Top 5 Budget 380 ACP Conceal Carry Pistols- Small Pistols for 2021

Posted by Gunprime Staff on 08/02/21

Summer 2021 is in full swing, and as the heat increases, the size of ccw handguns generally decreases.  The 380 ACP cartridge is small enough to fit in pistols sized perfectly for pocket, fanny pack, or discreet IWB carry. Here are our top 5 choices for the best budget 380 ACP pistols you can buy for your carry gun this summer.

#5: Taurus Spectrum - The Budget King

Taurus has recently been putting out very respectable firearms to include the TX-22, G3C, and others. Among these new firearms with much better fit and finish is the Taurus Spectrum. The Taurus Spectrum easily earns its spot on this list due to its incredibly economical MSRP of just $289. The price most people pay is much lower than MSRP, and GunPrime has them in stock for just $239. It features a 6+1 capacity with standard flush fit magazines and a 7+1 capacity with the pinky extension magazines. The rounded edges and small format lend to a snag-free design that makes it ideal for a compact carry gun that you can carry without the worry of a nicer firearm being mistreated or put into a police evidence locker should you have to use it to defend yourself. The Taurus Spectrum also comes in a wide variety of colors, but we generally recommend one of the more subdued colors like black or stainless for the reduced cost and stealthier look.

Capacity: 6+1 (flush fit), 7+1 (extended magazine)

MSRP: $289.00

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#4: Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380

The S&W M&P Bodyguard chambered in .380 ACP has become a popular offering from Smith and Wesson both due to its low cost and user friendly controls. Smith & Wesson offers the Bodyguard in several configurations: with or without a safety, options for built-in lasers, engraved slides, and a variety of colors. However, the base model is no slouch and the quality known for Smith & Wesson firearms is apparent when held in the hand. Its compact design and aftermarket support makes it a great choice for a conceal carry pistol. The capacity is the industry standard of 6+1. Additionally, this is also the only handgun on this list to feature a physical safety that can be manipulated easily with the thumb. If that is something that appeals to you, then the M&P Bodyguard is an easy choice for your first carry gun.

Capacity: 6+1

MSRP: $385.00

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3#: Ruger LCP II

The Ruger LCP II has become a standard in the budget 380 CCW market. Its small frame and snag-free design has made it a gold standard since Ruger released the updated version of the LCP in 2016. The LCP II has increased “stippling” on the frame for added grip, a redesigned trigger, slide serrations, and slimmed down dimensions in certain areas that make it a superior offering to the original. The capacity is the standard 6+1 and the aftermarket support is strong from having a large userbase. The only downside is that the snag-free design can make it difficult to manipulate the slide stop, but this leads to a better firearm for pocket or summer carry. The Ruger LCP II is a great CCW firearm, and we can wholeheartedly recommend you pick one up if you need a compact carry gun.

Capacity: 6+1

MSRP: $349.00

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#2: Glock 42

Glock has been bolstering their concealed carry line over the past several years with the 43, 43X, and 48. However, the Glock 42 was the first offering from Glock to fit the mold of single stack .380 ACP pistols, and remains the smallest firearm that Glock produces to this day. If you are a fan of Glock handguns, then you will feel right at home with this pistol. While it is the handgun with the highest MSRP on this list, the quality is apparent when in the hand. The fit and finish are excellent and the number of aftermarket magazine extensions is off the chart; bringing the stock 6+1 to 7 or 8+1 very easily. The sights can be exchanged for your favorite brand of night sights, and there are numerous lights and lasers designed for it. If you need a compact Glock chambered in the small, but fierce .380 ACP for carry or home defense, then this is the gun for you.

Capacity: 6+1 

MSRP: $480.00

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#1: Ruger LCP Max

Ruger has recently unveiled one of the biggest developments in .380 ACP CCW handguns with the current trend of manufacturers to create 1.5 stack magazines to increase the number of rounds fittable into a compact frame handgun. The LCP Max features a magazine capacity of 10+1 with standard flush fit magazines and 12+1 with the factory extended magazine. This is double what the current industry standard is without greatly increasing the overall width of the handgun compared to the LCP II. Additionally, this handgun also features night sights that are a drastic improvement compared to most snag-free pistols while maintaining a slim profile.

If you need a concealed carry .380 pistol with the firepower of a much larger handgun, then this is currently the best option on the market. In addition, it also takes sights compatible with the S&W Bodyguard previously mentioned on this list, and it still fits in holsters already designed to work with the Ruger LCP II. Compared to the LCP II, the LCP Max features raised cocking ears and larger serrations on the slide, tritium night sights, improved magazine feed lips, feed ramp, extractor, and barrel cam geometries for decreased recoil compared to the LCP II. Its price is inline with its feature set, but still represents an incredible value for a carry gun and has features only available in this particular firearm.

Capacity: 10+1 (flush fit), 12+1 (extended magazine)

MSRP: $449.00

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There are many great 380 pistols on the market. The smaller caliber handguns tend to be a little lighter on the wallet and in the waistband. Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger and Taurus all make great guns for the money. Hopefully you can pick out the best one for you.