AMT Backup in .380


October 25, 2006, 04:44 PM
$150 at my local pawn shop. Yeah or Nay?

For what its worth: I had an AMT backup in 40 S&W. Sold it because I was consolidating calibers and it was the only 40 in my collection. I liked it because it rarely jammed, was easily concealable and felt nice and solid in my hand. Recoil was acceptable. What I didn't like was that the slide didn't lock back and the sights were non existent. Sights = a long groove along the top. IMO, its basically a point and shoot belly gun.

I heard that with the AMT .380, the takedown is much more a PIA.

Anyone have any experience with the .380?

Thanks for all the great advice.

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October 25, 2006, 05:09 PM
Takedown does take some practice and is still not the easiest thing. My mom has one that jammed with ball ammo, but it just needed a new mag spring (bolt over base misfeeds). I put about 100 rounds through it this weekend, 35 were hp's, with no problems. The web of my shooting hand is still red though. This is in a .380, I wouldn't want it any bigger.

Is it SA or DA? The SA has a stiff trigger and safety- slows me down some.
Lots of people will tell you all kinds of bad things about AMTs, just depends on the gun and how good you are at making it run. $150-225 is about what I've seen them go for.

And yeah, the slide not locking bugs me. Try some paint on the front sight, can't hurt. Not a bad IWB gun, but too heavy for the pocket.

Forgot to mention: the safeties on the SA are not the safest thing, or so I'm told. Like I said though, the safety is stiff, which helps in that respect.

October 25, 2006, 05:17 PM
27 lb trigger pull not adjustable, not my cup of tea. But if ya like them, I guess why not.

October 25, 2006, 08:12 PM
Is it SA or DA? The SA has a stiff trigger and safety- slows me down some.

The DAO is the one with the horrible trigger. I have a SA model and it is quite accurate considering the short sight radius and barrel. The safety is like a Browning Baby but not likely to brush off by accident. It also has a grip safety, BTW.

Taking it down is a real PITA, but putting it back together was the real problem. I wedge the slide open now and clean it without taking it apart - it just isn't worth it. I don't carry mine anymore since getting a Kel-Tec P-3AT.

October 25, 2006, 08:52 PM
My wife came with a SA Backup 380. It is the worst POS we own. The trigger is horrible, the slide shows machine marks, the firing pin could barely ignite nitroglycerin (took several trips to the gunsmith to cure the light strikes), it bites the web of my hand, and it's almost impossible to disassemble. I don't know anyone I dislike enough to sell it to.

October 25, 2006, 09:06 PM
I'd pass, mine was one of the somewhat rare good ones that was reliable and the trigger is not all that bad. Its sat in the safe since I got my P3AT. Much lighter, better sights and triger (still not great), good customer service, and only 50% more new that your pawn shop price.


October 26, 2006, 12:02 AM
My single action was a pos, had a lot of muzzle blast from small barrel and was unreliable and hard to strip. I used to want a DA version but my friends trigger on his 45acp AMT DA was worst I've ever felt except maybe a Nagant revolver I have in DA mode.
DA reminds me sort of as a Seecamp w/o the quality and not as small.

I went to a gun auction once though and two sa versions both went for like close to $300 each! So I guess someone like them. At $150 I'd pass, at 100 I'd think about it.

October 26, 2006, 08:29 AM
I have a SA version with the clear stocks. It functions okay, but kicks like a mule and is really heavy for a small caliber pocket gun. It resides in my safe while the P32 gets heavy usage.

October 26, 2006, 10:55 AM
I have been quite satisfied with my DAO Backups: .380 and 9 mm. The .380 is a pain to strip, but it is very compact, durable and reliable.

October 26, 2006, 07:47 PM
Now that High Standard is making the AMT Backup,you can get any caliber you want,pretty much.I'd spend the extra money if you really want an AMT...

October 26, 2006, 07:59 PM
I have the DAO backup .380 and my dad has the SA one. The single action doesn't seem that bad although I don't have much trigger time with it. I hate mine. The trigger pull is horrendously stiff (although due to that fact I don't get nervous pocket carrying it with a round in the chamber), sights are non-existant, cleaning and takedown is such a pita you don't want to shoot it, and I had many FTFs the last time I shot it (although it was probably due to the ammo). I've since decided to not go lower than 9mm for a carry gun and only use the .380 if extreme concealment is needed. Basically, it's not a gun I'd ever want to have to defend myself with, but would probably do the job up close.
I'd spend a few more bucks and get a snubby .38special.

October 26, 2006, 08:18 PM
I spoke with the High Standard guy at the SHOT show in February, and he explained to me how on the new-production Backup DAO with the large frame (9mm and up) that they were able to significantly lighten and improve the trigger pull. The bad news was that he said "the engineers" were not able to do anything to improve heavy trigger on the small-framed model (.380ACP). The SA model wasn't going back into production.

October 26, 2006, 09:53 PM
I would just spend about $60-$70 more and get a BRAND NEW Bersa .380. Great lil weapon with an even greater customer service support.

October 26, 2006, 11:07 PM
Thanks for all the replies. I think I'm going to pass on this one. Maybe I'll get a new 9mm large frame as suggested. They are going to be hard to get I'm sure, but I can wait. Keep checkin' those pawn shops....

October 26, 2006, 11:20 PM
I got an AMT .380 BackUp when they first came out. Heavy, way too much felt recoil for a .380, "stainless" frame/slide turned a nice rusty orange color the first time I sweated on it and every ejected empty hit me right between the eyes. Other than that, it was fine :barf:
I was never able to cure the ejection problem, so I sold it and never bought another one.

October 27, 2006, 12:05 AM
I forgot about the ejection on to top of head and between eyes thing! Very true!

October 27, 2006, 12:57 AM
The way to cure the ejection "problem" is to make sure your wrist is stiff.

October 27, 2006, 07:17 AM
I owned one and found it would shoot RN or HP equally well. The thumb safety fell off which seems fairly common as I saw one at a gun show a few years back with a similar repair (drill a tiny hole and super glue a cut off flat-head nail as a rivet). Anyway, was still shooting when I sold it. Would not have to buy another one-too many better choices out there in 9mm.

October 28, 2006, 12:25 AM
Just get a Kel-Tec P3AT if you want a .380 pocket gun.

October 28, 2006, 12:39 AM
Thanks, but I already own an NAA Guardian .380 and am very happy with that, although the web of my hand takes a beating at the range. And that's even with a padded glove. I just thought it might be a good deal, but the consensus here seems to say "pass".

Sir Aardvark
October 28, 2006, 01:38 AM
I have a .380 DAO and it's not bad. I would use it to defend my life with, but it most certainly would not be my first choice, and, I would never consider it for a carry weapon - its too heavy for its size, and will not feed winchester silver-tips.

I have had a couple of very minor problems with mine, but nothing dangerous or life threatening.

I took mine apart and smoothed everything as well as I could with some 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper and hone-stones; this helped a lot, but don't expect to improve its 14 pound plus trigger pull without cutting the mainspring - which is not really recommended.

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