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Compact Alloy 9mm Sidearms: Too Heavy, Too Big, Too Slow?

[IMGCAP(1)] When we think of a compact pistol with an alloy frame, we tend to think of a gun that is light in weight and small enough to conceal without excessive compromise in grip area. However, some pistols that are advertised and categorized as compact are not necessarily diminutive nor are they especially easy to conceal. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines compact in terms of "automobiles smaller than intermediate but larger than sub-compact." In the world of handguns, the compact benchmark seems to be built around the 3.5- to 3.8-inch barrel.

Likewise, this same dictionary defines alloy ten different ways and never once refers to weight, but uses variations on the word mix...

All-Round Utility .22LRs: Used S&W 41s Are Worth a Long Look

[IMGCAP(1)] No one rimfire pistol can do everything. If it's precise enough for serious NRA bullseye competition, it's too big and heavy for taking along on a hiking trip. If it's light enough for trail use, it doesn't have enough weight for steadiness on the firing line in serious competition. Sure, there are many more uses for .22 pistols, such as hunting, plinking, and the like, but these two extremes give a reasonable picture of the scope of rimfire semiautomatics. No single gun can do all these things … or can it?

Many shooters have asked us if the new SIG Trailside can satisfy these disparate needs, so we decided to compare it to a couple of established pistols that can also be used...

Pocket .22 Long Rifle Semiautos: Fussy, or Functional Firearms?

[IMGCAP(1)] When it comes to .22 caliber Long Rifle pistols, you can spend as little or as much as you want. For about $200 retail, there are a number of very good target pistols that provide valuable range time with this economical cartridge. However, if you want to take a .22 with you wherever you go, we found that downsizing the action costs a little more, both in terms of money and functionality.

Within the modern pistol, ammunition is the fuel that runs the gun, and the .22LR round's tepid power makes for chancy operation, even though it has to move relatively little mass and overcome less slide travel. This alone may account for the higher price of pocket guns that can serve as a la...

Five-Shot .44 Special Wheelguns: Powerful, and Sometimes Painful

The .44 Magnum's baby brother round doesn't get a lot of attention, but the .44 Special has a lot to recommend it. We see how it performs in the Taurus 445ULT, Smith & Wesson 396, and Charter 2000's Bulldog revolvers

Clones Take On Colts Stainless 1911: Subtle, But Significant Improvement

[IMGCAP(1)] For many of us, the first contact we had with firearms was the 1911 .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) that our fathers brought home from World War II and Korea. Since then, this pistol has been both celebrated and maligned, depending on the shooter's viewpoint. For one, the quality of its function is directly linked to the quality of its components and the careful assembly thereof. The 1911 pistol is capable of both reliability and superb accuracy because it has relatively few moving parts. Why then did it lose out on the U.S. military contract and for a time all but disappear from holsters of self defense-minded civilians? Politics, both domestic and international, played a part,...

High-Dollar .22 LR Pistols: Pardini Is Our Pick As Best Buy

Though the $1,095 Pardini Model SP target pistol offered the best price/performance matchup, we would pick the more expensive Hmmerli Model 208S over it and Benelli's MP 95E Atlanta model.

Over and above the cost of beginner-level .22 target pistols such as those we covered last month, there are many handgun choices for those who are willing to spend $1,000 or more for the best of the best. Some of these cost more than $1,500, and we suppose if you look hard you'll find some over $2,000. We don't know if it's necessary to spend that much money for a top-quality target puncher, but we do have some solid opinions about three guns we tested recently that range between $1,000 and $2,000.

Our target pistols included a Pardini Model SP with scope ($1,095) from Nygord Precision; a Hmmerli Model 208S ($1,925) from Larry's Guns out of Portland, Maine; and a Benelli MP 95E "Atlanta" ($795). The Pardini and Benelli were Italians, and the Hmmerli was Swiss-made.

We also acquired some outstanding target ammunition for them. We chose an English brand, one from Germany, and two from the U.S. They were, respectively, Eley 10X, RWS Rifle Target, Federal Gold Medal, and CCI Pistol Match.

Bobbed-Hammer .38 Specials: We Pick a Concealed Champion

Is it worth paying hundreds of additional dollars to buy the latest materials in a short-barreled revolver? We find out when we test Charter 2000's Undercover, Taurus's M85CH and M85CH ULT, and S&W's 442 and 342PD

Full-Sized .40 S&Ws: Serious Business for Serious Shooters

The Browning Hi-Power has a lot to recommend it when chambered for .40 S&W, as do Glock 35's and the Para-Ordnance P16-40 LDA. Small differences will determine which one is right for you.

Non-1911 .45 ACPs: Heresy, Or Are They Here To Stay?

There's more than one way to skin the cat when it comes to launching the big .45 ACP round. We evaluate guns from CZ, Ruger, Charles Daly, Glock and S&W.

Court Ruling Supports Carry Reciprocity

I’m looking at a remarkable opinion by Massachusetts District Court Associate Justice John F. Coffey, who ordered on August 3, 2023, that the state’s...