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Browning Black Label 1911-380 (courtesy

I own a SIG SAUER .22-caliber 1911. I use it to teach newbies how to run the American meisterwerk. Unfortunately, it’s easier to get a camel to do needlepoint than buy more than two boxes of .22 ammo at a gun store. Browning now offers an alternative for ammo-challenged sub-optimal-calibered 1911 aficionados: the Black Label 1911-380. As the name indicates, “This new offering pairs two of John M. Browning’s original inventions — the Model 1911 handgun and the 380ACP cartridge.” Is this one of those “you got chocolate in my peanut butter” moments? Not really. But an 85% .380 1911 is not without its charms, in an It’s A Small Gun After All kinda way. Press release . . .

For 2015 Browning is proud to introduce the Black Label 1911-380 autoloading pistol. This new offering pairs two of John M. Browning’s original inventions — the Model 1911 handgun and the 380 ACP cartridge. The 1911 has been a favorite firearm among shooters for decades and the new 1911-380 keeps with that tradition of innovation and function.

Scaled down to 85% of the size of the original 45 ACP versions, the new single-action Browning 1911-380 is made in the USA and utilizes a precision built composite frame. Extras like an extended ambidextrous safety, beavertail grip safety, machined steel slide and skeletonized hammer are also featured. The new Black Label 1911-380 comes in a matte black finish with fixed combat sights.

The overall length is 7 ½” and average weight is 17 ½ oz. Slightly larger than most 380 ACP pistols, the size manages recoil better and improves control for more accurate follow up shots. The grip is narrow, but long and wide enough for comfortable shooting. Barrel length is 4 ¼”, which increases bullet velocity for more downrange punch and improved accuracy for sport shooting. The magazine capacity is 8 rounds. ABS carrying case included.

Suggested Retail: $669.99. For more information on Browning products, please visit the website at

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  1. A polymer .380 1911? The last time I shopped for .380 it was just almost as scarce as .22 lr.

    I have to admit to a guilty pleasure now. Many years ago I had one of those LLama .380s that was built like a 1911. I actually liked it. It was all steel and hollowpoint ammo was just about unheard of then.

  2. Very interesting. If they had one in 9mm I would be tempted. But then there’s the Sig P938 at a bit lower price point…

    I’ll put this into the “would be cool to own if I had unlimited funds” category.

    • That’s exactly how I feel about some of their newer released 1911-22 models. They’ve added some that are more modern looking and I think that’s just awesome. Plus useable sights.

    • 669 bucks for this and the Glock 19 at my lgs sells for 560 bucks. Puts the Browning in the novelty class for folks that have more throw away income than most.

  3. It always pleases me when a manufacturer realizes that not everyone is the same. There are a lot of folks out there who can’t handle a lot of recoil or weight due to physical disabilities. Firearms such as this fill a very important role to smaller or disabled people.

  4. .380 ammo is generally harder to find and higher priced than 9mm. So if the goal is to have a “training gun” that fires readily available, low-cost ammo, then you could go for one of many 1911s chambered in 9mm already on the market.

    On the plus side, we finally have a .380 that’s not so light and tiny that it hurts to shoot it.

    • If I buy a Browning in 9mm, it will certainly be another Hi-Power. Only 9 made as far as I’m concerned (after modification that is).

    • You want a 380 that isn’t tiny and hard to shoot? Look at a CZ83. In the mean time, I’m waiting for Rock Islands 380 1911 offering, it will probably be a better firearm at a lower price point.

  5. Browning already has a steel-framed version of this gun on the market. I never could see the appeal. Too long a barrel to carry, more expensive and harder to find than 9mm, less fun to shoot than .22lr. I never want to knock a person’s preference, especially in guns, I just couldn’t see it fitting in any role for me.

  6. Interesting handgun. Looks like a Springfield EMP in a less powerful caliber. I have an EMP in 9mm and am quite happy with it. I also have a SIG 238 and a Bersa .380 that I am happy with, so this new Browning looks like a non-event for me. But there may be shooters out there that will be attracted by this gun.

    • It has a barrel that is 1.25″ longer and it’s 10 ounces lighter than an emp. the 380 will get a power boost out of the longer barrel as well. I bet it’s a hoot to shoot.

  7. Now boutique 380acp ammo will have crazy high velocity. We test fired our ammo with a Browning Black Label 1911-380. The part the ammo manufacturer will not divulge is the gun had a custom 6″ barrel stuck in it. In the meantime expect your 380acp pocket pistol to have a velocity close to 900 fps.

  8. For USA market it may not make sense, but for us (Mexican sport shooter talking here) not lucky enough to live in a country were most of its citizens can legally purchase almost any kind of small arm, it’s very exciting to see this kind of variants. In particular, Mexicans can legally purchase pistols up to 380 ACP or 38 special (not too much availability of autoloader pistols in 38 special), 9mm luger, 38 super and 357 magnum are strictly forbidden for mere mortal citizens. So having a legal brand new 1911 available for legal purchase is exciting news for us “third worlders”, hahaha.


    • Are civilians allowed to “reload” in Mexico?

      If so, then I’d recommend a good heavy duty .38 special (like Ruger GP100 or SP101) and load the heck out of your .38 special rounds to achieve near .357 magnum power.

      CZ83 is also a very capable .380 acp.

      • It’s not specifically prohibited by the law to do reloads, although getting the materials (powder specifically) is cumbersome at best. Getting the rest of materials, like bullets is very hard since everything is heavily regulated.

        Most reloading I’ve seen is for shotgun shotshells and for centerfire, bullets are “homemade” out of cast lead.

        • “Getting the rest of materials, like bullets is very hard since everything is heavily regulated.”

          Cast your own. Car wheel weights are scattered all over the roads and shoulders.

        • Julio, I’m moving to live in my house in Mexico in the next couple of years. I’ve been wondering about reloading and supplies. So, I’m very interested in your insight here.

          It seems to me that importing the smokeless is a challenge that can be overcome. I’ll leave it at that for the moment. Recovering brass isn’t too much of a problem especially if everyone else is NOT reloading. That leaves primers and bullets.

          How sensitive is the Aduana about primers? They are pretty small and don’t look like much of anything.

          One could cast bullets; but jacketing them is a serious obstacle. Bullets – obviously – look like bullets notwithstanding that they are nothing more than pieces of metal. How sensitive is the Aduana about bullets?

          Is there any dispensation for any peculiar class of people? E.g., suppose one competed in formal marksmanship competitions? Would that supply a pretext to justify a license to buy reloading supplies in volume? Or, to import reloading supplies?

        • Hi MarkPA,

          I’ve done my due diligence on the reloading topic. Turns out that it’s quite difficult to get the materials, since by law, you can’t purchase powder off the shelf, neither bullets. And because this has been heavily regulated in the last 2 decades, it’s quite difficult to get the materials and expensive because of this.

          So basically reloading is only cost effective for large caliber rifles (243 calibers and above) because all of these calibers available for purchase here in mexico are imported and heavily marked up by the local ammo dealers.

          Regarding the Aduana (customs), if they catch you with powder, bullets and/or primers, it’s a direct ticket to federal prison or a heavy bribe for the federales or army (whoever is watching the Aduana at the moment).

          If you have further doubts, please let me know and I’ll answer it as soon as I can!

    • Hi Julio –

      I wonder if you would consider writing a brief about being a sport shooter/legal gun owner in Mexico – and submitting it as a contest submission for this site ([email protected]). It would some something many of us here would like to read about as it’s something totally “foreign” to many of us.

      Interesting things to hear about (at least for me) would be price/availability of handguns/long guns, availability of ammo, firearm permitting process, any thoughts relating to concealed/open carry, and social considerations (ie; do you get kicked out of a shop for carrying a gun).

      Not that I’ll be carrying in Mexico ever, just that all we really hear about on TTAG is cartels vs autodefensas and Eric Holder’s Fast and Furious scandal.

      • I second that. I’d very much like to know what life is like in Mexico as a gun owner.

        So far as I understand, there is hardly any problem at all to have a gun on your own property, whether or not you observe the formalities.

        The process of getting a carry permit from SEDENA is entirely opaque. Any information you could obtain and publish on this point would be valuable. E.g., is the price of a SEDENA 3 ojos?

  9. “Unfortunately, it’s easier to get a camel to do needlepoint than buy more than two boxes of .22 ammo at a gun store.”

    The closest LGS is 40 miles away so I’ve become familiar with these sites.

    You might not like what you’re asked to pay for .22LR – or anything else – but let’s not pretend it’s not available if you want it.

    Especially if you’re reading this blog. You know … on a computer linked to the internet and all.

    • .22LR in bulk is still 1/2 the price of even cheap reloaded 9mm (7-10 cents vs 19-23 cents/rd)
      Challenge is finding the best ‘out the door’ price with shipping being all over the place.
      Try to find .22 shorts. That’s even more fun, though I just picked up a few boxes (limit 5) from Natchez and they also had 333-packs for about $25 limit 2 on .22LR bulk

  10. A century-old platform shooting an underpowered, overpriced cartridge — who could ask for anything more?

    • Dammit. I was formulating the exact same response as i read through the comments. I guess consider me underwhelmed.

    • Don’t knock it just because it spent fit you. My wife likes it because it’s NOT a pocket rocket. She has rheumatoid arthritis and doesn’t have the grip strength for a micro pistol nor can she do the godawful double action trigger pull on most. This weapon is very comfortable for her to use and shoot enuff to be accurate. She likes it much better than the Bersa .380 and most modern .380 ammo will do the job

  11. Hi there,
    The Black Label 1911-380 pistol is very nice 🙂
    It is perfect to keep it with you anywhere for your safety.
    I have gain a lot of knowledge about this pistol by read this post.
    Thank your for write about this gun.
    Mahabub Hassan.

  12. Why? I love the 1911, and I regularly carry a Springfield 4″ .45, but this thing seems as useless as tits on a boar. If I were to carry a .380 I would want it to be a pocket gun.

  13. 380 was scarce in my neck of the woods even before the “grand ammo scare” of a few years back. If Browning releases a 9mm 1911, then they will have my undivided attention and likely some of my money.

  14. Who’s asking for this? That was my comment after watching Guns & Ammo(on Sportsman channel?) the other day. Yeah this is great for Mexico or Brazil. Yay America…the only 380 I may get is another $200 Taurus TCP…

    • I don’t know who’s asking, but it’s been done before with great success. Basically, they’re Glock 42ing the 1911… Llama did it several decades ago and I love my MicroMax .308. First handgun I ever owned. Was my carry before there was a P-3AT/PT738.

      Tho, for a 1911, I think 9mm is a better choice. The heft of the 1911 makes the recoil in both hard to tell apart, so why not the cheaper, more common, more powerful 9mm?

  15. “The 1911 has been a favorite firearm among shooters for decades ”
    The fact that 1.04 is plural, we could say it’s been a favorite for centuries.

  16. hope it doesn’t turn out like the Colt Lightning .380. Talk about an overpriced piece of garbage with an expensive taste for ammo. The Colt was a jam-o-matic. I don’t see the utility here. Just buy a 3.5″ 1911 in 9mm and be done with it.

  17. TTAC is strangely slow on this, I examined the little Browning in a local sporting goods store a couple months ago. The sticker was $460. It is amazing and very tempting, as a hobby gun. The great P238 is more off a carry piece: the handle is too short, sight radius too short, magazine too short. But this feels like a real 1911. BTW, I didn’t realize the frame was composite. Sure looked aluminum to me.

  18. Yeah trading one scarce caliber (.22, though to be fair, you can easily get it online at a great price) for a caliber that has become scarce in the past (.380) isn’t a good trade. And .380, even if you can find it, is way too expensive to be a logical “alternative” to .22.

    I say get 9mm. It’s still available, and cheap, and has more power than both.

    Unless they’re really caliber-limited due to age or physical weakness, in which case, suck it up and buy .22 online.

  19. Having looked at the commentary, this is a perfect example of a gun that the shooting community does not grok. This is like Icon A5. Our esteemed F&EIC may ask Nick about the impact of that. When pilots look at A5, they cannot understand why anyone in their right mind would buy an airplane this expensive and this underpowered. Similarly, the 1911-380 elicits the complaints of the cartridge being too small, which completely miss the point.

  20. I’ve had a Llama MicroMax .380 since forever. Shrunken 1911. Never given me a lick of trouble. I must have at lest 10,000rds through it… Used to be my carry piece before the P-3AT copycat revolution.

  21. I have one. Actually pocket carry it. I can definitely mag dump it more on target at 7 yards than I can my Sig P938 9mm.

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