The Browning 1911-380 is a dandy pistol!
There, we got that out of the way first thing. Let's also go
ahead and discuss the price. While not the highest-priced 380
pistol on the market, it is priced higher than several other 380
auto pistols, so if you are looking for the cheapest 380 on the
market today, this is not the pistol for you. My problem is, I
never did want the cheapest of anything; be it a pistol, rifle,
pickup truck, or piece of beef. The MSRP on this Browning is
$669.00 US, as of the date of this review.
Instead of building a "me too" type
of 380 pistol, Browning dug deep into the roots of the legendary
John Browning, and built their pistol to fit the cartridge. John
Browning invented the 380 ACP cartridge over 100 years ago, as
well as the 1911 pistol. What the Browning company has now done
is to marry the two, building a scaled-down 1911 style pistol,
that fits the 380 cartridge perfectly.
Some of the smaller 380 pistols on the market
today, while being very easy to conceal, are not as easy to
operate and to fire accurately. The Browning 1911-380 is very
user-friendly. The 380 ACP cartridge is as popular today as it
has ever been, with more and more people choosing to carry a
concealed weapon on a daily basis. While not as powerful as the
popular 9x19mm and 45 ACP cartridges, the 380 has enough power
to handle the task of quickly resolving a distasteful and
violent social situation, if the shooter does his or her part;
meaning to put the bullets into a vital spot. The Browning
1911-380 pistol makes placing the bullet where needed much
easier to do than when using a subcompact 380 pistol, for most
shooters. It handles well, fires easily, and has a real set of
sights on it.
The Browning 1911-380 has just enough size
and weight to make this one of, if not the most user-friendly
380 pistols ever built. It is not just the size that makes the
1911-380 so easy to shoot well, as Browning had their
Beretta-built BDA double-stack 380 on the market for many years.
The BDA was and still is a great pistol, but to me, the 1911-380
is easier to fire accurately and quickly, and fits the average
human hand much better.
The Browning 1911-380 is not just a
scaled-down 1911 in appearance only, but in function as well.
Instead of operating as a blowback design, as do most other 380
pistols of this size, the Browning has a locked-breech
recoil-operated system, like the full-size 1911. This allows the
pistol to use a much-lighter recoil spring, which makes manually
operating the slide slick and easy. The little Browning also
disassembles like a full-size 1911.
The frame of the Browning is a combination of
aluminum where it matters, and polymer in non-stressed parts,
such as the grip. The barrel, bushing, slide, and operating
controls are steel, with the exception of the aluminum trigger.
This combination of materials keeps the Browning lightweight,
for the 1911-380 are listed in the chart below. Weights are
listed in ounces. Linear dimensions are listed in inches.
Trigger pull is listed in pounds of resistance, as measured with
my Lyman digital trigger pull scale. Height includes sights and
magazine floor plate. Maximum width is measured across the
extended ambidextrous safety levers.
|Weight with Empty Magazine
|Rear adjustable for
|MSRP as of March 2015
fired the 1911-380 with every brand and type of 380 ACP
ammunition available to me to check for reliable function. I
fired several types of ammunition over the chronograph to check
velocities, with the results listed in the chart below.
Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were
recorded ten feet from the muzzle of the little Browning. Bullet
weights are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint
bullet. TAC-XP and DPX are Barnes hollowpoint homogenous copper
bullets. FMJ is a full metal jacket roundnose bullet. FP is a
full metal jacket flat-point bullet.
PB is Cor-Bon Pow’RBall. HC
is a hard-cast flat-nose lead bullet. Velocities were taken at
an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air
temperature around the thirty-seven degree Fahrenheit mark, with
sixty-two percent relative humidity.
|Buffalo Bore JHP
|Buffalo Bore FMJ
|Buffalo Bore HC
|Buffalo Bore TAC-XP +P
|Buffalo Bore JHP +P
|Buffalo Bore FMJ +P
|Buffalo Bore HC +P
|CCI Blazer Brass FMJ
The Browning 1911-380 pistol functioned
flawlessly with every type of ammo tested. Every cartridge fed,
fired, and ejected perfectly. However, the raw data does not
tell the whole tale. It is the ease with which this pistol
performs that sets it apart from the masses. The slide is very
easy to operate to chamber a cartridge. The magazine loads with
very little effort. The trigger pull is a perfect single-action
pull. There is no long, stacking trigger pull on this weapon;
just a light, crisp, short trigger pull, like a 1911, because it
IS a 1911. The grip is long enough to get every finger on the
pistol for easy control. Even with Plus P ammo, the pistol is
easy to fire, and easy to fire accurately. The Browning also
conceals very easily and comfortably, with the slide being just
a hair over three-quarters of an inch thick, yet having a barrel
that is long enough to squeeze more velocity from a 380
cartridge. Browning also thoughtfully put an ambidextrous safety
on this pistol for those of us who shoot with the left hand.
With a manual safety, grip safety, and magazine safety, the
little Browning is also mechanically safer to carry than are
most 380 auto pistols.
The slim little Browning 1911-380 Black Label
is more than just what is revealed in the specs and the data. It
is a well-built, accurate, easy-to-shoot pistol that is a cut
above most of its competition, and while the price is not cheap,
it is a good value, being one of the best 380 pistols ever
built. The Browning 1911-380 pistol is built right, and built in
Check out this and other Browning firearms
and accessories online at www.browning.com.
For the location of a Browning dealer near
you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the Browning 1911-380 online, click
on the Gun Genie at www.galleryofguns.com.
order quality 380 ACP ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com,
Got something to say about this article?
Want to agree (or disagree) with it? Click the following link to
go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.