April 2012

Duty-Gear Advice From A Pro

Reader France had so many questions about security gear that we called in a pinch hitter. Also, Reader Capobianco takes us to task for underselling the 22 Winchester Magnum round.

Duty Gear Questions

I’m a private security officer. When I was deciding on a duty gun, I considered the Springfield XD45 Tactical, but the lack of a thumb safety concerned me. Does an aftermarket safety exist? For now, I’m carrying a Series 70 Springfield 1911. Is there a duty holster you’d recommend? Also, any recommendation for cold-weather gloves when manipulating the 1911, and do you have a preference for a particular tactical light? Thanks for your great research!

—Dave France

Mr. France’s specific questions were outside our areas of expertise, so we turned to Duane Liptak, director of Government Programs and Training for Brownells, to get answers. Liptak wrote, “Dave, depending on the degree of retention you are looking for and the requirements of your employer, you may have a lot of holster options for your 1911. A good place to start is Safariland. The SLS “bail” system is available for the 1911 in the 6280 and the 6285. The ALS system, along with the SLS as well, is available in the 6360 and 6365. These are top-of-the-line retention holsters, and the “0” and “5” ending numbers are different ride heights on the duty belt. Also, depending on your needs, the Uncle Mike’s LE dual-retention holster is also available for the 1911, with retention features at a much lower price point.

“The need for a thumb safety or other manual safeties on a duty handgun is one of those can-of-worms discussions that I’ll avoid here, but the standard XD has a trigger safety and grip safety, both of which block striker travel. If a manual safety is really something that you desire, you can have it in the XD .45 in the form of the XD9661HCSP, which is a 4-inch-barrel XD .45, which includes a thumb safety from the factory. I would avoid an aftermarket “add on” safety installation for any duty handgun.

“Gloves that are optimal for any handgun manipulation are a highly personal choice, depending on triggerguard size, finger size and reach, as well as the weather. I always tend to default to the lightest gloves I can reasonably get away with in a given set of weather conditions, and use handwarming pockets and even chemical handwarmers as required. The Hatch Specialist and Winter Specialist, as well as the 5.11 Tac AK2 gloves provide some warmth without excessive bulk. When you truly need heavier gloves, I always wear a set of “contact gloves,” like a flight-type or search-type glove, underneath a bulkier glove that allows me to remove the outer glove when higher dexterity is required, or is likely to be required, without the near-immediate reduction in dexterity that occurs when exposing an uncovered hand in extremely cold environments.

“If you are looking for a handgun-mounted light, the X300 lights from Surefire have great beam performance, the normal switching system works the same on both sides (in=on, up or down=constant on), and the DG switch is available for activation by merely gripping the handgun. The Streamlight TLR-1 and 1s, however, are also durable, great performers that are available at a lower price point. The switch works opposite on opposite sides (Left side: down=on, up=constant on; Right side: down=constant on, up=on), and their contour remote is only available for the Glock 17/22-sized frames, but I find the beam performance quite good, and I usually have a TLR in my pocket. If you’d like AA batteries as an option, the Insight WL1-AA is the winner, although lithium AA batteries will give you the best performance. If you intend to carry your handgun with the light mounted, this will, of course, affect holster selection greatly, so make this decision before you start shopping for holsters.

“All that being said, if you are mounting the light on 1911 with no integral rail, the Surefire X200 on the MR07 mount may be your best option. Safariland has holster fitments for this setup.

“If you are looking for a handheld light, I recommend taking a look at a four-part video series on www.PoliceStore.com. Click on the Training Group tab, then type in the keywords “little light.” That will bring up Part 1. Hope this helps your equipment decisions.”

Re “Firing Line,” March 2012

In the letters to the editor section of the March issue, Dr. Vermeychuk states that the AK is issued with a “muzzle brake.” This is just not correct; the device he refers to is a compensator, angled to use escaping gas to hold down the muzzle in full automatic, as he mentions. Muzzle flip on an AK, be it a 47/M, or 74 is considerable, IMHO. A muzzle brake, of course, deflects gas 135 degrees or so from the line of recoil to reduce its net force. The AK is a lot of things, but heavy recoil isn’t one of them. However, his point on Bulgarian Mags is well taken.

As for the 7.62x39mm round being a better man-stopper, I’m a combat veteran and I disagree. Tests on ballistic gel and mannequins have shown that the delivered kinetic energy from a tumbling 5.56mm NATO round is greater than that of the 7.62; though, of course, folks will argue this point forever.
I’ve got nothing against the AK, heck I’ve got pre-ban Type 56s, as well as an SKS, and had to use it once for home defense. Better than an AR? Nah, probably not.

—Jim Collins
Las Vegas, Nevada

My wait for the PMR-30 was 3 months. My wait for a Kimber 38 Super (which I am a fan of) in Procarry HDII has been long indeed. You tested this pistol in September 2008. To this day, my dealer — who is a huge dealer of all the Kimbers — has not been able to get me one.

Bryan, Ohio

Re: “Lightweight, Very High Capacity, Pistols
from Kel-Tec and FNH,” November 2011

As usual, your article on the Kel-Tek PMR-30 .22 magnum was, shall we say, right on target. It is one of the most fun handguns to shoot, and with proper ammunition can be excellent protection. You had listed the Winchester 45-grain Dynapoint as your favorite in the Kel-Tec. It is an excellent round with very good penetration, but not much expansion. I would recomend a test with the Speer Gold Dot short-barrel 40-grain 22 Magnum ammo. It is listed at 1090 fps. The mushrooming is exceptional, and the penetration is equally impressive.

I know that because I have adopted the technique of filling a 5-gallon bucket with water and laying individual flat pieces of newspaper in the water until the bucket is completely full. By draining any remaining water, laying the bucket on its side and shooting into the open end of the bucket at about 10-12 feet, one will find measurable results very similar to ballistic gel, but less expensive. The inches of penetration can be measured with a straightened coat hanger, but I favor digging through what is now papier-mâché to see the wound channel and retrieve the bullet. The Gold Dot penetrated approximately 13.5 inches.

— G.W. Spencer
Sedalia, Missouri

You’ve had several articles on 22 Magnum pistols and revolvers. It seems your general view of this caliber for a handgun is rather dim, suggesting little practical difference between it and 22 LR. I have no PhD in ballistics, yet my few hours of research clearly reveals that out of a 2-inch barrel a 22 LR has 64 foot-pounds of energy, while a 22 Magnum has 98 foot-pounds. Out of a 6-inch barrel the LR has 80 foot-pounds and the Magnum 194 foot-pounds. Sorry fellows, how could you miss that bit of information? There does seem to be a real-life practical power advantage to the magnum.

I have a 2-inch S&W in 38 Special that only has a five-round capacity and a 2-inch S&W in 22 Magnum with eight rounds. Those extra three rounds are an advantage, aren’t they? Also, the magnum is lighter and far easier to control, which means more accuracy. That’s a good advantage isn’t it? Quality 22 Mag ammunition is much less expensive than 38 Sp., so that’s another good advantage, isn’t it? Have you tried Hornady’s new short-barrel 22 Magnums yet?

So, for a lightweight, easy-to-shoot concealed-carry revolver, it appears the 22 Magnum is a good little weapon.

—Leonard J. Capobianco

As recently as December 2011, we named a pistol chambered for 22 Magnum as a Best in Class pick, so we don’t disrespect the venerable 22 Winchester Magnum. As yet, we haven’t tried Hornady’s new ammo, but we agree it looks potent. — Todd Woodard

Re “Downrange,” February 2012

Just finished the latest editorial “Why the Big Uptick in Gun Sales?” and am very much looking forward to devouring the rest of the issue. The editorial made me think of my recent order of a 5.56mm upper from Bushmaster. The order was placed last March, and e-mail requests are answered curtly regarding my question, “The upper is currently on back order and will ship once it is back in stock.” I’ve never had a problem buying a weapon before, and I am wondering if you might have some insight as to any issues Bushmaster may be having with production runs since relocation. It’s been almost a year since the initial order was placed. Is this typical of Bushmaster?

— David Vickerman
Alvin, Texas

Jessica Kallam, manager of press relations for the Freedom Group Family of Companies, which includes Bushmaster responds: “While BFI experienced a production startup delay in the relocation from Maine to New York, those issues are now behind us. BFI is committed to offering the best quality and service in the industry, and now more than ever is ready to do so.”

I’m an odd case. I didn’t purchase handguns for fear of losing the right to purchase handguns. I purchased handguns because all of my friends were purchasing handguns. Since Obama became president, I’ve acquired five guns. Kimber Compact Custom, Glock 19c, Kel-Tec P-3AT, Savage 29b, and Taurus Magnum Judge. The last two were wedding presents.

Also, since I’m writing, I want to say that Ruger makes a great gun with the Single Six. I purchased a 9.5-inch convertible Single Six in 2007. It was flawed, but I didn’t know what to do with it. It fired 4.5 inches left at 50 feet regardless of how far I cranked the adjustable rear sights (besides the fact that it just looked wrong). After two years of fussing over this gun, I returned it to Ruger. They destroyed the gun and built me a new one. Who needs a warranty with that type of service? It is now my favorite gun.

New York

Guns for wedding presents? Sounds like you married into a great family. — Todd Woodard

I’ve added eight new guns in the last year, plus several thousand rounds of different calibers. I’m also revisiting/replenishing reloading components to have enough on hand for — mixed blessing — 17 different cartridges. An uncertain future for firearms ownership is my number-one concern, plus liking guns adds fuel to the fire.

I am ensuring my wife and kids have one of each in the following list and are able to reload for them as applicable: 22 LR rifle/pistol, a varmint rifle, deer and elk rifles for long and short range, separate lever-actions for horseback, a shotgun and a good defense rifle/pistol. Then there are the occasional impulse buys, just because. Archery is another subject.—Robert

Re “Downrange,” March 2012

Isn’t it surprising that the network that brings us “Justified” and “The Sons of Anarchy” would be reluctant to receive advertising from gun and ammunition manufacturers during the broadcast of the most violent of sports? I have contacted the network, and I hope others would do the same.


Re “9mm Handguns Big and Small: Taurus,
Walther, DiamondBack,” March 2012

Very good article on the Taurus 24/7 G2 and Taurus 709. I believe we are the only makers of aftermarket sights for these two fine and popularly priced pistols.

—Richard Nasef, President
WrenTech Industries, LLC
Advantage Tactical Sight

Thanks for the heads up. — Todd Woodard

Re “A Trio OF M14s: Springfield, Fulton
Armory, Polytech Custom,” December 2010

Loved the article, but I have several comments. I wish you had used the Springfield Armory M1A1 M21 Tactical in the comparison, as it would have been closer to the Fulton M14.

On my match M1A1, I have the same brass-shaving issue you noted in the evaluation of the Springfield M1A. Also, my scope mount was advertised as being able to use the standard sights. This turned out to be false; I could not adjust for elevation over 250 meters. The scope mounts work wonderfully, but they need to have the right torque to stay in place over time. In my case, I used a 3-foot-long aircraft screwdriver that enabled me to use two hands.

You mentioned the bayonet lug. To be legal in California, the lug must be removed, and only 10-round magazines are allowed.

I hated the fact that the knockoff M14s do not have the operating-rod retaining rod for disassembly. Every time I wanted to clean it, I had to knock out the operating rod with a block of wood and a hammer — not good. I sold the whole rig for that reason, and I miss it so bad, I am looking at the M21 as a replacement.

—K.J. Wilson

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