The story of my first exposure to the AMT Backup .380 semi-auto “pocket pistol” is documented in an earlier post here. To briefly recap, I found the gun in an old RV I was wrecking out for parts. It was lodged under the propane stove, and must have been there longer than the 12 years I had owned the camper. It was loaded, and in pretty good condition, all things considered. I spent some time and a little money getting it in like new condition again, and have shot it enough that it it now my bedside gun, and also goes with me on trips to my woods property. It is accurate enough at “belly gun” ranges to certainly be better than no gun at all, and I like the all-stainless steel construction, plus the slide safety and grip safety much better than a “modern” striker fired plastic pistol.
In researching the AMT pistols, I found that the Backup line was chambered in several calibers, from .22 LR to .45 ACP. My .380 is a double action/single action design, with no visible hammer. The later version that was chambered for 9 mm, .40 S&W, .38 Super, and .45 ACP was a Double Action Only (DAO) model which had NO safety – instead relying on a stiff trigger pull to keep the gun from firing except when it was wanted to fire. The .380 Backup is heavy for it’s size, but is a blow-back design, and recoils more than a .380 might be expected to. When I got a chance to pick up a .45 ACP Backup, I was a little hesitant, suspecting recoil might be a bit “sporty”!
Well, last week I found one for sale for a price I could not resist. It looks brand new, and did not appear to have been fired before today. It actually is close to the same size as my Para Expert 1911 .45, with it’s 3″ barrel – except that the Para has a full sized 1911 grip section, while the AMT grip is much shorter. The .45 model Backup is, however, both larger and heavier than the .380 version – while still being small enough to be very easily concealed.
I must confess here that I was a little confused by the double action, single action terminology as applied to semi-auto pistols. Well, it really isn’t that complicated. You still must “rack” the slide to load the first round from magazine to chamber. After that, you merely pull the tigger for each shot, exactly as with a single action only semi-auto. The difference seems to be that with a single action, the hammer must be cocked by the slide being racked manually, or during a shot. Well, hmmm, the same logic applies to a DAO gun! With a single action/double action (which also exists), the first shot requires the trigger pull to both cock the hammer and release it to fire the gun, but following shots need only release the trigger. This results in a different trigger pull from the first to successive shots. In a DAO gun, the trigger pull is designed to be just as difficult for the second (and third) shots as the first, making the trigger pull a least consistent – much like with a double action revolver when fired in double action mode only.
The trigger pull of my .45 Backup is stronger than my 8# trigger pull gauge can register – but still not that difficult to shoot. It is not likely to go off in a pocket, however.
I recently “lucked” onto an original AMT Backup .45 Instruction Manual, Warranty Card, and a brochure for Ackers holster made for the gun. Guess all I need now is an original box to officially be a “collector”?