380 Semi-Automatic pistols are among the
most-popular in the U.S. now with those who choose to carry a
handgun for personal protection. The 380 pistols are usually
small, lightweight, and easy to conceal. The problem is, for
many shooters, they are too small and too lightweight, making
the little pistols harder to control and to shoot accurately.
While some of these little jewels are no bigger than a pack of
smokes and almost as light, that is also what makes them a poor
choice for many who choose to carry a concealed handgun.
The “Baby Rock” from Rock Island Armory
is a pistol that I have been waiting to hit the market for a
long time. I first shot one of these almost two years ago, and
immediately put in a request for a production gun for a full
review. It has finally arrived, and I am not disappointed. The
Baby Rock reminds me of the old Llama Star 380 pistols from
thirty years ago, but seems to be of much better quality.
Rock Island Armory is a division of Armscor,
which has been making quality 1911 style pistols for over three
decades now. RIA has an extensive line of full-sized 1911
pistols chambered for the 45 ACP, 10mm Auto, 38 Super, 9x19mm,
and 22 TCM cartridges, as well as the 22 Magnum Rimfire;
this Baby Rock is pretty much a scaled down 1911 of blowback
action, but has controls that will be familiar to anyone who has
fired full-sized 1911 pistols. The Baby Rock is made to be
carried cocked-and-locked (chamber loaded, hammer cocked, safety
on) just like its larger brethren. The manual safety is
right-hand-only, and the pistol also has a 1911-style grip
specifications for the Baby Rock 380 are listed in the chart
below. Weight is 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.
|Weight with Empty Magazine
||5 pounds, 9 ounces
||Black Parkerized Steel
|MSRP as of December 207
fired the Baby Rock 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). Bullet weights
are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. DPX
is a 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. XD and ARX are specialty
bullets with unique nose shapes that enhance terminal
performance in soft tissue. Velocities were taken twelve feet
from the muzzle at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level,
with an air temperature around the fifty-two degree Fahrenheit
mark, with forty-eight percent relative humidity.
|CCI Blazer Brass
|Buffalo Bore HC +P
|Lehigh Defense XD
The Baby Rock dampens felt recoil much better
than the lighter, smaller 380 pistols on the market. The
all-steel construction of the frame and slide add enough heft to
make the pistol very easy to shoot well. For even lighter recoil
with good performance, the Ruger ARX ammunition is an excellent
choice. For deep penetration, I like the Buffalo Bore Hard Cast
lead bullet load. Every brand and type of ammunition tested in
the baby Rock worked flawlessly, except for one failure-to-feed
with the Lehigh XD early on in the shooting. That load hung up
on the feed ramp for one shot, and one shot only. Other than
that, every load fed, fired, and ejected perfectly.
Loading the magazine to its full eight-shot
capacity required little effort on my part, but if hand/finger
strength is an issue, the Baby
UpLULA makes the process very easy. The slide never failed
to lock open on an empty magazine, signaling to the shooter that
it was time to reload. The Baby Rock feels very good in my hands,
and also in the hands of others whom I asked to try the pistol.
The synthetic rubber grip panels provide a secure hold, and the
trigger is very crisp and just about perfect for a pistol of
this type. I really would like to see Rock Island offer this
pistol with an ambidextrous safety option, as that would make
the pistol equally useful for left-handed shooters.
The Baby Rock pistol is unique among the 380
pistols that are available today: it fills the hand well, and
has a good, solid heft to it, without being overweight. It is
not a pocket 380, and is about five ounces heavier than the
Browning 380 of similar design, but the Baby Rock also sells for
about two-hundred dollars less than the Browning, comes with two
magazines instead of one, and has a steel frame instead of
polymer. These features make the Baby Rock a solid choice for
someone wanting a 380 pistol of 1911 style that is
easier-to-shoot than most, reliable, affordable, and accurate,
yet easy to conceal in a good holster. On that note, Simply
Rugged makes some excellent leather holsters for carrying this
Baby Rock, and well as other similar 1911-style pistols securely
and safely. Crossbreed Holsters has a variety of quality
Kydex/Leather Hybrid holsters for both inside and outside the
There are several good choices for a
pocket-sized 380 on the market today, and the Baby Rock is
larger than most, making it better-suited to holster carry, but
that larger size makes it easier for most to handle well, and
the longer barrel produces higher velocities than those
delivered from the pocket guns. There has never been a better
time than right now for those shopping for a 380 semi-automatic
pistol, with dozens of choices among pistol manufacturers. The
Baby Rock from Rock Island Armory is one of the best choices on
the market for a 380 that is small but not too small, light but
not too light, easy to shoot, and reliable.
Check out this and other Rock Island Armory
firearms and accessories online at www.armscor.com.
the location of a Rock Island dealer near you, click on the
DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
order the Baby Rock 380 online, click on the Gun Genie at www.galleryofguns.com.
order quality 380 ACP ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com,
quality holsters to fit the Baby Rock pistol, go to www.crossbreedholsters.com,
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