Classy Looking and Very Concealable: Remington’s RM 380 Executive Pistol

Remington jumped into the handgun market in 2010 with the under-appreciated line of R1 1911’s. Technically, the gunmaker had returned to the handgun market after a 12-year absence, and from 2010 on Remington proceeded to add a good number of handguns to the line. This included the RM380, a tiny pocket pistol chambered in 380 AUTO that debuted in 2016.

I tested the RM380 when it first came out, reviewed it, and have used it as a back-up carry gun ever since. Remington called the RM 380 a “micro” pistol, which was fitting given that it weighed just 12 ounces unloaded and literally fit in the palm of your hand. The little semi-automatic operated in double action only sported a 2.75-inch long barrel and held 6+1 rounds of ammunition.

More recently, Remington upgraded the RM 380 with the RM 380 Executive.  Compared to the original RM 380–which is still being made–the new RM 380 Executive is certainly a better-looking pistol. It features a stainless finish on the slide contrasted by a black frame, plus a stainless-finished magazine release, slide release, and trigger. The grips are wood laminate done in a darker, Macassar-grained pattern that looks very classy.

The original RM 380? Black on black on black. Functional, yes, but scoring about a -1.35 on the Looks Scale, with +10 being the best.

Black on black on black: the original RM 380 debuted in 2016.

Suggested retail prices on the two pistols are different, too, with the RM 380 offered at $328 MSRP, the RM 380 Executive at $405. Prices on the Internet have the RM 380 at $240 while the RM 380 Executive can be had for $310 to $320.

Different looks, and different price points. But do the two RM’s shoot any differently?

To compare the two RM 380’s and given that they are chambered in a minimally powered caliber for self-defense, I decided my shooting would be at three yards, the distance so often given as the average distance for self-defense scenarios. Plus, the 380 AUTO has such low energy versus the 9MM and 45 AUTO, the cartridge really is a close-range option.

Size comparison: Smith and Wesson M&P 45 Shield top, Remington RM 380 Executive bottom.

At the range, I ran three different ammunition brands through both the RM 380 and the RM380 Executive: Aguila with a 95-grain full metal jacket (FMJ) bullet; Browning BTP, also with a 95-grain FMJ bullet; and, for a self-defense load, Sig Sauer’s Elite Performance and its 90-grain V-Crown jacketed hollow point.

I also decided my shooting would be fairly fast if not exactly furious. Given the lower power of the cartridge, I figured a real-life scenario would have a defender shooting more than once. So, I emptied the six-round magazine at my targets, pausing only to get the front sight back on point.

McCombie assumed that actual self-defense uses of the RM 380 Executive would require multiple shots taken quickly, and tested out the little pistol accordingly.

My process was to first shoot several magazines of a specific ammunition through the RM 380 Executive, then repeat the process with the standard RM 380.

On average, all three brands of ammunition printed similar groups with the RM 380 Executive: six shots right around 2.0-inches. Some of the tighter groups included 1.41-inches with the Browning ammunition, and a 1.68-inch group using the Aguila 380 FMJ. One six-round group with the Sig ammunition scored 2.27-inches, but five of those shots came in at 1.30-inches.

McCombie’s best six-round group, from three yards offhand and fired fast, scored 1.41-inches with Browning BPT 380 ammunition.

On average, the accuracy results with RM 380 stayed the same regardless of the ammo used: six-shot groups that were .50- to.70-inches larger.

I don’t think the better accuracy with the Executive versus the original RM 380 had anything to do with internal differences. Both have stainless steel barrels of the same length. Both use a double-spring recoil spring system, and both have very heavy double-action triggers.

No matter the ammunition, the RM 380 Executive consistently averaged six-shot groups at approximately 2.0-inches, when fired from three yards away.
Meanwhile, the exact same testing with the original RM 380 produced groups which averaged .50-inches larger compared to the RM 380 Executive.

The difference, I believe, is the wooden laminate grips on the RM 380 Executive. They are wider than the metal grips on the RM 380 and provide a somewhat more stable surface for hands. Plus, the RM 380 Executive comes with extended magazines that engage the pinky finger for added stability.

The wooden laminate grips on the RM 380 Executive provided McCombie with a more solid hold and tighter groups.

Now, the magazines on the RM 380 and RM 380 Executive are interchangeable and one could buy the extended grips and use in the RM 380 and would likely get somewhat better groups. But it still would not have the wider laminate grips, which measure 1.08-inches wide on the RM 380 Executive versus .95-inches wide on the RM 380.

Fair question, though: how much difference does a 2.0-inch group make at three yards versus 2.5-inches? Not much is the likely answer. Yet the testing I did still led me to the conclusion that the RM 380 Executive can be shot more accurately than the RM 380.

As mentioned, the double-action trigger on both pistols is fairly heavy—with a very long pull. Specs from Remington put the double-action triggers on both models at a hefty 10 pounds. However, my Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge put the pull on both pistols right around 6 pounds. Still significant, but not 10 pounds.

The sights on the RM 380 Executive can best be described as minimal. The front post is very small and hard to pick up, while the rear notch is serviceable. Aiming is more a matter of putting that little nub of a front sight on target than anything else.

While the rear notch sight on the RM 380 Executive is serviceable….
…..the front post is very small and hard to pick up.

Disassembly of the RM 380 Executive is easy. Tilting the pistol on its left side, ease back the slide until you line up the take-down pin with the hole on the left side of the slide. The pin may, at that point, fall out, but you are more likely to need to push on the pin from the right side with a toothpick or something of similar diameter, especially if there is any shooting grime on the slide and pin.

The take-down pin on the RM 380 Executive slides out of the left side of the pistol; help from a small diameter object like a toothpick may be needed.

Once the pin is out, the slide comes forward and you can then remove the barrel, recoil springs and guide rod for cleaning. Assembly is simply a matter of reversing the process. Or, at least, it should be “simply.” I had a hell of a time getting that little pin back into place.

Disassembly of the RM 380 for cleaning is very easy.

Remington made sure to smooth over all edges on the slide, frame, and sights of the RM 380 Executive, and you really must work to make this little pistol snag up on clothing or something similar. It will fit into a pocket, and there are many holster options available, too.  

The RM 380 Executive won’t stop a buffalo. Nor was it made for such heavy work. But it is a handy, very portable little handgun, and accurate enough at close range.

Admittedly, the 380 AUTO isn’t everyone’s first choice caliber for self-defense, including this writer. But industry intel has a couple new 380 AUTO self-defense ammunitions being launched for 2020 that claim to increase the penetration of the round by five inches or more.

If that turns out to be true? A little pistol like the RM 380 Executive could be a much more formidable choice for self-defense and concealed carry than ever before.

Industry rumors have very-improved self-defense ammunition in 380 AUTO on the way, which could make smallish pistols like the RM 380 Executive much more effective.

SPECS: RM 380 Executive

Caliber: 380 Auto

Capacity: 6+1

Operation: Semi-automatic, recoil-operated, tilt barrel

Trigger: Double-Action Only
Length: 5.27”

Height: 3.86”

Barrel: 2.75,” stainless steel, match grade

Weight: 12.2 oz. (unloaded)

Frame: Aluminum

Frame Finish: Anodized Black

Slide: Stainless Steel

Slide Finish: Stainless

Magazine Release: Ambi

Magazine Type: Single Stack

MSRP: $405

For more information visit Remington website.

Buy a Remington RM380 on GunsAmerica!

About the author: Brian McCombie writes about hunting and firearms, people and places, for a variety of publications including American Hunter, Shooting Illustrated, and SHOT Business. He loves hog hunting, 1911’s chambered in 10MM and .45 ACP, and the Chicago Bears.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Kane May 1, 2020, 10:45 am

    The smallest firearm I own would have to be my Ruger LCR .357. I just don’t want a sub-compact.

  • Jim McLaughlin May 1, 2020, 10:30 am

    Beauty is in the mind of the beholder. While the author waxes poetic over the appearance of the Executive, I think that it looks like crap. The area above the grip and under the slide looks like the pistol has be dragged behind a truck for days over rough concrete. Scraped up and dinged.

    If looks are your thing, see the Sig – Sauer P 238 Legion.

    Yes, the Sig is in a different price class — that of a finished metal sculpture that hasn’t been trashed by abuse.

    The Sig shoots pretty well, too.

  • Richard S Davis May 1, 2020, 10:16 am

    Have one of the standard models from ’16. Bought it at a black Friday sale for $200, and with a $100 rebate from Remington, paid $100 net for it 🙂 I think it may be the most underrated. 380 out there. The two problems I have with it: it is tricky to reassemble, and it doesn’t seem to like hollow points (at least my example). For about $300 I’d be interested in the Executive model.

  • Jim Parker May 1, 2020, 8:17 am

    This looks like a sharp little pistol. Unfortunately for its price I can pick up a small .38 special revolver for 100 dollars less. Either would be effective in the intended role. As would a small .22 or .32.
    The goal is to inform the attacker that his target was armed, resolute and prepared. Now he’s the one who needs to obtain timely medical attention. Most attackers are bullies who never imagine that the tables can be turned in the blink of an eye. A life changing experience for them.

  • Tj May 1, 2020, 4:27 am

    Is it me or does the guy holding that pocket rocket look like Albert Einstein with a hair cut?

    Tj

  • Paul Reid April 28, 2020, 1:29 pm

    Did Remington address the issue of the locking pin which is prone to falling out?

  • Ej harbet April 28, 2020, 7:50 am

    My g42 is heads at 50feet! And it guarded my best friend until he sold it to me to buy a g43.I respect his decision.for me .380 is a better round for tiny guns.

  • Will Drider April 28, 2020, 2:36 am

    My apologies, please disregard my previous comment. I was had the RM380 mixed up with the R51.

  • ralph briese April 27, 2020, 1:38 pm

    I have to laugh at the worry over sights on a belly pistol….. Folks that are depending on them to save their lives when they are under attack, say 3- 6 feet, had better be doing a little shooting with gun in hand, elbow tucked in to lower ribs, point & shoot until threat is over. If instinctive shooting is to prevail it needs to be practiced more than using the sights. Good luck with idea of saving your life under attack at close quarters lining up your sights. Hey bad guy give me a second I gotta get my sights lined up so I can make a decent hit on you!!

  • MB April 27, 2020, 10:57 am

    The comparison would have been more realistic if it was a Ruger LCP, LCP2 or Kel-Tec P-3AT. Seems appearance seems to be a strong criteria for a you. Appearance has almost no value for something in your pocket 99.999% of the time and the only one seeing it is the bad guy looking down the barrel. Please try to be more realistic if you want your intended audience to take you seriously.

  • Chris April 27, 2020, 10:11 am

    6+1? Ballistics already low? Why setttlevfor less? By a Breda Thunder Plus. I did. Just as accurate with 15+1. Dead nuts accuracy with enough ammo to hit every organ.

  • John Schorman April 27, 2020, 8:50 am

    Remington bought Rohrbaugh which designed and manufactured this gun and put it on the market with a few changes made to it. This brought the price down from over a grand to a more reasonable price. It seems like a nice gun with its supporters and those who would prefer others such as a Ruger LCP or LCP II. I like the .380 round and have 4 different brands that shoot it. Maybe someday I’ll pick up one of these despite it not being at the top of my list at the moment.

  • Willy April 27, 2020, 6:45 am

    I have an RM380. It’s a bit tough to shoot accurately at any distance past what the author stated. It’s definitely meant for very close range work, as the front sight is about impossible to discern due to the entire slide being stainless and the sights are machined-in, and very low. Other than that, it’s a well-made, all metal pistol, which I like.

    • GomeznSA April 27, 2020, 12:14 pm

      I too have an original RM380 and agree with your (and the author’s) overall assessment. One quick ‘fix’ may resolve one of the sighting issues – a dab of orange (or green or red – whichever your Mk 1 eyeball picks up better 😉 paint on that diminutive front sight makes a whole lot of difference. This micro pistol is never going to be a tack driver but as in stopping water buffaloes, That Ain’t What It Is Designed For.
      BTW – all of my magazines have the finger extension but NOT the grips. A bit of skateboard tape or some such also ‘fattens’ the grip, not as pretty as those wood grips though.

      • Zachary Miller June 12, 2020, 4:05 pm

        You’re 100% correct about the paint. Im not ashamed to admit that the majority of my guns have neon green/yellow nail polish on their sights. Cheap, built in brush, small bottle, and colors designed to catch a man’s eye.

  • Bill April 27, 2020, 6:13 am

    What is the overall length? This is a most important info point for a picket pistol!

    • David April 27, 2020, 2:05 pm

      Listed specs of 5.27″ length and 3.86″ height probably do not include the magazine finger extension…

    • Stan April 27, 2020, 2:16 pm

      I believe the length is as noted in the specifications provided. I.e. 5.27″?

    • Brian July 17, 2020, 11:35 am

      Try reading the specs at the bottom of the article.

      And pickets are for fences, not pistols….

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