Hi Point Carbine Review – Why .380 in a Rifle?

By Mike Searson
Gun writer Mike Searson tries to wrap his brain around the reason behind a .380 caliber rifle in this Hi Point Carbine review.

HiPoint 380 Carbine
HiPoint 380 Carbine
Mike Searson
Mike Searson

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)- It’s no secret, we are a fan of pistol caliber carbines.

Our tastes run a bit more to submachine guns like our full auto IMI Uzi or our lever guns chambered in magnum handgun calibers, but every now and then we want to try out something different.

That is, until we heard of Hi-Point’s 380 ACP Carbine: 389TS, to that enter this Hi Point carbine review.

Yes, Hi-Point is currently producing a carbine chambered in 380 ACP, or 9mm Kurz, or 9mm Short or whatever other name you want to call that pipsqueak of a mouse gun round.

The caliber perplexed us. That round is intended for small concealable pistols and people who live in countries where “Military calibers” are banned to civilians. The closest thing we could think of ever seeing that resembled a 380 long gun was the old Ingram M-11, but that was really a machine pistol with a telescopic stock and its virtue was the 2mm reduction in case length from a 9mm gave it a cyclic rate of fire of over 1200 rpms.

Hi Point Carbine Review

MKS Supply, Hi-Point’s distributor, explained to us that the idea came from their customer base. We asked them about the choice and the answer was plain:

“Over the last 4-5 years there have been millions of 380 ACP pistols sold. Many of which were a person's first and only firearm. These shooters tend to have 1 caliber of ammo and it is 380 ACP. They are less inclined to buy another firearm of a different caliber, but they may buy a rifle that shoots the same ammo they already have.”

Add to the fact that Hi-Point is the only company making a carbine in this caliber and it starts to make a little more sense.

NOTE: Our good friends at Freedom Munitions sent us 250 rounds so we could give a good overview.

Hi Point Carbine Review The Good

On the range we did not know what to expect. We have shot 380s from tiny pocket pistols to full size service pistols in this caliber and the M11 on full auto, but never from a carbine. Recoil and noise were on par with a subsonic 22 lr. That’s right, subsonic. There was nothing to this one at all.

Hi Point Carbine Review
HiPoint 380 Carbine Pistol Grip and rear sight cage.

You can get very accurate with this one quickly and we see some potential in it as a training aid for shooters who may be gun shy of a centerfire rifle round. Plus, it is straight-up fun to shoot.

Like their other carbines, this one has plenty of rail space if you wish to add lights, lasers, fore grips, etc. A small red dot could make this a fun plinker all day long.

Common magazines with their 380 ACP pistols are another thing that Hi-Point owners can celebrate about this little carbine.

The factory ghost ring sights are adjustable and very robust.

We had one mishap with ammunition on the range, but it was shooter error and had nothing to do with the ammunition or the rifle.

Beyond that it was utterly reliable and rest assured, Hi-Point has one of the best warranties in the industry. If something goes wrong, they will make it right.

Hi Point Carbine Review The Bad

As fun as this one is to shoot (and really, that is sometimes the only reason you need to buy any firearm!) we find its utility beyond the shooting range to be limited. Mostly because there is no real ballistic advantage to be gained by a rifle length 380 ACP and the ammunition is costly when compared to the larger 9mm.

The rails are the Weaver type and suspect there may be problems attaching certain accessories that are designed for Mil-Spec Picatinny systems. Removal of the factory rear sight does not look like a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, either. As simple as these rifles are, they are over engineered in some regards.

Hi Point Carbine Review The Reality

Pistol caliber carbines have been around since the invention of cartridge firearms. When Winchester produced lever-action rifles in 32-30, 38-40 and 44-40; Colt followed suit and offered those calibers in their revolvers. Contrary to popular belief, lever guns of the Old West were never offered in 45 Colt until the 1960s or so when the rim was redesigned on the round. Hi-Point is carrying on this tradition of the old time gun makers and it should pay off for them.

We are not a fan of this cartridge/firearm combination as an answer to any tactical question, but we do think it is a fun one to introduce new people to shooting. Again, if it is all you have, it’s better than having to throw rocks in a gun battle.

As to the subject of velocity we chronographed a few rounds through a 4.5” Beretta 84BB and the Hi-Point carbine. The 12 extra inches of barrel gave us an increase of about 120 to 140 fps. To be truthful we did not even expect that much. We have seen 9mm gain as much as 250 fps with certain loads when going from 4” to 16”, but 380 does not have much powder to begin with. Some of the hotter +P loads might prove interesting and we would be curious to see if the barrel length increases expansion of those rounds.

We think a threaded barrel would be a nice feature on this as the round has no supersonic crack when leaving the barrel and could make short work of varmints at close range.

Hi Point 380 Carbine Left Side Hi Point Carbine Review
HiPoint 380 Carbine Left Side

If you like the thought of a 380 plinking rifle or are one of those people who imposes a limitation on themselves of only a handful of calibers to keep on hand, you will probably like this carbine. And did I mention the price? $297!!

Hi Point 380 Carbine Specs:

  • Barrel length: 16.5″
  • Overall length: 31″
  • Weight: 6.25 lbs.
  • Capacity: 10-shot
  • MSRP: $297

About Mike Searson

Mike Searson's career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.

Mike has written over 2000 articles for a number of magazines, websites and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, Examiner.com and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

  • Home page: www.mikesearson.com
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Ronald Cravens
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Ronald Cravens

There’s a factor in use of a 380 firearm that is completely missed by most of you younger people. Before you select a .40 cal or even 9mm for home defense I suggest you find a tightly enclosed space, like the hall in your home and fire a 40 or 9mm without ear protection. If your door is kicked in at night are you going to grab earmuffs or some such before facing the intruder? I think not. I have at least 60% hearing loss as many old-timers do and would like to keep what hearing i have left. The… Read more »

RJW
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RJW

I’m retired LE and the reason I’m considering a .380 carbine is because a small .380 pistol has become the handgun I carry 95% of the time. I’m not a hard core survivalist, but when I travel I’d like to have a 2nd weapon that could accurately reach out further than the small pistol I’m carrying & I don’t want to carry ammo for 2 weapons. No, it’s not an ideal defensive round, but there are always trade offs with whatever you carry. If ballistic performance were the only factor to consider, then I’d go with a .50 caliber sniper… Read more »

Steven Smull
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Steven Smull

I like it. I like the idea of using the same ammo for both my weapons. If I have to get out in a hurry. Don’t have to carry ammo for 2 different weapons. Someone said they didn’t like the rack. Something about not able put enough junk on it. Me just a flash light is enough. Don’t need to carry All that junk and extra weight. I’m fine with iron sights. Nice weapon.

Jim
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Jim

Hey Mike. Thanks for the review. Can you tell me if this gun has the same external dimensions as the other Hi Point carbines – 9mm, 40, etc? I’m asking on behalf of a younger shooter with some disabilities who has some range of motion issues. I have the 9mm and I’m kind of hoping it’s a little bit smaller than that, but I’m guessing not. Thanks for your help.

tony
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tony

i love everything Hi-Point we have 4- 9mm pistols 4-9mm carbines 2-40 carbines 2-40 pistols an 2-380 pistols 2-380 carbines my 15yr old hits a milk cap with her 380 at 75yrd so i say get one i love them. but i love my eagle an my 223/556 as well.. an my Ruger 10/22

Sbhnky
Guest
Sbhnky

The mags on the 380 pisyol and 380 carbines are no interchageable the carbine is cut different and will not fit the carbine. I just tried and it didnot work.

Darren
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Darren

“Removal of the factory rear sight does not look like a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, either.”

Are you serious? I have a 995TS. All you do is remove 3 screws & the rear sight is off.

Agreed about the rails though. Highly recommend aluminum after market ones. Not only are they picatinny their rigidity stabilizes the weapon. Here’s what it looks like now http://www.hipointfirearmsforums.com/forum/f274/995ts-has-anyone-tried-318697/

Jerry
Guest
Jerry

This is different from the above discussion, I have a SKS 7.62 x39 that I like very well. However my son has ne too plus a AR15 that use the NATO round. He claims that the SKS is not accurate and the AR 15 is a much better gun,
In your opinion would it b worth while to spend around $1100.dollars to replace the SKS with an AR15?
All comments will be much appreciated.
parrot428

Lou
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Lou

Well, Point 1: The pistol caliber tactical carbine tactically fills the distance between the typical range of handguns, usually out to 25 yards, and the tactical rifle, beyond say 50 to 75 yards. If you don’t agree, I suggest that you try hitting a target with both at 50 yards and compare the results. Point 2: The longer barrel maximizes the performance of the pistol caliber round. Point 3: I have attempted to train people who just can’t hit the broad side of the barn with a handgun. A tactical carbine seems like the better choice for those folks, and… Read more »

Steve
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Steve

I have the 995TS and the biggest complaint I have is the Weaver rail. It is hard to find accessories to fit and everything I have is already Picatinny. It would have been nice to be able to swap from another rifle to the 995TS.

bob latour
Guest
bob latour

Removal of the factory rear sight does not look like a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon? First thing I did on my 995ts was remove the sight., 4 screws and less than 5 minutes. Put on a red dot and flip up back up sights.

Donovan
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Donovan

Probably should have mentioned that the Hi Point guns are US made and also available in 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP. Maybe also that the warranty follows the gun, not the owner, and for under $300 in any of the calibers, plus the reliability, makes it just hands down the best value in pistol caliber rifles. The oddly over engineered, yet marginal aesthetics of the stock, plagues the line and keeps it from being even more popular. While not my favorite pistol carbine that I own, it is certainly the cheapest and the most reliable. Both of mine hi… Read more »

S F C
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S F C

One question for the skeptics – any volunteers to catch the projectile from this silly carbine? I don’t think so, nor is this weapon silly. You who poo-poo this kind of weapon are a little too fueled by belief in their own testosterone level. If it fills a need for a segment of the population and they want to invest in marketing to that segment, by all means let them make it/sell it/buy it without stigma. You are letting your prejudices dictate what is availablle versus what people want. Does this carbine make sense ballistically? No. Is it economically sensible?… Read more »

Ol' Vet
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Ol' Vet

I see nothing wrong with a .380 (9mm short) in a carbine. It’s not made to make the 1000 yard shots, and is probably a good weapon for a lady or a growing young man. To quote a action figure, “It may be small, but it hurts!”. I have the .45 Hipoint and it’s a good weapon, and understand it is the same size as the Thompson Sub-Machine Gun. You can knock down the pins with that one.

Jeff D.
Guest
Jeff D.

I gave my wife my browning .380 BDA “my favorite and most comfortable” carry gun. I’m a biker and it just fits in my vest perfectly. However it is the only gun of many she is very comfortable with. Since it is a legal pre-ban she has 14 shots total. Loaded with the R.I.P. ammo, I’ll tell you, I would not want to be the person on the receiving end of business! I feel much better that she has adjusted to that, than her .22 s+w revolver. I bought her the Hi-Point .380 and she loves it! She only has… Read more »

Frank Klafs
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Frank Klafs

have another review by someone that does not have a huge negitive feelling for .380 ACP

This aaeticle is like having Rachael Madow review Donald Trump

Joe Demarco
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Joe Demarco

Apparently you did not read the article

Whiskey For My Men Beer For My Horses
Guest
Whiskey For My Men Beer For My Horses

The good. Hi Points are USA made. The bad. .380 ammo is about the same price as .223 and a whole lot more expensive than 9mm.

CJ
Guest
CJ

It always helps sales to be the only one out there. As long as there is a niche, there will always be a Hi point.

Janek
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Janek

Why .32 ACP in a Czech Scorpion? Because it fills a requirement.