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”

Purchased in Nov 2010. First box of ammo (50 rounds) resulted in slide behaving irregularly…sometimes locked open when last shot fired/mag empty (normal), sometimes locked open with still one round left in mag, and sometimes didn’t stay open at all with mag empty. Took back to dealer two weeks after purchase…and dealer sent back to Taurus. Received about three weeks later. Have fired another 150 rounds…not a single issue. Slide is functioning perfectly. No FTE, no stovepipes, no FTF. BTW…amazingly accurate for such a short barrel. Gun is great for intended purpose…very satisfied.

A 380 Auto on-your-person when needed on foot will outperform a 45 Auto under the seat of the truck EVERY time.

i dont see alot of people having these issues with the Ruger lcp ??? Humm kinda makes me wonder if it may be the better gun..

I’m glad to find a website with current opinions. I have been doing research like a lot of people comparing the Kel-tec, Ruger, and Taurus pocket guns before buying. As much as I like the whole Taurus offering, it seems like an awful lot of unhappy owners out there. The local big box gun store in Phoenix did a hard sell with me on the TCP and it is a solid $100 less than the LCP. But…? All that talk about Taurus having “improved”. Like a lot of us, I don’t get to the range very often, so the last thing I need is frustration with a new gun. I’m thinking I am going to sit on my $$ for a while and keep reading.

yeah so many ppl sayin the tcp is good, i dont see many on here sayin that, i also dont see anyone havin these issues with the Ruger.. think id buy the ruger with its lifetime warr..and great service….

Hmmm wonder if your a proud LCP owner?…BTW I’ll remind you that the TCP has the same life time warranty and service.

Stay away from the A series,serial numbers ending in A.The B series pistol Taurus sent me to replace the A series I sent back, about (5) times,this is one where the aluminum frame rail cracked>>> ;seems to be working a whole heck of a lot better then the A series.Maybe they did iron out the bugs, with the B series; but be cautious.Its a great little pocket pistol ahead of its’ time .It’s great when it performs.

I have been having the same issues. I experienced Stove pipes and failures to eject the spent casing causing a jam. I took the pistol back to the dealer and he said that it was the clip over feeding the pistol. I called Taurus and told them what me dealer had told me. They sentme out two new clips. I was able to test fire with both of the clips today and found that I am experiencing the same problems with the one clip but didn’t have anyissue with the other clip. I only ran 12 rounds through each clip but the one that kept jamming, was causing a failure to extract the casing from the barrel. I was able to only get three shots off before it did this. Could this be a clip issue?? Any advice would be appreciated.

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