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Derringer Match-Up: Are These Pocket Guns Right For You?

In our view, these limited-capacity pistols have limited usefulness for most shooters. Reviewed: American Derringer DA 38 and Model 1, and Bond Arms' Texas Defender and Cowboy Defender.

.357 SIG Pistols: Three Winners, Two Maybes, and One Must Buy

We pitted three Glocks—the 31, 32, and 33 models—against three Sigarms products—the P229, the P239, and the 2340 Pro. One gun was so good we bought it for ourselves.

Sig Sauer P239: A Very Good Compact .357 Sig Pistol

There are a number of firearms available that don't have any competitors. They are unique in one or more respects, such as caliber, size or design. Since it wouldn't be fair to compare dissimilar products, we occasionally evaluate them individually. This is the case for the Sig Sauer, Glock and AMT compact pistols in this article. The Sig Sauer P239 in this test is chambered for the .357 Sig cartridge. This bottleneck cartridge is based on a .40 S&W case that is necked down to accept a .357-inch bullet. Some of the ammunition in this caliber is touted as having velocities that are equal to the .357 Remington Magnum.

The Glock 29 is a compact 10mm pistol. Frankly, we are surprised Glock i...

Sig P229 Sport: Expensive, Good Casual Action Pistol

Sig's P229 Sport pistol seems to us to be more of a ‘Make It and They Will Buy It' creation than one resulting from market pressure. We suspect it was designed to appeal to the recreational shooter who enjoys having something different to show off during occasional visits to the local club range. The P229 Sport, although not a mainstream competition pistol, is worthy of attention as an example of what a major player in the firearms industry can do to advance the art of gun making.

The standard Sig P229, with its aluminum frame and blackened stainless steel slide, was considered a pistol with a limited lifetime. The new P229 Sport, modified with a machined stainless steel frame and slide,...

Magnum Research Desert Eagle Outperformed Coonan Model B

When the .357 Magnum was introduced in 1935, it was the most powerful commercial handgun cartridge available. Since then, that title has been passed on to several other rounds, such as the .44 Magnum and the .454 Casull. Nevertheless, the .357 Magnum is still a very good round.

In our opinion, the .357 Magnum is one of the most versatile handgun cartridges. When loaded hot and topped with a 125-grain jacketed hollow point, it is an excellent self-defense round. With heavier bullets, it is capable of taking varmints and other animals smaller than deer. CCI even makes a shotshell round that can be used to dispatch snakes and birds.

The .357 Magnum utilizes a rimmed case and is intended for use in revolvers. Although there are several technical problems associated with feeding and headspacing a revolver cartridge in a semiautomatic handgun, a few companies currently make .357 Magnum pistols. Two such guns, the Magnum Research Desert Eagle and the Coonan Arms Model B, are the subject of this head-to-head test. Also, a separate evaluation of the Coonan Arms Cadet compact .357 Magnum pistol is included on pages 14-15.

Coonan Cadet Not Worth Its High Price

The Cadet is Coonan Arm's response to those who have called for a compact version of the company's Model B pistol. The Cadet is about 1 inch shorter and 7 ounces lighter than a standard Model B, and has a 1-1/4-inch shorter barrel.

Like the original, the Cadet is a single-action .357 Magnum pistol made of stainless steel. Its 3-3/4-inch barrel has a fixed locking lug. There is no barrel bushing. Walnut grip panels and fixed sights are standard equipment. This $850 compact comes with one 6-round magazine.

Click here to view the Coonan Cadet features guide.

The Coonan Cadet we acquired for testing looked like a beefy Officer-size 1911 pi...

.357 Sigs: We Recommend Glocks Reliable Model 31

The annals of gunmaking are filled with stories of hot, new cartridges whipped up by wildcatters, or in some cases mainline manufacturers, that have gone on to long histories of obscurity or indifference among shooters. The .41 Magnum comes to mind as a prime example of a round that when introduced had all the credentials of a world beater: speed, power, and accuracy. But, today, finding a .41 Mag. on the range is like encountering an old friend you've not spoken with in ages. You wonder what he's been up to.

With this backdrop, we wonder what the .357 Sig's "future history" will be. This chambering, sired from a cooperative effort between Sig Sauer and the Federal Cartridge Company, is b...

Semi-Automatics: Ported or Non? We Test Seven Guns To Find Out

[IMGCAP(1)] As heavily loaded defensive ammunition has become more widespread, so has customer dissatisfaction with the resulting stout recoil—in essence, we want to have our cake and eat it too. One way to head off muzzle flip is to port the barrel. That is, to cut holes in the barrel and slide so that some of the expanding gases that propel the bullet will be redirected to keep the muzzle down. This technology became refined in the ranks of bowling-pin shooters, whose game was to knock bowling pins off of a table in the shortest time possible. Since this required the delivery of a massive blow from a hot load and the ability to recover quickly and get back on the next pin, shooters were st...

SIG, Smith & Wesson, Glock: We Test Approved Pistols of the FBI

Current FBI regulations stipulate that three handguns, the double-action-only Smith & Wesson 4586 in .45 ACP, the Glock Model 22 in .40 S&W, and the SIG P239 chambered for .357 SIG, are approved carry guns for its field agents. Notably missing from this list, of course, are any number of 1911-style .45 ACPs, one of which Springfield Armory already supplies to the FBI's Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) agents. Why the disparity?

Bureau thinking has it that SWAT-force officers frequently train for high-threat encounters, thus, they fire many times more rounds a year in training and qualification than the typical agent. In this view, the 1911 pistol, with its short, crisp trigg...

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...