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American Tactical Imports MS380 pistol review

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by chemist, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    This is a brand-new offering from American Tactical Imports, a Turkish company that has gained a good rep for its affordable copies of well-regarded rifles. Their 1911’s have also established a strong position in a crowded market, but this double-stack .380 ACP represents a new direction for them: it’s a near-exact copy of the Beretta 84 Cheetah, even accepting the same magazines.

    The aluminum alloy-framed MS380 accepts 12+1 rounds of .380 and launches them from a locked breech through a 3.9” barrel. Its mass empty is 660g. or almost 24 oz. - This is no lightweight pocket gun, but it’s no steel-framed 1911 either.

    Including a total of three mags, shipping, and the NICS check, my brand-new MS380 cost $378 OTD from Little Bear Guns in Hillsboro OR. For those of you who never talked to Richard Wilson of Little Bear, I highly recommend him and his home-based company without reservation.

    Please, save your .380-vs.-9mm debating skills for another one of the hundred threads on the subject. Personally, I keep .380 for a BUG or for a deep concealment, and because the wife shoots it so darned well. Nine is fine, but it ain’t mine.

    Here’s a link to a YouTube vid I posted about the gun, including field-stripping it and subsequently busting its cherry at Salmonberry Road.
    American Tactical Imports ATI MS380 pistol review - YouTube
    This is the only hi-cap .380 that I own, so it fills a niche in the same way that my Glock 21SF complements my Glock 36 CCW.

    Besides, it’s just plain fun to break in a new gun, especially one that’s so easy and forgiving to shoot as this long-barreled, heavy-metal popgun. The long barrel of the MS380 squeezes the most velocity possible out of the .380 cartridge, and 13 rounds of anything ought to get your attention.

    I started the fun with a load of the most radical hollowpoints I have: some ancient Winchester Silvertips that were famed for their expansion, but suffered from poor penetration. Sure enough, a whole mag dump through the virgin gun went off without a hitch. Nothing else I shoot is as likely to FTF as Silvertips, and you know it’s great way to get rid of old ammo that isn’t trustworthy on anything bigger than a ‘coon.

    Then came the FMJ range ammo, including four full mags of corroded Sako that was old enough to be President. Once again, they all fed, fired on the first strike, and ejected cleanly, even the ones that had nasty green spots all over the cases. In contrast, the Bersa Thunder took two strikes on some of them, and once it took three - but they all fired eventually. This lousy Sako ammo turned out to be a good way to separate the sheep from the goats, as it were. None of the other, newer ammo took multiple strikes to fire.
    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: This is a DA/SA gun with a frame-mounted ambi thumb safety, not a decocker, so you can carry cocked & locked if that’s your thing. The safety can be engaged when the gun is not cocked too, preventing the trigger from working, the hammer from cocking, and the slide from moving. The DA/SA mechanism also has the advantage of giving you a second try at striking any round that fails to fire just by pulling the trigger again.

    Stripping it after about 75 rounds showed no significant wear to the black oxide finish at any of the internal contact points, but some of the corners inside the slide were starting to get shined up. After a mop and a brush, its insides were immaculate again and good to go. All in all, there was nothing particularly dramatic to report about the function of the ATI MS380 or any of its three mags - the POI lined up a little high, but it worked without a hiccup and was easy to keep on target during rapid fire. Rock on!

    Notes added in proof:
    After the first run, it’s apparent that there a few rough spots on this gun. First, the front sight is not removable, although the back one is, so you can forget about installing tritium sights. Second, for some inexplicable reason the rear sight of this two-dot (“dotted -i”) system isn’t centered in the notch; the white spot is clearly off to the right of the dovetail center. And finally, one of the mags has an untrimmed mold sprue on the pinky-rest base plate which needs sanding before it can be used comfortably.

    Other than those flaws, the MS380 has great ergonomics and functions flawlessly. With some dismay I admit that the Beretta-like look of this gun makes my Glocks seem downright homely by comparison. This ATI is sleek, it’s a heckuva lot easier to shoot accurately than my Glock 36, and it operates at 100%, right out of the box.
     
    Gunfan and (deleted member) like this.
  2. HenryJ

    HenryJ Eastern Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Thanks for the review. I'll have to watch for one of those.
     
  3. wyattburp

    wyattburp Beaverton Member

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    Nice review! Thanks, now I want another .380 :)
     
  4. keller65

    keller65 Floirda New Member

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    Doesn't sound like the MS 380 I purchased NEW. This thing jammed after the second or third round. Tried using different ammo, same results. ATI customer service is worthless.
    Would never trust this weapon as a carry piece. It now sits on my desk as a paperweight. i would feel guilty selling it to anyone.
     
  5. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    Wow, that's horrendous. I was told by Richard Wilson that if I had a problem with it, they'd replace it rather than repair it. And they refused to service yours?
    So, did it FTF, or did something break internally?
    When did you buy it, and from whom?

    The reason I started my test with Win SilverTips is because they've failed to feed in another of my .380's, and I never loaded them up again for the next 20 yrs. But I couldn't get my MS380 to act up - I was expecting a FTE at least from that corroded old Sako, but no drama.
     
  6. coctailer

    coctailer Portland, OR/Hastings, MI/Vancouver,WA I run with scissors.

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    ATI has OUTSTANDING customer service.
     
  7. nforest

    nforest Eugene, OR & Costa Rica Active Member

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    nice review!
     
  8. EMP9596

    EMP9596 Two Trees West of Camas, WA. Active Member

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    +1, Thanks.
     
  9. nubus

    nubus Guest

    He must work for the competition..

    Nice review Chemist! Very detailed.
    It's easy to complain about a bad situation.
    I really appreciate when someone takes this much effort to relay a good experience.
     
  10. Nutty4Guns

    Nutty4Guns Portland ADHD Superstar

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    That's exactly what I was thinking. The first three letters of his member name are a dead giveaway. And he's from Florida? Coincidence? I think not.
     
  11. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    What tipped me is it's his first and only post.
     
  12. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    This guy keller65 has now registered on The High Road just so he could repeat his same negative claims about ATI and the MS380 over on that forum:
    ATI MS 380 Problem - THR
    He has a grand total of two posts over there - which is twice as many as he has here!

    I registered over there just to warn them about him.
     
    aksu747 and (deleted member) like this.
  13. Westcoastmountainman

    Westcoastmountainman Grants Pass Oregon Member

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    Well I can tell you that every company has people on their pay roll just to make other companies and their products seem bogus, while making an effort to increase the sales of their own employers products. Look at hi-point for example. Granted they are not the best looking and can fail from time to time. Name on gun that doesnt have the same reputation,or history. My Savage 110(7mm mag) has had bad reviews. Either by people who have no freaking clue as to what they are talking about, or just talking crap for what ever reason such as a competition. I have made the claim for years that my savage has the same accuracy as a browning a-bolt, or a Remington 700. I even went as far as proving it to my best friend who owned a custom made Remington, built by his grandfather. Lets just say I didnt have to buy lunch for a while. I have fired hi-points, Colt 1911's, Ruger 9mm, and 45's. I even seen a glock fail at a local range(meford oregon) Anything man made can and will fail and or break at anytime. And by the same token, there will always be people who are 1. brand name snobs, aka elitists, 2. Professional Bs'ers, 3. or all of the above. This is a common thing. Car companies do it with their commercials, radio and news paper ads. this is just what goes on. Keller must have thought ATI as crap because its made with real metal and not injection molded plastic held together obvious screws. I dont mind certain products from kel-tec such as the pf9. Light weight, affordable, conceal able... whats not to like. but I like a little weight. Lets me know that there is something there. I had a makarov chambered in the 380 acp. I wish I still had it because it was well balanced and carried nicely. And from what I have read and seen about the same weight at the ati with a little longer barrel. The 380s need a longer barrel in my honest opinion. I want the most energy out of that little round. and with a barrel of 3.5'' and longer we start seeing more energy and deeper penetration, with wider expansions that come with the increase of barrel length. Its not just a theory, take the .22lr for example. Take a .22lr pistol and a rifle(of your choice) and shoot some wet pack(cheap and easy to make). I know it is not very scientific, but it proves a point. A longer barrel will allow more energy, deeper penetration, and greater expansion, as well increased accuracy. When I look for a rifle, I look for a full size barrel. I want the pipe longer. Its the same for a pistol.That is why I do not want to own a mouse gun of any kind, for my own personal reasons. My wife can own one if she wants one.

    I am just different I suppose. Your mileage may very. as will your own opinions.

    West coast mountain man.
     
  14. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    Agreed on all counts, Mountain Man. The really bad thing is when the shills are on the government payroll, spending their days hyping public programs on the forums. They all do it, but sometimes it's so bad that it gets just plain ridiculous. Remember the case of Sarah Palin creating multiple screen names so she could have a conversation with herself? Now that's modern perception management! Not to pick on her - too easy a target anyway - but the Slick Willy types are way too sophisticated to get caught in those traps.
     
  15. nautox

    nautox Kirkland, WA Member

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    I bought a Taurus PT845 6 months ago and came across the same thing. Some one-post-wonder named djy71280 posting the exact same story word for word how worthless it was and so on. I googled " PT845 The very first time I went out to shoot it, the gun did not fire. Talk about disappointed " and there was at least half a dozen different forums that pulled up. Whatever, I still think its a decent gun for the $
     
  16. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    Nobody squawks when they're happy with their purchase - you might be inclined to say nothing until you hear somebody badmouthing some product that you've been satisfied with. So who knows, maybe it really is a dissatisfied but legitimate customer - or it could be a paid troll.

    Taurus sells lots of guns. I don't own one so my opinion is worth exactly what it costs - nada. Their wheelguns do have a pretty good rep, though.
     
  17. Gunfan

    Gunfan Vancouver Member

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    I am inclined to agree. This is why Beretta made their Model 100 (in .32 ACP) with a 6" barrel. It worked very well, and permitted the warmer European .32 loads perform.

    Scott