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Better Than Ever

Better Than Ever

The Colt .380 Mustang Pocket Lite.

The original Mustang was the smallest of a family of Colt .380 pistols produced between 1983 and the late 1990s. The first entry, the .380 Government model, was about the same size as the old 1903 Pocket Hammerless pistols but had fire controls and some design features common to the 1911. The Mustang was a smaller version with the same lockwork and shorter barrel and grip frame while the Mustang Plus II was an intermediate-sized hybrid of the two.

The Government model and particularly the Mustang developed a faithful following that persists to the present and manifests itself in premium prices on the online auction sites and elsewhere. Discussions of the numerous pocket-sized .380s recently introduced frequently contained significant sub-dialog about the Mustang and the hope it might be revived.

I found a pair of the brand new Mustangs at my local dealer, the retail outlet of L.M. Burney Distributors. The price was about the same in real dollar value as the first generation pistols and I paid 50¢ over suggested retail. The slide and frame were closely fitted as promised by Colt and the barrel locked up tight with no slop fore or aft. The Mustang looks like the archetype of the ideal semi-auto implanted in the consciousness of people who learned their handguns in the early and mid 20th century.

Initial inspection and positive experiences with recent Colt products along with the company’s promises of joy had me out the door in short order with one of the Mustangs. Takedown for initial lubrication revealed internal finish to be comparable to the excellent external metal treatment. The slide cycles smoothly and feels like something out of custom pistolsmith’s shop—clear evidence mechanization gives way to skilled hand fitting in the final stages.
Story By: Mike Cumpston

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