Browning Black Label 1911-380 Compacts
Browning has expanded their Black Label 1911-380 line this year. The Black Label 1911-380 launched in 2015, and we were there on the range to test these mini-1911’s. During our limited exposure we found the Black Label 1911-380 was a very nice pistol that performed flawlessly on the range. The familiar 1911 controls were easily manipulated, and the pistol felt good in the hands despite its smaller stature. The Black Label 1911-380 trigger is smooth and crisp, with just a slight delay in reset
The standard Black Label and Black Label Pro pistols (with G10 handles and enhanced sights) will now come in a Compact version. The new Compact barrel will measure 3.625 inches, as opposed to the full size 4.25 inches. By reducing barrel length Browning has provided a more user-friendly concealed carry pistol in my opinion. The original full size 1911-380’s were nice, but just seemed a bit too long for CCW purposes. With a “composite” frame, supported by a 7075 aluminum sub-frame, the Black Label 1911-380 is very lightweight while still managing the .380 ACP.
Black Label 1911-380 Features
- Composite frame with 7075 aluminum sub-frame and slide rails
- Rust resistant barrel, with target crown
- Locked-breech action
- Single-action, skelotonized trigger
- Combat style hammer
- 1911 grip safety
- Ambidextrous manual safety lever
- Black Label – Fixed combat sights
- Black Label Pro – steel 3-dot combat sights, or dovetailed night sights
- Black Label Medallion Pro – steel 3-dot combat sights, or dovetailed night sights
- 3-slot Picatinny rail option on Black Label Pro ($30.00 extra)
- ABS carry case included.
Black Label 1911-380 Specifications
- Overall Length: Full (7.5 inches); Compact (6.875 inches)
- Barrel Length: Full (4.25 inches); Compact (3.625 inches)
- Weight: Full (17.5 ounces); Compact (16.0 ounces)
- Width: 1.13 inches
- Trigger Pull: 5.5 pounds
- Sight Radius: Full (5.375 inches); Compact (4.75 inches)
- Caliber: .380 ACP
- Capacity: 8+1
- Magazines: (2) single stack steel
- MSRP Black Label: $669.00 Full or Compact
- MSRP Black Label Pro Full or Compact: $799.00 (3-dot); $879.00 night sights
- MSRP Black Label Medallion Pro Full or Compact: $799.00 (3-dot); $879.00 night sights.
When Browning released the Black Label 1911-380 at SHOT Show 2015 I was able to handle and shoot the pistol on the range. Despite its small profile I had not trouble getting a good grip, with my pinky finger just resting on the edge of the grip.
The Black Label 1911-380 shot very well, with a nice crisp trigger and reasonable reset. There were no malfunctions during my shooting or with the others shooting around me. Recoil was very manageable, and the safety lever and magazine release were easy to access. Of all three, the Black Label Pro, with G10 handles, still feels the best in my hands.
The new Compact models bring the Black Label series to perhaps its perfect profile. The full length were nice, and conformed more to the original 1911 design. However, these little pistols were designed for the concealed carry crowd, and a shorter barrel is a perfect match.
Browning Black Label 1911-380 and Law Enforcement
I have no illusions that the Black Label 1911-380 pistols will become standard issue firearms for any police agencies. However, in certain circumstances the new Black Label 1911-380 Compacts could make desirable back-up, off-duty, or undercover pistols. The BlueSheepdog Crew have long advocated carrying nothing smaller than .380 ACP for self-defense. If you asked us our preference we would say nothing smaller than 9mm. However, we do support .380 ACP in certain situations.
Many shooters have limited space to carry a firearm, particularly in warmer climates. A small, concealable .380 ACP pistol makes perfect sense rather than going without. Some smaller statured shooters have smaller hands. The Black Label 1911-380 Pro Compact pistols can meet their grip needs and still provide decent self-defense capability. Finally, officers most often have to carry full size pistols on duty. Continuing to carry large pistols after work strains the body, and makes concealed carry very difficult. The Black Label 1911-380 Pro Compact pistols could provide adequate firepower in a very concealable package. This becomes even more beneficial if the officer’s on duty sidearm is the larger 1911.