How to Disassemble a .380-Caliber Handgun

How to Disassemble a .380-Caliber Handgun

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The .380-caliber handgun has long been a popular choice for people who need a lightweight, compact repeating handgun. Easily concealed, some models are made with plastic to avoid notice by metal detection systems. Documentation for how to disassemble a .380 handgun has not been nearly so easy to find as different makes of this handgun. The .380, no matter your make, is one of the easiest handguns to disassemble; with a minimum of parts it is easy to break down and clean.

Items you will need

  • .380-caliber handgun

  • Pencil (with eraser, if necessary)

  • Clean rag

Point your .380 handgun away from you or any other person in the area. Drop the magazine out by depressing the magazine catch (at the bottom of the grip on some models, at the top near the slide on others). Put the magazine aside.

Keep the gun pointed away from you or any other person in the area and jack the slide by firmly gripping the rear of the slide and pulling it toward you. Tilt the gun sideways so you can look into the chamber without pointing the gun at yourself and check to see if there is a bullet remaining in the chamber. If there is, remove it by knocking the side of the .380 gently to push it out through the chamber. Once the chamber is clear, release the slide.

Locate the rear release plug. On some models this will be a keyhole-shaped plug near the rear of the slide (as on the Davis P-380), on other types of .380 guns you will have to insert a pencil, eraser first, into the barrel and push on the spring at the back of the barrel until it releases (for instance, use this method on a Colt Lorcin). If you have a Ruger LCP, look for the slide release lever at the rear base of the slide.

Lay a clean rag flat on your work surface. Hold your pistol so the top of the slide is toward the rag, almost upside down. Then pull the slide toward you and away from the gun body at the same time. The internal parts will fall free as the slide is removed. Your 380 is completely disassembled; at this point and you can easily clean the weapon.


  • When you pull the slide from the gun body, the internal springs may come flying out of the barrel. Cover the slide and protect your eyes when separating the slide from the body.


  • Hold a rag over the slide when you pull it free from the gun body to catch the small pieces that will fall out when released.
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