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Four M1 Carbines: CMP, Fulton, And Auto-Ordnance Compete
The M1 carbine was the most prolific U.S. weapon of the WWII era, with six-odd million made, and it’s still very popular today. It employs an anemic round by rifle standards, but—per its design—its cartridge is at least as powerful as most handgun rounds. Today’s buyer of a genuine WWII-era or Korean War era carbine will probably need to spend around a thousand dollars, give or take a few hundred, for a reasonable example. On GunBroker we saw prices from about $750 to$1400, depending on condition and rarity. However, if you’re qualified, and if you hurry, you may be able to get a decent carbine for about $420-675, through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) sales. This outlet used to be called the DCM, Director of Civilian Marksmanship, run by the U.S. government, but that program is now in private hands. However, due to the nature of the program, the CMP carbines may be in very short supply by the time this report appears in print. Do you qualify for a CMP firearm purchase? Taking the CMP requirements straight from the website (, 'By law, the CMP can sell surplus military firearms, ammunition, parts and other items only to members of CMP-affiliated clubs who are also U.S. citizens, over 18 years of age and… legally eligible to purchase a firearm.' For more information, visit the website.

Super-Auto Shootout: Benelli's SBE II Versus Browning Maxus
It is an old story in the gun business: Fancy new model gets announced; months later prototypes leak out for promotional media testing; then, finally, a year (or two) later, real guns start shipping. And so it is with Browning’s Maxus, which was announced in November 2008, with some prototypes available to shoot at the January 2009 SHOT Show in Orlando, and lagging production. Originally slated for late-spring-2009 availability, early-fall delivery has proved to be the case instead—and then, only for the 31⁄2-inch-chamber models. The initial offerings of Browning’s new-for-2009 autoloader is the matte Stalker style and also a Mossy Oak Duck Blind camo version for $1499 MSRP, both with 31⁄2-inch chambers. The 3-inch versions are said to be arriving soon—again, in either Stalker matte black or camo for now. Included in all the 'Planet Maxus' hoopla, Browning has made several claims about the Maxus and touted several new features. A few of the features aren’t particularly meaningful, so let’s dispense with these first. The 'Turnkey' quick-change magazine plug is hardly of any use in a dedicated field gun, one directed to waterfowl at that, where three shots (2+1) is going to be it.

Best-In-Class Firearms 2009: Handguns, Rifles, and Shotguns
Every December I survey the work Ben Brooks, Roger Eckstine, Ray Ordorica, Joe Syczylo, Gene Taylor, Kevin Winkle, R.K. Campbell, and Ralph Winingham have done in Gun Tests, with an eye toward selecting guns the magazine’s testers have endorsed without qualification. From these evaluations I pick the best from a full year’s worth of tests and distill summary recommendations for readers, who often use them as year-end shopping guides. These 'best of' choices are a mixture of our original tests and other information I’ve compiled during the year. After the magazine’s FFLs sell high-rated test products to readers, I keep tabs on how many of those guns do over time, and if the firearms continue performing well, then I have confidence including them in this wrap-up.

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