Gun of the Week

Smith & Wesson M&P #209001 9mm - Gun Tests Pistol of the Year

Our first impression of the $679 S&W M&P 9mm was that it felt extremely comfortable in the hand. It was well balanced, not too heavy—at least without a magazine full of 17 heavy-bullet loads—and was pleasantly devoid of extraneous controls and levers. We note S&W also sells a version with a thumb safety, along with a host of variants in 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP, and with longer or shorter barrels or grips, and in a variety of colors. One even has a pink grip insert. Our test gun came in a large case with two different grip inserts to make the handle larger or smaller. We liked it as it was, so we left it alone.   More...

Taurus Judge: Gun Tests Revolver of the Year 2009

Every December Gun Tests Magazine picks the best from a full year’s worth of tests and distills summary recommendations for readers, who often use them as year-end shopping guides. These “best of” choices are a mixture of the Gun Tests original evaluation and other information the staff compiles during the year. Additionally, the magazine selects the best type of firearm--pistol, revolver, shotgun, and rifle--for its “Best in Class” award. The “Best in Class” Revolver for 2009 was the Taurus Judge No. 4510TKR-3BUL 3-Inch 45 LC/410-Bore, $620. It was originally reviewed in the August 2009 issue.   More...

Kimber Aegis II 9mm, $1195

In Greek mythology the aegis was the shield of Zeus. In Kimber’s parlance, the Aegis II is much more offense-minded. It’s a small alloy-framed 1911 chambered for 9mm and fed from a single-column magazine. The Kimber Aegis II differs primarily from the Springfield Armory EMP by being built on a frame with grip and magazine well of standard 1911 dimensions. The 8-round MetalForm 9mm magazine shared the same outer dimensions as a typical .45 ACP magazine.   More...

Smith & Wesson 638 Bodyguard .38 Special +P

The name Bodyguard has to be one of the all-time classic names for a self-defense gun. Certainly this Smith & Wesson design has been with us a long time, and in many ways it should be considered an unsung hero among the latest super-light firearms, mainly because it did so much so well.   More...

Smith & Wesson 1911 .45 ACP

The SW1911 operates with two functional variations on traditional 1911 design. The first variation is an externally mounted extractor. John Browning himself saw the extractor as the one weak point in the 1911 system and developed the external design to enhance reliability and maintenance.   More...

Colt Mustang Pocketlite .380 Auto

The .380 cartridge has been around since early in the last century. It was another of John Browning’s designs, and has been known as the 9mm Kurz, 9x17, 9mm Browning Short, and .380 ACP. We also know it as the .380 Automatic, or simply the .380 Auto. It’s been chambered in a host of small autoloading pistols, some of them quite famous, such as Walther’s PPK. The .380 is not a cartridge many of us would pick for all-around use. It’s hardly a plinking cartridge, because of the relatively high cost of ammunition, and because the pistols that chamber it are generally not all that accurate. Reloaders don’t exactly flock to the diminutive cartridge, for a variety of reasons. Ammunition manufacturers have produced some excellent fodder in recent years for the tiny guns, but none of it can make a mountain-size “stopper” out of the molehill .380 Auto.   More...

Glock GL31 .357 Sig

Glock adapted this same pistol to other cartridges, including the .357 SIG, and we found the fully loaded GL31 handled much like the model 17. If you have ever felt that the Glock pistol chambered for .45 ACP or 180-grain .40s were somehow out of sync, then the .357 SIG is a more natural fit.   More...

Ruger 50th Year New Model Blackhawk Flat Top, $583

The all-steel Ruger flat top 50th Year Blackhawk had remarkably clean lines and comfortable Colt-size grips. The Micro sight didn't need to be touched. The Ruger laid 'em in there a touch better than two others, and looked great doing it. The front of the cylinder was beveled to ease holstering.   More...

Glock GL23 .40 S&W

The .40 S&W is the leading round chosen by today’s local and federal law-enforcement professionals. Compact .40s (3.5- to 4.25-inch barrels) bridge the gap between plainclothes duty and civilian concealed carry, and of these, the lightweight “plastic” pistols lead the way. And the Glock line of pistols is perhaps synonymous with the word “polymer.” In this report we take a look at the latest .40-caliber compact model from Glock, the GL23.   More...

Colt Black Army 1918 No. 01018 45 ACP, $1000

The Colt is the most expensive pistol tested at twice the tariff of some GI pistols. Just the same, the pistol could not be excluded on that factor. The Colt Black Army is a close copy of the original as it was manufactured in 1918.   More...

CZ USA CZ 83 No. 91302 380 ACP, $522

The CZ 83, now available from CZ USA, located in Kansas City, Kansas (www.cz-usa.com), has been in the catalog in one form or another since 1982. That’s when the Czechoslovakian military received its 380-caliber pistols. The Model 83 appeared the following year for civilian sales. The CZ 83 is also available chambered for 32 ACP. The 380-caliber models come finished in blue steel or satin stainless. The satin-nickel slide on our CZ 83 was stamped Cal. 9 Browning Court. This is yet another name for 380 Auto.   More...

Ruger SR9C KSR9C/3313 9mm, $525

A Gun Tests magazine August 2010 review on the Ruger SR9C notes that it fires from a 3.5-inch barrel. That makes it the smallest, most concealable, pistol in the test. But if you remove the 10-round magazine and insert the 17-rounder, the grip will become longer by about 1 inch.   More...

Kel-Tec P11 9mm, $368

The P11 is a 9mm handgun with a 3.1-inch barrel. Capacity was 10+1, thanks to a double-column magazine. The suggested retail price of the base model was only $314 and featured a blued slide. Our P11 carried a hard-chromed slide and cost $368, but the same gun was available for $355 should you choose a P11 with a Parkerized finish. The inexpensive Kel-Tec P11 shared at least one design concept found on some more expensive pistols.   More...

Glock G22 RTF2 40 S&W, $646

The G22 RTF2’s internal workings did not change, but its exterior had a makeover purported to improve the gun’s ergonomics. The Rough Textured Frame Version #2 (RTF2) has more than 4,000 small raised pyramids covering the front, rear, sides, and thumbrests of the frame. We trusted Glock on this point and did not attempt to count them. These 'polymids' are designed to provide additional traction and an enhanced shooting grip.   More...