May 2017

Big 9mm Pistols Tested? Yes!

Reader Derrick wants to know if a couple of self-defense handguns have graced the pages of Gun Tests yet. Also, a couple of readers ask about which Mossberg short shotgun we pictured.

Zenith Firearms MKE Z-5RS with SB Brace, the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1, and the SIG Sauer MPX-PSB

Evo versus MPX? Yes!

Hope this message finds you well. Has there been a Gun Tests article yet that compares 9mm CZ Evo against SIG Sauer 9mm MPX? Thanks in advance!


Why, yes. The March 2017 issue compared “Forward-Mounted-Mag 9mm Pistols from SIG, Zenith, & CZ.” The three super-sized pistols tested included the Zenith Firearms MKE Z-5RS with SB Brace, the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1, and the SIG Sauer MPX-PSB. The Zenith and SIG came with braces, while the CZ did not, but one could be purchased separately. All three proved to have good accuracy and reliability as defensive firearms. We preferred the Zenith, though the SIG and CZ performed well. As a subscriber, log on to and read the entire review, either the online version or download the whole issue as a PDF.

— Todd Woodard

Re: “Holsters for the Glock 42: We Test Ten for Everyday Carriers,” April 2017

Suncoast Leatherwork holsters for the Glock 42

After reading the April 2017 article on Glock 42 holsters, I want to share with other readers my holster for that gun. It is made by Suncoast Leatherwork of Boynton Beach, Florida. I have purchased four of them, and each one is very well made. Being in Florida, you need something that stands up to the heat and does not bother you. Walter Knights is the maker. I’ve found him to be a pleasant person to deal with. The best part, the holsters are only $39.95, no matter if it is for a G19, PPK, S&W, etc. Email address is or on eBay ID wknigclo. They are well worth the money. — Jeff

Thank you for passing that recommendation along, Jeff. Above right is one of the Suncoast Leatherwork holsters for the Glock 42. I should mention to readers who are going to go search for more information on the products that Jeff gave very accurate advice on how to find the articles on eBay, and I suggest you go there and use the ID he supplied. A general web search will turn up a very similarly named business in Florida, but in a different city. — tw

Not the Shockwave

Mossberg 590 Shockwave

Hello, folks. "New Shotguns at SHOT 2017," in your April edition, describes a new Mossberg shotgun, the “Shockwave.” The article states that the Shockwave is an ATF-approved shotgun with a 14-inch barrel. That may be, but I believe the accompanying photo is of the new Mossberg Compact Cruiser, which comes with either a 7.5- or a 10.25-inch barrel, and which apparently is an AOW (“any other weapon”) under the NFA, and thus subject to the NFA’s form and tax stamp requirements. In contrast to the Compact Cruisers, the Shockwave comes with a bird’s head grip. Just thought you should know. Keep up the good work: I’ve enjoyed your magazine for almost 20 years.— Alan

OK guys, you have managed to alarm me with your April issue. Your photo of the Mossberg 590 Shockwave is a very different gun from the one I now have on prepaid backorder, and I don’t know which way to jump.— Bill

Alan, you’re right. The photo we published is of the new Mossberg Compact Cruiser. The Shockwave has a birds-head grip, as shown below. Bill: Sorry for the mistake and to have alarmed you. — tw

Careful About the Super

380 acp pistols

The Colt Pocket Hammer, bottom, is chambered for the 38 ACP round and won’t tolerate the 38 Super cartridge, found in some versions of the Mark IV Series 80, top.

Hi, Todd. April 2017 — a great issue again. Just a note on the back page. Please y’all be careful about confusing “.38 ACP” and “.38 Super.” Referring to the Super as “.38 ACP Super” is, well, dangerous. While the ACP and the Super have the same case dimensions, you don’t want to shoot Super in a 38 ACP-chambered pistol, such as my Colt Pocket Hammer. The .38 ACP pistols are, I believe, exclusively dual-link designs that won’t stand the gaff of the Super cartridge.

Some years ago SAAMI specified that “.38 Super” be redesignated “.38 Super +P.” Why? There is no .38 Super that was, or is, not “+P” (when compared to the Super’s ancestor, the .38 ACP). Thus, old boxes of .38 Super can still be found, but the exact same loads are now designated +P. I hope I made the above clear. It is a bit confusing. Thanks for your patience with this old pedant. — Walt

Hey Walt: It’s not pedantry to be exact in the descriptions of cartridges and firearms. Bob Campbell, the author of that upcoming ammunition test, said, “Our readers are very sharp. Possibly the sharpest in the industry, I like that.” Here’s more on the cartridge from the 38 Super manuscript: “The .38 ACP, introduced in 1900, is no longer in regular production. This is because the original .38 ACP, introduced in 1899, was later upgraded to the powerful .38 ACP Super. The cartridge case dimensions are identical. The Super is the much hotter cartridge. Modern SAAMI standards called for the .38 Super to be labeled .38 ACP Super +P, which is confusing. While some of the modern loads are hotter than others, all are safe for a modern 38 Super handgun in good condition. The old double-link Colt 38 ACP self-loaders should never be fired with these loads.” — tw

Re: “Compact 45 ACP Shoot-Out: Glock, S&W, and Springfield,” November 2016

Smith & Wesson M&P45 Shield

I purchased an M&P Shield 45 based on your recent test. Very nice, compact pistol. My only complaint is the difficulty loading the magazines. I could only get two rounds in each! I purchased an aftermarket loader from Sportsman’s Guide that works well, but I think S&W should include a loader with the gun.— James

Hey James: Glad the pistol is working out for you. The Shield earned an A rating and a Best Buy in that comparison. From the review: “The Shield has features we like, including a manual safety and the best grip design of the three. This grip not only fit most hands well, the pebble grip allowed good purchase without abrading the palm.” We also noted, “When loading the Smith & Wesson M&P45 Shield’s magazine, top, be certain the cartridge is seated well to the back of the magazine.” That might have contributed to the difficulties you had. — tw

Re: “Reproduction M1 Carbines: We Test A-O and Inland Mfg. Models,” February 2017

carbine rifle tests

carbine rifle tests

Thanks for the test, I really enjoy shooting these carbines. I was, however, disappointed that you did not discuss an important safety issue I found with the Kahr reproduction I examined at a gun shop. Namely, that it can fire with the bolt as far as 20 degrees out of battery, likely injuring the shooter and destroying the receiver. If you examine the bolt on the mil-spec gun, you will find a notch that only permits the firing pin to move forward when the bolt is rotated fully closed. The commercial reproductions seem to use cheaper bolts without this critical feature. If someone buys this gun anyway, it is critical that they only use commercial ammo with “hard” military primers. Using normal “soft” rifle primers in reloads makes a discharge when the bolt stops on a dirty chamber way too likely.

I would also like reloading advice for my 1942 Inland M1. I have some CCI #41 “NATO/AR15” primers to use with Accurate #9 powder. — Bill

Hey Bill: Thanks for the advice. We didn’t see so much as an inkling of the problem, or we would definitely have mentioned it in the report. — tw

Re: “Affordable 1911 Rail Guns: EAA, ATI, Armscor, Springfield,” April 2017

1911 rail gun

1911 rail gun

Attached is a photo of my Charles Daly 1911 that I bought new quite a few years ago. I think it was $399, which made the Crimson Trace laser grip at about $299 a relatively expensive upgrade, especially because a gunsmith had to modify the right thumb safety to fit the grip. But I wanted to be able to actually hit an intruder. I’m pretty sure it’s an Armscor unit imported by Daly, so I read the article with interest. Some differences are obvious, like the additional forward grip slots on the slide and the very ordinary sights, but I’m curious as to what other significant differences there are. I’m not very well versed in firearms technical lingo, so, for example, “monolithic” steel frame means nothing to me.

— A Gun Tests Reader

As you noted, there are some obvious differences. “Monolithic steel frame” on the Rock Island Armory Tactical 2011 refers to the slab-sided, squared appearance of the front of the frame. Of course, your gun lacks the Tactical’s accessory rail. Having the rail would have allowed you to mount a standalone laser on the front rather than having to modify the safety lever on the right side to accommodate the Crimson Trace Lasergrip. The sights, of course, are different, with the TruDots being an upgraded item on this model. Looks like your mainspring housing is smooth, where the Tactical is checkered. — tw

Comments (1)

Best shooter resource in print. Thank you.

I've yet to locate for purchase the Savage 12VSS 308 you recently tested. Beautiful rifle and great article. It 's got to shoot to be beautiful and it sounds like this one shoots real nice.

Posted by: Cicero | May 11, 2017 5:45 PM    Report this comment

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