Micro Pistols in the beginning
For the longest, I never liked small guns. However, my outlook on small, “pico” or “micro” pistols has changed recently.
What changed it? I was introduced to a very reliable and accurate pistol that still fits in your back pocket. The Remington RM380CT.
What initially led me to dislike micro guns was essentially my first pistol purchase ever. This was way back before I knew about the three types of ballistics, internal, external and terminal. Before I knew about bullet specifications, and before I knew what makes a good firearm.
Like most people, I perceived a gun, as something that shot a bullet. And just like in the movies, someone gets hit with a bullet, they go down instantly. Quickly terminating a potential threat. I was young, and there wasn’t an internet to research on yet.
I purchased that pistol, because I was delivering pizza, and where I lived, there were lots of woods, and houses down the end of long dirt roads in those woods, with no neighbors anywhere nearby. Perfect “Deliverance” scenarios.
Saturday Night Fever
That first pistol of mine was a Saturday Night Special. The original SNS, all chromed with fake pearl grips. With the wimpy .25 cal bullets.
Back then, caliber was just a number to me, and .25 was bigger than a .22, so I thought it should be OK. Having no access to the FBI ballistics reports, I didn’t know any better.
Fortunately, before I trusted my life to this little gun, I took it out into the woods and shot at some targets. Now, up to this point, I had shot my dad’s firearms and was a dead-shot with them. Even with my pump BB gun, I had good groupings at distance.
First shot with my shiny, new Sat Night Special… missed. Took another shot. Missed.
Moved a bit closer. Missed. Moved even closer. Still nothing. I eventually got close enough where I thought, damn… I could just throw this at my attacker and hit them.
This gun had a grouping, larger than a human torso.
Maybe it was the ammo, or I had a bunk gun. But this gun only put 1 or 2 rounds per mag, on target. I didn’t bother with it anymore and eventually sold it, to recoup my money.
My pistol learning curve
From that point on, I swore off any firearm with less than a 3-inch barrel. For that matter, I turned my nose up at anything with less than a 4-inch barrel, and for a while, I carried a revolver like my father’s wartime six-shooter. 5.5 inch barrel. Six rounds and a bang every time you pulled the trigger, it was all I needed way back then.
Fast forward to today, and I have read and re-read the FBI ballistics reports, and read coroners reports. I’ve read Marshall, Ellifritz, Ayoob, and Lagarde over and over. Majoring in Physics, I could recite all the important equations by heart. I know my stuff when it comes to objects moving through space.
Still, I shied away from small guns. The smallest gun I would carry was a compact, when I had large sums of money on me, — I used to buy auction homes to flip — and it was summer, and I had to be in dress clothes.
The rest of the time, it was a Full-size 9mm or bigger on my hip.
Witness to micro pistol evolution
Then, Remington sent me their RM380CT, and some of their 102 grain, .380 Auto Ultimate Defense Brass Jacketed Hollow Point ammo. [940 fps and 200 FPE] to try out.
I hate to say that I adopt a negative attitude toward new things, especially when I have had bad experiences with similar in the past, but it’s also not realistic to say I go in with a fresh attitude either.
That is my way of saying; I did not expect to be impressed too much by this tiny gun.
So when I went to the range, I made sure to bring several other firearms with me, ‘so I could at least have a good time at the range’.
I shot my other pistols, a lot… and didn’t shoot the RM380CT for the first couple hours at the range. I had other firearms that I was reviewing with me, and my favorite gun to shoot, a tricked out, tuned up, compensated Sig with a holo red-dot.
Eventually these pistols attracted attention from other shooters while we were working over the steel plates, and I loaned them out to everyone, and I was left with the Remington.
Just this tiny little gun and me. So small, that I can completely cover the gun AND its extra magazine with my hand. It is a little over 5” long.
Well, I need to review it, so I might as well shoot it now
That CT at the end of RM380CT stands for Crimson Trace. Yep, it comes from the Remington factory, pre-installed with a Crimson Trace laser.
I walk up to the steel plates, squeeze the Crimson Trace button, center the laser on the first plate and pull the trigger… bang and it goes down. Then the next plate and the next… all 6 go down.
I took my time with those tentative first shots, so I put in the spare mag and go a bit faster. All 6 plates fall down again.
Fortunately, I am a member of a range club that allows “rapid-fire”, drawing from a holster, and all sorts of things that would make a RSO at a typical range, bellow out “Range Cold!”, and “Don’t do that again, or I’m kicking you out”.
So I reload both mags, and try to see how fast I can knock down the plates this time. Recoil is very manageable on this pistol, so I run through another magazine with sub second split times. No plates missed.
Spare mag in, and I try for my fastest run at the plates. I missed #5, but I am pretty sure that was on me, I think I flinched that one.
There was no doubt in my mind at this time, that 1) I did not bring enough ammo, because this gun is fun to shoot, and 2) This is a ridiculously accurate pistol for its size.
Spurless hammer and a smooth chassis
This Remington pistol comes with a 2.9” barrel. It is hammer fired, but has no hammer spur. In fact, there is nothing really on this pistol to get caught up on, for a quick draw from a pocket. Being hammer fired and DAO, you gain the ability to strike a primer a second time if the round does not fire for some reason, a benefit for a defensive pistol.
The sights are small, notch and post, and part of the slide. Blended and smoothed into the metal of the slide, nothing to catch on clothing. The iron sights are diminutive but superfluous with the factory equipped Crimson Trace sight. There is no decocker, and no manual safety. Nothing you have to worry about flipping on or off, to shoot. The grip is molded around the slide release, so it won’t snag on anything.
That paragraph summarizes the only aspects of this pistol that might not suit every user.
The sights are black like the whole of the pistol. I am probably going to put a dot of white enamel paint on the post and a couple dots on the rear notch.
CT lasers are great, but in bright direct sunlight, they do wash out. I was shooting at an outdoor range, but the target area I was at, wasn’t bathed in direct sunlight, so the dot of the CT red laser was always easily visible. For peace of mind, I would want a bit more visibility on those iron sights.
The slide release is blended in such that, you need to get used to it, to hit it effectively with your thumb. Otherwise, your thumb will glance right over it. It was not an insurmountable issue, just something needing training and repetition. By the end of my range session, it was a non-issue.
There is no safety. Out of all of my firearms, they all have safeties. Nevertheless, I don’t feel as though, it’s a problem for this pistol.
Those three things, are all subjective, and might not bother you, and even if they sound like they would, I am sure you would overcome your objections to them, quickly like I did.
The longest trigger
The trigger… Now, if you are like me, and love a light trigger, you will (like me) need to get used to this trigger. I obviously, quickly became used to it, since it didn’t hurt my split times on the plates, but it is… different.
I will mention first; it is repeatable, dependable, and consistent. To me, that makes it a GOOD trigger. However, that is the LOOOONGGGGEST pre-travel trigger I have felt on a modern firearm.
Take-up is around 1-1.5mm. Then there is the Wall… the spurless hammer starts to move, and there is more wall… and more even. You have to pull the trigger almost fully back to the backside of the trigger guard, before the hammer drops. I would say it is over 20mm of movement before the hammer falls.
I can feel what may be some Stacking, near the halfway point of that, so some of that wall may be Creep. I intend on taking it apart and doing a trigger and spring job to get rid of the stacking sensation and the pull weight.
No Over-travel… there is nowhere else for the trigger to go, haha.
Then the Reset. The trigger needs to move completely the entire distance back, that 20-25mm of Pre-travel, before it resets.
In spite of all of this, I consider it a good trigger. It is not a pro-trigger, or a competition trigger, but it is a trigger you can count on. Squeeze it down, and bang goes the pistol. Let it up and do it again, and you’ve fired another.
It is consistent. And good enough to knock down 6 plates in under 3 seconds… so it’s not an encumbrance if you’re trying to protect yourself or your loved ones.
The specs from Remington list the trigger at 10lb pull… and I believe it. I didn’t have a gauge at the time, to test it with, but it feels close to my DA/SA pistols in DA.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, this pistol is a DAO, Double-Action Only. Spurless hammer means no manual cocking. Racking the slide moves the hammer back but it falls again when you release the slide.
On any other gun, I would see the loooong, heavy trigger, and DAO as negatives. However, for a pocket gun, I see those as taking the place of the absent manual safety.
And in my pocket is where this gun has been for the better part of two months. Every day, every waking hour. Back left pocket in my jeans. I have kept it in my pocket all this time, to see if dust, dirt, lint, etc impedes the performance of this pistol.
It has not. Still accurate, still dependable. Although I can hear a tiny bit of grit in the slide… but I haven’t cleaned it yet either. Factory lube, a few hundred rounds run through it, and sitting inside a pocket, you would expect it to be dirty. So, excuse the dusty motes in my pictures.
I am going to take it apart and clean and lube it after the next range trip. And see how long it takes for it to pick up pocket stuff again. It will probably go longer before getting dirty, the way I lube my guns.
At 12 ounces and slightly over 5 inches long, you will not notice this pistol in your back pocket. It doesn’t feel like you’ve got a gun back there. At that weight, it also worked great in an ankle holster.
Back it up
I have wanted a backup gun for a while, so when I got the RM380CT to try out, I purchased an inexpensive ankle holster for it. It securely held the lightweight gun, comfortably against my calf. There was even room for the spare mag.
I went biking with it in the ankle holster, because I didn’t want to tempt it falling out of my pocket. I don’t think it would, but I was more interested in how it performed in the ankle holster while biking. No issues while biking. *Note, this was road biking, not off-road.
I did not try running with it on my ankle or in my pocket. I don’t think it would come out of the retention style holster strapped to my leg, but I did believe it would bang my shin up pretty badly if I jogged. I do not think it would have flown out of my back pocket either, but I didn’t want to ding up my loaner to prove this point.
Looking it over
This pistol is a .380, the model number gives that away. Its capacity is 6+1. It comes with a pinky extension mag and Remington includes a spare flush fit mag. Having big hands, I kept the pinky mag in, with the flush as a spare.
There is an ambidextrous mag release. Triangular and checkered, it is nicely fitted behind the trigger. It too is flush so it doesn’t pose an obstacle to a quick draw.
A minimal beavertail is there to protect you from the hammer, it is just enough to prevent bite, but also does not hinder drawing the pistol from a pocket.
The pinky mag didn’t get in the way for pocket carry. Drawing from the pocket will take you some practice. You will not be getting a full grip on the gun, so you need to see what works best for you. I was able to get two fingers around the grip to withdraw the pistol.
I started by putting my thumb on the spurless hammer, to prevent it from possibly firing; however, after drawing it dozens and dozens of times, I don’t see that being a problem. And that’s where the heavy and long draw of the trigger is your safety.
Not a plastic pistol
Unlike many pistols in this size category, this is all metal frame and slide. The 2.9” tilt-barrel is 410 Stainless Steel and is the longest in this class. The barrel flares slightly at the end to ensure a tight lockup with the slide, helping increase the accuracy.
The black anodized frame is 7075 Aluminum, which helps keep this lightweight but dependable. The slide is 416 stainless and has 7 serrations at the back to help you rack it.
Black laminate grips are checkered with the [R] for Remington embossed in the grips. Remington is etched in the slide front left, RM380 front right. Black frame, and blackened barrel.
A loaded-chamber indicator window is at the top rear of the barrel, at the back of the ejection port.
On the inside, the RM380CT is a dual spring with a solid steel guide rod. The slide is easy to operate, for someone with weak or arthritic hands.
This pistol has versions, RM380 and the RM380CT. I am testing the Crimson Trace version. The laser comes slung under the guide rod cover and fills part of the space up to the trigger guard. The activation button is below the trigger guard.
Below the CT button, the front strap is checkered, and the trigger guard is undercut to give you a little bit more room.
This pistol is lightweight, yet durably built out of all metal components. It has a long barrel for a gun in this size class. The Crimson Trace laser sight makes aiming easy. Very accurate. Very concealable. A perfect gun by itself, if you do not have a lot of room to carry a compact or full-size pistol. This would be a great gift for a loved one to carry.
It also makes an excellent backup pistol to go along with a full-size pistol.
If you are more of a trigger snob than I am, you might not like this trigger. However, I did get used to it quickly, and doing switch drills between my 1911 and the RM380CT, I was not tripped up over the differences between the two types of triggers. My muscle memory adapted quickly.
Using it in bright sun, you’ll possibly want to enhance the iron sights with some white enamel paint if you need some help seeing the sights due to astigmatism or bad vision.
Even though I predominantly kept the pistol in my pocket and in an ankle holster, there are “normal” holster offerings from Crossbreed, DeSantis and Galco. It will also fit into most ‘generic’ shaped Micro or Compact holsters.
Specifications: Remington RM380CT (as tested)
Part Number: 96462
Type: Double-Action, Semi-Auto
Caliber: .380 Auto
Barrel Length: 2.9 in.
Barrel Material: 410 Stainless Steel
Twist Rate: 1:16-in.
Overall Length: 5.27 in.
Overall Height: 3.86 in.
Overall Width: 0.86 in.
Grip Material: Glass-filled nylon
Grip Design: Removable grip panels
Sights: Crimson Trace and Fixed Iron
Trigger: Approx. 10 lbs.
Weight: 12.2 oz. (unloaded, w/o magazine) / 16oz (1lb with mag, 6+1 in chamber)
MSRP: $514.93 / Best Store Price: $326
Where to purchase:
The Gun Dock
Review Ratings (Based on Five Stars * * * * *)
Accuracy: * * * *
Great accuracy at defensive distances. Crimson Trace definitely adds to the ability to put all rounds on target in a defensive situation. I had to tweak the aim of the CT out of the box.
Ergonomics: * * * * *
Smoothed surfaces for a quick snag free draw. Feels good in the hand, even at its diminutive size. Pinkie mag helps you get 3 fingers on the grip.
Reliability: * * * * *
I ran hundreds of rounds of defensive ammo and ball ammo with no failures. Pistol was carried in my pocket for two months daily, and it still fired reliably after being subjected to pocket grit and fluff.
Trigger: * * * *
Long trigger pull and reset are as designed for safety, but may take some getting used to, to avoid pulling your shot, or flinching your shots. Reliability and repeatability are important on a defense pistol, and this trigger met those goals.
Customization: * * *
As tested, the RM380CT has basically the only accessory you would want for this pistol, a laser sight. Different design grip panels are available. And a trigger spring kit. But that’s the extent of what you can do with this pistol.
Overall: * * * * *
Even with dings for Trigger and Customization, this pistol gets 5 stars from me, because it fills a very specific role for me, a backup pistol. The trigger, although a long, heavy pull, was the same, every pull, so there were no surprises from shot to shot. Customization is not a big deal for a pocket pistol and it comes from the factory, with the one true item you would want, a laser sight. All of this, for a great price.
Many thanks to all of my sponsors
I would like to thank Remington for sending me this pistol to try out. They also sent some Remington Ultimate Defense 102 gr hollow point expanding rounds, their Leadless, 95 gr FNEB (Flat nose enclosed base) rounds, and High Terminal Performance 88 gr JHP rounds to use in the gun.
ConcealedCarry.com sent me a pack of their B29 Adhesive Self Defense Reactive Targets which are the size of an average human center mass. They are sized to fit the NRA Official Silhouette Targets, or you can use them standalone like I did.
Shootingtargets7.com sent me some gongs to try out. They make some great quality AR500 steel targets.
MantisX sent their Mantis X10 Smart Sensor, so I could get familiar with the pistol before I got out to the range. I was able to practice dry fire and draw and fire and get my trigger discipline down before I started using real ammo.
I wanted to add some video, but with the new YouTube TOS madness, I am not willing to have my entire 15-year-old Google account deleted/frozen or lose access. I am going to wait and see if secondary accounts put your primary account in jeopardy before I go that route.
I am also not interested in providing content for a company that treats its content providers so poorly. The alternatives are not great and all seem to have some sort of negative component, so I’m weighing my options for the future.
Now, even though I mentioned carrying this pistol in my pocket with no problems, easy to access and draw… I am going to have to tell you not to do that. I did it, to see what grit, dust, and fluff would do to the gun, to give me an accelerated idea of how it performs over time. Nevertheless, carrying a gun in your pocket is dangerous, and you should not do it. It’s especially dangerous when you are break-dancing in the club.
That said, you’re an adult, and you can do what you like… just don’t go telling everyone I said it was perfectly fine and that I told you to specifically carry this pistol in your pocket, if you screw up.
* Remington sent me this pistol to test and evaluate, however, I am allowed to do my review and freely state the positives or negatives as I see fit.
About the Author:
DarkStar (obvious pseudonym) has been an active humanitarian for the past decade, running a charity dedicated to helping the mentally challenged overcome life obstacles.
DarkStar left the corporate digital world working for Google and Chicago Tribune to seek more philanthropic pursuits, after becoming tired of helping the “elites” become richer while people were suffering.
With a degree in Computer Engineering and a background in Physics, DarkStar created and patented an Artificial Intelligence to take the place of mental health professionals and services, to help the mentally ill navigate their daily life.
An avid inventor, DarkStar hopes someday to connect with a similarly minded Angel Investor to create a company that can expand to help many more people around the world.