September 2013

Accuracy Isn’t Quite Everything

Reader Greer asks why the tight-grouping Tok gets downgraded. Reader Mick gets his P938 fixed and likes it. And everybody knows readers have access to the electronic archives? Right?

Re “Czechoslovakia Vs. Serbia:

Two Midsize 9mm Pistols Compete,” August 2013

I am a new subscriber. On page 11 of the August 9mm story, you show a comparison chart of the CZ 75 and Tokarev M70A 9mm pistols. All the shot groups made by the M70A were smaller than the groups made by the CZ 75. Yet, the caption under the picture says the M70A was badly beaten by the CZ 75. Help me out here. Thanks.— Larry Greer

The performance of a firearm is not measured solely by its grouping ability. Read the entire article and you’ll see what just did not work on the Tok. There were many issues with it that were examined and found wanting, such as safety, trigger pull, workmanship, ability to be carried and used easily, etc.

— Ray Ordorica

SIG P938 Nightmare

Now a Dream

Gentlemen: I bought a 9mm SIG Sauer P938 just before I received the March 2013 issue in which you reviewed that model and it failed. Sure enough, as I put it through its paces, it had a failure rate approaching 20% (chambering and extraction issues) with a variety of ammunition during the first 150 rounds, and 5% failure with the next 100 rounds. I was appalled.

I wrote a letter to SIG detailing the problems and mentioning your review in the process. Ray Carter of SIG Sauer in New Hampshire emailed me back the day they received my letter with a Fed Ex shipping label for 2nd Day Air. I shipped the pistol off, expecting the two-week turnaround they quoted. They couldn’t have had it there more than a day before they shipped it back after having fixed all of my issues. Some of the changes were upgrading the extractor, detailing the breech face, and polishing the feed ramp. They even included cartridge labels from the two types of ammunition they fed through it. I had tested one of these previously and it had failed.

Through 150 rounds, it now works 100% with everything I have given it. I couldn’t be happier with SIG as a company and with the P938. It is small, concealable, easily controlled, extremely accurate, and has great night sights. In a Milt Sparks IWB holster, it is now both comforting and comfortable. Most important, thanks to SIG’s great customer service, it is now 100% reliable.—Mick

Mick, it’s nice to see SIG is on top of your repairs. To date, not a word has been said by SIG officially, or to us unofficially, about the failure of two of those guns to work with Cor-Bon ammo. I’ll bet a nickel your gun now has a fresh chamfer on the firing pin hole. I personally thought that was a great little pistol until it failed so miserably. — Ray Ordorica

Re “Pocket Pistols with

Factory Lasers: Walther, SIG, and Ruger,” February 2013

Have you evaluated the P238? My wife selected it because of the single-action trigger and the fact she could work the action. As with most all double-action triggers, when you let one go the front sight twitches a little.

—Don Ruthven, Jr. DDS

Don: We’ve covered the P238 twice recently, in the February 2013 and June 2010 issues. — Todd Woodard

Restoring a Parker

I would like to restore my Parker, a fine old double-barreled side-by-side, to the condition it deserves. Can you recommend an expert for this restoration work?

—Milton Kramer

Milton: Briley Mfg. in Houston does a booming business of restoring old shotguns. — tw

Re “Personal-Defense Handgun

Pick: 9mm Luger or 357 Magnum?” August 2013

I am a long-term Gun Tests reader, and I sincerely appreciate the outstanding professionalism evident in every issue: clearly written, with insightful analyses, legitimate and practical test criteria, and no commercial biases. Everyone associated with Gun Tests should take pride in this extraordinary publication.

However, the latest issue had (I believe) a minor shortcoming, which might be worthy of amplification. Re 9x19mm versus 357 Magnum defensive loads: I was slightly disappointed that at least one 38 Special personal defense round was not included, since (obviously) every 357 Magnum revolver is also 38 Special-capable. Specifically, Gun Tests has correctly lauded Buffalo Bore’s relatively recent .38 Special +P, 158 grain, LSWCHP/gas check design several times.

As you have reported, this round retains all the long-documented virtues of the highly effective “FBI load” and enhances that cartridge with both an improved lead alloy and a gas-check that essentially precludes leading. With a full 158-grain mass, proven expansion, muzzle velocities considerably exceeding 1000 FPS, and reduced recoil to provide faster follow-up shots, I respectfully suggest this round may merit an “A,” notwithstanding its reduced — but still impressive — muzzle velocity/energy. How would this round rank in August’s assessment?

— Roy Kiefer

Commander, USN, Retired

Excellent question. Bob Campbell covered that load in the November 2012 article, “38 Specials for Snubbie Carry: We Test Eleven Head to Head,” as the Buffalo Bore Lead SWC Hollow Cavity Bullet 158-grain +P, $22.64/20 (CTD #80751). From the story: “Several generations ago the lead hollowpoint was developed to allow consistent expansion with the 38 Special. When properly cast, lead HPs expanded well. But if cast too brittle, they broke up. If cast too hard, they did not expand. This Buffalo Bore load uses a lead bullet that does not have to defeat a gilding metal jacket to expand. I am certain someone will question our B rating, but here is the logic. This round kicked too much for most of us to use well in a snubnose revolver. It is safe, loaded to acceptable pressure, quite accurate, and performs as advertised. While the bullet penetrated to the greatest depth, the bullet nose blew off at some point. This is common with cast hollowpoints. This load would be ideal for general-purpose use in a steel-frame 4-inch-barrel 38 Special, but for most of us, this load was simply is too much.” — tw

I would like to see a similar article in the August 2013 issue comparing 38 Special ammo against 38 Special ammo of different brands, and the same with 45 ACP.

— Ross Bartlett

Okay, refer to the November 2012 issue mentioned above. Also, in the August 2010 issue, we ran “Personal Defense 45 Colt Loads: Some Are Sedate, Others Sizzle.” In the April 2010 issue, we ran “High-Velocity 45 ACP Loads: Impressive, But Hard to Handle.” As well, I’ve compiled links to all the ammunition stories in one place. Go to our free sister site, GunReports.com, and search (exactly) for “Gun Tests Ammunition Comparisons,” with the quotes but not the comma. There’s only one story on the site with that title. “Ammunition Comparisons” also works, with quotes. The links jump to the GunTests.com subscriber site, so you’ll have to create a log in for it, if you haven’t already. I should note here that all subscribers get electronic access to the entire online archive as part of your subscriptions. Complete issues start with September 2000. — tw

Reader Input, Yes

I like using your recommendations in deciding what to buy. But two recent recommendations were waaay off the mark. The Kel-Tec P11 had a trigger King Kong couldn’t pull without help. Rated at 10 pounds by you folks and given an A rating, I was surprised. My trigger was at least 15 pounds. And three gunsmiths told me it couldn’t be lightened. I also bought a pair of CCW covert jeans last week. Had to send them back. Apparently, covert meant two people could be in them at the same time. They exchanged them (at a shipping cost of $22.60 to me) and these fit a little better, but are clunky and not very practical. You might let your other readers know. I know you can’t get it right 100% of the time, so reader feedback should be included.

— Monte Davis

Consider it done. — tw

Older Tests

I have owned a Glock Model 33 in 357 SIG for some time. However, I never see this model listed. Is it still in production and have you ever done a review of it? Also, I own a Taurus PT 1911 in 45 ACP. Again, have you ever done a review of this gun?

— Howard Arnold

Howard, Glock still lists the G33 on its website, and a quick online search yielded several companies selling the G33. Because your inquiry revealed our last test of the gun was seven years ago, I ordered one from Cheaper than Dirt! for $528 (2-GL3350201). We’ll see how it does. We last tested the G33 in the September 2006 article, “Subcompact Power: .45 ACP, .40 S&W, and 357 SIG Guns.” The summary: “Glock 33 357 SIG No. PI3350201, $599. Buy It. Despite its size, the Glock 33 showed no compromise in accuracy. Recoil control was hampered by its lack of grip area, but chambered for 357 SIG, Glock’s smallest pistol produced the most power by far among our test pistols.”

Ray Ordorica most recently reviewed the Taurus PT1911 in May 2012. His team said, “We thought this was a good gun. You get some features the Remington owner might want to add later, such as the ambi safety, slim grip panels, checkering on the front strap, and a workable front sight. The hammer-top security feature will be of great value to some. If you don’t need that feature, it looks like the hammer can be replaced easily, which gives the option of an improved trigger with some work by your gunsmith at the time of replacement, and will make the hammer a bit easier to thumb cock.” He also used the Taurus in a June 2012 report on fire lapping and said it was a good gun.— tw

Re “Three More Midsize

Forties: SIG, FNH-USA, and

Walther,” July 2013

I was excited to receive my July 2013 edition as I had been looking at a Walther PPQ, but after scanning this article, I was disappointed to see the PPQ only got a C+. I then received my Shooting Times with an article on Walther pistols, and they liked the PPQ M2. So I go back and carefully read the article in Gun Tests, which did point out the PPQ had been updated with the M2. My rub, why would Gun Tests use an outdated version of the pistol knowing a lot of the problems have been addressed in the M2? Is there a bias in this article? I believe you need a rewrite giving the PPQ M2 a fair shake.— William

Walther doesn’t get a pass on the thousands of original guns that are flawed and currently available for sale. Have they been recalled? Is there a retrofit or exchange program available? Not to my knowledge. We bought our test gun at retail within three months of the story’s appearance. Bias would have been ignoring the problems rather than reporting on them. So, if people like yourself are warned off the M1, then we’ve done our job. Whether the M2 has actually been corrected is for another test down the road. — tw

Re “Two Pieces of Firearms

History: Sterling, Pioneer Arms Compete,” June 2013

Ray, while reading the article, I suddenly realized what I was looking at was a “Star Wars” Storm Trooper Blaster. From the photos in your article, it is very clear this is the same gun used in the movie, except the blaster has been somewhat modified (shortened barrel, added sighting system). However, since Star Wars happened, “A long time ago,” perhaps the Wise Lite is a remake of an Empire classic?

— Gregg in San Jose

“May the force be with you.”

— Ray Ordorica

Test-Gun Sales

Todd, Gun Tests readers have the opportunity to get great deals on test guns. Recently, I sold the SIG Sauer P239 SAS 9mm, a GT Grade: A gun with an MSRP of $1125, for only $750 on Gunbroker.com. Please let the readers know to check the Gun Tests Facebook page for more test guns I will be selling.

Or they can search on GB for my auction handle, “texasguncollector.”

— Kevin Winkle

Product Coordination Editor

Gun Tests Magazine

Gun Tests Report Card Grading