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Colt Mustang XSP, c Nick Leghorn

Concealed carry guns are about the fastest growing segment of firearm sales these days. With the number of concealed carry permit holders skyrocketing and the impending addition of the Land of Lincoln to the list of places where the right to defend yourself outside your home is recognized, gun manufacturers have been cranking out pocket-sized heaters faster than the bon-bons at Lucille Ball’s chocolate factory. And while some of those guns have been real winners, there have definitely been some real stinkers as well. Colt’s .380 Mustang XSP is a brand new polymer-framed version of their classic Mustang pocket pistol, but is it an improvement? . . .

I carry a 1911 handgun as my concealed carry gun. I used to lug a full-sized nickel plated 1911, but I’ve traded down to a more compact version recently. Before the 1911, I carried a full size SIG SAUER P226. So when it comes to concealed carry, I like to err on the side of accuracy and caliber over concealability. However, the brutally hot Texas summers have forced me to re-think that approach. I’ve even  resorted to toting a small revolver at times. While I prefer my larger carry gun, there’s a time and a place for a small mousegun like the Mustang XSP.

I said a gun like the XSP, but probably not the XSP per se.

The Mustang series of handguns is essentially a scaled down 1911. John Browning designed the original 1911 for Colt, and they’ve been milking the crap out of the classic ever since. And who can blame them?

The Mustang XSP takes down just like any other 1911, has the same general appearance and functions much like its bigger brothers. However, there are some minor mechanical differences (such as the trigger pivoting around a pin instead of coming straight back, like the original design). There’s also a nifty addition for this new version, a small accessory rail under the barrel to mount things like lights and lasers. It’s a nice touch and if I were carrying it, you bet there’d be a Crimson Trace product attached right there.

Mustang XSP, c Nick Leghorn

Just like the 1911, the XSP is a single action affair with a single stage trigger and single stack magazine. However, with the Mustang, you can cycle the slide with the safety engaged. This was something I really liked about the 1911. Specifically, if the sear ever gave out, it would only fire one round before the safety stopped the slide from moving back and cycling the action. With the Mustang, you could theoretically slam-fire the entire magazine, all six rounds of it. But more kvetching about that later.

The safety is extremely easy to flip off, but difficult to re-engage. Probably not a major concern for those who are looking to use it as a concealed carry gun, as the whole point is to be able to use the gun quickly. But the size and position of the safety make it awkward to use, especially for those with large fingers. Unless your hand is in just the right position, it gets difficult to manipulate the safety.

Getting your hand in the proper position is much, much harder than it looks. The grip on this gun only let me use about three fingers, with my pinky finger dangling from the end of the grip. Getting the ‘Stang out and presenting it in a hurry is downright difficult and getting the proper grip even more so. It actually makes me thankful that Colt didn’t decide to include the grip safety on this model, because I doubt anyone could use it.

Wrapping up the overview of the controls, the slide release is very usable, and the slide is easy to rack.

Colt Mustang XSP, c Nick Leghorn

To get a feel for how the gun runs, I loaded it up with some hollow point self defense rounds and put the gun through its paces. Surprisingly, the recoil was very light. It was much less than my 9mm, at least, and very much less than my .45. It might even be called “pleasant.” Also surprising was that despite this being a polymer handgun, the trigger is actually pretty good. There’s a little bit of take-up before the break, but it’s a nice and clean single stage. There’s no creep, and has a relatively short reset.


Despite the nice trigger, accuracy is pretty terrible. This (above) was me concentrating very, very hard on hitting the target at 10 yards on a static range — imagine if I was trying to hit a knife-wielding psycho who was coming at me.

After I fired this group I proceeded to take my next 50 rounds of .45 ACP and punch the center out of the black circle with nary a flier. The form factor of the Mustang – specifically the short grip and the small sights – makes it extremely difficult to fire it with any sort of accuracy at anything more than bad breath distances.

Speaking of effectiveness, I have my doubts about the .380 cartridge. It might be perfect for Nicki Minaj to wave around while doing doughnuts in a club parking lot, but when my life is on the line I prefer my bullets to have a little more power behind them. According to the numbers a .380 is only slightly less “powerful” (in terms of muzzle energy) than a .38 special round, but to me those 10 grains of bullet weight make a difference.

Colt Mustang XSP, c Nick Leghorn

When you’re looking for a concealed carry gun, you want something that you can easily conceal, but can also draw and fire in a hurry. And while the Mustang XSP certainly gets high marks in the concealability category, usability isn’t so good. I tried pocket carrying this gun for a few weeks and while it disappears into my pants quite nicely I was never able to draw it and disengage the safety in a quick enough time frame to make me comfortable trusting my life to it. Like I said, the safety comes off easily — if you can find it.

If you do get it out and into the fight, you have six rounds to stop your opponent. Even when I carry my 1911, I have eight rounds in the gun and another eight in a spare mag in my other pocket. And even then, I still feel like I’m low on ammo.

In the end, the downfall of this gun is its competition. The Ruger LCP is a masterpiece of pocket-carry mousegunnery and something I’ve spent some quality time with at Gunsite in Arizona. Compared to the LCP, what you have here is a more complex solution to the same problem. And one that comes at twice the price. It’s trying to compete with the LCP, but isn’t even in the same league.

In a word: pass.

Colt Mustang XSP

Caliber: .380 ACP
Barrel: 2.75 inches
Size: 5.5inches
Weight: 12 oz. empty
Capacity: 6 round magazine
MSRP: $649

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
All ratings are relative compared to the other weapons in the gun’s category.

Accuracy: * *
“Meh” is the best you’ll get out of me on this. It hits the target, but compared to other guns – even in the same price range – it leaves the shooter wanting.

Ergonomics: * *
The small grip combined with the small safety mean that my big hands simply can’t use it effectively. I can’t draw it in any reasonable amount of time and aiming it is a pain in the butt.

Ergonomics Firing: * * *
Average. Not great, but not bad. The small grip is offset by the minimal recoil.

Customization: * * * * *
There’s an accessory rail which is actually pretty nifty. And the fact that these things have been around for ages in one form or another means that there’s a booming aftermarket for spare Mustang parts.

Overall Rating: *
I honestly didn’t make up my mind about the final rating until I had written the entire review, but it’s the price that seals the deal. For all the issues with ergonomics, accuracy and the muzzle energy of the round, there’s no way this gun is worth $650. I’ve spent plenty of range time with a Ruger LCP and it’s a far better gun at half the price. For concealed carry, I’ll take a double action gun with an internal hammer over this 1911 wannabe any day.

Special Thanks:

This gun was provided for review by the Kentucky Gun Company, where you can find this gun on sale. As well as the Ruger LCP, if you want that instead.

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  1. It must kill Colt that SIG pretty much has this market already locked up. Sounds like SIG has nothing to worry about either.

    Wasn’t the P238 essentially a direct copy or licensed version of the Colt Mustang anyway?

    • A copy with some improvements–an issue with the safety, as I recall. Colt allowed its patents on the gun to expire, so no licensing fees were owed or paid.

      • that sentence implies that Colt chose to let is patents expire. patents expire in the US and there is nothing that you can do about it. They don’t exist to allow protect the owner forever, just for a period of time, 20 years. patents are completely irrelevant on any gun that has been around since the early 90s.

    • I really don’t believe anybody here even has room to critique this gun. Unless you guys are going to meet up at Macy’s and critique the cutest purses on the market too.
      This is a chick’s gun! Sorry, but it is. It’s fun to shoot, no doubt… but my little sweet-thing can throw bullets right on target at 15yrd! And her and her girlfriends love , even better than the LCP. I think her words when she picked it out were…”OMG, it’s like the perfect shoes!” As corny as it sounds in a firearm store, she’s right… for her. For women comfort is everything. And it is the most important thing for a female if you want your woman to use it!
      She shoots it all the time, fits right in her hand on a quick draw, shoots accurate and with the right defense ammo in it, will put someone down.
      So thank you Colt/Sig Sauer for making our ladies safe!

    • This guy is clearly one of those types who feels the need to have a 45 strapped to his hip to feel safe. The gun is small of course it weighs nothing and fits in a back pocket. Of coarse it’s not going to fit your hand like a full size. Of course it’s expensive it’s colt it holds value and most people are aware when they buy a colt they either make money or break even. I wonder if ruger paid this guy….I could drop someone with 6 rounds of 380 definitely enough to save my life.

      • I agree 100%. The writer is comparing apples to elephants. Sure my 8″ Python is going to be more effective in a shootout, but the bulge in the pants will hardly be concealed. I acquired my first Colt at age 16, payment for some tractor labor for a neighbor. That gun is now worth 800 to $1000. I wouldn’t sell it for twice that amount. I payed $800 for my Python, and $300 for my .38 Diamondback. Check the value on them now. 25 years ago I payed $50 for a Huntsman, cha-ching, better than stocks. At 60 I just picked up a .380 Mustang! Nothing feels like a Colt, nothing shoots like a Colt. I have several other Colts and you can’t slap the smile off my face. Try it, and you might feel the smooth thud of my new Mustang!

      • Have owned a Mustang XSP for over a year now and put over 600 rounds through it. I like it a lot. Very solid feeling and functions flawlessly. Also, and most importantly, where I live it’s shorts and tee-shirts 98% of the time. I can’t exactly walk around like “Dirty Harry” with a monster hog leg strapped on my waist. For me, the XSP Mustang is perfect ……

  2. Oh look a carry gun. That’d be awesome if I wasn’t in MD or the Supreme Court had not refused to take up the case over our state’s de facto carry ban.

    • I live in the “People’s Republic of Maryland,” and I dislike it in so many ways I won’t even start. I have a CCW as do several of my friends. It’s becoming the in thing for ladies. It’s a pain in the hind quarters for sure, but you can do it. The thing that cheeses me off is the completely arbitrary ban on the M1A/M14, any AR15 that isn’t heavy barrel by the way, what exactly is the definition or the measurements of a legal heavy barrel? Best we can figure is no M4 barrel cuts.

  3. While the LCP is not perfect by any means, it is the closest pocket gun that deserves that moniker. Nick is right, why double the price of your gun that will only complicate what should be a simple pocket rocket.

    • for the same reason some folks drive around in a Mercedes, while I show boat in a ten year old SUV.

    • I totally disagree. The Taurus PT 738 is a better gun than the LCP in every single way and it’s $200. …I wrote a review of it on TTAG here a few months ago…

      Also, btw, I’d have to assume that this mustang has a firing pin block… right? Just because it’s modern production and a carry gun and such? Assuming this is the case, Nick’s theory about the gun going full auto, let alone firing even once, were the sear to break isn’t likely possible at all regardless of whether the safety locks the slide or not. I think it’s a solid feature to be able to chamber a round with a gun on safe.

      • “Also, btw, I’d have to assume that this mustang has a firing pin block… right? Just because it’s modern production and a carry gun and such? Assuming this is the case, Nick’s theory about the gun going full auto, let alone firing even once, were the sear to break isn’t likely possible at all regardless of whether the safety locks the slide or not. I think it’s a solid feature to be able to chamber a round with a gun on safe.”

        I’m going to be naughty and reply to a dead TTAG article from 2013. Maybe someone in the future will find this info useful.

        Yes, the Colt Mustang Pocketlite and the Colt Mustang XSP have firing pin blocks built into the slide so if the sear were to fail the gun would not fire. The real interesting thing though is that the firing pin block isn’t what would prevent the gun from firing because the firing pin block is only included as a drop safety to stop firing pin inertia.

        The real reason that a Colt Mustang won’t fire if the sear slips or fails is because the safety on the Mustang actually locks the hammer in place when engaged. That’s all the Mustang’s thumb safety does is block the hammer, not the sear, not the trigger, just the hammer. If one engages the thumb safety with the hammer down the safety will actually prevent the slide from being fully racked because the hammer won’t be able to cock back, and if the safety is engaged with the hammer cocked and locked it will hold the hammer in place even if the trigger is pulled. When the safety is on and the trigger is pulled the sear will actually move out from under the hammer and everything, it’s just that the gun won’t fire because the hammer is locked in place and prevented from moving. This fact can be verified by the user by engaging the safety on a Mustang and then removing the slide. Looking down from the top of the frame and pulling the trigger will reveal sear movement but the hammer won’t drop as long as the safety is engaged. (Don’t perform this test with the safety off and the slide off at the same time because the hammer will drop into the sear and can damage the sear without the slide there to stop it first.)

        With the hammer cocked and the thumb safety engaged one could actually completely remove the entire sear and trigger mechanisms from a Colt Mustang pistol and the gun would not fire until the safety was disengaged causing the hammer to immediantly drop because there would be no sear to hold it once the thumb safety releases its grasp on the hammer.

        Unlike in a 1911 where the thumb and grip safeties only prevent sear movement and the hammer can still drop and fire the gun if the sear should fail, the Colt Mustang is, quite frankly, a better and safer design that cuts right to the chase and has it’s thumb safety block the hammer itself making the action or condition of the sear irrelevent to the safe carrying of the weapon in a cocked and locked condition. Sadly, Colt realized this and so the Colt Mustang pistols from the 1980’s and 1990’s had stamped sheet metal sears as a cost cutting measure. Fortunately the modern Colt Mustang’s, like the XSP, all have solid steel machined sears as well as aluminum triggers instead of the plastic triggers that the guns from the 80’s and 90’s had. Both new and old Colt Mustang’s still retain the plastic guide rods though, but that seems to be because the plastic guide rods seem to serve as a psuedo recoil buffer as well because there are reports that aftermarket steel guide rods can crack slides from time to time.

        The real benefit of being able to rack the Mustangs slide with the safety on is that it allows the user to clear the chamber of the pistol of live ammunition without ever having to make the pistol ready to fire. On a 1911 one has to disengage the safety and make the gun “hot” before the chamber can be cleared of ammunition.

        The Colt Mustang really is a safer and simpler take on the 1911 design and I personally think that Colt would do well to make a 9mm, or even fullsize, version of the design.

    • I’m very happy with my S&W .380 body guard for the ‘mouse gun’ category. Everyone who tries it likes it better than the LCP. As far as I’m concerned its a back up gun or at the very most a hide out piece to carry when there is just nothing else concealable but that’s because of the caliber, not the gun. The bodyguard is very accurate and has decent sights. It also has a built in laser perfect for low light situations. Nifty little gun with a lot of possibilities for $450.

    • Take the magazine out of the LCP…
      Won’t fire will it?
      Kinda bad if you have spare ammo but a corrupted magazine. You won’t be able to single feed/fire

  4. I just wish that Colt had offered the ambidextrous safety on their earlier, all metal Mustang. It’s really not a practical backup gun for a lefty.

    • It’s nearly the same over all length, shorter, lighter, and thinner. The XDS 9 is much ‘chunkier’ and considerably heavier.

  5. Agree that the price ridiculous. But then Colt’s prices on most of its guns are too high. [Why are its prices for the SAA nearly double the cost of an Italian clone–for a mechanically simple gun that it’s been making for 140 years?] Perhaps this is marketing (high price means high quality, right?) or the fact that Colt simply doesn’t have much of a manufacturing capacity and can’t keep up with demand as it is. Maybe that will change with its loss of the M4 contract. What you are paying for is the name “Colt” on the side of the gun, nothing else.

    In any event, an injection molded polymer frame costs a fraction of the cost of machining the aluminum frame found in the “regular” model of this little pistol, but the price doesn’t reflect it. That alone is enough for a pass. And they still haven’t produced it in 9mm, although Sig, which produces its own version of the exact same gun, already has. And compared to the metal framed Mustang, this gun is ugly!

    Final thought–Nick, you need to learn to shoot without using your pinky! I was taught that the pinky isn’t part of the shooting grip even with full size guns. Let it hang off and curl it under the grip–you’ll never miss it. (FWIW, my favorite pistol is a Colt Pocket Navy–and there is no way to get the pinky on the grip even with my medium sized hands.)

    • To be fair for those of us with…uh..”full bodied” hands, it’s not just the pinky finger hanging off, but a significant portion of our palm. It’s like sitting on a seat with part of your butt cheek hanging in thin air. Yeah, you’re technically sitting, but its uncomfortable.

      • Mouseguns are not fun guns you take to the range. They are for when SHTF, at which point it doesn’t matter if they are comfortable–you probably won’t notice it either way. I have read on many occasions that the DGU shooter is often inaccurate on the number of rounds fired–too much adrenaline I surmise.

        • You lose fine motor control under stress. It’s part of the fight or flight reflex.

          Your body constricts the blood vessels in your extremities to reduce blood flow if you are cut while defending yourself. This is especially pronounced in the hands. This combined with adrenaline and other physiological effects from extreme stress causes significant numbness and lose of fine motor controls. In addition this you get a 10 second burst of energy and speed due to the muscles releasing massive amounts of stored energy through the alactic anaerobic process…

          This sort of stuff does not lend itself to accuracy. We are designed to smash, grab, run away, jump, or swing heavy objects at threats. We are not designed to operate slide releases, safeties, and 1-2 pound triggers and such things.

          Shooting a gun accurately and operate small levers and lightweight triggers in a defensive situations is like trying to move smoothly from a stop sign while dropping the clutch on 400hp muscle car redlining 7000 RPMs. It’s just not going to happen. It’s not what you are designed to do.

          As our scientific understand of human physiology improved so it caused the design of guns to change. Things like safeties, slide releases, and single action triggers are obsolete. Now we have simple slabs of plastic and metal with a 6 pound trigger were all you have to do is point and click. We need every advantage we can possibly have.

          Designs like this Mustang are completely inappropriate for a purpose-driven defensive firearm, IMO.

      • This.

        Just another reason why I choose LMT. They build SUPERB rifles better than anything colt is pushung out (MWS you so craaazay). On top of that they’re kicking gun-hating Illinois to the curb. I don’t see Colt cutting CT loose anytime soon.

        Colt’s woes are their own doing. They didn’t give a rat’s ass about the civilian market until the writing was on the wall that they would be losing military contracts. About that time I started to see a big colt advertising push. It made me laugh. Plus they stole the idea for a monolithic upper reveiver from LMT so what goes around comes around.

        Just imagine, this POS pistol is in full production while the Python isn’t manufactured anymore.

  6. I have always felt that mouse guns are for back up and not for primary protection. I know that in most states any DGU that happens beyond 10 yards is going to be suspect and the better accuracy of a longer barrel is overkill but I would rather have it. CC doesn’t have to too uncomfortable but if you are going carry you have to expect some level of compromise in comfort and dress. A full size pistol is concealable and compact even more so. With all the issues with mouse guns, espeically the 380’s, I can’t see them as a EDC, only for special circumstances. If you want a smaller carry gun stick with compact.

  7. A single action, manaul safety pocket pistol that has to be carried cocked and locked? No thank you. Pocket holster and a no manual safety polymer pistol or airweight j frame is the solution to this problem.

    As for bullet weights in a given caliber I prefer hollow points that are the full weight for that caliber(.38 with 158 grainers, so on) that way if the hollow point fails to open properly you’re not hitting them with a lightweight bullet.

  8. Ruger LCP is what you take with you when you “can’t” carry a real gun…

    Other than the all around crappiness of the .380, it’s a damn fine gun.

    Too much and too late for Colt on the polymer pocket gun.

    • That about sums it up. I have other options, but I’m carrying an LCP in a shoot-thru pocket holster until my XD-s comes back from Springfield simply because it’s so small as to be unnoticeable (and that a friend sold it to me for only $150 doesn’t hurt either).

      I’m not thrilled about the .380 in general, but one advantage it has is that it’s probably the most potent round you can feed into “pocket guns” that are small enough to actually go in your pocket. But a thicker .380 pistol that costs twice as much? Unless you just physically cannot handle the recoil of a 9mm or bigger, what’s the point?

      • The LCP is reliable and fits in the pocket quite nicely when concealment is the primary concern.

        I’m not a proponent of .380 either, but I’ve never met anyone volunteering to be shot in face with it. So, it’s a good, better than nothing option.

        Like Jeff Cooper said,” you’re only out gunned if you miss…”

  9. Where the Mustang shines is as a primary carry gun for people (often ladies) who have fingers so short they cannot comfortably shoot any gun chambered in 9mm. The Mustang has decent sights and a 1911 style trigger, whereas the LCP has tiny nub sights and a long heavy hinged trigger. It’s cheaper than the 938, and for many, cost is an issue.

    I’d be very interested in seeing a back to back comparison of your ability to pass a reasonable test – how about the Texas CHL shooting test – with the LCP vs the Mustang vs. the SIG 938.

    • You could easily pass the TX CHL class with a sling shot. Anyone should be able to get a perfect score with any one of those guns. Of course some groups may be tighter than others, but it only matters for scoring if you’re outside a space about 12″x18″.

    • What are the feelings on the Sig P238? It is the first subcompact I have purchased, but due to surgery I haven’t had a chance to bring it to the range yet.

  10. I’m still thinking that the Smith Bodyguard .380 beats the LCP hands down. That’s what I’m looking into for a backup. As in two guns – the primary being a 4006TSW, Glock 27 or 23, and the secondary being a .380. I’ll see if I can get some .380 range time this weekend.

      • Agreed. I think the LCP trigger is terrible as well. I’ll take a crisp single-action anyday over that long, sloppy double action pull. I’ve been carrying a Sig P238 with a Crimson Trace trigger guard laser for years. I practice per my Marine friends CQB training. I do not carry one in the chamber ( 5 kids at home ) but I can damn sure get it pulled, chambered, and on target smoothly. Practice ,practice and get some Snap Caps!

        • I picked up a Sig P238 w/laser about a year ago for $499. I also ordered a Crossbreed IWB holster for it. I have had some medical issues with my foot, and have not been able to get to the range to test it out yet unfortunately. I also picked up the 7 round Sig extended magazine for it (in fact 2) – however the little lip that sticks out at the bottom makes my grip not as solid as the 6 round mag. Is Crimson Trace the brand of the laser that comes with the Sig? I don’t remember seeing that name on it, but it may be OEM and made for Sig.

        • I started with the P238 a few years ago. Really liked it, but the idea of a $600 mouse gun kept gnawing at me. I’m just too cheap. So I picked up a $300 LCP. Even more pocketable than the Sig (both in weight and operation), but I found the grip to be painful after 2 boxes, and the trigger felt awful – long and sloppy.

          Then the $240 Taurus TCP showed up at the rental counter. Back-to-back-to-back, to me, the Taurus felt just as good as the P238, and really eclipsed the LCP. Grip comfort combined with a crisp, smooth trigger meant consistent accuracy and a lot more enjoyment at the range. I know everyone has their opinion of the brand, but having spent quite a lot of time and ammo on all of the major .380 mouse guns, I’m actually sticking with the TCP.

      • I’ll rent both and fire them side by side. I can also dry fire the actual purchase gun. It seems the BG is much more accurate than the LCP. If others can deal with that terrible trigger than I probably can as well. Otherwise lots of people like the LCP, and I have no unusual amount of brand loyalty. I’ll just use whatever my wife and I can shoot.

      • Agreed. I was willing to overlook the sub-par laser activation buttons on the Bodyguard, but that double action trigger is literally the worst I’ve ever tried (surprisingly, I still shot it pretty well). Initially, I was also unimpressed with the LCP, but at the end of 2012, Ruger stealthily updated it. Now it’s got usable sights (still not great, but much better than before) and a shorter, lighter trigger.

    • A81 – are you saying 2 backups or the lcp for g23 as your primary. Im assuming duty carry – do you mind saying what works best on the glock? 4 oclock fbi cant prints less owb but its a little harder for me to get out and reholster reliably.

      • I do 4 o’clock OWB in leather Aker snap holster. I wear the 27 under t shirts and the 23 under button down shirts such as Woolrich Elite Tactical, 5.11, or just ‘normal’ shirts. Reloads / mags at 11 o’clock with knife on weak side. I may switch to a Blackhawk! Serpa OWB holster. The .380 would be carried on the weak side in a pocket holster with a spare mag in addition to my primary. On duty I’d put the .380 in the center trauma plate pocket of my Extreme Armor IIIA vest. My current ammo choice is the newest version of Winchester PDX .40 cal 180 grain JHP which I purchase at the LAPD academy store. That ammo is also available to the public. I’ve also carried Underwood .40 Cal 165 grain JHP, but it definitely has more muzzle flash.

        If you’re like most CC regulars, you have several holsters collecting dust which ‘didn’t work’ for you.

    • I wouldn’t recommend the bodyguard to anyone who had strength issues in their hands. For healthy adult males the trigger isn’t bad though it is long and heavy it’s consistently smooth. It’s also easy to ‘stage’ should you want to take a more accurate shot at longer range.

      My Bodyguard seems very reliable and not finicky but I only have about 250 rounds through it so far. It’s very accurate despite the heavy trigger and with a built in laser it does have some advantages.

      I find it to be a manageable pocket pistol and several of my range buddies who have LCPs say they prefer the bodyguard once they’ve tried it. I tried their LCPs before I bought the bodyguard and found that the size and ergonomics of the BG work better for me than the LCP which just felt subjectively cheap, and which also has a very heavy trigger.

  11. Damn, I’d really like this to be a good little gun. A pocket mouse gun should be the last ditch effort to save your live, and I mean the very last. I carry an LCP as a backup to my Glock 19. If I have to go deep, deep concealed, I will carry that. I am glad that it is decently accurate for its purpose and that I do not have to fumble with manual safeties.

  12. I’m still stuck on that fact that you carry a THREE THOUSAND DOLLAR gun on your hip. It may have been free, but thata what Gunbroker is for 🙂 I’d be paranoid someone would come gunning for me just for my carry gun.

    • I don’t know about anyone else but that’s why I carry a back up gun, my primary is too pricy to replace and so I had to get something to defend it with!

  13. nice review Nick. Whats your vote on Nano vs LCP? Is the less easy to get out of pocket size to stopping power trade off worth it?

  14. The Argentine elephant in the room? Bersa Thunder .380

    Love mine. Probably the most accurate pistol i own. DA/SA with a decocker. I got the nickel plated one. Costs less than half what the mustang costs. i’d trust my life to it.

    … Also, i’d much rather carry a full-size pistol. I’m with you fellas – little pistols are better than no pistol, but i’d rather have something with a bunch of rounds, preferably bigger ones.

    • Eh. I had a bersa thunder .380. It was alright.. cheap, relatively accurate, mostly comfortable. However, I wouldn’t call it reliable. There’s a roll pin in the frame that you can see when you pull the action bar off. After about 200rds, that pin worked its way out of the frame and came into contact with the action bar, negating the pistol’s ability to re-set the trigger after a shot. The only way to re-set the trigger was the stick your finger behind it and pull it forward manually. That, or tear the gun down and punch the pin back into the slide for the next box of ammo.

      Fun to shoot? Sure. Trust my life to it? No way. Sold it for a Beretta Nano.

    • Aren’t those blowback like the Walther PPK and Beretta 84? The Colt Mustang and SIG P238 are recoil operated. The Walther PK380 is also recoil operated. That cuts down on the effort to rack the slide among other things.

  15. Regarding your comment about the potential for “slam fire” in the event that the sear gives out, does the XSP 380 not have a trigger activated firing-pin blocking mechanism, a la, “Series 80”?

    I ask the question because I don’t know the answer. If it does have a Series 80 type firing pin block, that would diminish the risk of it going full-auto in the event of a sear failure unless the trigger was being pulled.

    • This is the only bad review I’ve seen on this gun. XSP does have the series 80 blocking mechanism so it’s not going to go full auto, this guy should a least read the manual before doing a review! Go to to get the real review. I owned the S&W Bodyguard before and liked it allot but hated the trigger! My friend has the Sig 238 and I like it nice trigger and good little gun but I like my colt better even at $100 more but thats just me. My XSP trigger comes in a 4.7 lb avg of 10 pulls with my digital lyman guage. Accuracy; maybe this guy got a bad one or he can’t shoot. The day I bought my XSP I was getting groups inside 4″ at 10yds with little effort and shooting fast, the trigger is great and my gun is very accurate. I pushed the target out to 25yds yes… 25yds and was hitting a pie plate consistently! These guns are not supposed to be accurate at 25yds but I was hitting with little effort. I love this gun, only thing I found I don’t like is you can’t change grips as they are molded into frame and the ambidextrous thumb safety is horribly hard to put on safe with my LEFT hand, i’m right handed and glad I am with this gun as if i were a lefty I’d have to either work on the gun to make it easier or go with another gun. Get Buffalo bore +P rds for this and you are good to go if you are a righty.

      • I have my mustang 1986 version off having some upgrades being done. nothing required just older gun and it deserves it.
        accurate, silky smooth slide, nice trigger, safety feels good going on and off. recently got rid of a lcp I had got somewhere so took this out of retirement. 380 is a last ditch caliber but that is when I plan on using a gun, when I am out of other options.
        I think the sights on the test gun would be better than what mine has. I don’t think I would like the polymer frame for sure.

  16. Five rounds of Remington Golden Sabre 125 gr. .357 mag in my pocket (via Ruger LCR that cost me $450) or Colt XSP (which costs 650) and six rounds of .380?


  17. ” However, the brutally hot Texas summers have forced me to re-think that approach. I’ve even resorted to toting a small revolver at times.”

    I carry a SAR K2 (smaller than a 1911, larger than a P226, >3lbs. fully loaded) under a t-shirt and shorts. Granted, Iowa’s summers are probably not as bad as Texas’, but carrying a full-size is doable. Unless you’re wearing a wife-beater; in which case the only solution is to stop wearing a wife-beater. Seriously, they look terrible.

  18. I own and carry a various pistols including 380s I have a Kahr P380, Sig 238 and a Mustang XSP. I occasionally carry a compact 1911 and a Glock 23. I have several full size 1911s that I shoot regularly in IDPA. I have a thousand rounds through the Sig 238 and around 500 through the XSP. After break in they have both been 100% reliable and extremely accurate. If you are comfortable with the 1911 format you will have no trouble with the external safeties on these scalded down 1911s. You will also get used to gripping the gun with the second and third finger. It is no big deal because the recoil is very mild. I live in Texas and it is a struggle to conceal a compact 1911 under a t-shirt. The XSP weighs around 14 ounces fully loaded (less than half the weight of a fully loaded compact 1911). The Sig is about three ounces heavier. I was surprised to see the negative review on the XSP’s accuracy as mine is surprisingly accurate for a small pistol. My only criticism is the sights. The rear is the same as the rear sights on the original Mustang, a Colt government style low profile sight. The front is a low profile plain black blade sight. By comparison the Sig 238 comes standard with a good set of night sights. Fortunately Colt added a dovetail front sight on the XSP so unlike the metal frame Mustangs you can replace the front sight without having to have a dovetail milled in the slide. I filed the slot in the rear sight to open it up a bit and painted the front sight white with nail polish and it is much easier to shoot accurately. I take the 380s to the range when we do IDPA drills and I have no trouble keeping most of the rounds in the 8 inch -0 ring. the more I shoot the XSP the more I like it. These guns disappear in a small pocket or IWB holster. Alabama Holster makes a great pocket holster for $30. The Desantis Soft Tuck is a great IWB holster for the Sig and the XSP. My hat is of the guys who carry fully loaded full size 1911s all day that weigh two and a half pounds. Mine usually stays in the car of at the house. The great thing about the little 380s is I always have one with me. Regarding the sufficiency of the 380; the new 380 SD loads have narrowed the gap between the 9mm and the 380. The Hornaday Critical Defense load makes an impressive wound channel, expands to around a half inch (after passing through several layers of denim) and penetrates 11 inches. (see the tnoutdoors gel test on You-Tube). And before you say it … I know 12 inches is the FBI minimum. I saw a quote attributed to a navy seal (someone probably made it up) but regarding the caliber debate it gets the point across. He said “when I put two in your heart and one in your head you wont know the difference.” If I ever have to use deadly force I would prefer to have a 50 cal. I just don’t want to carry it around all day.

    • I’m one of those guys who totes a full size 1911 with two spare mags all day. All I can say is you’d better have a good holster and belt. I have mine made to fit by a local guy who’s been doing it for something like 40 years. I won’t say it’s comfortable even with a great belt and holster, but it’s not punishing at all and I’m a small guy, not a lot of real estate to hide the big gun on, though perhaps being slim makes it more comfortable?

      I’m actually trying to move away from the 1911 as a primary carry piece, but each time I try something significantly smaller or lighter I find that I end up feeling ‘underguned’ and returning to the 1911.

      The other part of it is that like you, I shot 1911’s in competition and while I can make do with virtually anything you’d call a pistol, for me a 1911 is like some sort of force driven death ray. . . Even trying to make it as difficult as possible I just don’t miss with them, I can’t say that for most other guns, and certainly not something that is enough lighter and smaller as to justify switching out the 1911.

      I guess I’m just willing to put up with the aches and the cover up in the heat and everything the 1911 brings in exchange for it’s natural accuracy and power.

  19. Why no mention of Kel-Tec? I carry the 32auto and 380. Both of these are superior in every way to the Colt Mustang. I owned many Mustangs – alloy-framed, steel framed, 6 shot, 7 shot, and finally gave up on therm and got rid of them all. The nicest thing I can say about them is that they were all bottom-feeding auto-jammers and they turned me off towards Colt for many years. Went to S&W J-frames for reliable backup. But my Kel-Tek s are smaller and go bang every time- something I could not count on from the Colts.

    • I have a Kel-tec P32 and P3AT, and a Mustang Pocketlite (metal version), alomg with other pocket pistols. The Mustang is far superior in every aspect to both. Between the P32 and P3AT, the P32 has been 100% reliabel (although not shot much) and the P3AT has not, so I do not trust it. The Mustang has about 1000 ronds and is totally reliable.

      I usually pocket carrynthe Mustang in front pocket of shorts, occassionally the P32 in back pocket. Never the P3AT any more.

  20. Maybe you should let Laura at Kentucky Gun Co. show you how to shoot it she did real well with the Colt XSP ON Youtube

  21. First off, Colt isn’t milking anything. Im not a big fan of 380’s. Don’t really like the mustang but the writer and many others need to know the history of the 1911. Browning brought in the original 1911 design. Colt engineers along with Browning made changes to the gun. 1 example, Colt added the grip safety. It wasn’t just Browning all the way. Colt had a big hand in the finished product. Know your history before making statements.

  22. 16 rounds of .45 ACP and you feel like you’re “low on ammo”? Another freakin’ “tactical” cowboy.

  23. Don’t waste the handsome sum of money required to own one. I sent mine back to the factory to repair a feed problem. With a less than full magazine (6 or 7 round mag), it required several slide rack attempts to chamber the first round. With a full mag (6 or 7 round mag), forget it; no amount of racking attempts could get the first round to feed. After I got it back from Colt (with no explanation, by the way, of what they did to it), I experienced the exact same problems. When I did get the first round to feed, subsequent rounds generally fed, with only an occasional FTF. I would never rely on this gun for self defense; I don’t even carry it. Instead, I carry my P238, which has been flawless. Spend your money on the SIG P238. You’ll be much happier.

  24. I dont have a clue why there is a negative reponse to this firearm. I didnt see anything wrong with this weapon, nor do i see such a great advantage over owning the Sig over the XSP. If you dont like it dont buy one.

    Worked like a Champ!

    Semper Fi

    • Unfortunately, I did not have the luxury of “try before buy” prior to purchasing the Mustang XSP. I bought it based on Colt’s fine reputation (my bad). While Colt produces many great guns, the Mustang XSP was a great disappointment for me with the “failure to feed” problem. I tried many types (FMJ, JHP, FTX, XTP) and brands (Winchester, Remington, PMC, ProGrade, Hornady, Armscor, to name a few) of factory ammo. It didn’t matter which type or brand, the ammo just would not feed reliably from the Colt factory magazines (and I tried four different magazines).
      Even after getting it back from the factory, I experienced the same problem. By the way, Colt never provided an explanation of what was wrong and what they did to “fix” my Mustang. That says a lot to me regarding their customer service. I guess that after paying a significant amount of money for their product, I expected a little better.
      Bottom line – I could not trust my life to my Mustang XSP; just not reliable. Perhaps I have a rare “lemon”. I’m glad you’re happy with yours.
      However, I stand by what I said. I have found my SIG P238 to be flawlessly reliable, and would trust my life to it. Thus, in my experience, I have found it to be far more reliable than my Mustang XSP.
      If I had no integrity, I might try to sell my Mustang to some unsuspecting buyer, like I was. For now, the XSP makes a great paperweight. I carry the P238 when I want protection or go to the range.

  25. This guy must work for Ruger. I carried an LCP for almost 4 years and would actually preferred a revolver to the LCP for concealed carry. The sights on the LCP were so small you could only point and shoot. First magazine through my mustang and I sold my LCP. I can hit 6 out of 6 in a half gallon milk jug at 15 yards, every time. With the LCP I was lucky to hit 2 of 6. The only advantage in my opinion the LCP has is double action but since I carry cocked and locked and 1 in the pipe in an inside waist band holster so other than lint there are no issues. I practice with it regularly and feel much more secure than I did with my LCP.
    Just my opinion though.

  26. I also love to carry my Sig Sauer .45, but considering the weight being so heavy,, I also carry my Bersa Thunder .380 (which with Hollopoints,, is NOT a “Mouse” gun)…

    9mm’s are useless because the muzzle velocity is so fast that i will go thru and thru and take multiple rounds to stop a phat man,, explain THAT in court where most people have watched too many Hollyweird movies to know a bad guy doesn’t go down after one shot.

    I’ve been looking at .40s lately , but even those will make you go deaf after a few rounds without ear protection.

  27. Quick question. How many of you have fired a shot in anger or been shot at or even owned whatever is under review? Thought so.

  28. ANYONE who fires a shot in anger or in any way out of control,, should have their CCW permit revoked asap…
    Emotion is not your friend when even considering using your legal weapon….

    Training,,, is your friend,, so go to the range and train as much as possible,, and KNOW the LAW !
    This question in itself is liberal-commie based as it is totally ign0rant… and baiting

  29. Nick was this a April fools day article? I have both the Ruger LCP and the Colt Mustang. Yes the Rugar is a tiny bit easier to conceal but when comparing the shooting abilities of both gun the LCP is not even in the running. the Trigger pull is long and clumsy, the recoil is much worse than the Mustang. If they are to be used by women for self defense the Colt Mustang will do the job much better and feel mush more comfortable to shoot.

  30. It is pretty obvious that the author is a SIG fan. I own both Colt’s and SIG’s and if I could get a decent resale price for my SIG 556 SWAT I’de sell it and buy a COLT AR in 5.56 NATO. Every Colt I’ve picked up to use was in a word reliable and ready to go When I send my firearms to Colt for refurnishing, the came back almost better than new. Unlike when I sent my 2 brand new Sigs back to SIG SAUER for jamming problems and they came back with the same problems. Haven’t returned them as I have to pay shipping and insurance and I cannot expect them to do the repairs right how’s that for dependability. So when it comes to a .380 for my wife and daughter I’m saving up for Colts. I know when they are needed for protection they will work!!!!

  31. This review was terrible. Give me a break. I have not had a failure to feed and it is very concealable. The Sig is a direct copy of the gun and it seems like everyone loves them. . Go to Hickok 45 if you want to see someone that actually understands a gun and can actually shoot the darn thing. He hits steel at 50+ yards over and over and he is a guy who is 6 foot 6.

  32. I too shoot a Colt 1911 45 and thought the Mustang .380 be a good self-defense gun for my wife. I’ve shot it several times and do not have a problem with accuracy even at 15 to 20 yards. Maybe I have more experience than the writer but I love this little gun.

    It will certainly do the job even for a novice at close range and that’s exactly what a small self-defense gun is for, less than 10 yards. I love this gun and would highly recommend it for a starter pistol for a woman or just a daily carry around gun. Love it.

  33. I have the Pocketlite version of the Mustang. About 1000 rounds or more through it, and it is very reliable and plenty accurate enough for DGUs. If you are shooting at 10 yards, you are may have a hard time convincing a jury that it was legitimate self-defense. And if you can’t hit the target at 10 yards, it’s not because the gun is unable to do so, it’s because you aren’t compatible with the tiny form factor. I have medium-large hands and it took some adjustment, but it works out now.

    The Pocketlite isn’t all rainbows and skittles. The stock sights suck, so had them replaced. Non ambi-safety. It’s premium priced. Other than that it’s great for its niche. The Mustang Pocketlite has been my primary EDC since I bought it.

    Final thought: the caliber wars are nonsense. You are not undergunned with a .380 unless you are a cop or Soldier. Cops and Soldiers have to actively pursue and capture/kill BGs, shoot through barriers, and shoot at distances which wouldn’t be considered justifiable self defense. Civil self defense means you generally do NOT pursue fleeing BGs, you don’t shoot through barriers, you don’t very often capture/apprehend BGs, and you don’t shoot at long distances. What you do is end a close-up threat by stopping the BG from acting, or making him flee.

  34. I have a Mustang XSP and a Sig P238. My wife has very long hands and fingers and prefers the Sig with a Hogue rubber grip so I use the XSP as a backup and for deep concealment. It’s lighter than the Sig, just as, or more accurate, and doesn’t eject spent rounds into your face like the Sig. It’s true the factory sights on the XSP are a throwback to the 1970’s. I had my slide milled and installed Novak Tritium low profile night sights, which I like even better than the Sig night sights. I also fitted a Hogue Handall grip sleeve to fatten up the grip a little. I also carry a Sig 7 round extended mag whits works perfectky with the Colt. Perfect now and still less invested that the overpriced Sig. Ultra reliable and it vanishes in your pocket. While not as attractive as the original Government Pocketlite (I have one of those too) the new ones are CNC machined from bar stock and the trigger group is of much higher quality. The author obviously can’t shoot.

  35. With the proviso that nearly all my Mustang experience is through two of the metal versions, a Plus II stainless I owned years ago and the current old-model blue Pocketlite I have nowadays, there’s quite a bit to disagree with, and a couple of factual issues, too.
    The standard Mustang is a seven-round gun, not a six-shooter. 6+1. There are 7-round magazines, too, even one with a pinky extension: an 8-shooter.
    The sear/safety/going auto thing is just silly. I don’t much care for firing pin blocks, but that is one thing they are good for.
    The accuracy issue is just plain an outlier. Something was definitely amiss in the test. A Mustang can and will deliver far better accuracy than that; I have not seen one anywhere near this bad.
    In fact, my first amazement with the older one I had was just how easy it was to shoot well, with speed. The trigger is of course the big boon. .380 triggers as a whole are mostly much worse than mid-size guns. That takes a toll on practical accuracy.
    Here I have to note: delivering ragged-hole groups even at ten yards is not a measure of the practical accuracy of a self-defense gun: getting useful hits with great speed and reliability is what matters.
    For a tiny gun, the Mustang gets me better, faster hits than anything else that uses primers, and that includes some excellent snubnoses with which I practice extensively. Okay, the .380 has less juice than a properly-loaded .38, but three good hits in a short span of time such as a good .380 can provide and you might have enough; do that with a 642 and the process of getting those hits will be quite a bit harder. And, you’ll have only half as much ammunition left for your assailant’s friend just popping up.
    To the subject raised about about how the .32 and so forth is so lethal and accounts for so many deaths, okay, fine, but none of us hear want lethality and we don’t want anyone to die. Lethality is an unfortunate side effect of lawful lethal force, not the point of it. The efficacy of self-defense lethal force is based on stopping a threat. That the miscreant might die as a result is not the intention; it’s an undesired side effect.
    All this comes from a person who carries a .45 Commander about 90% of the time, and a Colt Cobra most of the rest. But, I continue to be satisfied with the Mustang’s practical speed and accuracy and if I discover a self-defense load I like as much as a .38’s semi-wadcutter, it could find still more use.

  36. I’ve owned a Mustang XSP for little over a year now and put over 600 rounds through it. I like it a lot. Very solid feeling and functions flawlessly. Also, and most importantly, where I live it’s shorts and tee-shirts 98% of the time. I can’t exactly walk around like “Dirty Harry” with a monster hog leg strapped on my waist. For the past 45 years I’ve owned and carried all manner of sidearms and right now, at this point in my life, the XSP Mustang is the perfect answer to a very concealable firearm.

  37. I’ve owned both the LCP and LCPII. Both were nightmares—to shoot, to load, and to rack. Trigger on the original LCP was atrocious. LCPII a bit better.

    Both guns had frequent jams and FTFs. Traded the last one in for the Mustang XSP, which I consider a MUCH better gun. It has performed without hiccups, and is far easer to rack. Trigger, like my old 1911, is superb.

    I contacted Ruger about the LCPs jamming problems and was told by a rep to NEVER use anything but ball ammo in the pistol, as most other self defense loads will lead to this problem.

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