Gun of the Week

Cabela's 1851 Navy .36 Percussion, $120

Wild Bill had a pair. Sam Bass used one, and so did Frank James and Cole Younger. Elmer Keith liked his very much. In fact, Elmer’s 1851 Navy Colt was one of his first handguns, and it undoubtedly influenced the grand old master all his life. With all this popularity Gun Tests Magazine thought it would be a good idea to inform its readers where to go to get today’s best copy of the breed.   More...

Springfield TRP Light Rail Model PC9105LP 45 ACP

No pistol in current production has evolved into as many variations and price points as John Browning’s 1911. Gun Tests Magazine has looked at some entry-level models costing around $500. Then they looked at a 1911 that occupies the upper tier of the factory-gun category. It represents the top-end production model of its company, offering significant upgrades to a standard 1911, but is normally available as off-the-shelf stock. The test gun was a 5-inch barrel model and featured niceties such as front- and back-strap checkering, adjustable sights, stainless-steel match-grade barrels, front and rear slide serrations, skeletonized triggers, and hammers with cocking serrations.   More...

Glock 34 9mm

Not much has changed on the Glock 34, and it is still the most popular choice for Practical Shooting competitors, including Dave Sevigny, the most prolific winner in the history of the USPSA Production division. The G34 featured a 5.3-inch barrel on a full-size frame that housed a 17-round magazine. The G34 has a large cutout in the top of its slide. It might just be the easiest way to produce a slide of the proper weight so that reciprocation remains smooth and reliable.   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...

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...

Ruger GP-100 .357 Magnum, $474

The Ruger GP100’s grips were black rubber without grooves, but the sides had decorative inserts of brown wood-like material (which some actually found attractive) that give the gun a distinctive look. The grips felt just great in both aimed single-action fire and in rapid-fire double action. Recoil was spread over a large area of the hand and that made for good shooting comfort, even with the heaviest loads. The controls all functioned well and positively, and we found this to be a pleasant gun to handle and shoot. The trigger was well curved and smooth, and the double-action cycling was just slightly heavier than that of the Smith & Wesson. Trigger movement was even and smooth enough to permit good accuracy when shooting it slowly in the double-action mode.   More...

Ruger LCP 380 Auto, $330

The LCP is a locked breech semi-automatic pistol that holds 6+1 rounds and shares almost identical dimensions with the Kel-Tec P-3AT. Its three main components are the 'through hardened' steel slide, aluminum sub-frame, and grip frame. However, we can point out several differences between the Ruger and Kel-Tec products.   More...

Kel-Tec P32 32 ACP

The gun is ultra lightweight at 9 ounces. The grip is Du Pont ST-8018 plastic, and compared to the Beretta or the Walther, it seems like you could step on the P32 and break it. In reality it is not that easy. The Kel-Tec P32 is by far one of the lightest, smallest, easiest to conceal and operate handguns out there.   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...

Beretta Cheetah 84 LS .380 ACP, $652

Smaller guns have always had a certain appeal. In some cases it was just the aspect of miniaturization that captures our imagination. In other cases it was the reassurance of a highly concealable weapon. One niche of such guns were semi-auto .380s, which have long been popular sidearms because of their flat, short footprint and sufficient, if not outstanding, power. Even in the small world of 9mm Shorts there is a pecking order in terms of size, with the Beretta 84LS being one of the largest.   More...