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This is the year Ruger replaced Smith & Wesson at the top of the U.S. firearms sales chart. The crown swap was due in no small part to a small gun: the Ruger LCP. Ruger’s .380 pistol (reviewed here) flew off the shelves this year, as states across the country loosened-up on concealed carry licenses. The .380 is not the first choice for self-defense experts; many of whom rate its stopping power somewhere between shouting stop in a really commanding voice and hitting someone upside the head with a lamp. But the customer is always right, and everyone wants a piece of that action. Including MPA (a.k.a. Masterpiece Arms), makers of the last really trendy yet largely ineffective weapon system: the MAC-10.

Jimmy Payne of MPA tells the tale:

Our background and experience in manufacturing different types of firearms combined with the recognition that we needed a more ‘mainstream’ product pushed us to develop the Protector Series. Our goal was to build a strong, light weight pistol that was appealing to the eye, practical, easy to conceal but still maintained all of the best features available for this type of pistol.

And so, MPA’s launched its Protector Series. It’s the first weapon the non-PC manufacturer’s made that’s not based on the MAC platform. The 10.9 oz. MPA32 shoots 32 ACP, while the 11.3 oz. MPA380 throws 380 ACP downrange. Both semis can carry six bullets in the magazine and one in the pipe.

The MPA32 and MPA380 in black msrp’s at $322.90, or $345.90 for stainless. So they’re heavier than the LCP but slightly less expensive. (An LCP’ll run ya $364). All three mouse guns cost less than half the price of  the superb Kahr P380.

Will MPA carve off enough of a slice of the budget .380 market to keep themselves afloat? Does anyone even want to talk about .32s? Is the .380 the Saturday Night Special of our time? We shall see.

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  1. Small .380s are the guns for those of us who can't wear a jacket or 2nd shirt at work, and who need to keep the shirt tucked in. 9mm mouse-sized guns are nearly impossible to control and .380s are the best compromise I can find.

  2. .380 being 9mmx17mm, I'm sure you meant to say 'bigger' nines, like maybe Makarov (9×18) or Parabellum (9×19). Damn – see anything similar there?

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