Taurus 738 TCP: .380 ACP Pistol Takes Aim at the Ruger LCP

The Taurus TCP was a micro-sized .380 ACP pistol released by Taurus in 2008. Taurus manufactured the gun until about 2014.

Aimed at the same market that was dominated by the Ruger LCP, Taurus’ attempt to woo buyers to the TCP 380 ultimately failed. Low prices are typically the major selling point for Taurus firearms, but the LCP was also very aggressively priced. Most buyers opted for the better regarded Ruger name.

This article examines the Taurus TCP and looks at some of the variants offered by the company.

Introduction of the 738 TCP

Three versions of the Taurus 738 TCP, or Taurus Compact Pistol, were introduced at the 2009 SHOT Show in Orlando. The TCP, also known as the model 738, was a .380 ACP, semi-automatic pistol.

Taurus TCP pistol

The TCP was a very small, thin and lightweight polymer handgun. It made for a good pocket pistol.

The sights were described by Taurus as “low-profile,” but I would more accurately describe them as almost non-existent. That’s too bad, because this would have been one significant way the gun could have differentiated itself from the original Ruger.

The Taurus TCP has a slide lock, ambidextrous magazine release, and a loaded chamber indicator. A slide stop is not always found on pistols of this size, and an ambidextrous mag release is almost never seen except on larger handguns. These could have been important features for anyone looking to pick up a 738 TCP.

Taurus TCP Stainless Steel Slide

Six rounds was the capacity of the standard magazine. An additional eight-round magazine was sold by Taurus. The extended magazine adds a little length to the grip of the gun, which may make it harder to conceal, but easier to hold onto.

ProMag made 10-round magazines also. These were a bit longer, but gave you a substantial increase in firepower.

Where to buy Taurus 738 TCP Magazines

If you have a TCP .380 and need mags, two companies are still offering magazines. Mec-gar offers a 6-round magazine and ProMag offers its 10-round extended mags.

These can be difficult to find, and I recommend using my affiliate links to GunMagWarehouse below. I’ve done a lot of business with these guys over the years and they always deliver quickly with some of the best prices around.

6-round TCP magazine

10-round extended TCP magazine

The TCP had a 3.3″ barrel and an overall length of 5.19″. That’s pretty small stuff.

I hope you like double action only (DAO) pistols, because that is what you would get with this handgun. The trigger pull was long and moderately heavy. I would have liked it a lot more with a shorter trigger pull with the same weight.

TCP with black stainless slide

Others may disagree with this assessment since the Taurus 738 TCP is designed to be a pocket gun. But I believe you should always pocket carry with a holster, so that would avoid any problems with a marginally lighter trigger.

The TCP was the lightest gun that Taurus offered at the time, weighing only 10.2 ounces with a blued or stainless steel slide, and a mere nine ounces (!) with a titanium slide.

Taurus 738 TCP with Titanium Slide

The titanium slide version was so light, you might actually forget you are carrying it. Those weights are unloaded, by the way. To my knowledge, the TCP with a titanium slide tied the ill-fated Taurus View for the lightest handgun ever made by the company.

The Taurus TCP was manufactured here in the United States. Taurus makes most of their guns in Brazil, but small guns like the 738 TCP are difficult to import. In many ways, it makes sense for the company to invest in manufacturing here in the US. Not all parts have to be made in the USA, and many may be made in Brazil, with the serial numbered part being made in-country.

pink Taurus TCP 380 ACP

The Taurus rep on the show floor said pricing would be “around $300” with the titanium model “about $100 more.” Ultimately, street prices are almost always cheaper, and Taurus handguns tend to be very competitive on price. I would expect this to be a sub-$300 gun at the end of the day. Time will tell.

White TCP

Taurus TCP White

Taurus started selling white versions of the TCP pistol in 2014. The new guns retained all of the standard features of the original TCP guns, but with a white frame and either a stainless finished or white slide. Don’t drop it in the snow.

Caliber.380 ACP
Magazine Capacity6 rounds
Weight (unloaded)10.2 oz
Barrel Length2.84″
MSRPnot announced

By this time, Taurus already made the TCP with a pink frame, so white makes a third frame color option in the line. Although an MSRP is not listed other models of TCP retail for $355.66. I would expect this gun to be the same. This new model was introduced at the 2014 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.

Taurus TCP White stainless

TCP with “Wings”

In 2015, Taurus decided to take a new approach to the TCP and add foldable wings. While the intent was good, the execution was – in my opinion – poor. You can read my full take on the Taurus TCP with Wings here.

Spectrum – The TCP Replacement

By 2017, Taurus was ready to announce a TCP replacement. According to my sources, the 738 TCP was lagging in sales due to the well-priced competition. Combined with the perceptions of poor quality control at Taurus, it seemed the company couldn’t compete.

Enter the Spectrum.

The Spectrum was another micro-380 that offered a lot of features that none of the competition offered. While I had high hopes for the Spectrum (and even bought one at full retail,) it proved to be a dud in my eyes. I strongly recommend reading my Spectrum review if you are considering a purchase.

Updated: April 2, 2022

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.

109 replies on “Taurus 738 TCP: .380 ACP Pistol Takes Aim at the Ruger LCP”

well i read every post here, and after 2 year of post on here it seems the Taurus tcp has alot of issues,and after 2 yrs Taurus still hasnt fixed this gun to fire more than a few clips or rounds….and after all of YOU have sent the guns back (some as many as 6 times) you would think taurus would have fixed or remade the gun by now…i wouldnt want one if it was free after reading all of this, Im gonna look at the Ruger lcp reviews and figure out what thats all about..i will keep ya posted

We purchased 2 Tarus PT 738 TCP’s . New , $199 ea. w/ life time W. , size and price ( $100 less than the Ruger ) , and reliability . Great value , very pleased !!!!!!

I have a Taurus Tcp 738 .380. I am overall happy with the gun. It’s Pink and SS. I have some miss feed issues when firing several rounds and when loading it the first time after unloading and/or cleaning, it will jam up a bit, and I often find I have to slap the magazine to get it to seat properly and load. I haven’t had any issues with the trigger pull or actually firing the gun as if I would be in a situation where it would be needed. Both myself and my boyfriend served in the Marines. We train just like we would perform. It is my daily carry piece and fits a slender female without bulk at the hip.

My wife wanted the Taurus LCP .380 in pink as her first gun, she had shot my guns enough and wanted a gun of her own. We had shot .380s before and she loved the look of the gun and it fit in her hands. The gun was small for me, my pinky couldn’t even wrap around the grip of the gun.
I shot the gun initially, and after the second round I put the gun down on the bench and gave her a disappointing look and as I left the bench I said, “Your probably not going to like that at all.” and as sure as the day is long, after she shot one round, she put the gun on the bench and stepped away.
The recoil was so intense, it made my 357 magnum’s recoil feel like nothing. It jammed more times than it fired a round. I am not one to waste money, and I wasn’t going to toss the remaining rounds of ammo in the trash, so reluctantly I shot the remaining rounds through the gun.
We cleaned the gun, sold it at a gun show the next week, and never looked back.

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