Another handgun magazine recently ran an article praising the 25-yard accuracy of a 9mm 1911 Ed Brown CCO pistol ($3,585). It shot 2-inch groups using high performance ammo. Curious about how my used S&W 9mm Shield V1 ($269) with a drop-in stainless-steel barrel ($170) would do, I staged my own comparison test. Using SIG Sauer Elite Performance JHP 124-grain ammo, my Shield shot a 2.75-inch group from the rest. The question I have for you and your readers is this: Is the extra 0.75 inch in accuracy at 25 yards worth the additional $3146?
Mr. Woodard: Thank you for the surprising but timely article on self-defense insurance. As a former insurance professional, I was aware of the "hidden" differences in insurance policies of all kinds, but I was unaware of many of the differences in types of self-defense insurance for gun-toters like myself — particularly regarding bail bonds. What a great and timely article for your readers who believe in concealed carry/home defense!
I was greatly surprised by the positive review that you gave the Ruger rifle. My example would not dependably feed from the magazine, was awkward to single load, frequently failed to fire Remington factory ammunition, and arrived with a stock so warped the barrel was not free floating. When I called Ruger, they read a prepared script, which among other things advised against the use of Remington or Barnes Ammunition. I then sent the rifle back to Ruger. They returned it to me unchanged, although they did include two additional magazines. Unfortunately, the new magazines were no better than the original, and none of the problems addressed. Disappointed, I traded the Ruger for a CZ 527 in 300 BLK. I note that Ruger is now producing a version of this rifle employing AR magazines.
Hey Gun Tests, just finished reading the April issue. Another great issue. One thing I wanted to point out was the affordable ammo tests. I personally love those kinds of tests. It also shows me that I am in the minority on the Remington Thunderbolt 22 LR ammo. I've bought a few boxes of that stuff throughout the years and it hasn't performed that well in any of my 22s. I'm the customer that gets the boxes with the duds in them. Or the bullets that do not cycle the gun at all. CCI Blazer is my affordable 22 ammo of choice. Shoots quite well in my rimfires. I also loved the home-defense section, too. Keep that kind of test coming as well. Thanks for making the best firearms magazine out there.
Reader Andrew complained about the "apples to oranges" comparison of the GP-100 44 Special to two 44 Magnums. I have to agree. As a long-time fan of the 44 special (I prefer large holes), I would prefer to see a comparison of carry-worthy, relatively short-barreled 44 specials from Ruger, Taurus, Charter Arms, S&W or any other manufacturers still providing us with revolvers in this great caliber. While you have done comparisons in the past, I would like to see an updated and comprehensive comparison of 44 specials with cylinders dedicated to the caliber, and not including short-barreled 44 mags.
I have owned and used quite a number of different Galco and Bianchi holsters, mostly for autos, and am quite satisfied with this one by Blackhawk. In fact, it is probably the best holster product I have seen coming from Blackhawk thus far, as I have owned others. Paid $54 at Cascade Farm & Outdoor where it was recently on sale there at 25 percent off!. I think it has pretty good retention and concealability. It's the Blackhawk No. 420506BK-R (right hand model; left hand also available). Retention is adjustable.
I just read your review of the Ruger GP100 Match Champion compared to the Smith 686. I know the review is three years old, but I hope my experience will be useful to other readers. I dithered over purchasing the 686 or the GP100 for months. I dry-fired every one I could find of each. Every single 686 in single action had a nearly perfect trigger pull off the shelf. The GP100s ranged from as good as the 686 to almost as good.
Todd, thank you very much for starting to include the slide-racking forces on your pistol tests. As I age, I am starting to develop arthritis in my thumbs and find that it is becoming hard or impossible to rack the slides on some pistols. For example, I have no problem racking the slide on my 1911, CZ 75, TCP, and Buckmark; but I could not comfortably rack the slide on my buddy's SIG. I still enjoy shooting pistols and hope to be able to do it for a few years before I have to switch to revolvers. Slide-racking force will definitely be one of my considerations when I consider purchasing pistols in the future. Keep up the good work!
When a firearm leaves the factory in a condition that precludes the buyer from using it as designed, that firearm deserves an "F." I believe it is acceptable to point out whether the problem is severe or an easy fix. However, the evaluation needs to stress that the firearm should have never left the factory in the condition tested. Personally, regardless of the grades given, I would not buy the Ruger or the Howa. Keep up the good work.
Editor: I read with interest your article about .410-bore ammo tests. Your pictures clearly show that the 45 Colt expands far better than the 45 ACP! The gun manufacturers are asleep. They should make a 45 Long Colt revolver with 4-,6-, and 8-inch barrels. Bet this would rival the 357 Magnum in knockdown power without the recoil!
Dear Todd: I sincerely hope you don't change the grading scale to what is effectively pass/fail. Larry brings up an interesting point that would provide one way of comparing future evaluations, although comparing future with present and past scales could be unduly confusing. Personally, I thought the old scale was just fine, though I have adjusted to the new one.
Your reader asks who would want to buy a gun rated at C? About 12 years ago, I bought a new CZ 83 pistol. You would have rated this particular pistol an F because of constant Failure to Fire and Failure to Eject problems. But after CZ sent it back, the gun has been 100% reliable and has become a favorite because it perfectly fits my old, extra-large, and arthritic hands, and provides excellent accuracy with modest recoil. I was pleased to see your A rating on this gun years later. I've found giving each gun a second chance to be a worthwhile practice.