I made the decision to get my CCW two years ago and wanted to carry as much as possible. In retrospect it almost seems crazy I didn’t come to that conclusion sooner as a husband and father of two young children. While a 30-year-old male is far from the most vulnerable member of society, adding in said wife and two kids to the equation changes the vulnerability level drastically . . .
I decided to pocket carry, the advantages being obvious for a new CCW’er, small handgun, easily concealable, and confidence of being in the familiar front pocket. The tradeoff of low capacity and a low power .380 seeming minimal considering coming from carrying nothing.
After some research I started out with a Tuarus TCP based on positive reviews (including here at TTAG) and the low cost of entry. While the TCP provided me the opportunity to get over the initial fear of carrying a gun, reliability issues and lack of features I considered essential insured it didn’t last long. After a 100 rounds or so it began to eject at least one spent case per magazine directly back at my head, cutting me once. That led to subconscious flinching when firing.
I couldn’t convince myself to carry with one in the pipe without an external safety. As a father of two, I have kids crawling on me, especially wrestling with my five-year old son. The risk just seemed too high, even with a pocket holster.
That led me to purchase a S&W Bodyguard 380 (no laser) with a manual safety. I appreciated the “real” sights compared to the TCP, the fact that it didn’t throw brass at my head, and the comfort of having an external safety. With practice I was confident in my ability to manipulate the small nub of a safety when drawing and gained the confidence to begin carrying with one in the pipe. I also upgraded to a DeSantis sticky pocket holster which was a big improvement over the old Galco I had originally purchased with the TCP. This gun performed well for me for over a year until cleaning it one day before a weeklong trip when the end of a spring popped out the side between the “chassis” and the plastic body. Still not exactly sure how it happened as I’d cleaned this gun many a time, but looking at it closer, all that plastic body flex wasn’t confidence inspiring.
That’s how I got to the pocket 380 I always wanted, but was too cheap to buy initially — a SIG P238. Compared to the TCP or the S&W Bodyguard the SIG just exudes the feeling of quality and confidence. The weight of the all metal gun along with the perfectly executed factory seven-round extended mag makes this feel like a “real” gun. With the extended magazine I can get all three fingers on the gun with little if any additional printing. The SIG also has probably one of the best manual (1911 style) thumb safeties available on a pocket .380, a huge improvement from the S&W Bodyguard’s little nub.
The Sig has been reliable. I settled on carrying HPR XTP based on watching the majority of shootingbull410’s .380 Ammo Quest videos.