October 2009

Judge Holster Solution Offered

Reader Cott extols the virtues of Grassburr’s leather holster for the Taurus Judge. Glock owner Wade defends the G21’s honor; and readers DiSabatino and Anderson wonder about ‘slam-firing.’

Re "Judging the Judge: A Viable Self-Defense

Revolver for You?" August 2009

Thanks for your tests of the Judge. We bought the stainless 3-inch-barrel model about two years ago and are very pleased with its performance. My wife carries the Judge on our ranch for self-defense against snakes (very effective with the 410 shotshells). We, too, had difficulty finding a holster until we noticed Grassburr Leather Works (www.grassburr.com) at a Dallas/Fort Worth area gunshow. We purchased a high-quality leather fully-lined holster for the Judge from them at a very reasonable price.

Thanks for a great magazine. I get to read it twice—once to myself and again to my wife, who enjoys me reading to her, especially about firearms.

Am I blessed or what? —Burl Cott

Yes, you are. —Todd Woodard

Re "Guncrafter Industries 50 GI Kit:

Great Conversion for Glock 21," July 2009

I’d like to come to the defense of the Glock 21. I believe it deserves a better grade than a C. Like Ray Ordorica said in the article, the reliability was excellent. This alone should have rated it a B. The Glock fits a niche that many have tried to imitate, but none have successfully achieved. I understand the desire for the perfect trigger, which the Glock does not have; but it is workable, and with a little practice very accurate. Sure, it’s big, but it’s a real powerhouse. The Glock will not jam. The only thing it will not shoot is poor-quality handloads. It can be shot hundreds of times without cleaning. It will not rust. I recently took my Glock 21 on a canoeing trip. It stayed wet continually and got sand and mud in it. When I got back home, I test-fired it as is, and it worked without a hitch. I took it apart, and it was full of water, sand, and mud, but no rust.

Maybe a fancy 1911 would work better, maybe it would shoot better, and have a smoother trigger pull, but will it work after a day of abuse in the field, after being submerged on and off all day, filled with sand and mud? Will it be ready when an uninvited guest sneaks into your camp in the middle of the night?

—Jerry Wade

Why Not the Glock?

You have published several articles on 45 autos and compacts, but I have not seen any on the Glock Model 36 in 45 ACP. As their sub-compact pistol, please consider running it against others of the same compact-sub-compact size in that caliber. —Fred Tetor

We tested the Glock G36 in the September 2007 issue against the $711 aluminum-frame Smith & Wesson Model 457 and the $697 Kahr TP4543. The evaluation compared three single-stack 45s that operate with a hinged trigger, with at least the first shot being fired double action. The M457 got the highest grade—B—followed by the Kahr’s C and the Glock’s C+, mainly because the gun’s short grip and heavy trigger made it hard to control. We did note that Glock owners would argue that the gun’s grade should be a B+. In the January 2007 issue, we tested five guns in 45 ACP, 45 Glock, and 40 S&W. The Glock 39, the same size as the 36 but chambered in 45 GAP, earned a Conditional Buy, the equivalent of a B to C grade in the Report Card system we use today. The slightly larger Glock 30 in 45 ACP got a Buy It recommendation in that test. It was only half an inch longer and 0.3 inch taller than the 36. But the winners of that test were the Taurus Millennium PT145 Pro SS No. 145SSP 45 ACP, $421, which Roger Eckstine’s team said was a Best Buy, and the Springfield Armory XD40 SC HC No. XD9822HCSP06 40 S&W, $566, which was the Our Pick of Roger’s crew. The latter guns would earn A- or A grades today. You can use the search function on Gun-Tests.com or the Select and Compare tool on Gun-Tests.com or GunReports.com to find other results of interest.—tw

Re: "Home-Defense 12-Gauge Pumps: Ithaca,

Remington, Mossberg," May 2009

In this issue you reviewed the Ithaca home defense M37. Do these new models retain the slamfire capability of earlier-version M37s? —Greg DiSabatino

My older 37 will fire very rapidly by holding the trigger back and operating the slide. Every time the slide moves forward into battery, the gun fires. There is no autoloader that will even come close to the speed of the 37. It is my understanding that Ithaca modified the 37 to remove the slam-fire capability for "safety" reasons (likely a lawyer design or a California modification).

Happy to needle you on this! —Andy Anderson

No, the current Ithaca Model 37s do not "slamfire." If you do not release the trigger, the gun will not recock. Repetitive shots by holding the trigger down and just pumping away is not possible, as it was on older models and the Winchester Model 12, for example. —tw

Glad to Have You Back

I’m a long-term subscriber who dropped out circa 2008, and the latest sales pitch including electronic archives got me back into the fold. I’m not very computer savvy and find searching for specific data in the archives to be labor intensive. I have just started USPSA competition. I purchased a S&W M&P standard 9mm, and found its accuracy lacking. That means I shot five rounds onto a 8.5-by-11-inch sheet of paper, using a two-hand benchrest grip at 25 yards, with Winchester 115-grain white box ammo, and got those shots evenly distributed to the edges of the paper.

I read the May 2009 report on the M&P 9mm, and it seems similar to my impressions, except for accuracy. It would be nice if you standardized your accuracy testing standards at 25 yards to make comparisons easier with Gun Tests previously published data (e.g. August 2006). Based upon your May 2009 issue accuracy data, I calculate the 25-yard groups would be around 3.4 inches. My pistol seems to average 8.0 inches at 25 yards, although to this point, I have used only one ammunition. I have shot about 1500 rounds through this pistol so far.

I believe I remember reading previous M&P 9mm testing in Gun Tests; however, I cannot find it in the archives. Would you please give me the reference so I can compare it with the May 2009 test? —Jack Karch

Sure, there were two previous comparisons including the M&P9: February 2009 (Compact 9mm No. 209304) and April 2007 (full size No. 209001). —tw

Re "AR-10 Shootoff: We Shoot Three

Big Brothers of the AR-15," April 2009

Dear Todd, I must say upfront that I have never been a fan of the AR platform big or small, and your April review reinforces my bias.  For $1900, the average price of the three rifles tested, one could purchase an FAL, which is arguably the best "black" rifle ever made, and is being used or has been used by militaries around the world. A Springfield M1A would also be better, I believe, or for 40% of the average price, one could buy a Remington 750 Woodsmaster Carbine. Ten or 15 other rifles are also available that are as accurate as the AR-10. I have been a subscriber for a long time and enjoy your work. —Jerry Ciccone

You make good arguments, Jerry, but there’s no denying the popularity of the AR-15 and AR-10 rifles. We test what people want to buy. Perhaps your comments will interest a few readers in the FAL. —tw

Re: "Ankle-Holster Carry Choices: We Think

Ruger’s LCR is A-OK," July 2009

Just read about the S&W 442. I have an Airweight 642 and, like your 442 in the picture, notice that the front sight is noticeably higher than the rear sight. I have actually confirmed this difference by using a couple of parallel lines. This would tend to lower the shot below the point of aim. However, I can’t recollect if I’ve fired the gun with this in mind! (I’m over 50—senile.)

Under stress there is a tendency to shoot high, and I forget (again!) to which side. I suppose the above might compensate somewhat, but, really, why is the front sight like this?

In researching this question a few years ago, someone told me that some people fine-tune these front sights by carefully and gradually, between live-fire testing, filing it down. I haven’t gotten around to doing so on mine yet, but have you found this to be so?

—Norm Nipperus

According to Smith & Wesson, the 442 is zeroed at 15 yards firing ammunition topped with a 158-grain bullet. That means when leveled at a target placed 15 yards downrange, the bullet will imprint on line with the bore. Assuming the front sight was centered, at the point of ignition no variation to the left or right should be expected. In my evaluation of the 442, I mentioned that the gun tended to rotate upward in the hand during recoil even with the wrist joint held locked. I felt that the supplied grip was partially to blame. A longer, thinner grip that more completely filled the hand would offer more control. Try Hogue’s Model 60000 Monogrip for example ($25 from 1-800-GET-GRIP). Keep in mind that a common mistake is to hold the front sight high instead of keeping it level with the rear sight blade. That being said, we think the 442 we tested did tend to shoot high. But don’t try filing down the front sight. That will only cause you to compensate by holding the muzzle even higher, pushing your hits above the target. —Roger Eckstine

Re "20-Gauge Auto Shoot-out: Beretta,

Browning, Remington," April 2009

Your April issue noted difficulty with Beretta customer service. Welcome to the club. They probably have the poorest customer service I have ever been exposed to in any name-brand company. I bought a fairly expensive Silver Pigeon shotgun, which had a problem. Their customer service people seemed distracted, disinterested, incompetent, and disorganized—a stunning surprise to see at a company with their name and reputation. A reputation which has been diminished, in my eyes.

—Mark S. Levey

Ryan Muety, director of marketing at Beretta USA Corp. said, "At Beretta, we take customer service very seriously. In a survey of our customers, we routinely receive ratings of 4 out of 5, (with 5 being the best) in terms of customer satisfaction. That being said, we are always trying to improve and we appreciate the feedback of customers when our service does not meet their expectations." —tw

Hey Guys, I Like Your Mag

Gun Tests, you guys are doing the job that most of the other mags are not doing—taking a critical look at the guns they test. It amazes me how many expensive guns don’t work properly. A gun should have the basics—load, shoot, accuracy—or they should fail! I would like to see a test of the new Winchester. Does it still match up to the reputation of the pre-64 guns? —Ray Boyer

Before your letter, I didn’t have any Winchester rifles working, but we’ll get started on one. The legend of the pre-64s will be hard to overcome, but in terms of actual rounds downrange, we’ve seen ongoing improvement in rifle performance over the last decade. —tw

Re "Downrange," June 2009

You got snagged for a traffic ticket and you put in in the magazine? Old Japanese expression: If you want sympathy, it’s in the dictionary between sh#t and syphillis. It only made you look whiny.

The actual reason that I’m writing is that what you should have written about was only briefly mentioned in the July 2009 issue on affordable 45s. You mentioned a shortage of ammunition. That would have been a story that gets our attention. The fact that you said you had to really dig out common ammo shows there’s something going on. Manufacturers slowing down, the war, sales to the Prince of Monaco? —Glenn Azon

Ammo supply and demand—one of the few relatively free markets remaining (not housing, not cars, not banks, not media)—has corrected itself. Tight ammo supplies have loosened overall, and prices have come down some, but remain higher that before the Obama Bubble. Actual supply of guns seems to be better, too,

even on AR-15s. If I seemed whiny about the ticket, that wasn’t my intent. Having to disarm to get access to the municipal court system made me realize we’re all one gun law away from being defenseless. And the "Thin Man" will get to guns eventually. —tw

Masterpiece, or Platypus?

I recently happened across an article on Masterpiece Arms (www.masterpiecearms.com) and discovered they are making 45 ACP rifles (pictured at right) using what looks like an AR-15 style barrel and handguard, a MAC10-platform action and grip that takes 30-round M3 Grease Gun mags and a skeleton-framed rifle stock. They make similar guns in 9mm. Overlooking the fact that it looks like the firearms equivalent of a platypus, it seems interesting, and the quoted retail under $600 got my attention. I can’t think of many compelling reasons to own a 45 ACP rifle, but it looked like it would be a great plinker with at least a reasonable use as a home-defense gun. Any plans on testing one of these? —Dave Tierney

Dave, I don’t know about it looking like a platypus. Maybe more like "fusion cuisine"—stir-fried guacamole beignets, or something like that. We’ll look into getting one. —tw

Report Card Grading

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