The Taurus Model 738 TCP is one of those guns you don’t hear about much, but it has a huge following. Now that Taurus is getting its quality control together, the gun deserves a fresh look from a specifically female perspective. At street prices slightly over $200 for the base model and a little more for pink ones like this with the stainless slide, these personal reviews tell a story that the TCP is worth a hard look for concealed carry and self defense.
Taurus handguns come with this nifty trigger locking system built into the guns. There is no cable lock to remove or thingy to pull off the trgger guard. A key in the side of the gun unlocks the trigger with a partial turn.
Most models of the TCP also come with this nice cordura case. This is the gun as it comes out of the box, with a quicktie through the barrel.
Many of our shooters commented that the slide is easy to rack, which is important for female shooters with smaller hands.
Taurus Model 738 TCP
by Carrie Lightfoot
The Well Armed Woman
There are a lot of guns in the market that gun nuts take for granted. They are basically good guns that have been around for a long time and sell a ton, yet they are really nothing special. But with all of the new shooters coming into the market, particularly women shooters, some old and extremely average guns are developing a dedicated following because they work, they fit great, and they are not expensive. Never one for big headlines, the Taurus TCP, also known as the Model 738, is a 10.2 ounce .380 6+1 that is carried by thousands of people every day, yet you rarely if ever see an interesting review or article on the gun. It is the lightest Taurus ever made, and since the arrival at Taurus of Mark Kresser and a new focus on consistency and quality control, the Taurus TCP deserves a fresh look. We asked our resident girl guru Carrie Lightfoot from The Well Armed Womanto take the gun for a spell, and have her whole crew shoot it and let us know what they think. Overall the gun did really well in the eyes of these very critical ladies, and they felt that the TCP was designed to be “just right” for the woman shooter. Here is Carrie’s overview:
As I opened the box of the TCP, which came directly from Taurus, I noted how neatly and simply it was packaged with no extra “fluff”. Likely not an attribute that is going to help to save your life but important none of the less as I believe that just as how we “dress” says a lot about who we are, how a firearm manufacturer packages and presents its firearms also says a lot about them. So, my first impressions were good ones!
I received a pink polymer with stainless slide model of the 738 TCP .380. I am personally not a pink girl, but I must say the soft matte pink color on this one was pretty nice. It’s also available in black. The tiny 738 comes in a great little nylon holster pouch which could be belted or clipped to clothing, purse or range bag. I value versatility and function – a multi-use case/holster provides just that.
Unholstered, this sweet little gun measures only 3.75 H X 5.25 L X .87” W (with magazine). It came with two 6 round magazines and the keys for the Taurus Security System. This is a standard built in security mechanism that comes on the entire Taurus family of semi autos and revolvers where when engaged the pistol cannot be fired. The small key fits into the small hole on the frame of the gun and with a quick twist the gun is disabled.
Of course my package also contained the owners manual. As women we love to follow directions and read owner’s manuals right? Actually, most of us do and it is an important first step when receiving any new gun into your possession. The Taurus manual was well done. Clear easy to follow directions and descriptions with great illustrations that were easy to understand. Much better than directions that have come with some of the children’s toys I have had to put together on Christmas Eve!
One of the things I do with any new firearm is take it apart and put it back together again. It’s a great way to get acquainted with and bond with the gun. Again, the directions were clear in the manual and I found the disassembly video on the Taurus website product page very helpful. The TCP is a very simple gun to disassemble and assemble which can be very appealing to a new woman shooter.
Once well acquainted, it was time to take the 738 TCP .380 to the range and put it through some paces. I have a great advantage when doing reviews in that The Well Armed Woman has over 100 women’s shooting chapters all over the country so I have thousands of women who can help me! This time I have the Copper Canyon AZ Chapter eager to help me give the 738 TCP a complete testing! Some of the ladies were brand new shooters and others were more experienced with firearms. We put hundreds of rounds though it and interestingly much of the feedback was similar from both new and experienced shooters. Here’s what they said:
“I can’t believe how tiny and light this gun is”
Everyone was shocked by the small size and light weight of the gun. Size and weight are big issues for women who want to conceal carry a firearm. With so many clothing styles and with our unique sizes and shapes, finding a firearm that can be concealed well amongst our curves and other “natural attributes” is a top priority for women second to reliability. This gun is likey one of the most concealable firearms made that carries more than two rounds. Being so light, it is important to keep a firm grip and wrist to aid the gun in fully cycling each new round. A limp grip or wrist can interfere with the subsequent round chambering properly.
“There are no rough edges, so would be great CC gun”
Woman are drawing guns from some unusual places. Whether from a bra, boot or bag any protrusion, sharp edge or lever creates the risk of the gun getting snagged or caught and impeding the draw which gives up precious time. The low profile and fixed sights leave nothing to snag. The Taurus 738 TCP is about as sleek as a gun can be. The slide lock is almost flush to the frame of the gun which keeps the surface smooth but can be a little tougher to release. You commonly don’t see a manual slide lock on a gun this size, so this is a very nice plus. This very clean design means smooth, snag free drawing which is an extremely significant detail to consider when purchasing a concealed carry gun.
“It should come with an extended magazine, so I can grip it better”
We don’t normally hear women commenting on the grip of a gun being too small. But, because this gun is so small (which is exactly what it is supposed to be) most of us ladies with smaller hands found it a bit akward to grasp the grip with our pinkies dangling. A pinkie extension can be added or you can purchase an extended magazine if you need that little bit of extra length. The grip had ample texture and grooves for a secure non slip grip.
“The slide racks pretty easily”
This is something else you don’t typically hear from women when handling a semi automatic pistol. Racking the slide for most women creates that fingernails on the blackboard sensation as it causes so many women frustration. With smaller, weaker hands, racking the slide can be a real deal breaker for many women when making the decision of which gun to purchase and is likely one of the reasons many women gravitate toward revolvers. Proper technique can make a huge difference but the decision is likely made before a woman knows much about the proper technique. For many women technique isn’t enough anyway – they just can’t manage the slide because it is too tight and stiff. The slide of the Taurus 738 TCP right out of the box with its deep and plentiful serrations was easy to manipulate. This is a huge advantage this gun has over many similar sized 380’s. The slide also locks back when the last round has been fired which helps provide the visual that all rounds have been fired and can also save precious moments when reloading. This is a great feature not usually found on guns this size and one that adds real value to the 738 TCP.
“I like the trigger on this gun”
The trigger pull is great on this gun – long and smooth with no “surprises”. It’s not too light, it’s not too tight and it’s one of my favorite features of this gun. Having a smooth and consistent trigger pull is not only more “comfortable” to shoot but also helps to give the shooter confidence. It encourages a steady smooth motion as there is less anticipation than found with a trigger that has a “hitch” or “bump” as some women call it. This pistol, like most ultra small concealed carry guns, has no external safety so the bit of tension and the length of the pull is important as it provides the assurance that you fully and intentionally want to pull the trigger. I have found that many of the smaller, less expensive .380’s have “jerky” trigger pulls that tend to surprise the shooter. The trigger pull on the 738 TCP is like that of larger, more expensive firearm.
“It’s got more kick than mine, but it’s not too bad”
This gun is small, light and polymer – these three things are why it has a bit more kick than perhaps a larger, heavier gun. There just isn’t much bulk or size to absorb the recoil. Because that energy must go somewhere, it goes into your hand and arm. A gun like this is intendended to fit into some small tight places so to accomplish this it must be this size. It is intended to be used in an emergency situation when all that matters is stopping the threat. It absolutely meets these goals and expectations. It is not meant to be a gun that you shoot recreationally. Of course it is not going to be as “comfortable” to shoot as a full sized firearm but it would be unreasonable to expect that from a gun like this. Yes, you need to practice with your ultra compact concealed carry gun – just don’t expect it to be recoil-less. The recoil of a .380 is totally manageable and, for most, a very comfortable caliber to shoot.
Most of the women that fired this gun really liked it and couldn’t believe the low price point considering the fit and finish. When asked if they would carry it there was a resounding “yes”! These ladies felt they could carry it very comfortably, shoot it effectively and count on it to do what they needed it to do.
One of the great challenges for a women shooter is finding holsters that fit her body and her lifestyle. When I counsel a woman, I ask her to consider this when shopping for a gun and to make sure the model gun she chooses has the holster options that will meet all her needs. Perhaps one of the best things about the Taurus 738 TCP is there are ample fits and options for concealed carry ranging from bra holsters to thigh holsters and everything in between.
I think this gun is a great option for anyone looking for an ultra small, easily concealable gun for an excellent price. Retail on this gun varies from about $200 to $370 depending on slide. For the money you can’t beat that. Taurus also offers their great Unlimited Lifetime Repair Policy where they will repair your Taurus firearm free of charge for the lifetime of the firearm!
Yes, good things come in small packages and it looks like they don’t have to break the bank either.