Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Colt Mustang (MKIV / Series 80)
The Colt Mustang was a small frame .380 ACP semi-auto handgun based on the M1911 design and was produced from 1986-1997. It was available in blued steel, stainless steel, and "Pocketlite" (stainless steel slide with aluminum alloy frame) models but the nickel finish was discontinued in 1994. It featured both a shorter barrel and slide, and a shorter frame than the Colt Government Model .380, holding 6 rounds instead of 7. From the looks of the prices these currently sell for, they are very high on the list of collectibles! The design was resurrected in 2009 by Sig-Sauer as the P238.
This is a beautiful .380 ACP caliber gun with smooth lines and a metal feel. It is a SAO (Single Action Only) with thumb safety. When I first looked this beauty over, all I could think of was “Why did Colt stop making this gun?” It just doesn’t make sense. This gun is the same size as my previously reviewed Iver Johnson TP22 only chambered in .380 (9mm short) and made soooooooo much better. The beavertail is sufficient to keep your hand out of the slide’s travel and the grip, although small, was comfortable and easy to control the gun. It does have a fixed front sight but wasn’t made for long distance target shooting.
Photo shows Iver Johnson TP22 on top of Sig P238 for size compare.
Disassembly was fast and easy without problems. Maybe I am just learning what I am doing finally. The recoil spring is actually two springs and internet chat talks about replacing it with a Wolf single spring. What was there worked OK as far as I could tell. The trigger and ejector actions are controlled by spring steel in the handle instead of a wound, coiled spring. During reassembly, you must be careful not to depress the ejector too low when you move it out of the way of the slide. To do so might actually put the cam portion of the ejector BEHIND the spring that controls it. The manual is clear on how to fix it, though.
Shooting it was fun. Here are a few examples of both mine and Sharon’s results after one magazine of practice each. The gun didn’t jump or hurt the fingers in any way. It’s obvious that I shot a little better than she did, but both results are acceptable without practice. (We only had 77 rounds between 2 guns that day..darned shortage)
The BAD. I guess the only bad part would be the discontinuation of the model and the ability to get parts. Oh, and the shiny finish was bad for me… because I found myself constantly cleaning off the fingerprints. (Note to self: Never get a shiny gun) I found nothing wrong with the gun itself.
Overall impression: I want one but I am still in the phase of needing functional guns and not collectors. Maybe I can find a scratched up one that collectors shun but I can shoot. I’d do that.