April 2017

Fake Law

The Kolbe v. Hogan decision is so wrong in so many ways, I can only characterize it by purloining descriptions of the media coverage of Donald Trump and using it in the context of the decision: It is fake law. Fortunately, you don’t have to take my word for it. One of the jurists writing in dissent, Judge William B. Traxler Jr., does it far better than I could ever do.  In his dissent, Judge Traxler says the majority contrived “a heretofore unknown ‘test,’ which is whether the firearm in question is ‘most useful in military service.’” Such a “test” allows judges to find that any firearm they don’t favor isn’t protected by the Second Amendment, and can therefore be prohibited on a whim.   More...

Tests for ‘Jumbo Shrimp’ .410s

And what about the low-powered .410 shotgun string? How effective can a string of low-powered pellets be on target when they are slow — staggered on impact — and inaccurate? Gun Tests needs to test the side-by-side velocities, energies, ranges, accuracies, penetrations, and the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of these .410 loads and applications. Barrel lengths and velocities do make a difference, especially when you’re using “mouse rounds.” You know, a 22 LR compared to a 223: Both are 22s, but one is a lot more powerful.   More...

Four Affordable 1911 Rail Guns

Guns fitted with accessory rails, aka rail guns, are a popular choice for both self defense and home defense because of their ability to mount a combat light or advanced laser. These are nice features to have on a defense handgun, but they must be paired with features that make a difference to accuracy, reliability, and handling, such as a speed safety and a well-designed beavertail and functional grip safety on their 1911s. Good sights and a crisp trigger response are always important factors as well. But the most important factor is reliability.    More...

AR-15 Carbines for Less Than $1300: The Winner is a ‘Saint’

Subscribers Only — A staff member recently paid $2300 for a complete AR-15 carbine without regret. But you may have noticed complete uppers selling for as little as $400 during the last rounds of holiday sales and complete carbines selling for less than $700. Why pay more? One answer would be to take advantage of the latest technology in terms of manufacturing, helpful features and improved ammunition. Forged rather than cast aluminum is now the standard, and machining is more exact thanks to computer numerically controlled (CNC) automation. The efficiency and versatility of barrels have been upgraded to take advantage of heavier bullets able to land a more effective blow at greater distance. Barrels with twist rates of 1:8 inches and even 1:7 inches have replaced the original-issue lands and grooves that spun the bullets at a rate of 1:9. Handguards are now modular platforms for lights, lasers, and sights, and ambidextrous fire controls are becoming more popular as well. With the desire for a more up-to-date AR-15, we went shopping and found that we didn’t have to break the bank — just get comfortable within a price range of about $900 to $1250 dollars. What we came up with was three AR-15s with upgrades that distinguished them from more traditional models.   More...

Holsters for the Glock 42: We Test Ten for Everyday Carriers

Subscribers Only — The Glock 42 380 ACP is becoming a very successful handgun since its introduction three years ago, which has lead to many makers large and small rolling out holster rigs for this handgun. The Glock 42 is exceptionally well balanced but light, so it may require a little extra effort to be certain the Glock 42 is sheathed with a balance of speed and retention. Short and light guns sometimes roll out and require extra effort to holster securely. Fortunately, a number of makers offer good designs for this handgun, as we recently found out. The Glock 42 is every bit a concealed carry handgun, and we think it is too important to go cheap on a holster for this activity, and you probably need more than one holster to cover all the different ways you or your spouse might carry it. Some of the holsters we tested below represent a good deal for the price and seem to do as well as others with more features. Here’s what we thought about ten holsters that may suit your Glock 42 needs.   More...

New Rifles at SHOT 2017

Subscribers Only — At the 2017 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas in January, Gun Tests staffers saw that although new modern sporting rifles do not dominate the introductions of rifles this year, another major manufacturer has entered that AR-15 market with a product that’s selling well. So now’s the time to buy your AR because prices should be falling. Of course, you should find plenty new to like elsewhere in the 2017 rifle world, with new rimfire offerings, new youth offerings, and plenty of threaded muzzles for those suppressors that may be deregulated soon.   More...

New Shotguns at SHOT 2017

At the 2017 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, versatility best explains the new offerings for this year. Manufacturers are building new pursuit-driven shotguns and tweaking current offerings to provide even more niche specialization of their products. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for a duck-blind gun or a behind-the-truck-seat compact scattergun, there is no lack of diversity in the shotgun category this year.   More...