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Colt Mustang PocketLite .380

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Our Price: $689.00

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Product Code: 2298

I’ve always been a fan of the .380 Colt Mustang, but by the time I had both the inclination and money to buy one, Colt had ceased production (in 2000). A few years back, however, the company decided to jump back into the commercial market with both feet and introduced not just the New Agent but the Mustang Pocketlite, an aluminum-frame model with a stainless slide. The new 2011 version had the same dimensions as the original and, in fact, was specifically designed to accept original parts.

When interviewing Greg Rozum, director of product engineering at Colt, about the new Pocketlite, I was told that this was just the first of many planned Mustang models. I never really gave a thought to what next model of Mustang Colt would introduce, but if I had, on my short list of possibles would have been both a DAO model and one with a polymer frame. Enter the Colt Mustang XSP.

Tweaks to the Template
Colt could have introduced a polymer-frame Mustang without changing anything in the design, and they would have people lining up to buy them simply because it says “Colt” on the side. I am happy to say they did not do that. In fact, this is the Mustang Colt should have introduced first. Everything about it is better. The dimensions of the Mustang XSP are the same (length, height, depth), and it’s still a 6+1 single-action .380, but with the polymer frame it’s more than an ounce lighter than the Pocketlite. However, the numbers do not tell the whole story here.

First, the XSP is all black, but it won’t rust in your pocket. The slide and barrel are machined out of solid stainless steel bar stock, then given a blackened finish. Next, even the serrations on the slide have been improved when compared with the original Mustangs and the Pocketlite. The serrations are wider and deeper, providing a more aggressive gripping surface. In case you’re wondering what “XSP” stands for (my guess was “XTra Special Polymer”), RJ Contorno of Colt explained, “XSP is sort of a carry-over from our XSE series of pistols. The XSE line is a line with many upgrades from our standard line, such as dovetailed front and rear sights, ambidextrous safeties, undercut triggerguard, etc. We changed the ‘E’ to a ‘P’ simply because the new Mustang has a polymer grip frame.”

While both the Pocketlite and XSP have the same dovetailed notch rear sight, the XSP has a better front sight. One of the mediocre aspects of the Pocketlite was the nonserrated ramp front sight, which was part of the slide. Considering that the slide is stainless, that made the front sight hard to pick up under certain lighting conditions. The XSP has a dovetailed front sight with a sharp angle to it (it’s not quite a post). Admittedly, the sights are small, but when combined with the crisp, five-pound single-action trigger, I was able to shoot this .380 as well as some full-size guns. The other advantage of dovetailed sights? You can replace them (I wouldn’t be surprised to see some version of the XS Big Dot for the XSP soon).

On to the major change: the frame. The big news isn’t really that the frame of the XSP is made from polymer. It’s that the versatility of polymer has allowed the engineers to design a frame that has been tweaked and improved in half a dozen ways. The front and back of the Pocketlite were a little smooth for my taste, even though felt recoil in the pistol wasn’t bad at all. The front and rear of the XSP’s grip are textured with little raised cubes (sort of reverse checkering). The triggerguard is square, and, in fact, the front of the triggerguard even has a bit of a hook. Combine that with the tiny accessory rail on the front of the frame and I’m sure we’ll be seeing lasers specifically designed for the XSP very shortly.

The XSP benefits from an undercut triggerguard as well. This is something I see on a lot of competition 1911s, and it allows the shooter to get his hand higher on the gun. How much higher? Maybe an eighth of an inch on the XSP vs. the Pocketlite. While an eighth of an inch isn’t much, if you’ve got thick fingers and are always fighting to get two of them on pocket guns, that might be all that you need.

The grips are all one piece to the frame, and they have been relieved on the left side to provide better access to the noticeably enlarged magazine release. It doesn’t stick out any farther, but the diameter has been increased from ¼ to 5/16s of an inch. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but you’d be surprised — it increases the area by 50 percent (trust me, I did the math so you don’t have to).

Not only does the XSP come with an ambidextrous thumb safety, but the contour of the safety has been changed slightly as well. When engaged, the top of the safety matches the curve of the frame, and the ledge on the lever has been moved down slightly when compared with that of the Pocketlite. The safety’s ledge has also been narrowed when compared with that of the Pocketlite. It sticks out from the frame about one millimeter less. This I don’t like. That safety is something that will need to be disengaged before the pistol can fire, which means it should be large enough to manipulate under stress. I’m guessing Colt did this because the ambi nature of the safety means that the other side of the safety digs into the index-finger knuckle when it is disengaged. I would rather they move the ledge farther up the body of the safety and widen it.

To provide some contrast to the black slide and frame, the hammer, magazine release, thumb safety and slide release are all natural stainless. The pistol comes with two stainless steel magazines, the same kind as provided with the Pocketlite (they’ll fit all original Colt .380s). The trigger of the XSP is blackened aluminum, and the pistol has a full-length polymer guide rod.

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