Masterpiece arms protector II review.

Masterpiece arms protector II review.

This is a discussion on Masterpiece arms protector II review. within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hi all I am posting this on my favorite few forums because I had a hard time finding reviews on this model. This is a ...

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Thread: Masterpiece arms protector II review.

  1. #1
    Member Array mace85's Avatar
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    Masterpiece arms protector II review.

    Hi all


    I am posting this on my favorite few forums because I had a hard time finding reviews on this model.

    This is a review of my new Masterpiece Arms Protector II. I have searched far and wide for a review of this gun before deciding to pick it up. As it seems, there arenít many examples of this gun on the internet. What appealed to me is the steel construction and the lack of MIMíed parts on the gun. The gun resembles a Seacamp .380, the main differences include the added beavertail, barrel porting, and the placement of the magazine release.

    First impressions. This thing is light for a solid steel gun. When I picked up the plastic hardshell box it came in I immediately thought someone at the factory forgot to put the firearm in there. The gun comes packages with one magazine, a +10% magazine spring and a flat baseplate to replace the one with the finger rest. I tried the flat base plate, and did not like it. The extra mag spring wasnít needed as the gun functioned ok without it. Also included is the most worthless trigger lock I have ever seen. It is like the one that Big 5 uses, it is simply a large screw with plastic blocks on either side. The head of the screw has two holes that a spanner type key fits into.

    One thing to note on this gun is it is capable of firing without a magazine. However there is a warning not to. The side of the magazine functions as the internal surface which the trigger bar rides against. If it isnít there, it will disconnect after releasing the hammer. The fix for this is easy, it just involves removing a grip panel, but not something you want to do out in the wild if it can be avoided.

    The slide was very stiff when first handled unboxed. This is typical of most .380 pocket guns. However after the initial run of 100 rounds it is much easier to use. Keep in mind that the recoil springs (there are two) need changed every 200 rounds. I would highly advise keeping a few extra on hand, the manufacturer sells them at a great price.

    At the range I fired three types of ammo. Hornady Critical Defense, Aguila JHP (both 90 grn), and HPR 90 grain XTP JHP. First I ran 25 rounds of the HPR ammo. At first I noticed that some of these rounds were too long for the magazine. Not all of them, but maybe one out of five. Then I ejected a round that was chambered half way through a magazine and noticed excessive bullet setback. I fired a few more rounds and had a high failure rate due to the bullet taking a significant set. They did the same thing in my Sig P238 as well. I was able to compress the rounds by hand, so I blame this solely on the HPR ammo. The other rounds did function 100%.

    Down to the actual shooting. This gun lacks traditional sights. Instead it has a U-channel down the top of the slide, and continuing to the barrel. It does what is meant to do, but it will never be a bullseye gun. The farthest I shot at was 20 feet. I didn't produce the best group I ever had, but all of the rounds were easily center mass. In retrospect I should have taken a picture of the target. Recoil was stout, but not as bad as I expected. Those two small holes for porting really do their job. The Aguila and HPR produced a decent flash from the porting. But the Hornady Critical Defense didn't produce any that I could discern. And no flash was visible with any ammo if you were focusing on the sight. My two complaints are that the grip panels may need touched with a fine grit sandpaper at the rear by the beaver tail as there is a very slight edge to them. And the magazine release is hard to manipulate. But when taking the grip off ( because I forgot to insert an empty magazine when dry firing) it pops right out. A little Flitz along the edges that interface with the spring and the cut out in the frame, and a drop of good lube and it works much more smoothly. Also about 25 rounds in plus some good living the slide is much easier to manipulate.

    All in all for under $300 this is an excellent buy. It's not without the limitations many other pocket .380's have. But for the same price range as a Kel-tec (who I love by the way) its a great choice.

    If you guys have any questions please feel free to ask. Like I said I have seen very little actual user experience when it comes to this product.
    QKShooter likes this.


  2. #2
    Member Array 1gunsnowbird's Avatar
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    Mace - Thank you VERY much for posting this thread. I have been looking for fresh information on this little gun for about a month and haven't gotten a lot of response. Replacing the recoil springs every 200 rounds seems excessive, but then again, you probably don't shoot it that much except to keep fresh carry ammo in it.

    Have you tried carrying it in an ankle holster? I thought it might perfect for driving and also times when I have to dress up a bit with a tucked-in shirt. I've also got a Smart Carry that might work for that purpose --- it works well enough for my Glock Model 26. This shouldn't produce as much of a lump either.

    I'll be curious to learn how it performs over the months ahead. I'm returning to my AZ home in a month after spending the summer in MN, so I might try to pick one up at a Crossroads of the West gun show if they can be had for that $300 price range. Seems like I can also find Hornay Critical Defense ammo for a reasonable price at those shows as well.

    Thanks again.
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy - Tom Waits

  3. #3
    Member Array mace85's Avatar
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    I never tried the ankle. I am not a fan of that. It would disappear in my Smart Carry. In all honesty it would probably fall below the level of the pockets edge and be hard to draw unless you closed off the bottom with some pins. In a Blackhawk number 1 pocket holster it does seem to disappear in the pocket. I got mine from Buds Guns. I have never seen one in person in a shop or show though. What part of AZ? If your close you can check mine out.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review. I'd be continually interested in a longterm report as well. What happens after 500 rounds (my personal break-in, carry confidence, reliability threshold)? I've been hesitant to show much interest in "value priced" SD handguns because IMHO it's necessary to shoot the crap out of a handgun (thousands of rounds) in order to become effective with it. So only guns that are designed & built for a relatively "abusive" round-count have, so far, gotten my EDC nod. I TRY to break 'em & make 'em fail. To me, that's the best assurance that they...won't.
    There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.

  5. #5
    Member Array mace85's Avatar
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    I do need to run more rounds through the gun. Although long range sessions with a pocket .380 isn't the most fun thing to do...

  6. #6
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    Here is a link to my review of the same gun. Been three weeks and I'm still very positive about it.

    Masterpiece Arms MPA380 (MPA380b-II) 380 pistol
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  7. #7
    Member Array 1gunsnowbird's Avatar
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    CAS Shooter - I read your review just after you posted it and was impressed. Mace 85, I live near Florence and might get in touch if I get that far along in this rather exhaustive process.

    Ghost Tracker, I understand where you are coming from, but I've seldom owned a gun for 1,000 rounds, much less shot it that often with the intention of making sure of its reliability. I guess I've shot that many rounds through a few Glocks without a hitch, so I've gotten to the point with a Glock (especially a 9mm) where I simply shoot them 200-300 rounds of ball ammo and another few magazines of SD ammo and call it good to go ... perhaps that is not enough, I can't say with any certainty. What I CAN say with certainty is that I've had Colt and S&W revolvers malfunction after many rounds, including one instance where a Colt Anaconda jam cost me a close shot at a large whitetail buck, so even wheel guns can fail. I simply assume that if it's mechanical it can fail - that's just the reality of life.

    Should I go ahead and risk another pocket pistol, I'll do my best to test it for reliability and then carry with confidence.
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy - Tom Waits

  8. #8
    Member Array CAS_Shooter's Avatar
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    I just found out how much ammo impacts first impressions of a 380. When I first shot my new Masterpiece Arms, I used Fiocci FMJ and Speer Gold Dot hollow points. Both cycled well and made my first few outings a real pleasure. I went to shoot yesterday and brought a box of Remington UMC. It was a horrible experience. Not one magazine did not have either a FTF or a FTE or both. If I had been using the the Remington on my first few outings I may very well have considered the Protector II a big dud. When I got home, I shot some more Fiocci and had no similar FTF/FTE issues I was having with the Remington UMC ammo.

    So, I learned a couple of things. A new gun that you perceive as a disappointment may in fact be due to ammo. I will always be sure to try several brands and configurations before judging a firearm. Second, UMC ammo sucks in my Masterpiece Arms 380. I'm glad I was able to repeat the initial performance when I went back to the Fiocci FMJ. The Speers all did well.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array Cokeman's Avatar
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    Rem UMC didn't work well in my Kahr either. From what I remember, it was under powered compared to other brands and couldn't cycle the stiff slide correctly.
    Glock 23 - CZ 452 ZKM Special - Walther P22
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    Just traded for a new (I think it is new) MPA Protector II .380. It feels really nice in the hand, seems well built. I like it, or at least I thought I did. I haven't been able to find any .380 ammo in my area except for some commercial reloads from M&M reloading in NH. When I try to cycle rounds through the gun, it will not extract the rounds from the chamber. The extractor just slips off the rim of the cartridge and the round remains in the barrel. I have to push the round from the chamber from the muzzle end with a cleaning rod. I know these are reloads, but they are commercial reloads so I figured they would be ok. I need to find some commercial .380 but this has me a little worried about this gun, although I don't have a whole lot invested in it.

  11. #11
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    You should NEVER be able to set any bullets back into a cartridge case with finger pressure. I would never judge the performance or the reliability of any semi-auto based on how it functioned with cartridges that had bullets that could be set-back with finger pressure.

    That would be classed as FACTORY DEFECTIVE ammunition.
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    Member Array Motodeficient's Avatar
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    Thanks for your response. However I never said anything of the sort? I guess it was confusing when I said the extractor slips off the cartridge and the round remains in the barrel.

    What I meant was, the round is stay in tact (Bullet is still in the case) and the entire cartridge stays in the chamber. The extractor just won't pull the live cartridge from the chamber, even without the magazine in the gun.

  13. #13
    Member Array Sailor man's Avatar
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    I have the first version and it really is a great gun. Fits in a pocketholsters.com back pocket holster for a seecamp perfectly. Dusty did agreat review in Pa. Firearms owners That sold me. It is actually made after the autauga .32 that was all stainless

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    I would like to give one a try. I had a Seecamp -J-U-N-K-, and a NAA Guardian, good but heavy.

  15. #15
    Member Array mace85's Avatar
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    Masterpiece arms protector II review.

    Quote Originally Posted by Motodeficient View Post
    Thanks for your response. However I never said anything of the sort? I guess it was confusing when I said the extractor slips off the cartridge and the round remains in the barrel.

    What I meant was, the round is stay in tact (Bullet is still in the case) and the entire cartridge stays in the chamber. The extractor just won't pull the live cartridge from the chamber, even without the magazine in the gun.
    Mine does that too sometimes but it cycles 100%. On the blowback guns the extractor doesn't need a tight grip. Some of the older foreign designs dont even have extractors!

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