October 2014

What About the LC9s and XD-s?

Reader Petty wonders how Ruger’s new concealable handgun will fare when pitted against a small Springfield 9mm. We’re working on it. And reader pros and cons on the Phoenix HP22A.

Upcoming Tests
Do you have any tests scheduled for the LC9s striker-fired Ruger and Springfield’s XDS 9mm?
— David Petty

The LC9s and 9mm XD-S have been shipped to Bob Campbell for testing. So they are a couple of months away. — Todd Woodard

Re “1911s: Buy New or Used? We Test Three 45 ACPs to Find Out,” July 2014
So you tested compact 1911 45s and two did not operate properly. At what point do you trust your life to one? My primary carry gun has never malfunctioned in any way, despite having well over one thousand rounds through it. You’ve probably already guessed it’s a revolver. Through the military and many years of law enforcement, I never have had a malfunction from any of my revolvers, which is why revolvers will always be my first choice for self defense, and what I will always recommend to the new shooters I work with. Semi-autos are fun to play with, but I won’t trust my life or my loved ones to one. — Joseph Dickens

Re “Another Brace of Nines:  SIG’s New P938 Takes on S&W Shield,” March 2013
Have you ever heard anything back from SIG after your test of their P938? I have checked every issue since then and have not found that they gave any reason (excuse) for its poor performance. I have one and so far have not had any problems with it as you described, but it has a trigger pull that has to be over 10 pounds and ranks right down there with a Cobra Patriot that I had a few years ago and quickly got rid of. Is there any aftermarket fix for the trigger pull in the SIG P938? — Howard Born

Nope, we didn’t hear anything back from the factory. We don’t advocate your doing a trigger job on your pistol. It’s better to find and hire a quality gunsmith for that particular job, we believe. — tw

Re “Three 22 Autos for the
Trail: Phoenix’s HP22A Earns
an A+,” June 2007

About the Gun of the Week, a Phoenix HP22, on the redesigned Gun-Tests.com website, I would love to comment as a long-term owner of the gun. A lifetime warranty is no good if you can’t contact the company easily, and I’ve already had my Phoenix replaced due to manufacturing defects (barrel, firing pin, failure to cycle). In addition, the current replacement sent by the factory has a non-functional safety. You may want to caution other readers to beware of bargain guns and to thoroughly safety-check the gun each time they shoot! Thanks for a great magazine and an improved web site.— Alan Frazer

Your online review of the Phoenix Arms pistol was spot on. My son and I have had these beauties for more than 20 trouble-free years. Of interest is the deluxe range kit. This features two barrels, about 3 inches and 5 inches. The longer barrel greatly improves the sight radius and accuracy. The lockable carrying case is excellent. More than once it has satisfied TSA at airports. These little guns represent outstanding value for their intended purpose, plinking and casual shooting.— Joe Turner

Compliant Test Guns
I have been a subscriber for many years now. Enjoy the no-BS testing articles — keep telling it like it is. However, this leads me to a concern involving mainly the rifles and shotguns that you have and continue to test. Unfortunately, since I live in New York State, under the unconstitutional NYS SAFE Act, most of these semi-automatic guns are banned.

Two questions: One, are you going to start testing guns that law-abiding citizens in all 50 states can purchase as a regular part of your monthly magazine? I know more and more manufacturers are now stating the availability of compliant state firearms in their specs.

My second question involves small-caliber firearms — autoloading pistols and rifles. With the price of ammo and availability in question these days, it would be nice to have an alternative to the common 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, 357 Magnum, 223 Rem., 308 Win. cartridges. I would like to see tests of 17 HMR, 17 MACH 2, 22 WMR, 17 Hornet, 17 Rem. and similar products.
Please keep up the tests of rifle, shotgun, and pistol accessories — love those.— Richard Rossi
Denver, New York

Hey Richard: I understand the problem. On the first question, we’re attempting to list “compliant” models of existing rifles that are available for sale nationally. Usually, compliant means restricted capacity or fixed magazines, so functionality is less of a problem. But our choice is to evaluate a mechanism that’s available nationally, and cover the compliance issues separately. Second, we’ll continue evaluating traditional sporting arms like bolt actions, lever actions, and other rifles that aren’t (as) constricted by some of the states. On the handgun side, I’ve assigned Robert Sadowski to cover revolvers, which are less regulated in most states.
As far as cartridges, I assign as much 22 LR material as I can find. As match-ups of guns appear in other chamberings, we’ll take a look at them. — tw

Honest Gun Tests
This is my third time being a subscriber. I opted for the digital version this time, and so far so good. Jogging my memory a bit, with all the gun mags I subscribe to, I can’t recall ever reading a review elsewhere in which the author flat said the gun was a piece of junk — except here. I keep returning to you whenever I am considering another gun purchase. Thanks for your honesty. — Glenn

Glad to have you back, and we appreciate your comments. Everyone who has ever contemplated purchasing a gun has wanted an honest opinion about it beforehand from someone they trust — brother, mom, friend, guy at the range. No one wants to throw money away. So we just do what we think journalists everywhere should do — find an interesting story angle, research it, report what we find — without trying to make somebody a winner or a loser in advance. — tw

Scout Rifle Request
How about a comparison rating the Ruger Scout Rifle and the new Mossberg MVP Patrol? Throw in another “scout rifle” to make it your usual threesome. I’m leaning towardsbuying the Ruger, but would love to get y’alls take on it. — Dave Williams Pearland, Texas

As you note, we haven’t tested the Patrol yet, but we have tested the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle (Grade B-) and the Steyr Scout (Grade A) in the May 2011 issue and the August 1998 (Grade A) issue. Also, we’ve tested the Savage 308 Model 10 FCM Scout No. 18138 (Grade B, September 2011). So please consult the sidebar on the facing page and log in to the archives to read those issues. Also, there’s an exchange in the October 2011 issue regarding the concept of Scout rifles that’s worth a look. In “Firing Line” in that issue, reader Larry Root wrote, “As a longtime subscriber, I’ve really had it with Scout-style rifles. Nothing against Ray Ordorica’s recent series of Scout reviews, but the concept has proven to be a market failure… For almost any tactical situation under 200 meters, a bolt-action rifle makes about as much sense as teats on a boar hog. Where the scope is mounted means not a durned thing. Bolt actions are slow, end of story… The Steyr was a bust, and the Ruger and Savage will be too because anyone with real field experience knows that accurate, fast shooting trumps accurate, slow shooting every time.”

To find it in the archives, search for “Larry Root,” quotes included but no comma, and the “Firing Line” from that issue will pop up. — tw

Print Versus Digital
Why can I not get Gun Tests magazines sent to Australia?
— Karizmahpalominos

A better choice would be to get the $24/year digital version — a lot less expensive, and no delivery delays. Everybody knew there was a digital-only subscription available now, right? No renewal notices, no torn issues. Also, I’m currently testing a tagged PDF version for digital subscribers that will have clickable links built in. — tw

Re “AK-47s: Fixed-Stock
Romanian Versus Folding-Stock
Yugoslav,” December 2011

I am writing to help you clarify some data regarding your comparisons between the “Yugoslavian AK-47 M70 versus Romanian WASR” in the 2014 Buyers Guide. It states that the M70 was manufactured at the Zastava Arsenal in Kragujevac, Yugoslavia. However, according to the picture, that rifle was a current-production PAPM70, and not the pre-ban M90. The PAPM70 was, and is, manufactured in Serbia, due to the fact that Yugoslavia has not been a country since 1992. Although it is very similar to the M90, the M70 has slightly thicker receiver and a cold-hammer-forged barrel and not the standard button-rifled one of the older M90. Also, the pistol grips are different.

As for your comment on the AK slant brake and why it was not timed correctly, all original AK-47 designs had a brake that was slightly timed left or right, but never directly at 12 o’clock. This was due to the effect that full-auto fire has on the rifle and made the rifle stay planted firmly in the palm of the forward hand. For example, a right-handed shooter would have the brake timed at the 2 o’clock position while sighting down the rifle, so that the muzzle blast would direct the muzzle down and slightly left. This would keep the rifle more controllable in the full-auto-fire mode.

In addition, the button on the dust cover was conceived by Zastava (the only AK-47 that has it), so that the rifle was easier to put back together in cold weather wearing gloves (it gets cold in Serbia!) This function allowed soldiers to rest the dust cover on the recoil guide rod, then just push the button to release it fully back, hence locking the dust cover on and not pinching a piece of glove in the dust cover (very little known fact). Keep up the good work, appreciate the magazine!
— William T. Finn President, Finn Defense

Re “Hot-Weather Carry: Talon
IWB, Ted Blocker S18 Are Best
Buys,” August 2014

The review of concealed-carry holsters was interesting, but for me had a glaring omission of one complete category of concealed-carry options — ankle holsters. Inside-the-pant and outside-the-pant holsters require new pants or shirts.

To ankle-carry, I just wear black or dark socks and hiker shoes with long pants. The holster rides down against the top of the hikers boots where it is still completely covered by the pants cuff. Accessible and completely concealed.— Reg

Thanks for the idea. — twGT