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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Interested in possibly getting a pocket .380ACP for concealed carry permit. My research indicates that it is a great pocket pistol. How does it rank compared to say a Colt 1908? Any feedback greatly appreciated. Looking for a shooter but not abused. Prices seen on internet seem to run $500-600. Colt Mustang would seem good but I am more into a working older .380ACP.
Also seeking a North American Arms .22LR five shot mini-revolver - but want one I used to have with a ring on grip butt for a neck chain. Don't need a NIB.
 

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I have 2 and carry both a lot. I prefer it to the Colt 1908 which is a fine carry piece but here are my reasons. (1) It is flatter (2) the frame to grip angle makes it a better natural pointer (3) functions fine with silvertips or exp's. Just my opinion of course but when the chips are down mine is the one that counts.
 

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It is one of the best pocket autos ever made, and was Gen. George S. Patton's "last ditch" of choice.
They are also pleasant shooters due to their unique delayed blowback action, with less sharp recoil than many .380's. All those positives aside, you might want to reconsider carrying a gun that is now at least 80 years old and one which parts are difficult to replace. If you have an extractor failure or broken firing pin at the range it won't have the same consequences that it would have in a self defense situation. I would look for a newer pocket pistol to carry. But buy a Remington Model 51 anyway :)
 

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If your fine with a carry gun getting used and subject to wear on the outer surfaces, then maybe its ok. One of my carry guns was not checked for sometime in a humid climate and had some surface rust on it. I was able to remove the rust and since have coated it with wax but I can still see dark marks on the some of the surface, no problem because its a carry gun and not a high grade collectable. Nice gun but if you think original Colt model M magazines are expensive, try pricing and finding one of these.
 

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The "nostalgia carry" crowd (you know who you are!) likes to carry century-old designs for reasons I do not understand. The Colt Model M and the Remington Model 51 are the size and weight of many single-stack 9x19 pistols, and are bigger and heavier than the more compact 9x19 pistols. The lack of a firing pin safety on the old designs makes them dangerous to carry.

Modern .380ACP pistols have the same magazine capacity as the old designs, but are small, lighter, safer and have better sights. The locked-breech on the modern designs makes them more comfortable to shoot, compared to the sharp-recoiling old blow back designs. The Walther PPK comes to mind as about the most uncomfortable .380ACP pistol to shoot.

For the size and weight of the Colt Model M and the Remington Model 51, carry a 9x19 pistol of the same or smaller size, and get more power, more safety and better sights. My choice in that size and weight class (actually smaller and lighter) is the Kel-Tec P11, which holds 10+1 rounds of the much more powerful 9x19 cartridge.

If a .380ACP has sufficient power for your needs, carry a modern, locked-breech design, like, say, a new Colt Mustang. Leave the old designs in the display case.
 

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I love my model 51 and i think it was ahead of its time. It just seems a lot flatter than the Colt 1908 and more importantly had the convenience of a modern placed mag release that most of the pocket pistols of the day didn't have. Having said that, of all the pre-ww2 pocket pistols, I prefer the Savage line, especially the 1915, which is rare and spendy nowadays but had a slide lock back feature that was nice and just seems like it was built like a Swiss watch.Colt 1903 32 acp version on top, then a 1915 in 32 and a Remington 51 in 380 acp
 

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JudgeColt, a thought provoking post. I always look forward and appreciate your posts and knowledge but in this case I will take exception. And yes I am one of those guys, cause we know who we are. I guess I would have to quite carrying my 1911/1911A1 configured firearms also unless they are of the series 80 genre and design. After all the original design is now 103 years old. Who knows maybe OSHA or Health and Human Services will declare them dangerous to possess or carry. And God forbid that you are really old school and carry a revolver, that design is even more archaic. OK rant off! Have a great day and a Merry Christmas.
 

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I carry a 1908 Colt at times, but it has been thoroughly gone over and typical wear components have been replaced. I do not have a 51, although I have fired one, and would have no problem with that one as well if the same precautions were taken.

Modern does not make more reliable. I have fed all kinds of hp's through my '08 without a hiccup. I had an LCP and it was not reliable or fun, I also bought a shield that dropped the magazine when you tried to shoot it. While the "M" may be big for it's caliber it is also pure pleasure to shoot, unlike the current crop of ultra light/small modern pistols. Look at the magazines for the '08, the old ones run with complete reliability, the modern replacements are all crap. Newer does not mean better

I say as long as it checks out and you update the springs, etc go for it.
 

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I wondered who would be the first to mention that most Pre-Series 80 Model O pistols do not have a firing pin safety. (The 1930s Model O pistols with the Swartz Safety are so rare as not to count.) You win Mike! While many carry the Model O without a firing pin safety, they should not. Sure, a fatal discharge is rare, but those same people buy a lottery ticket hoping to win, and the odds of winning are far worse. The technology and safety of automatic pistols has advanced in the last century, while that of revolvers has not to any significant degree. A Smith & Wesson Military & Police revolver from 1913 differs little from a 2013 version. There are some exceptions like the revolver with the barrel aligned to the bottom chamber of the cylinder instead of to the top chamber that are new designs, but that one is the exception that proves the rule. Other than the safety aspect, the main thing I have against the Model M and Model 51 (and other giant .380ACP pistols like the SIG P230) is the size versus the power. If I am going to carry a gun that big, I want 9x19 power. (Apologies for the lack of paragraphs, but for some reason, text entered on an iPad will not show paragraphs even though they show as I type! I am traveling and my wife is using the laptop for a presentation this afternoon, so I am left with the iPad to amuse myself as I sit in a hotel room. Anybody know why I cannot enter paragraphs with an iPad?)
 

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But the lack of a firing pin safety in a non-Series 80 1911 type pistol can be addressed by using an extra power firing pin spring. No it does not solve the AD potential with a dropped weapon, it does reduce the chances.
 

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A titanium firing pin is another way to reduce the inertia of the Model O firing pin to a safe level. The Kel-Tec P11 I mentioned uses a very light firing pin that does not have enough inertia to ignite a primer even if dropped perfectly. There are probably other automatic pistols that have similar designs to solve the problem.
 

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Judge, it was not my intention to create a win/lose scenario but rather to stimulate conversation. There are pro's and con's to both sides of the discussion. If I offended you or any others, mea culpa.
 

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Mike, didn't you notice my tongue firmly planted in my cheek? Like most on this forum, I am not looking for a way to be offended by a comment. No offense taken. Stimulating conversation is one of the things I like best about this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Guys. Think I'll end up going the NAA .22LR 5 shot mini-revolver. The self defense scenario I envision is a mugger at arms length. Or at car window level. I'm figuring a shot shell first round to blind them, followed by 4 hollow point rounds as they stagger away. It's small, lightweight and with the gun on a chain around my neck fairly quick to access.
 

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The "nostalgia carry" crowd (you know who you are!) likes to carry century-old designs for reasons I do not understand. The Colt Model M and the Remington Model 51 are the size and weight of many single-stack 9x19 pistols, and are bigger and heavier than the more compact 9x19 pistols. The lack of a firing pin safety on the old designs makes them dangerous to carry.

Modern .380ACP pistols have the same magazine capacity as the old designs, but are small, lighter, safer and have better sights. The locked-breech on the modern designs makes them more comfortable to shoot, compared to the sharp-recoiling old blow back designs..
I love the classic pocket pistols (Colt, Remington, Savage, FN) in my collection, but I agree with this. While I keep some modern .32 and .380 defense ammo around (Federal Personal Defense HydraShoks feed well in these old guns and are relatively low-pressure) and would use these guns in a pinch, I find a real potential self-defense situation too serious to indulge in nostalgia, and there are much better more effective choices available today.
However, if this were the 1920s, my choice would definitely be the Remington. The grip ergonomics and shooting behavior are just way above any of the others, plus features like the grip safety as cocking indicator and the side-mounted mag release. Of course, the sights and the manual safety are horrible, but that's pretty much a given on all pocket pistols of that period.
 

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I was very interested in obtaining a Model 51 as I heard nothing but good things about it. However, after watching a YouTube video on disassembling one, I changed my mind, fast! Not a stroll in the park, makes the Ruger Mk I look easy!
 
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