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Being a magazine that deals primarily with the testing and evaluation of firearms and accessories, were always looking for the next big thing. Not long ago the next big thing was the small concealment pistol chambered for 380 Auto. One such pistol was the Ruger LCP380, and it seemed like every maker was bringing out a small pistol with barrel lengths shorter than 3 inches and an overall size that could fit inside the dimensions of the average adults hand.One of the things that worked against these guns was the lack of availability of ammunition. Call it 9mm Browning, 9mm Corto, 9mm Kurz - in English, 9mm Short - 380 ACP ammunition was difficult to find. Another factor that seemed to cool enthusiasm for the little 380s was handling and recoil. While 380 Auto is not a big banger, when housed in a smaller package with limited grip space, every impulse was magnified. In addition, a lot of buyers have found these smaller guns with their necessarily taut recoil springs to be unappealing simply because they have trouble manipulating the slide.In the meantime, Ruger introduced a new pistol of similar design to the LCP, but slightly bigger, chambered for 9mm Luger, 9x19 or 9mm Parabellum, or regular-sized 9mm ammunition. This pistol was a lot easier to hold and work than the still-smaller 380 pocket guns, but the bigger powder payload also offered additional recoil. Solution: For 2013, Ruger introduced the LC9 re-chambered for 380 Auto, which addresses both the desire for less recoil and easier handling, and we were able to land one for evaluation. So that we could hurry the test into print, we didnt try to match it up against other 9mms, but rather relied on previous test notes to put the little Ruger into perspective.

Ruger LC380 ACP Pistol: Downsized Nine That Works

Being a magazine that deals primarily with the testing and evaluation of firearms and accessories, were always looking for the next big thing. Not long ago the next big thing was the small concealment pistol chambered for 380 Auto. One such pistol was the Ruger LCP380, and it seemed like every maker was bringing out a small pistol with barrel lengths shorter than 3 inches and an overall size that could fit inside the dimensions of the average adults hand.One of the things that worked against these guns was the lack of availability of ammunition. Call it 9mm Browning, 9mm Corto, 9mm Kurz - in English, 9mm Short - 380 ACP ammunition was difficult to find. Another factor that seemed to cool enthusiasm for the little 380s was handling and recoil. While 380 Auto is not a big banger, when housed in a smaller package with limited grip space, every impulse was magnified. In addition, a lot of buyers have found these smaller guns with their necessarily taut recoil springs to be unappealing simply because they have trouble manipulating the slide.In the meantime, Ruger introduced a new pistol of similar design to the LCP, but slightly bigger, chambered for 9mm Luger, 9x19 or 9mm Parabellum, or regular-sized 9mm ammunition. This pistol was a lot easier to hold and work than the still-smaller 380 pocket guns, but the bigger powder payload also offered additional recoil. Solution: For 2013, Ruger introduced the LC9 re-chambered for 380 Auto, which addresses both the desire for less recoil and easier handling, and we were able to land one for evaluation. So that we could hurry the test into print, we didnt try to match it up against other 9mms, but rather relied on previous test notes to put the little Ruger into perspective.

UTAS-15 Pump: Wed Wait On It

You may not have heard of this company, UTAS (pronounced YOO-tash), a Turkish firm that specializes in firearms design, engineering and OEM manufacturing. UTAS has had its designs voted Gun of the Year by the NRAs American Rifleman magazine in 2006 and in 2007. One product from UTAS is the UTS-15 tactical shotgun, a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun with two 7-round alternately feeding or selectable magazine tubes.We recently tested a UTS-15 as a follow-up to our November 2012 test of high-capacity shotguns, the Akdal Arms MKA 1919 3-inch 12 Gauge, $799; the Kel-Tec KSG 3-inch 12 Gauge, $1075; the Saiga IZ-107 12 Gauge, $640; and a Red Jacket Saiga RTS-SBS-12 Short-Barrel 12 Gauge, $1939. Of that quartet, we preferred the Saiga and the KSG.While we were standing in the shop at Tactical Firearms in Katy, Texas (TacticalFirearms.us) waiting to pick up our UTS-15 for testing, the range staff was going on and on about how the gun looked like a weapon from a sci-fi movie. They werent kidding; if you have seen the movie Starship Troopers, this gun resembles the Morita battlerifle that the Mobile Infantry used to kill Bugs. But according to UTAS, the shotgun doesnt hail from outer space. The UTS-15 is just a bullpup pumpgun created from the ground up using fiber-reinforced polymers for 85 percent of the parts. In particular, the receiver is completely molded from polymer.Numerous gun celebrities on the internet have reviewed this shotgun and had no luck with it. FPSRussia went through three UTS guns while shooting his video because he actually broke three different parts. Would our unit be plagued with the same problems as some of the other early-model bullpup shotguns reviewed back in November? Or would it be Gun Tests approved right out of the box? Heres what happened:

Laser Rangefinders Under $200: Simmons, Nikon, and Redfield

It does not matter what type of implement you use - modern firearm, muzzleloader, or bow - determining distance to your target is critical. For a primitive-weapons hunter, it means waiting until the beast comes into range. For a user of modern firearms, it might mean dialing in exactly the right amount of hold-over - or passing up a shot - on a trophy thats at the edge of your ability to shoot accurately. One of the fastest, easiest to use, and affordable means of accurately gauging distance to various targets is a laser rangefinder. Laser rangefinders are basically a monocular that send out a pulsating laser beam that bounces off a target back to the unit and provides an instantaneous readout in yards or meters. The laser is similar technology to that used in autofocus cameras.

The price of rangefinders is directly attributed to the quality of electronics of the rangefinder. More expensive rangefinders have lasers with less beam divergence, which is when the laser-beam diameter begins to spread out over distance. Instead of a tight, narrow beam, the beam becomes wider, like a cone, at the target end of the beam. The more beam divergence, the less accurate the distance reading. Those more expensive rangefinders also have more added features like a ballistic calculator, modes for use in rain or snow, different reticle choices, can range at farther distances, to name a few.

We recently tested three affordable laser rangefinders with similar maximum distances and features.

257 Wby Bolt Rifle Match-Up: Vanguard 2 Beats the Mark V

The long-range hunter or seeker of varmints in windy conditions often chooses a 25-caliber rifle, and the Weatherby 257 cartridge is about the hottest of those easily available. Weatherby is happy to sell you one off the rack, or they can whip one up to your own specifications, if you have long pockets. Weatherby makes quite a few versions of rifles in this caliber, and we chose to test the vaunted Mark V Deluxe ($2400) against the Vanguard Series 2 Deluxe ($1149) to see what you might get for the extra money needed to buy the Mark V.No matter how you cut it, theres no denying the aura of the Weatherby name, and we must admit we enjoyed using two fabulous 30mm Leupold scopes on these very precise and good-looking Weatherby rifles. Maybe thats enough reason to buy one. Still, we should note that we had the devil of a time finding ammo, and finally bought some from a local user of the cartridge in two persuasions, 87-grain Spire Point and 120-grain Nosler Partition. Here are our findings.

Concealment Gear: We Test ATAs Holster-Integrated Pants

Weapons concealment is all about blending in. Thats where pants by American Tactical Apparel (ATA) with an integrated holster and magazine pouch come in. Rather than requiring a secondary garment such as a jacket, vest, or untucked shirt to cover a holstered weapon, the wearer is free to display a normally belted midline with tucked shirt. This is a key point in eliminating a common visual clue that youre carrying a handgun.American Tactical Apparel sells through USAammo.com and currently offers BDU-style pants referred to as Battle Khakis in both a poly-cotton blend and denim. The Battle Khakis are available in black, navy blue and olive green as well as the traditional khaki tan. The denim pants are indigo blue jeans. Pricing is $100 for the full-length poly-cotton pants and $149 for the blue jeans. But according to an ATA representative, their goal is further development of the denim pants and a price point of $100. Poly-cotton BDU or trekker-style shorts ($80) are also available, but only in tan. Additional holsters and magazine pouches are sold separately for $50. All ATA garments are made in USA. There is also a tailoring service to reconfigure customer-supplied pants for a fee of $40. Our test pants were a pair of tan Battle Khakis, a second pair in black, and the latest addition to the ATA catalog, a pair of $80 dress pants.Weapons and accessory retention is accomplished by a neoprene holster system that wraps around the wearers leg, covering the middle portion of the thigh and connecting to the inside of the pants just below the belt line. The holster system may be worn on either side, and the same holster or magazine pouch may be used on multiple pairs of pants. Access to the weapon or spare magazine was by pulling down a zipper that runs along the outer seam along either side.

Cool New Guns at SHOT 2013

At the 2013 SHOT Show, held in Las Vegas last January, Gun Tests staffers ran across tons of new products that we’re working to include in future tests. We mention many new items below, so if any of them trip your trigger, let us know and we’ll see about adding them to the test list.

Frangible Ammunition Testing: We Give Nine Loads a Fair Shot

This feature report on frangible ammunition was instigated by questions from readers. Most of the questions were along the same line: Can such-and-such ammunition possibly do what they say it does? Can a chunk of lead, fairy powder, or depleted uranium or other secret element possibly increase the effectiveness of a handgun bullet in the manner stated?The concept of frangible ammunition has been around for a long time, but that doesnt mean that it is completely understood. As an example, during our rush to collect as many examples of these loads as possible, we found that otherwise knowledgeable gun-store clerks were mistaken concerning exactly what we were looking for. One of the fellows was asked to order frangible loads from as many different makers as possible. When our ammo came in the following week the clerk had batted .500. Half of the ammo was frangible, but the others were lead free loads, which are a different animal. We winced inwardly but paid up and smiled because this young man always gets the job done in a timely manner and is helpful in ordering the tons of ammunition we need every year.Still, we managed to amass enough frangible ammunition to give the loads a fair shot. We were able to educate ourselves on the differences in frangible loads. In the past many writers, including our primary author, have referred to soft-point and hollowpoint loads as frangible. This is strictly correct only when you compare a fast-opening hollowpoint to a hard-cast lead bullet. Another term for frangible and hollowpoints alike has been exotic bullet styles - the Hydra-Shok or Silvertip is pretty exotic compared to a roundnose lead bullet. Just the same, there must be some consensus on what frangible ammo is.Frangible ammunition is best described as a projectile designed to break up and disintegrate when meeting hard resistance, such as steel plates or a wall in a dwelling. Expansion is advertised in some cases, but those with powdered or sintered cores do not necessarily expand. Rather, they return to their original states. The concept is related to safety. Frangible bullets eliminate ricochet and limit overpenetration. They are useful in crowded environments and in providing safe training ammunition for use with steel targets or at very close range. There is no personal defense application intended or implied. The SinterFire is among the best-known examples of this type of bullet. There is always lethality involved, as the ammunition will perform much like a full-metal-jacketed bullet if it strikes flesh and bone. The loads are truly frangible only if hitting a steel plate or cinder block.The second type of frangible includes the original Glaser Safety Slug. These are designed to break up when striking flesh and blood and absolutely guarantee that no part of the projectile exits the body. After over 30 years on the market, the facts are clear that the Glaser works as designed most of the time. Prison bureaus and big-city agencys SWAT teams have used these safety slugs. Sometimes called pre-fragmented, the Glaser relies upon compressed birdshot in a hollow jacket for effect. There are various competing types, including Extreme Shock and the DRT rounds. Each of these uses a different composition of frangible material, with the Extreme Shock depending upon nytrillium and the DRT relying upon a sintered core in a jacket. Since both types of loads are included in the frangible description, we tested both types.

1911 Replica Rimfires: GSG, Umarex, and Browning Compete

One reason to produce rimfire replicas of military weapons is to help familiarize the shooter with how each gun operates at a fraction of the price of buying and feeding the corresponding centerfire model. If this isnt fun enough, then consider the history and the innovation that each rifle offers the shooter ahead of simpler rimfire designs. We last tested military-replica semiautomatic rimfire rifles in the February 2010 issue (Tactical-Style 22 LR Carbines: Ruger, S&W, Legacy Duke It Out), with the majority of the roster being taken up by the AR-15 design. In this test we will evaluate only one such rifle, Mossbergs $276 715T Tactical 22. Our second replica rifle represents a bygone era and the third a modern design. Our old-timer was the $399 Citadel M-1 22 Carbine made in Italy by Chiappa. The $609 German-made ISSC MK22 Desert Tan rifle with folding stock was a replica of the SCAR (Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle). Both the MK22 and the M-1 Carbine are imported by Legacy Sports International of Reno, Nevada.For accuracy tests, we fired from the 50-yard line with support from the Caldwell Tack Driver sandbag rest. Test ammunition was the same 40-grain assortment we used the April 2012 test of more traditional semi-automatic rifles. Two rounds featured copper-plated bullets. They were CCIs Mini Mag and CCIs AR Tactical 22 ammunition. We also fired Federals Auto Match rounds, which launched a lead solid bullet. We also tried a variety of hollowpoint ammunition to assess versatility, but elected to fire shots of record with our roundnosed selections so we could compare results directly with our earlier tests.Each one of our test guns arrived with open sights. In fact, the MK22/SCAR offered two aiming solutions in one set of fold-down sights. We wanted to know how well all of these sight packages worked. In addition, each rifle offered a way to mount a scope. We wanted to know how efficiently this option could be accomplished and its effect on accuracy. We began our accuracy tests using only the supplied open sights. Then, we mounted the same variable power 1-4X power scopes used in last months rimfire rifle tests. Firing only the most accurate round per each gun, we then recorded additional 5-shot groups from the 50-yard bench. All three rifles fired at least 300 rounds over three days of testing with no more maintenance than an occasional spray of Rem Oil into the chamber and on the bolt. Lets see how they scored.

Dangerous-Game 357 Magnums: Cor-Bon, Grizzly Clear Winners

Some time ago, we were contacted with a question concerning a very popular revolver cartridge - the 357 Magnum. This cartridge is an effective choice for personal defense, and a solid choice for small game and predator control. With a long-barrel handgun and careful load selection, the 357 Magnum is even suitable for deer-sized game. However, this readers question took a different path. The question was, does the 357 Magnum have enough bullet weight and penetration for effective defense against wild animals? The fact is, the 357 Magnum is probably the most common handgun caliber that is packed solely for protection against animals. Quite a few Combat Magnums, Blackhawks, and Trackers do double duty in the wild. Whether it is the best choice is open to interpretation, but it is the largest caliber the occasional shooter is likely to wish to attempt to master. Calibers smaller than the 357 Magnum - the 38 Special and 32 Magnum - are too light, small, and slow for effective use against larger animals. Big-bore revolvers such as the 44 Magnum are heavier, making them more difficult to holster and carry comfortably. The boomers are much more difficult to control, with close to twice the recoil of the 357 Magnum. The 357 Magnum is the most powerful cartridge that the average shooter will be able to control, given a handgun of sufficient weight and modest practice. A guy or girl who carries a snub 38 Special for protection and practice will be able to control a mid-size 357 Magnum revolver for occasional use and peace of mind on the trail.The advantages of the revolver have proven out in defense against animals. In more than one case, a person was bowled over by a charging cougar or bear. The defensive handgun was placed against the animals body and the trigger pressed until the desired effect took place. A self-loader would jam after the first shot in such a situation. The facts simply bear us out on this one. In most cases the animal attacks quickly, and it is literally on top of the person, biting and clawing before the victim has time to draw the handgun. The handgun is used at intimate range. While there may be exceptions to the rule, the revolver is a wise choice for this type of personal defense. As for cartridges, we would prefer something larger, but then, the 357 Magnum has been known to suffice. Remember, there is a great difference in hunting and defense and between taking a careful shot and placing a bullet in the heart of a creature and producing a quick, clean kill and actually stopping an attack. Only a cartridge with sufficient bullet integrity to penetrate deeply and break large bones and produce a wound to the blood bearing organs is suitable. Even the skull of some animals is quite thick and resistant to light bullets. As an example, we are aware of a case in which a game warden fired five rounds into the skull of a bear and only one penetrated - the stopping stop. He was using fast-opening 125-grain JHP bullets. Penetration is vital. Some expansion would be ideal, but in the end we have to sacrifice expansion for penetration. If the projected threat is one of the big cats or the dangerous feral dogs, then an expanding bullet is ideal, as long as it has sufficient penetration to perforate the creature. If you are in bear country, then a heavy, non-expanding bullet is needed.The question was relevant on another level - can a self-defense shooter simply change loads and have a viable outdoors revolver for protection against bears? This question would eliminate testing the 6- to 8-inch-barrel revolvers we normally consider hunting revolvers. Could a defense-minded shooter who normally deploys a 110-grain load in his 357 be loaded for bear if he simply changed bullet weights? This is an intriguing question. Normally, heavy bullets with little expansion are contraindicated for personal defense, but not in this scenario.We elected to test several loads that are advertised as heavy loads, and loads that offer sufficient expansion and penetration for use against animals. We threw in a number of general-purpose loads and personal-defense loads as well. Some were recommended by readers or the raters we worked with on this subject. While penetration and ballistic effect is foremost, accuracy is also interesting. These were among the most accurate handgun loads we have ever tested. Since the 357 Magnum is a very popular cartridge, there was no shortage of ammunition available. We leaned toward heavier bullets, but we also tested several personal defense loadings for comparison, simply to confirm our suspicions that these loads did not generate sufficient penetration for use against bear size animals. Wild hogs can be dangerous, and they are in the large and dangerous category. If your problem is feral dogs or the big cats, the first three loads are interesting choices.

Two Visions of the Citori O/U: The New 725 Vs. the Older XS

One of the most popular over-and-under shotguns offered by Browning, the Citori line, has undergone numerous updates and upgrades over the years as thousands of target and field shooters look for something to improve their clay-busting and game bag-filling skills. A tweak here, a new twist there, and each new model is promoted as the key to shooting success. The practice must work pretty well, as very few of the major firearm manufacturers refrain from cranking out new and upgraded models on a regular basis.One of the most recent entries to the new-and-improved market is the Browning Citori Model 725, released to the public last year as the latest in a long line of innovative over-and-under shotguns produced by the company founded by legendary firearms inventor John M. Browning. The Model 725 is an update of the models such as the 625, 525, 425 and XS over-and-unders that are considered among of the most popular stack-barrel shotguns in the country.Lighter and trimmer than its predecessors, the 725 is billed as allowing the shooter to become one with the gun, with a new mechanical FireLite trigger for quicker second shots and new Invector-DS extended choke system for improved patterning and easier removal during choke changes. Several other minor changes are advertised as helping reduce recoil and provide better shooter comfort when touching off a round or two in the field or on the range.To fulfill the requirements of the Bargain Hunter story angle, we revisited a Citori Model XS Sporting that was part of a Gun Tests review in 2007. The XS fell between the Models 425 and 525 in the Citori line and as noted in the earlier review, it is among the solid, dependable over and under shotguns made in Japan for Browning. In Bargain Hunter reviews, we not only will flyspeck the performance of the guns involved, but we will delve deeply into questions of value, perhaps saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in tightly-matched comparisons.In this case, both the 725 and its XS predecessor feature the same rugged full-width hinge pin and tapered locking bolt design with locking lugs in the bottom of the receiver that have become a Browning trademark. In addition, both models come with three-stage triggers allowing for an adjustable length of pull, palm swells (for right-handed shooters), ported barrels, and screw-in chokes. Rather than use the internal Invector Plus chokes that came as a standard feature with Model XS, we upgraded to Diana Grade extended chokes for this match-up. Our reasoning was to pit extended chokes versus extended chokes as a fair test of performance.Although the Model XS featured 32-inch barrels while the Model 725 sported 30-inch barrels, we did not think the slight difference in handling ability hindered a proper match-up of the two shotguns.Our ammunition selection for this test included Winchester AA Xtra-Lite Target 2.75-inch loads that were 2.75-dram equivalent shells with one ounce of No. 71/2 and No. 8 shot traveling at 1180 fps for the sporting clays testing; and Federal Game Load 2.75-inch loads that were 3.25-dram equivalent shells with one ounce of No. 71/2 shot travelling at 1290 fps for field tests.Since only the Model 725 would handle 3-inch shells, we limited our comparison to 2.75-inch loads. Anyone who has fired many 3-inch loads and suffered from the resulting shoulder shock can appreciate our decision.Both shotguns handled the two types of shells with exceptional performance both in the field and on the sporting clays range with no malfunctions of any kind. Our team was particularly pleased with the solid hits using Modified chokes with both shotguns on high-flying mourning doves as far as 50 yards away. Heres our test report:

9mm Handguns Big and Small: Taurus, Walther, DiamondBack

The practice of carrying a second gun is nothing new. Pairing a six-shooter with a pistol-caliber carbine or carrying a big service revolver on the hip with a small-framed 5-shot revolver hidden elsewhere are good examples of an effective defensive duo. In this test we looked at two high-capacity 9mm pistols and tried to match them to a pair of smaller pistols of the same caliber.Our first pair was the $498 Taurus PT 24/7 G2 and the much smaller $483 709B Slim pistol. Both guns utilize double-action and single-action fire. Our second pair featured full-time double-action triggers, but from different makers. They were the $729 Walther PPQ and the very small $490 Diamondback DB9. We hate to spoil the surprise so early in the article, but our shooters werent completely satisfied with any combination of these guns in big/little pairs.Though its seems like the two Taurus guns might go well together, they displayed very different characteristics that could interfere with transitioning easily between them. Also, as we detail below, we didnt like the Walther well enough to recommend it alone, so we likewise wouldnt pair it with a smaller gun. The Diamondback was painful to shoot, so that nixes it as a pairable backup, in our view.So, instead, we simply evaluated the pistols individually. Since methods of concealment vary with situation or code of dress, we also considered each of the smaller guns for the role of primary gun as well as for backup.

Russian Ammo Ban Is Here

Well, no surprise, it looks like the Biden Administration is trying its best to choke off a major supplier of inexpensive ammunition to the...