By Miguel C. Gil
The M1911 380 “Baby Rock” could very well be the most news-worthy thing to emerge from Armscor’s production line in a long time—most notably for the concealed carry segment. Marketed under the Rock Island Armory brand overseas, this familiar-looking piece is not even a true 1911, from a technical standpoint due to its size. It can best be described as a scaled-down version of John Browning’s enduring design, roughly 2/3 in scale.
Home Defense Journal’s date with the Baby Rock came late last September at the Armscor Firing Range in Marikina City, which for our foreign readers’ information is a suburb of Manila. Our shooting evaluation was graciously made possible by Bob Sajot, who is overall manager of this sprawling range.
To give readers a sense of the Baby Rock’s size—it is a tad under 7 inches long, a wee bit under 5 inches tall and about 1.25 inches thick. Its empty weight is roughly 23.5 ounces (667 grams), which goes up to about 26 ounces (735 grams) when fully loaded. Barrel length is 3.75 inches. The Baby Rock still manages to fit into the pocket pistol category—albeit quite large by today’s pocket pistol standards following the recent emergence of much smaller handguns in its class.
Many compact single-action .380 ACP pistols approximating the 1911 design have come out over the past 60 years or so. Pocket pistols capitalizing on the unmistakable “Government Model” look have been manufactured by respected firms including Llama (Model III-A), Star (Model S), Sig Sauer (P238) and even Colt (Mustang).
Armscor tries to go one step further by faithfully copying key design elements of the 1911—only in a scaled-down version. The Baby Rock has a functional grip safety as well as a barrel bushing and recoil spring plug set-up, just like its bigger sibling. Most 1911-style .380 pistols have omitted one or both features for simplicity’s sake.
Not only is the Baby Rock a miniaturized but faithful rendering of a 1911, but a contemporary 1911 at that! Its grip safety is upswept in the modern beavertail style, while its single-action trigger has a pair of lightening holes giving it that skeletonized appearance. A great touch is the Novak-style rear sight, which aside from being aesthetically pleasing also minimizes the possibility of snagging.
It is worth mentioning that the Baby Rock’s grip profile is reminiscent of the classic Colt M1903—which is to say that it is rounded towards the bottom-rear. This grip design not only presents a comfortable gripping surface but also aids in concealment by eliminating that tell-tale right angle which often protrudes from the shirt.
We were supplied with a generous quantity of Armscor’s generic 90-grain .380 ACP ammunition with which to test the Baby Rock. Happily, fully loading the supplied 7-shot magazines was an easy affair and did not require much “thumb-busting” on our part.
In any case, we let loose our first salvo from the 5-meter line just to get a good feel of the Baby Rock. After emptying that first 7-round magazine, it became readily apparent that the little pistol shot roughly at point of aim. That observation was further reinforced even as we gradually stepped back further and further. It must be noted that the pistol’s Novak-inspired sighting arrangement was easy to catch even when shooting rapidly.
The .380 ACP cartridge has little kick to it to begin with, so recoil is unlikely to be much of an issue to all but the most recoil-sensitive shooter. This is especially true in the all-steel Baby Rock, which is appreciably heavier than its contemporaries, most of which sport either lightweight alloy or polymer frames.
Just to make our session interesting, we also shot the Baby Rock from the hip and in some pretty awkward positions in order to induce a limp-wrist jam. That just didn’t happen as the little pistol kept cycling even as we shot it from seemingly ludicrous poses!
To put it simply, the Baby Rock hit more or less where you aimed, was easy to control and functioned flawlessly (with FMJ ammo).
The Baby Rock, because of its inherent concealability, is clearly intended as a carry gun. However, we see no reason why it will not make a serviceable home defense pistol.
Its trim grip dimensions coupled with the .380 ACP’s mild-mannered nature make it a gun that small-statured and less-experienced shooters in the household can shoot with confidence. Moreover, its simple single-action operation should likewise prove friendlier to non-gun enthusiasts.
Any concerns regarding the .380 ACP’s supposed lack of stopping power can most likely be addressed by loading up with today’s high-performance ammunition. Hopefully, we will get another crack at the Baby Rock soon in order to ascertain its reliability with hollow-points and other more exotic fodder.
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