AMT 380 Backup. Good Deal?


February 10, 2010, 05:11 PM
I know this is a generic question that will garner many different opinions but; I have a friend at work who can use a little money. He wants to sell me his AMT 380 Backup for $75. I know it works, because last year he asked me to do a cleaning on it and to test it out. He hasn't shot it since last summer, when I did the shooting. It went through 2 boxes of FMJ without a glitch.

It's relatively old.... possibly the last 80's. Don't know for sure. It's a Single Action only. I've looked on gunbroker for a price; saw them for about $300-$350??? Go figure??? I definitely wouldn't pay that kind of money for it. Especially for a caliber that costs a premium and is difficult to find. I've heard over the years from: 1) They suck really bad.... 2) They are really good..... 3) It's a hit or miss, all depends on which one it is. I don't normally go for the cheaper questionable guns except for experimenting. E.g. I've played with bryco, jimenez, davis, etc.... I won't own one. I've played with Hi-Point, and I trust it. But I don't know much/anything about the AMT.

I figure for $75, I'm helping someone out, and not really risking my money. The gun has to be worth at least $75???? What ya think?????

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February 10, 2010, 05:21 PM
If you know it works, it is easily worth more then $75 bucks.

Some of them didn't work so hot though.

Since you have already tested this one, what are you waiting for?


February 10, 2010, 05:32 PM
My uncle has one that I was able to inspect, but not fire. It seems like a solid firearm. I'd jump on it for $75! My uncle has a cool holster for it as well. It is like a bifold wallet that snaps around the gun and fits in your back pocket like a wallet. I think it will even fire inside the wallet holster (insert 007 sound here).

February 10, 2010, 10:42 PM
I'm not a big fan of the 380. Not because there's anything wrong with it; just that I've never needed such a round. I carry a 9mm Makarov the vast majority of the time. I also carry a 32acp; and some times a 45acp. I'm of the crowd that believes that shot placement is everything. After that, the bigger the hole, the more blood loss. The main reason I don't care too much for the 380, is because of the cost and availability of ammunition. But I am helping a friend out. So I'll probably go ahead and buy it.

It will probably sit in my safe and never get used. I'll probably tear it apart and give it a real good cleaning and lube. I'll test fire it to make sure it still shoots good. Then I'll probably never touch it again. I guess it could be good trading material at the next gun show. I can't believe that gunbroker's has these going for $350. Including a SAO like the one I'm picking up. So, for $75, I guess it's OK. Thanks for the input.

February 11, 2010, 08:14 AM
If it's a friend...I'd offer him a fair price, not take the $75 desperation price.

February 11, 2010, 09:50 AM
I appreciate the thoughts. "Desperation" price is not an accurate statement. I said he could "Use" some money. He has his projects, toys, etc... like most of us do. It's not like he "Needs" money to pay rent, food, etc... I'll give him the $75 for it, because that's what he's asking for it and I'm willing to pay that. We're older adults, 50's, not some young 20's with a wife and kids, and ignorant about money.

Anyway, thanks all for the comments. Seems like something worth picking up. If for no other reason than as an investment for my next toy. Thanks again.

February 11, 2010, 11:12 AM
it is worth picking up just for the novelty of owning an out of production gun. there is quite a history to the AMT/OMC company.

i'd pay $75 for it, just as i paid $50 for a Beretta was just cute

February 11, 2010, 12:33 PM
If it's a friend...I'd offer him a fair price, not take the $75 desperation price.

yep give him 76 and ask for any ammo he has in380.

I would buy at that price

February 11, 2010, 01:34 PM
Yea; I think his said he had a box of Winchester Silvertips. But personally, they are not my favorite ammo. They jam a lot in almost everything I've shot them in. I'll probably just shoot those for fun. With traditional blow back guns that I have that are small caliber, I prefer to use either Powerballs or Hornady Critical Defense. They give the best feeding of FMJ and the expansion of HP. But a free box of silvertips is definitely worthy of plinking with.

February 11, 2010, 01:43 PM
I had a 380 backup and got rid of it when it wouldn't go through a piece of tin when I shot it... the gun worked fine but I didn't like the caliber.. I own a 45 ACP back up and it works fine..
By the way, don't you mean DAO?

February 11, 2010, 02:52 PM
I had a .380 backup I bought new a few years ago, and sold it to a friend's wife a few years ago and wish I hadn't. Great little gun, really concealable, fired every single time.... $75.00 would be a steal! Buy it!!

February 11, 2010, 03:18 PM
I had a 380 backup and got rid of it when it wouldn't go through a piece of tin when I shot it... the gun worked fine but I didn't like the caliber.. I own a 45 ACP back up and it works fine..
By the way, don't you mean DAO?
No Jem, it's a SAO. It's single action. Not Double Action.

February 11, 2010, 03:56 PM
I've said it before but I'll say it again..."RUN, do not walk away from that gun."
Or send me the $75 and I'll send you a picture of one and a copy of some of the correspondence I had with one of its companies.

February 11, 2010, 04:37 PM
Mine sucks

February 11, 2010, 05:15 PM
Well, as I said, I shot it last year after doing a major cleaning on it for him. Went through a couple of boxes of ammo with any problems. Certain hp ammo I can imagine being a problem, but all in all I know it works. And while I do appreciate opinions, I tend to not pay much attention to extremes. Sort of like the olympics and throwing out the highest and lowest score. If someone said it was the greatest gun in the world, I would put that in the same category as the person who says to run as fast as I can away from such a gun. Because neither person is correct. No gun, meaning all of their pistols, are the greatest in the world. And none, meaning all of their guns, are the worst. Every gun manufacturer has some bad ones come through. Some more than others. The main consensus I've seen with the AMT backup 380 is that it's a hit or miss situation. If you get a hit, then it's a really good little gun. If you get a miss, then nothing you do to it can make it work right.

If I followed the "run away" opinion on guns, I don't think I'd own any guns. On this forum alone, you can find people who think glocks are the worst POS of all guns. Some think the SigSauer is a terrible gun. Same with just about every manufacturer. Of course, there's also the group that somehow thinks quality is directly proportionate to price. I.e. If it doesn't cost $400+ then it's junk.

Now, if those who don't like the AMT Backup 380 has some specifics about it that I should be aware of, then I'm definitely interested in your perspective. But I know first hand that this pistol operates satisfactorily. At least through the 2 boxes of ammo that I put it through. And obviously, some people must like them, if they are going for $250-$350 on gunbroker. "Assuming someone is buying them".

If I hear 10 negatives and no positives, I would reconsider. But there seems to be a more positive vs negative consensus. For $75, I help a friend who wants the cash, and I have a good chance of having a gun that I can find a use for or have as trading material at the next gun show. (I never sell guns to local dealers).

February 11, 2010, 08:48 PM
Xavier (also a moderator on THR) just posted on his blog regarding this gun. Here's a link:

February 11, 2010, 09:55 PM
Thanks for the link Sig. Seems that his report confirms generally what I've also found. It's a hit or miss. If you get one that's reliable, great. If not, you're screwed. I know this one shoots reliably. Other reports I've seen is also like what xavier discovered. The original SAO (Before it was AMT; also known as OMC, were indeed really unreliable. As well as later on, their DAO. Well, fortunately, this one is neither. It is a Single Action Only, but it is from later on in production and not the OMC line. And it doesn't have any of the DAO issues obviously.

If I had never shot it before, I'd be really concerned. I was looking to see if anyone mentioned slides breaking, firing pins breaking, ALL guns this or ALL guns that, type of situations. But it seems that the issues that people have had, are indeed isolated; and this one seems to fall into the 50/50 batch that did well.

A few months ago, when I originally was going to buy it, my friend mentioned that he had some feeding issues with the gun. That was one reason he wanted to part with it. But after I showed him why you shouldn't stagger stack a magazine with different types and brands of ammunition; as well as what a limp wrist is; he realized that the gun worked pretty good. "Also, the major cleaning and lube job didn't hurt". While he never really shot it much, it would sit in his safe for years upon years without cleaning or lube. Then he'd wonder why it didn't shoot too well 5 years later when he simply took it out and shot it. It took me 15 minutes to break it down, clean it, lube it, and put it back together. Not one jam.

Anyway, looks like I'll probably pick it up from him. It's not like it cost anything. I spent more than this on 200 rounds of .223 ammo yesterday. Thanks again for all the input.

February 11, 2010, 10:27 PM
You trust a Hipoint but doubt an AMT?......hmmmmmmmmmmm you must not be old enough to remember the 70s and 80s.....

February 11, 2010, 11:04 PM
I trust a hi-point because I bought one and tried it. Unlike many people who give opinions of guns they've never owned or shot. Other than the 2 boxes I put through this AMT, I know little to nothing about them. Hence the reason for asking questions. I believe that besides god and family, knowledge is the most important thing in the world. And you gain knowledge by asking questions and learning. And after I buy it, and have put a few hundred rounds through it; like I did the hi-point; I will be more able to express an opinion.

I guess I don't understand why you are trying to compare two totally unrelated principles here. Unless of course you're in the category of people who automatically think Hi-Point is crap? The difference between the 2 are quite obvious. Talk to all those who own or have shot Hi-Point, and you will find that the overwhelming 90%+ of people say it's a very reliable and dependable gun. From my limited research on the AMT, it appears that it's a 50/50 split on what people think.

As for my age; I'm "Probably" as old or older than you. I say "Probably" because I doubt there are many over 70 years old (They can't spell internet); or too many UNDER 15 years old. (They can't afford guns). So that leaves 15-70 yeas old. And I'm 50, so that puts me in the upper half. Again, never had an AMT. Heard of many; hardballer and such; but never had, owned, or shot one other than this one with a few rounds. So I prefer not to give opinions on something being good or junk unless I've own one.

February 12, 2010, 11:49 AM
Your post is an insult to all of us ( and we are legion)who are over 70. I have been shooting longer than you have been extant on this planet, you Twerp:cuss: Also, no matter how you deny it, you are taking advantage of a friend in need. The gun is worth much more than $75.00. Why don't reveal that fact to him and see if he still wants to let it go for that price...I would HATE to have "friends" like you. I definitely would not need any enemies.:fire:

February 12, 2010, 12:13 PM
hhersh wrote:
I'm 73 and CAN spell "internet"
Your post is an insult to all of us ( and we are legion)who are over 70. I have been shooting longer than you have been extant on this planet, you Twerp Also, no matter how you deny it, you are taking advantage of a friend in need. The gun is worth much more than $75.00. Why don't reveal that fact to him and see if he still wants to let it go for that price...I would HATE to have "friends" like you. I definitely would not need any enemies.

Dang, man lighten up. My Dad is 71 and although he can probably SPELL internet, he has never been online and has no concept of it. That said, he's one of the smartest people I've ever known. I think the OP was just making a joke, for crying out loud.

As for the ethics of buying a gun from a friend at a fraction of its worth, he said that the friend was ASKING only $75 for the gun, not that he made an OFFER to buy it at that low price. I'm thinking that the potential seller is a grown man. If he wants to sell his pistol on the cheap, I don't see how he's being taken advantage of if someone (friend or not) takes him up on the offer.

February 12, 2010, 12:13 PM
hhersh; if you can't handle some tounge-and-cheek humor, then you have other issues. There's no reason for you to be insulted, offended, or lose any sleep over such a comment. Just like if someone was to mention something along the lines of: "I've been using the internet before Al Gore invented it". That is not a slam on democrats who voted and supported him. It's called humor. For someone 73 years old, one would think you'd be over such emotional things by now. It's humor, get over it.

As for my "Friend"; you have absolutely no idea who I am, who he is, our relationship, or anything else. So, for you to get all "Holier than thou" and say that I'm taking advantage of him, is ignorant. You have no idea, so please don't pretend that you have some moral position or answer here. You don't.

For what it's worth, not that it's any of your business, both he and I are financially "well off". There isn't a pistol or rifle on the market that we couldn't buy if we wanted to; and it wouldn't affect our standard of living one bit. Matter of fact, we could buy such a gun and probably go months without even balancing our check book and not even realize the money was gone. Now, part of the reason both of us are so financially well off, besides working our butts off for so long, is that we don't just "waste" money. As I mentioned earlier, he simply has a "Toy" that he's had for a long time that he no longer cares for. He just wants to unload it and use the money towards another "Toy". I'm sorry that for some of us, money is not an issue. I (we) are not millionaire status in cash. Probably in assets. But we do OK. I probably shouldn't have even mentioned the going price. However, I know that someone would have brought it up when I asked around if it was worth buying. They would have asked "How much".

So, don't worry your little self about how much I am buying it for. That's not your problem. And if you are still "offended" by my sense of humor mentioning that people over 70 years old aren't normally involved with the internet; then accept my apology as not intending it to hurt your feelings. I didn't honestly think that someone would take such a comment so personally.

Anyway; thanks to the others for letting me know what you think of the weapon.

P.S. FWIW; I recently sold a 16' Glastron Fiberglass boat, with an 850 mercury motor, and trailer, in EXCELLENT condition, worth quite a bit, to a co-worker for $1,000. Why? Because I didn't need it or use it, and I knew that he and his kids would have a blast with it and they always wanted a boat. And in the breath, I had another friend sell my son a Brian Moore electric guitar; worth about $1200, for a total of $150. That included the hard case. Why? Because he had more guitars than he needed; my son was really getting into playing it; and he wanted to help out a young kid starting out. Maybe some of us don't see money the same as others. I was born extremely poor. I didn't know anyone poorer than me and my family. And I "KNOW" what things my mom did to put food on our table when it was just her, me, and my younger sister. So today, I have a great and different appreciation for money, wealth, and happiness.

February 12, 2010, 12:22 PM
I would buy the gun and not look back, I have the Hi-Point carbine and people who down play Hi-Points obviously haven't shot it... My AMT back up 45 shoots very good with all ammo I put in it...

February 12, 2010, 01:19 PM
I apparantly got in on the lucky 50%. Got one of the first ones to come out and had it for many years. Not an EDC but I've shot it a moderate amount, only with FMJ's and silvertips. Never a malfunction or FTF. It has worked well in adverse conditions (thrown out of a canoe while in a fanny pack) and when anything else was a burden or at risk of loss. I have seen a lot of the complaints about the piece but never felt uneasy about having it around.

February 12, 2010, 01:39 PM
I have one of the good ones as well. It's 19 ounces of solid stainless steel. I've had it since the '80's (is there a serial # database to check age?)

Mine has never had a failure to fire, feed or eject. That is until I finally decided to figure out how to field strip and clean it after 25 years (thank you, youtube ( It jammed because I over lubricated it with Hoppes oil. I re-lubed it lightly with white lithium grease and it has resumed it's former reliability.

February 12, 2010, 04:53 PM
Extant? Lighten up!

February 12, 2010, 05:26 PM
when it comes to AMT I don't joke of fool around. So try this phrase from Wikipedia in reference to Arcadia Machine & Tool aka AMT. "plagued by quality and reliability problems the company went bankrupt and ......."
I only rendered a opinion on the gun, not your decision. It seems like you want it so by all means buy it, and don't get in a harangue about the age of people who offer comments.
By the way I have a 9mm Hi Point carbine, and it's a blast.

February 12, 2010, 07:06 PM
I have two of the DAO"S and they've been very reliable. I had an SAO and it was very unreliable. Alot of galling along the interior of the slide.

February 12, 2010, 11:11 PM
verdun; you obviously haven't been reading my questions and my responses. But I can say, that if your 1st response to my thread had been as thought out as the one you just wrote, instead of an extremist comment, I would have probably respected your opinion much more.

In your recent comment, you quote wiki(Which generally is about as reliable as 3rd person hearsay); but at least it's a source. And you mention the company going bankrupt. And you now have rendered an opinion. For that; I do respect it.

On your first comment, you in NO WAY "Rendered an opinion" on the gun.... NO, you DIDN'T. You simply said: "Run, don't walk" or something similar to that. or send you the money. Sorry, that's not an opinion. That's an emotional extremist remark. And right after that comment, I responded that I would treat the other extreme with the same level of respect. If a person simply jumped in and said AMT were the best guns ever built. Again, that's an extremist remark, and NOT an opinion.

FWIW: I totally respect you 2nd, most recent comment. The first one, I totally discarded. As for age, again, if you read the posts, I am not the one who brought up age. I was told that obviously I am not old enough to remember the 70's. I was simply responding. So please, if you want to jump back, which is cool, at least get your facts straight. I love a good debate. But if you're going to disagree with my comments, make it because they're mine and not stuff other said or implied. Thanks again though for your recent comment. That is information that contributes to the topic.

February 24, 2010, 01:40 PM
Update: I was able to get the gun from my friend, and he still wanted to sell it to me. So I said OK. We originally agreed on the $75 that I mentioned in the original post. But he found a 2nd magazine as well as some other accessories. So I just rounded off the offer and gave him $100 for it. He knows he could have gotten more for it if he went out trying to sell it. But he's ok with this, so, so am I. And I have fired this pistol last fall; about 2 boxes of ammo. No issues with it whatsoever. So I guess I'll find a use for it. Thanks for all the opinions. Seriously; pro and con; I do appreciate opinions and people's experience with weapons I ask about. First hand experience/knowledge is about the best information there is. And being the consensus among most people is that the AMT is a "Hit or Miss" and that some operate great, and some not.... I have to believe from my limited experience shooting this one, that I got one of the "Hits".

I looked at the manufacturer location, it's a SAO as I mentioned, and it's made in Covina California. Not sure if that helps determine if AMT was in their "Good" period or "Bad" period of production. I'll definitely shoot at least 250-300 rounds through it before I determine it reliable enough for some form of protection. Thanks again....

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