Polymer 9mms: Can Anyone Do It Better Than The Glock 19?

Glock's GL19 fired the first shot in this niche, but the latest volley of Parabellums includes impressive pieces like Steyr's M9, Walther's P99QA, and Intrac's budget HS2000.

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.

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...

Walther P99 Outclassed Glock, Heckler & Koch, Ruger 9mms

Every year, for at least the last five, the 9mm cartridge and the pistols chambered for it, have led the pack in numbers of units sold in the US. Today, almost a hundred years after its introduction in Europe, we can say the 9mm cartridge is so well entrenched in our own society that it is here to stay.

There are several reasons for its popularity, but not necessarily sound ones. First, the 9mm is a NATO round and has been adopted by our own military. Second, it is a relatively small cartridge and large numbers of them can be loaded into a double-column magazine. Third, when the police left the .38-caliber revolver and opted for the semiauto, they found the moderate-recoiling 9mm made it easy to train large groups of personnel. And, fourth, on the civilian side, some think that the ban on high-capacity magazines will be repealed. Good luck on that one.

One of the biggest trends in 9mm pistols is the polymer frame. When properly engineered, a polymer frame is stronger and around 80 percent lighter than a steel frame. Being molded, they can be made in more intricate shapes with no extra work. The downside is that gunsmiths can't do as much with polymer as they can with steel.

Taurus PT-111 Beats Kel-Tec, Smith & Wesson DAO 9mms

Subcompact pistols, those which are small and light enough to ride in an ankle holster or carry in a large pocket, have been around for several years. Many of these handguns are reduced versions of already existing handguns. Typically, they cost as much as the original or maybe even a little more.

Within the last couple of years, a new kind of subcompact pistol has emerged—which we shall refer to as an SMPD. The SMPD is a subcompact with a moderate price (in the $300 range), a polymer frame and a double-action-only (DAO) trigger. The combination of a low price, polymer construction and a DAO trigger is not accidental. The ease of making a polymer frame and the simplicity of a double-act...

Less Gun, More Fun! S&Ws CS9 9mm Carries and Competes Well

It has come to our attention that there is indeed a rift between stalwarts of practical shooting. USPSA/IPSC approaches the sport in a freewheeling manner, with eyes toward raising the level of its game to that of an Olympic sport. The International Defensive Pistol Association would rather have its matches looked upon as training for life-threatening situations. Attending matches held under the auspices of each of these organizations has led us to believe that each brand of practical match has value as training and entertainment. Whereas the IDPA insists on carry-suitable guns and holsters, it is most easy to succeed in these matches with a pistol that would also be competitive at a USPSA/I...

Packable 9mm Pistols: Walther, Smith & Wesson, MRI Compete

When we compared three recipes for compact pistols, including "traditional" double-action and a 3.5-inch barrel, MRI's Baby Eagle Compact earned a Best Buy ranking.

Good Buy or Gyp? We Check Out The Beretta Combo Kit Pistol

Beretta is selling a 92/96 Combo Kit Pistol, a $908 parts package that allows the shooter to get a double-action semiautomatic ten-shot pistol in both 9mm and .40 S&W calibers. For an extra $279 above the base price ($629) for either a Model 92 9mm or Model 96 .40 S&W, the Combo Kit owner gets one barrel, slide, and magazine in each caliber, and one specially made and marked aluminum-alloy receiver designed to accept them both. But is this a deal, or simply a way to thin out your wallet? We ran a test recently to find out.

What It Is
The Beretta 92/96 Combo Kit Pistol is built on a frame that differs from both the 9mm Model 92 and the .40 S&W Model 96. Thus, to answer the most...

Investing In A Shooting School: Thunder Ranch Versus LFI

Most of us got tired of going to school years ago, and the idea of voluntarily hitting the books again—and, in fact, paying handsomely for the privilege—is enough to make us laugh out loud. But what if the school in question was offering shooting instruction, gun-selection tips, and life-saving tactical advice? Would that entice you back into the classroom? We thought so.

We attended two well-known shooting schools to compare and contrast the quality of instruction, advice, and fun, they offered: Thunder Ranch, in Mountain Home, Texas, and Massad Ayoob's Lethal Force Institute. Though both services offer the shooter a lot of bang for his buck, Ayoob's LFI course taught us many sobering, e...

Firing Line 05/99

Slow Burning Powder Test
I have just finished reading the slow burning rifle powder test (January 1999) more than once, and I cannot find any reference to the specific cartridge being tested. I would conclude from the loading data and projectiles that the cartridge is 7mm Rem. Mag. Is this correct?

James B. Lewis

Since we were dealing with powders and how they respond—in what might be unsafe loads if duplicated—we deliberately left out any reference to the cartridge and bullet used to prevent the data from being used as actual loads. If you don’t have a pressure transducer, we suggest you start with a good handloading manual and work up from t...

Polymer-Bodied 9mms: Ruger Scores Surprise Victory

[IMGCAP(1)] When it comes to caliber and handgun design, handgun owners and manufacturers alike have taken cues from law enforcement agencies across the country. When police departments changed from the 4-inch .357 magnum to 9mm Parabellum, the market was soon flooded with semi-autos chambered for this round. The logic for the change was largely based on higher capacity, as many as 15 rounds in the mag plus one in the chamber. Once the legal limit for civilian-owned magazines was set at a maximum of 10 rounds, a new trend toward larger calibers began. We're not sure who moved first, but many police departments geared up to more powerful .40-caliber semi-autos, giving up capacity for power....

9mm Carry Semiautos: The Bad, The Good, and the Not-So-Ugly

[IMGCAP(1)] The 9mm cartridge offers great freedom of choice to the prospective gun buyer. It is available worldwide, is inexpensive to buy, comes in a variety of weights and design, and works reliably in many different-sized frames and actions. To get a broad sampling of smaller 9mm guns offered for self-defense applications, we went shopping and found six big chunks of steel and plastic at a variety of price points. As always, we were hoping to find a great gun for a low price, and toward that end, we examined the Miltex-imported Makarov 9X18, $225, and another product from Miltex, a Browning High Power copy named the Arcus 94. We recently saw as many as two dozen of these guns at a local...

News of the Day

According to Bloomberg.com, three of Wall Street’s biggest municipal-bond underwriters have seen business grind to a halt in Texas after the state enacted a...