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Concealable Plastic 9mms: What Is The Best Pistol Under $400?

Our test of Standard Arms of Nevada's $199 SA9, Kel-Tec's $299 P11 and Taurus' $369 PT111 shows that a little extra money can make a life-or-death difference.

Steel Snub-Nosed .38 Specials: Taurus is Good, but Smith is Better

The five-shot snubbed-nosed .38 Special revolver is a traditional backup gun, but recent trends have tended to favor aluminum and titanium featherweights instead of steel-framed models. But steel still has its appeal, and we wanted to go back to earlier wheelgun versions to see what first made them favorites of couriers, detectives, and regular joes fifty years ago.

For this comparison, we chose two standard steel guns in .38 Special, the Taurus 85, $286, and S&W's $539 small-frame 36LS LadySmith, marketed to women, as its name suggests. But we paid no attention to that market positioning, because we've handled the LadySmith and knew its handling was on par, or perhaps better, than other boot-size guns pitched to men. Our thinking: From the muzzle forward, a bad guy can't tell the difference.

Also, with recent memories of testing featherweight titanium revolvers in mind, we wondered how much porting would affect felt recoil, and toward that end we also acquired a Taurus 85 with a ported barrel, $305. By comparing Taurus's standard barrel to the ported model, we hoped to find if we were willing to spend more time practicing with it than not.

6- & 8-inch .357 Magnums: How Long Is Too Long?

Ruger's shorter, easier-to-handle GP100 makes more sense in this matchup than the longest-barrel guns from Smith & Wesson and Taurus.

USPSA Limited 10-Division Guns: We Test Four Practical Pistols

After testing .45 ACP and .40 S&W pistols from Para Ordnance, CZ-USA, and STI, we found that pistol companies are making great guns for this new classification.

.22 Long Rifle/.22 WMR Combos: Single-Action Rimfire Showdown

Can .22-caliber LR/Magnum wheelguns offer twice the punch of single guns alone? We test Ruger's New Model Single Six, the Heritage Rough Rider, and EAA's Bounty Hunter.

Forty-Caliber Concealed Dynamos: We Prefer Glocks Model 27

Chambered for the potent .40 S&W round, the $616 GL27 offered a wild ride, but we liked it better overall than the Taurus PT140 and Kahr's K40.

More Premier Paper-Punchers: Snag the Walther GSP; Pass on the Hmmerli SP20

In the August 2000 issue, the Pardini Nygord Master beat out the Hmmerli 208S and Benelli MP95E Atlanta target pistols for value received. Here we test two more high-dollar .22 LR pistols.

Oddball Revolvers: We Test .45 ACP, .41 Magnum, and 10mm Wheelguns

The .45-caliber S&W Model 625 Mountain Gun and 10mm Model 610 proved accurate and versatile. The titanium Taurus M415Ti .41 Magnum was a handful.

Smith & Wesson Model 65: A Winning Compact .357 Magnum

While it's true that a self-loading pistol carries more rounds than a revolver, a pistol is more prone to malfunctions. A single action revolver requires cocking of the hammer before each round can be fired and considerable time to reload. That leaves a double action revolver.

What kind and why? A double action revolver is easy to learn to shoot. It is totally reliable as long as it is decently maintained and the quality of its ammunition remains high. A short-barreled revolver is easily secreted in a bedside table drawer or on one's person in states that allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed. Many think that it should hold six rounds rather than five. What caliber? A .22 isn't p...

Jennings Model Nine Tops Other Cheap 9mm Pistols

This months Downrange takes aim at the efforts of a group to drive Californias manufacturers of cheap auto-loaders out of business. The group is assisted by data indicating that such handguns are disproportionately used in the commission of crimes.

Since statistics are so easily manipulated, well say neither yea nor nay to that purported fact, but we have published some pretty harsh words on budget-priced pistols in the past. For example, our report on the AMT .380 Back Up complained of the pistols lack of any visual means to determine whether or not its cocked, and we revealed that it jammed 20 times during our 300-round test. About AMTs .22 Automag, our bottom line recommendation...

Smith & Wesson Model 63: A Good .22 LR Double Action Revolver

We've been asked: Why would I want to buy a double action .22 revolver over a .22 semiautomatic pistol? The answer is: It depends. If targets are your point of aim, you're better off with a target pistol. After all, holding on a bullseye while cranking the average double action trigger isn't the easiest thing to do during a course of timed or rapid fire.

On the other hand, small-caliber double actions have long accompanied campers, hikers and fresh water fishermen as part of their basic survival equipment. The little wheelguns have been known to pick off many a squirrel or rabbit and even an occasional partridge in a pine tree. They also have the capability to take out or seriously discou...

Smith & Wesson Model 317 AirLite: Reliable, Expensive

Some outdoorsmen prefer a rimfire handgun they can carry in their pocket or tackle box. For this, you need a .22 LR revolver that is smaller and lighter than those covered in this issue. One such revolver is the Smith & Wesson Model 317 AirLite.

As its name suggests, the Model 317 AirLite is extremely lightweight and compact. When equipped with a two-inch barrel, this small-frame double action revolver weighs in at 9.5 ounces with wood grips or 10.5 ounces with a rubber grip.

Why does this 8-shot model weigh so little? It has an aluminum alloy frame, barrel and cylinder. The cylinders chambers are reinforced with steel inserts. The barrel has a steel liner and forcing cone.


Weirdness in the Ammo Market

As the holidays arrive and we all think about buying presents for our loved ones, I wonder if we’ll have any money left over...