September 2010

August Issue: Best Ever? Maybe

Reader Durham liked the 9mm and budget-shotgun reviews last month. Reader Allen pointed out some flaws in our 45 Colt load math. Reader Lewis says we might consider dressing our gelatin.

Best Issue Ever

I subscribe to no less than six gun-related magazines. Although I read and enjoy every letter to the editor and editorial column enough to justify the subscription price, I rarely read more than one article from any of them. Don’t get me wrong, I skim them all, but most articles just don’t fit my use or taste. The August 2010/Vol. XXII, No. 8 issue of Gun Tests magazine was an exception.

The 9mm compact article was the very best article I’ve read in a year. You guys picked three solid pistols and one that I’d call a sleeper (the Ruger). Your testers were thorough and fair and didn’t nitpick much. Having owned and/or shot three of the four, I know how hard it is to find enough fault with this group to call a winner and a loser. That’s why I liked the article so much. You pointed out the good in each, what little bad there was, and the fact that there are more similarities than differences. I really loved the way the testers used the "if you like , then this is the gun for you" approach. Keep up the good work.

I’d like to point out one small detail about the 9mm compact test that I’d like to have seen mentioned. I know all guns break in to one degree or another, but with SA/DA semi-autos and revolvers, the trigger mechanism benefits much more from the break-in than in a striker-fired pistol. That gritty feeling from the CZ pistol goes away after about 300 to 500 rounds as the parts smooth out. That being said, you performed an out-of-the-box test perfectly, even though I’d like for this to have been mentioned for the benefit of potential buyers.

It was also refreshing to see you do a test of two budget-priced pump shotguns. The "Economy Pump 12 Gauges" article single-handedly put me back in the market for a shotgun, despite how infrequently I expect to use it. I’ve been wanting to try shooting clays, but the entry price (usually $700-800) for a "decent" gun scared me off. The H&R at $200 may be good enough for me to take a run at it without regretting the cost of the gun.

In closing, I’d like to thank you for the "Downrange" editorial too. Far too many gun-rights activists are celebrating the two recent victories you mentioned in DC and Chicago as if those were the end of the fight, and we won. We can ill afford to rest on our laurels for long, basking in the glory of these victories. Thank you for reminding readers that a 5-4 majority and a vehement dissenting view means one judicial replacement could spell our doom, again.

—Kevin Durham,
La Vergne, Tennessee

Re "Personal-Defense 45 Colt Loads: Some Are

Sedate, Others Sizzle," August 2010

Love your magazine guys. I consider it the best source of accurate, reliable information in the gun world, and I always keep the current copy available for my customers to read. But I have one tiny little bone to pick.

I’ve been shooting single actions most of my life, primarily the 45, and really enjoyed your report on 45 Colt ammunition. The first gun I ever fired was my dad’s old breaktop single-action Smith & Wesson back in 1948. To this day, I still prefer a single action over any other handgun, although my carry weapon is a 1911. I chose the 1911 because I can never remember to wipe off the safety when I shoot, and the relationship of the hammer to the grip is similar to a Colt single action. I just carry it on half cock with the safety off and cock it as I would a single action when I pull it. I was taught that trick by a retired U.S. marshall that had the same issue with safeties that I do. Seems like a lot of us old-timers raised on single-action revolvers share that problem.

But on to the tiny little bone. Testing ammunition with ballistic gelatin is useful when comparing bullet performance, and it pretty well replicates the result you would see if you were to shoot a naked old fat man in the belly. But not too many of those individuals are in the home-invasion business these days. It’s proven that clothing has a pretty dramatic negative effect on the performance of hollowpoint ammunition, so please cover the gelatin test blocks in some old denim before you shoot them so we can get a better idea of what to expect in the real world. Thanks for publishing such a great magazine. —Ed Lewis

GUN TESTS REPORT CARD GRADING

CORRECTED 45 COLT DEFENSE-LOAD PERFORMANCE DATA

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