Taurus 738 TCP Range Report

| February 14, 2010 | 78 Comments

My tax returns were deposited this week so after putting a few grand towards some lingering debt, my wife and I decided to share the remaining $400 for purchases. I choose to get a Ruger LCP with my half, but when I showed up at my FFL he didn’t have any LCP’s. Instead had a nice stainless slide Taurus TCP for $5 less! I’d looked at this gun when I was trying to pick out a pocket gun and liked everything but the brand. Come to find out, Taurus is now making some of their guns completely in the USA, so I gave them a try. I walked out with the little .380, 2 mags, a nifty belt case, and 2 boxes of Prvi Partizan ammo (the guy at the shop said it was decent stuff made by Winchester in Europe).

I went to the range today to shoot the TCP for the first time. The tempature was around 25 degrees Farenheit with low wind. I shot 50 rounds at the 7 yard range. 1 magazine from a rest, and the rest free hand.

My expectations were of many misfires and misses as many have reported from these new .380 minis when they are new. To my dismay, the first shot resulted in a failure to feed! I was very bummed and as I began to rack the slide, I noticed a large amount of blood running down my thumb . Turns out when I tried to take my first shot from a rest, I placed my left thumb over my right thumb and it was severely cut by the slide. I obviously normally don’t hold a pistol this way, but because it was so small I accidentally placed my thumb in a completely wrong spot. After correcting my grip, it was smooth sailing (except for a failure to feed when I limp wristed, but the shot surprised me and I blame myself).

I am used to shooting SA/DA pistols, so the trigger pull was very long for me, but it was quite smooth and perfectly light (I’d guess 5 lbs.) for my taste. I greatly prefer this trigger to the Ruger LCP or any DA revolver I have shot. With the practice ammo I was using (Prvi Partizan 94 grain FMJ) I was able to hold 3-4″ groups which may not sound like much to most of you, but is quite impressive for me using a new super-compact pistol. I thought the gun was shooting 6″ low for the first few mags, but 6 shots from a rest showed a nice 2″ (with one flyer) group right on center at 7 yards. I know that long trigger is causing me to drop the muzzle, something practice will correct.

The TCP comes with a Bulldog case, kinda nice but this thing fits so easily into the pocket that I don’t think I will be using it.

Final observations:
I really like this gun and think it personifies what I was looking for in a pocket pistol. I like love the size, and it is not at all painful to shoot. Accuracy (and my ability to shoot the tiny gun) was much better than I had hoped. It did not show any of the trigger slap/pinching that the P3at has. Everything that should be polished inside is, fit and finish are great. One design flaw I found is the slide has a lot of sharp corners on it and does not carry well without a pocket sheath (of which you should have anyway). The Ruger has a much more “melted” slide with no sharp corners anywhere. The sights were actually quite usable and machined accurately to allow center shooting when aiming right on at 7 yards. The grip allows for two fingers, but I felt very secure shooting the gun and wouldn’t want it any longer. This gun is meant to be carried a lot and hopefully never used, so size is its number one trait. Reliability was excellent for the first trip to the range, and as long as you keep your fingers clear and your wrist clear, it seems to be an excellent shooter. A plus on the TCP over the LCP is on the last shot the slide locks back. The slide lock is small, and is pretty sticky right now but was a very welcome addition at the range. The slide serrations are very grippy and do their job well. The mag release button is made of steel (not polymer like I believe the prototypes were) and is out of the way while shooting, yet easy to active when you want to. The mags are under spring tension, and fall out with nice speed. The follower in the mags are plastic, but they have a steel insert which activates the slide hold-open. I think this gun is worth every penny of the $295 I paid for it, and it will be replacing my P239 as my carry gun when I find a good SD load and get a few more boxes through it.

Written and authorized by “michaelmcgo” over at thr

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78 Comments on "Taurus 738 TCP Range Report"

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  1. Beerfix says:

    Just purchased a TCP for summer carry, haven’t even had it to the range yet so I can’t comment on much. My primary carry is also a Sig 239, which I find myself NOT carrying much in summer type clothing. I suspect I’ll be happy with something I can simply slip in my pocket, and not worrying too much about summer concealment. The Taurus beat out the LCP based on the last round slide lock, and I also found the trigger much easier to acquire on the TCP. I hope my first experience with Taurus will be a good one.

  2. Charles Wesley says:

    I bought a TCP and took it to the range . I had FTL’s on the last two in the mag every time .So I rounded off a sharp edge on the extractor that was causing the round to hang up . The weakness of the spring tension on the last two rounds in the magazine could not overcome the roughness of the extractor ramp .I havent had any FTL or FTE since except on some reloads . An that happened exclusively on the last two rounds in the mag . I shoot Walmarts 100 box of JHP . It’s going to take some practice to overcome the DA only trigger as far as shooting with accuracy .

  3. Scott says:

    Bought one yesterday picked it over kel-teck because it locks back after the last round, two mags and carry pack it was $10 more hopefully I made the right choice.
    Took it out this morning and put 120 rounds down range with no problems used 50 win white box, 50 tul ammo and 20 pmc starfire jhp all hit the target so far so good!

  4. beetzmee says:

    Update on the TCP .380. Now that I have shot this another 150 odd times, it is starting to break-in or, I am simply getting used to it. I do notice that in double-taps, I tend to shoot low. On further examination, lining the sights up as such:

    top of foresight even with top of rear site. In other words, let the foresight cover most of the notch of the rear. Hold firm, fire nets:

    Shooting low 4-6 inches at 15 yards. The barrel, when locked up, looks to be aiming slightly downward? With that in mind, I now have to remember to hold the foresight ABOVE the top of the rear sight and I’m pretty much on. At that point, if I shoot for the head, I tend to hit it at 15 yards…the neck, the torso net the same result. It’s really the only gripe I have about the gun and I am pretty sure I could modify it a bit to overcome that issue.

    Mine is the polymer/stainless….I saw a complete blued version at a gun show yesterday for $219 plus tax. Not bad. At that price, it virtually wipes out the reason for a .22 or .25 by taurus as the price is about $30-$50 more for the .380. Worth every penney.

    All in all? Good gun but, like the Kel-Tec PF-9, Taurus PT-111 pro, and other not-so-tier 1 guns, keep them clean and thoroughly lubed, no problems. This is a good pistol for the money. I like the Ruger as well and with either I am sure you are fine.

    Good luck to you and yours!

  5. Brandon says:

    I bought a TCP PT 738 today and a box of Monarh shells , went straight from the store to the woods and shot the whole box with no prob.I would give the gun a perfect 10 . Cost less than a Ruger with a few added features , 2 mags , chambered round indicator and auto slide stop when emty.Looks better than a Keltec at the same price .Also it has a safety lock system thats pretty cool.

  6. Chris says:

    Love my little TCP but doesn’t seam to be to acuret! At 15 foot I hit the target two times out of 6 rounds. I have ran 150 rounds through it with no problems. The gun would be awesome if I can figure out why its not accurate. If any one has any tips please let me know. Thanks.

  7. Sean says:

    Bought a Taurus TCP and got out to the range today to try it out. About 10% of the rounds failed to feed. Every round that failed to feed had been scuffed as if it had snagged on a sharp corner. 50 rounds of Remington FMJ, and 50 of Federal FMJ. I shot a couple mags of Hornandy Defense HPs and I had no FTFs on those. I guess the higher pressure was able to force the bullet past the snag point. I am going to look at smoothing the extractor edge to see if that helps.

  8. garry s. says:

    bought the taurus 380tcp, looks great,feels good,funtions very well.shot my first box of ammo without any problems so far. perfect size to use for ccw. i really like this one.

  9. Sean says:

    Just got back from a range trip after filing the extractor and magazine retention a bit. I shot 50 rounds of Tula with no FTFs. I then shot 50 rounds of Federal and had one FTF near the end of the box. Interestingly enough, the initial round started feeding properly more often as I got nearer to the end of the second box. I think with a little more work, I can come to trust this gun.

  10. Ron says:

    Bought one my partner at the gun show took in trade for a 709. It had only had 50 rounds through it. I took it out and discovered it was suprisingly accurate shooting 12 gauge hulls across the sands. It fits my jeans watch pocket just fine. I am pleased with it. All this from a guy who normally carries a Kimber Pro Carry. Actually, I like them both and may carry them both at times.

  11. Bill says:

    Have had a TCP .380 for over a year and love it. Shoots reasonably accurately at 7 or 8 yds and have not had one failure to fire after over 300 rounds. Its now my usual carry pistol (also have a Taurus titanium 85 five-shot revolver and a S&W M&P 40 compact, both of which are much heavier and bulkier to conceal). I wear suits to work and it is light and invisible in my inside suit coat pocket or my front pants pocket.

  12. Ron says:

    Follow up report. This little un is great. The bulldog holster attracts zero attention and I an getting pretty fast at drawing from it. Neat package.Taurus should be commended for it.

  13. Todd King says:

    I bought one yesterday, first thing failure to load, and again on the second and third shots. I had to help the slide load the round. Still having issues. I dont want to ship back a brand new gun…

  14. Ken says:

    I have had my TCP 738 for almost a year and it has been tough sticking with it. Out of the box it was terrible! I could only get one or two rounds off before FTF. Also when it did fire it ejected the empty right back in my face. Sent it back for repair and it was returned to me in 3 or 4 days, with a spare mag. They replaced the barrel, said it had some jagged spots. First box shot pretty good them started same problem. Back it went, got it back again in 3 days with another spare mag. They did some work on the extractor, and now it works!! Have put around 400 hundred rounds through it since the last repair and it never fails. I am glad I stuck with it, and the Taurus customer support is second to none. If you are having issues don’t hesitate to send it back as they will treat you right. Call the customer service line and the will email you a fedx overnight label. Follow the instructions on the Taurus website for returning a gun for repair and they will take care of you. This is a good little gun and I feel very confident that it will preform if I ever need it.

  15. Just UNloaded my new Taurus TCP. Have owned a few Taurus over the years, but this one is not of the quality I’m used to. Failed to feed the first round. Good start. After trying several brands of ammo…all the same. Failed to feed at least twice from every mag. Not what I want for concealed carry. I do like the light weight and small size. Now if I can only get the thing to load!

  16. beetzmee says:

    Follow up (again) on this pistol. Like all things that tend to stick around in your life, you get to “see” things you may not have noticed before….to be sure, the little things about this gun continue to pile up. For starters, you can now find these for sale for as little as $199.00 (all blue). Mine is the “stainless” and black model.

    Things that I have continued to notice about the grip. The width is exactly .75 inches…3/4 of an inch wide. Almost the perfect slimness for the ultimate in concealed carry. The barrel is 3.1 inches I believe and wonder why this tiny thing can carry 3.1 inches and quite a few, much larger pistols struggle to give you 3.5 inches in a much larger package. To be sure, most 9mm and above have quite a bit to “slim” to do so but, it does make you wonder why some engineer somewhere can’t squeeze a 4 inch barrel into a compact 9mm with the same overall size as they are today….but, I digress.

    This pistol, has been reliable, a breeze to carry and I have finally found a holster at a gun show that is the PERFECT ISP version….it’s small, overtly comfortable and carries well without ANY printing….I like that….I’m not one to confront but, it’s nice to know I have something like this walking me to my car at night….always handy.

    I’ve decided that I am going to file an incision across the front post, paint it neon something (probably red/orange) and the back site with crescent recess, bright white to get some semblance of a sight picture in a hurry. I still tend to hit low with this and I swear its the way the barrel sits in the receiver. Little matter as I always aim center mass with calibers like this so, aiming at the chest will net abdomen or slightly higher….with 6 swings at bat, I’m fine with it…..

    Rapid fire has reduced some “spraying at 7 yards” but, I’m fine with that too. It keeps 4 or 5 of the 6 rounds in the silhouette with at least 2 or 3 in the critical areas….good enough. It is cycling much more smoothly now that I have polished the rails and throat ever so slightly, soaked the frame in wd-40 for a few days, and completely cleaned the thing to the last spring, recess and nook and crannie. It’s clean, lubricated and polished….a bit…..cycles all 4 types of rounds of I have pushed through it….

    The trigger is consistent and I have finally gotten use to the full batter’s swing. The take up isn’t particularly difficult and the reset is predictable. It’s a squared away little shooter. Some say the Ruger is a “quicker” trigger. I don’t know as I don’t own one but, I’m sure it’s a fine, fine weapon as well. I just like the overall, consistent slimness of this one, the 2nd mag, slide lock open after last shot, token sights, consistent trigger pull, and grip length. Your results may vary.

    For what this is, it’s tough to beat. To be sure, the Ruger LCP makes a fine weapon for those that like Ruger (I love Ruger) and at some point, I will pick one of theirs up as well. For a $380 in the $200-$240 range, you can’t go wrong. Like all small, tight semi-auto actions, keep them clean and lubricated and they should serve you well when called upon.

    If you are on the fence, give this one a real, hard look. It’s a good value for the money. I can’t speak much about the Kel-Tec 3AT but, there seems to be a good following there. I own their PF9 and am okay with it overall. Very light, still need to get the kinks out of that but that review is for another day.

    Bottom line? 4.5 stars out of 5. If you buy one and don’t like it, how much could you really lose? I think you will keep it as all pocket autos have a place in this world.

  17. Gabe says:

    Grea little pistol! Just got it today and shot 25 rounds through it after cleaning it. It worked flawlessly. I was shooting a little low and left but got used to the sights after the first 6 rounds. I’m impressed and surprised how accurate this little gun is. I had a sig 232, 380, it was nice but heavy. I would trust my life with this gun but I would also trust my life with the taurus after shooting it. Remember, the gun you need to save your life is the one in hand! Don’t leave home without it!

  18. Lt4545 says:

    Just picked up my top this morning at my ffl paid 219.95 blk stainless slide polymer frame, preffered the fit and feel of the tcp over the ruger and kel tec for my hand had the foresight to research ammo availability and found cheaper than dirt has but hollow point ammo with excellent reviews at a more than reasonable price ordered two boxes to use as break in fodder now have to get to the range ASAP amp will report results afterwards love the size of this pistol fully loaded weight is about the same as one pt145 magazine loaded with all 10 rounds perfect size and weight for summer cow also picked up a shoot thru pocket wallet holster;this fits in my front or rear jeans pocket perfectly with no printing other than a squarish wallet appearance,wallet in the pocket look if you look very closely ,otherwise unnoticeable ,carried it everywhere around town running errands with no worry of it showing; even asked my girlfriend to look me over to see if I was carrying – she was unable to notice it in my front pocket of my jean shorts!

  19. LeroyMontoya says:

    That’s bvt ammo folks sorry for the typo been carrying daily for over a month now weight and size are perfect for summer cow .range report to come soon

  20. Cliff O'Rear says:

    Just bought my TCP for $189 as a concealed carry gun. I took it to the range & put 200 rounds through it with only 1 jam. Not bad for a small gun. It does seem to shoot low but once you get use to it picturing it hits good. Much easier to carry than my Bersa.

  21. Lt4545 says:

    Well folks took my tcpand my bvt ammo to the ranch for some informal shooting hoping for the best. The first seven rounds went dowrange without a hitch brass ejected cleanly toward 4’oclock direction and landed 1-2 feet tithe right of where I was standing ,this light little .380 generated more recoil than I expected, but I’m sure it’s bite is much harder,worse,for the target,the receiving end now reload and try next 6 rounds. Well try is exactly what I did! The first round fired ok but the second was bobbled and wound up not fully chambered slightly sideways I found out!!! Did the drill tap-rack fire but next round did the same thing!! Each time I pulled the trigger all I got was a click ;tried multiple hits with no success Now repeated three more times ,removing the unchambered round each time for inspection; upon inspection found each round had firing pin hits on the very outer edge of the primer no wonder they didn’t fire I’m left wondering how they were oriented to the chamber,barrel when struck? Slide appeared to be just slightly open @ 98 percent closed. Or closed completely! Also noticed both magazines had a chip on the left front of the red plastic follower in exactly the same spot now after a call to Taurus customer service it is to be picked up by fed ex the following day and rushed to them for repair with estimated 2week return time all shipping paid by Taurus! Second day air service helpfully but just would like my top back in fully working reliable condition!!!! Especially since its intended for daily carry! Hoping for the best and waiting

  22. danno says:

    I’m in the research mode at this point although a friend who is quite savvy w/ weaponry said he carries the Taurus 738 and pretty much digs it. He said, ” it’s a good gun for the money”. I appreciate the reviews.. it’s very helpful. I have owned and carried a S&W model 459 , 9mm for 22 yrs and have shot thousands of rounds through it, dirty and hot and can honestly say It’s never miss fired or jammed once in 22 yrs…. I seriously don’t know what it would be like to own a side arm where I would have to worry about a malfunction. I’m certainly spoiled and a bit leery about any weapon that might screw me when the chips are down. With all that been said, I’ll spend an extra dollar if that’s what it takes for the peace of mind but still curious about this gun. Unlike a lot of you guys out there I’m not as learned in the options for adjustments, tweaks etc. so I appreciate you sharing your experiences. I think I’ll try it but meanwhile the “Smith” stays on my side until I know that relying on this gun isn’t like (rolling the dice).. Thanks again guys..

  23. Dennis says:

    I bought my wife a TCP to carry in her purse. We took it to the range after cleaning and inspection. After 250 rounds of FMJ (200) and JHP (50) we had zero failures of any kind. The only mishap to report was one ejected round flew back and hit the wife in forehead. Accuracy was on par with other 380’s. We could both hit any fital area on the target up to 20 yards. We did no groupings because this gun is only going to be used as self defense. The gun did on occasion hang if the user during first round feed did not let the slide loose from the full reward position. When this did happen it only took a small tap on the rear of the slide to feed round into the barrel, this is not a failure to feed this is user error. I would trust this little gun for total self defense and see no need for any other carry gun. I will be getting one for myself. This is my third Taurus and I have had no problems with any. I choose this over the Ruger because of the added features, slide lock, round in chamber indicator, looks, and full length slide rails.
    I recommend this gun to anyone wanting a good self defense weapon that is easy to conceal and shoots accurately.

  24. Dennis says:

    This is an update on my earlier post after my day at the range. I installed a Crimson Trace laser. The laser installs easily. The way the laser has to be mounted does make this a different gun. There are two big problems with the mounting to the trigger guard.

    1. After mounting it is not possible to get two fingers totally on the grip. With one and a half fingers on the handle the guns recoil felt more violent.

    2. After mounting there is less room for your trigger finger. It did cause pain on the trigger finger of the three different people that fired the gun. The pain is caused because your finger contacts the plastic site housing and the kick from the gun magnifies this. The three people that all experienced this had hands ranging from small female to large male.

    3. The accuracy of the laser was spot on, but the battery went dead after just two magazines. I have not changed the battery to see if this was just an old battery that shipped in the new laser.

    The important part is the TCP had no problems doing its job of firing off rounds. We shot off another 120 rounds [100 JHP, and 20, Federal 90 grain Hydra Shock JHP]. Shooting target as far as 15 yards the laser hit consistently within a paper plate with groups closer to center and a few stray misses to the edge of plate. I would have shot some further but the the battery died.

    I will trust this gun for my wife’s carry and more than likely purchases one for myself. Like I said in the first review the gun is not for target shooting and this will make the two problems with the Crimson Trace Laser a non issue. The plus with the Crimson Laser is it turns on as soon as you grip the handle to fire. After 120 rounds the laser did have build up on the lens from the muzzle flash which was easy to clean with the small lens cleaning tips that came with the laser. After close to 400 rounds through this gun with no misfires or failures to feed I recommend it to anyone.

    I would like to add that the gun is not hard to break down as many have stated. The small take down pin does take a knife edge, screw driver or strong finger nail to get it out but after it’s removed it is easy going from there. Putting the gun back together takes just a little more thought putting the pin in. If you align the slot in the barrel with the hole for the pin, the pin will go in with just a moderate amount of force. After doing this once it gets to be as easy as any gun to reassemble.

    After cleaning and 380 rounds through the gun it looks as good as new and shows no signs of wear on slide rails, great gun for the money and it’s worth much more, can’t beat it anywhere.

  25. Chris says:

    A Hungarian PA-63 which I picked up in Europe 35 years ago is what I usually carry? but do to weight and other issues, ie, finding quality 9×18 Mak ammo, I decided to downsize for convenience of carry and concealment? Please note that I also have numerous other old school wheel guns and a govt 45, not well suited for CCW?
    28 June 2013, I purchased a 738031FS from Academy Sports for $200. The weapon comes with only one mag so I purchased a second mag made by Pro-Mag? took the weapon out to the country and attempted to run about 20 rounds through it? The 3rd round, I noticed that the disassembly pin was extracting itself from the left side? the pin continued to rattle around during the shooting? 12th round, the pin fell out? The Taurus Mag produced no issues? the Pro-Mag, it will get you killed? the promag doesn?t feed well into the gun? you have to continuously push the mag release button in order to feed the mag into the weapon? first round feed from this mag fails to feed period? you have to remove 2 rounds from the mag to feed a round into the chamber, then re-feed the mag to 5 rounds in order for it to work properly? At the end of the day, pay the extra bucks and attain the Taurus mag.

    Accuracy at 5 to 7 yards, it?s deplorable?but having this gun is better than throwing an alley apple or no gun at all?

    Disassembly and cleaning, I followed the instructions, extracted the disassembly latch pin, attempted to slide the top slide forward, the gun fails to break down for cleaning purposes?
    After 20 rounds, the gun is going back to the manufacturer?

  26. Glenn Franco says:

    Picked up this lil “bull” today at my local gun dealer. It was a previously loved bull but after a nice lil cleaning it was ready for its time in the ring.

    It’s not gonna win any target shooting competitions but I consistently put 6 shots w/in a 6-7 circle w/just a little getting used to the break on the trigger.

    You can NOT limp wrist this gun at all … the “bull” needs a strong stable platform. That being said I believe it just as perfect for a woman’s purse as my pocket. I work nights in a tow yard doing both dispatching & security. There’s a half million in trucks parked there & impound vehicles as well. It’s lovely to have this lil “bull” in my pocket if it comes right down to it. No one will ever know its there until THEY NEED TO KNOW ITS THERE.

    Buy this for what its intended. Concealed protection. Light as a feather. Easy takedown for cleaning & upkeep. 6 in the mag & one in the throat. If you need more than 7 then maybe you were outnumbered in the first place & should have been beating hasty retreat.

    For what it is .. and the price. I love it. My lil “Ferdinand” the bull…. 🙂

  27. HappyTom says:

    This is a great pistol! I had to do a little “fluff and buff” on the feed ramp, and also on the follower on the magazine. But now after 500 rounds, I have no issues at all. Two of my most favorite brands of ammo to use is American Eagle by Federal (Solid round nose, FMJ) and PMC StarFire (for JHP). I also was able to find another magazine for it (made by Taurus) at Academy Sport for $19.00 USD. DO “NOT” but magazines from ProMag, not only will you have problems, but they lack and sort of care in regards to quality assurance.

  28. George says:

    Well, I bought this TCP over the Ruger because of the trigger pull. Took it out to shoot and had it lock up on me with the slide fully back, the brass still in chamber and the disassembly pin sticking out. I managed to get it back in with a lot of difficulty and continued on. It failed to fully eject the brass a few more times but seem to get better the more rounds through it and the pin stayed in.
    Went home and had difficulty taking the pin out and no matter how careful I was, The head of the pin snapped but I got it out. Called Taurus and they sent me out a replacement pin. Finished cleaning it and put it up until today. Took it back out with a buddy that had just purchased a Ruger 380. Again, on the very first shot, same thing. I got the brass out, removed the clip, called Taurus and it is on its way back to them.
    I am shooting Precision One Ammo which I do not think is the issue. By the way, my buddies Ruger liked it just fine.
    I really like the feel of the gun and hope it is a simple ONE TIME fix for this gun.

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