The informed armed citizen should choose the best tool for the job. For example, although a “pocket pistol” is a good choice for concealed carry and close-range confrontations, is it the best option for home defense? Probably not. What about the full-size, high-capacity pistol? Certainly sheer firepower and enhanced accuracy give it an edge in certain situations, but for everyday carry is it practical? And what about the options found between these extremes? There’s a lot to consider.
Taurus offers options that address the varying needs for personal protection. Here are three options that will fulfill those needs for most people inside the home and out, and best of all, they also cover a range of price points; however, always consider practicality before price.
With the number of Right-To-Carry permits increasing exponentially in recent years, the demand for thin, lightweight, easily concealed handguns, and particularly those in .380 ACP, has grown with it. Taurus’ entry into this category is the PT 738 TCP (Taurus Compact Pistol).
The American-made PT 738 is a recoil-operated, locked-breech, hammer-fired semi-automatic designed from the outset for one purpose: covert carry. As such, the no-frills pistol is devoid of unnecessary accoutrements, and it is thoughtfully designed with regard to concealment qualities and user friendliness.
The polymer-frame PT 738 (738B) has aluminum guide rails and a stainless steel slide finished in black. The stainless slide on the 738SS retains its natural color, and on the 738Ti the slide is titanium. It features angles and lines that add to its overall appearance, aid in avoiding “printing,” and ease—and quicken—insertion into and removal from a holster. To further avoid “snagging” during the draw, the pistol’s rudimentary sights are integral, non-adjustable and low-profile; however, for close-quarters confrontations, the purpose for which the PT 738 TCP is intended, they’re adequate. Additionally, the only things projecting—and then only minimally—from the frame are the slide catch and disassembly latch, the latter of which is more like a pin. Even the magazine-release button, which is located to the rear of the trigger guard, blends in nicely.
As the Taurus PT 738 is double-action-only, requiring a lengthy, yet not overly heavy (5 to 7 pounds), and deliberate pull to discharge, the pistol has no manual safety—the result is one-less control to snag, as well as faster application of the handgun in a life-or-death situation. The company did, however, install its Taurus Security System (TSS) on the right, rear of the frame for additional security—note though, that the TSS should not be engaged when loaded. A loaded-chamber indicator, which is located directly above the extractor, provides a visual and tactile reference as to the gun’s condition—particularly helpful in low-light conditions. Also beneficial is that the TCP’s slide locks back after the last round is fired.
With regard to size, the PT 738 TCP lives up to its moniker, as it measures 0.87 inches (wide) by 3.75 inches (tall) by 5.2 inches (long), even with a 2.84-inch stainless steel barrel, and it weighs 10.2 ounces—9 ounces. for the PT 738Ti. Despite its minimalist dimensions, the pistol has a six-plus-one capacity of .380 ACP. Feeding the TCP is a single-stack, stamped metal magazine with a polymer bumper pad that serves to increase grip length. The additional length, combined with checkering on the frontstrap and backstrap and ribbing along the sides, makes the TCP controllable. Witness holes, along with a red/orange polymer follower, enable quick assessment of the number of rounds remaining in the magazine. Two magazines are included with the PT 738 TCP.
For the shooter demanding greater on-target energy, yet not wanting to forego concealment with ease, there’s the slightly larger PT 740 SLIM. The second offering in the SLIM line—the PT 709 is chambered in 9 mm Luger, and there’s the yet-to-be-introduced PT 708 in .380 ACP—the PT 740 is a recoil-operated, single-action/double-action, striker-fired semi-automatic pistol with six-plus-one capacity of .40 S&W.
Although chambered in the potent .40 S&W cartridge, the 19-oz. PT 740 lives up to its name, “SLIM”: it’s 1.04-inches wide, 5.35-inches tall and 6.24-inches in length—even with a 3.2-inch barrel. With the increased radius of its sights, which are in the familiar three-dot pattern and allow adjustability at the rear, the PT 740 is better-suited for self-defense at greater distances. The pistol’s single-action pull weight is between 5 and 7 pounds; however, in a self-defense scenario the trigger design enables it to be pulled again in a heavier double-action mode in a second attempt to fire the cartridge.