The AMT .380 Backup

As the name says, these AMT guns are capable pieces. Here’s what you need to know to keep these guns in working order.

by Wendell Dwight Deaner

It makes a lot of sense to buy used guns. Many are hardly used at all. Some shooters buy a gun for whatever reason and never even shoot it once before trading it off for another whim that strikes their fancy. There are pitfalls to buying used, just like anything else, but a shop-wise shooter can find lots of bargains. The AMT Backup is one such gun that could be a diamond in the rough.

AMT stands for Arcadia Machine and Tool. In the early eighties this company, based in Irwindale California, produced the Backup and several other guns. Changes in fortune for the parent company meant bankruptcy and the company was bought and sold until it disappeared into High Standard. Today it is a non-issue as none of the original guns are still in production.

That being said, there are still plenty of Backups out there. A quick check on Guns America auction site offered several at prices running from $350-$450 for NIB specimens. Another peek on the usual Internet forums rate the guns from the worst junk I ever made to the best gun worth owning, about what you’d expect from some of this crap online. Having personal experience with several of the models in .380 (they were also made in 9mm and .45ACP) I make the observation that these are some of the best little autos ever made. They are sturdy and always go bang if the right ammo is used and are kept properly lubricated – just like any other well-made gun.

A question from one of our readers about the disassembly of the Backup and some of the buzz on the Net convinced me that an article concerning these guns is in order.


Read more in our April 2013 issue. Back issues are available.

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