July 2013

Eclipse Holster Safety Advice

Reader Elliott points out how one holster can inadvertently set the Kimber to Fire. Reader T.J. passes along suppressor food for thought. Reader Bowen wants to switch to pocket carry.

Re “1911 Value Shootout: Standard GI, or Kimber Custom Eclipse?” June 2013

Great article on the Kimber Eclipse. I have a Kimber Stainless Gold Match II which I love, but there is a serious consideration when picking a holster for these guns for personal defense. The problem is related to the extended thumb safety on both of these models. I chose the Bianchi Model 5 “Black Widow” holster, but soon realized it was not compatible. The brown plastic button on the back of the snap (male side) is rounded, and every time you move to close the snap, you slide the thumb safety to the Fire position. The button slides right over the top of the safety, resulting in a carry condition of “cocked, UNlocked, and Unsafe.”

— Dave Elliott Gallatin Gateway, Montana

Dave, thank you for that advice. We took a few 1911s to check them out in some Bianchi Model 5 Black Widow Belt Slide Holster holsters, and we can see how the thumb-snap closure, or the thumb itself, can bump a left-side safety down (to Fire) when the user brings the leather retention strap over the top of the gun and snaps it closed beside the body. We could feel the safety move when the thumb touched the lever. But if the closure did it, the user couldn’t necessarily feel the lever move. It really depended on the safety’s shape and size. To its credit, Bianchi doesn’t list Black Widow firearms fits for either the Eclipse or Gold Match II. — Todd Woodard

I liked your recent articles re: Rock Island Armory 45s (September 2012 and June 2013), especially in comparison with the “Cadillac” versions of the same frame. I recently bought a Legacy Citadel Model 1911, but I’m not sure if it is a Rock Island Armory–manufactured pistol or not. Based on my research, that seems to be where the Citadel can be traced. My Citadel has a couple more bells and whistles than the base model GI RI-A1 — a beavertail grip safety and an ambi safety. I paid just under $600 for it. Can you help answer if the Citadel is made in the Philippines by RIA? —Kevin Bay

The Citadel is a good gun. “Made in the Philippines” should be stamped on the dust cover just in front of the trigger guard. It is made by Armscor. It is basically a Rock Island Tactical pistol in Legacy wrapping. You have made a good choice. — Bob Campbell

Suppressors? More Yes Votes

I received my June issue, and you’ll be happy to learn that I just renewed my subscription to your mighty fine publication. I second the request for suppressors to be tested. I personally own a Silencio Sparrow for 22 LR as well as an Osprey suppressor in both 9mm and 45 ACP. I’d like to see how these hold up in a test against their competitors. The Osprey is rectangular rather than cylindrical, and it is wicked-looking. FYI, a single Osprey suppressor can accommodate multiple calibers by simply changing out the internal piston. I thread my Osprey onto both my SIG Sauer P-220 45 ACP as well as my Glock 19 9mm Luger. — Kirk Taylor

Just received the 6/13 issue and was excited to see the letter re: suppressors. Having had one for several years, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Be sure to include the TAC 65 from Tactical Innovations (above). It was inexpensive and is very effective.

2. Suppressors like the TAC 65 often require special wrenches for assembly/disassembly — and that adds about $50 for two wrenches (one for each end) for the recommended cleanings.

3. When reassembling, I use a little anti-seize lubricant on the end-cap threads. Makes it much easier to disassemble. The $6.95 jar from the local NAPA store is fine and will last a lifetime.

4. Note that there are a lot of pistols you can use, but most require a 1/2-28 adapter. These run $25 to $30.

5. It would be nice to include some verbiage about which states allow suppressors. There are some surprises, like Iowa. Also, the threaded adapters are illegal in some states like the People’s Republic of Kalifornia.

6. Please include federal restrictions on travel, like not taking one out of state without permission.

7. If it seems expensive to own a suppressor consider the time and fuel costs of going to the range. With the suppressor, I can practice in my backyard (exurban location) anytime I wish. Otherwise, it’s 9 miles to the nearest range and a half hour of travel time. And that’s outdoors. It’s 20 miles to the indoor range at the club. Also, a suppressor allows you to practice at any convenient place with a safe backstop, not necessarily a range.

As to sound readings, presumably you’ll be using the A-weighting and reporting decibels as the familiar dB(A). Measurement can be a bit tricky as temperature and humidity can affect readings. And finding an anechoic chamber with a range for testing could be a bit much to ask. Nonetheless, we found meaningful measurements could be obtained on a climate-controlled indoor range.

My TAC 65 has enhanced the accuracy of every pistol on which I’ve tested it. My S&W 422 (1/2-28 adapter required) with the TAC 65 will hold the X-ring of a timed-fire target @ 50 feet. Without it, the 422 will easily hold the 10-ring, but not the X-ring. With the TAC 65 my GSG 1911 is a tackdriver. Ditto the Walther P-22, and its sights are just high enough that they remain usable. We’ve used it on a S&W 2214 as well as the new Ruger. In every case accuracy is excellent, and this is from a High Master Bullseye shooter.

Be aware that back pressure will increase. In most cases this is not a problem, but a stronger recoil spring can mitigate any accelerated wear. Ditto the recoil buffers, e.g., those available for the GSG 1911.

One last warning. When using a suppressor on an MSR (like the AR-15) with a 22 LR conversion unit, you will find that you go through far more ammo than ever. — T. J., Medina, Ohio

Wants a High-Capacity Shotgun

I’ve been looking into a home-defense shotgun to buy after I come home from my current deployment. I can’t help but like the idea of short, handy shotguns with high ammunition capacity. The KSG-12 and UTS-15 fit this bill perfectly. The thing I can’t find is a reliable review of either. I know you guys are definitely the most neutral, no-BS gun testers around. I’d really like to see a comparison of these two in a future issue. Thanks for your time and keep up the good work! — SPC Burnham

First, let me thank you for your service. We appreciate the sacrifices military families make. We’ve tested several high high-cap shotguns recently, first in the November 2012 issue (Akdal Arms MKA 1919 3-inch 12 Gauge, $799; Kel-Tec KSG 3-inch 12 Gauge, $1075; the Saiga IZ-107 12 Gauge, $640; and a Red Jacket Saiga RTS-SBS-12 Short-Barrel 12 Gauge, $1939. The UTS-15 (above) was reviewed in the June 2013 issue. — TW

We’re Working on It

I wondered if Gun Tests had evaluated the Kimber Grand Raptor 45. I have had one for about two years now. Really enjoy it. Just wanted to know if there had been comparisons made and where it stood in the world of 1911s. When I got it, I thought I really needed a higher-end 45. Everybody needs at least one great gun such as the Raptor amid all the economy ones. — Tom

Sorry, we haven’t covered the Grand Raptor until now. This product comes out of the Kimber Custom Shop. It’s unusual for us to cover custom-shop models since they’re usually so individualized. For readers who don’t know about the gun, it lists for $1657 and is outfitted with ambidextrous thumb safeties, full-length guide rod, has highly polished stainless-steel flats on the frame, 5-inch match-grade stainless barrel, and match-grade bushing (right). Grips are rosewood with a scale pattern that matches the frame gripping areas. We’ve had one in inventory in Idaho for quite a while trying to decide on match-ups, and your note prompted me to ask Ray Ordorica to handle it as a one-gun Special Report on page 21. He’s covered many of the custom 1911s, so he can supply some context about where the Raptor II fits. — TW

Website Search Engine Stalls

I would like to renew my subscription. But what is up with your search engine? I type in “ruger mini 14” and I get everything but? I tried sabot slugs back in deer season, and got everything but. Is this an area you guys are working on? — Scott

Sorry for the trouble with the search engine on Gun-Tests.com. It’s actually super-effective if you limit your search string to as narrow a parameter as possible. For instance, a search for “ruger mini 14” tells the engine to find all instances in which “ruger,” “mini,” or “14” appears. Naturally, that’s a lot of material, almost all of which you don’t want. However, if you type in the exact, correct name of the rifle, “Mini-14”, that gets the returns you want. I’ll send you links to three specific articles on the Mini-14, and not the material that just mentions it. Same thing on “sabot slugs”. A search for that term shows you every article in which either term was mentioned. We’ve only tested “sabot” slugs once. I’ll send that link as well. —TW

Pocket-Carry Recommendation

Folks, I’ve been a subscriber for over 14 years, and I need some advice. I’m tired of carrying my full-sized 1911 every day, and I’m looking for a pocket pistol. There are so many choices, and, unfortunately, I can only purchase one, and it will have to be sight unseen. So, given your experience with handling so many firearms, I would like to request an opinion. My requirements: 1) It needs to be truly pocket-able, not a compact to carry IWB; 2) Caliber has to be at least 380 ACP, although I would prefer a 9mm or 45 ACP; 3) Due to the limits of my license, it has to be an automatic, no revolvers or derringers; and 4) Price isn’t really a huge issue, but I’d like to keep it under $1K, the underer the better.

I’m considering the Kimber Solo and Colt Pocketlite; however, I don’t know if they are small enough to fit in my normal-sized pockets. — Scott Bowen

Hey Scott: So much depends on what “normal-sized pockets” pockets means. As a class, the 380s are usually better as pocket pistols — small external dimensions and thinner. Rather than me guess, check out the June 2010 feature, “380 Pocket Pistols: CZ USA, Sig Sauer, Walther Shoot It Out.” There also an accompanying 380 Value Guide that covers a bunch of small pistols. Also check the August 2010 feature, “9mm Compact Pistols: Ruger, Springfield, CZ USA, and Glock.” — TW

June 2013 Issue

Just got my newest issue and had to write about three things. First, about the RIA 1911 and the Kimber. For the money, give me the RIA. I bought a Tisas 1911 from Buds Gun Shop in Lexington, Kentucky, for $399 (pictured below, photo courtesy of Buds). Always had a bias against the cheap 1911s, but a friend told me they were well made. He was right: the gun was tight and right out of the box, hit my hand running, running hard. One hundred rounds of mixed stuff, hardball and hollowpoint. Federal, CCI, and Remington. Fed like a dream, not a quibble. I have told everyone about it. Great pistol for the money.

Second, a letter from a Florida reader about concealed carry and how guns must be hidden in Florida. Me and my son, a working cop, both love True Spec 24 7 long pants and shorts. Great pockets, and the cargo pocket has an interior pocket for extra magazines. If you carry a small pistol or revolver, it will fit into the mag pocket. Cannot tell what it is from outside. Great for concealed carry and readily available.

Third, a reader asked about recommendations for buying his first pistol. Well, Buds Gun Shop has some police-trade-in Model 10s for $299. For a first gun, I don’t think it can be beat. I carried one for years on the PD until I could afford something better. — Murrell

Super advice. We’ll check out those True Spec shorts. They sound great. FYI to GT readers, when I posted Murrell’s note on the Gun Tests Facebook page, other GT readers praised Buds Gun Shop as well. Neither he nor the magazine have any commercial affiliation with the store, in case you were wondering. — TW