By J.B. Wood, American Handgunner
Excel Industries, makers of the compact Accu-Tek pistols, have an advantage in the design department in the form of Larry Grossman — able assistant to the late Henry Sanford of AMT. About 25 years ago, Excel introduced the Accu-Tek line of pistols. They were Walther-ish in appearance, but single-action only.
Back in 1990, they came out with a beautiful all-stainless steel pistol: the AT-380 II. Using a medium-frame, it had an empty weight of 23.5 ounces. Beginning in 2012, they began making an alloy-frame version: the LT-380. At 15 ounces, it’s a full ½ pound lighter than the all-stainless model — making a noticeable difference after a day of concealed carry. The lighter weight has the slightest of effects on the felt-recoil, but with since it’s chambered in the .380 cartridge, it’s trivial.
Handy Safety Features
In the basic Accu-Tek design, there are several helpful features. When the slide-mounted safety is turned downward to on-safe position, a crosspiece of heavy steel completely encloses the head of the firing pin, so the hammer can’t touch it. Also, it disconnects the trigger bar from the sear, so you can’t stress the crosspiece by repeatedly dry-firing it.
There’s no annoying magazine-disconnect safety, so always be sure to check the chamber before tucking it away. This also means, of course, if you’re attacked while changing the magazine, you can still fire the last round. The magazine catch is at the lower rear, which is a good location for carrying-concealed — meaning holster or body movement can’t inadvertently push a button.
I have a personal note on my last remark: For several years, my everyday carry gun has been a Kel-Tec P-32, equipped with an 8-round magazine loaded with CorBon hollowpoints. The side magazine-release button has been filed off to less than half of its original protrusion. If it had been a bottom-rear catch — like the LT-380 — this wouldn’t have been necessary.
The grip-frame of the Accu-Tek LT-380 has a good angle and shape, with a generous over-hang at the upper rear to prevent bite. The pebbled black polymer grip panels are each secured by two screws. You get two, 6-round magazines, one of them with a finger-extension bottom. The sights are square-picture and rear can be moved laterally in its dovetail. The rowel-type hammer spur is easily accessible for cocking.
The trigger deserves special mention. On the pistol I tested, it had a crisp 5-pound pull, and absolutely no over-travel. I’ve found this to be the standard on several other Accu-Tek pistols — it’s a well-designed system. And thankfully, the trigger is smooth-faced, with no vertical ridges.
Old vs. New
Since I also have an AT-380 II, I wanted to compare its felt-recoil to the felt-recoil of the LT-380. Yes, there’s a little bit of a difference, but nothing too substantial. With personal-defense guns like this, I no longer attempt distance target shooting. The question I’m most concerned with is this: With a two-hand hold, at 7 yards, will it keep five shots in an 8″ black?
In this case, the LT-380 actually performed very, very well. The centered group averaged 4″ without any malfunctions or problems with high-performance hollowpoints. One reason for this is the inside of the LT-380 has a wide and well-polished chamber ramp on the barrel and on the frame.
The model I tried out had a black-anodized frame and an intricately smooth stainless-steel slide — polished on the sides with matte on top. The LT-380 is also available in all-black and in various other color combinations. With a suggested retail price of $308, the LT-380 is a bargain — which is hard to come by these days.
For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/excel-industries, (909) 947-4867.
Source: American Handgunner Magazine