1911 in .380 Auto from Browning

browning_1911_380_3

John Browning’s namesake company is expanding its handgun offerings to include a .380 1911. While other designs have been inspired by the platform (the Sig comes to mind), none have yet to use full-size mechanical interfaces (safety, slide catch, etc. The .380 version features the same 85% frame common to .22LR versions.

browning_1911_380_8

The upcoming Browning Black Label 1911-380 is a modern take on the classic design. Using a composite frame, the new handgun is designed for the modern daily carry market. Featuring extended controls, the Black Label 1911-30 is made in the USA.

Guns & Ammo got a detailed first-look at the handgun. They liked the design but bemoan the lack of aftermarket support and the sights. We will ask for one for review and render our verdict.

browning_1911_380_specs

Specs come from Guns & Ammo. Click the picture to be taken to their first impression.



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • SD3

    Oh, good Lord. Just what we need. “8+1 of .380” Look out, bad guys. Here we come.

    • kevin kelly

      8+1 of 380 would be plenty for a bad guy. (Not that the bad guy knows what caliber the gun is right before he turns around and runs)

  • FrenchKiss

    Why?

    • gunsandrockets

      Anyone who has handled the Browning 1911-22 knows the answer to that question.

  • schizuki

    Am I seeing the recoil spring showing between the slide and frame in the first pic? That ain’t right, right?

    • gunsandrockets

      That gap is a very common feature in polymer frame pistols. Just look at any Glock for the same kind of gap. If that extra clearance wasn’t there, the frame might bind to the slide as the polymer frame expands from the heating it absorbs during shooting. Something I discovered when shooting a polymer frame pistol which did not have that gap!

  • Capybara

    This pistol is really a solution in search of a problem. I am not crazy about 9mm 1911s, but at least they make some sense. A .380 1911 platform makes zero sense to me. All of the drawbacks of a caliber generally considered inadequate for SD in a platform that is larger, bulkier and heavier than a .380 pocket pistol needs to be. Are the design engineers at Browning bored?

    • Carl

      .380 is generally considered the bottom end of range for SD. Some consider it inadequate, yes, but some would also argue that anything other than .45 is a waste of time.

      • david

        9mm is the bottom. .380 is subpar. All handguns are a waste of time, but thats what we can have on us.

        • John

          Clearly you haven’t read the FBI study that says 9mm is superior to .40 and .45.

          • mosinman

            probably in +P+ configuration. and i think they chose it because it did everything ok, it has high capacity, lower recoil and good wound characteristics with the right hollowpoints, not that it’s blowing the other calibers out of the water with sheer power.

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip

            Isn’t it because the added power of .45 or .40 is completely inconsequential and in fact only a detriment considering what you have to give up for it in comparison to 9mm? Ah who cares let’s not bother actually reading the report, when it comes to firearms it’s always wise to just go with what just “feels” good than what so called FBI science men decide works, and big bullets feel great to me!!

          • mosinman

            i read the report when it was posted on here the 1st time. what a travesty that i have different tastes than the FBI science men. didn’t this same FBI develop the 10mm Auto? we all saw how popular that became…..

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip

            No yeah, “different taste” and “gut feeling” and “grandpa’s gun folklore” are always great reasons for deciding on a firearm or caliber over actual scientific study.

            What on earth does the FBI developing 10mm years ago have to do with their conclusions in the present day? In 1933 bank robbers prefered 38 super over 45 cause 45 couldn’t penetrate car doors as well back then. It’s a nice piece of trivia but it’s going to have jack shit to do with any decision I make in choosing a firearm in 2014.

            Shoot whatever ammo you want but why does everybody have to get so defensive about modern ballistic technology making larger handgun calibers irrelevant or impractical. I’m sorry your guys egos are that fragile that your lost without having bigger bullets to make you feel good.

          • mosinman

            You’re the one getting all aggressive. So since I like .45 and 9mm but I have a pistol in each makes me a “gut feeling” grandpa’s gun guy” ? It has everything to do with the FBI. They’ve been swapping handgun calibers for a while despite all their “sofisticated scientifkal testin” so I don’t take it as the ultimate word on what is “best”. I have multiple reasons why I chose what I chose and it has nothing to with folklore or gut feelings or a fragile ego or whatever else you can throw out there. Please take your condescending attitude somewhere else.

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip

            “They’ve been swapping handgun calibers for a while despite all their “sofisticated scientifkal testin”” Are you kidding here or what? Gee it’s almost as if firearm ballistics are something that improve with advances in technology over time and are not something etched in stone brought down from the mountaintop by (john) moses?

            “So since I like .45 and 9mm but I have a pistol in each makes me a ‘gut feeling’ grandpa’s gun guy’?” It’s clear to my now how challenging reading is for you but come on, I don’t know what part of “Shoot whatever you want” was hard to understand. I can shoot a .50 desert eagle if I want but I’m not going to get mad and pretend there’s anything remotely practical or rational about it as a modern firearm when somebody says otherwise just because I had a good time shooting it.

          • Dan

            You two done flirting?

          • Bob

            And was easier for the chicks to use

          • Gunship Cowboy

            Our “friends” at the FBI biased their report towards the 9mm because anything larger was too hard to handle for their politically correct female agents.

        • JohnnyBGood

          everyone put away your measuring tapes

          • The Stig

            Mine is much too large to put away. . .

        • gunslinger

          wait.. what about those .32s!

    • gunsandrockets

      Don’t worry, in a year or two Browning will probably offer this pistol in 9mm too. Just like SIG did with the P938 follow on to the P238.

  • schizuki

    And yet I still can’t buy a 9mm/.38 Super/.45 ACP convertible 1911.

    • Pancho

      What do you mean you can’t? First the 9mm and 45 have different rim diameters so you have to have a second slide due to the difference in breach face. So, I have a 45 caliber slide and a second slide in 9mm. Since the 9mm is close enough to the 38 Super slide I have a second barrel fitted for my 9mm slide. Each of these barrels has a separate bushing. the biggest draw back is when I which to 38Super/9mm I also have to change the ejector since the rim diameter is different. Of course they all use different magazines as 9mm won’t feed well from a 38 super magazine. Yes you can make a 9mm/38/40/10mm and 45 convertible 1911, and yes it is cheaper and easier just to buy 5 complete pistols.

      • schizuki

        “And yet I still can’t buy a 9mm/.38 Super/.45 ACP convertible 1911.”

        “What do you mean you can’t?”

        I mean I can’t. You described putting a convertible 1911 together from a base gun and separately-bought parts. I’m talking about a cost-effective, factory-fitted set.

  • Jeffrey Scott Boyer

    Too much space between frame and slide means too much space for dirt and debris to enter

    • gunsandrockets

      Like a Glock?

  • Guns & Ammo found a feature they *shudders* can’t spin? Holy shit.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t know why, but I kinda like this…and having options isn’t bad. At least it’s not another identical AR or striker-fired gun.

    • Zachary marrs

      But it’s yet another 1911…

      • Anonymous

        A downsized – but not compact for the caliber – 1911 chambered in a round not previously available in the platform. Hardly revolutionary, yet still more interesting to me than most of the new product announcements seen here.

        • gunsandrockets

          How many single-action .380 pistols are there that weigh 17 ounces or less? I like the potential of this pistol. A good platform for wringing out the most performance of Buffalo Bore hot-loaded .380 ACP.

  • Hank

    Well, this ought to set some peoples’ hair on fire…

  • JohnnyBGood

    Joe Gun Guy: We need more options in the market.

    Browning: Here’s a low recoil based on the 1911 that shoots .380

    Joe Gun Guy: What a waste!! Should have built a small polymer 9mm….

    • Pancho

      it is made on the the Browning 1911-22 frame. so the conversation would have been a little different.

      Joe Gun Guy: We need more options in the market.

      Browning: Here’s a 1911-380 we can make as well, since we already have half the parts we only have to design a new slide, barrel and magazine.

      Joe Gun Guy: Thank you Browning. If I feel a need for a 380 I will consider it.

  • matthew_carberry

    If Colt responds with a new *aluminum* framed “full-sized” Government Pocketlite .380 that’d be neat. Fill in their .380 family again.

    Inch or so shorter in length, half an inch shorter in height. 7+1.

    Nothing wrong with fun little guns, not everything has to be super-serious operator BS..

  • Lloyd

    It might be a good fit for someone. I’d shoot one for fun.

    The scaled-down frame is cool. I held one of the .22 versions and loved it, except that it was terribly, terribly made.

    • Pancho

      I have a 1911-22 and I certainly disagree. It is one of the most reliable 22’s I’ve ever had. It digest a steady diet of Winchester bulk pack without a hiccup.

      • Lloyd

        That’s good to know. I’ll give it another look.

        I was going to shoot one at gun expo and the rep tried to give it to me, but as he checked that it was clear, the baseplate popped off the mag and the spring shot out.

  • Sulaco

    All the shooters in the video are shooting with thumb extended along the slide. Kind of easy to induce a malfunction with it that near the slide movement me would think…the gun itself? Meh. Rather have something PPK/s size in double action..

  • John

    I just don’t see the point in a fullsize .380.

  • herb

    Metal frame plz.

  • Damn it Browning, make an alloy, compact Hi Power for conceal carry.

  • BC

    Yawn. Browning is now following Sig Sauer?

  • Wetcoaster

    Huh, why don’t they modernize the Model 1903 if they wanted to bring back an old-fashioned single-action single-stack .380 SD gun? They can even offer it with and without the covered hammer.

    Or is this just more exploitation of the American fixation with the 1911?

    • Mark N.

      Yup. If that’s what the market wants….

    • gunsandrockets

      Why? How about because Browning was already making many of the parts this new pistol uses for versions of the Browning 1911-22. Plus as a recoil operated weapon, this new pistol has growth potential into a 9mm version.

      • Wetcoaster

        Actually, I find it more interesting that Browning makes the Hi-Power, but no actual 1911s.

        Isn’t the logical starting point of a 9×19 1911 the ful-size pistol?

  • Randy

    This actually looks pretty cool. the 4.25″ barrel should be nice (not a detriment) for a carry pistol of this weight and thickness, and should help the .380 a bit. Yes, the 380 is on the bottom (or sub-par) end of the spectrum, but PrecisonOne’s .380 hollow point seems to fair well in the “shootingthebull410” youtube testing, so that may be an option. This is not a full sized pistol, as some have mentioned. the 1911-22 is very is thin and light, and if you’ve handled or shot one, you may have thought (as I have) that it would be pretty nice to have a ballistically adequate version for a carry option.

  • Laserbait

    If it were only 9mm…

    • Tinkerer

      It IS 9 mm: 9×17 mm, that is.

  • Mark N.

    I can see some sense in it. I’ve heard plenty of complaining about the bite of a .380 in a micropistol. (I am not sure how this happens–maybe it is a weight–or lack of weight–issue, since my 9mm with a 3.5″ barrel is not at all unpleasant.) This should resolve those issues, although it is most definitely not a pocket carry item. If I were to buy a 1911 in a “lesser” caliber, though, it would be a 9mm with a 3″ barrel. Such guns are combat accurate to 15 yards to an average shooter such as myself, and I cannot imagine being in a SD situation beyond that range. So this is a pass.

  • jamezb

    Any well placed hit with a .380 beats a loud miss with a .500S&W.

    I wouldn’t want a silvertip or three at center-of-mass, would you?
    If this is what a person feels comfortable with, and they can use it skillfully, it will do the job just fine. It will do that job a heck of a lot better than a 9mm if the person is uncomfortable with the 9mm and cannot accurately control it. I would think that gun people would celebrate an option that might be just the ticket to bring another new shooter into our community rather than damn it.What is ideal for you may not be ideal for the next person.
    If every dead person that ever fell to the lowly .22, .25, .32, and .380 all stood up at once, we would have a hell of a population explosion.

    • John

      Actually, the shockwave from .500 S&W alone is enough to completely eviscerate someone standing as far away as 5 feet from the bullet as it passes them. I’m talking total separation of the torso from the hips.

    • shootbrownelk

      If every person that ever fell to the lowly .22, .25, .32, and .380 all stood up, we’d have a “Walking Dead” for real situation. A lot of fun killing them off,(again) but it would stink!

  • Eric S

    I want one to see if I can convert it to 9×18. Just to say I did it.

  • gunslinger

    so can this be converted to a .22? while i don’t particularly see a need for a 1911 in .380 (nor in .22 or .38 or 9mm..etc) if i came across this at a decent price, i may pick it up. i already love my other 380. and if i can convert between this and a .22, why not?

  • Arch

    I have a Browning M1911-22 and several other M1911 in .45 ACP. The rimfire is small and very light weight; my only beef is that it has a magazine safety like my Browning HiPowers. After shooting the .22, I wondered why Browning hadn’t made it in 380 ACP. If you load a 90 grain Hornady XTP at 1,000 fps, this little gun would be an ideal backup CCW.

    Don’t expect any deals. The MSRP on the M1911-22 was $595.