New from Taurus is the 738 TCP, a mini .380…

New from Taurus is the 738 TCP, a mini .380 ACP pistol with a 6+1 cartridge capacity, and weighing a mere 10.2 ounces. This model has a stainless steel matte finished slide and black polymer frame.

The rise of what I call the “Micro .380 Pistol” began about three years ago, and has just about peaked in 2010. Just about every major handgun manufacturer, foreign and domestic, is making one of these tiny jewels and the common denominators seem to be a polymer frame, steel slide, ultra-short 2- to 3-inch barrel, a DAO trigger (with one exception), and a 6-plus cartridge capacity. They are highly compact, lightweight, thin, and due to the use of a locking breech mechanisms are a lot less bulky than older style blowback pistols like the Walther PPK, Sig Sauer P230 or other older designs that relied on slide mass and a big recoil spring around the barrel for proper operation.

Gun Details
The new Taurus 738 TCP comes in a black nylon carrying case that attaches to the belt. It has a top that is retained by magnetic snaps, which gives it more of the look of a pouch for a palm pilot or digital camera—a very practical idea. At first I thought that drawing from the case would be slow and prone to dropping; but the owner’s manual shows just how the gun is placed in the case and the technique for getting a faster presentation. I tried it and it worked reasonably well—it’s certainly not a fast-draw rig, but will work and the case protects and hides the firearm.

taurus-738-tcp-380-acp-bUltra-slim and compact, the Taurus 738 TCP has a minimum of controls. On the left side is the takedown pin, slide release catch and mag release button.

A thorough examination of the little pistol revealed no obvious defects in workmanship or blemishes on exterior surfaces. Hefting the 738 TCP, it almost doesn’t feel real at just 10.2 ounces empty. Overall length is a mere 5.25 inches, overall height is 3.75 inches (with standard magazine) and the width is an amazing 0.87 of an inch. The Model 738SS I tested has a matte finished stainless steel slide and a 2.84-inch barrel, both left “in the white.” The slide has deep, well-shaped serrations that helped when retracting the slide for loading, plus the slide itself is rather artistically sculpted for weight reduction and a more streamlined look. Contrasting with the slide is a matte black polymer frame; the grips being integral with the frame and having stylized, grooved panels on the sides that extend around the front and backstraps for an improved gripping surface. On the left side of the frame are the slide release lever, takedown pin and magazine ejection button. There is no manual safety and no magazine safety—if you don’t want the gun to fire, don’t pull the trigger.

The 738 TCP is equipped with the Taurus Security System. At the right rear of the frame you will see what looks like a small keyhole, and that’s basically what it is. Two “keys” are supplied with each pistol and are used to engage the system. The handgun must first be unloaded and the magazine removed. The key is then inserted into the mechanism and turned clockwise until a click is felt and/or heard. The mechanism will also protrude very slightly from the frame for a visual confirmation. At this point the trigger is now locked and a magazine can be inserted into the gun if so desired. To disengage the Taurus Security System, just insert the key and turn it counter-clockwise until the mechanism is flush with the frame. The gun is now ready to shoot. Another less obvious feature is the extractor on the slide, which acts as a loaded chamber indicator.

Load Comments
  • JOHN

    While I wait a few days to get to the range, I’ll say I like this gun so far. $199 bucks with a free year of NRA membership to boot.
    While cleaning it tonight I was able to remove the takedown pin with just my almost non-existent fingernails while the slide was in the locked open position. After cleaning, replacing it was easiest when the pin was started in the body before sliding the slide on and making sure barrel was fully forward. If it shoots as well as it seems built, it should prove to be a fine gun.

  • Dan

    One word of advice as Larry said: when reassembling this gun, it is orders of magnitude easier to start the takedown pin in the frame first before tracking back the slide. I actually bent the plastic on the frame trying it to do it the other way the first time, and ended up dislodging the takedown pin metal lock spring. I had to fish it back into the correct position with a paperclip.

  • I purchased for my wife. I love the gun, I will be purchasing my own. We shot 250 FMJ through it after cleaning assembly lube. I am more than pleased to report that we had not one jam, miss load, nothing. The sights are small and hard to see with my 63 year old eyes but it still hit all vital areas on the target at up to 25 yards.
    The pin is not an issue, if one would read the owners manual it explains how to line up the barrel to insert the pin. I can not get the pin out with thumb nails so I use a pocket knife to pop it out. There is no need insert ithe pin part way if you just line up the barrel slot after re-assembling the slide; easy for even old timers.
    Great gun safe reliable and shoots it’s ass off without worries of jams. Good job Taurus best small .380 out there and great price. Taurus knows how to build great guns that are priced where they should be. After cleaning over 200 rounds of crud off the little gun it looks as good as the day my wife took it out of the box. My wife also had no problems shooting up to 25 yards she too could hit any vital on the target with good groups. Now I need to sell my Ruger LCP.

  • Larry

    I am an FFL, and have been selling the TCPs for over two years now. It has been my experience that all pocket pistols have their share of bad reviews, not one better than another. Even Smith’s BG380 had a recall. That said, for the money, the fit and finish and Made in the USA makes the Taurus my choice. No Portuguese required. The automatic slide hold on empty on the TCP is only found on BG380 for more money.

    I have fired these, not bad for what it is. Short barrel, three fingers. Dozens out of my shop, and not one complaint. Considering the quantity in production, and how few the complaints, it is probably no worse, no better than any other for dependability.

    As for take down… I remove the pin with my finger nail. It has never been a problem to remove the pin, when in the takedown area. Insertion is tricky, but as one reviewer properly stated, start the pin before you track the slide. There is a metal spring that the pin must depress, which is nearly impossible to do from the takedown position, but is easily accomplished by sliding the slide with pin partially inserted to the takedown position, then pressing home once there. I floundered with this the first few times, but got the knack after some careful observation and trial.

    My shop is not a Taurus Dealership, I get them through the wholesale channel. No paid endorsement, in case you wonder.

  • Jim

    Using a set of curved needlenose pliers, I’ve been able to get that takedown pin out without scratching it or the gun. But putting it back in the first time required a $50 house call from the armorer. He filed a small bevel on one edge of it using a fingernail emery board. By positioning that bevel over the end of the spring that partially occludes the hole, the takedown pin snaps back in with relative ease.

  • vincejardina

    no problems with the taurus 738.love it.no jams or problems.

  • Clifton

    I take my assembly pin out with a a plastic credit card that I keep in my gun cleaning box. To assemble, start the assembly pin in about 1/16 of an inch into the hole, then place your upper slide on the rails and make sure your barrel is extended (pulled towards the front). Also important, is to have the recoil spring correctly seated in the cut out on the barrel!

  • mike

    I just bought a new TCP (1/12) and wanted to leave 2 notes: I have seen a problem reported on a video site that outlined a problem with the trigger going dead if you short stroked it to reset after firing a round. This does not happen with mine. That reviewers gun was obviously defective and the notion that the TCP in general is unreliable because of this is false.
    Second: Yes, the take down pin is all but impossible to remove unless you use a small blade to pry it out of the detent, and you need a jack hammer to get it started back in. The good news… I don’t think you have to worry about it coming loose while carrying it!

  • jammer

    My TCP Also had a bent latch or breakdown pin after firing 80 rounds.

  • Glenn

    Own Taurus pro in .45 Great Gun! Bought there TCP 380 just as well made as the .45!Only run 50 rds. through it so far no problems at all 90 grs.FMJ. Use it in homemade inside the pants holster with metal spring clip. Taurus needs to fix the PIN problem,mine comes out Ok but try to put the Pin back,had to return to Gun store and have them reinstall the main body Pin! Love the gun would buy another! 7 – 11 gb

  • Anozira Says:
    December 19th, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Are sending this Taurus 738 TCP back to Taurus for the FOURTH time. This time there is a delay in releasing the firing pin after the trigger is depressed to full length of its travel. DANGEROUS.


  • Mikeboy06

    I have had my 738 TCP for about 3 years now and have put over 1000 rounds through it. Only cleaned it once and didn’t have any trouble with removing the take down pin and have had 0 jams other than to remove a live round for inspection. Clearance in the slide is tight and the spring is hard so that would explain why. Easy to conceal and extremely effective. Highly recommended.

  • rich

    I was hesitant to purchase the tcp 380 at first given the few (relatively speaking) complaints I read about it. I did completely strip and oil it BEFORE shooting it for the first time as many have recommended (glad I did as there was loads of nasty oil in there). Shot 200 rounds with only one jam (hollow point). Never had any other issues. My biggest problem was getting the notorious pin BACK IN the gun. There were some recommendations on the blogs that worked great.

  • Anozira

    Are sending this Taurus 738 TCP back to Taurus for the FOURTH time. This time there is a delay in releasing the firing pin after the trigger is depressed to full length of its travel. DANGEROUS.

  • Marty

    Despite my dislike for Taurus autos, a female friend of mine that sought my advice on her first gun purchase bought the 738 TCP. Her boyfriend could not field strip the gun and brought it to me the first day she bought it in new, unfired condition. I was unable to remove what the manual called the “take-down” latch (it’s a pin actually, just in case anyone from Taurus is reading this). The pin is impossible to remove without damaging the gun or the pin. The manual actually says to pry it out with a screwdriver, if you can believe that! I am astonished that Taurus would not only design such a POS but actually put it on the market. She called Taurus customer service who instructed her to send the gun to them for repair. Easy enough if you are a licensed firearms dealer but not for the average customer. I wish she would have bought the Ruger .380, she would not have had any ridiculous problems such as this with a Ruger. If you are thinking about buying this gun, don’t.

  • Vince Russom

    I just purchased a Taurus 738 TCP .380 ACP. I have shot 50 rounds in the break end….I just have a little second thought to, should I have got the 709 for the 9mm…I love the .380. Just wonder if the 9mm would not have been more powerful if needed..

  • AMCM

    I bought a Taurus 738 TCP .380 amonth ago for my wife. First time out had many jams issues. I had heard it would take 200 rounds to break it in. It did become more reliable as we finished the first 200 rounds. I torn it down cleaned it with no problems. I was satifaction to let her carry it in palce of her 38 special, yet. The second time out we shot another 200 rounds. Relaibilty was very good. She only had one jam that she cleared herself. While preparing to tear it down to clean it, the latch pin was very hard to remove. Once removed it was bent. I contacted Taurus and they informed me this was not a common issue. They are going to send me a new pin. To me it appears the pin is too soft. Should not bend at 400 rounds.