I recently purchased two of the new Smith and Wesson EZ380 pistols. I reviewed them in this recent blog post.
Since that review I’ve used the EZ380 in several private lessons, working with shooters that had small hands or limited grip strength. My appreciation of this gun continues to grow as I work with it.
One other excellent use for the EZ380, suggested by a student, is as a ‘first centerfire pistol” for pre-teens ready to transition from a .22 to something larger. The short trigger reach, light weight, and other features of this gun make it an excellent for that application also. This would particularly useful for a young shooter wanting to begin learning how to use a holster to compete in USPSA, IDPA or Steel Challenge style competition.
Evaluating the Design
Roy from Shockbottle and I were chatting after one of the Wednesday night USPSA matches I run at the A-zone, and I showed the EZ380 to him. The EZ380 uses a locking breech design, so it’s mechanically feasible that S&W could come out with a 9mm version of this pistol if they wanted to. By trimming the grip and barrel slightly, a compact version might also be possible, so don’t be surprised if either of those show up at SHOT show in 2019, as they are logical extensions of this design.
Roy tested the grip safety in a way I hadn’t thought of: pressing the trigger back, without the grip safety engaged, and then engaging the grip safety to see if the gun would fire. I replicated that test the next day in better light.
The EZ380 passed this test. The only way to get the gun to fire is to use it as intended: grip the pistol so that the grip safety is disengaged, and then press the trigger. Doing those tasks in reverse order, as might occur if the gun was dropped and the user first grabbed it by the trigger and then closed the hand, engaging the grip safety, does not cause the gun to fire. That makes this design very drop-safe.
I’m not a fan of 3-dot sights. (Actually can’t think of any trainers or high skill level shooters that like 3 dot sights, but gun makers continue to make the standard option on pistols.) The EZ380 comes with 3-dot sights. I grabbed a Sharpie and a bottle of electric orange fingernail polish (purchased for painting sights), blacked out the rear dots and dropped a dot of orange on the front dot.
Holding the gun in one hand, trying to get it lined up properly, holding the iPhone in the other hand, *and* getting the phone to focus on the front sight instead of the rear sight was hard, so here’s a close up pic of the front sight by itself so you can see the orange dot better.
Spare mags are now available for about $25 apiece MSRP. The gun comes with two. I ordered additional mags to have on hand for the class loaner EZ380. Next up is to get a dedicated holster and mag pouches for it, so I have a complete class kit someone could use for a Defensive Pistol Skills 1 or Defensive Pistol Skills Small Gun class in the future.
I expect as this gun grows in popularity we’ll see +1 base pads come on the market also. The mags that come with the gun hold 8. A +1 base pad would give the gun a 9+1 capacity, equal to an M&P Shield with +1 base pads.
Once I get the final items on hand to build a full student kit, I expect the EZ380 will be a frequently used loaner gun. Since writing my first review, I’ve already sold 3 of them to students with small hands or low grip strength, who used the loaner gun during classes and had success with it.