November 2013

Praise for the Slidefire Stock

Reader Reynolds had some initial trouble with the AR accessory, but he likes the rate of fire it delivers. Reader Hodges takes our wheelgun advice and ‘KISSes’ his Bodyguard 380 goodbye.

Re “Outfitting Your Rifle: We
Try Triggers, Stocks, and
Magazines,” October 2013
I, too, had problems getting the Slidefire stock to operate correctly the first time I tried it. After my failure, I went home, reviewed the instructions on the website, and watched a couple of videos on YouTube. I realized my trigger-finger placement, not being on the trigger but on the protrusion to the left side of the trigger, was the problem. To begin bump-firing, I jerked the upper rearward, causing the trigger to be depressed and the recoil took over on the subsequent shots. I’m happy with my purchase as I now have the half-speed equivalent of a real M16 for an affordable price. I’m former military and have had experience with the real deal. It’s completely under control during full-mag drops, though I prefer to fire bursts because I don’t want to destroy my barrel. And, of course, I don’t have to register it as a full-auto rifle and get a tax stamp.— Skot Reynolds

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Re “Firing Line,” October 2013
I received my latest issue of Gun Tests and read your response to my correspondence concerning the issues I was having with my Bodyguard 380. It was with some amusement that I read your response, because, a few days prior, I returned the Bodyguard to the dealer who sold me the pistol, trading it in for a Ruger LCR 38 Special +P that has all the bells and whistles. Those options include the Crimson Trace grips along with the tritium sight inserts. I have fired a good many Smith & Wesson snubbies in my day, and I was very impressed with the LCR’s excellent trigger and great ergonomics. The LCR’s weight is within an ounce of a scandium-framed snubby, and it shoots softer, even with hot +P loads. I’m guessing the polymer frame has a lot to do with that.

The way I saw it, wheelguns are about as “keep it simple stupid” as one can possibly get, with lightweight carry and easy concealability to boot. I am now awaiting my Remora IWB holster and my Five Star speed loaders to complete my ensemble.

Also, I must mention that I have fired many fine Smith & Wesson products over the years and have had nothing but superlatives is to say about them. And the Model 41 is one of my favorite target autoloaders. Thank you again for publishing my letter, and for your opinion on a wheelgun replacement — I followed that advice to the letter. — Chris Hodges Longmeadow, Massachusetts

Re “Downrange,” October 2013
I’ve been a subscriber for about 15 years and dearly love your perspectives on guns. About the CZ 75 that Full Armor Firearms refinished: The CZ is my favorite handgun. I purchased one (157XXX) at a Ft. Worth gun show in the mid-90s NIB for $400. Everyone was overlooking it, and it was an impulse buy. No regrets whatsoever! Ergonomics and features are superb! I qualified CHL in Texas with it. One issue is the magazines. Sometime down the road the internal workings changed and newer magazines do not fit my CZ 75. Could you tell me when the change occurred and how to tell the magazines apart other from physically trying them?
— Dan Brunger

Newer magazines will not fit “pre-B” CZ 75 or 85 pistols. The “B” suffix was added in 1998, according to MidwayUSA.com. Non-suffix early CZs like your pistol do not have a firing-pin block safety, reversible magazine release, or ambidextrous safety. The easiest way to ensure magazines you buy will fit your pre-B CZ 75 sight unseen is to order them from CZ-USA.com. The 16-round mag No. 11114 (see inset photo) is $43. They are not for sale in NY, CA, NJ, HI, CO, and perhaps other gun-ban states. If you check the Gun Tests Facebook page, I included the link to CZ’s commerce page. —Todd Woodard

Re “Firing Line,”
September 2013
I read the March 2013 issue and the letter from Mick in the September issue with particular interest because I bought a Sig P232 in May last year. My choice was based on the following factors: 1) All-steel construction; 2) Swiss-German engineering heritage; 3) Expectation of excellent customer service from a renowned manufacturer; 4) Only other non-plastic 380 ACP on the California DOJ Roster of Handguns (I already had the Bersa).

To cut a long story short, the P232’s takedown lever had 15 to 20 degrees of free-play after its first range outing, and its performance was erratic with all the premium ammo brands I tried. When I went to clean the pistol, slide removal was impossible. The next morning I contacted Jay Bernotas, a Sig customer service rep, who was helpful. He acknowledged this was a known issue with the P232, and emailed me an RMA label. After two rounds of RMA and repair, Sig exchanged my gun for a new P232. They didn’t offer to pay the mandatory DROS (Dealer’s Record of Sale) fee.

Both pistols had exactly the same problem: the takedown levers on these guns are friction-coupled to a pin on the inner block (I’m not sure of the correct term for this part). If the tolerances aren’t right, the lever moves freely while the block stays still. The solution is simple — change the profile of the pin-head from round to square. This minimal redesign would mitigate poor production tolerances.

In October 2012 Sig reluctantly refunded my purchase, though they made it sound like they were doing me a huge favor! But I think they were as happy as I was not to have to deal with each other any more.
I understand the P232 is a low-volume product, but at $840, it’s premium priced. (My fault-free Bersa was $225.) I used the refund to buy a vintage Manurhin PP clone. It’s more than 50 years old, assembled like a Rolex, and works perfectly every time. The only change I’ve made to that pistol was initially replacing the firing pin.

I didn’t expect to find silly QC/production faults from such a well-respected vendor as Sig Sauer — so lesson learned.— Nigel

The P232 was a Grade: B gun in the June 2010 issue. Another small 380 ACP from Sig Sauer, the P238, was a Grade: A- gun in that same review. The 380 ACP Value Guide that accompanied the story listed six guns we would buy ahead of the P232. They were the Kel-Tec P3AT 380 ACP (March 2004), Bersa Firestorm 380 ACP (Feb. 2008), Kel-Tec P3AT 380 ACP (June 2008), Beretta Cheetah M84 LS 380 Auto (Nov. 2002), Ruger LCP 380 ACP (June 2008), and the Colt Mustang Pocketlite 380 ACP (April 2003). Log on to Gun-Tests.com to read the original reviews and see what other pistols might be allowed. —tw

How About the Hi-Point?
I just received my first issue of Gun Tests and find it interesting and informative. Have you ever had the occasion to test a Hi-Point C9 9mm pistol made in Mansfield, Ohio? It normally sells for $159, and I have been told that it is a good pistol for target shooting and home protection. If you have tested this pistol, what were your findings or what do you know about this pistol?
— Frank Brandenstein

In a story about the C9 (see photo left) in the May 2006 issue, Sr. Tech Editor Ray Ordorica wrote, “We conclude the Hi-Point is well worth owning, and judging from the rapid sales of Hi-Points at the local gun shop, we’re not alone in our high opinion of this simple, low-cost pistol.” Log on to Gun-Tests.com and search for “C9” to find the article. — tw

Re “One More Nine:
Springfield EMP,” June 2013
This article does not include any links for the “Features” PDF information that normally accompanies the online articles. How can this information be accessed/viewed online?
— Cleave Baber

I’ll work on getting that up. Until then, I’ve sent you the EMP’s specs module PDF. — tw

Cycling Magazines
I have gone back to wheelguns. For many years I carried a S&W Model 19 for the Dallas Police Department. Then they asked me if I wanted a free gun! Given the choice between a Glock, Beretta, or Sig, I took the Sig because of the double-action first round and no safety to deal with. I carried that gun for almost 20 years, qualifying for the DPD once a year, as required.
The procedure for qualifying was to unload all magazines and leave duty ammo in your vehicle before entering the range area. You then reloaded with their ammo, fired, scored, and cleaned your weapon before leaving. Then you could reload your duty ammo and go about your business.

I retired in 1995. About 3 months later I decided that I wanted to go shooting. Because the duty ammo had been around for a while, I decided to shoot it up. The civilian range I shot at didn’t require unloading your weapon, just keeping it safe. I laid my two loaded spare mags on the bench and proceeded to fire the mag in the gun. The first shot went off and stovepiped, stopping me from firing again. I cleared the stovepipe and fired again, only to get another stovepipe! I cleared that one and used another loaded magazine. One shot and stovepipe again! I unloaded all three mags and took them apart to see if I could find the problem. There didn’t seem to be one, so I cleaned them and reloaded. All three mags functioned flawlessly! I have a Para Ordnance Slim Hawg and a Kimber in 45 ACP. Those mags loaded over a month also stovepiped! My question is how often should I change out loaded magazines to guarantee that the gun will function? My Glock 19 stayed loaded for over 6 months and fired like a champ. Is this mag changing typical of all semi-auto pistols? Don’t give me that stuff about limp wristing. I teach judo and jujitsu and do not have a tendency to limp wrist. Meanwhile, I have gone back to carrying a Colt Magnum. It will not stovepipe. — Ed Carol Kaufman, Texas

It seems you’ve found the right path, grasshopper — some guns and magazines are more finicky than others. Rotating magazines through your kit, and cleaning and lubricating them periodically, is the best way to keep everything functional. And as you note, the wheelgun doesn’t stovepipe. — tw

Re “Three More Midsize
Forties: SIG, FNH-USA, and
Walther,” July 2013

Would greatly appreciate your evaluation of the Walther PPQ M2 in 9mm. How about the Walther PPX and the new PPK in .22 cal? As a long-time subscriber, I have learned a lot reading every issue and appreciate your honest reviews. Regards,
— Goodyear, Arizona

An evaluation of the PPX appeared last month. I just okayed a match up of the PPQ-M2 and the FNX. Don’t have it booked yet, but it’s in development. Haven’t looked at the PPK 22 yet. — tw

Marooned in New York, for Now
As a long-time subscriber stuck in New York State at least until I can retire, I was wondering if you would consider doing a special report for those people like me who have to deal with the horrendous SAFE Act. Specifically, can you do a ranking or at least a listing of all the semi-auto pistols and rifles that have magazines smaller than 10 rounds and that make sense to own if you can only carry/use them loaded to 7 rounds as is mandated by law?

An example, I suppose, would be my Wilson TE 1911; I load the 8-round mags to 7 now. As for rifles, maybe a Ruger Ranch Rifle or perhaps a BAR in sporter configuration? Any thoughts? Thank you.
— Lawrence A. Porcari, Jr., Esq.

I get ill when I think about the SAFE Act, and I regret you have to deal with it. We have thousands of readers in New York and other gun-ban states, so I recognize your request is a real appeal.
There might be a way to do this using already published material, and I’ll think about how to categorize our material to help you and similarly situated readers out. Then there’s Maryland, Connecticut, California and the rest, all with different rules. — tw

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