The Golden Age of the medium-frame .38 Special revolver as a primary law-enforcement sidearm ended several decades ago. However, small-frame snubbies (5-shot S&W J-Frames more often than not) are still enormously popular with CCW holders. In fact, even with the ascendancy of polymer-framed, striker-fired autos, more than a few LE types (and not necessarily old-timers) still employ these reliable little wheelguns, such as the S&W Model 40, in the role of a backup weapon. [Read more…] about S&W’s Model 40: Still a “Special” .38 Snubbie.
I own a number of nice 1911-type handguns. Several are high-end custom handguns with super fitting; good, tight tolerances; a crisp trigger action; and high-visibility sights. Just the same, the handguns I grew up on were GI .45s, and I remember them fondly. Many have been cut up and new sights installed, and they were otherwise modified. Today, I believe that among the best choices for service and personal defense is a Government Model .45 with high-visibility sights and a good trigger action. Little else is needed to provide excellent self-protection. Among the best choices in modern Government Model-type handguns is the Remington R1. [Read more…] about Gun Test: Remington R1
I am not one of those who criticize the younger generation. Primarily, because I have seen too many in my training classes and in service who are on top of things. However, I also see a lack of appreciation for quality maintenance (personal gunsmithing). Perhaps the popular press and gun store commandos are responsible in part. Some shooters come to class with a pistol that is not of appropriate quality for personal defense. I don’t frequent the firearms chat rooms often, but I recently visited a fanboy website in search of answers to the malfunctions one student experienced with his personal rifle. [Read more…] about Commando Gunsmithing
The Beretta APX is Beretta’s entry into the polymer-frame striker-fired field, and they added a modular design for good measure. The APX is going against stiff competition. While Beretta has brand loyalty, the piece must stand on its own merit. [Read more…] about Gun Test: Beretta APX 9mm Compact
Not long ago, the conversation turned to shotguns at the gun shop. While even the folks that are not the ones we call “gunny” know the merits of shotguns for home defense, there are many opinions on the proper load and the best shotgun. The shotgun is primarily a projectile launcher and it is best to use what you are comfortable and familiar with. I have checked my notes before writing this article and I have a good recollection of incidents that have occurred in the past 40 years. [Read more…] about Shotguns: The Defensive Firearm
One of the great revolutions in handgun manufacture is the polymer frame, striker-fired revolution. Glock led the way and still dominates the market. Arguably, Glock remains first with the most. I should note that I am not the greatest Glock fan, but I certainly am not a Glock basher. The Glock is, in my opinion, the baseline gun for personal defense and a great choice for many shooters. The Glock is as reliable as a handgun may be, easy enough to use well, and chambers popular cartridges. The Glock 48 follows this tradition. [Read more…] about Review: Glock 48 9mm
A few years ago, a friend at a facility I worked with was given the task of working up a test protocol for bulletproof vests. His combination of skills was well suited to the job. However, on a personal level, his passionate excitement, combined with painstaking scientific method, proved to be a winning combination. His assignment coincided with the failures of several vests in police service, and he was determined to produce the best ammunition possible. [Read more…] about Ammunition Testing: Taking Up The Task
I was at an event in Montana earlier this fall where several gun and ammunition manufacturers were showing off their new products and allowing writers to test them. I found myself hanging out at the Vista Outdoor booth, pining over the 10mm, long enough that I was surprised the guys there didn’t tell me to leave. Vista Outdoor may not be a name you are familiar with, but if you are a shooter/outdoorsman, you probably have used some of their products. [Read more…] about I Fell for the 10mm — You Will too!
When the great handguns of modern times are discussed, the go-to list of reliable handguns that I completely trust is short. The Colt 1911, FN High Power, Czech CZ 75 and the Glock are among these. There are many copies and clones of these handguns. Some are ironmongery but others are excellent firearms. Among the close copies of the CZ 75 that has earned a good reputation worldwide is the Israeli Jericho pistol, otherwise known as the Baby Desert Eagle. [Read more…] about Gun Test: Baby Desert Eagle .45 ACP
Ruger’s SR1911 line continues to expand with the introduction of the Ruger SR1911 10mm. This handgun differs considerably from previous pistols and may arguably be one of the best 10mm 1911 handguns ever built. [Read more…] about Gun Test: Ruger SR1911 10mm
With most new concealed carry handguns focused on polymer-frame striker-fired handguns, it is good to see that Springfield Armory has catered to the rest of us with a modern, polymer-frame double-action first-shot handgun with a decocker. [Read more…] about Springfield XDE — Catering to the Rest
The 10mm Auto cartridge is being rediscovered. There is new ammunition being manufactured in velocities the 10mm was intended for, such as the newer SIG Elite Performance ammo, and firearm manufacturers such as Glock, Rock Island Arsenal (RIA), and SIG offer platforms well suited to this powerhouse cartridge. Which would you choose? [Read more…] about Three Top 10mm Pistols — Pick Your Poison
It is interesting how handgun training has so many variables. As an example, most modern shooters regard two-hand fire as the default skill, so they practice two-hand fire less. In the past it was one-hand fire, and two-hand fire was used only at extreme range. There is no question that two-hand fire is the most accurate, but one-hand fire is the faster. The balance of speed and accuracy must be maintained. One-hand shooting will be used at short range and when speed is needed but accuracy cannot be sacrificed. Two-hand fire is used at the range at which you need more accuracy. [Read more…] about The Importance of One-Hand Shooting Training
The primary goal of marksmanship is being able to hit what we are aiming at. Your purpose may be simple target shooting, hunting, or personal defense. Whatever the goal, a great deal of practice is needed. For most of American history, rifle marksmanship has been an essential skill, and it remains so today. [Read more…] about The Skill of Rifle Marksmanship
For most of my shooting life, I have relied upon a handful of firearms including the Colt 1911, Smith and Wesson Magnum revolvers, and the Remington 870 shotgun. Occasionally, I have purchased cheaper firearms and regretted it. Recently, I came across the Model 870 Express Tactical Magpul and have never looked back. [Read more…] about Gun Test: Model 870 Express Tactical Magpul
The first manufacturer of red dot sights was Aimpoint. Today, Aimpoint remains at the top of the heap. Aimpoint’s red dots are proven in harsh conditions and combat the world over. They have been the mainstay for police agencies and professionals that appreciate a quality optic, and should be a top choice for you as well. [Read more…] about Tactical Red Dot Review: Aimpoint H2 and T2
Ammunition manufacturers have made great strides when it comes to hunting and self-defense ammunition. Training ammunition, however, has progressed little. Oh sure, your can buy steel case ammunition or remanufactured ammunition at a decent price, but I am talking about training ammunition that still maintains its price point, but offers a technological advantage. Federal recently finished a years long development of a new practice load, and the American Eagle Syntech is well worth your time and effort to obtain and use. [Read more…] about Federal Syntech: Next Generation Training Ammunition
A handgun that doesn’t get a lot of attention is the Ruger LC9. Credible, affordable, and reliable, this single stack 9mm brings a lot to the table. The new Ruger EC9s is an affordable version of the LC9.
A good quality, .22 caliber bolt-action rifle, such as the Zastava MP22, is among the best firearms available for all shooters and those who love the outdoors. It is suitable for training, recreational shooting, small game hunting, and general outdoors duty. The .22 caliber rifle is easy to use well, and practice is cheap. There is no harsh recoil to intimidate young shooters. [Read more…] about Gun Test: Zastava .22 Rifle
Recently, I was able to obtain, test, and evaluate the Arex Rex Zero 9mm compact. The results were good, as the pistol has proven reliable with every load, more accurate than expected, and ergonomically pleasing. The pistol is in some ways based on proven operating principles and the SIG P series handguns, but in other ways offers a fresh pistol from a proven manufacturing base. [Read more…] about Gun Test: Rex Zero 9mm Compact