Colt Government Model .380


April 20, 2008, 10:01 PM
Saw one of these today for the first time at a gun show and was able to handle it. I very much like this little gun but know next to nothing about it. I think I liked it so much because it is essentially a mini-me to my Colt Defender. The few things I learned today was that it breaks down exactly like a 1911, and it was expensive! So who can tell me more? Do companies make grips, and other 1911 type upgrades (i.e., commander style hammer)? Am I crazy to buy an expensive .380?

Pictures would make this thread much more attractive.

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April 20, 2008, 11:29 PM
Well their not made any more and going up faster than gold. Grips and mags are easy to find. C&S used to do custom work on them.
I have mustang Its smaller and a few other changes. Their not a target pistol but at SD rnge accurate enough. For a 380 very soft recoil.

Mustangs had a weak mag release spring and aftermarket wasn' t better . But their is a cure .

The Tourist
April 21, 2008, 12:37 AM
I just posted mine a few days ago, but here it is again. It's a very nice pistol.

BTW, Terry told me he hates working on the things. When I had mine done, he told me that he had only done two of them. Mine, which is stainless, and one for his wife which is hard chromed to look the same. She had seen mine and wanted it.

April 21, 2008, 01:03 AM
I've held one and honestly I could really see it as a different route to go in the subcompact arena.

My only hesitation is that for roughly the same size I can get the same trigger pull and a grip safety out of a 3" 1911 in an arguably more effective calibre. Although I've never seen what I'd really think would be an nifty SD gun, a 3 1/4" 1911 with a DW bobtail in .38 super

April 21, 2008, 06:34 PM
MICHAEL_T - Thanks for the info!

Nice Colt Tourist! Thanks for the picture!

LawofThirds - I agree with you to a point. But since I already have two 3" 1911s and daily carry one of them, I'm very interested in this gun just because of what it is. I would love to see a micro with a bobtail!

The Tourist
April 21, 2008, 07:34 PM
Nice Colt Tourist! Thanks for the picture!

It's actually a terrible picture. All of the edges are "buttered," and the flat surfaces are straight and true. The picture makes the junction of the frame to the slide look rough. It is actually microscopic bits of dust caught in the lubrication. There are no cosmetic marks at all.

The grips are not snow white. They actually have a nice yellow patina, much like real ivory. They are just older model Ajax grips. Because of the distinct feel and look people ask if they are really ivory.

At the rear right side of the slide (behind the cocking serrations), it appears to be stark and flat. It actually has Terry's custom logo.

I wish you could see the real thing.

April 21, 2008, 08:46 PM
The Colt Gov't 380, Mustang, and Mustang Plus II are all somewhat similar except for grip and barrel lengths. They really aren't a "mini 1911" because the safety does not lock the slide and there is no grip safety. You can unload one of these with the safety on. Because they aren't made anymore, some parts are difficult to find. Nice little guns though. I have a Mustang Plus II (shorter barrel but same grip).

ETA: Cylinder and Slide in Fremont NE used to do a good custom job on these. Probably still do.

Am I crazy to buy an expensive .380? that isn't made anymore.

IMHO Yes. Yes you are. :)

April 21, 2008, 08:58 PM
I'd love a government. I have a little Mustang Pocketlite that my Daughter likes because it is easy to cycle. A government model would fit her better though.

I love the fact you can get Novak sights for the little Colt autos.

April 21, 2008, 09:03 PM
The Colt Mustangs were neat little guns, and big sellers... until Colt got sued for using someone else's patent I believe and discontinued them.

But I'd love to have one.

April 21, 2008, 09:12 PM

I believe you're thinking of the Colt Pocket Nine, which was supposedly withdrawn from production because of a possible lawsuit from Kahr.

Actually I would love for someone to begin production again of the Colt .380s, especially the Pony DAO model.

April 21, 2008, 09:24 PM
I had one. It was the second least reliable gun I have ever owned. (the first being a S&W 2214).

April 21, 2008, 09:30 PM
I picked up two of them up before the price started going thru the roof. They are really nice pistols. I put Pachmayr grips on mine and left the stock grips on the GF's. They are nice shooting guns and a real easy carry pistol. I think I read that the last production was in 1984.

Don't know what they wanted for the one you looked at but I've seen them selling for over $700.00.


April 21, 2008, 09:49 PM
Here's the Mustang +2 model, same grips as Gvt380. shorter barrel.

April 21, 2008, 10:02 PM
If anyone is interested in swapping their Government model for my Mustang pocketlite, drop me a PM. My daughter wants a longer grip.

Here's the rundown:
Very good condition. Wear around the muzzle at the corners.
Novak sights
Scot McDougal Steel Guide Rod
Scot McDougal Aluminum Trigger
Wolff Springs
EGW Aluminum Magazine BumprPads
Original parts (except sights) included
Ted Blocker pocket holster

Looking for a Colt Government Model in 380.

April 21, 2008, 11:03 PM
I have both a Mustang Plus II and a Government model .380, I couldn't tolerate the cheap plastic triggers so made a run of 100 in 416 stainless, I have 76 left for sale.

The triggers being machined on a 3 axis CNC lathe;

The trigger face serrations being machined on a 2 axis CNC lathe;

April 22, 2008, 01:49 PM
I carry a .380 Gov't Pocketlite.
No way a 3 inch 1911 is close to the same size or weight.
My wife carries a Mustang Pocketlite.
Nice little guns, easy to shoot, easy to carry.

The Mustang had some issues that were ammo related but as long as I steer clear of Remington cheap hollowpoints 88gr from Wally World, it runs like a champ.

That ammo was just plain BAD.

Peter M. Eick
April 22, 2008, 06:52 PM

Here are my little 380's. I love the gov 380 and wish they still made it. Good gun, just not one to shoot a ton. Mine has fitting issues so I am slowly beating it apart as I shoot it.

August 13, 2009, 09:34 AM
I would like more info on the SS trigger for my LNIB Colt .380. I, too, dislike the plastic one.....

August 13, 2009, 12:03 PM
I had a stainless govt. that was customized by Scott / McDougal (IIRC), It was nice, but I didn't really feel safe carrying it with one in the chamber. It lacks some of the built in safety that the 1911 has.

I really wish I still had it, but some enterprising thief decided he needed it more than I did.

August 13, 2009, 12:26 PM
My only hesitation is that for roughly the same size I can get the same trigger pull and a grip safety out of a 3" 1911

A Colt .380 is much smaller than a 3" 1911. I've got both, a Gov't .380 and a Colt New Aget and the New Agent is HUGE in comparison. It DOES however shoot a somewhat more effective cartridge in the unusual .45 acp.

I don't have a photo of the two together but the little group is a Colt CCO (Commander slide on Officer frame, a Kimber 4" Compact Custom Series I, and the New Agent previously mentioned. The 3.5" Colt isn't all that much smaller than a 4" or 4.25" 1911 and the .380 is much slimmer and much easier to conceal/carry.

My biggest problem with the .380 is that there aren't any parts for it to speak of so if it should break it'll be junk. I've got four magazines for it and it shoots fine but it weirds me out to shoot it because of how high the prices have gotten. I paid $150. for it and it's really only worth about $250. today. But I can sell it for $800.? That's just stupid collectoring. Idiots.

Those are Spegel grips on the .380 - I saw them and couldn't resist even at $75. They're soo pretty in person. My photos are garbage here.

August 13, 2009, 02:07 PM
As an aside, I have read that the mustang magazines are interchangeable with the new sig's.

I had a chance to fondle one of the new sigs (P238) at the range yesterday; both the two tone (nice) and the black with the thin rosewood grips and night sights. Now *that* gun is one I am going to save up my pennies for.

Perhaps not as sleek and good looking as any of the colts, it nonetheless remains both well-built and available:

August 13, 2009, 03:00 PM
Those ARE kinda' nice! Weird that Sig did that with the 232 still in the lineup.........or is it a sign of something?

Did I see something about a recall on the 238 already? I wasn't paying attention because it wasn't on the 226, 220, or 232 which are all the Sigs I have.

August 14, 2009, 03:10 AM
Yeah, the recall sort of came and went. It was a good one, though, check the sticky at the top of the autoloaders page for the gory details:


The 238 is a bit different mission than the 232, in my best guess of it. I'd expect them both to be around for a while. The 232 is, of course, the classic (reborn) and the 238 seems (to me) to be Sig's take on the mini 380 class. I personally like it a lot more than the similar-sized, 2 finger grip, polymer, bic disposable-type 380s from 2 other companies that were in the case with it... ;) ;)

August 14, 2009, 03:19 AM
by the way, that's an odd signature line. You related to julius ceasar, or smokey the bear?


August 15, 2009, 10:12 AM
love 'em
I wear mine, bought many years ago for $300, like NIB

son-in-law found one in excellent condition about a year ago at gun show for $300 (a "steal deal", color me envious)
he wears his, too

have only seen one other at a gun show, they wanted $750 for it, I walked away, of course
have seen only rarely any on gunbroker, about that price :(

August 15, 2009, 10:21 AM
I need one.

While the whole story is not worth repeating now, I have a blue .380GM in which the barrel has been modified to accept a machined one-piece compensator-and-bull-bushing-sleeve.

The base package is LNIB, and I'd like to get it running again.

either PM or e-mail me if you know of one.

Jim H.

August 15, 2009, 11:48 AM
by the way, that's an odd signature line. You related to julius ceasar, or smokey the bear?

LOL! Why would it have to be one of those two fine gentlemen, and not the president of the National Institute of Medicine?

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