Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Grendel P10 .380ACP

If you had asked gun writers (including me) about the future of the .380 ACP cartridge a few years ago, the average answer would probably be that it was going extinct. The rise of the wundernines made it an underpowered, overpriced antique. Well think again. Advances in bullet design and the rise in states that allow concealed carry has given new life to the old .380. It can now perform at a level not too much below a 9mm NATO and above most .38 Specials. The .380 also makes a great cartridge for small concealable pistols. It is of a class higher in power than .32s, .25s and .22s. And unlike higher powered loads of 9mm and .40, it can be chambered in guns using the blowback method of operation instead of the more expensive, more complex, and less accurate short recoil method of operation. I say less accurate because the barrel of blowback operated pistols is almost always fixed rigidly to the frame, making them "straighter shooting".

Here we have a somewhat strange example of the .380 concealed carry gun. This is the Grendel P10. Unlike many of the .380s on the market today, the Grendel is an older design, and was only produced from 1988 to 1991. You can see its design uses several features to increase its utility as a serious carry piece. It has a large trigger guard, and has its grip raked back at about a five degree angle to increase its "pointability" and decrease felt recoil. It is very smooth, with little or no projections to snag on holsters or clothing while being drawn. Polymer frame to reduce weight, sized small enough to be able to readily conceal yet big enough to get a grip on for serious shooting.

Why is the Grendel P10 strange? Because it, unlike any modern semiautomatic pistol, does not use a detachable magazine. Instead, it has an internal magazine like a Mauser C96 Broomhandle and is fed with 10 round AR15 stripper clips. While there are disadvantages for using this system, namely losing the possibility of a quick reload. But I have found that most people who carry a pistol don't carry an extra magazine anyway. Despite its faults, it has some interesting positives as well.

One that springs to my mind immediately is that there is no way to accomplish a common negligent discharge (there are NO firearms accidents). Many times a person will eject the magazine out of a semi auto and pronounce the weapon safe and empty, without checking the chamber. Sadly, this lapse of judgement kills several people a year. Since there is no magazine to eject, there is no way to effect this type of error. This fits in line with the idea that the P10 is meant for someone who is not really a "gun person". No need to keep up with magazines, switch them out or down-load them to preserve the springs. Of course, there is a danger that the internal magazines' springs may wear out, but I would buy two extras and not worry too much about it.
The weapon functions double action only, without any external safeties, like most revolvers. This is probably the best method of operation for users that do not wish to spend many hours in training. It is relatively hard to fire without meaning to, but uncomplicated enough so you can fire it when you are scared shitless.

(However, anyone who is thinking of carrying a weapon for self defense should train for it, both in general weapons handling and care, laws and ethics of concealed carry and specific training on how to draw and fire the weapon in high stress situations.)

Here we see it with a threaded muzzle brake, grip extension and mini-mag flashlight mounted on the frame. I would recommend anyone keeping a pistol or any other firearm in their home for defense to mount a light on the weapon. A pretty neat little gun if you ask me, and in some ways it was ahead of its time.

edit: 5/2/12 Saw a Grendel P10 in my local gun shop the other day for $150.
 I thought about it.