Taurus TCP review & back to back comparison with Ruger LCP

This is a discussion on Taurus TCP review & back to back comparison with Ruger LCP within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've been on the search for an all the time, any possible condition pocket pistol for a looooooooooong time. For the most part, my beloved ...

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Thread: Taurus TCP review & back to back comparison with Ruger LCP

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    Senior Member Array 380ACP's Avatar
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    Taurus TCP review & back to back comparison with Ruger LCP

    I've been on the search for an all the time, any possible condition pocket pistol for a looooooooooong time. For the most part, my beloved Smith and Wesson J Frame fits the need very well, but sometimes, the bulge of it's cylinder, size, or weight makes it difficult or impossible to carry with the specific garments I'm wearing.

    Then, a veritable swarm of pocket .380 pistols began hitting the market. And I was pretty sure that was ultimately what I was going to go with, as I didn't feel like trusting my life to a 32, 25, or 22 caliber, and felt like the two shots available from a derringer might not suffice.

    For the longest time, I had a Ruger LCP...I tried the Kel-Tec P-3AT but it felt too much like a toy and just couldn't see myself liking it in the long run...but the Ruger fell to the same fate as I feared the Kel-Tec would. I wasn't shooting it, and I thought it was because it just felt wrong in the hand...but as I later found out with the Taurus there were a few other things that Ruger could improve upon as well. Don't get me wrong, the Ruger was a fine, functional firearm, but there is definitely room for improvement. Enter the Taurus.

    Now, before the anti-Taurus brigade storms in, you should know that I'm no stranger to quality firearms. I own many from a variety of different manufacturers, including one other Taurus, a Model 85 357 revolver, which aside from an admittedly horrible trigger compared to other revolvers I own has been serviceable and accurate during it's lifetime. But the point I'm trying to make is that I'm not a Taurus fanboy nor am I on the bandwagon against them...I just know a quality firearm when I'm holding one in my hands.

    Enough of that. We all like pictures right? I hope so, because I've got a lot of them.

    May I present, in case you haven't already seen one, the TCP by Taurus:



    Here's a size comparison with my other small guns that I carry with any regularity. Kahr CW9 top, Taurus TCP middle, Smith and Wesson 637 bottom.



    A width comparison between my Kahr CW9 and the new Taurus TCP. I like that their appearance and design is so similar, it's like the Taurus is the Kahr's little brother. As you can see and as should be expected, the Taurus is much narrower.



    Overall the size is very nice, as should be expected, it fits in the palm of the hand easily.



    And, should anything go wrong, the TCP is made and serviced right here in the USA:



    Before I get to comparing the Ruger LCP and the Taurus TCP, here's my little review on the Taurus.

    On first look, the gun presents well. In appearance, it's an attractive design, with a nice modern look. But of course, looks matter very little in a carry piece.

    I have largish hands, but the Taurus...the entire gun...feels good and substantial in my hands. This matters later when compared to the Ruger. The grip however, lacks anything on the front to aid in gun retention, such as finger bumps or a finger rest on the magazine. The rear of the grip conforms nicely to the palm.

    I was struck when I held it by just how solid and tight the gun felt, in addition to it's ergonomics. The similarity between this Taurus and my Kahr, in multiple ways, is striking.

    The magazine release is where it should be from a convenience standpoint, and the magazine pops out with authority when the release is depressed. One of the stronger magazine releases I've come across. It can also be flipped from side to side for left handed folks. The magazine holds six rounds, and is loaded with relative ease.

    The slide is a nice piece, the serrations make it very easy to grab hold and pull back, and features a loaded chamber indicator. It slides smoothly and precisely, very much so in fact. The movement and feel while racking the slide gives a sense of precision, as if it were operating on a jeweled movement. I felt it was noteworthy, the only other autos I've owned that have approached this feel of quality were from much more expensive 1911's. Sights are fixed and are not adjustable or removable. Standard two post rear, one post front setup. Acquiring a target is easy enough for this type of firearm and the gun points itself naturally. The barrel is nice and features sharp, traditional rifling. The guide rod is all metal which I thought was a nice touch.

    The trigger...is an absolute masterpiece. I am instantly reminded of the work of genius that is the Kahr DAO trigger...that is to say, the trigger is very light, and buttery smooth. I am absolutely astounded to find a trigger this nice in a DAO gun at this price point. It is simply fantastic, and if you search the net you will find others who note this trait. Like the Kahr, trigger travel is long as is the reset. Unlike the Kahr trigger, the Taurus trigger is of plastic construction. I would prefer metal, however since Taurus chose to use plastic I'm glad they did it right...there's no hinge points in the external part of the trigger or complication in the design, it's just a simple, solid, trigger, so it does not feel toy-like or gimmicky. It's also large enough to get a full finger into, as is the surrounding trigger guard, which provides ample space for any size finger.

    Shooting the weapon is as should be expected from a pocket 380. Recoil is noticeable, but manageable. Accuracy is good at combat ranges but certainly not match grade at anything further. It performs as expected and I found follow up shots to be easy to perform. At 7 yards out getting a fist sized group wasn't hard.

    Reliability was well beyond what I expected, even with completely reasonable expectations. I have a stash of ancient (probably circa 1940 or earlier) .380 ACP ammo that absolutely refuses to cycle reliably through any .380 I've ever owned...including the Ruger LCP. However the Taurus swallowed almost every round of the filthy old ammo (the Taurus was black afterwards) until I stopped at about 100 rounds. I was almost sold, however I decided to test it in it's completely filthy state and proceeded to shoot 50 rounds of the standard WWB I use in my LCP, as well as about 12 rounds (two magazines) of my JHP ammo of choice for the .380 caliber. The Taurus fired every round. I was completely sold at this point, and gave it a well deserved cleaning and re-lubrication.

    So, how exactly DOES the Taurus stack up against the Ruger LCP?

    As can be guessed by the name, the Taurus TCP aims squarely at the Ruger LCP as a competitor. Aside from the Sig P238, which I personally feel is the best pocket .380 available at any price point (shot one extensively, don't own one as I feel it's a bit pricey for a .380 pocket gun) the Ruger LCP is the best of the reasonably priced pocket .380s out there at this point, trumping (IMHO of course) the Kel-Tec P-3AT, Diamondback DB9, and Kahr P380. So, it has big shoes to fill if it's going to come anywhere close to beating this immensely popular pocket pistol.

    Specifications wise, they are both extremely similar. Same caliber, size, 6+1 capacity, and nearly the same weight. The difference is in the details.



    There is virtually no size difference between the two in any aspect.





    Ruger LCP on top of Taurus TCP believe it or not...they are that similar in size.

    So let's see where it differs.

    If looks matter to you, then that's a personal criteria. I like the way the TCP looks better, but I don't think either are ugly.

    As far as magazine release and loading, both work similarly and don't differ significantly from each other.

    Each gun has it's own positive attributes regarding how it feels in the hand. The Ruger's grip feels better with it's magazine extension that allows a finger rest. BUT, the trigger feel just isn't right at all. The trigger is pushed too far forward to the point where the space left for the firing finger is too small and the surface area on the trigger is too small as well. The end result is that the trigger feels too small and toy-like with the finger resting on it. I want my carry pieces to be easy to acquire a proper handhold with, and the LCP takes too long with the tiny space allowed for the trigger finger and the smaller trigger. The difference can easily be seen here:



    This round goes to the Taurus. It feels better; more substantial and reassuring in the hand. Like a larger gun. The LCP is a small gun, and it definitely feels like it in hand.

    Slide operation:

    The Ruger's slide serrations, while serviceable, do not provide as strong of a gripping surface as the Taurus. Not nearly so. In addition, the slide movement does not feel nearly as precise or well machined as the Taurus, and the slide does not lock back after the last round is fired. On the Taurus, the slide does lock back after the last round. The clear victor here, is the Taurus.

    The trigger on the Ruger can be best described as functional. It works, but does not inspire confidence or a sense of quality. Anyone, including a novice shooter, would instantly be able to tell the difference. The Ruger's trigger is just as long as the Taurus, but it's much heavier and rougher. It works, but it just doesn't feel good. Victor: Taurus.

    Sights are the same, as is the ability to acquire a target with them, at least for me. No difference there.

    As far as accuracy, I could not notice an appreciable difference between the two. I was much worse with the LCP when I first started shooting it as opposed to the Taurus, but it remains to be seen whether that is due to the TCP being more accurate or me simply being more acquainted with the .380 pocket pistol platform.

    Overall fit and finish:

    I found both guns to be built tightly. I've often found Tauruses (Taurii?) to be rough around the edges, but otherwise functional. The TCP is a massive step up in this regard. I found only one plastic injection molding mark, and it was in a very inconspicuous place behind the trigger (on the trigger guard) where no one's finger has any business being anyways. The LCP lacked any such marks that I could find, but it also lacked the Taurus's feeling of precision in the slide and the fantastic feeling trigger. In this instance, I'm willing to overlook one plastic injection molding mark. I give the nod to the Taurus in this capacity.

    The Taurus also comes at an amazing value. The Ruger is available at $349 or $299 when on special at Academy. The TCP is available at $279 or the astonishing price of $199 if you get the all blue version, sans extra carrying pouch and only one magazine. At either price, it's an amazing value. I've always believed any new semi-auto under $300 brand new was encroaching upon Saturday night special territory, however these TCP's are anything but. It's a steal for what it is.

    I really hope this novella has been useful to someone, it really would have helped me out a lot when I bought the LCP...but then again, the TCP wasn't out yet at that point. Up to this point, I've only ever owned one Taurus because I was unsure of their reputation, and it was a revolver. Just goes to show it pays to move beyond brand names and give new things a try. The TCP has aimed squarely at the LCP and competitors, and has surpassed them with very little to no drawbacks. If you're in the market for a new pocket .380, the TCP is worth a good look.
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    An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.

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  3. #2
    Member Array gwlammers's Avatar
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    I own a Kel-Tec P3AT, Ruger LCP & Taurus TCP. My TCP has been 100% reliable. Where the TCP excels over the LCP & P3AT is the trigger, slide lock and sights. The sights are not great, but definitely better that the other 2. Because of the sweet trigger, the TCP is also more accurate than the other 2 (at least for me). Good assesment 380ACP.

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    VIP Member Array rammerjammer's Avatar
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    Sorry but I stopped reading half way down.

    I hope it works for you. It's all about what works for each individual shooter.
    Taurahe and mrm like this.
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    Revolvers, “more elegant weapons for a more civilized age.”

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    Distinguished Member Array Burns's Avatar
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    Decent looking gun, but I would still take the LCP over any other pocket carry pistol. Best of luck with it.

  6. #5
    Member Array revldm's Avatar
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    I had a tarus first. It would not fire even one mag full of ammo without at least two or more jams.I traded it for the lcp. I know you can get a lemon in anything. I have nothing against taurus and I own two of them that I love. But I could not risk my life on a gun that would not work.

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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Nice in depth review, glad it runs as it should for you. I just picked up the S&W Bodyguard .380 a week ago just to see how it stacks up to my two Sigs as well as my LCP. Had um at the range last week and and put um all through hell with a couple hundred rounds each. So far the BG is holding its own, but comes in second as far as felt recoil. I havent seen or held the Taurus, but it does look pretty ergonomic and controllable. Again, nice review and enjoy your new pocket option.
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." – Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." – Thomas Jefferson

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    When my girlfriend and I went looking for our first carry guns we both ended up with TCP's. Went to a gunshow to put our hands on all our considerations at the time - SW bodyguard, ruger LCP and the taurus. I sat back quietly while she held each one and waited for her evaluation, she just like me, stated that the TCP just felt better. I liked the slide lock back and had no intrest in the goofy laser set up with the bodyguard (really should be available without it). So we went home and I spent the whole night looking up reviews online, found a whole lot of people bashing taurus but hardly any actual bad reviews of the gun itself. I had previously decided I wouldn't by a taurus because of all the stories and reviews I had heard/read. But I bit, we got one to test out.

    Only two issues I've had with the TCP.
    1 - The first twenty or so rounds were really tough to feed when racking the slide with the first round. I have two TCPs now and it was the same with both and BOTH smoothed out within the first 100 rnds. I really didnt have too much issued with this since it fed fine when cycling after firing a round. Some people have issue with this but I dont since I carry with one in the chamber, pull the trigger and its proved to me everytime it will cycle fine.
    2 - Spent casing OFTEN come flying back at your head. I dont know why it is but I saw it in videos before I got it, and have seen it in person every time i shoot em - they come right back at you about 30% or so of the time. Again I really don't have an issue with this.

    So far both of em have been great little guns for us.
    The stupidity of some people NEVER ceases to amaze me.

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    The TCP does have the one feature that the LCP lacks - locking the slide open when empty.

    However, Ruger's customer service is outstanding - both from personal experience, and from the vast majority of the reports on-line.

    It would seem same cannot be said for Taurus' customer service. I have never owned a Taurus, but all the negative reports of their service give me great pause.

    I hope your TCP works for you...but I'll be keeping all three of the LCPs we own.
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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    Member Array Pontificator's Avatar
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    I work part time in a LGS and when someone asks to see a Taurus pistol I get sick to my stomach. When a customer asks me about one of their guns I always say, "Taurus has a lifetime warranty." I hate selling the things since invariably a good percentage will come back for us to send in for warranty repair. I've also spoken with Taurus owners that just live with the reliability issues and don't want to put up with the hassle of sending the gun back.
    Seems that a good percentage of shoppers will try and get away with buying the cheapest product they can find and then live with the problems and talk the gun up like it was the greatest so their ego won't take a big hit.
    Taurahe likes this.

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    VIP Member Array Thunder71's Avatar
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    I had an LCP, hated everything about it except the size - the Taurus TCP made up the difference, great little gun!

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    It's hard to beat the the amount of trust I have in my LCP.

    Three years of being sat on in my back pocket - it's been dropped, I've fallen off of equipment and landed on it, 3 or 4 range-tests a year at about 100 rounds per session, and still as reliable as the day I got it.
    gottabkiddin likes this.
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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHEC724 View Post
    I've fallen off of equipment and landed on it, 3 or 4 range-tests a year at about 100 rounds per session, and still as reliable as the day I got it.
    WOW! sounds like you're the one going through through the endurance test and not the LCP..
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." – Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." – Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by gottabkiddin View Post
    WOW! sounds like you're the one going through through the endurance test and not the LCP..
    __________________________________
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    Senior Member Array 380ACP's Avatar
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    Glad you guys enjoyed the review.

    I really have nothing against the LCP, it's been a fine pistol...just not one that was particularly enjoyable to shoot. To me, the TCP has taken the good of the LCP...it's size, functionality, and weight...and improved upon it with better ergonomics, locking slide, and the fantastic trigger.

    It should be noted that there are three iterations of the TCP. Mine is the third and latest, the "C" version. The "B" and earlier were noted to have some reliability issues, which have been rectified by Taurus through polishing and modification of various parts. Not unlike the growing pains the LCP went through when it first came out. The guy who I bought my TCP from told me that he has not had a customer return a "C" version TCP yet, but there were several of the "B" and earlier being returned.

    I make no claims about the quality of the Taurus line as a whole, but the TCP is a fine pistol.
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    ShooterGranny and WMac19 like this.
    An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.

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    New Member Array tvines's Avatar
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    Thanks for the extensive review of the Taurus 380. Could it be that the reason for the high quality of this gun is due to the fact it is manufactured in the United States instead of Brazil as most of the Taurus guns are?

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