Firing Line 08/99
I would like to respond to the Firing Line letter in June, “Glock Model 31 Criticism.” I have two Glock pistols and have never had a problem with either pistol. I also respect the SIG line of firearms. But I feel that “Name Withheld” is making an impromptu decision with a problem that in my opinion was not caused by a manufacturer’s flaw but by the improper installation of the rubber grip. I have installed the Hogue Mono-grip on one Glock and to this day have no to problems to report.
I have been using padlocks (June 1999) since my first gun purchase. What I have done is to get surgical tubing (purchase at any drug store) to slip over the shackle of the lock to prevent it from scratching or abrading the guns surface.
You have a wonderful publication, which I enjoy. Two items in your April 1999 issue jump out at me, though. In the article about semi-automatic .308s, you list one of the possible applications of this type of firearm as “self-defense, should such a situation arise.” I wonder about the practical application of a rifle for self-defense. Here in the suburbs of Seattle, in a home-defense scenario, if a high-powered rifle were used, the bullet would probably over-penetrate and risk injury to persons unintended. Could you elaborate on the use of such a long-range weapon for self-defense applications?
The second item in the same issue concerns the “Semiauto Trigger Time Trials” sidebar. Again, I wonder how often a half-second or less has determined the winner of an actual gunfight. I’d rather spend the time ducking for cover and planning my shot, should the occasion arise.
John T. Blatchford
Mountlake Terrace, WA
On the .308s, we were looking at those semi-automatic guns in terms of historial battlefield situations, such as conflicts in which the guns were first use. On the tactical question regarding handguns, we can agree that finding cover and being the fastest to respond to a threat are both good situations to plan and train for.
Washington (State) Resistance
Your editorial in the March 1999 Gun Tests was heartwarming news for a reader here in Seattle. As you know, Initiative 676 (a “trigger lock” law for the state of Washington) was resoundingly beaten a couple of years ago—the effect of which left anti-gun politicians reeling.
Our estimate of success in defeating suits against gun manufacturers and dealers is based upon Washington’s strict adherence to a state “pre-emption” law—a buzzsaw the politicians here may not understand is running at full RPM.
By the way, my friends and I somehow don’t fit the moniker of “gun nuts” using AK-47’s for deer hunting. We’re a “virtual company” composed of electrical and mechanical systems and software engineers who design sophisticated electronic test equipment for verification check of aircraft cockpit instruments. We make a difference, and every commercial aircraft that flies somehow uses a piece of our gear to get safely around the sky. I can assure you that we’ll be there with support and brains to help defeat these ridiculous legal actions against the firearms industry.
No Thanks to Atlanta
Good article in the March 1999 Gun Tests regarding Atlanta filing suit against gun makers. That was the reason I skipped the SHOT Show this year. I had heard that New Orleans was a candidate for future shows—anything on that? I’m glad to see someone taking a stand to hurt these politicians in the wallet. Whatever it takes to get their attention.
Robert E. Schoeler
New Braunfels, TX
We understand that New Orleans has been removed from the list of potential SHOT host cities.
DAO Triggers Rebut
In his letter in the January 1999 issue of Gun Tests, Mr. John Cheasty criticized double-action-only triggers, stating that he finds it difficult to understand the logic behind the concept, and declaring flatly that DAO triggers contribute to “wild and inaccurate” shooting.
The logic behind DAO triggers is quite simple: each and every squeeze of the trigger feels the same, and the shooter does not have to make the adjustment between double- and single-action pulls that is required with traditional double-action pistols. I own two Beretta DAO pistols, a 92D Centurion and a 8045D Cougar. Both have smooth and even triggers, with pull weights somewhere between the double-action and single-action pull weights of a traditional double-action pistol. I cannot say what other manufacturers’ DAO triggers are like, but my Berettas are very controllable, very accurate, absolutely reliable, and a pleasure to shoot. Recently, I shot a concealed-carry permit qualification course using my 92D, and I would not hesitate to use either of these pistols for self-defense.
I also own several single-action pistols, one DAO revolver, and a pair of striker-fired pistols. I enjoy shooting these guns as well, again due to the consistency of their trigger pulls from shot to shot. I have in the past owned traditional double-action pistols but, try as I might, I could not get used to that transition from the first heavy double-action shot to the subsequent very light single-action shots. I do know other shooters who are able to make that adjustment successfully, and for them, a traditional double-action pistol may indeed be best. But for my tastes, the double-action-only pistol is safer and far easier to control, and with all due respect to Mr. Cheasty’s opinions, I find that it promotes good shooting and marksmanship.
Bel Air, MD
I enjoy my issues of Gun Tests and your no-nonsense approach. In the April 1999 issue, in the article on .308 semi-auto defense rifles, you recommend using a flash-hider. Would it be possible to have an evaluation of flash-hiders? Does the muzzle break/flash-hider combination work better? How do they affect velocity and ballistics?
It would be difficult to give an evaluation of all possible flash hiders for even one firearm, but you can very easily test yours yourself. Simply fire it at night, with at least two people watching for the flash. Don’t try to use a video camera. They don’t give accurate results. The only reliable way is to observe the flash. We tested a muzzle-brake/flash-hider combination for the AR-15/M16 that the maker had tested with a video camera and we found that although the recoil was substantially reduced, the flash was much brighter than the standard flash hider on the AR-15.
It is possible to get braking and flash hiding in one unit. The Polytech M14S comes with a pseudo-hider similar to the M1A/M14 hider, but it doesn’t have the holes formed all the way through the piece. I drilled 49 holes with a drill press and a 0.17-inch diameter drill, carefully spacing them and following the existing grooves, and tested the result at night. There was zero flash, and recoil was noticeably reduced. The recoil reduction was significantly greater than that provided by the standard USGI hider. The trick to hiding the flash seems to be to get as much air to mix with the escaping gas as possible, so look for a hider with large holes.
Neither flash hiders nor muzzle brakes have any measurable effect on ammunition performance or accuracy, assuming they’re properly mounted. Please note, the term is “brake,” like the brakes on your car. It is not the purpose of the device to “break” your rifle, just slow the muzzle climb.
More On Semi-Auto .308s
I’ve been a Gun Tests subscriber for some time and have relied on the publication for many purchasing decisions.
I’ve been interested in semi-automatic .308s lately, and your April 1999 article was timely. I have several questions related to this article:
Under Extra Points, you “quantified” the accuracy of four of the six guns, excluding the L1A1 and the M1A. Why? What were the results of their tests?
I can get an L1A1 for under $600, and the SUIT scope for about $250. But this is by catalog order (unseen). Worth looking into?
I was very impressed with the accuracy of the custom M14S, but you suggest that this would be more expensive than the M1A. Can this be done for around $1000? From where are the M14/Polytech receivers available? Is there an alternative to the Winchester barrel for match results?
I found the M1A to be well over $1,000, not $500-$1,000 as depicted by “Retail Price” for M1A Springfield on page 22. How did you arrive at this price range? I interpret your testing to show the M14S to be the gun of choice. But why not the FAL as second over the M1A, based on accuracy? Do you think that the Springfield National Match or Super Match is comparable to a custom M14S in accuracy? Price? Are new Argentine FALs available? What did it cost you?
Finally, what effect do you think the variety in scopes had on the variance in accuracy? That is, would the results in accuracy have changed if all were provided the $1,500 10X Leupold sniper scope with the Brookfield mount?)
Our test L1A1 shot into 4 inches at 100 (not 200) yards. The M1A shot into 2 inches at that range. We deliberately left out specific accuracy results because your gun won’t give the same results as ours, particularly the L1A1’s, which are built on a variety of receivers by numerous companies.
Also, my point was to inform readers that you will get approximately one-third the group size with match ammunition, no matter which rifle you have. These are not match guns. They are all adequately accurate for their intended purpose. I don’t know how well your gun will shoot.
In response to your question about the unseen L1A1: Don’t buy any gun or product you haven’t inspected. All reputable dealers offer three-day inspections. Take advantage of that. Look the gun over, shoot it for accuracy, inspect it with a magnifying glass. Ask others to look at it, and take full advantage of the inspection period.
As far as prices, in the article we said, “The standard Springfield M1A will set you back around $1,400.” That is the current retail price per Springfield Armory. The prices in the guns’ photo modules are what you can expect to pay for a used gun.