January 2019

Cool New Guns and Ammo

New product announcements are coming fast and furious, including Ruger’s announcement of the SR1911 Competition Pistol. Over the past year, the Ruger Custom Shop has worked closely with professional shooting team captain and world champion competitive shooter Doug Koenig to develop the first Custom Shop SR1911, a full-sized 9mm pistol suitable for competitive shooting in IDPA, IPSC, USPSA, Bianchi Cup, Pro Am Shooting, and Steel Challenge disciplines.   More...

Lever-Action Fans Comment

I enjoyed your review of the 1873 from Uberti. I agree that the rubber recoil pad is distracting and probably unnecessary. I prefer a traditional brass or steel buttplate, but with checkering or texture. On my 1892, I added a leather pad for texture, but only because I couldn’t figure out how to checker it appropriately. If I were doing it again, I think I would use pin punches and stipple it. Keep up the good work and unbiased reviews.   More...

9mm Striker Gun Shoot-out: Beretta, Glock, and SIG Sauer

Subscribers Only — To replace the Beretta M9A1 (M9) and later variants in military service, the U.S. Army tested several handguns and chose the SIG P320, which is designated as the M17 in military service. The Glock 19X was also a participant in the military trials. While not chosen by the military, the full-size-grip short-slide Glock has enjoyed commercial success. The new Glock 45 is a direct result of Glock’s experience in the military trials and also a result of criticism of the 19X. A third handgun, Beretta’s APX, was also not adopted, and like the M17, is a modular design. We elected to test these three striker-fired polymer handguns head to head to determine which might be the best choice for concealed carry and personal defense for civilians. To add some historical texture, we also shot these firearms side by side with a full-size Beretta 92, or the M9 in its military appellation. The Beretta won’t carry as easily as the APX and Glock, but it’s comparable to the P320-M17 in size. If we’re looking at them as home-defense guns, then size is less of an issue. As we collected data and choose firearms for inclusion in these shoot-outs, we met old-line shooters and even young shooters who feel that the polymer-frame striker-fired market is crowded, and these handguns are much the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. Beretta, CZ, HK, SIG, Smith & Wesson, and Glock offer different features and different fits and feel for their products. Those who have not tested the pistols extensively and who have not taken time to compare features may feel these pistols are cut from the same cloth, but by assuming that, those shooters abrogate a lot of responsibility in choosing the handgun that suits them best.   More...

Hunting Rifles in 7mm Mag From Mossberg, Howa, Savage

Subscribers Only — Rifles chambered in 7mm Remington Magnum are popular hunting setups for whitetail deer up to elk. We looked at three hunting rifles in 7mm Rem. Mag. in a price range to suit nearly any budget. At the low end is the Mossberg Patriot ($542), a traditionally styled hunting rifle with a walnut stock and matte-blued metal. A midrange-cost firearm is the Savage 110 Storm ($849) with a matte-stainless barreled action and synthetic AccuStock. This was the most modern looking rifle of the trio. At the high end is the Howa M1500 HS Precision ($1119). This rifle features an HS Precision laminated stock and a sub-MOA guarantee. The other rifles did not offer an accuracy guarantee. All rifles use a push-feed bolt-action design with two locking lugs, which means the bolt lift on all three is 90 degrees. They also have a cocking indicator that protrudes from the rear of the bolt to tell the user the rifle is cocked. You can see the cocking indicator and feel it. All featured a free-floated barrel and fairly good trigger. What separated the Savage from the Howa and Mossberg was the customizable stock. We equipped the trio with variable-power scopes. In the middle is a Simmons AETEC 2.8-10x44mm, and at the bottom end of cost is a Simmons Whitetail Classic 3-9x40mm scope. At the high end was a Vortex Crossfire II 4-16x50mm. All three were well constructed, used a second-focal-plane reticle, and featured capped turrets. We thought the Simmons Whitetail Classic was a great deal, and it performed well even with its plain Truplex reticle. The Simmons AETEC scope was light weight and short, so it didn’t add a lot of weight to the rifle. It also uses aspherical lenses, which gives the user a flat, distortion-free image. The AETEC also used a Truplex reticle and had the best clarity and contrast between the Simmons scopes. The Vortex Crossfire II also had good clarity/contrast and a Dead-Hold BDC reticle, which we felt offered better aiming. There are numerous hold marks on the vertical and horizontal crosshairs that allow the shooter to be more accurate if he understands his reticle. The simplicity of the Truplex reticle requires the shooter to guesstimate holdover and wind compensation. The Vortex scope was the longest and did provide more eye-relief adjustment in the rings, which also made it easier to mount. Smaller scopes on long-action rifles can be tight to fit, with less room to adjust eye relief. We used Weaver rings with all the scopes and found the 7-M-M did not rattle them loose. For a spotter we used a Styrka S7 15-45x65mm spotting scope. This spotter features an angled eyepiece and comes with a carry case that protects the spotter yet unzips so you can mount it to a tripod and still protect the spotter. Not that we weren’t careful, but we did drop the spotter on the cement deck from bench height and it survived the fall. It has a rubber-armor skin. A sunshade is built in, and the magnification ring rotates smoothly and easily, which we like especially when the magnification is high and the field of view is small. It could be adjusted without losing the target. It also has coarse- and fine-focus knobs and a rotating tripod mount that allows the user to adjust the eyepiece for more comfortable viewing. We used it during the day and in the setting glare of the North Carolina sun, and we easily could pick our hits on paper. We used a variety of hunting ammo in bullets weights that included 150-, 162-, 165-, and 175-grain projectiles from Federal Premium and Hornady. We used low-cost Federal Fusion soft points ($31.53) and Federal Vital-Shok with Sierra GameKing BTSP bullets ($37.09), as well as more expensive Hornady Precision Hunters loaded with ELD-X bullets ($40.50) and Federal Vital-Shok loaded with Bear Claw bullets. We were able to get a sub-MOA group out of all the rifles, but the Howa and Savage continually surprised us with some excellent groups.   More...

Testing Plastic and Kydex Holsters: The CYA Is a Bargain

The holster must have a balance of speed, security, and access. It cannot be buried under the clothing to the extent that it is difficult to access. A very fast draw isn’t necessarily the main ingredient of a successful concealment rig. Good concealment that allows surprise is. Perhaps the adversary doesn’t know you are armed, and he should not. There should be no indicators that show you are armed. Let’s look at reality. There is no draw faster than a standard belt holster carried on the point of the hip. This is also a holster that isn’t compatible with concealed carry. The holster must be worn behind the hip under a covering garment at the least, and for better concealment, we move the holster inside the pants, or inside the waistband fashion as we call it. You must practice the draw to clear clothing, and is a real danger when clothing becomes tangled. The appendix carry requires less movement. Also, during the course of the day, you sometimes encounter people who like to bump into you or perhaps give a friendly pat. Some know you are armed; most should not. If they pat the groin area, they probably know you pretty well.   More...