Concealed Carry: 21st Century Style
Review of nine compact .380 semi-automatic handguns.
By Wiley Clapp
Shooting the Guns
Each pistol tested got an equal shot in the evaluation process. I fired the American Rifleman protocol of five consecutive, five-shot groups, plus a half-dozen or so magazines of informal shooting. That’s roughly 100 rounds per gun. These guns are intended for sudden crisis encounters at very close range. For that reason, I would not be too concerned about the performance of the guns at 25 yards. When I report that the average group size is more than 6 inches, that means the gun doesn’t compare very well to, say, a S&W Performance Center M1911. It is apples and oranges. I can tell you they will all cluster seven rounds into a group the size of your hand at 5 yards.
[Note: This is NOT normally deemed to be 'accuracy' as in the fine sense of shot placement...Rather it is at best combat accuracy as in the gross sense of getting hits somewhere on the target among center mass.
My own hand covers in width and length nearly 80% of my own chest. That to my mind is not at all confidence inspiring as related to so called "shot placement".]
I am concerned about the number of cycling malfunctions, most commonly failures to feed and chamber. With one exception, every gun experienced these problems. Even here, we have to put matters in context. Kahr Arms, for example, includes the same manual with each of its pistols, regardless of size or chambering. That manual tells the buyer that he or she needs to run at least 200 rounds through the pistol before pressing it into service. That is coldly realistic advice that all of the other manufacturers would be well-advised to emulate.
With most of the guns, the greater number of glitches came when they were new out of the box. As the shooting wore on, the frequency of malfunctions declined. I would also suggest that when breaking in your chosen .380, you should make sure the gun is well-lubricated, perhaps even over-lubricated. Shoot until malfunctions stop.
[Note: The reviewer had mechanical failure (!) issues with 8 out of the 9 guns, that is an 88% failure rate!, while attempting to use the as new guns under normal firing combat application, against a total firing count of one hundred. These were brand new guns.
Now think of how many times we've had threads here at DC.com alone where people have commented they ran a box or three of rounds through their gun (of any type, chambering and size) and called it 'reliable'. How many times there have been threads here with people asking how many rounds they run through a gun before they deem it to be combat/duty/carry/HD (call it what you will) reliable; And how often the range of 50 to 200 comes up.
Now here is a gun with ammo that generally is expensive, had been until very recently difficult to find in stock anywhere, is as I noted to start generally difficult to hold and shoot at all much less for extended range sessions AND as noted both by me and Wiley Clapp (among many others) is not well known/regarded for it's ability to shoot with anything beyond at best mediocre degree combat accuracy...And that is when being fired slow fire with intent toward fine degree accuracy (!).
People seriously need to think about and consider these facts of the matter as related to the guns, the cartridge AND their own individual practices toward break in, maintenance and becoming intimate with their own gun which in their mind they imagine making use of as a means of last resort to _SAVE THEIR OWN LIFE_, or that of another they might love/like. This is much more than internet debate folks. It is in fact serious business; Life or threat stoppage or gun failure stoppage.]