Colt Mustang XSP Polymer-Framed Lightweight 380 Semi-Automatic Pocket Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

August 23rd, 2013


Click pictures for a larger version.









Magazine release (top), slide lock (bottom).







Ambidextrous manual safety.



Firing pin safety.



It has been about two years ago that Colt reintroduced the Colt Mustang 380 semi-automatic pistol. This dandy little pistol had been out of production for a few years, and has been welcomed by those who prefer a pocket pistol that handles, operates, and runs like a miniature 1911. The Mustang PocketLite is a quality piece, built of stainless steel with an aluminum frame, and is an excellent pocket pistol. Now, Colt has just introduced the Mustang XSP, which is pretty much the PocketLite, but with a polymer frame and a few subtle differences. They are small differences, but in my opinion, the differences make the Mustang XSP a better pistol.

First, and of great importance to me, is that Colt has put an ambidextrous safety on the XSP, making it much more useful for left-handed shooters like me. There are many 380 pocket guns on the market, but some shooters prefer a pistol with a manual safety for pocket carry, and with the inclusion of an ambidextrous safety, this little XSP is an excellent choice, regardless of which hand you use to fire the pistol. Like the PocketLite, the slide is machined from stainless bar stock, but on the XSP, it wears a black finish that compliments the black polymer frame, and contrasts nicely with the matte stainless magazine release, slide lock, thumb safety levers, and hammer.  The black polymer frame is heavily textured for a positive hold, but is not abrasive to the hand. There is a slight relief just behind the trigger guard, similar to the relief on the Colt XSE Series 1911 pistols, which allows the pistol to sit slightly lower in the shooter’s hand. It is a small change, but makes a positive difference in the feel of the weapon in the hand. The XSP front sight is a significant improvement over the PocketLite, dovetailed into the slide and easier to see. Changing the front sight out to a tritium XS Big Dot would be a simple and quick procedure, if the owner wants to do so. The front of the trigger guard is squared on the XSP, which I like, as I prefer to shoot a pistol with the first finger of my support hand placed there for better control. That was a popular way to shoot a pistol several years ago, but is now frowned upon by many expert trainers. However, I do not have the handicap of being an expert, so it works very well for me. The Colt Mustang XSP is also a bit lighter in weight than the PocketLite by almost one and one-half ounces. The slide serrations on the XSP are slightly angled, which looks better than the serrations on the PocketLite, in my opinion, and seems to offer a better purchase for the operation the slide. The true frame of the pistol, which in inserted into the polymer frame, is made of lightweight aluminum, which is black anodized to match the polymer frame and stainless slide.  The ramped barrel is highly polished in the ejection port area, as well as on the feed ramp.  The dust cover section of the frame has an integral accessory rail. Hopefully, Crimson Trace will soon have a Laserguard made to fit this little Colt. Just ahead of the thumb safety levers are molded-in thumb rests, which make it very comfortable for the shooter’s thumb to rest atop the safety lever while firing the pistol, and the dovetail under the hammer is plenty large enough to protect the shooter’s hand from hammer or slide bite.

Critical specifications for the Mustang XSP are listed in the chart below. Weights are listed in ounces. Linear dimensions are listed in inches. Trigger pull is listed in pounds of resistance, as measured with my Lyman digital trigger pull scale. Height includes sights and magazine floor plate. Maximum width is measured across the ambidextrous safety levers.  Weight includes empty magazine.


380 ACP

Weight with empty magazine 12.3 ounces
Trigger Pull 4 pounds 5 ounces
Barrel Length 2.815 inches
Barrel Diameter 0.472 inch
Overall Height 3.94 inches
Overall Length 5.6 inches
Grip Width 1.02 inches
Slide Width 0.756 inch
Maximum Width 1.17 inches
Trigger Reach 2.36 inches
Magazine Capacity 6
Magazines Supplied 2
Sights Black, windage adjustable
Accessory Rail Yes
MSRP (as of 8-22-13) $649 US

I fired the Mustang XSP with every brand and type of 380 auto ammunition available to me to check for reliable function. I fired a variety of ammunition over the chronograph to check velocities, with the results listed in the chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS). Bullet weights are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. TAC-XP and DPX are Barnes hollow nose homogenous copper bullets. FMJ is a full metal jacket roundnose bullet. FP is a full metal jacket flat-nose bullet.  PB is Cor-Bon Pow’RBall. HC is a hard-cast flat-nose lead bullet. Velocities were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, ten feet from the muzzle, with an air temperature hovering around the eighty-six degree Fahrenheit mark, with eighty-two percent  humidity.    

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Buffalo Bore JHP 90 1032
Buffalo Bore FMJ 95 931
Buffalo Bore HC +P 100 1053
Buffalo Bore TAC-XP +P 80 1134
Buffalo Bore JHP +P 90 1109
Buffalo Bore FMJ +P 95 1089
Remington JHP 88 833
Stryker FP 95 881
Atomic JHP 90 828
Cor-Bon JHP 90 947
Cor-Bon PB 70 1222
Cor-Bon DPX 80 1010
Handload JHP 88 812

The little Mustang XSP is a delight to fire, handling very much like a miniature 1911. It is the most-comfortable to shoot of the Mustang pistols, due to its improved ergonomics. Just the slight changes in the shape of the frame make a notable difference in the feel, compared to the PocketLite pistol.  As expected, the Colt XSP ran perfectly with almost every brand and type of ammunition fed it. My only functioning problems were with Atomic hollowpoint ammunition. They would often fail to eject. I also had one failure to eject with Buffalo Bore standard-pressure  90 grain JHP, but that was not expected, and that same ammunition ran perfectly for every other shot fired from the XSP. Other than that, the little Colt ran flawlessly, and this reinforces the point to, no matter what gun you are firing, run at least a couple of dozen rounds of your chosen load through your carry gun, to assure that it will function with that particular load. Atomic ammo usually runs great in 380 pistols, but would not in this particular Colt. I fired the little pistol on paper and steel targets out to twenty-five yards. The sights offered an excellent sight picture in daylight, but for carry as a defensive weapon, the addition of night sights such as the aforementioned XS Big Dot would be a great improvement for use in poor lighting conditions. The Colt Mustang XSP is an excellent choice for a pocket pistol that is small enough and light enough to always be within reach. Stoked with seven rounds of good high-performance hollowpoint ammunition, it would serve well as a defensive weapon in a close-range gunfight. The XSP has no magazine disconnect safety, but has the manual safety as well as a firing pin safety. If the hammer is cocked, the slide can be cycled with the safety on or off. If the hammer is down and the safety applied, the hammer cannot be cocked nor the slide cycled. This is a very safe pocket pistol to carry, but can be brought into the fight quickly and naturally. I prefer to carry the XSP in condition one; chamber loaded, safety on, and the hammer cocked. To fire, simply disengage the safety as the pistol is pointed towards the target, and press the trigger. An added bonus to those who own 1911 style pistols is that the little XSP has pretty much the same manual of arms, offering familiarity of operation between the primary fighting pistol, and the one that is more likely to be with reach when needed: the XSP. The Colt Mustang XSP is the best version of the Colt Mustang family of pistols, and like all Colt pistols, it is made in the USA.  If you are looking for a lightweight 380 pocket pistol, there are cheaper choices on the market, but I know of none better than this little Colt XSP. You never regret buying the best.

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Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



XSP comes with hard case, instruction manual, two magazines, and cable lock.





Pistol comes with two six-round steel magazines.



Buffalo Bore Standard Pressure 90-grain JHP is an excellent defensive load with low recoil.