Revolvers

Smith & Wesson 638 Bodyguard .38 Special +P

The name Bodyguard has to be one of the all-time classic names for a self-defense gun. Certainly this Smith & Wesson design has been with us a long time, and in many ways it should be considered an unsung hero among the latest super-light firearms, mainly because it did so much so well.

Colt Trooper Mark III .357 Magnum

The Colt Trooper was made from 1953 to 1969. The Trooper Mark III superceded the Trooper and had a redesigned lock mechanism. It was manufactured from 1969 to 1983 in blue and nickel finish with 4-, 6-, and 8-inch barrel lengths. An owner's manual can be obtained by calling Colt at (800) 962-2658. The Trooper III in our test was made in 1974.

The Colt Trooper Mark III is for all practical purposes the working man's Python. Sound good? It features a serrated front sight pinned in place. The rear sight is fully adjustable, and it should be more durable than similar designs since the rear notch moves back and forth inside a protective frame. While adjustment for elevation is clockwise for down and counter-clockwise for up, the windage adjustment is reversed. Turn it to the right if you want the point of impact to move left, and turn left to bring the POI to the right.

Another feature is the direction in which the cylinder rotates. While other revolvers move counterclockwise, expecting a Colt to go bang requires the first round to be in the 11 o'clock position prior to cycling. Also, to release the cylinder one pulls rather than pushes on the latch.

Snubbies, the Taurus Recall, and Trump on Guns

Regarding the Taurus settlement and the problems Lou had with his pistol: On August 4, 2015 I sent Taurus my PT-111 Pro and two magazines. Their website was very poor about updating progress of the return, but by 12/16/2015 I did have a new PT-111 G2 with two mags, all new in the box. I had to pay $25 for the FFL transfer fee, but I was reimbursed by 1/15/16. I am actually quite pleased with the new gun. To get reimbursed, I faxed an itemized receipt to Taurus at (305) 624-1126. I hope this helps Lou and perhaps others.

More Laments for Custom Guns

Like Grant said in last month's letters section, I, too, lament the passing of the pride of custom-gun ownership and the common look of the Ubiquitous Black Gun. But, as was said, black guns are cheap and proven reliable. Also, I cannot justify carrying a nice custom pistol on the off chance that I might have to use it. In that case, I would have to surrender it to the police, and then it would be months at a minimum to maybe get it back by jumping through their hoops.

Yes, I would rather carry a "Rolex"-quality sidearm, but I often think that if I had to give up my Valtro, I'd don't know what I'd do.

A black gun I can give up with no emotion, and go home and get another one. I always enjoy the magazine, from the editorial remarks to the last page. — Dave

Revolvers for the Elderly, New Virginia Laws, Henry Rifles

In last month's Firing Line, reader Winslow asks for advice on a 357 magnum lightweight snubnose revolver for a 75-year-old female cousin. I would appreciate a little help. I'm wondering why these two diametrically opposed 308s were chosen to oppose one another. While I am not in one of the affected states, I am from Vermont, and we do not require a permit for CC, and no state recognizes our not needing a permit! Whatever happened to the personal pride everyone took in their ownership of not only a working tool, but also a masterpiece of design and artwork?

I have read recent Gun Tests articles on various AR rifles, so I recently built an AR with a folding stock. I was attracted to this option because I drive a sports car, and even with a collapsible stock and 16-inch barrel, an AR will not fit in the trunk. The folding stock adapter I chose was one made by Law Tactical (LawTactical.com). It was easy to install, works fine to fold the stock, and adds just a little bit of fiddling when I have to separate the upper and lower. But it is very expensive and adds no additional operating functionality to the firearm, since it should never be fired with the stock folded. Anyway, I have not seen many options for folding stocks on an AR platform, and thought that a review of adapters for them might be in order.

Sturm, Ruger Rolls Out Significant New Pistols, Revolvers, and Rifles

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. has announced a new line of full-size duty pistols, new chamberings for its GP100 revolvers, new barrels for its 10/22 Takedowns, and new colors for its Lite rimfire pistols. Also, the company has added a Takedown rifle to its SR-556 line. The Ruger American Pistol will be available in 9mm Luger and .45 Auto. The two 9mms are Model Nos. 8605 (17+1) and 8607 (10+1) and the 45 is Model No. 8615, and all will list for $579 MSRP.

The Ruger American Pistol is built on a one-piece precision-machined stainless-steel chassis with integral frame rails and fire control housing. It has a black nitrided finish, Novak LoMount Carry three-dot sights, a stainless steel slide with non-reflective black-nitride finish, and a one-piece glass-filled nylon grip frame. The front accepts accessories on a mil-standard 1913 rail.

"The Ruger American Pistol is the most advanced semi-auto pistol we have ever produced," noted Ruger CEO Mike Fifer.

The 9mm weighs in at 30 ounces with a 4.2-inch barrel and the .45 weighs in at 31.5 ounces with a 4.5-inch barrel. Both ship in a hard case with replaceable grip modules and two, nickel-Teflon plated steel magazines. Capacities are 17 rounds for 9mm and 10 rounds for .45 Auto. 10-round magazines are also available for the 9mm for those states which restrict round counts.

CEO Fifer said that Ruger polled law enforcement and military trainers throughout the country to determine the form, function, and features of this firearm. The new pistol combines a recoil-reducing barrel cam to spread recoil over time, a low-mass slide, low center of gravity and a low bore axis to provide better balance, less felt recoil and less muzzle flip.

Snubbies, Holsters, Rifles and A Cartridge Shortage

I'm a long-time customer and would like to get three or more comparisons of 357 Magnum lightweight snub-nose revolvers. The index shows the captioned rifle being reviewed in November. When I go online for past reviews, I only find a 2007 review, and it was not from November, as stated in magazine. The Blackhawk GripBreak 421903BK holster seems like just the ticket for this coming year for those of us who are predisposed to reject Kydex and plastic holsters for reasons of them being ugly and inelegant. Problem is, no one has the GripBreaks. Check your Schmidt-Rubin for a possible Christmas present. Remove the buttplate and see if there is anything under it. Many original owners wrote a personal note or ID and hid it under the plate. - Winslow

Downrange: Bad CHL News Come February 1

In a startling move, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced on December 22 that Virginia will sever concealed handgun permit (CHP) reciprocity ties with 25 of 30 states. This will affect hundreds, maybe thousands, of Gun Tests readers who reside in Tennessee and other states bordering the Commonwealth, and perhaps millions of people nationwide.

Effective Feb. 1, 2016, — about the time this issue arrives in your mailbox —Virginia will no longer honor carry permits from the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The following permits will continue to be recognized: West Virginia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. The move also means several states will no longer recognize Virginia's concealed-carry permits because they require mutual recognition of permits. Those include Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wyoming.

Speaking about this audit and update, Attorney General Herring said, "Virginia, and nearly every other state in the country, have recognized that carrying a concealed handgun is a significant responsibility that should be extended only to those who have gone through a process to prove a level of competency and responsibility."

"The standards for proving competency and responsibility are up to each state," Herring said, "and the General Assembly has established Virginia's standards for whom it considers capable of safely carrying a concealed handgun. Those standards should be applied evenly, consistently, and fairly to anyone who wants to lawfully conceal a handgun in Virginia."

2015 Guns & Gear ‘A’ List

Toward the end of each year, I survey the work R.K. Campbell, Roger Eckstine, Austin Miller, Ray Ordorica, Robert Sadowski, David Tannahill, Tracey Taylor, John Taylor, Rafael Urista, Ralph Winingham, and Kevin Winkle 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.— Todd Woodard

California Bans Advertising of the Sale of Handguns

California has argued that a provision of California Penal Code section 26820 enacted in 1923 prevents the displaying of any "handgun or imitation handgun, or placard advertising the sale or transfer thereof" anywhere in or on their store that can be seen outside their store by passersby.

Ruger Introduces 45 Auto-45 Colt Redhawk Revolver

Sturm, Ruger & Company's new Ruger Redhawk revolver is chambered to shoot both .45 Auto and .45 Colt cartridges. Designated as Model Number 5032, the new gun's suggested retail is $1029.

Smith & Wesson Pro Series 686 SSR No 178012 357 Magnum

In the December 2014 issue, Contributing Editor Roger Eckstine did an in-depth look at two guns designed to compete in the Stock Service Revolver division of IDPA.

Welcome, First-Time Gun Buyers

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry trade association, surveyed firearm retailers recently, and estimates that more than 3.2 million people purchased...