.380 Pocket Gun Shootout

By on September 30, 2013

Ruger LCP, Micro Eagle, Taurus TCP

Image not to Scale

 

Recently I had the opportunity to shoot three of the most popular and interesting pocket guns on the market.  It was amazing to shoot and compare them side by side with the same ammo at the same time.  I shot the Desert Eagle Micro Eagle, Taurus TCP, and Ruger LCP.  Here is a quick run down of the pistols and my impressions.

Magnum Research Micro Eagle

Appearances

The Desert Eagle was by far the best looking of the pistols.  The LCP can grow on you because it looks like a mini combat pistol.  The TCP is just kind of ugly even in the different colors offered by Taurus.  Ruger offers the LCP in different colors all the time.  Through Sparks Firearms I’ve seen them in pink, rosemary, and purple.  They don’t really help the look of the gun either.  The Micro Eagle is only offered in a nickel finish with a black grip.  Pictures don’t do this finish justice; you have to see one to appreciate it.  I wish I could get that finish on other guns.

Sights

Most of the sights are just bad and look horrible.  The Desert Eagle had the most useable sights by far of the three.  They look horrible until you put the gun up to your eye.  They actually worked very well for me.  The TCP sights where almost useable, and the LCP was almost useless.

Taurus TCP 738Triggers

The TCP had the best feeling trigger.  All three are double-action only hammer fired guns.  And to be fair, the TCP was the only gun that was well broken in, the other two where brand new.  The TCP trigger stacked badly and was missing a smoothness that I really like, but was light compared to the other two.  The LCP had a gritty trigger that seamed like two boards scraping together inside the gun instead of polished metal on metal.  The Desert Eagle’s trigger is so heavy that I felt like my finger had a workout after just one magazine.  It was nice and smooth, but stacked a lot as the spring compressed.  I didn’t have a trigger gauge but would guess that the trigger pull was well over 15 pounds.

Accuracy

The Desert Eagle was by far the winner in the accuracy contest.  At a simple 3 yards off hand, I could easily put every bullet through the same hole.  This isn’t unusual for me as another full size gun I was testing I could easily do this at 10 yards.  But these little guns are hard to hold on to, so I started close.  And it’s a good thing.  The TCP was noticeably behind and was only capable of getting the bullet holes to touch.  They all seamed to string out right to left (I don’t know why).  The LCP was a group.  At 3 yards I would expect the gun to do what the Desert Eagle did or at least the TCP.  I was disappointed by the LCP.

Ruger LCP .380Recoil

Looking at the gun, I would have thought the Desert Eagle would have been tough to keep up with the other guns with its high bore axis (how high the barrel sits above your hand).  Generally this allows the gun to get more leverage on you and make felt recoil higher.  But the LCP was by far the worst.  It was loud and obnoxious.  I don’t know why but it was a pretty hard recoiling gun.  It stings a little to shoot and I wouldn’t want to do a long-range session with it.  The Desert Eagle was manageable and what I would expect for a small .380.  The TCP was the best.  With the more rounded grip and extra grip length with the magazine inserted it had the least felt recoil.

Feel

In my big bear paw hands the TCP felt the best.  The LCP felt the worst.  It was just too skinny to hold onto.  It almost felt like holding onto a string as someone was trying to pull on it.  The Micro Eagle surprised me again, because I thought it would suck to hold after just looking at it.  But when I got a correct grip on the gun it was enough to hold on to to shoot.

Size for Concealment

The LCP was by far the smallest in all dimensions for carry.  I have talked to guys that carry one in the change pocket of their jeans.  Not sure I’d do that, but pretty incredible that it fits there.  The TCP was right behind it with a little longer grip and being a little wider.  The Micro Eagle was just big compared to the other two.  In weight they are pretty close: Micro Eagle 14 oz, LCP 9.4 oz, and the TCP 10.2 oz.  These guns are super light when we are talking about tenths of ounces.  But you can see that the Ruger is the lightest.

Specs

 

Micro Eagle

TCP

LCP

Weight

14 oz

10.2 oz

9.4 oz

Barrel Length

2.22”

2.84”

2.75

Mag Capacity

6

6

6

MSRP

$479

$362

$379

 

Availability and Accessories

The Ruger LCP has the best availability of the gun and stuff for it.  It’s the gun that kind of launched the entire pocket 380 craze that is now going on.  So you can get lasers, holsters, extra mags, and replacement parts the easiest.  The TCP is next with the Micro Eagle way in the back. But to be fair, the Desert Eagle is the newest of the bunch and it generally takes after market manufacturers some time before they get accessories out.

My Choice

Which one would I get? The Desert Eagle.  Of course, it’s the highest priced one and the hardest to get accessories for and not the easiest to conceal or shoot, but there was something about holding the gun and the confidence it gave me when I could actually see and use the sights on the gun.  I know these are not designed to be used out past bad-breath distance, but if I’m going to carry a gun, why not carry one that is capable of out-shooting me.  And in the end, it’s an emotional issue.  I just thought it was one of the coolest looking guns I’ve seen in a while.  Next would be the TCP. It was a lot easier to shoot than the LCP.  Last on my list would be the LCP.  I’ll be putting the Micro Eagle on my list of things to buy, it’s just down the list a ways.  I carry a Ruger LCR .38 Special right now as my backup and pocket gun.  It works really well for me and I have no plans of replacing it right now.

Stay Safe,

Ben

 

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Comments

  1. Gurpreet singh
    June 19, 2014

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    Good

  2. Lhshtr
    April 3, 2014

    Leave a Reply

    Lots of info, but looking for a USA make, guess I’ll look at Mr. S&W Bodyguard. All take care, be safe out there.

  3. Kevin Hogue
    January 11, 2014

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    If you are going to buy a gun that weighs 14oz, why not just get a Kahr CM9, PM9 or similar. That’s too heavy for a pocket .380.

    • Ben Branam
      January 12, 2014

      Leave a Reply

      Being a big guy the weight doesn’t bother me it’s the size more then anything and the Khar 9s are too big for me to work comfortably. I’ve carried a Kel-Tec P32 for years and got spoiled with how small it is. But you are right white the weight. You might as well carry the bigger gun if weight is your major consideration.

      Thanks for the comment, what do you carry as a pocket gun?

  4. Douglas Fehan
    December 31, 2013

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    I own the Ruger…shot the Taurus and the D-E….bought the S&W Bodyguard. AMAZING hand gun. The only downside is the takedown pin that has to be removed to clean it. Small price to pay for such a great weapon.n Don’t buy anything until you shoot the S&W. Trigger pull is long (safe) but I acclimated easily…VERY accurate!!!

    • Ben Branam
      January 1, 2014

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      Thanks for the message. I’m going to have to get my hands on a S&W Bodyguard to try. Thanks for the range report.

  5. Greg Drury
    December 16, 2013

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    I appreciate you comments. I am leaning toward the Desert Eagle micro. This is such a hard decision, with so many variable to think about!
    Thanks
    Greg

    • Ben Branam
      December 17, 2013

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      Thanks for reading Greg! A new gun always seems like the most important decision ever. All I can say is that the Desert Eagle was my favorite, but I haven’t bought one yet.

  6. Kenton
    December 5, 2013

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    Kel-Tec was the forerunner of the LCP. The P3AT is a better LCP. Ruger almost made it nicer.

    • Ben Branam
      December 5, 2013

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      Fit and finish on the Ruger is better but I’m not sure it’s a better gun. I have the precursor to the Kel-Tec 3AT, the P32. It was a gun before its time.

  7. Mark
    September 30, 2013

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    “It almost felt like holding onto a string as someone was trying to pull on it.” What an analogy!! That is such a perfect description for those of us with ham hands.

    • Ben Branam
      September 30, 2013

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      Thanks Mark! It took me a while to figure it out with these small guns. Everyone I know loves the S&W Shield. I thought it recoiled like a 44 mag and didn’t enjoy it at all. Took me forever to figure out the problem. I still can’t believe that they can make guns that small now!

      I’m glad I’m not the only one with ham hands (my wife calls them bear paws).

  8. William
    September 30, 2013

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    Ben, this is before your time, but there was once a mini pistol that was on everyone’s list as the one to have. It was so popular that it was sold out years in advance, the SEECAMP 32 (and I believe subsequently in 380). Do you have any knowledge or opinion on Seecamp products and why, at least I can’t recall, anyone even mentioning SEECAMP in the past 20+ years?

    • Ben Branam
      September 30, 2013

      Leave a Reply

      Actually I do remember them and have fired the .32. It was huge for a .32 compared to the Kel-Tec P32 I was carrying at the time. I’m pretty sure it’s bigger then all three of these guns too. It was a nice pistol and shot well, but was the size of pocket 9mm today. This all straight from memory as I haven’t seen a Seecamp in probably 10 years. Also I do recall that the Seecamp was made around a specific round (I think the Winchester Silver Tips) and wouldn’t cycle anything else reliably. It was a really cool pistol design when it came out but I think modern techniques have pushed past what the gun was capable of. But who knows, Sig and Colt have brought back the Mustang and it’s a great little pistol.

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