Trade my AMT Backup .45 for ???


Andy Stedman
June 23, 2003, 11:28 AM
I have an AMT Backup DAO .45 in stainless which I bought new in about '96. It has under 100 rounds through it. A police officer friend tells me it's quite a desirable gun and worth $500+. I searched on the web, looked on AuctionArms, and couldn't find anything to back this up. Anyone?

Anyhow, this got me to thinking that I might like to trade it for something. I like the size of the AMT, but anyone who has shot one knows about the trigger pull. You know those nightmares where you're running and running but you seem to be staying in the same place? Well, I have had nightmares where I need to shoot something but I can't... quite... pull... the... trigger. Also, the AMT does NOT like hollow point ammo. At all. It has no sights, just a groove, so aiming is a bit dicey.

I would like recommendations on what I could trade into within $100 or so of what the AMT is worth. I already have a 9mm pistol, so I am looking in something in 10mm, .45, or 40 S&W. I want something compact, reliable, and rustproof (stainless, polymer, etc.) I am willing to consider revolvers, but would prefer to have at least 7-8 rounds which skews my preferences towards autos.

Looking at the various magazines' "buyers guides" if it indicates a pistol has a stainless slide, can I assume it has stainless barrel and guts, or would they put a stainless slide on a gun with rustable guts?



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June 23, 2003, 02:19 PM
Don't want to be the one to pop your balloon, but I seriously doubt that you will find anyone willing to give you anything near that sum for your DAO .45.

The current edition of Krause's "Standard Catalog of Firearms" gives an estimated value for one in NIB condition as $300, Ex. at $250. This appears to be pretty much in-line with what I've seen in my area. Since a dealer will need to factor-in some profit for himself, I'd be surprised if one would offer you much more than $200 on it in a trade. YMMV, as anything is really worth only what you can find someone willing to give you for it on any given day.

The manual that came with my DAO .45 recommends 230 ball of GI spec. My particular specimen feeds Federal Hydra Shok and PD HPs, but may well be an exception to the general rule. Personally, I don't have a problem with .45 ball in a defensive sidearm, especially one designed for use at very close quarters.

The very heavy DAO pull is the unfortunate product of both the geometry and the physics involved in getting a high level of functional reliability with a powerful cartridge into a package this small. Some judicious work by a skilled pistolsmith familiar with the design can make some marked improvement, but no miracles.

The Back Up was designed to be used to deal with imminent threats at very close range as quickly and decisively as possible. The grooved slide is perfectly adequate to index the weapon on its intended target with reasonable accuracy in those conditions. With some practice, I've been able to learn to place all six rounds into the "A" zone of an IDPA target rapidly out to 10 yds.

Again, this is a matter that can be addressed by a good pistolsmith with some ingenuity to mount some sort of tritium or fiber optic device if you wish.

Given what you're realistically liable to get for your DAO, finding a replacement of similar size, power, and build quality within $100 difference will be very tough. There are damn few candidates to begin with, and almost all of them retail for much more than the AMT when new. Demand for large caliber compact and sub-compact defensive pistols in the used market means that good specimens can usually command a sizable chunk of what a new one does. If your state allows private-sale transfers, your best bet is to try and find a cash buyer or swap rather than trading with a dealer, IMHO. You're more likely to be looking at less cash out-of-pocket on the deal either way.

Good Luck with your quest.

June 23, 2003, 02:30 PM
No way is an AMT piece of crap worth $500---if he's offering that to you--take it---then go run and hide for when comes looking for you.

After that---one of the mini Glocks might be what you are looking for.

Andy Stedman
June 23, 2003, 02:37 PM
Don't worry, mainmech48, there is no bubble to burst. $500 sounded pretty out of line to me, too. I paid $329 plus tax.

I can get all 6 on the paper at 10 yards pretty rapidly, but not in the 'A' Zone. If it were more pleasurable to shoot, I might practice more. With such a stiff trigger, I'm pretty much done after 15 rounds (throbbing forearm). I don't find the kick unmanageable, at least.

Hydra shocks feed better than some of the hollow points I've tried, but still mis-feed about 1 in 10, so I keep it loaded with FMJ. I wouldn't mind trying some EFMJ if anyone could tell me where I can buy them online. The gun shops around here have never heard of them.

Still, anyone have recommendations for a quality stainless pistol in >9mm that I might find in the $400 range (new or slightly used?)


June 23, 2003, 04:00 PM
For what you're looking for, I'd recommend a pre-owned Glock in a 29, 30 or 36.

Gordy Wesen
June 23, 2003, 11:09 PM
I liked my AMT. I could put all my shots in a 12" circle at 25 yards and it fed everything except the old 200g flying ashtrays. Why not have a smith slick it up and keep it?

Andy Stedman
June 24, 2003, 08:47 AM
Thanks, Gordy. I'm considering that, but have never had anything like that done. What should a competent gunsmith charge to polish up the trigger action and feed ramp?


June 24, 2003, 10:02 AM
Pointing out the painfully obvious----but a 12in group at 25yds--ain't good shootin.

Be it the shooter just needing more practice---or needing a better gun---something in that equation needs to change.

June 24, 2003, 10:11 AM
A 12 inch group at 25 yards = one dead bad guy. How is that bad shooting?
Keep the AMT. I have been carrying one for years and can put a round anywhere needed handily.


June 24, 2003, 11:15 AM
A steyr S40 40 cal...I think they can be had for 339 at CDNN investments...

I nice compact handgun, a nice big caliber, and a little bitty price.

Sean Smith
June 24, 2003, 12:17 PM
Not to be a jerk to anybody, but 12" at 25 yards is pretty bad. Not that I haven't shot that badly myself. But if that's the best you can do under no stress at all, you aren't going to hit anything if you have to.

Talking about just the gun's mechanical capability, 3" at 25 yards is decent, and 1.5" or less is darn good. 0.75 is do-able but usually expensive to get to. Group size is additive on average, so a 6"-capable shooter + a 6"-capable gun = 12" groups (on average over the long haul).

June 24, 2003, 12:30 PM
I'll politely disagree with the 12" @ 25yds deal and leave it at that.


June 24, 2003, 12:38 PM
That kind of accuracy would be acceptable for a belly gun---ie.. point blank in the belly--probably in a bar fight----but not acceptable for anything else.

Closer to how it would more likely be used---across your living room---low light---you're half asleep and under stress---NO dead bad guy----heck your groups are now probably more like 24inches now.

What?? now they have your wife as hostage/sheild----ooppps sorry dear ---don't worry about that extra hole in your head from my uber-accurate AMT piece of crap.

June 24, 2003, 12:47 PM
Since I don't carry my uber-accurate AMT in the living room, OR use it for home defense, I doubt it would ever be used to put a hole in my wifes head. Therefore, I wouldn't need to apologize to her.

Andrew Wyatt
June 24, 2003, 12:59 PM
while there is room for improvement, a 12 inch 25 yard group is adequite for self defense. at 7 yards, that's four inches or so.

Sean Smith
June 24, 2003, 01:07 PM
Trade my AMT Backup .45 for ???

Getting on topic, as somebody who has put about 200 rounds and counting through an AMT, I'd say "pretty much anything."

In total fairness, the AMT Hardballer I'm shooting now has been 100% reliable with S&B ball ammo and has decent accuracy. A friend loaned it to me until I get my Colt back from Ted Yost. However, I've seen many of them in action in other people's hands, and most were jam-o-matics that were prone to sudden major part failures. Even the ones that work are almost unbearably crude in every respect. CZs and Rugers are much better bargain guns nowadays.

June 24, 2003, 01:28 PM
Andy: One option for custom work on your AMT DAO .45 would be Alan Tanaka, dba "AT Custom Gunworks" out in the PRK. I've seen and briefly handled one he did for a local LEO and was impressed. My best guess from memory is that the pull weight had been reduced by about 30% and was very smooth. He had also managed to make a tritium insert front sight look like it grew there. I have no idea of what the cost was, as I didn't think to ask at the time.

He hasn't a web site, but will send you a brochure on request. His ad in "American Handgunner " lists contact info as:

17924 South Hobart Blvd.
Gardena, CA 90248
(310) 327-2721 (310) 327-4641 (fax)

I'm sure that there are several others who can do the job for you. A trip to the American Pistolsmiths Guild web site will give you a list of people in your area, and a few 'phone calls should sort out costs, etc.

June 24, 2003, 02:16 PM
My dad has one of these guns and I have shot it. Other than the heavy DA trigger, I think it is a pretty good gun. It has never jammed on me or my dad and he carries it in his pocket with change, lint and keys.

It is not bad for accuracy out of such a small gun either. I think it is the smallest .45 auto on the market. Price around here is about $300 give or take $50.

Kahr has a .40 pistol that is selling for about $350 online and it is about the same size and weight as the AMT, give it a look.

Gordy Wesen
June 24, 2003, 04:14 PM
Easily putting several mags onto a pie plate at 25 yards with an AMT ain't bad. Don't forget what the gun is, what the sights is and what its niche is. I sold it to a fisherman who likes it alot.
Indeed a pre-owned Glock 36 would be a better one and I like it alot...especially the one with the new extractor.
Heck, with it I can easily put all my shots on a pie plate at 25 yards.:)

June 24, 2003, 04:36 PM
I spur the RAP (Republic Arms Pistol) proponents on by suggestion that you take a look at them. 9mm single stack in all steel. I'm sure others can fill in the details. Price is around $210-225 + ship.


June 25, 2003, 01:08 AM
Ill second and third the rap any day of the week.

June 25, 2003, 06:37 PM
I have an AMT .45 acp Backup that I've been carrying in a body armor holster for 20 years. It has probably been fired less than 1000 times but it has never failed, not one single time! It isn't particularly accurate but h*ll, it doesn't even have sights! That ought to tell you something about its intended purpose.

Know the purpose and limitations of your equipment.

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