Remington Arms released their RM380 compact .380 ACP pistol last year around the NRA Annual Meetings in April. There were some positive and some less than excited reviews. Though a new pistol for Remington, some have claimed that this offering is simply a remake or rebranding of the This year at SHOT Show Remington had the RM380 on full display with a few accessory options already included. With Remington celebrating 200 years of service, it was clear the company remains committed to entering new markets and offering even more Remington models.
BlueSheepDog has long stated that the .380 ACP is the smallest caliber we would support as a self-defense caliber. Though I wouldn’t recommend this as a back-up pistol on-duty, the RM380 could be a viable off-duty pistol. This becomes particularly true when shorts and T-shirts are worn, providing less concealment opportunities for larger handguns.
The Remington booth at SHOT Show had several RM380 options for visitors to examine. The base pistol is rather lightweight and compact, and running through function checks and different grip holds I could see some real potential for this gun in the concealed carry (CCW) market.
Remington has been trying to re-enter the handgun market for the last several years with the re-release of their Model 1911 and a failed attempt at re-releasing the R51. Remington was a contracted producer of Model 1911 .45 ACP pistols for the U.S. military during WWI, but stopped production in 1919. The original R51 handgun came out 1915, and was considered to be ahead of its time in design and function. Unfortunately, the pistol stopped production in 1927. The Remington XM-100, was a bolt-action pistol that was in limited production for 36 years, but had a very limited audience.
The RM380 has an all-metal design with an aluminum frame. This will help reduce weight on an already small pistol, while still provided excellent construction and durability. Chambered in the very popular .380 ACP caliber, Remington hopes to claw its way into the ever-growing CCW market.
As for the complaints that Remington simply copied the Rohrbaugh R9 (a company now owned by Remington), there are some definite similarities. There’s no doubt Remington used the R9 as a guide in designing the RM380. The general appearance, recessed hammer, enhanced grip and angle, and long trigger pull are all similar to the Rohrbaugh R9.
Sizes are similar too, however the RM380 is slightly taller and longer, but weighs 1.5 ounces less. The Rohrbaugh R9 was also chambered in 9mm where the RM380 is in .380 ACP. The RM380 also has a more traditional squared slide, and horizontal trigger guard, where the Rohrbaugh R9 has an angled slide and angled trigger guard.
Remington RM380 Specifications
- Material: Aluminum frame
- Barrel Material: 410 Stainless steel
- Action: Hammer fired
- Caliber: .380 ACP
- Rifling twist rate: 1:16
- Overall length: 5.27″
- Barrel length: 2.9”
- Overall height: 3.86″
- Width: 0.94″
- Weight empty: 12.2 ounces (unloaded)
- Finish: Black
- Trigger: DAO
- Trigger Pull: 10.0 lbs.
- Safety: Internal
- Capacity: 6+1
- MSRP: $417.00.
Sights on the RM380 are typical of “pocket pistols” – almost non-existent. They are low-profile front post and rear notch sights to fulfill a need for aiming, but in all reality this is a point and shoot pistol for close-in lethal encounters.
Remington RM380 Features
- All metal construction – 7075 Aluminum frame
- Hammer fired – recessed hammer
- Ambidextrous, low-profile magazine release
- Fully functional slide stop
- Checkered front strap on grip
- Diamond shaped side grip texture
- Undercut trigger guard
- Long, smooth DAO trigger
- Optimized grip angle
- (2) 6+1 magazines – one flush, one extended grip
- Optional “CT” version – trigger guard mounted Crimson Trace laser.
The RM380 has no external safeties or safety levers. There is an internal safety to help prevent discharge if the pistol is dropped or bumped. The lack of an external safety does not make the RM380 unsafe, and in fact enhances its function in the often very rapid events typical for a concealed carry lethal force encounter.
Remington’s RM380 comes with a double-action only (DAO) trigger that is somewhat long, but smooth. The long pull is not uncommon with concealed carry weapons (CCW), but a prospective owner should test the long pull to determine how it feels for their hand size. For me and my medium-sized hands the trigger was not too cumbersome. The trigger breaks cleanly to fire, but was almost to the point of feeling like it was too long. This is only compounded by the RM380 trigger pull weight 0f 10 pounds. Having a 5-8 pound DAO trigger is more appropriate for a small, CCW pistol in my opinion.
Shooters of DAO pistols without external safeties expect a heavier trigger for the assurance it provides that the pistol will not discharge until they are on the trigger and ready. However, the RM380 is marketed as a CCW pistol. This market is a combination of concealment, and the ability to stop a very close lethal encounter. Having a trigger too heavy can cause all sorts of issues when your life is on the line. You’ll have to decide if the RM380 10-pound trigger is too much.
The 6+1 capacity is right in the mix of many popular CCW handguns. It is enough for its intended purposes, but still a little low in my opinion. The RM380 comes with a flush and an extended grip magazine; however, the extended grip magazine only increases the grip on the front side and does not increase capacity like some brands.
The Remington RM380 has an ambidextrous, low-profile magazine release to help left-handed shooters or reloads done from the off-hand for righties. The magazine release lever is in the shape of a rounded triangle to fit the sleek design of the RM380, and larger than some other options. Ambidextrous controls are becoming more standard now, and BlueSheepDog is a big proponent as it provides greater functionality for strong or off-handed shooting. The slide stop lever is low profile and flush with the frame. Despite this the lever can be operated without struggle.
Remington also offers the RM380 CT version with integrated Crimson Trace laser aiming device. The RM380 CT has the Crimson Trace laser mounted on the front of the trigger guard and underneath the frame. There is a grip activation button on the top of the grip that allows a firm grip to activate the laser, without requiring the shooter’s hands to leave their master grip on the pistol. Lasers can be beneficial, especially for smaller CCW pistols, but they are not for everyone.
Remington RM380 Final Thoughts
The new Remington 1911 models have had some success. The RM380 appears that it will have the necessary features to become Remington’s second successful handgun in the modern era. Making a move with the .380 ACP is actually very smart for Remington. The .380 ACP is still very popular, here and abroad.
The construction seems to be well made, and so far there have been several positive reviews. I believe the RM380 could provide a great off-duty pistol option in certain circumstances. However, for a back-up handgun I believe officers should select a compact or sub-compact version of their duty handgun that allows for higher capacity and magazine inter-changeability.
Unfortunately for Remington, the R51 has become a disaster. After being released in 2014 there have been numerous reported failures, leading to a full recall by Remington. The R51 was nowhere to be seen at SHOT Show, and Remington reps had a sick-to-the-stomach look anytime someone asked about its return. I’d say the R51 is dead!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Special thanks to Rob Binney for being our content and media assistant during SHOT Show. Without his help our final product would not have been as good. His patience and hard work were a critical component to our success.