August 2018

Gun News

The NRA-ILA website had an interesting news item looking into why it might be that gun owners hesitate to share their status as gun owners in surveys. I have to agree with the sentiment expressed in the NRA item: “It makes perfect sense, particularly in times of heightened concerns that anti-gun politicians are plotting to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights and the routine vilification of law-abiding gun owners by politicians, celebrities, and the media.” Okay, that’s the why. Here’s the what.   More...

Rifles Not Ready for 50 States

Please consider the following. The issue of gun control, regardless of degree, is a cultural issue — not a national safety issue. When the Constitution was written, less than 15% of our population lived in urban areas. Today, approximately 80% of our population is urban. However, cities account for only about 5% of the geographical landmass of this country. We now have two opposing gun cultures in this country — with urbans believing guns are only for killing people and rurals viewing them as tools, much as a rod and reel are for fishing.   More...

380 ACP Shootout: New Models Versus a Time-Tested Veteran

Subscribers Only — As our ammunition-selling retail sources tell us, 380 ACP pistols are increasingly popular, and because of that interest, new handguns for the chambering are being introduced at a steady pace. While we have serious reservations concerning the stopping potential of the 380 ACP round, there are some loads that are better than others, and we included these in the test program that follows. Regarding the handguns themselves, here we test three, two that are new variants by respected makers and a third that is a veteran name in the 380 ACP field, despite its being marketed for slim guys who often wear tuxedos. The first of these handguns is the Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ 180023, $384, an important step toward offering a handgun that is well suited to those with lowered hand strength and dexterity. The new Shield isn’t a micro-compact pistol but is instead a nice-sized 380 that is all about easy shooting. The “EZ” part of the name refers to an easy cocking system Smith & Wesson claims will make the pistol better for those with limited hand strength to fire and use. If it works as advertised, Smith & Wesson will have provided a handgun that fills a real need. In initial handling, we found the Shield is easier to use than a revolver and most double-action-first-shot pistols because the other types may stress the trigger finger of elderly or female shooters. Likewise, double-action-only or striker-fired safe-action pistols may also present a problem with trigger strength with some shooters. For perspective, we also touched upon the Colt 1903, which, surprisingly, has much in common with the Smith & Wesson Military & Police 380 EZ. Next up is the Springfield Armory 911 Bi-Tone PG9109S, $516. The Springfield 911 (nine-one-one) is a small 380 ACP that is adorned from the factory with night sights and a set of custom-grade grips. The 911 name was chosen for those who may have to be their own first responder. If you get in a tussle, the thinking goes, police are minutes away if you call 9-1-1, while danger is only seconds away. So, carry the Springfield 911 and be ready at the ready. There are four different 911 models. The PG9109 has a black nitride slide and lists for $599 (see page 16). Two models come with Viridian Green Grip Lasers, the PG9109VG with a black nitride, $789; and the PG9109SVG with a brushed stainless-steel slide, also $789. Our test gun, the PG9109S, has a brushed stainless-steel slide and lists for $599.   More...

VALUE GUIDE: 380 ACP Semi-Auto Pistols

Log on to Gun-Tests.com to read complete reviews of these products in the designated months. Highly-ranked products from older reviews are often available used at substantial discounts.   More...

August 2018 Short Shots: Pistols and Pistol Accessories

Smith & Wesson Corp. has announced four new Performance Center SW22 Victory Target pistols. The Performance Center SW22 Victory Target pistols are chambered in 22 LR and are designed specifically for target shooting competitions. These pistols feature 6-inch target barrels, muzzle brakes, and Tandemkross hiveGrips, and other high-performance features.   More...

Big-Bore Single-Action Revolvers From EAA, BFR, and Cimarron

Subscribers Only — While the 45 Long Colt could be considered big medicine in a single-action revolver, single-action revolvers chambered in 44 Magnum really up the ante. The 44 Magnum is a substantial cartridge, so a substantial and strong revolver is required to fire that round. We took a look at three single-action revolvers chambered in 44 Magnum — the EAA Bounty Hunter, Cimarron’s Bad Boy, and the BFR Short Cylinder housed under the Magnum Research (Kahr) name — and found all three of these powerful revolvers had good attributes, managed recoil well without causing carpal-tunnel syndrome, and were accurate. Prior to testing, we ran range rods down the barrel to check chamber and bore alignment and found everything was in spec on all three revolvers. Because the 44 Special cartridge can be fired in revolvers chambered in 44 Magnum, we tested all three with Hornady’s Critical Defense 44 Special ammo loaded with a 165-grain FTX bullet. For 44 Magnum loads, we chose one of our long stand-by rounds from Black Hills loaded with a 240-grain JHP and a newer load from SIG loaded with a 240-grain V-Crown JHP. All rounds provided excellent accuracy. Because the EAA had fixed sights and the BFR and Cimarron had adjustable sights, we leveled the playing field and tested the EAA at 15 yards and the BFR and Cimarron at 25 yards. The sight picture with the adjustable-sight revolvers was far superior than the sight picture with the fixed sights, though the fixed sights of EAA were a modern take on the classic fixed sights. The EAA and BFR were also drilled and tapped to mount a scope.   More...

VALUE GUIDE: Single-Action Revolvers

Log on to Gun-Tests.com to read complete reviews of these products in the designated months. Highly-ranked products from older reviews are often available used at substantial discounts.   More...

Semi-Automatic Shotguns for Ladies: Comparing 20 and 12 Gauges

In this test we will evaluate three 20-gauge semi-automatic shotguns and one 12-gauge semi-auto with an eye toward finding a scattergun that our female test shooters would like to buy. We included the 12 gauge because of the vastly larger selection of shotshell loads for the 12 gauge versus the 20. If our distaff shooters took a liking to it, a 12 would be a far easier and cheaper way to stay on the range or in the field than the 20 gauges, and we could choose light loads for the 12 that could make the bigger gauge shoot like the 20 in terms of recoil. We could further mitigate recoil by choosing semi-automatic operation, which uses energy from the ammunition to cycle the bolt, so these choices would reduce recoil to some degree over a fixed-breech over/under. Also, to boot, they’d be lighter than a stackbarrel, a test parameter our female shooters put a premium on when we were shopping.   More...