Monday, December 3, 2012

Masterpiece Arms Protector II Review.

Hi all

I am posting this on my favorite few forums and blogs (and here because it's mine) because I had a hard time finding reviews on this model.

This is a review of my Masterpiece Arms Protector II. I have searched far and wide for a review of this gun before deciding to pick it up ages ago. As it seems, there aren't so many examples of this gun on the internet. What appealed to me is the steel construction and the lack of MIM'd parts on the gun. The gun resembles a Seacamp .380, the main differences include the added beavertail, barrel porting, and the placement of the magazine release.

First impressions. This thing is light for a solid steel gun. When I picked up the plastic hardshell box it came in I immediately thought someone at the factory forgot to put the firearm in there. The gun comes packages with one magazine, a +10% magazine spring and a flat baseplate to replace the one with the finger rest. I tried the flat base plate, and did not like it. The extra mag spring wasn't needed as the gun functioned ok without it. Also included is the most worthless trigger lock I have ever seen. It is like the one that Big 5 uses, it is simply a large screw with plastic blocks on either side. The head of the screw has two holes that a spanner type key fits into.

One thing to note on this gun is it is capable of firing without a magazine. However there is a warning not to. The side of the magazine functions as the internal surface which the trigger bar rides against. If it's not there, it will disconnect after releasing the hammer. The fix for this is easy, it just involves removing a grip panel, but not something you want to do out in the wild if it can be avoided.

The slide was very stiff when first handled unboxed. This is typical of most .380 pocket guns. However after the initial run of 100 rounds it is much easier to use. Keep in mind that the recoil springs (there are two) need changed every 200 rounds. I would highly advise keeping a few extra on hand, the manufacturer sells them at a great price.

At the range I fired three types of ammo. Hornady Critical Defense, Aguila JHP (both 90 grn), and HPR 90 grain XTP JHP. First I ran 25 rounds of the HPR ammo. At first I noticed that some of these rounds were too long for the magazine. Not all of them, but maybe one out of five. Then I ejected a round that was chambered half way through a magazine and noticed excessive bullet setback. I fired a few more rounds and had a high failure rate due to the bullet taking a significant set. They did the same thing in my Sig P238 as well. I was able to compress the rounds by hand, so I blame this solely on the HPR ammo. The other rounds did function 100%.

Down to the actual shooting. This gun lacks traditional sights. Instead it has a U-channel down the top of the slide, and continuing to the barrel. It does what is meant to do, but it will never be a bullseye gun. The farthest I shot at was 20 feet. I didn't produce the best group I ever had, but all of the rounds were easily center mass. In retrospect I should have taken a picture of the target. Recoil was stout, but not as bad as I expected. Those two small holes for porting really do their job. The Aguila and HPR produced a decent flash from the porting. But the Hornady Critical Defense didn't produce any that I could discern. And no flash was visible with any ammo if you were focusing on the sight. My two complaints are that the grip panels may need touched with a fine grit sandpaper at the rear by the beaver tail as there is a very slight edge to them. And the magazine release is hard to manipulate. But when taking the grip off ( because I forgot to insert an empty magazine when dry firing) it pops right out. A little Flitz along the edges that interface with the spring and the cut out in the frame, and a drop of good lube and it works much more smoothly. Also about 25 rounds in plus some good lubing the slide is much easier to manipulate.

All in all for under $300 this is an excellent buy. It's not without the limitations many other pocket .380's have. But for the same price range as a Kel-tec (who I love by the way) its a great choice.

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