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View Full Version : Colt Government MKIV Series 80 .380 opinions...



Xak
05-30-2008, 07:27 PM
Considering one for summer carry because it is thinner than my .38 j-frame and will conceal better. Any opinions?

TYPEO1313
05-30-2008, 08:22 PM
Considering one for summer carry because it is thinner than my .38 j-frame and will conceal better. Any opinions? My 2 pennies; If your going to go with a 1911, make it .45acp.

PS, I think the Colt you are talking about is .380acp not .38 special..... assuming that your J frame is .38spl. I'd go with .38spl before I'd go .38ACP

drgrant
05-30-2008, 09:41 PM
IMO a .38+P or .357 mag jframe is hard to beat. I used to do the
"pocket auto" thing but ended up with an S+W 640.

-Mike

LT1MCSS
05-31-2008, 01:37 AM
I just picked up a pocketlite, paid a good amount for it but they are great guns. I polished up the nickel finish on it and the gun looks great. .380 is large enough IMO for self defense most of the time. I have a glock 27 too that i carry when im wearing a sweat shirt. The deciding factor for me was the width of the gun and it weighs 11 oz less loaded than my glock did.

Here is a pic of my pocketlite .380 after i got it home cleaned it and polished it.
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c25/LT1MCSS/P1010018.jpg

Xak
05-31-2008, 06:36 AM
I just picked up a pocketlite, paid a good amount for it but they are great guns. I polished up the nickel finish on it and the gun looks great. .380 is large enough IMO for self defense most of the time. I have a glock 27 too that i carry when im wearing a sweat shirt. The deciding factor for me was the width of the gun and it weighs 11 oz less loaded than my glock did.


Right, that's why I'm considering it over my j-frame. With my build the j-frame is just a bit wide in the cylinder area and when IWB the cylinder is always under the belt which adds even more thickness. Unless I wear a really loose t-shirt it prints a bit when I'm in any position other than standing straight.

In other words I think the thinner .380 will increase my range of motion while in public as it won't print as easily.

Although it is not as powerful as my .38 j-frame, I found myself showing my wife how to use a speed loader and realized (after she said "good thing you don't have to do that under any amount of stress!") if I needed more than 5 rounds in a jiffy I'd be screwed. With 7+1 and 10 round mags available (and easier to carry than speed loaders, BTW) and a longer sight radius (though I would miss my CTC laser grips on the j-frame) I think I may want to get it.

Guess I already made my mind up, just wanted to post and get some reassurance I suppose.

It is an expensive little sucker, though. Wanted to put the money toward a new rifle.

Is $695 too much for it? They are hard to come by in MA and seem fairly rare.

Cross-X
05-31-2008, 06:53 AM
Nice gun, anemic caliber.

jamz
05-31-2008, 08:57 AM
I had a colt pony pocketlite, ended up trading it for a j-frame.

I had bought it in 2004 at FS for $500 and change, sold it in 2006 at FS for $650 IIRC, so by now $695 isn't out of the question. One thing is for sure, you won't lose money on the investment, even if you decide it's punch isn't enough.

PaiN
05-31-2008, 09:05 AM
I'm glad to hear others that think the J frames feel to wide for ItB carry....I was beginning to think I was strange [hmmm]

LT1MCSS
05-31-2008, 10:34 AM
They are very hard to come by but you can find them around. It took me over 3 months to find one that i really wanted. I have one of these and my friend has one. My friend also had a J-frame. It was a nice gun but would take ALOT of practice to get good at shooting it. I was very inconsistent. He has since sold it now that he has the mustang.


$695 isnt out of the question. You said its the government model??

Xak
05-31-2008, 06:19 PM
$695 isnt out of the question. You said its the government model??

Yup.

Xak
05-31-2008, 06:25 PM
I'm glad to hear others that think the J frames feel to wide for ItB carry....I was beginning to think I was strange [hmmm]

Oh, Phew! Same here. I hear some people even carry them in a holster in their front pocket. Never understood that. Even a speed loader in the front pocket is big, let alone a whole gun. Could maybe get away with one of those little mouse guns, like a beretta tomcat in .25, but not a J-frame for me. To each his own. Some guns don't work well concealing with certain body types I guess.

LT1MCSS
05-31-2008, 06:35 PM
If i were you try and grab a mustang for the price. The government is still a really nice gun but the mustang eliminates the 1911 style barrel bushing, has a double recoil spring and is a little lighter. I was hell bent on getting a pocketlite model which is only 12.5oz empty and 15.2oz fully loaded. It carries 6 rounds and i the mags are small enough i carry one in my pocket.

Xak
05-31-2008, 09:05 PM
If i were you try and grab a mustang for the price. The government is still a really nice gun but the mustang eliminates the 1911 style barrel bushing, has a double recoil spring and is a little lighter. I was hell bent on getting a pocketlite model which is only 12.5oz empty and 15.2oz fully loaded. It carries 6 rounds and i the mags are small enough i carry one in my pocket.

The Mustang looks like it will leave my pinky dangling. I like the more substantial, yet still thin, grip of the Government model, 7+1, and the longer barrel and sight radius. I don't like shorter grips, I want a thin grip for concealability, but something I can still grab onto in a stressful situation. With me it's always been an issue of how thick a gun is that makes it difficult to conceal, not so much height and length. The Government seams to do it for me. It's smaller and thinner than the Walther PPK and is still comfortable ergonomically. In fact I was considering the PPK until I picked up that Colt Government .380. I just thought "Oh, there it is!".

Then there was the trigger... WOW! Looks like I'll be getting a new piece Monday. [smile]

drgrant
05-31-2008, 11:02 PM
Is $695 too much for it? They are hard to come by in MA and seem fairly rare.


IMO as a value proposition it's terrible, but that's just my opinion and may not
be worth the bytes its printed on. [smile]

For that kinda money you could get a Kahr MK9 or PM9, be almost as flat
and way better in terms of ballistics. Then you can run things like 9mm
GDHPs, etc.

I farted around with numerous .380s for awhile but now I don't own any
at all. The direct blowback (for me) hurts my hand worse than a jframe
does; the JHPs in that caliber don't work properly (they rarely expand in
most calibrated gel tests) so you might as well carry ball ammo.... to me
the downsides are just too much. I'd rather just use my 640 with the
speer .357 mag short barrel load. It's accurate, the recoil isn't too much,
and I'm comfortable with the platform.

Then again when I carry I usually carry a P2000 95% of the time, and
something bigger than that 3%, and the 640 2% (I find it drops into a pocket
easily, despite the weight) Have you tried different holsters, etc, with
your j-frame? IMO there are a lot of options out there and some holsters
will break up the print or make the gun ride differently which can make all the
difference in the world.

-Mike

Xak
06-01-2008, 09:57 AM
For that kinda money you could get a Kahr MK9 or PM9, be almost as flat
and way better in terms of ballistics. Then you can run things like 9mm
GDHPs, etc.

I farted around with numerous .380s for awhile but now I don't own any
at all. The direct blowback (for me) hurts my hand worse than a jframe
does; the JHPs in that caliber don't work properly (they rarely expand in
most calibrated gel tests) so you might as well carry ball ammo.... to me
the downsides are just too much. I'd rather just use my 640 with the
speer .357 mag short barrel load. It's accurate, the recoil isn't too much,
and I'm comfortable with the platform.

-Mike

I found the Kahr to be much thicker than the Colt. While the Kahr is certainly thin, and a great CCW my Sig P239 in .357 fits that bill.

The Colt will be to replace my j-frame for very hot, less than loose t-shirt, summer carry. For the reasons I stated I think I would prefer 7+1 with easy reloads in .380 and easier concealment over the j-frame. I am aware of the .380 penetration issues, and may even carry ball, or a heavy JHP that may not expand much, but will penetrate well.

LT1MCSS
06-01-2008, 11:49 AM
Yeah, I just did the exact same thing as you last week. The colt .380 i want to say was 3/4" wide. Maybe a little under. I can't speak for the Kahr, which isnt MA compliant anyway, but my glock was just over an inch wide. a 1/4"-3/8" of an inch might not seem like alot but it can be sometimes. If i really wanted to i could carry my glock with a t-shirt but with a regular mag (no pinky extension)
i was having a hard time not getting the pinky extension not to stick out.

drgrant
06-02-2008, 04:20 PM
I found the Kahr to be much thicker than the Colt.


Much thicker? IIRC both the pocketlite and an MK9/PM9 are about an i[nch
thick or thereabouts. IMO they're both pretty much in the same class.

An MK9/PM9 is smaller than a j-frame, smaller than a G26.... with a flat mag
installed it probably conceals just as well as the colt does.


-Mike

LT1MCSS
06-02-2008, 06:01 PM
Much thicker? IIRC both the pocketlite and an MK9/PM9 are about an i[nch
thick or thereabouts. IMO they're both pretty much in the same class.

An MK9/PM9 is smaller than a j-frame, smaller than a G26.... with a flat mag
installed it probably conceals just as well as the colt does.


-Mike

Either way, a Kahr is just as hard to find and obtain since they are not MA compliant even though they are on the approved roster.

I originally wanted a PM9 but could not find a used one for sale. Only places i found were LE only. I don't think i have since a used Kahr PM9 for sale anywhere in at least the last 6 months. I found a couple .40 cal versions of the next size up. The K-series maybe? Thats about it.

southshoresig
06-04-2008, 08:47 PM
There's areally nice Colt Gov't .380 for $369 at Yankee Artifacts, if your interested. http://www.yankeeartifacts.com/Colt%20Handguns.htm

BOBKATT
06-04-2008, 09:05 PM
If your going with the government model I don't understand why you would choose anything other than 45 ACP if it is for personal defense.

They do carry well, you are right. Try thin grips for even better carrying.

Xak
06-04-2008, 11:32 PM
Much thicker? IIRC both the pocketlite and an MK9/PM9 are about an i[nch
thick or thereabouts. IMO they're both pretty much in the same class.

An MK9/PM9 is smaller than a j-frame, smaller than a G26.... with a flat mag
installed it probably conceals just as well as the colt does.


-Mike

I bought it! It is 3/4" think. The grips swell to an astonishing 1". I'm willing to bet the slide area from top to bottom is slimmer than the Kahr type and 3" 1911 .45 ACP type guns as well. This will carry much better in t-shirt, tank top weather.

Can't wait to have a chance to shoot it.


If your going with the government model I don't understand why you would choose anything other than 45 ACP if it is for personal defense.

They do carry well, you are right. Try thin grips for even better carrying.
Today 08:47 PM

You are right, the only draw back is the .380 round. But, I bet I will find my self carrying a firearm more often in the blistering heat if it is a breeze to conceal, rather than thinking "Nah, it's a pain in the ass, I'm just going to the store and back, I'll be fine", or leaving it home because I anticipate light activity and think it will be cumbersome with a certain shirt and don't feel like wearing something baggier. The .380 in my pants is a far better SD round than the .45 ACP left in the safe at home.

During the Spring and Fall I carry my P239 in .357 or P99AS 9mm. Winter it's the P220 .45 ACP.

BOBKATT
06-04-2008, 11:43 PM
You are right, the only draw back is the .380 round. But, I bet I will find my self carrying a firearm more often in the blistering heat if it is a breeze to conceal, rather than thinking "Nah, it's a pain in the ass, I'm just going to the store and back, I'll be fine", or leaving it home because I anticipate light activity and think it will be cumbersome with a certain shirt and don't feel like wearing something baggier. The .380 in my pants is a far better SD round than the .45 ACP left in the safe at home.

During the Spring and Fall I carry my P239 in .357 or P99AS 9mm. Winter it's the P220 .45 ACP.

Carrying is a personal decision, and so is what you carry and why. You sound like you've made the best decision for yourself, and that is good news. Carry it always and practice with it often.

Xak
06-05-2008, 03:43 AM
Carrying is a personal decision, and so is what you carry and why. You sound like you've made the best decision for yourself, and that is good news. Carry it always and practice with it often.

You bet! Now, where can I get some of those 102gr Remington Golden Sabres?

LT1MCSS
06-05-2008, 09:51 AM
I carry the 90gr Federal Hydra Shocks in my Pocketlite and i carry the .40 165gr in my glock 27

If you are set on using the Remington's, thats cool. If not i might try the federal. I have a box of 50 right now. I will prob shoot 30 or so through the gun to make sure it will feed and eject properly.

M1911
06-05-2008, 10:17 AM
If your going with the government model I don't understand why you would choose anything other than 45 ACP if it is for personal defense.

Bobkatt: the 380 Govt. Model is NOT the size of a standard 1911. It's almost a pocket-sized gun. See the picture above.

While .380 ACP is not my favorite caliber, a .380 ACP in your pocket beats a 45 ACP in your safe.

BOBKATT
06-05-2008, 12:13 PM
Bobkatt: the 380 Govt. Model is NOT the size of a standard 1911. It's almost a pocket-sized gun. See the picture above.

While .380 ACP is not my favorite caliber, a .380 ACP in your pocket beats a 45 ACP in your safe.

That is a good point. I assumed that a 1911 government model is a government model, is a government model. In which case it might as well be .45 ACP.

PaulD
06-05-2008, 10:57 PM
For that kinda money you could get a Kahr MK9 or PM9, be almost as flat
and way better in terms of ballistics. Then you can run things like 9mm
GDHPs, etc.



I wish.

BOBKATT
06-06-2008, 02:35 PM
You bet! Now, where can I get some of those 102gr Remington Golden Sabres?

Haha, let me know how you like it. It's a neat little gun and I've never shot one. I've heard good stuff about speer gold dot, take a look into those.

mark056
06-06-2008, 10:24 PM
I think that the Colt .380 Govt Models were/are nifty little pistols. I had one once with the Coltguard electroless nickel finish and sold it much to my great regret.

The adequacy of the .380 is an ongoing debate. I would not be uncomfortable carrying a pistol in that caliber, but that's me.

My only problem with the Colt Govt 380 (and its variants such as the Mustang, Pocketlite etc) is an appropriate carry mode. I feel uncomfortable putting a single action pistol in Condition 1 in my pocket. I note that noted gunwriter Jan Libourel once opined that he carried said pistol in Condition 2. I don't know if I like that because it requires lowering the hammer on a live round (these things didn't bother me as much when I was younger)...but my real issue with either Condition 1 or Condition 2 is that you have to manipulate something to get the pistol into action, either a thumb safety or cock the hammer, and in a dicey situation that is just one more thing that can be fumbled and could go wrong. Still, if I had one today, I would carry it, either in a holster on the belt with a safety strap in Condition 1, or perhaps in a pocket, but in Condition 2.

Damn, I wish I still had mine. BTW the design is not exactly the same as a Browning designed 1911 even though it looks like a miniture 1911, but is really based on a Charles Petter design. It does employ a locked breech though, something a tad unusual for a .380 pocket pistol.

Mark L.

Xak
06-06-2008, 11:39 PM
The adequacy of the .380 is an ongoing debate. I would not be uncomfortable carrying a pistol in that caliber, but that's me.

My only problem with the Colt Govt 380 (and its variants such as the Mustang, Pocketlite etc) is an appropriate carry mode. I feel uncomfortable putting a single action pistol in Condition 1 in my pocket. I note that noted gunwriter Jan Libourel once opined that he carried said pistol in Condition 2. I don't know if I like that because it requires lowering the hammer on a live round (these things didn't bother me as much when I was younger)...but my real issue with either Condition 1 or Condition 2 is that you have to manipulate something to get the pistol into action, either a thumb safety or cock the hammer, and in a dicey situation that is just one more thing that can be fumbled and could go wrong. Still, if I had one today, I would carry it, either in a holster on the belt with a safety strap in Condition 1, or perhaps in a pocket, but in Condition 2.

I was worried about that, too, until I shot it. It makes same size holes as my 9mm, and even after the first time shooting it, it is the fastest gun I own. Wow is all I can say. All you have to do is keep a tight grip, a stiff wrist and it's back on target before your eyes can even verify it and tell your finger to squeeze again. What a neat little gun. I found some Hornady 115gr LRN and plan on getting the Remington 102gr Golden Sabre. These should have plenty of penetration. I don't think I would go lighter than 95gr, though, unless it were FMJ. I need to do a search and find some ballistics data on different .380 rounds. Though it isn't quite up to par as 9mm it sure as hell is no 22lr. I think if you put the appropriate rounds on target, and with the added speed (that I find) to do so it should be able to take care of business. I was worried that I was going to shoot it and feel like it's a mouse gun, not feel confident I could protect myself with it. That was not my sense of the round at all, especially with the speed I could put holes in a small target 30ft (give or take) away.

As far as carrying it in "Condition 1" it doesn't bother me because the safety is fairly substantial (not so much as to hinder performance, though) and this will be carried IWB with the safety side of the firearm protected between the gun and my "spare tire". If it bothers you, you could always find a holster with a thumb snap, the strap for which lies between the cocked hammer and where it would fall. Drawing the gun would be a natural motion using the thumb snap because you want your thumb up there anyhow so you can drop the safety.