Shooting Remington’s RM380 Pocket Pistol

Remington’s new RM380 has been hitting the shelves the last few months. While I am more of a 32 ACP fan, it is undeniable that the 380 ACP and the small pistols chambered for it have been dominating the handgun market in big ways over the last ten years. So does that mean Remington is late to the game by introducing its own small 380 carry pistol? Maybe, maybe not. But the bottom line, after the recent history of Remington’s woes with the R51 9mm subcompact pistol, is the RM380 a good performer? Does it offer any advantages over a literal flood of competition?
The RM380 is, at least aesthetically speaking, the same gun as the Rohrbaugh R9. It would come as no surprise since Remington recently bought the small firm. But the RM is no simple copy.
The RM380 weighs just over 14 ounces with a fully loaded six round magazine and another round in the chamber. Clearly, the pistol is a lightweight and it is quite stubby. It sports a 2.9 inch barrel and a short frame. The stainless steel, black matte finished slide is milled angularly to save on weight. The frame of the pistol is aluminum and anodized with polymer grip panels in place.
Like the Rohrbaugh, the RM features low, fixed sights and uses a double action only (DAO) hammer fired action. This means a full, long pull of the trigger brings the recessed hammer out of the pistol and drops it, firing the pistol. There is no way to cock the hammer for a lighter trigger pull or for the slide to cock the hammer. This makes up for the fact that the RM has no manual safety to think about as a simple point and click interface. The RM uses the Browning tilting breech of lock up design, which is necessary for a 380 pistol, but has benefits of its own.
Remington brings an ambidextrous button style of magazine release behind the trigger guard and a slide release, which the Rohrbaugh lacks. Remington’s ability to mass produce this fine design means the end product comes out at about $350 retail.
The Remington field strips by unloading the pistol, and pulling the slide back to line up the pin holes on both sides, and allowing the pin to simply fall out or poke it out with a punch or paperclip. This allows the slide to come free from the cylinder. You will notice that the little pistol has full rails, rather than the tabs present on many pistols.
One caveat of reassembly is making sure the recoil spring is level with the slide.
The RM380 turned out to an excellent experience on the range…for a pocket 380 pistol.
Loading the six round magazines was a little tough with just finger power, but possible. I managed to get off 300 rounds of TulAmmo 94 grain FMJ ammunition as well as 100 Sig Sauer V-Crown 90 grain JHPs with little trouble.
Despite the sore thumbs from constantly loading the two provided magazines, manipulating the slide to chamber a round is surprisingly light and effortless thanks to the Browning lockup and grippy slide serrations.
Recoil was little more than a gentle push and by day’s end, my hand survived the test with no pain and no sore palm. I had much worse experiences firing just fifty rounds out of other 380 pistols.
Reloading is a breeze. The magazine release is not pronounced and won’t lend itself to accidental pressing, but responds positively allow the magazine to drop free of the gun. The slide release is a nice feature not found on most mouse guns and is intuitive to use with a slight inward push. The trigger finger, however, was a little tired. The RM380’s DAO trigger has to be pulled all the way back to fire the pistol for each and every shot, of course. The pull is quite long, but it stages easily and breaks cleanly at about 9.5 pounds on average. This means more peace of mind when carrying the gun around but it also means it can be easy to throw shots to the left or right while shooting.
The sights are there and do not snag around, but they can be hard to pick up, though given the pistol’s intended mission, I am not bothered.
Even so, rapid firing can land predictable hits on an eighteen inch torso target at seven yards.
Slow fire yielded better results with my best group at about six inches center of mass at the same distance, through a flyer opened that group to about one foot using the Sig Sauer fodder. Not bad.
I made an attempt to land hits at twenty-five yards. At that distance, the DAO trigger gets to be a liability. I managed just 2 shots out of 12 on the target.
But what about power? The 380 ACP round offers plenty of pasta and is so popular that there have been shortages of the ammunition in some areas. I chronographed the two available loads and the three shot average for each are as follows:
TulAmmo 94 grain FMJ–846 fps
Sig Sauer 90 grain JHP– 906 fps
The gun was completely reliable, but the ammunition, as well as myself, was not. I had a single failure to go into battery because my finger rode the slide while chambering a round. Two of the FMJ rounds failed to fire, but a simple pull of the trigger again set off the rounds.
A Good Buy?
The RM380 will never be the choice of the handgun hunter or competitive shooter. Nope. It is strictly a self defense number. There are many 380 ACP pistols out there to compete against, so how does the RM380 stack up?
On the surface, the Remington is just another micro 380. The gun is small in every way. From the small grip to the diminutive sights. It has a typical capacity for such a gun as well. The trigger is also nothing to brag about. Nor is it the quickest pistol to field strip.
So where does the RM excel at anything? The little pistol has excellent ergonomics. The slide release and magazine release are right where they need to be, while other small pistols tend to be more awkward. Fit and finish is great, as one should expect from Remington. Despite the small size, the grip feels good and the little pistol is a natural pointer. It definitely helps with recoil, which is already cushioned by the Browning drop breech lock up system. This equates to a gun that is more forgiving in practice, which puts it somewhat above other small 380 pistols.
All things considered, the RM380 has some good things going for it, even if it is late to a very crowded game. Remington finally has a winner.

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