December 2014

Wants Replacement Sights

Readers Scorza and Wisniewski think a review of costly aftermarket handgun sights is worth a few pages. We agree. Reader Phil wants more wheelgun reviews. Okay with us.

Replacement Sights
I have been shooting all my life, and have had many blessings. I am not being sentimental, but your magazine is one. What a pleasure to read without all the industry-driven BS in other publications, where never a bad word is heard. Another of my blessings is being taught to shoot by a few caring, respectful people whose lessons translated to everyday life.

I have friends who golf; I dislike golf. But when I take them to the range, they are always amazed at the similarities to their driving range: the crack of the guns and the smack of the golf ball, the easy relaxed atmosphere, the fun and the camaraderie, the outdoor sport.

Now for the meat of the letter: I am 62 and my eyes are getting tired. I have trouble with the gun sights, especially pistols, and have tried the usual aids. The fact is I will be needing high-visibility sights. There are so many types of these sights, illuminated (tritium, e.g.) non-illuminated, dot, square, tube, I am having trouble making a decision. So here is my request: Could you please consider a review of replacement sights? I would be grateful for your expertise. So would many of my friends and other readers of your magazine. By the way, are any of you guys in my boat?

— John Scorza
Duxbury, Massachusetts

Hey John: Another reader asked for the same thing — see the letter below. I just scheduled a review of five or six replacements sights that should fit the bill. I understand the trouble you’re having. I’m retrofitting all my carry guns with lasers for the same reason. They have night sights already, but I can shoot pretty well when I can see the target (that is, when the laser dot is on the target.) — Todd Woodard

How about a feature article comparing the various makes of pistol night sights that are currently available? Buy five pistols of the same make, model and caliber. Smith & Wesson M&P Full Size in 9mm, for example. Then install a different set of night sights from Ameriglo, Viking Tactical, TruGlo, Trijicon, etc. on each one of them.

Give the pistols a good workout in varying conditions, indoors and out, sunny and overcast days, low as well as bright light. These sights are not cheap!

—Paul F. Wisniewski
Racine, Wisconsin

Hey Paul: Dang, that is an excellent pitch. Actually, we decided to use one Glock lower and five compatible slides. That way the gun-to-gun comparison is exactly the same. Slows down the process, but eliminates more variables. Probably a month to get the sights, pistol, and slides, a month to test and write, then I can schedule it. So, between 3-5 months, is a guess. — tw

More Revolvers?
I’m a happy subscriber to Gun Tests. Yours is the first entity I’ve found that really does tell it like it is about the weapons and ammo you test, and I really appreciate that.

My observations in the months I have been a subscriber is that you test a lot of rifles, shotguns, semi-auto handguns, and ammo. That’s fine; good job! But I have also observed that you don’t test nearly as many small revolvers in 9mm and 38 Special calibers, and I wish you would test more of them — many more.

I really appreciated your test of the Charter Arms 9mm Pitbull Rimless Revolver. I know there aren’t many of those out there (relatively small 9mm revolvers, I mean), but there are some. And of course there are tons of 38 Special small and relatively small revolvers out there: Charter Arms, Ruger, S&W, Taurus, and more. Please test a lot more of those, including those of low to moderate cost. Thanks for caring, Todd. Keep up the great work!

— Phil, a gun owner and hunter

Hey Phil: Thanks for writing. Robert Sadowski is the revolver beat writer. Following are the stories he’s done on wheelguns this year, and I have several more of his articles in house: “Kit Guns: Ruger SP101 Rimfire Versus Used Taurus Model 94,” “22 Buntlines: Heritage Rough Rider and Ruger NM Single-Six,” “Snubnose Revolvers from S&W And Ruger: Which One To Carry?”, “Two Shiny Six-Shooters: Ruger New Vaquero, Traditions Frontier,” “Old-School 38s — S&W M10 And Colt Police Positive Special,” and “All-Purpose 357 Mag Stainless Revolvers: Taurus Versus Ruger.” And Roger Eckstine tested two more wheelguns in this issue. — tw

Finding Tested Guns
I have been a subscriber to Gun Tests since 2012. Is there an index for looking up a review for a particular make and model of a gun, or do I just need to browse through the past editions of the publication until I can find what I am looking for?

— Budd Kendrick
Boise, Idaho

Hey Budd: The all-time index, “Gun Tests Index 2013-1989 Updated,” is posted on As a subscriber, you’ve got full access to all of our back issues. See how to get web access below. Once you’re in, search for “Index” in the search window, and the story will should be the first one in the list. Click on the headline to open it. The best way to use it is to do a search in your browser window (not the website search function). Because the index is one long file, your browser can find all instances of a specific word, such as “Python.” That points to three articles we’ve done on that revolver since 1994. It’s current through 2013, and we’ll update through 2014 shortly.

Or, use the search function inside It’s in the top right corner of the page. Type in as specific a model name or number as you can provide, and the site will supply all the instances of that word as it can find. If it’s generic, like “Beretta,” you’ll get a lot of cites — hundreds. If you make the search more specific, such as “Cheetah,” you’ll only get a couple of hits. — tw

Re: “A Quartet of Pocket Pistols,” November 2014
Hi from Montana. In reading the review of the small 380s, on page 13 you stated “Viridian’s R5-G42 Reactor is the first green laser for the G42, and this model automatically ignites instantly when drawn from a supplied leather and polymer holster. I got the impression that Viridian also supplies a holster when buying the green laser. Is this correct? If not, could you provide the names of holster suppliers that have available a holster that would accommodate the G42 with the laser attached. From my experience, it’s a piece of cake to find holsters around the country, but almost impossible to find a holster that accommodates a gun with a laser attached unless you pay big bucks and have one tailor-made.

— David E. Pidcock
Great Falls, Montana

Yes, the Viridian laser came with a Reactor holster that fits the Glock 42 and laser. — tw

Help on Getting Access
I have been a delighted subscriber since a couple years ago. I’ll happily stay here forever if I can. Now onto my issue: I do want to be able to search the archives for specific guns, but when I type in my first and last name and zip code and account number on the website, I am told that there is missing information. I assure you, I can read my mailing label and I do have one of the 12 digit account numbers. I have typed that in so many times trying to register as a user that I have memorized it now. Every time I am denied.

Am I black-listed? Can I come wash your car or something? Is there any hope? Seriously, I just want in. Any way you can help me would be greatly appreciated.
— Kurt Helgerson

Kurt — Sorry for the trouble. I’ve forwarded your note to customer service. They have direct access to the accounts and can solve this for you. You can also reach customer service directly by going to the website and looking in the top-right corner of the browser window. Click on “Customer Service,” and a browser window will pop up. Under the header “Additional Service Options,” click “Technical Assistance.” And no, you won’t have to wash anybody’s car, though that is a thoughtful gesture. — tw

I Can’t Suppress This Any Longer
More than a year ago you wrote about the simple process of obtaining a suppressor/silencer. I thought I would give it a try. I seldom shoot near the house due to proximity of neighbors. None have complained about my noise, but I wanted to remain a good neighbor. The thought of shooting frequently and quietly was intriguing.

I made the purchase, about $1100 plus the $200 stamp. Some were cheaper, but this was recommended as a quality item. Wait time was about 11 months. Upon arrival, the item would not fit the rifle and I found that I needed to spend about another $100 for the adapter. It did then, however, install quickly and easily.

I fired another rifle of the same caliber. Yes, loud as expected. Then I fired the newly suppressed/silenced version. Much quieter. But disappointingly, it was still louder than a short-barreled 22 LR handgun. Much too loud to shoot with frequency and remain a good neighbor. Presenting a query to the manufacturer, I was informed that that was as quiet as could be expected considering the caliber and velocity. Now, they tell me. Don’t believe that I can recommend the expenditure of money and time.
— Dean

I agree, it is very hard to get past the Hollywood version of how effective suppressors are. It takes a special combination of ammo, silencer, and gun to get a dramatic decline in sound, and even then, it’s often just barely enough to shoot without ears comfortably.

Yes, while the process is simple, it is expensive and loooong. I’m waiting on a 22 suppressor myself that I bought in February. You didn’t tell me what the cartridge was. If it’s 22 LR, I’d suggest shooting low-velocity rounds. If it’s a centerfire, such as a 300 Blackout, then you’ve got to buy or load low-velocity rounds that will still run your gun. Not an easy mix to find.|

Personally, I’m in about $2000 for two suppressors, one a 45 that I’ll run on my Colt 1911, which is currently at Tactical Firearms having a threaded Storm Lake barrel installed. The barrel costs about $230, and having the barrel fit will be more money. On top of that is $400 more in tax stamps. — tw


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