April 2016

More Laments for Custom Guns

Another angle on carrying a UBG (Ubiquitous Black Gun): If you have to give it up after a legit self-defense incident, you just buy another one. And we have a price update on Walther’s PPS M2.

Re: “Firing Line,”
March 2016

Like Grant said in last month’s letters section, I, too, lament the passing of the pride of custom-gun ownership and the common look of the Ubiquitous Black Gun. But, as was said, black guns are cheap and proven reliable. Also, I cannot justify carrying a nice custom pistol on the off chance that I might have to use it. In that case, I would have to surrender it to the police, and then it would be months at a minimum to maybe get it back by jumping through their hoops. Yes, I would rather carry a “Rolex”-quality sidearm, but I often think that if I had to give up my Valtro, I’d don’t know what I’d do.

A black gun I can give up with no emotion, and go home and get another one. I always enjoy the magazine, from the editorial remarks to the last page. — Dave

Re: “Special Reports,”
March 2016

On page 32 of last month’s issue, you mention the Walther PPS M2 as a coming new product. I would like to know the approximate cost. - Dan

Walther’s new PP2 M2

Walther PP2 M1 in 40 S&W tested in 2009

Walther PP2 M1 in 9mm tested in 2008

Sorry about that price omission. Walther hadn’t released a price at the time we assembled that data. Upside: This new gun is supposedly shipping to distributors already, but only in 9mm. The 40 S&W version is supposed to come out later this spring or early summer, said Everett Deger, director of marketing at Walther America. MSRP is $469 for the base M2 and $499 for the M2 LE edition with phosphoric sights. Magazines will come in 6-, 7-, and 8-round capacities. We found an online listing for the pistol on Kentucky Gun Co.’s website, KYGun.com, for $407 with one 7+1 magazine. Upside: Prices have dropped for the M1 edition, with some listings around $350. We tested the 40 S&W-chambered PPS M1 in the October 2009 issue, giving it an A-, along with the Springfield Armory Enhanced Micro Pistol No. PI9240LP and Kahr PM40 No. 4043. Of the PPS, Contributing Editor Roger Eckstine wrote, “If you’ve been carrying a high-capacity polymer pistol, the narrow PPS will be a revelation. Double-action-only aficionados will take to it immediately. Extra magazines are pricey, but the shorter five-round magazine will better adapt the PPS to ankle carry or other deep concealment. For summertime carry or as a matching backup piece, the PPS may be hard to beat.” In the October 2008 issue, Roger tested the PPS in 9mm (WAP10001), and said of it: “The PPS suffered three malfunctions as shown within the first 150 rounds. All three malfunctions occurred while feeding from the supplied seven-round magazine, which featured an extended basepad. We switched to the six-round magazine with flush-fitting basepad and fired more than 200 additional rounds. No further problems were encountered. The individual seven-round magazine may have been the cause, or there may have been another problem that the mechanism was able to overcome simply by using the six-rounder. We liked the PPS, and if it continues to run reliably, we are satisfied with 6+1 capacity in a backup gun.” — Todd Woodard

Re: “Two New 9mm Compacts from Glock and Walther Square Off,”
August 2015

I have read and subscribed to Gun Tests for many years and enjoy the reviews. I carried a Glock for many years as a federal law enforcement officer, now retired. I have shot various models of Glock, and I thought your review of the Glock 43 9mm pistol in the August 2015 issue was a fair treatment of the handgun.

However, the Glock 43 with a Strike Industries EMP +2 magazine extension is a different firearm. It’s not often that an accessory changes a pistol so completely. Often, in particular, magazine extensions are finicky and can play a part in failures to feed. The Strike Industries EMP +2 magazine extension for the Glock 43 is a different creature. First, I have found it to be completely reliable and easy to install, once you master the trick to disassembling Glock mags. Second, it is easy to load to full 8-round capacity. Third, it is extremely comfortable. It is just long enough to provide a full grip, while not being overly long. This improves grip and magazine capacity makes the Glock 43 handle better. It is more accurate in practical usage. While your B+ rating of the Glock 43 is fair; I would rate the Glock 43 with the Strike Industries EMP +2 magazine extension as a solid A, but not quite a “Best Buy” because of its higher price than other models. I am amazed at the difference the magazine extension makes. It has transformed the Glock 43 into my favorite carry gun, supplanting the Smith & Wesson Shield. — Ben

Hey Ben: Thanks for your insights, and I appreciate you letting me know you don’t have a fiduciary interest in promoting the EMP +2 magazines. I appreciate your letting other readers know how highly you regard this accessory and how it may affect the performance of the Glock 43. — tw

Re: “Firing Line,”
February 2016

New subscriber. Love it so far. I am unable to find the AR-magazine test referred to on page 5 of the February issue of Firing Line. How do I get to that article? Thanks. — Clark

The Glock 43’s grip as tested in the August 2015 issue.

The Glock 43 fitted with the Strike Industries EMP +2 magazine extension, which Reader Ben touts as an improvement to the 43’s handling and accuracy.

In more detail, the Strike Industries SI Enhanced Magazine Plate for Glock 43 is $12, product number SI-EMP-G43-BK. Find it at StrikeIndustries.com.

Hey Clark, sorry you’re having trouble. You can get to that test in one of two ways. 1) Use the search function in the top-right corner of the website homepage. You can type in any of the unique character strings, such as “MAG55630BLKP” (no quote marks) from the article and hit “search.” That will take you to the online version that’s resident on the website. It’s the third listing, “AR-15 Magazine Testing: Price Has Little to Do with Quality.”

2) Or, if you come in through the homepage, go to the right column, about halfway down, and click “Back Issue Archive.” Select “2014” as the year in the Archives pull-down window, click “Go,” then click on the May 2014 issue in the second row. You can either click to read the story online or download the issue as a PDF. — tw

Re: “Downrange,”
September 2015

Thanks, Gun Tests! When I read the September 2015 issue, y’all alerted me to a safety problem with my “truck gun,” a Taurus Millennium 45 ACP compact pistol. I contacted Taurus. They denied having a safety problem, but they sent me a shipping label for my handgun. I returned the pistol to the factory on October, 5, 2015. Four months later I didn’t have the pistol back, so I checked my gun’s status on the website, and it said, “Repairs Complete.” Still no gun.

I called Taurus. Spoke to a lady representative who informed me that the web info was inaccurate. My gun was not repairable, and if I sent them an FFL to ship to, they will send a replacement. Cost of the FFL transfer for me is $25. I complied with her instructions. February 23, no gun. Called the factory for a status update, and learned the replacement was not shipped because I did not specify what model I wanted. Maintaining my cool and informing the agent that I did not have a catalog from which to pick a replacement, he gave me a verbal description of the choices, and I picked a Model 247 G2 compact. I asked him when I could expect the gun to be delivered to my dealer, and his reply was four to six months. I do wonder if my holster and extra mag will fit the replacement. I doubt it .

I am out close to $400 with little choice but to wait another six months. However, I can tell other Gun Tests readers about this. I subscribe to several gun magazines, and Gun Tests is the only source reporting anything about this situation with Taurus. — Lou

Hey Lou: I can’t speak for what other publications do, or don’t do, regarding this settlement. But I do have some sympathy for Taurus because the terms of the settlement, according to court documents, had to be worked out with the plaintiffs and the court, so their hands were likely tied. In fact, in the matter of Carter v. Forjas Taurus, S.A., the court has continued the hearing on final approval of the settlement until July 18, 2016. The claims period will not begin until after that time has passed. Additional details will be posted to a website, TaurusCarterSettlement.com, including various settlement offers, which include receiving a payment of up to $200, repairing existing guns, or replacing them as necessary, as you found out.

Thanks for letting the Gun Tests community know about this, and please let us know the outcome. If you don’t get your gun back inside the delivery window they promised, let me know that as well. — tw

Comments (11)

Regarding Taurus settlement and problem Lou had, on August 4, 2015 I sent Taurus my PT111 pro and 2 mags. Their website was very poor about updating progress but by 12/16/2015 I did have a new PT 111 G2 with 2 mags, all new in box. I had to pay $25 for FFL transfer fee but was reimbursed by 1/15/16 and actually am quite pleased with the new gun. To get reimbursed you send an itemized receipt to Taurus at fax # 305-624-1126. I hope this helps Lou and perhaps others. The new replacement seems to be a very fine gun, no failures in any shooting. The mags are very hard to load though. Perfect functioning.

Posted by: rotor | June 1, 2016 11:08 AM    Report this comment

Regarding Taurus settlement and problem Lou had, on August 4, 2015 I sent Taurus my PT111 pro and 2 mags. Their website was very poor about updating progress but by 12/16/2015 I did have a new PT 111 G2 with 2 mags, all new in box. I had to pay $25 for FFL transfer fee but was reimbursed by 1/15/16 and actually am quite pleased with the new gun. To get reimbursed you send an itemized receipt to Taurus at fax # 305-624-1126. I hope this helps Lou and perhaps others. The new replacement seems to be a very fine gun, no failures in any shooting. The mags are very hard to load though. Perfect functioning.

Posted by: rotor | May 6, 2016 5:39 PM    Report this comment

Keep a good zipper closed rug in the trunk or an old makeup case from Samsonite or whoever and stuff it with shapeable foam. I've never had to surrender my C&S built Combat Elite, but I think most cops are reasonable to enough to recognize that they are responsible for your property and to take proper care of it. To do other wise is dereliction of duty, and I've never met a cop who wanted Internal Affairs breathing down his neck.

Posted by: DHConner | April 4, 2016 3:16 PM    Report this comment

My comment on "Carrying A High Grade Pistol" is that the odds are something less than 1 in 1,000 that you will ever have to use it for self defense; so the likelihood of it ever being put into a police evidence file are very, very remote. To me, it makes more sense to carry the best tool you own.

Nevertheless, my RIA 1911 has proven 100% reliable, and I would feel comfortable carrying it. But I actually carry an S&W "snubbie" as EDC; the 1911 is just too big.

gold40

Posted by: gold40 | April 4, 2016 2:56 PM    Report this comment

More Laments for Custom Guns:
What am I missing on this whole discussion. I bought my high dollar custom gun because I wanted something that I could absolutely rely on. It shoots like a target gun, and it "NEVER" fails. I ran 700 rounds of ammo, including virtually every type of junk ammo that I had lying around through my custom gun without a single failure. I stopped the test when I couldn't stand how filthy the gun was getting, and much of that filth was getting on me. Like any high end custom, this gun shoots like a target gun, i.e., it hits what I aim at. This all was the whole purpose of buying my custom gun in the first place. If I am placing my life on the line, I don't care what the cost is. What price do you place on your life? For those in this discussion,obviously the same as a cheap black gun. I think a little more of mine. I would truly hate to loose my custom gun, but it is replaceable, and I personally don't think that I am. If I have to hand my custom gun over to the local law enforcement officer, it has done what I bought it for, and I will look forward to purchasing its replacement.

Posted by: SteveE | April 1, 2016 5:46 PM    Report this comment

I had a different, but equally aggravating time with a Taurus product. I bought a PT-22 and it wouldn't feed correctly. I found out it was the magazine, and sent it to Taurus for repair / replacement. AS a U.S. Postal Clerk, I knew the "tricks of the trade" and sent it insured with a signature required. Good thing I did. I called 30 days later, KNOWING that the magazine had arrived, as I could "see" the name and signature of the person who rec'd it on the USPS computer. I was given that I had "never sent it, they never got it" routine from Taurus Customer Service. ( Boy, is it misnamed!) I told them the person's name who signed for it, and inquired if he still worked there. That changed their tune a little, but not much, basically telling me I was a rip-off artist trying to scam them. I asked for the Supervisor, explained the situation to him, and his behavior was the same as the Representative I had been talking to. I informed him I would NEVER buy another Taurus, and have told my story to anyone interested in purchasing a firearm, warning them about Taurus. His response was that "he didn't care WHAT I did". The REALLY sad part about this story, is that the magazine cost $20 retail! I feel for anyone foolish enough to buy a Taurus. Their "Lifetime Warranty" is a great advertising ploy, although they don't stand behind it, and try every trick in the book to avoid honoring it.

Posted by: Bawana17 | March 31, 2016 3:34 PM    Report this comment

I've practiced this philosophy for twenty years. I currently carry a Taurus PT1911 every day, while I keep my priceless Springfield 1911-A1, 1915 mfr, 5 digit serial number, in my safe. I take it out to the range at least monthly, using cotton gloves to protect the 95% original finish. The Taurus has dings and holster wear from constant carrying but still works flawlessly. And I won't lose sleep if I have to buy another for $500 retail.

Posted by: Col.Bull-Sigh | March 31, 2016 2:11 PM    Report this comment

"A black gun I can give up with no emotion, and go home and get another one."

Not after you've carried it day in day out for years. One grows attached to a life saving companion regardless of price or color.

Posted by: Pastor Spomer | March 31, 2016 2:10 PM    Report this comment

I have a S&W m&p compact in .357 sig, not priced to throw away, when new, but it had 4 different mechanical problems.....was returned 3 times. I used this as a carry gun for quite some time.
After 4th occurrence, I retired that pistol ( no longer available), now my EDC is a Kimber Ultra TLE. Good shooting gun, not a cheap one, but not plastic!

Posted by: 2nd Amender | March 31, 2016 1:45 PM    Report this comment

re: Custom guns vs- 'stock'... It may seem like a good idea to carry your $5000 BBQ gun, with the pearl grips and custom finish and sights. How do you feel about using it, and then letting it sit in an evidence room, in a box, uncleaned, handled by everyone who wants to drag it out and tinker with it for months, even years, until it is released- it at all.? There are benefits to carrying an inexpensive, reliable, black plastic gun that won't break your heart if the cops get it and keep it.
Keep your BBQ gun for show at the big BBQ and at the shooting range.

Posted by: Fatboy46 | March 31, 2016 1:12 PM    Report this comment

Regarding Taurus settlement and problem Lou had, on August 4, 2015 I sent Taurus my PT111 pro and 2 mags. Their website was very poor about updating progress but by 12/16/2015 I did have a new PT 111 G2 with 2 mags, all new in box. I had to pay $25 for FFL transfer fee but was reimbursed by 1/15/16 and actually am quite pleased with the new gun. To get reimbursed you send an itemized receipt to Taurus at fax # 305-624-1126. I hope this helps Lou and perhaps others. The new replacement seems to be a very fine gun, no failures in any shooting. The mags are very hard to load though. Perfect functioning.

Posted by: rotor | March 31, 2016 11:50 AM    Report this comment

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