April 2007

Firing Line: 04/07

Re "Downrange: Ratings Changes," March 2007

Using the familiar letter grade system (A/B/C/D/F) makes a lot more sense to me; itís simply a lot easier to understand and much more intuitive.

I really dislike the confusion caused by the choice of words for olive sizes, and egg sizes, to use two examples. If I want really big ones, do I get large? Extra large? Jumbo? Colossal? Ludicrous? (Apologies to Mel Brooks.) And, I feel the same way about Starbucks. How do you go about getting a large coffee at those places? What trendy word are they using these days to describe large? If your goal is to communicate information, then I believe that you should keep your descriptions simple and easy to understand. Your ideas here are right on target. Keep up the good work!

Arthur J Edwards, Jr.

Herndon, Virginia

I like the new letter grading system because it gives me the ability to compare firearms across reviews. I can compare an "A" to any other graded review of a similar firearm regardless of what it was reviewed with or when. Makes the reviews much more flexible and useable. Thanks for a great magazine!

Tom McGinley

San Carlos, California

As a new subscriber, I have found your magazine to be both informative and impartial. I have owned a Smith & Wesson Sigma series 9mm for two years and am looking for a review of this model (preferably the SW9VE model). Please email me or let me know where I can obtain a past review on this model.

I really love the new grading system. I think itís a lot easier to understand, plus everyone knows that Aís and Bís are a very good score compared to C and below! Thanks for the great job you and your staff do.

Hiram Escabi, Jr.

Germantown, Maryland

Sorry, the SW9VE has slipped by us. But we did review the .40 S&W version in December 2006 (rated a Buy It then, probably a B+ now). ó Todd Woodard

Re ".357 Magnum Revolvers: S&W Easily

Outdoes Czech Import," March 2007

I have been with you since the first issue of Gun Tests (1989 to present) and all of the copies are still perfect and in binders. Although I donít always concur with your conclusions, I think it is a great service that you provide, by giving your honest opinions about the downsides of each gun, as well as the upsides. That is something that most gun magazines are afraid to do, for fear of losing advertising dollars.

Having said that, I would like to request that you make a correction to the comparisons made in the August 2006 issue and its linkage to the March 2007 issue. In the August 2006 issue, you compared the S&W Model 619 (.357 Magnum) to the Ruger GP100 and Taurus 66. The S&W 619 was criticized for not having adjustable sights, while the Ruger and Taurus did have them. I think that you should have used the S&W Model 620, which is almost a twin to the 619, except that the 620 has adjustable sights. That would have been a fairer test of similar models.

The later March 2007 issue compounded this comparison error, by now comparing the S&W Model 686 with the S&W Model 619, again emphasizing the lack of adjustable sights on the Model 619. A more fair comparison here would have been to compare the Model 686 versus the Model 620, as they both have adjustable sights. As an analogy, if you were comparing .41 Magnums, it would be more fair to use a S&W Model 57 vs. other adjustable sighted .41 Magnums, rather than a S&W Model 58 with fixed sights.

Alan Dash

Life Member,

S&W Collectors Association

Boise, Idaho

Mr. Dashóobjections noted. However, the 620 also differs from the 686 because the 620 lacks a full underlug, which the Ruger and Taurus guns also had. óRoger Eckstine

Re "Basic 1911 .45s,"

March 2007

I am a satisfied owner of a Taurus PT 1911. It is accurate and reliable. No jams and has always worked well right out of the box. I have shot high-dollar, low-dollar and handloaded ammunition with no problems. No, Iím not complaining about your test; I imagine that my 1911 is an earlier model than the one you tested. This should be a wake-up call for Taurus, that their quality has deteriorated.

Mike Dunn

Glenpool, Oklahoma

Thank goodness I bought a Taurus PT1911 .45 ACP a week before I received my March 2007 issue of Gun Tests, or I might have hesitated and missed out on an excellent value for $550 new. I fired 100 rounds of 230-grain FMJ RN with no problems. If I need to adjust the sights, I believe I can back out a set screw and drift it in its dovetail slot, something your test staff did not do. By giving it a D grade for having to use aftermarket magazines and for the sight having to be adjusted, you imply this isnít easily resolved. Maybe you would rather pay $300 more for pistols with magazines that function with SWC loads, but Iíll save the money and put it toward a Taurus PT1911 in .38 Super.

John W. Zawosky

Sparks, Nevada

The windage adjustment would not have solved the elevation problem we suffered. We too are looking forward to a 38 Super.

óRoger Eckstine

Re "Firing Line," March 2007

In response to your reader who complained about the Walther G22 not being Lefty Friendly, he is not looking closely enough. The G22 is made to be quickly converted to LH use, although the manual suggests that this operation be done by a gunsmith. All the parts are on the gun to make it a Lefty; nothing to buy.

Also, one should shoot to their dominant eye and not to their strong hand. Left-handed people do not make up 27 percent of the populace at large, but more like about 15 percent. I am one of them. However, eye dominance is independent of handedness, and the percentage of left-eye dominant people is about 50 percent.

So, to the crazy Yankee who wants a G22 in LH: Go buy one and switch it over. For a sight, try one of the inexpensive reflex sights. It allows one to shoot with both eyes open, which is really fun with moving tin cans and golf balls.

A friend and I both purchased these fun little carbines on the same day, and put two different brands of reflex sights on them. In both cases we had to shim the rear mount on the right side to get within adjustment range.

Kelly Ray Caton

Tulsa, Oklahoma