Author Dennis Adler listed his top-12 picks for .380 compacts on the market today for the November 2014 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS. In considering how a variety of guns would perform in a backup or concealed carry role, Adler included particular reviews of the Colt Mustang XSP, the Beretta Pico and the new Glock 42.

“Not surprisingly, at the top of our list of current .380 models is a Colt, the newest version of the Mustang Pocketlite known as the XSP,” Adler begins, before going into an overview of the pistol’s pocket-friendly features. “This pistol sports a modern polymer frame, a squared off triggerguard, a larger grip profile, a dust cover accessory rail, ambidextrous safeties, improved dovetailed sights, rough-textured checkering and an undercut triggerguard to allow a little extra grip surface. In other respects it is the same great little Mustang single-action (SA) with a 2.75-inch barrel, a length of 5.5 inches, height of 3.98 inches and a lighter carry weight of 11.8 ounces.”

In examining the Beretta Pico, Adler was continually impressed with the pistol’s small dimensions, particularly its narrow width. “The Pico is remarkably small, even for 
a .380,” says Adler. “The 6+1-capacity, double-action-only (DAO) Pico operates on an internal hammer-fired, short recoil system. It has no manual/external safety, and by virtue of its trigger design has second-strike capability, something the majority of .380s in this size class cannot offer. The Pico is the narrowest semi-automatic pistol available, measuring a scant 0.71 inches at its widest point.”

Finally, Adler moved on to the new Glock 42, a widely anticipated .380 design that diversified Glock’s compact and subcompact offerings even further. “The new Glock 42 has the smallest frame, slide and barrel length available from the famed Austrian armsmaker,” says Adler. “The new pocket pistol offers every desirable feature for a .380, including dovetailed white-dot sights, easily operated slide and magazine releases, and a slide that locks back after the last round is fired. The new subcompact .380 employs a dual recoil spring unique to the model, and a cold-hammer-forged, 3.25-inch barrel.”

To read the full article, check out the November 2014 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS, available on newsstands August 5th, 2014. To subscribe, go to

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