January 2008

Firing Line: 01/08

Re "Guns of the Year 2007," December 2007

If you had a class for "Weapons Designed by a Committee of Lawyers," I’d second the nomination of the Phoenix HP22A. In the "fire" position, you can’t remove the magazine. In the "safe" position, you can’t rack the slide nor drop the hammer. Under stress, I hope one possesses all of one’s cognitive and psychomotor skills, because you’ll need them all to make this weapon function after a failure.

We teach clearing drills for fail to fire, fail to feed, stove-pipes and dual feeds. With the trusty Phoenix, (different model, same safeties), we’ve been there and it ain’t pretty! Maybe if we’d had the manual to study, we could have looked less like a beagle.

Had this been a heavier and longer-barreled pistol just for plinking, I’d not be so concerned with your recommendation. Given the weapon’s size and barrel length, I suspect most buyers will either want to carry it or defend the bedroom, and therein lies my concern with your recommendation.

Mike Discher

You listed the Ruger 22/45 Mark lll No. KP512MKlll, as a 2007 Don’t Buy Gun. It did not say why. I looked through all of my back issues, (I have been a subscriber since April 2007), and could not find a review of this pistol. Yep, I just bought one. Could you please help me with a copy of this review.

Sig Bloom
Palm Bay, Florida

While I haven’t been a subscriber for long, I value the information I get out of the magazine. I bought the subscription to help guide me in my gun purchases. However, after reading the December issue and looking around on your internet site, I am at a bit of a loss. In the December issue, the Ruger 22/45 Mark III No. KP512MKIII is listed as a "2007 Don’t Buy Gun."

However in trying to find the reason for this, I came across the May 1999 back issue and there the 22/45 was a recommended purchase. I understand that there have been changes with the model in the past eight years. However, with no explanation as to why the 22/45 was listed as a "2007 Don’t Buy," I am struggling to make a conclusion.

Prior to being a subscriber to Gun Tests, I had been eying the 4.5-inch 22/45. Now that I have the money, I am not sure that I should be buying this particular model. Having a brief explanation of what caused the gun to be rated a Don’t Buy next to each listing would be useful to myself as well as others.

Another thought might be, in situations where the same model gun has been rated differently in separate issues, a quick mention of that fact and maybe a guide as to which years to buy and which to avoid could be handy. Obviously you guys can’t test every variation in model years, but basing the information off the overall composition of the gun seems as though it could be done. Keep up the good work.

Drew B.

The full review of the Ruger ran in the January 2007 issue and is available at Gun-Tests.com. For a discussion of why gun reviews can vary, check page 19 of this issue. —Todd Woodard

Can you please help me with an explanation of why the S&W Model 629 is on your 2007 "Don’t Buy Guns" list on page 20? I recently purchased this S&W Performance Center Revolver and now I am concerned.

Chris Takoch

The full review of the 629 ran in the September 2007 issue and is available at Gun-Tests.com. The short version is our test gun’s cylinder didn’t cycle properly and locked up after each shot. —tw

Bring Back Firing Line

It’s too bad that "Firing Line" has become an afterthought in your magazine, rather than the monthly column it was in the past. I’ve subscribed to Gun Tests for many years, and have always enjoyed the comments from average gun owners like myself who share their real-world experiences with the guns you test. Of the guns tested in each issue, I’m usually interested in reading about only one or two of them, but Firing Line is always the first thing I read entirely. Again, too bad, as I’m not sure your magazine is worth the price of subscription without Firing Line.

Bob Feener

It’s not really an afterthought, it depends on whether there’s space or not. If we’ve got a lot of interesting guns, then I cram them in first. —tw

Competition ARs?

I’ve been a subscriber for years, and I’ve searched the back issues as far back as they go, and I cannot remember an article comparing competition-grade rifles built on the AR platform. I’m not referring (necessarily) to the off-the-shelf models, but rather the customized versions such as the ones from ZM Weapons, Clark Custom Guns, or Les Baer. Does an article of this type fit your publication model?

Brett Andrews, MBA, Ph.D.
Vice President for Adult & Graduate Studies
Oklahoma Wesleyan University

Thanks for the story idea. I’ve assigned it for development, and we’ll see how things shake out. —tw

Belt or Suspenders?

I have a minor spare tire that tends to push my pants down and off. If I cinch up my belt enough to hold my pants up, it tends to put pressure on my lower back, which leads to ouch! When I cinch the belt up enough to hold my pants and a carry gun attached to my belt—well, I didn’t carry very often.

One day I spotted a gentleman in an apple orchard sales shop wearing the strangest set of suspenders I had ever seen.

I had tried regular suspenders, but they never worked too well and caused me shoulder pain because they were too narrow to give good support. The gentleman told me he had gotten the "side clip" suspenders from Duluth Trading. I bought four pair.

They are fantastic! Wide enough to give good support at the shoulders, heavy-duty clips that really grab your pants and don’t slip off, comfortable to wear. I now carry every day comfortably!

Jon Kutz,

If you’re interested, here’s the link: http://www.duluthtrading.com. —tw

Seecamp and Kel-Tec Info

As a new subscriber, I would like to say I am enjoying every issue. I am a concealed-weapons permit holder and have been doing some research on smallbore pistols. Two have struck my interest, the Seecamp LWS .32 auto, which I cannot find anywhere and have been told the company is currently out of production and the Kel-Tec P-32. Can you give me any testing info on them?

Robert Potter

For the Seecamp, contact L.W. Seecamp Co., Inc., 280 Rock Lane, Milford, CT 06460, info@seecamp.com. We haven’t tested a Seecamp since January 1999. We tested the Kel-Tec P32 in the January 2004 issue. Check Gun-Tests.com for the full reviews.

Country of Origin?

I am a long-time subscriber to your magazine, and I have only one small criticism. I wish you would still list the country of manufacture for the guns that you test. I believe that this would sometimes be the deciding factor for prospective buyers.

Jim Anderson

So many guns are supplied with parts from several source countries that it became difficult to make this assessment. Is a gun assembled in the U.S. from foreign parts "made in the U.S.A?" It became a real briar patch. —tw