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I’m considering getting a small backup gun in .380. The Colts have caught my eye. I know the are no longer in production and the ones you see aren’t cheep. I want something that is very reliable and the fact that the price is high makes me think that these guns are in demand. Is it because they are that good, or is it that they are becoming collector’s items? I have never been able to shoot one and would like to know what to expect from someone who has. There’s something about its 1911 “mini me” look that draws me to it, but looks are secondary. I want the best and I am willing to pay for it if they are truely that much better.


In you experiences:


How reliable are they?


How accurate are they?


Any biting or excessive recoil issues?


General thoughts, good or bad?
 

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Are you referring to a Colt 1908 in .380 or something like the mustang or government .380's? Just about everything in the world of classic colts is collectible and rising in costs. Just about all of them are great shooters. A 1908 in .380 is a fine pistol but if you find one in nice condition I don't know if I'd carry it as they are pretty desirable. The mustang and government models are less desirable to collectors (for the most part) but they would make a fine shooter. I don't know how well they handle hollow points though, if that is something you were considering. Good luck!

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My Government .380 functions flawlessly with everything I have fed it. Hollow points tried were Gold Dots; no problem. The locked breech on the Govt. .380 makes recoil very mild. The gun does not bite or do anything strange, it is easy to disassemble and clean and fits nicely in my Carhartt pants pocket. My pistols are nickel and the finish has been very durable. One has seen a great deal of carry in pocket or in a boot top since 1985 or so and still looks fresh.

have to edit this to suggest, for the DA aficionados, the Bersa Thunder .380. I don't care for DA autos but in this case, the Bersa serves a purpose in that I can handle it left handed if I am carrying a pair of pistols. The gun is accurate, reliable and very shootable yet no larger than a Colt Govt .380. All in all, the Bersa is a sorely under rated pistol.
 

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I think the Colt 1911 style 380's are somewhat in demand due to being sought after by Colt enthusiast. I've owned and shot Colt, Sig238, and the Kimber Micro 380. I've found them all to be very similar in reliability, accuracy, handling, and actually price.

I've kept the Colts and traded off the other two brands not because they were inferior to Colt but because I like Colt firearms.

Between the three Colt .380 sizes I personally prefer the Government over the Mustang or Mustang Plus II model because I like balance of the longer slide and length of the grip. I also prefer the steel frame pistols over the Pocketlite (alloy framed) versions but that's just me they're fine little pistols also.

Now with that said the Mustang size pistols do carry a little better as far a pocket carry mode but I have the Colt .380 Pony (DAO) for that purpose if I so choose.

I have no experience with the Colt Mustang XSP (polymer framed) model. I really never cared for the look of that one.

I guess I've been fortunate since I've never experienced any major function issues or hand biting with any of the mini 1911 380's. I know some have not been so lucky. And in my opinion the ones I've shot were sufficiently accurate enough for what they have been designed to do. Anyway, good luck with your search and decision.
 

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I carried a Pocketlite and then a SW .380 Sigma for awhile as backup. Both guns functioned fine, although I really wanted similar size in 9mm. When the Kahr PM9 came out I was sold. Carried as backup on vest strap for years and off duty in a pocket holster. Carry it today, and every day,
in a pocket holster
during retirement.

I would give the Sig P365 serious consideration if I was looking for one today.

Regardless of your choice, function test with different ammo and especially carry ammo. The old school of thought has been a minimum of 200 rounds of initial practice and function testing.
Vic
 

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I don't consider the Colt Government Model 380 to be a 1911 type pistol. It is more like the Star pistol then the 1911. But the 1911 did inspire the Star Model 1940 as well as the smaller versions.
 

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Glock 42 - I know some people will disagree but I think this little gun is great. I haven't had a single problem in 5+ years and a few thousand rounds. Same with the Glock 43 which is similar in size to the 42 but in 9mm.
However, I usually carry a Glock 17 because it fits my fat fingers better.
 

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I’m considering getting a small backup gun in .380. The Colts have caught my eye. I know the are no longer in production and the ones you see aren’t cheep. ?
???
The Mustangs are still in production. I traded (plus some cash) my AMT backup 380 for a Colt Mustang Pocketlite .380 about 10-15 years ago. LOVE IT. Its my primary CCW gun in a Bianchi inside the pants leather holster. So light and small its just amazing.
Reliability: I initially had issues with one magazine causing jams (I got the gun used). So I bought 2 factory Colt magazines and have 100% reliability with all factory ammo I tried (mostly Federal Hi-shoks and Hydra-shoks, Winchester Silvertips, and Winchester FMJ ammo for fun). I have to add, being an aluminum frame and it being my primary CCW I dont beat the stuffing out of it with huge extended range times. Probably several hundred rounds by now (the first hundred or so to make sure my carry ammo (Federal Hi-shoks) functioned).
Accuracy: Well, I dont target test small CCW guns at 25 yards from a bench. I do offhand at about 7 yards to make sure point of aim = point of impact. It does.
Recoil: no issues. Of course the LW Mustang certainly delivers a bit of a snap, but nothing excessive.
General thoughts: If lost or stolen, I would IMMEDIATELY replace it with another. Can't say that about all the guns I've owned.
Thats my 2 cents!
 

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I had a Government .380 Pocketlite which sat on consignment at lgs for months; finally had to lower $ > $500 before it would sell. It was lnib.
 

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I bought a Colt Mustang Pocketlite in 1993. I carried it daily for 25 years. Never a malfunction. About 2 years ago I switched to a Sig P936, very similar just a little larger and heavier. The Pocketlite is still in the rotation depending on how I am dressed. I did add some custom wood grips with finger grooves as the grip is a bit small. I bought the Sig 936 model with the black rubber finger groove grips as well. I would not hesitate to recommend the older Pocketlites.
 

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.380acp would not be my 1st choice for CCW caliber. I want something light, reliable, and 9mm at least, preferably 10 rounds too.
Colt's 380 doesn't cut it for me. My 1st choice would be Glock's 43X or Sig's P365. Lighter, reliable, more powerful. Plus, 110 grain +P+ to 147grain factory ammo makes 9mm a great choice.
 

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Sig 938 (my carry), Colt Pocket Nine (VERY heavy trigger), the Kahrs. I believe Kimber makes one, too.
Just a heads up, as someone who has owned both the 938 and 238 they are not the same size. I'm pretty sure anyone who has owned and operated both would back me up.

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I am very happy with my Government Model 380, very reliable, accurate for its size, easy to conceal and light





That was shot at 15 meters



I wish Colt would make these again. I think they would sell, just not very much. Beretta still makes the Cheetah line and manages to sell some.
 

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I have the mustang XSP. With the extended finger grove magazine, I am 7 plus 1. Shoots Lyman’s 90 grain cast and Hornady’s 90 grain XTP HP wonderfully at about 1000 FPS with 231 powder. That is a serious performer. I don’t use a holster so the hammer is down on a chambered round ( series 80). I got to remember to cock the gun. For less printing in my pocket, I can use the supplied 6 round magazines. Good sights for a pocket gun and it shoots really well too.
 
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