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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Once I had a Beretta 85F in .380. It was a sweet looking pistol. Full-pedigree Beretta open slide, decocker on the safety in the right place, smooth DA pull and a very good SA pull. 8 rounds of .380 fun.

Or not. Oh, it was accurate enough. I could get 4-inch groups at 25 yards with good ammo. But the recoil characteristics sucked a$$. It was like a hard baseball to the palm, or missing the sweet spot on a bat in cold weather. I would rather shoot my .40’s than that gun.

Last year I traded it off for a Steyr M9-A1, which, after some teething problems and installing an extra extractor spring, has turned into a pleasant surprise. But I still had a bunch of .380 reloads and a set of like-new .380 dies staring jealously in the corner.

I got the “different pistol” bug again, and instead of the SiG P220 that caught my eye, I decided I usually carried a compact DA/SA of some sort (and the XDM 3.8), so maybe I should see what the fuss over Grand Power is.

While I was perusing the P11 Mk12 reviews on YouTube, I came across a few (precious few) videos of the CP380. It is almost exactly the same size as the P11 Mk12, but uses a blowback action instead of the GP rotating barrel. A common compliment of the CP380 was “really low recoil,” and the videos seemed to back it up. What the hey, let’s do a two-fer. I ordered both, and got to shoot both today.

I hauled out my old Beretta reloads with 100gr lead TC bullets, fearing they might hang up or not cycle. First five shots at 7 yards...not only was the recoil as soft as advertised—ridiculously light—they went into a measured 0.91 inch.

Needless to say, all of my old .380 reloads got shot up today. There were no hang ups or failures of any kind. The DA trigger is not quite as light as some reviewers claim, but the SA trigger is clean, light and predictable.

I’ll probably put more comments on this neat little pistol, especially foibles during the first pre-range cleaning, but so far it is a winner.

The pistol picture is a stock photo, but the groups are the first 20 shots through the pistol at half-inch dots.
 

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Nice shooting, I’ve never shot one of the Grand Powers but they look interesting.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nice shooting, I’ve never shot one of the Grand Powers but they look interesting.
I’ll do a separate review of the P11, but the recoil is different from the PX4 feel. I would almost characterize it as revolver-ish. Very little manifestation of the slide coming back, and little torque. The P11 is also easier to reassemble.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I'll have to admit an error. The stock photo above is of the P11. The CP380 has a blued barrel (more like tenifer or parkerizing), and there is a slight cutout behind the ejection port.

The takedown on the CP380 is similar to the PPK and other blowback pistols. Clear weapon, pull slide fully to the rear, pull the disassembly tabs down, lift at the back of the slide, and allow the spring pressure to pull the slide forward off the barrel.

Reassembly flumoxed me for ten minutes after I I field stripped it and cleaned it before shooting. Contrary to the rotating barrel versions, you must pull down on the disassembly tabs to allow the slide cutouts to clear the frame tabs. I finally did this by forcing the slide fully to the rear on a (padded) edge of my bench, pulling down the locking tabs, forcing the slide past the tabs, then pushing the slide downward onto the frame. The second time it was much easier.

I was using a sooty, light load of W231, but the gun shot relatively clean. The sights are clear enough, but slightly narrower than I prefer. The CP380 magazines are exactly the same size as the P11 magazines, but appear to have a spacer behind the follower and a follower altered to fit the spacer. I know at some point I will put in a 9mm magazine with some .380's in it to see if it will feed.

Another feature of this model is that the frame mounted safety acts as both a cocked-and-locked SA safety, AND a decocker, AND a DAO switch. I can't think of too many situations where I would carry it in DAO mode, but it would make a terrific option for practicing the first DAO shot without having to decock the pistol every time.
 

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I'll have to admit an error. The stock photo above is of the P11. The CP380 has a blued barrel (more like tenifer or parkerizing), and there is a slight cutout behind the ejection port.

The takedown on the CP380 is similar to the PPK and other blowback pistols. Clear weopon, pull slide fully to the rear, pull the disassembly tabs down, lift at the back of the slide, and allow the spring pressure to pull the slide forward off the barrel.

Reassembly flumoxed me for ten minutes after I I field stripped it and cleaned it before shooting. Contrary to the rotating barrel versions, you must pull down on the disassembly tabs to allow the slide cutouts to clear the frame tabs. I finally did this by forcing the slide fully to the rear on a (padded) edge of my bench, pulling down the locking tabs, forcing the slide past the tabs, then pushing the slide downward onto the frame. The second time it was much easier.

I was using a sooty, light load of W231, but the gun shot relatively clean. The sights are clear enough, but slightly narrower than I prefer. The CP380 magazines are exactly the same size as the P11 magazines, but appear to have a spacer behind the follower and a follower altered to fit the spacer. I know at some point I will put in a 9mm magazine with some .380's in it to see if it will feed.

Another feature of this model is that the frame mounted safety acts as both a cocked-and-locked SA safety, AND a decocker, AND a DAO switch. I can't think of too many situations where I would carry it in DAO mode, but it would make a terrific option for practicing the first DAO shot without having to decock the pistol every time.
So...

Can you carry it as an SAO by cocking the hammer with the safety applied (as a USP, FNX, or XDE can), or does waging the pistol automatically decock (as a Beretta, or S&W 3rd gen would)?

And how do you switch it out of DA/SA to DAO?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So...

Can you carry it as an SAO by cocking the hammer with the safety applied (as a USP, FNX, or XDE can), or does waging the pistol automatically decock (as a Beretta, or S&W 3rd gen would)?

And how do you switch it out of DA/SA to DAO?
If the hammer is cocked, pushing the safety up places the gun in cocked and locked, similar to a 1911, except you can still manipulate the slide.

If cocked, pushing the safety fully down will decock the hammer. However, the safety will stay there in the fully-down DAO mode unless you return it to the center, or what I will call "neutral" position.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That's pretty damn cool, that is.
I concur. The P11 operates the same way, except for the barrel configuration. My understanding is that this is a new feature, and older pistols may not have the decock/SAO capability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How easy is it to accidentally decock when swiping the safety off?
Not very, at least so far. I have swiped the safety a smidge past neutral once, but it still fired in SA mode. Unlike some "safety down" models, it will still fire, just in DAO.
 
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I came upon a P11 at my LGS a few months back. The guys in the shop had never seen one and neither had I. With it being different than anything I had seen, I decided to give it a go. I took it to the range and found it to be a good shooter with reasonably light recoil. Overall I have been quite pleased with my purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I came upon a P11 at my LGS a few months back. The guys in the shop had never seen one and neither had I. With it being different than anything I had seen, I decided to give it a go. I took it to the range and found it to be a good shooter with reasonably light recoil. Overall I have been quite pleased with my purchase.
It is a very interesting pistol. I tend to take “shoots soft” reports with a grain of salt, since a lot of people seem to think that low bore axis diminishes impact on the shooting hand. But the P11 does seem to handle recoil better than its 26 ounce weight would suggest, and it certainly does not seem to come off target very much. I was using a starting load of Green Dot and 124 plated RN, and the accuracy was good—not target quality but as good as the Jericho 941 and Tangfolio Witness P I had brought along for comparison, and that is saying quite a bit. Also happy to find that my reloads were more accurate than the USA remanufactured TMJ I had on hand.

Another point I will make—there is at least one report out there of Grand Powers “bottlenecking” their fired brass. I found this 100% not the case with my two pistols. Fired brass looked completely normal, firing pin strikes were strong, and no ejector scars on the rim or dings in the cases.

It’s not really anything more special than you would expect from an XD, Glock, or a CZ, but they do have some different features from the ordinary.
 
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