Review: Kahr Arms 380 and Guncrafter Glock Conversion 50 GI

The Guncrafter 50 GI Glock Conversion for the Glock Model 21 45 ACP.
The Guncrafter 50 GI Glock Conversion for the Glock Model 21 45 ACP.

Done correctly, modern handguns offer a perfect combination of polymer and steel. They bring together thoughtful ergonomics, ideal features and craftsmanship. But do you need a big gun or a little one? I guess that depends on the circumstances and what you want to accomplish.

So which gun do you need: A .380 that disappears when concealed or a .50 GI that will punch holes in just about anything you decide to shoot? How do you choose? I say buy both for some very good reasons.

The first rule of a handgun is that it must fire every time you pull the trigger. Accuracy is negotiable. Reliability is not. When you get both accuracy and reliability, you have a handgun to brag about. Both of the guns highlighted here have earned their bragging rights.

We’ll start with the big gun because, in America, people love big things.

Guncrafter’s Glock Conversion Kit 50 GI

The .50 GI pushes the 300-grain bullet at 725 fps. The 275-grain at 875 fps.
The .50 GI pushes the 300-grain bullet at 725 fps. The 275-grain at 875 fps and opens up to more than an inch in diameter. Ouch, that’s gonna leave a mark.

First off, the idea of Glock conversion is not new. Several firms are making kits to take the Austrian pistol down to .22 caliber for low-cost plinking. But Guncrafter Industries went the other direction, taking the Glock 21 up from the .45 ACP to the whopping .50 GI. That’s right, this is a big-bore auto pistol with a half-inch hole in the front of the barrel. And unlike the X-Frame S&W monsters, the Guncrafter’s sidearm is one you can control and carry with relative ease.

The deal is simple: Field strip the Glock. Put the new slide and barrel assembly on the frame, insert a new magazine containing .50 GI rounds and you are in business. It all takes less than a minute and you go from a big, honkin’ self-defense pistol to an even bigger honkin’ pistol that will take care of just about any critter found from sea to shining sea.

Whether you use the gun for self-defense or hunting you will not have to worry about performance. You might not want to carry the gun as your primary firearm on a grizzly bear hunt, but it would make a fine backup pistol in bear country. And I’m guessing the big bullets will encourage even the toughest wild hog to take a lengthy dirt nap.

Made from top quality stainless steel forgings, the conversion includes a complete top end: slide, recoil spring, barrel, etc. and a magazine for your Glock Model 20 or 21. The magazine offers a 9+1 capacity with the extended base or an 8+1 capacity with a standard base, all for a retail price of $595. Quite the bargain.

The .50 GI round was designed as a self-defense round, so it’s made to hit hard but still be controllable. Pushing a 300-grain bullet at 725 feet per second gives you a power factor of 210! There is also a 275-grain round that moves out at 875 fps and both these rounds have a recoil impulse similar to a .45 ACP or 10mm round.

In range testing there was universal surprise among those who pulled the trigger. No abuse. No injured or aching wrists. Just good firm recoil in a platform that is familiar and completely controllable. Accuracy was great and reliability was perfect.

Factory-loaded ammo is available from Guncrafter Industries, as are reloading dies and components. I found no downside when looking over the Guncrafter’s conversion. And if you really want to go the whole nine yards, start with your Glock 20 or 21, get the Guncrafter Industries .50 GI conversion kit and then buy a .22LR conversion kit from Advantage Arms. One gun; all sorts of possibilities.

The Little Gun – Kahr Arms 380

The Kahr Arms 380 sports a 2.5-inch barrel and an overall length of just 4.9 inches
The Kahr Arms 380 sports a 2.5-inch barrel and an overall length of just 4.9 inches, but this little gun certainly does its job out to 7 yards.

Massad Ayoob calls pistols this size “mouse guns.” I consider Mas a good friend but I don’t think he’d want me shooting at him with a mouse gun and I sure wouldn’t want him shooting at me with one. The point is this: The best gun to have in a gunfight is the gun you have with you when the gunfight starts. So, if carrying a small gun means you’ll carry a gun all the time, get a small gun and get a good one. The Kahr Arms P380 is a good one; one of the best, in fact.

Unlike other pocket-sized .380 pistols, the Kahr has all the features you’d find on a full-sized gun, including a slide-lock lever and a last-round hold open feature. The operating system is a modified Browning style.

There is no link beneath the barrel, but rather a kidney-shaped hole in the lug beneath the chamber. This allows the barrel to unlock and tilt as it would on a full-sized Browning-style pistol. The trigger offers a long but smooth, double-action pull that also cocks the striker. Pull weight is about 7 pounds. There is no magazine disconnect, nor any external manual safeties. Weighing in at just 9.9 ounces, this pistol is easy to conceal and even easier to draw.

Of course you can’t expect match-grade accuracy from a pistol with a 2.5-inch barrel and an overall length of just 4.9 inches, but this little gun certainly does its job out to 7 yards. The sights, a short white rear post and white dot on the front allow you to quickly “dot the i” and fire. If you have the front sight on target, you will get hits.

Fit and finish is great like all Kahr pistols. If there is one drawback, it would be that the small size of the gun in my big hands makes it feel as though it is “riding high” in the grip. But that’s just a feeling; the gun is very controllable, even if you are burning through the entire six-round magazine in short order. Granted; the .380 round is not a one-shot fight-stopper, but this little deep cover pistol is nearly perfect for its intended purpose.

Conclusion

Large or small, either of these platforms will give you what you need…once you decide what that is. Do you want a thunderous .50 caliber projectile or a pocket gun that will provide discrete protection when something bigger might be difficult to conceal? The choice is yours and you won’t go wrong by choosing either of these guns.

Order the Gun Digest Book of the Glock. Click Here
Learn more about Glocks in the Gun Digest Book of the Glock, 2nd Edition. Click Here to Buy

Contact Information

Guncrafter Industries
171 Madison 1510
Huntsville, AR 72740
Phone: 479 665 2466
www.guncrafterindustries.com

Kahr Arms
130 Goddard Memorial Drive,
Worcester, MA 01603
Phone: 508-795-3919
www.kahr.com

Advantage Arms Inc.
25163 West Ave. Stanford,
Valencia, Ca 91355
Phone: 661-257-2290
www.advantagearms.com

 

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