Review: 2016 Remington RM380 Micro Deep Concealment Pistol
Compared to something like a one pound, 10 ounce fixed-barrel Makarov .380, the 14.1 ounce Remington RM380 is radically lighter, thinner, and far easier to carry with a slide that is comparatively effortless to rack.
The Remington RM380 .380 ACP is remarkable in several respects, not the least of which is being the first product from Remington's new Huntsville, Alabama facility. For those that have been following Remington, it is hard not to notice that Remington is one of the very few large manufacturers in the United States that actually manufacturers all of its rifles, handguns, and shotguns in the United States. Remington is, of course, a very large ammuntion manufacturer as well. Without fanfare, you'll notice that Remington's less than stellar products have essentially vanished, such as the 887 NitroMag shotgun and the R51 pistol. With the sweeping management changes of June 9, 2015, Remington is clearly off to a better, more quality-focused direction.
The RM380 is based on the Karl Rohrbaugh R9 formerly produced by Rohrbaugh Firearms of Long Island, New York, that retailed for $1200 or so. The RM380 has a MSRP of $436 and sells in the general area of $350. The RM380 is less than an inch thick, with a 2.9 inch barrel, a length of 5.27 inches, and a height of 3.86 inches, and it weighs about three-quarters of one pound. Called “all-metal” construction, the frame is anodized aluminum alloy, the grips are polymer. As tested, with the finger grip extension magazine installed, it weighs 14.1 oz. via calibrated electronic scale.
Caliber: .380 ACP
Barrel length: 2.9 in.
Overall height: 3.86 in.
Overall length: 5.27 in.
Rifling twist rate: 1:16
Weight empty: 14.1 ounces, as measured
Construction: aluminum alloy
Finish: black anodized frame, black oxide slide
Trigger: double action only
Trigger Pull: 8.75 pounds, as measured
The .380 ACP, also known as the 9 x 17 and the 9mm Kurz, was devised by John Browning in 1908 and is the round that infamously started World War I. While the cartridge specifications have not changed, today's ammunition has vastly improved making the .380 far better as an intimate self-defense round than it was just a decade ago.
That is the purpose of the RM380, for it is a true pocket gun, with a snag-free design that has little in the way of sights at all: essentially a nub at the muzzle and a channel at the rear. For those looking for more, the RM380 is also available factory-equipped with a Crimson Trace laser.
The trigger is double action only. It does not have a clicky reset, for it is designed to be used just like a double action revolver: pull, release, pull. You don't try to ride the trigger with this type of set-up. Though some claim to sometimes short-stroke DA triggers, I've never had that issue. Remington calls this a 10 pound trigger. My example is a bit lighter, breaking at about 8-3/4 pounds and the trigger pull, while predictably long, is quite smooth.
Remington with their management changes and refocus as of last year has really upped their game. This is evident with the RM380 that is extremely well-made and even the owners manual (like the Remington V3 shotgun) has been given extra added attention. It is an upgrade from its pricey predecessor, the Rohrbaugh R9, in that the RM380 has a slide stop, a better magazine release (not the heel release), and a better recoil spring array, for the Rohrbaugh R9 was apparently the gun you were supposed to carry but rarely shoot, as the recoil spring had a ridiculously short recommended replacement interval of only 200 rounds. The RM380 is a big upgrade over its predecessor in this regard, with a 3000+ round service life on its dual spring array.
I have to say that I'm impressed, for this little gun is extremely well-made, fun to shoot, completely reliable, and easy to carry. It is also easy to shoot well, within the limitations of the minimal sights and short sighting plane. It is, of course, not presented as a target or range gun, by any means. It is a diminutive back-up or deep concealment pistol, when you don't want a handgun that weighs more, has a larger form factor, or could easily snag.
Like any handgun, how it fits your hand is tantamount and paramount. So, it always makes sense to try one on for size and, better yet, run a box of ammo through one at your local pro shop before hitting the wallet switch. The RM380 comes with two 6-shot magazines, one of which has the finger grip extension, which I prefer: otherwise, it is just two fingers on the grips from my right hand. Remington took their time here with the RM380 and it shows. It is far, far better than I expected and most folks will be quite pleasantly surprised as well.
Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.