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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I just completed my summer ensemble. My latest fashion statement is called the Taurus TCP 738 ...



... and it is tiny and light, yet fearsome. I've been carrying it around in either my shirt pocket (with a buttoned flap), or the right pocket of my shorts since I purchased it, just to get used to it.



This pistol is but one of the parade of tough compact .380 ACP pistols that have recently been put on the market. You may have read the article covering the many models available in the American Rifleman several months back. They are all quite comparable in size, weight and capacity, but do vary considerably in price - anywhere from $200 to $1,100.

I've looked at many in the recent parade, including the Kel-Tec P-3AT, Ruger LCP, Rohrbaugh 380 Stealth (most expensive of the bunch), the Kahr P380 Series, and one or two others that have escaped me. The Taurus TCP 738 appealed to me for several reasons - its DAO trigger pull is among the lightest (quite comparable to my Para CCO .45 ACP), its weight (unloaded) at 10.2 ounces, its warranty for the life of the gun, it is made in the USA, its "out-of-the box" reliability, the manufacturer's service reputation for the few times there are minor problems, and its reasonable price at $265.95, assuming you shop around. I believe I have done my homework well, at least I hope so. There is a Titanium version that costs a bit more, by the way.

There is a reasonably priced pocket holster, the DeSantis Nemesis Pocket Holster (shown here with the Ruger LCP) that fits it ...



A pocket holster such as this, even in a tighter fitting pair of jeans, will eliminate even the slightest possibility of printing. The pistol is held erect in the pocket and the holster stays put when the gun is drawn. I got my holster from Midway USA, and as soon as short-barrel 90 grain Speer Gold Dots become available I will likely be ordering various .380 ACP reloading components as well.

If you are one of us who occasionally carries, you will agree that concealed carry is quite a challenge in the summer time when golf shirt, shorts, and sneaks, or sandals, are the uniform of the day. Heck, since everyone is familiar with the use of fanny packs, or PDA holsters, for concealed carry these days, one of the compact .380 ACP pistols in a pocket holster doesn’t give anyone a clue!

At any rate, there it is ... my new toy.

Well, I put the TCP through her paces today and thought I'd let you all know how she did. I want to have another similar session once I clean her up, but I had to take a break to do some other things around the house.

One hundred (100) rounds, magazine after magazine, and she performed flawlessly and I'm pleased to report that recoil was not at all intimidating ... no sore fingers whatsoever. There were absolutely no mis-feeds with Winchester 95-grain FMJ ammo, and the slide stayed back with authority and reliability after each magazine was empty. The only complaint I have is that the empties flew any direction they dang well pleased, my recovery rate on empty cases, for purposes of possible reloading, was 79%, and I was even using a big old army blanket to catch them, but the blanket was never at the right spot. Ejection path should improve in repeatability as the gun breaks in.

The little pistol, and the tiny sights, took some getting used to for the first couple of targets, but after that I started to get the hang of things. I shot 13-round targets … one in the chamber followed by the two 6-round magazines, taking approximately 2-3 seconds between shots. Another 100 rounds with this little sweetheart and I will be as confident in carrying it as I am my Browning 9mm High Power or my Para CCO .45 ACP. Obviously this little .380 ACP won't have the power of those two pistols, but she is a darn sight more concealable. As I said, I’ve been carrying it on me since I bought it, just to get used to it, and my wife never knew ‘til I came home from the range today and she couldn’t figure out what gun I had been shooting. I hadn't told her I bought it - she just kinda rolled her eyes and wagged her head. (She has her vices too!)

At any rate, the bottom line is that I am extremely pleased with the performance of this little pistol, for an autoloader weighing only 10.2 ounces and having a 2.84” barrel – tickled pink you might say.

Here’s what my last couple of targets looked like at 8 paces (approx. 24 feet) … 21’ is considered typical self defense distance for purposes of practice firing.



This last target gives me confidence that I can improve with practice. Although my primary goal at this point was to gain confidence in the functioning of the pistol, my secondary goal was to try to put as many shots in the rings of the target as possible, and this target fell way short of that goal; however, I do like the tight group in the center area. I think I must have been jerking or squeezing my whole hand with the trigger pull on the 3 shots on the bottom area of the target. The grip is a bit tiny so I’d assume that was my natural tendency on those shots. That’s why we must practice, eh?

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
If it ain't broke ... make it better!

I thought I'd share a little modification that I made to my newest little toy. When shooting it the first time, I noticed that the little, and very low profile, front and rear sights, integral to the slide, were rather difficult to see, even in daylight, when trying to acquire sight alignment.

I wiped the front and rear sights down with alcohol to remove any and all trace of oil and then strategically placed three tiny bright dots of silver automotive touch-up paint to the front sight as well as the two sides of the rear sight. The 3 dots, lined up horizontally at a 6 o'clock hold, is just the trick. A big "Thank You" to GM!



 

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Nice review!

Could you do me a favor and look at the pistol and tell if it says where it was made?

I'm pretty sure that due to it's size and caliber it is not importable into the U.S., therefore it would have to be made in one of the States.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Pistolero said:
Nice review!

Could you do me a favor and look at the pistol and tell if it says where it was made?
Pistolero,

Thanks! If you look at the first photo in my post you will see the words "Made in USA", right under the "TCP", on the frame right above the grip ... I also stated that in my narrative. Furthermore, if my memory serves, I believe they are made in Florida.

.........

Just checked the paperwork with the pistol. It was made by Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc. in Miami, Florida.
 

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I am impressed and that says a lot given my disdain for Taurus. Keep us posted and let us know once you've gotten it broken in. Especially, let us know if you've had a need to contact customer support.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Paul F.

I will mention that, prior to buying the Taurus, I surfed the 'net to find out as much as I could about the TCP 738. I found that by searching Google and YouTube, one can find out quite a bit. I found quite a few comments of owners' experiences with Taurus' Customer Service relative to the little gun.

To summarize, it seems that the most common problem(s) with the TCP 738 out of the box, when problems occur, is(are) of one of two types. The more common of these was the failure of the slide to stay open after the last round had been fired, and the less common was the fact that the slide stayed back when there was still one round left in the magazine. In all cases that I recall having read about, the customer sent the gun back to Taurus and it was returned within 3-4 weeks with the problem completely resolved to occur no more. Mainly the touch of a file was required as I recall, and once or twice magazine replacement was called for. Taurus tells the customer that repairs may take 6-8 weeks but experiences pointed to 3-4 weeks as the norm.

Quite a few folks, myself included, have not had any problems with the gun right out of the box ... at least I haven't thus far.

My problem, like everyone else's right now, is finding .380 ammo or reloading components to handload my own. Through time, hopefully, that will change and I can shoot the gun a lot more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I ran 75+ more rounds of ammo (now totaling 175-200 rounds altogether) through the TCP 738 yesterday afternoon, including a box of Hornady 380 ACP 90 Grain XTP Jacketed Hollow Points - I can report no problems whatsoever.

Empties are still ejecting any which way possible (spraying in about a 120-degree arc), making it rather difficult to collect brass for possible reloading. Since that's the only problem I have so far, I suppose I should be happy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
At the risk of seeming to beat a dead horse, I thought that I would offer one final comment by way of review of the TCP 738.

I have now run yet another 100+ rounds of ammo through this compact little .380, and have yet to encounter a single feeding or cycling problem. Those ammo types, mostly factory-loaded, have included Winchester 95 Grain FMJ, Hornady 90 Grain XTP JHP, Speer 90 Grain Gold Dot JHP Defense loads, and some handloads of my own making ... without any problems whatsoever, other than the fact that empty cases seem to take any ejection angle available to them.

Whether I am just lucky, or the possessor of a fine piece of quality Taurus craftsmanship, I am pleased with what I've got and can recommend the Taurus TCP 738 to anyone who is considering one.
 
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