Wringing Out Three 36X Target Scopes: We pick Weavers T36

Over the past few years weve used a trio of powerful scopes on our test rifles. In our view, Weavers relatively inexpensive model is a better buy than similar glass from Leupold and B&L.

Cross-Draw Holsters: We Test a Quintet of Leather from DeSantis, Galco, and Wellsmade

The cross-draw holster is poised to increase its place in the market as seated-draw situations like the Air Marshal program grow.

Is Pocket Carry Safe? Getting A Hold on Pocket Holsters

Carrying a pistol in a pocket requires that the gun be disguised, secure, and protected. Can two holsters achieve this hat trick?

Winchester Ranger Ammunition Challenges Federal Hydra-Shok

The Ranger Law Enforcement Only (LEO) ammunition is a direct challenge to the Federal Hydra-Shok cartridge that is used exclusively by the FBI. We wondered how the two rounds stacked up in a head-to-head comparison, so we acquired samples of both rounds in .357 Sig, .45 ACP and .40 S&W [PDFCAP(1)]. Here is what we found.

The Winchester Ranger ammunition in .357 SIG (125-grain SXT, code RA357SIGT, a jacketed hollowpoint) on average fell some 27 foot-pounds of energy short of the Federal Hydra-Shok in the same weight and configuration. Accuracy of the Ranger round was also slightly behind, to the tune of 0.3 inch on average. Other considerations, recoil and report, were slightly less than when firing the Federal cartridge in the SIGArms P239.

On the .40 S&W side, the Winchester Ranger cartridge, we feel, proved superior when fired in the Glock 22. The Ranger 180-grain SXT (code RA40T) shot groups nearly half the size of the Federal Hydra-Shoks in the same bullet weight and configuration. Muzzle energy was nearly identical but recoil and report were, in the case of the Ranger ammunition, noticeably reduced.

.32 Single-Action Revolvers: Navy Deluxe and Birds Head Shoot Out

The single-action-shooting craze with its cowboy theme is a mix of modern technology and Old West gear. Period wear is required for the shooters, but if you check out the equipment you'll likely discover that even the guns are costume. What goes on the hip may have the appearance of being old iron, but the most popular calibers at these matches were hardly dreamed of when the game was for real. Almost everyone seems to be shooting .38 Special or a light load of .45 Long Colt instead of black powder, or ancients like .41 Smith & Wesson and .45 Colt. So, with the appeal of the cowboy action guns well established, we were not surprised to find more than one manufacturer taking artistic license when it comes to new combinations of frame and caliber. Uberti of Italy has for some time been producing working replicas of American guns of the 19th Century. In this test we try one of the Cattleman series revolvers, a specialized version marketed by Navy Arms called the Deluxe SCW322 and chambered in .32-20, originally a rifle cartridge. We wondered if this round would give our Deluxe an Old World feel. Ruger revolvers are very popular in Cowboy Action circles. But with their improved sights and redesigned loading gate, the Ruger gang of guns has been relegated to the sport's Modern division. However, we did find a Ruger single-action revolver that was fit with more traditional sights and a Bird's Head grip as well. Chambered for .32 H&R Magnum, this gun was not meant to be an authentic reproduction, but we hoped the rest of the gun might give us a unique Western feel. Would these guns prove to be novelties or would they really shoot? Here's what we found:

Range Bag: 01/04

AR-15 Mag Couplers: Double the Trouble, or Half the Reload Time?
recently purchased and tested three different magazine couplers designed to join two AR-15 magazines together as a high-capacity unit. From Brownells, (800) 741-0015, we ordered the First Samco Mag Coupler, $9.99, a one-piece reinforced polymer bracket; Buffer Technologies's MagCinch, $19.95, which works by combining a polymer clamp with nylon straps; and the Mag Grip, $24.98, a machined-aluminum clamp.

[IMGCAP(1)]Beyond the obvious advantages of putting more rounds at our fingertips, putting two mags together on the gun would, we thought, subtract weight from the belt, making room for other necessary items, an...

Specialty .45s: Great Shooting, or Signature Editions to Lock Away?

It is not unusual to open the pages of a gun magazine and find advertisements for guns adorned with a celebrated name or a limited-run designation—some might call them "signature" or "specialty" guns because of their unique production status. We recently tested three such pistols from two makers, Springfield Armory and Kimber. Our Springfield products were the $925 Black Stainless model and the $1,900 Rob Leatham TGO II. From Kimber, we evaluated a $1,300 Team Match II, all in all a pricey trio of .45 ACPs.

When we received our Rob Leatham TGO II signature model from Springfield Armory, we wanted to know if this was a match-ready custom pistol or a collectible. The same goes for Springfield's Black Stainless model, which was absolutely striking. It featured a combination of brushed stainless steel surfaces contrasted with an artfully applied flat-black finish. We couldn't help but wonder if this pistol was meant for "serious" work. Another 1911 .45 single stack that captured our imagination was Kimber's USA Shooting Team Match II. In terms of serious 1911 features, it seemed to have all the right stuff plus red, white, and blue checkered grips. But it takes more than fancy grips to produce excellence. We wanted to know if these pistols were shooters or showpieces. Certainly, these guns will maintain or even gain value simply by putting them in a glass case, but Gun Tests is not about the Blue Book. We are about the banging and the clanging, hitting the center of the target fast and true. In a time when custom variations of the .45 ACP 1911 abound, we wanted to find out if these guns were truly special. Was the Kimber worthy of an Olympic shooting team endorsement? Would Rob Leatham, arguably the greatest practical pistolero of all time lend his name to anything less than a stellar 1911 .45? Was the beauty of the Springfield Black Stainless only skin deep? We shot them to found out:

Looking at Laser Sights: Whats Right for the Self-Defense Shooter

Crimson Traces Lasergrips and LaserMaxs guide-rod inserts work well, but were not sure we want them.

.45 Single-Action Colts and Clones: USFAs Rodeo Is Our Pick

One hundred and thirty years ago Colt's brought out its Model P, also known as the Single Action Army revolver. (For those who wonder, Sam Colt never saw the Model P. He died in 1862.) The company is still making the old thumb-buster, and a host of companies are producing clones of it in what seems to be ever-increasing numbers. The game of Cowboy Action Shooting must surely be one of the main driving forces behind the continued onslaught of fine and finer single actions, but the fact remains that these revolvers are viable sporting, hunting, and even self-defense firearms, and serve their owners in as many capacities as they did in the 1870s.

Product Roundup Tests: A .410, a Handgun Accessory, a New Barrel

Need a reliable workhorse scattergun that wont break the bank? Consider the Russian-made Saiga .410. Glock not shooting straight? How about a new Wilson barrel for about $150?

Electronic Ear Muffs: Peltor Leads The Pack in Hearing Protection

A six-way test of ear muffs that allow shooters to hear range commands - but without sacrificing their hearing - shows the Tactical 7S to be the priciest set, and also the best.

Shooting Glasses: Avoid Scopz, Buy Rangers, Consider Hy-Wyds

Most shooting glasses are really designed for tracking moving targets, and that translates to the shotgun sports: trap, skeet, and sporting clays. But many rifle and pistol enthusiasts shamble over to the scatter-gun ranges now and again. Even if you're peering over your sights at a stationary piece of paper 100 yards away, anything that enhances the image is welcome, to say nothing of the importance of eye protection.

News Nuggets

You may not have seen the very odd news that the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published an Interim Final Rule...