the problem.

A few weeks later he received his new gun. He has shot over 500 rounds through it with no problems at all. He is now happy with his gun.

The only way to get the real answer to your question would be to contact Taurus yourself.

Another thing to consider when buying your gun is how it fits in your hand and whether you will be using magazine extensions to get a better grip on the gun. Both my friend and I agree that these small pocket guns need them. Be aware that you cannot buy magazine extensions for the Taurus (you will have to make your own).

Good luck in your decision.



Taurus 738 TCP .380 Pistol

April 29, 2011
I bought the tcp with the CT laserguard. A little tricky to adjust the laser. the pistol fired fmj and hp ammo with very few problems. had a feed problem only once in 100+ rounds. Easy to field strip and clean. Definetly a good dependable pocket gun.


Taurus TCP 738 Buying And Testing

These are email correspondence concerning the buying and testing of a Taurus TCP 738 .380 ACP pistol.


I did a quick check for Taurus PT738 reviews. There were lots of them. Some had good things to say some told of jams. I don't know how you can tell the reliability from these.

Taurus PT738 Information

Taurus PT738
Type Pistol
Action Double Action Only
Caliber 380 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP)
Barrel Length 3.3"
Capacity 6 + 1
Safety No Manual
Grips Black
Sights Fixed
Weight 10.2 oz.
Finish Black

Ruger LCP
Mfg. Item Num: 3701
Type :Pistol
Action :Double Action Only
Caliber :380 ACP
Barrel Length :2 3/4"
Capacity :6 + 1
Safety :No Manual Safety
Grips :Checkered Polymer
Sights :Fixed
Weight :9.40 oz.
Finish :Blue

I don't know if the following information in this table (see below) is right but they are all pretty much the same as far as physical characteristics go.

Let me know what you decide.


After much research and reading, I have decided on the Taurus. I chose it because it felt best in my hand and for the slide remaining open after the last round. I ordered the black stainless steel version. The factory is located in Miami. I called them to ask about the magazine release because I read some had problems. The guy said that was correct but that it was corrected in late 2009 and they have had no problems since then.

I ordered it from Buds Guns and I also ordered the Crimson Trace Laser for it. We can see how well it works. I have confidence it should work well considering the success the guy in the lane next to me was having last week. Hopefully I will have it in a couple of weeks.


Remember to go to the range tomorrow! I have reloaded 100 rounds of 380. It is a little more difficult to reload the smaller rounds as you said but still not to bad. I also have some of the flat nose 380 from Space Coast I will bring along with some of the self defense stuff. I will not bring my 22 so I will shoot the 380 and 9mm. See you tomorrow,


Normal time or early? Either is fine with me. Do you want me to bring my .380 holsters again so you can try them with the CT installed?


I will try to get there between 12:30 and 12:45. Yes, please bring the holster and your laser tool for sight adjustment. If it fits in the 380, we could use it as the next CT adjustment step.


I tested the laser bore sighter in my LCP and it won't fit. The stem is too long and is not made for short barreled guns. I'll bring it tomorrow, but I'm sure it won't work in yours. You may want to initially adjust the CT at home with the fixed sights of your gun and fine tune it at the range with bullets.


I was thinking it may not fit because of the short barrel. I have done an initial adjustment but I am not certain I improved it from the initial installation.


I am down to my last box of 22s and have to order some more from Cabelas. They have a free shipping offer on orders over $99. I will probably order some more .380s and maybe a few boxes of 9mm to have on hand. Let me know if you want me to order any for you. Also, I forgot to pay for the targets yesterday. Remind me to pay next Thursday in case I forget again. Also, let me know if you discover the jam cause with the defensive ammo and the status of your CT laser mod (next week I assume).


I fixed the CT. It came out fine and works much better. I polished the ramp so it is very smooth and now all the ammo seems to load. I am going to take apart a few round of the hollow point defensive ammo and put them back together with spent primers and no powder so I can cycle the slide manually and check for jams. I will reassemble them to their original length. I feel it is better to not mess with live ammo with the firing pin installed. I do not have a good disassemble guide yet so I will not take the firing pin out. I do believe that pin on the slide is for retaining the FP but not sure which side to drive it out and if it is tapered or rolled. Can I let you know about the ammo next week? I will remind you about the targets.


Hopefully the polishing was all that was needed. It would have been nice if you would have made the dummy rounds before the polishing to see if they jammed "before" and "after". The hollow points seem to be shorter than round nose factory ammunition. I measured my Blaser Brass .380 Auto, 95gr FMJ (round nose) and got an OAL of .96". I also measured my Gold-Dot .380 Auto 90gr GDHP and got an OAL of .94. I find it interesting that the minimum OAL for reloading .380 from the Lee book is .955". Most min lengths were .96" and above.


I made dummy defensive rounds using Federal defensive JHP ammo. I disassembled three rounds and kept the components of each separate. I measured the O.L. of each and found them to be 0.940”. The powder weight was 4.0 grains in each. I do not know the powder brand but it is finer than the Tite-Group we use. Note the Tite-Group powder weight is 3.2 grains for a Hornaday 90 grain JHP.

I assembled the 3 Federal JHP bullets into 3 380 cases with spent primers and no powder. I adjusted the press to get the same O.L. as the factory Federal JHP ammo.

I put the dummy ammo in to a magazine and manually operated the slide numerous times and could not get a failure to load or eject if I operated the slide rapidly. Pulling the slide back slowly would cause the round to hang up exiting because the case was not hitting the ejector with enough force the kick the round with a bullet in it out of the port. I tried both magazines and they operated the same.

The modifications I made to the TCP were just polishing the ramp and the top inside of the barrel chamber using very fine polishing rouge. No dimensional changes were made. I made before and after measurements to .0001” and could detect no change.

Thursday we will find out how it works. I reassembled the factory Federal ammo with the original components and will fire those and others in the test.



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MIKE COVIELLO is a former aerospace engineer, now Web Designer/SEO Consultant. Hobbies include shooting zombies & reloading ammunition.