I picked up a Ruger LCP .380 ACP, it's an amazingly small yet potent little side arm. I have had the opportunity to fire a number of different side arms over the years, .45 acp, .40. 10mm, .357, .38 spl, 9mm, in other words a bunch of different calibers & ballistic characteristics. In a word when I had the opportunity to take my new LCP to the range I was 'impressed'! @ 10M single hand controlled aim & shoot - a 3" group with ease. Same distance rapid fire the grouping was still with in 8". 20M was pretty close to the same, not much point in going out any further as the LCP is not really a choice for longer distance defensive fire.
Light weight, fits pretty much concealed in the palm of my hand, drops in my back pocket like a wallet, jacket pocket hardly noticeable. I carry 1 in the chamber with the 6 shot magazine, total of 7. Long double action trigger pull on the first shot, concealed hammer, no safety.... pretty much the same as most DA revolvers. Over all out of different side arms I have carried over the years the LCP is the most comfortable & easy to access. As far as ballistics is concerned for an immediate close range life or death type encounter it will get the job done. In this day and age your not very likely to need much more to ward off an attacker or assailant. Most criminals are on the look out for someone present a weak or frightened persona when they approach, or attack. Getting hot lead thrown in their direction hit or miss will cause a reaction of immediate retreat & flee. Criminals are looking for defenseless soft targets, not armed hard targets. If the first shots don't send them retreating hit or not you'd better make the follow up shots 1 hit lethal shots because the assailant is high, crazy, or both and extremely dangerous. At close range the .380 ACP round will get the job done about as well as a 9mm. For one shot stopping power both rounds are lacking without precision accuracy.
Actually had an encounter with 2 thugs this past summer while getting ready to mow an abandon commercial property in the city. The usual approach running the mouth about can you spare me some cash, I need a job man, hey just give us some money @&^%$#! All the while trying to close distance after I stood my ground & clearly stated back off. Didn't go for the side arm, I have an extendable stun baton (out to 24" with 750,000 volts) under in easy reach. Use if for the occasional aggressive stray that seem to think I'm a chew toy............ worked real good on thugs too! Dropped him like a sack of wet cement, the other one turned & quickly ran away.
Lee, if you decide to get a permit & carry make yourself very familiar with the operations of your side arm, know the laws & never feel over confidence because you are carrying. You need to still use some situational awareness and posture to keep yourself from being in a situation in the first place. Learn your weapon & proper defensive posture so you are less like to ever have to use it. Never plan on just brandishing it to detour a thug, if you feel the necessity to present it, then plan on using it. Good luck in your choice & be safe!