Top 4 Budget Minded .380s and One that Isn’t
Smith & Wesson Shield EZ .380
The Shield EZ puts the lighter .380 cartridge into a larger package. The result is a gun that is easy to hold, exceptionally easy to control, and still an effective round for concealed carry. Street price for the EZ is $350. And check out the available mags.
This is the second major iteration of Ruger’s pocket pistol. The LCP is tiny, just about as small as I’m comfortable with for self defense. The reputation of this gun is well established, and there are many in the pockets and on the ankles of LEOs around the country.
Because it is small, it will kick. Effective? Yes. Fun to shoot? Nope. A Ruger LCP2 sells for $250 or so. Mags aren’t expensive, either.
The tiny Kel-Tec was one of the pioneers in the reliable polymer pocket rocket market. I’ve had one in my pocket (and on the range) for well over 7 years (if my math is right), and I rarely leave home without it.
The P3AT is an ideal back-up. It fits perfectly in the pocket, and spare mags (even the 9 rounders) are easy to take along, too. A new P3AT will run you $140. Deal of the century.
GLOCK’s .380 was a big deal when it came out. Shortly after the 42 came the 43, and the 42 (which is almost exactly the same size) faded into the sunset. Or so you’d think if you were to try to find many 42 fans.
The .380 GLOCK 42 is lager than many of the other .380s on the market. This size, though, makes the gun very easy to control. It won’t disappear in the pocket, but is ideal for those who prefer IWB carry. You can pick up a 42 for $399, all day long.
Walther’s PPK/S, and soon the PPK, will appeal to fans of the old-school .380s. This design, almost 90 years old now, has been made for decades. Now, though, it is being made in the US.
If you are looking for a heavy .380, one that is actually easy to shoot, check out the PPK/S. The extended grips make it easy to hold. The weight, on the other hand, will be noticeable after a long day of concealed carry. The new PPK/S is selling for… well, that’s complicated. The new guns are flying off the shelves. FFLs can actually demand a premium if they so desire. I’d expect somewhere in the mid $600s.
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David Higginbotham is a writer and editor who specializes in everyday carry. He was a college professor for 20 years before leaving behind the academy for a more practical profession in the firearms industry.