The RM 380: Remington's Big Gamble

The Remington RM380 is a Big Green’s high-stakes entry into the competitive pocket pistol market, and they have no margin for error with the .380s roll-out.

I was able to grab a few minutes of time to talk to Remington Senior Project Manager for Handguns Daniel Cox about the new RM380, which I was able to handle—if only for a few minutes in the booth—at the recent NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.

My first question to him after handing the pistol a week prior was an obvious one, “Is this a Rohrbaugh?”

For those of you unfamiliar with the name, the Rohrbaugh pistols—two 9mm variants and an identically-sized .380 ACP—were high-quality, high-priced pocket pistols, with the R9 being named Shooting Illustrated’s Handgun of the Year in 2005.

Remington bought Rohrbaugh last year and they put a lot of work into optimizing the legacy design.

The goal of the RM380 was tweak the basic design of a $1,100 pistol—adding features—while changing manufacturing processes enough to dramatically drop the price to an MSRP of $417.

Among the changes:

  • swapping the heel magazine release for a more conventional location behind the trigger guard.
  • adding a slide-stop lever.
  • completely changing the recoil system.
  • optimize an already solid trigger system for a consistent 10 lbs DAO trigger pull.

It’s a significant amount of work for such a small pistol, but changes that were necessary to bring the gun in line for the target market.

Perhaps the most important change was the re-engineering of the recoil system. Originally quite complex with only a 250-round life expectancy, the revised system uses much fewer parts and is expected to last thousands of rounds.

The new recoil system is sprung so that it is also much easier for people with reduced hand strength to cycle.

The new pistol is supposed to hit the streets in June, and if it runs well at an estimated street price of around $379, the hiccups of last year’s R51 launch might soon be forgiven.