So: over three days and countless examples of gunny goodness on display, what were my favorites?
The first may come as a surprise to you: the Llama Micromax mini-pistol in .380 ACP from Eagle Imports, seen below in black and stainless:
Llama? Indeed. My very first pistol ever was a Llama, and it was a beauty. They’re no longer made in Spain, but in the Phillipines using the original Spanish machining and specs — only now they’re made with harder 4140 steel (always a knock on the older Llamas).
But that’s not why I like this new Micromax. Why I like it is that unlike the plethora of striker-fired plastic teenies, this bad lil’ guy is all-steel AND it’s a scaled-down 1911 action. I had Royce Honeycutt of Colorado Gunworks, Eagle’s warranty gunsmith — of whom more later — walk me through the manufacturing process. Then he field-stripped it, and in fact it’s more like a High Power action than a 1911 (i.e. easier to reassemble).
Now, why not go with something like the Kimber mini-pistols (as covered here)? After all, they come in larger calibers as well as the .380 ACP, and they too are scaled-down 1911 actions, miniatures of existing Kimber 1911s, as it happens.
My answer is simple. A pocket pistol in .380 ACP is not going to be your primary carry piece, it’s going to be your backup — and as such, the Micromax’s price tag of about $400 is going to be a better deal than Kimber’s $900, and a much better deal than a Walther PPK/S’s $1,100.
And the Llama Micromax isn’t a poxy DA striker-fired piece of plastic; it’s a steel 1911, fer gawdsakes. Here’s a review of the thing.
If I have a spare few dollars floating around in a couple-three months’ time, I’m going to get one. In stainless steel. Because when I held it, the Micromax felt as though I’d been holding it since… oh good grief, I bought my first Llama in 1975.
I think I’ll go back to bed.
My first 1911 was a Llama. Never could get it to run two mags in a row without a jam, fail to eject, fail to feed, fail to fire somewhere in there. I cleaned, buffed, polished it. Tried different ammo. Nothing. Sold it and moved on to a pawn shop Colt, never looked back. This was back in the early 80’s.
Of course I’m sure they’re better now, but still not sure I’d pay money for one.
Now that Browning model 1911 in .380 is something I’d really like. Just a little pricey right now, and not something I absolutely need.
I bought a Browning .22 1911 back in the spring. Not something that I’d depend on for defense (although 10 rounds of CCI Stingers could do some good) but its a fun range toy. I thought that it would be a good training pistol for somebody that wanted to learn to shoot a full size 1911. The manual of arms is the same. My 4’10” wife described the pistol as “cute” and she shoots it very well – but she’s still a bit shy of my GI model 1911s.
Kim, thanks much for passing on your observations. Here is some more info from another set of eyes—
http://defense-training.com/ (scroll down to ‘quips’).
Bought a Walther PK 380 for my wife. Hammer fired, DA / SA action, excellent ergonomics for my large hands, light recoil. Under $350. Check one out.
First off, if I can’t get my hands on your cute lil weapon that sat so cosily in my hand (steady) which you let me have a go with at ‘Ye Olde Texan Firing River waaaay too many moons ago, then all I can say about THIS beaut is ‘want want want ‘! ……in black of course, as it oes with everything then and I can’t afford new shoes AND a gun. One must get ones priorities right !
It would be better still if Colt was to start making 1903’s & 1908’s again.
Given Colt’s recent history, no, it wouldn’t.
Word is that Colt is still one of the go tos for a good 1911, but good luck on getting customer service.
They’re also getting back into the revolver game, and I’ve heard good things about those.
It’s cute, but for a backup, I’d want striker-fired and as few encumbrances as possible– as if you need the backup, things have gone very wrong in a hurry. With a Glock 42 in the same price range, and pocket carry-able…
Y’all must have some YUGE pockets.
I’ve got a G26, G43, M&P shield and LCP (in the “sub-compact” category, that’s not my only options), and the only one I can get in most of my pockets (not all, most) *and still get it out under pressure* is the LCP. Sometimes.
No way those Llamas are going to fit in a pocket.
Not criticizing the gun–it is what it is. If I was going to carry something that size I’d want the whole 9mm bullet, but this is America, you get your choices and I’m grateful.
I’ve found the Shield works great as a pocket gun, and fits perfectly in my (typical) Wrangler cargo shorts.
In .380 I’mna still liking my PPK knockoff, the PA 63. Ignore the titanium frame, carry lots, fire little. Got me some 007 knockoff kewl points in there, somewhere. Anyone do a Hi-Power in God’s caliber? (.45 for the obtuse)
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