August 1998

Firing Line 08/98

Kimber .45s
Why do we never have the Kimber .45’s tested when they are nearly taking over the gun shows in this area? You did one in June, but I have not noticed any more. They are the best buy for the money in a .45 available today — my opinion, as I have a polymer-frame high-capacity Kimber and the Custom aluminum-frame gun. I have not wrung them out yet, as time and weather have not been to my liking here in a hot zone. Thanks for reading my comments. I read every issue the day it arrives, or the next, cover to cover.

John F. Clouse, Jr.
Azle, TX


Mr. Clouse: We plan a test of the Kimber Gold Match in the October 1998 issue, and will try other Kimbers in the future.


Kel-Tec P-11
I received and enjoyed my first issue of Gun Tests (May 1998) today. I noticed with interest the Gun Tests Back Issues on page 13. I have been looking high and low for an unbiased evaluation of the Kel-Tec P-11 9mm semiautomatic pistol. Is it possible that one of your back issues includes a test of this Florida-made weapon?

Larry Ford
San Antonio, TX


Mr. Ford: Thanks for your good words. We are pleased you enjoy Gun Tests. We tested the P-11 in the January 1997 issue, and plan a retest in the September 1998 issue.


More Price Range
I could not disagree more with the letter of Jim Kastner in the May issue. He urged that you try harder to compare guns in the same price range, which he considered to be “more reasonable.” I’d like to know why.

For example, in the May issue you compare 9mm polymer pistols, including the Ruger P95, which I own, like, and have never heard complaints about from anyone. In fact, one gun dealer (who doesn’t sell Rugers) told me he considers it to be the best gun Ruger makes. While I would not go that far, I do think it is the equal of the Heckler & Koch USP 9mm and the Glock 17, both of which I also own. Yet it costs only 60 percent as much as the Glock and only 54 percent as much as the Heckler & Koch.

If prestige of ownership is what one is looking for, there is no need for the advice of testing organizations. Gun Tests’ role, as I see it, is to let us know how to get the most for the money. Right? I hope you continue to see it that way.

Bernie Parrette
McLean, VA


Mr. Parrette: Yes, we’ll continue to see it that way. However, even if folks bought guns for prestige, we’d still have the vital function of telling you that a Westley Richards at, say, $40,000 is a better value than a Purdey at, say, $55,000...or it might be the other way ‘round.


Thanks for a great publication. I love guns and shooting them, and, even though I rarely shoot a handgun, I find myself reading these comparisons because of your objective, unbiased view.

Now, I am writing in response to a letter titled “Price Range” in the May 1998 issue. I am of the opposite opinion to that of Jim Kastner for the reasons you stated and then some. Most of the deer hunters in Missouri shoot a .30-30 and have success. We don’t really need a test on these because it has been documented over and over that they are good at short range only, and the number of rifles available today in that caliber is so limited.

There are many advantages I see to having a wide gap in price range testing, not the least of which is you may test a $1,500 rifle that most of us would seldom have the chance to shoot, let alone buy. And, as you have shown us in the past, sometimes it is not necessary to spend more money for accuracy, but if you enjoy a better metal-to-wood fit, or a deeper, darker blue with a super shine, then the more expensive gun would be for you.

So, in summary, I say thank you for having a wide variety of guns and prices to allow us to decide what would be better for each of us, and for giving us good information to let us make our own decisions.

Doug Scheidegger
Kansas City, MO


Mr. Scheidegger: We couldn’t agree more that money can’t necessarily buy accuracy. One of our shooters has a $50 Marlin that shoots circles around his $1,000 Anschutz target rifle. We also know a fellow who bought a $10,000 Purdey shotgun instead of investing in a Certificate of Deposit. The value of the Purdey will go up at least as fast as would his CD, and he can shoot it, too.