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March 2019 Short Shots: New Handguns for 2019

In celebration of the company's 100th anniversary, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., has released a 9mm concealed-carry handgun: the Mossberg MC1sc (subcompact). Surprisingly, the company's first firearm design, called the Brownie, was a 22-caliber four-shot pocket pistol. The MC1sc is available in five initial 9mm offerings: the standard MC1sc and an optional cross-bolt safety version; two standard offerings with sighting systems (TruGlo Tritium Pro Night Sights or a Viridian E-Series Red Laser), and a Centennial Limited Edition with a production run limited to 1,000 commemorative models. After 100 years in business, Mossberg has grown to be the sixth-largest U.S. firearms manufacturer with more than 100 design and utility patents to its credit. The MC1sc reflects three years of development. Important features in a subcompact handgun are size, weight, caliber and carryability. The MC1sc has an overall length of 6.45 inches, weight of 19 ounces (with empty magazine), and a barrel length of 3.4 inches in the popular 9mm chambering. It comes with two single-stack magazines (one 6-round flush and one 7-round extended), has a glass-reinforced polymer frame, and suggested retail price of $421 for the two standard models.

Perfect 10s? We Test a Trio Of Big-Bore Semi-Automatics

In the past few years there has been a renewed interest in the 10mm Auto. That is odd because the birth of the 40 S&W Auto cartridge nearly suffocated the 10mm Auto out of existence. Not only are there more pistols chambered in 10mm, there is ammo loaded to velocities the 10mm Auto was designed for. Ammunition manufacturers like SIG and others provide these big-bore semi-autos with cartridges that live up to the 10mm's reputation.

Two 10mm Autos introduced in 2018 are from Springfield Armory (SA). SA chambered both the XDM and 1911 platforms in the round and, back in 2015, Glock got the hint from handgun hunters that we wanted a full-fledged 10mm for hunting, and the company obliged with the G40 Gen4 with MOS (Modular Optic System). We liked all three of these pistols because they all offered good accuracy, excellent to good triggers, and they were easy to shoot well. But we preferred one over the others.

How We Tested

No jams. No failures. All pistols ran well and met our expectations of Springfield and Glock pistols. We averaged 2-inch five-shot groups at 25 yards using open sights across all three pistols. When we attached a red dot (actually a green dot), we found that the Glock pulled ahead of the group in ease of shooting. We like the G40 for its ability to mount an optic. And if you are paying attention, you may have guessed the RO Elite Operator offered the best accuracy with open sights. There is something to be said about the 1911 platform's single-action trigger. SA tuned this trigger nicely. Some of us were shooting cloverleaf patterns with holes overlapping each other using a rest with the Range Officer Elite Operator.

Ammo used during testing consisted of SIG Sauer V-Crown and FMJ cartridges loaded with a 180-grain JHP and FMJ bullets, respectively. We also had on hand some old Hornady Critical Defense 165-grain FTX ammo. All of these loads cranked out the muzzle doing a respectable 1200 fps on average.

For fast, unsupported shooting, we found these pistols do serve up recoil, but the pistols allowed us to manage it. Could we shoot these 10mms as fast as a 9mm or 45 ACP? Sure we could, but our accuracy decreased.

As a hunting round, the 10mm Auto can be effective on boar and deer if you know your limitations and those of the round. Maximum range with this round is 50 yards. With a muzzle energy of 550 to 600 foot-pounds with our test ammo, you could use these pistols as you would a 357 Magnum revolver. There are boutique ammunition manufacturers, such as Buffalo Bore, Grizzly, and Underwood, that we have experience with and have fired their hotter loads designed for penetration and expansion. Some of the larger ammo makers like Hornady and Federal also make rounds suitable for hunting medium-size game.

Are these three pistols perfect 10s? In our opinion they are close, but one may be more suited to your shooting style. The devil is in the details, and we had a devil of a time wringing out these 10mms.

Walther Announces Relaunch of the Classic PPK and PPK/S Pistols

Hey Gun Tests readers, I'm Todd Woodard, editor of Gun Tests Magazine. I'm here with Bret Vorhees, director of product development for Walther. And amazingly, we have a gun here that you already know about, the Walther PPK/S. Walther's PPK and PPK/S are coming back out in the United States this year.

Bret's going to tell us about the long story of this platform and why it's an interesting gun for shooters.

NYC Gun Law to Face Supreme Court Test

Currently, New York City law unconstitutionally limits its residents' ability to transport their guns outside of their homes. NYC residents can carry a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun to one of seven shooting ranges within city limits, but nowhere else, including homes or shooting ranges outside of the city.

Threaded-Barrel 1911 Pistols: Some Choices Come Up Short

Last year, we began testing suppressors on rifles and handguns because we saw that the sound-abatement equipment was becoming a lot more popular. This was a surprise because suppressors are expensive and hard to transact, so it takes a lot of patience and money to get started, and there is a fair amount of legal liability if you get it wrong. Despite these drawbacks, since we began this journey suppressor regulations have become much more relaxed across the country, with all but a handful of gun-restrictive states allowing the devices. Still, it will take a couple of generations for suppressors to become mainstream and for the misconceptions about them to evaporate. For some, these unobtrusive pieces of hollow metal will always be tied to clandestine assassin or spec-ops use rather than as portable hearing protection. Pity, because during our testing with them, we have found a lot of salutary benefits behind the gun, whether long gun or sidearm. Suppressed firearms not only have shown better accuracy in most cases, they are certainly better mannered with a can hanging off the front. Muzzle flip and blast are easier to control with a can in place, and that improves accuracy and enjoyment.

We initially chose handguns chambered in 45 ACP because they offered a lot of full-power bullet weights and shapes that run below the speed of sound, so it's easy to find good ammo that suppresses well. For the handguns, we started with three full-size non-1911 45s from Glock, HK, and FN, all of which come from the factory suppressor-ready. Reviewed in the September 2018 issue, we recommended the FN America FNX-45 Tactical FDE 66968 45 ACP, $1200. We had function trouble with a Glock G21SF PF2150203TB 45 ACP, $511, and didn't recommend it. The third polymer gun was the Heckler & Koch Mark 23 45 ACP M723001-A5, $2300. It was big and expensive and very nice to shoot. Some of our testers said that if they were to buy the HK Mark 23, they would remember the day as fondly as when they got their favorite dog, which is high praise indeed.

Our 1911-style test guns this time included the Kimber America 1911 Warrior SOC 3000253 TFS with Crimson Trace Rail Master Laser Sight, $1309. We had loan of this immaculate early-model SOC with about 250 rounds through it, half of which were fired with an Osprey 45 suppressor like the one in this test. The Warrior SOC has an accessory rail built into the dust cover, which allows fitting a desert-tan Crimson Trace Rail Master laser as part of the package.

The second gun was a Remington 1911 R1 Enhanced Threaded Barrel 96339, $675, a recent in-stock price from TombstoneTactical.com. This was a well-outfitted gun for the money, coming with the 5.5-inch barrel threaded .578-28 like the others, two 8-round magazines with bumper pads, and a lot of other features we detail below.

9mm Striker Gun Shoot-out: Beretta, Glock, and SIG Sauer

To replace the Beretta M9A1 (M9) and later variants in military service, the U.S. Army tested several handguns and chose the SIG P320, which is designated as the M17 in military service. The Glock 19X was also a participant in the military trials. While not chosen by the military, the full-size-grip short-slide Glock has enjoyed commercial success. The new Glock 45 is a direct result of Glock's experience in the military trials and also a result of criticism of the 19X. A third handgun, Beretta's APX, was also not adopted, and like the M17, is a modular design. We elected to test these three striker-fired polymer handguns head to head to determine which might be the best choice for concealed carry and personal defense for civilians. To add some historical texture, we also shot these firearms side by side with a full-size Beretta 92, or the M9 in its military appellation. The Beretta won't carry as easily as the APX and Glock, but it's comparable to the P320-M17 in size. If we're looking at them as home-defense guns, then size is less of an issue.

As we collected data and choose firearms for inclusion in these shoot-outs, we met old-line shooters and even young shooters who feel that the polymer-frame striker-fired market is crowded, and these handguns are much the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. Beretta, CZ, HK, SIG, Smith & Wesson, and Glock offer different features and different fits and feel for their products. Those who have not tested the pistols extensively and who have not taken time to compare features may feel these pistols are cut from the same cloth, but by assuming that, those shooters abrogate a lot of responsibility in choosing the handgun that suits them best.

New Snubnose Revolvers Under $400: S&W, Taurus Compete

Snubnose revolvers are viable options when deciding what type of self-defense firearm to purchase. They are easy to use and easy to conceal. Plus, the 38 Special cartridge is an excellent self-defense round, and 38 Special +P loads are almost as powerful as a 357 Magnum rounds. We procured three snubnose revolvers under $400 — the Smith & Wesson Model 637-2, Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38, and the Taurus Model 856 — to see which one would come out as top dog.

In our opinion, all three of these snubnose revolvers are good choices for concealed carry and home defense. All have attributes that make them well suited for conceal carry, such as light weight, small grips, and smooth, snag-free outside edges. Sights are a big consideration, and we like them large and easy to use, and if we have the ability to modify the sight, that is a plus in our book. The triggers also need to be smooth because these revolvers will mostly likely be fired in double-action (DA) mode. Plus, we think the ability to fire 38 Special and 38 Special +P ammo through the revolver enhances its versatility.

38 Special Problem in 357 Mags

I enjoyed the article on 38 Special lever-action rifles, but I think you missed a very important warning. The 38 Special and 357 Magnum are not interchangeable, for reasons other than the strength of the action. I have a Marlin lever action in 357 caliber. I decided to sight it in with 38 Special rounds and then change to 357 and adjust the sights. After about 20 or 30 rounds of 38 Special, I switched to 357. When I tried to rack in the second round, it wouldn't seat. The problem was that the 38 Special rounds carboned up the chamber, and when the 357 round was extracted, only about half of the cartridge came out. I had to have a gunsmith remove the front half of the casing. I only shoot 357 rounds in my rifle and revolver since then. I have never seen this in any article which discusses using 38 Special ammo in a 357 chamber.

38 Special Problem in 357 Mags

I enjoyed the article on 38 Special lever-action rifles, but I think you missed a very important warning. The 38 Special and 357 Magnum are not interchangeable, for reasons other than the strength of the action. I have a Marlin lever action in 357 caliber. I decided to sight it in with 38 Special rounds and then change to 357 and adjust the sights. After about 20 or 30 rounds of 38 Special, I switched to 357. When I tried to rack in the second round, it wouldn't seat. The problem was that the 38 Special rounds carboned up the chamber, and when the 357 round was extracted, only about half of the cartridge came out. I had to have a gunsmith remove the front half of the casing. I only shoot 357 rounds in my rifle and revolver since then. I have never seen this in any article which discusses using 38 Special ammo in a 357 chamber.

2018 Guns & Gear Top Picks: Firearms

Toward the end of each year, I survey the work R.K. Campbell, Roger Eckstine, Austin Miller, Robert Sadowski, David Tannahill, Tracey Taylor, John Taylor, and Ralph Winingham have done in Gun Tests, with an eye toward selecting guns, accessories, and ammunition the magazine's testers have endorsed. From these evaluations I pick the best from a full year's worth of tests and distill recommendations for readers, who often use them as shopping guides. These choices are a mixture of our original tests and other information I've compiled during the year. After we roll high-rated test products into long-term testing, I keep tabs on how those guns do, and if the firearms and accessories continue performing well, then I have confidence including them in this wrap-up.

2018 Guns & Gear Top Picks: Firearms

Toward the end of each year, I survey the work R.K. Campbell, Roger Eckstine, Austin Miller, Robert Sadowski, David Tannahill, Tracey Taylor, John Taylor, and Ralph Winingham have done in Gun Tests, with an eye toward selecting guns, accessories, and ammunition the magazine's testers have endorsed. From these evaluations I pick the best from a full year's worth of tests and distill recommendations for readers, who often use them as shopping guides. These choices are a mixture of our original tests and other information I've compiled during the year. After we roll high-rated test products into long-term testing, I keep tabs on how those guns do, and if the firearms and accessories continue performing well, then I have confidence including them in this wrap-up.

38 Special Problem in 357 Mags

I enjoyed the article on 38 Special lever-action rifles, but I think you missed a very important warning. The 38 Special and 357 Magnum are not interchangeable, for reasons other than the strength of the action. I have a Marlin lever action in 357 caliber. I decided to sight it in with 38 Special rounds and then change to 357 and adjust the sights. After about 20 or 30 rounds of 38 Special, I switched to 357. When I tried to rack in the second round, it wouldn't seat. The problem was that the 38 Special rounds carboned up the chamber, and when the 357 round was extracted, only about half of the cartridge came out. I had to have a gunsmith remove the front half of the casing. I only shoot 357 rounds in my rifle and revolver since then. I have never seen this in any article which discusses using 38 Special ammo in a 357 chamber.

A Blueprint To Take Your Guns

A document produced jointly by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the Giffords gun-control group, and the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence is raising...