Colt Mustang XSP .380 ACP – Range Report

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By Duane A. Daiker
http://www.coltsmfg.com/Catalog/ColtPistols/Colt380Mustang®.aspx

The XSP’s slide and barrel are machined from stainless steel with a black diamond-like carbon finish. Note the tiny rail on the dust cover that will undoubtedly accommodate a weapon light or laser in the future.

The XSP’s slide and barrel are machined from stainless steel with a black diamond-like carbon finish. Note the tiny rail on the dust cover that will undoubtedly accommodate a weapon light or laser in the future.

In 1982, Colt introduced the Mustang—a lightweight, single-action .380 ACP with a design very similar to the Colt 1911. The Mustang was an instant classic and was extremely popular as a back-up or off-duty gun for law enforcement officers. For a long time, it was hard to even find one to purchase. Colt produced the Mustang in a number of different versions before ultimately discontinuing it in the late nineties, when the company shifted its focus to military sales. As the demand for small, concealed-carry guns has skyrocketed in recent years, the market for used Mustangs has been very strong. Many of us have wondered over the past decade—why doesn’t Colt bring back the Mustang? Then in 2012, after a long hiatus, the Mustang officially rejoined the Colt stable. The new Mustang Pocketlight was an alloy-frame Mustang that revived the model line. The new Pocketlight met with rave reviews, but Colt did not rest on the old-school design. In 2013, Colt innovated with the new Mustang XSP—a polymer-framed version of the classic Mustang .380 auto-pistol.

At first glance, the XSP closely resembles the original Colt Mustang. The pistol is small—only about 5.5 inches long and less than 12 ounces empty. With a capacity of 6+1 rounds, the XSP is perfectly sized for pocket carry or other deep concealment methods.

The thumb safety is ambidextrous.

The thumb safety is ambidextrous.

There is no grip safety, just a nicely checkered back strap.

There is no grip safety, just a nicely checkered back strap.

Interestingly, however, the incorporation of a polymer frame really transforms this classic pistol into a modern marvel. First, the polymer frame saves about an ounce of weight over the alloy-frame Pocketlite model. When you are carrying in a pocket, every ounce counts, and the weight saving is noticeable. The polymer grip also feels great in the hand, with checkering in all the right places. The grip features an undercut trigger guard to help get the most out of the short handle. The right-side grip panel even has a relief cut to provide easier access to the magazine release button. These are all features that you usually expect to see only on customized, high-end pistols. The polymer frame also seems more comfortable to shoot, with better recoil characteristics than the aluminum-framed guns. All of these improvements over the alloy-frame Pocketlite design actually make the XSP much nicer to shoot. The polymer frame really changes the feel of the Mustang—in a good way.

The squared-off trigger guard differentiates the XSP from other Mustangs—and makes holsters much harder to find.

The squared-off trigger guard differentiates the XSP from other Mustangs—and makes holsters much harder to find.

I do take some issue with the squared-off trigger guard on the XSP. It appears Colt is encouraging shooters to wrap the fingers of their support hand around the trigger guard, which is not exactly a well-accepted technique. More important, the use of the oversized square trigger guard means that finding holsters becomes much more difficult. The many Colt Mustang holsters already on the market for the past 30 years won’t fit the XSP. In fact, I had considerable difficulty finding a pocket holster for this review. Ultimately I wound up using a DeSantis Nemesis, which has a generic fit and could accommodate the oversized trigger guard. The Nemesis is a fine pocket holster, but I wish Colt had stuck with a standard shaped trigger guard for more holster flexibility.

The thumb safety (shown in the off position) is easy to disengage, despite its small size.

The thumb safety (shown in the off position) is easy to disengage, despite its small size.

The XSP is single-action and designed to be carried cocked and locked, like a traditional 1911 pistol. As a result, the trigger has a relatively light five-pound pull. The trigger is light and crisp with very short travel and is much better than you would expect from a pocket pistol. The thumb safety is easy to disengage, yet it has sufficient tension to keep it from moving accidentally. I am happy to say theXSP does not have a grip safety. Grip safeties are common on single-action guns but can be particularly hard to disengage in small guns.

The XSP’s controls are very standard, but small in size. The matte stainless finish offsets the controls nicely against the black pistol.

The XSP’s controls are very standard, but small in size. The matte stainless finish offsets the controls nicely against the black pistol.

The XSP has dovetailed front and rear fixed sights. The sights lack any type of dot or white outline, presenting a “black on black” sight picture. The factory sights are real sights, and are much better than the barely visible “nubs” that are found on many pocket pistols. Although the sights are quite useable, I would like to see more contrast between the front and rear sights. There will undoubtedly be a selection of aftermarket sights to choose from before too long, and the dovetail fit will make sight replacement an easy task for any gunsmith.

The front and rear sights are dovetailed, so sight upgrades will be possible. Perhaps an XS Big Dot will be forthcoming?

The front and rear sights are dovetailed, so sight upgrades will be possible. Perhaps an XS Big Dot will be forthcoming?

I was quite impressed with the XSP at the range. I did most of the shooting at seven yards, which I consider realistic for a pocket gun. At that distance, the Mustang will tear up an x-ring with no problems. When I backed up to 25 yards, the groups opened up considerably, which is to be expected from such a small pistol. Even then, I had no problem keeping all my shots inside a standard silhouette target. The accuracy of this smallest Colt is quite impressive, due in large part to good sights and an excellent trigger.

At seven yards, the XSP shoots a tight group and the fixed sights are dead on target.

At seven yards, the XSP shoots a tight group and the fixed sights are dead on target.

Overall, the Mustang performed flawlessly for me. The pistol digested three different brands of premium defensive ammunition, as well as a variety of range ammo and reloads. The best-performing ammo was the Speer Gold Dot 90-grain jacketed hollow point, which averaged just over 900 feet per second from the stubby 2.75 inch barrel.

For a very small gun, the Mustang is a soft shooter. I passed this gun around at the range and everyone praised the gun’s handling characteristics. Even the most recoil sensitive shooter will have no problems with the XSP.

XSP comes with two magazines, a cable lock, and a hard plastic case.

XSP comes with two magazines, a cable lock, and a hard plastic case.

The Mustang XSP is packed in a hard-side plastic case, and includes two magazines and a cable lock. The MSRP is $649, which may seem a little high for a polymer .380 ACP, but this is truly a top-notch pistol. You simply can’t compare the quality of this Colt to some of the $300 to $400 guns in the pocket pistol category. Colt was wise to rejuvenate the Mustang line. Colt’s biggest mistake was waiting too long. The discontinuation of the Mustang opened the door for Sig Sauer to introduce their excellent 238 single-action .380 that is a close copy of the Mustang. Nevertheless, Colt is an iconic brand and the Mustang is an iconic pistol. Many will buy the XSP strictly for the Colt prancing pony logo. But many others will buy the XSP for its more modern take on the single-action pocket pistol concept. Colt seems truly committed to bringing the Mustang back to its prior glory, and the XSP is a big step in the right direction.

The XSP seems to disappear in large hands, but is still very shootable

The XSP seems to disappear in large hands, but is still very shootable

Anyone who is a Colt fan, or a fan of the 1911 manual of arms in general, will definitely appreciate the Mustang XSP. This is a high-quality, soft-shooting and accurate pocket pistol. If you were one of the people who lamented the demise of the Mustang, now is the time to get one. With the new XSP, the Mustang is back and better than ever.

The stainless-steel magazines hold 6 rounds and seat flush in the magazine well.

The stainless-steel magazines hold six rounds and seat flush in the magazine well.

Field stripping is quick and easy and requires no tools.

Field stripping is quick and easy and requires no tools.

The hammer is the traditional Colt Commander style.

The hammer is the traditional Colt Commander style.

 

 

 

 

Shooters with smaller hands will have no problems shooting and controlling the XSP.

Shooters with smaller hands will have no problems shooting and controlling the XSP.

 

 

{ 25 comments }

{ 23 comments… add one }

  • jdmcomp February 10, 2014, 7:34 am

    I agree with the trigger guard statement, and further, in this day and age, a double action trigger is due. I know this would cause much grave turning in the old 1911 class but in a pocket pistol a good double action is essential. A pocket pistol with controls all over the frame is not comfortable to carry in a pocket. I am sure the wonderful engineers at Colt can make a smooth slide release and do away with the manual safety using double action. At least offer a poly frame with these options alongside the reviewed model.

  • Wayne February 10, 2014, 8:53 am

    Nice pistol with a ridiculous price!

  • Rick Hood February 10, 2014, 9:12 am

    It would be nice if they brought back the Colt Python also, they could sell all they could make! A .44 Mag in the same design as the Python would be a seller too…

  • james davenport February 10, 2014, 9:59 am

    These are really nice firearms … I have owned one for years.No issues with it but you need to be adapted to locked and cocked concealed or learn how to cock the hammer as you are on the draw. Compared to the Sig 380 version of this firearm the Colt is not as good ..But if you can not find the Sig version the Colt is a great firearm for the money.. I have owned one of these colts for 20 years, not one issue..

  • Clayton Dorough February 10, 2014, 10:12 am

    I believe that would be a Sig 238 in .380. The 938 is 9×19.

  • Paul Smith February 10, 2014, 10:29 am

    “The discontinuation of the Mustang opened the door for Sig Sauer to introduce their excellent 938 single-action .380 that is a close copy of the Mustang.”

    Not trying to be critical, but the Sig P938 is a 9mm. The Sig P238 is the .380 version.

    • Paul Smith February 10, 2014, 10:35 am

      I like the polymer frame compared to the heavier aluminum frame of the P238. I also like the cheaper price. However, the sights on the Sig look like they leave the mustang behind in the dust. Assuming the trigger is conquerable, this pistol will provide major competition to the P238.

    • Duane Daiker February 10, 2014, 11:18 am

      Paul — that is definitley not critical — that is just the truth. Mental mistake there. I am going to see if I can get it fixed.

      • Administrator February 10, 2014, 11:30 am

        It was already fixed.

  • Norman February 10, 2014, 2:14 pm

    Has this forum done an Evaluation of a FEG PA-63 @ 9×18 makarov.

  • John Schorman February 10, 2014, 7:12 pm

    The looks of the trigger guard and the price are off-putting for me. I would have been interested in the metal Mustang, although finding one for sale is tough. For a plastic gun, I bought a S&W Shield in 9mm which is an awesome gun for me @$419. A decent caliber, light weight, soft shooting and great sights.

    • Steve February 11, 2014, 1:55 am

      They may be hard to find but we try to keep them in stock at Blue Star Police Supply. It is an excellent pistol and quite a bit lighter (and cheaper) than the P238. In fact, I changed from my P938 to the XSP. Great job Colt.

  • Dave February 10, 2014, 7:25 pm

    I do like the new design, however I also take issue with the new trigger well. It is more from a looks point of view more then a functional one. I own one of the original Colt Mustangs and the design of it has grown on me. But all in all great looking pistol.

  • Nick Giotta February 11, 2014, 3:24 am

    I received the Colt Mustang .380 for a birthday gift in 1985 from my wife. I tried 3 different Mustangs because they would jam every 3-4 rounds. I also used 3 different brands of ammo without any difference in jamming rate. I returned the gun to my dealer and he suggested to give the Colt Government model .380 a try. I tried this model out and found it that it would not jam with any loads. This gun is a little larger but very very dependable to this day. I might take a peek at this new Colt Mustang due to its weight and size advantage over the Government model.

  • lg1722 February 12, 2014, 2:46 pm

    Colt did make a modern (relatively) double-action only, 380 ACP, the Pocket-Lite. It was small, mustang size, lightweight, with a manual thumb-safety. Obviously, Colt marketing got that one right, since they stopped making it too.

    Ruger and Glock will continue to punch the headlights out of everybody, until they are either out of business, or wake up. Just saying.

    • Administrator February 12, 2014, 3:12 pm

      Hey they are both great gun companies, but neither of them have Colt on the side of their guns.

  • richard February 26, 2014, 10:18 pm

    Remember the original “Mustang Plus 2,” which had a longer grip frame and held two additional rounds?
    It was a little easier on the hands.

  • anthony February 28, 2014, 10:29 am

    Have a 1993 Colt Mustang “nickel” love it , recently purchased an “XSP”, love it even more … No recoil, more accurate than the the 93, much lighter, easier to conceal . Best pocket 380 in that price range . Had a S&W “body guard 380″, had a NAA “Guardian” 380 , no comparison to the Colt…Also have a Walther PPK 380 love that too. A little to heavy to carry every day . XSP fits that role perfectly … Get one , you will not be disappointed …

  • anthony February 28, 2014, 10:41 am

    Have a 1993 Mustang “niclel” love it, recently purchased an XSP love it even more ,lighter, more accurate, easier to conceal . Had a S&W “body guard 380″, had a NAA “Guardian 380″ no comparison to the XSP . Have a Walther PPK 380 love that too , too heavy for EDC . XSP fits that role perfectly . Get a colt , you will not be disappointed…

  • ralph comstock March 10, 2014, 1:29 am

    Just bought new .380 colt mustang from local LOtus dealer. First time at Lotus range I fired 4 clips (1st 2 were single shot; 2nd two were rapid fire) and expeienced at lest one jam per clip. Lotus range monitor tells me it’s becasue of the way I squeeze/pull trigger. I am a novice but I think that’s that’s crazy; expecially during raid fire exercise. I think gun or modle is defective. What say you. Look forward to prompt reply. Ralph

    • Craig Carpenter March 25, 2014, 9:01 pm

      Ralph, he may have meant that you were limp risting the pistol while you were pulling the trigger. It is very common for smaller compact pistols to jam or ftf if you don’t hold a very stout grip. I have seen it many times with my own pistols. I have several compacts as well as a Colt Mustang XSP. Last fall at the range I let my friend fire my Kimber Ultra Carry II. It failed to feed 2 different times due to his limp risting. It has never done that to me before or after. Just a thought…

  • Craig Carpenter March 25, 2014, 9:01 pm

    Ralph, he may have meant that you were limp risting the pistol while you were pulling the trigger. It is very common for smaller compact pistols to jam or ftf if you don’t hold a very stout grip. I have seen it many times with my own pistols. I have several compacts as well as a Colt Mustang XSP. Last fall at the range I let my friend fire my Kimber Ultra Carry II. It failed to feed 2 different times due to his limp risting. It has never done that to me before or after. Just a thought…

  • Gar May 30, 2014, 9:28 pm

    Picked one up and immediately put 113 Fiocchi xtphp’s and 50 rds of ball. No issues. Only bad thing is it’s hard to pick up the front sight at my indoor range. Painted it white and we’ll see if that helps. Sweet shooter! They shouldn’t have changed the trigger guard because I can’t find a good belt holster for it.

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