By Bob Walsh
The Gun of the Week is a new entry into the CCW field, the 380 UL by Taurus.
This is a very small, very light revolver chambered for the .380 automatic round. The weapon weighs only 16 ounces unloaded, due to an aluminum frame. It has a 1.75 inch barrel. The frame is very short comparatively due to the fact it is built from the ground up for this cartridge. The cylinder is quite short due to the round being short, so the cylinder window is short, so the frame is short.
It is a double-action only revolver so the trigger pull isn’t so hot, but then again it is a close range SD weapon, not a target pistol. It does work with loose rounds loaded in the cylinder, but is intended to use moon clips. These give better headspace regulation and make it much easier to eject the spent rounds.
Most serious players in the field will tell you that the .380 cartridge is AT BEST a marginal round for serious self-defense. Even with a FMJ the penetration is borderline adequate. With a hollow-point bullet expansion is still not reliable even with modern design bullets, and if the hollow-point loads up with clothing you are back to an effective FMJ bullet.
That being said, it has much less felt recoil than either a 9mm or .38 Special revolver of similar size and weight. If you are dealing with a shooter who is very recoil sensitive this might be worth considering. After all, when the excrement hits the air circulation device a marginal gun in your hand is better than a hand cannon at home in the safe.