Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review - Taurus 738 TCP

Last time, we talked about Pepper Spray for self defense. I mentioned that it is important to have the ability to defend yourself. Often self-defense is overlooked, leading to tragedy. Going along that same topic, I wanted to write about a favorite defensive firearm of mine, a firearm being one of the most effective defensive tools available. I'm actually very excited to do this review.

This firearm takes up no more room in the pocket than a standard-sized wallet. Its size and weight allow you to carry it comfortably in all conditions. The firearm is none other than the Taurus 738 TCP.

The Taurus TCP is a truly palm-sized pistol.
The Taurus TCP is called a pocket pistol. This means that it can easily and unobtrusively be carried in the pocket. The fact that it can be carried so discretely should give you some idea of how small this firearm actually is.

Size & Weight

The Taurus TCP weighs 10.1 oz with an empty magazine and just 12.5 oz with seven rounds of 95gr, JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) Winchester PDX1 ammunition, seven being the maximum amount of rounds that the TCP can hold with a full magazine and one in the chamber.

The barrel length is 2.8" long, the slide length is 5.3". The height of the pistol is 3.7" and the thickness is 0.78". If you can visualize that, the Taurus TCP is palm-sized. The size is amazingly small, if you haven't seen other pocket pistols such as the Kel-Tec P3AT or the Ruger LCP.

To keep weight down, the frame is made of polymer with adequate texturing on the grip. The steel slide rides on steel rails that are held onto the frame by two metal pins. The slide has serrations at the back which provide adequate traction to cycle the slide fairly easily. The recoil spring is actually has two integrated springs that are kept in place by a steel guide rod.

The Taurus TCP comes with 2, 6-round magazines, a PDA-style carry pouch
and 2 keys for the built-in hammer lock, which disables the pistol.
In terms of fit and finish, I have no complaints on the Taurus TCP. It looks very nice, with attractive machining that flows from the slide, throughout the frame. From a company that is often known for poor quality, the TCP really sets that bar high. I would not call this a poor quality firearm in any way.

Sights & Fire Controls

The sights are small and definitely designed not to snag on clothes when the firearm is drawn from concealment. They are non-adjustable milled out of the slide but, surprisingly enough, they are adequate. With some practice, I was able to have acceptable groups at realistic self-defense distances (10-20 feet).

I must say that I am very pleased with the TCP's trigger. It has a long, smooth, double action only trigger. When I say smooth, I mean smooth. The trigger has no staging or noticeable increase in the weight of the trigger pull throughout the movement. After some practice, you will remember where the breaking point of the trigger is, and be able to more or less know where it goes off. The nice trigger definitely helps shoot the pistol more accurately. I should also mention that there is no second strike capability on this pistol, so every time you want the hammer to hit, the slide has to cycle.

Rapid Fire: 5 shots at 10 feet within 2 seconds
out of the Taurus TCP, shows good "real-world" accuracy,
which is accuracy you would need in a defensive situation.
This firearm is somewhat unique when compared to other pocket pistols by the fact that it has a slide stop. The TCP's slide is held back on the last round, giving you a clear indication that the pistol is out of ammunition. This is a major plus in my book. In a self-defense scenario where you might be using a pistol, it is absolutely critical to know if you are out of ammo. With a firearm like the Kel-Tec P3AT or the Ruger LCP, you do not know you are out unless you count your shots, or hear a "click" when you should have heard a "bang". While I do not know how likely it is that you would be requiring more than 6 or 7 shots in a defensive scenario, it provides piece of mind to know that the TCP gives a signal when it is out of rounds.

The slide stop on the TCP is Glock-like in that it protrudes very little from the side of the pistol. When I reload after slide lock, I like to rack the slide manually rather than push the slide lock down with my thumb, since the slide stop does not offer very much traction, making it difficult to actuate manually.

Slow Fire: These 5 shots at 21 feet show that
the Taurus TCP is capable of accurate fire.
The last fire control, the magazine release, is also very trim. At first, it is hard to get used to, since it is so small, but with practice, it is more than adequate and ejects the magazines consistently.

The single-stack magazines on the TCP hold 6 rounds of .380 ACP ammunition. The TCP comes with two of them. The magazines have red followers and witness holes to see exactly how many rounds are in the magazine. The base plate on the magazines is extended about 1/2" to allow for a fuller grip on the pistol. I would have rather had a slightly longer grip and magazines without the extended base plate, since the extension makes reloading a little more difficult. When you hold the pistol, your fingers are holding onto what little grip there is, holding onto the extended floor plate of the magazine in the process. Then, we pulling the magazine out, you have to loosen your grip to make sure that you're not holding on to the magazine. That being said, the magazines have worked flawlessly for me and are of high quality.


Slow Fire: At 50 feet, the group sizes of the Taurus TCP
open up to nearly that of the whole sheet of paper due to
difficulty in using the small sights. 
You might think that such a small pistol must be incredibly difficult to shoot. I have large hands, and even so, shooting the Taurus TCP is not too difficult, definitely more enjoyable than I thought it would be. With an inserted magazine, I can grip the pistol comfortably, with only my pinky finger hanging off. Of course I prefer a full length grip, but with portability of the TCP come some compromises. Overall, it's a good compromise and I'll accept a slightly less comfortable grip for the ability to carry my pistol comfortably anywhere.

Those that have never shot a .380 ACP pocket pistol before might be surprised by the snap of the recoil. Recoil is less than that of a 9mm pistol, but due to the small frame of the gun and the fact that you cannot have a full grip, the pistol wants to snap up with every shot. This takes a little time to get use to, but once you do, follow-up shots are very manageable.


I have fired about 300 or so rounds through the TCP thus far and have had no failures at all. I have shot both Full Metal Jacket rounds and Jacketed Hollow Point rounds, with no issues. It's just a very dependable pistol. I have read about some people having issues with it, but I have had absolutely none.


Overall, I really like the Taurus TCP pistol. It is small enough to carry comfortably in almost all situations, but still shoots well. The trigger pull is great, with a very functional slide stop. If any of you are looking for a defensive pistol, maybe you are looking for the Taurus TCP. Check one out at your local gun shop and see if it fits you.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, let me start off by saying that I have owned a Taurus TCP for about 1 year with about 1000 rounds through it. I took it to the range about 2 months ago, I wasn’t doing anything out rageous with the gun just aiming at the target and shooting holes through it with standard .380 ammunition and in the middle of firing, the trigger breaks completely off, just like that. The actual polymer trigger broke off leaving the metal in stud left, which you could not press to fire another round to save your life, no pun intended. So I called Taurus and told them about it, they took all of my information and I paid about $60.00 dollars to send it to Miami for repairs, I got it back in about a month.

    So let’s fast forward 2 months later to now, I was at the range last week punching holes through paper with my Taurus TCP and in the middle of firing, my gun starts stovepiping and failing to eject. So I take the gun apart and a small metal piece falls out through the magazine weld, it happens to be part of an ejection rod that broke off. Again, I wasn’t doing anything outrageous. So I call Taurus customer service again, and told them about the history of this gun, this time they offer to pay for it to be shipped to them by emailing me a shipping label, so at this point my disposition is a little bit better, being that I used this as my EDC and if I had been in a gun fight, I would be dead both times, needless to say that my confidence in this equipment is a little less reliable than a staple gun, actually I would prefer the staple gun, atleast I can destract the offender and put an eye out. This will definitely be the last Taurus that I buy. By the way I never received the shipping label in my email to print out like they said, I guess that I’ll shovel out another $60.00 bucks to send this novelty item back to them for repairs.

    Taurus TCP 738 cost: $300.00 dollars plus tax.
    Taurus TCP 738 shipping cost for repairs: $132.00 dollars UPS and counting.