Handguns > Semi-Auto

Colt Mustang Pocketlite .380 ACP

The Mustang PocketLite proves that Colt can still produce a quality little gun.


Colt's Mfg. Co. has been in the .380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) pistol business since the introduction of the cartridge with its "Automatic Colt Calibre .380 Hammerless" of 1908. Production of the Model M ceased in 1945, but later factory .380s came in the form of the Government Model .380, and the 2 3/4-inch-barreled Mustang, which were followed by the aluminum-frame Mustang PocketLite in 1992. Colt stopped offering .380 ACPs altogether by 1998. But, after witnessing the surge in interest in single-action sub-compacts from other makers-and a spike in used PocketLite pricing-Colt is back in the .380 business with the Mustang .380 PocketLite.

The semi-automatic, single-action, recoil-operated Pocketlite derives its name from its aluminum frame. It mimics the lines of a stainless Combat Commander in diminutive form, including the rowel hammer. The pistol is small, a mere 11⁄16-inch wide, 4-inch tall and 5 1/2-inch long, and weighs 13.7 ounces unloaded. The finish of the frame is brushed matte, and its grip angle and controls follow those of the M1911 with some differences in internal design. The tang is integral and is of the beavertail variety, keeping the rowel hammer and recoiling slide well away from the shooter's hands even with a proper high grip. Stocks are black checkered plastic with a silver-tone Rampant Colt escutcheon on each side.

A locked-breech design (many .380s are blowbacks), the PocketLite has two lugs on the 2 3/4-inch-long barrel's top that engage corresponding recesses on the underside of the slide. Under the barrel, a kidney-shaped cut guides barrel travel around the slide stop. The latter is tensioned in the frame by a hairpin spring riding in a recess on the frame's left. Lockwork is of the Series 80 style, in which a trigger release lever is raised when the trigger is pulled, depressing a plunger in the slide's left rear underside and allowing the firing pin to travel forward after being struck by the hammer. This passive firing pin safety system is intended to prevent an accidental discharge should the gun be dropped on its muzzle. The trigger release on the frame's rear left also does double duty as the ejector. An internal extractor is fitted inside the ejection port on the breech face's right. The aluminum trigger blade is anodized black and grooved on its front face. The average trigger pull weight was 6 pounds, 11 ounces, with a short squishy take-up, a crisp break and little overtravel.

The top of the stainless slide is bead blasted matte to reduce glare, and the sides are polished with 10 rear vertical grasping grooves on each side. The square-notch rear sight, which is drift-adjustable for windage, is dovetailed into the slide's rear. The front sight is an integrally machined fixed ramp.

A pair of coil recoil springs, one inside the other, surrounds the black polymer guide rod, which rides under the barrel and extends through the hole in the slide's front as the slide moves rearward. A steel washer between the springs and the guide rod's base prevents them from removing material.

Mounted on the frame's left behind and below the trigger, the non-reversible magazine release is in the familiar M1911 position. The body of the detachable box magazine is of steel, as is the follower, and capacity is six rounds. The baseplate protrudes to the front slightly, about 1/8 inch, providing a stop for the ring finger, as most will only be able to get two fingers on the frame below the trigger guard. Tensioned by a stiff detent, the left-side-only manual safety blocks the sear when pressed upward into the "on" position, but still allows the slide to be manipulated when the hammer is cocked. If applied with the hammer down, the slide is immobilized.

The Colt Mustang PocketLite was function-fired with more than 200 rounds, and accuracy results are given for a more practicable distance of 7 yards in lieu of our standard 25 yards as the sight radius is less than 4 inches and the gun is designed for close personal protection. Unlike the Colt .380s tested in the 1980s, there were no malfunctions of any kind. One evaluator who regularly carries a polymer-frame .380 remarked on how controllable and fun to shoot the PocketLite was on the range. We attributed much of that to the tang and smoothly contoured radius where the web of the hand engages the back of the gun. There is no frontstrap checkering, which some would like to have seen, but the magazine baseplate aids the shooter in keeping the fingers from sliding down the grip frame's front under recoil. As the front sight is integral to the frame and sandblasted, several older evaluators had difficulty picking it up, especially in lower light; a situation easily remedied by a judicious dollop of luminous paint.

For those interested in a pocket-size, old-school, single-action .380 ACP, the Mustang PocketLite, while not inexpensive, proves that the Hartford, Conn., maker can still produce a quality little gun.

Manufacturer: Colt's Mfg. Co. ; (800) 962-2658; www.coltsmfg.com
.380 ACP
Action Type:
recoil-operated, semi-automatic center-fire pistol
brushed anodized aluminum
six-groove, 1:16" RH twist
detachable box, six-round capacity
fixed-blade front, square-notch drift adjustable for windage
single-action; 6-lb., 11-oz. pull
Overall Length:
13.7 ozs.
hard case, lock, spare magazine, owner's manual
Suggested Retail Price:

Colt Mustang Shooting Results

Share |



Enter your comments below, they will appear within 24 hours

Your Name

Your Email

Your Comment

20 Responses to Colt Mustang Pocketlite .380 ACP

Joe wrote:
July 30, 2013

I bought myself the NEW Colt Mustang Pocketlite over ayear ago , fired various make of ammo had no flaws what so ever, bought another one for my wife, nice concealed carry , 6 + 1 , thas all anyone needs.

Stephen wrote:
March 27, 2013

This is the. 380 single action for old guy's like me. I carry a 1911-A1. We are not into 'Tupperware.'

Jeff wrote:
March 19, 2013

I plan to place an order at my LGS on Friday for the Colt .380. I hope this little pistol is a good as all the reviews say it is.

Kevin Jones wrote:
January 29, 2013

I have one of these pocket colts and wass wanting to get a couple more clips for it. It is a .380 cal 7 shot mag. If you can help me out it would be awesome.

steve wrote:
January 25, 2013

I've got 1 ck arguntrader.com

Gene Lockwood wrote:
January 11, 2013

I bought my pocket lite 5 years, and have a Conceal/carry permit and everyone of my friends with CCW are always asking where I got it and would I be willing to sell it.this really makes me proud I purchased it

Pat wrote:
January 05, 2013

Someone tell me where I can get one????? I've looked every where. Been trying to get one forever! HELP

C.W. wrote:
December 24, 2012

I just bought one of these.I paid $650 plus tax. The shop owner would not budge on the price. Have not shot it yet, I'll give a review after initial firing.

MAX wrote:
December 18, 2012


Brian wrote:
December 15, 2012

I located two (2) of the weapons in Waco, Texas and both were under the $600 mark.. I must say they are a joy to shoot and I'm betting my life on them.. Good, Solid Pocket Pistol..

Debby wrote:
November 17, 2012

I have looked at many places and cannot find this weapon. Where can this be purchased? (Hopefully at the MSRP or lower!)

Greg wrote:
June 12, 2012

The only negative about the Colt Mustang Pocketlite is trying to get one at $599. This is by far the most accurate, reliable and well built of all the lightweight pocketable .380acp's. Its recoil is the softest among the group along with the Sig P238, which is designed after the little Colt. If you want the finest, look no further after this Colt Mustang Pocketlite. It is "SO SWEET".

Bruce wrote:
June 07, 2012

With this post, I'm not trying to simply slam the Colt PocketLight, but... I purchased one of these Colt Mustang PocketLights (brand new) and it holds a special place in my pistol collection. It is by far the most inaccurate of the group. At ten FEET I have a hard time placing three rounds into a 12 inch circle. I shot expert in the military and have won civilian shooting awards, so my shooting skills should produce better results than that. I've tried several different loads and had the pistol checked out by a gunsmith. I loaned it to a friend - a very respected shooter - and asked his objective opinion. His response was simply "It's not you." I figure that at distances further than across the table, I could honestly throw my PocketLight more accurately than I could shoot it. I'm a person that doesn't sell any of his guns. I just want to figure out why MY PocketLight is so different from the one in this article. I do love full size 1911's (I own several) and I would love to figure out why my PocketLight sprays the way it does. Any suggestions?

45auto wrote:
June 06, 2012

Oh wait, they do, just that Californians wouldn't know this because they infringe on the right to keep and bear arms! Only if the manufacturers pay an annual extortion fee to the state to sell each and every model, which the Defender New Agent isn't one! Also, any new model can't ever be sold in the state. Corruption only as good in any other Socialist state!

45auto wrote:
June 05, 2012

And why hasn't Colt produced a 1911 in 9mm? This would be a weapon that couldn't be kept on the shelves!

Dennis wrote:
June 04, 2012

I have one from the 80's. It has been customized and accurized by Barlow's Custom Guns, Salt Lake City. It runs as smooth as any firearm I have shot. It is accurate, easy to conceal and dependable. An ideal concealed weapon for ladies and small framed folks. I too, would like to know what the difference is between the old, and new, models. A front night sight helps it's accuracy.

Gary wrote:
May 31, 2012

A nice little weapon but it comes with a warning tag: DO NOT USE ON DRUGGED-UP BAD GUYS! If you don't know why, you need a refresher in military history. "In the late 1890s when we were at war in the Philippines the Army had switched to a DA .38 Long Colt caliber revolver. We were facing a new type of enemy, the Muslin extremist, the Moro. They were known to use native drugs that inhibited the sensation of pain. This meant that when they went into battle with U.S. soldiers and got shot by a rather anemic .38 caliber revolver it just did not reliably stop the Moro. After numerous U.S. deaths, old Colt .45 revolvers, long in storage back in the States, were rushed to the Philippines and issued to the troops. Even hopped-up Moros were unable to disregard the pain of a .45 round, no matter how big a dose of native pain killer they had taken." The .38 Long Colt referred to above fired a 150-grain lead bullet @ 770 fps for 195 fpe. The .380 is even more anemic. "Antonio Caspi, a prisoner on the island of Samar, P.I. attempted escape on Oct. 26, 1905. He was shot four times at close range in a hand-to-hand encounter by a .38 Colt's revolver loaded with U.S. Army regulation ammunition. He was finally stunned by a blow on the forehead from the butt end of a Springfield carbine. Col. LaGarde noted Caspi's wounds were fairly well-placed: three .38 bullets entered the chest, perforating the lungs. One passed through the body, one lodged near the back and the other lodged in subcutaneous tissue. The fourth round went though the right hand and exited through the forearm." Again, the uproar led to the reinstatement of the .45 caliber as the American service cartridge, a round that, as the .45 ACP, remains as a substitute standard service cartridge even today. Finally, from the FBI: "What is the best round in .380? There isn't one. The full metal jacketed round is the best of a bad choice, but only because it might penetrate.

Me wrote:
May 30, 2012

Bought one back in the mid-80's for my wife, wish I bought one for me too!

Dennis Gryner wrote:
May 30, 2012

I have one of these from the 90's. It is my carry gun. Has been for years. Very good weapon. May buy another one if you can get production up where dealers can stock them instead of my having to buy them from distributors through their online stores.

Lance wrote:
May 29, 2012

Great article on a very fine gun. Two questions after reading it: 1. What are the differences between the original and new versions? 2. How did the new model affect the market values of the originals? Thanks,