April 2019

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Gun legislation is swinging wildly from state to state. Some states are seeking to restrict or ban certain classes of firearms; others are expanding gun-ownership rights in ways we wouldn’t have thought possible just a few years ago. And the Supremes have taken up a 2nd Amendment case that has the possibility of striking down a gun ban - whodathunkit? Here’s a roundup of some of the legal efforts that qualify as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (hat tip to director Sergio Leone).   More...

Shockwaves Create Waves

Just finished your article on sub-gauge pumpguns. I have a Mossberg Shockwave in .410 bore and really enjoyed your article. One thing that I have done with mine is to install a blue laser. Mounted on the top of the receiver, it puts the push button directly forward of the safety. Group size with slugs is easily contained in a coffee cup during from-the-hip shooting. Thanks again for your great articles.   More...

9mm Rifles from Beretta, Just Right Carbines, and Ruger

Manufacturers have easily transformed the AR-15 platform to be compatible with 9mm ammo, and we have tested a few of these carbines back in 2015. Since then, there has been an uptick in new 9mm carbine models, so we decided to take a look at these short semi-autos that share ammo with your pistol. What separates these newer 9mm carbines from some AR-15 carbines is their ability to use handgun magazines. Not only do these carbines share the same ammunition, they also share the same magazine in your pistol. That’s versatility in our book. The three rifles we procured were the Beretta CX4 Storm, Just Right Carbines’ Takedown Model, and Ruger’s PC Carbine. These carbines offer mild recoil, good accuracy, fast follow-up shots, light weight, and maneuverability. Some, like the Ruger, offer all the bells and whistles and propel the 9mm carbine category from a pipsqueak pistol-caliber carbine to a versatile home defense and survival tool. In the past five or six years, 9mm ammunition has also evolved, and there are a slew of viable loads that make these carbines more versatile than 9mm carbines years ago. Less recoil means better accuracy and faster follow-up shots, and we all know bullet placement is very important in disabling a bad actor. We’ll take making the first well-placed shot any day. In our opinion, any of these carbines would made a good choice for home defense, for transport in a vehicle, as survival/prepper choice, small game hunting, and an all-round fun plinker. These also make a great transitional gun for shooters graduating from a rimfire round to a centerfire round. All of these carbines also offered an adjustable length of pull so smaller-stature shooters are not at a disadvantage. All three of these carbines feed from handgun magazines and use a simple blowback mechanism. You can feel the bolt sliding back and forth in the receiver as the carbine cycles and that adds to the perceived recoil. These carbines are also light and perceived recoil is always higher in a lightweight rifle. In our opinion, the Beretta does the best job of making the mechanism feel smooth, and that’s because the CX4 is more like and oversized pistol than it is a carbine chambered in a pistol caliber. The Ruger and JRC have added flexibility since they are takedown models. Plus the Ruger does a whole lot more. The Ruger PC Carbine is packed with features that actually make the carbine more flexible, adaptable, and useful. Some of our more jaded testers kept going back to the PC Carbine for another try, which says a lot.   More...

April 2019 Short Shots: New Rifles for 2019

For 2019, Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. has introduced magnum models of the Ruger Precision Rimfire rifle and a new BX-15 Magnum magazine that accept 17 HMR and 22 WMR cartridges. Like its 22 LR predecessor, these new magnum offerings maintain the same ergonomics, trigger, and manual of arms as the larger centerfire Ruger Precision Rifle. The Ruger Precision Rimfire has a molded, one-piece chassis and adjustable buttstock assembly manufactured of glass-filled nylon.   More...

Big 9mm Shootout: Glock, CZ, FN, and Springfield Compete

Subscribers Only — Handguns are designed to give the user a certain amount of useful power in a portable configuration. For home defense, the limits on “portable” are less restrictive than those for concealed carry under covering garments. Weight is a big issue for carry, but length competes with mass as the dimension that causes the biggest pain in the back. But for performance, length is helpful when it allows for a longer barrel that will make for greater velocity and energy, and up top, a longer slight radius on the slide generally improves accuracy. Also, a longer front end tends to dampen sight movement during recoil, important when chambering a more powerful cartridge such as the 357 SIG. As such, a certain class of handguns — long barrel/long slide models — answer a lot of needs for home-defense shooters, and for the right people, could even be carried. In this report, we looked hard at four 9mm Luger pistols that are among the longest offerings in their respective stables, they were: the CZ-USA CZ P0-9 91620 at 8.1 inches in overall length; the FNH FNS-9L Longslide 66725 at 8.25 inches OAL; the Glock G34 Gen5 MOS PA3430103MOS at 8.74 inches OAL; and the Springfield XD(M) 4.5 XD(M)T9459FDEHCE Threaded Barrel, whose 5.3-inch-long barrel contributes to its 8.3-inch OAL. The CZ P0-9 is a longer version of the CZ P0-7, yet in this group, the barrel is the shortest of the test at 4.54 inches, or 0.79 inch longer than the CZ P0-7’s. This pistol also features an elongated grip that holds 19 rounds in the magazine versus 15 for the P0-7. An important difference between this pistol and the smaller P0-7 is that the P0-9 is supplied with interchangeable backstraps. To put it in scale, the well-known CZ 75 B is also 8.1 inches long, but the 75 B is 0.4 inches shorter than the P0-9 and holds three fewer rounds in its magazines. Interestingly, the pistol retails for an average $100 less than the smaller P0-7. This product from Ceská zbrojovka Uhersk Brod is a polymer-framed pistol, but unlike the others tested, the P0-9 is hammer fired. We expected the CZ pistol to handle differently from the striker-fired guns, and it did. FN America pitches the FNS-9 Longslide as a competition gun (as does Glock for its G34), saying the Longslide has been “tested in every type of major shooting event, from high-speed IPSC/USPSA and grueling 3-gun matches to precision bull’s-eye and actions events like the NRA Bianchi Cup.” Okay, none of that scares us if we’re looking for a dependable, easy-to-shoot self-defense handgun. The Glock G34 Gen5 is likewise designated as a competition pistol, but it’s not Glock’s largest 9mm by quite a bit. The G17L Long Slide gets that honor with a 6.02-inch-long barrel and an OAL of 9.53 inches. Oddly, Springfield’s XD(M) 4.5 TB (now discontinued in the two-tone color scheme) is longer than what the company designates as a competition handgun, the 5.25-inch-barrel XD(M)95259BHCE Competition Series 9mm. Despite its nomenclature, the threaded-barrel XD(M) version we test here has a 5.3-inch-long barrel to accommodate the threads and is 0.05 inch longer overall than the 5.25 Model, according to company specs. Here’s what we found out about these longer-than-average handguns.   More...

Springfield Armory's Socom 16 CQB Keeps Pace at the Range

Subscribers Only — In 1974, Springfield Armory of Geneseo, Illinois began offering a civilian-legal semi-automatic rifle based on the M14, which it christened the M1A. Since then, Springfield Armory has offered several versions of the rifle, including a number of carbines utilizing a 16.25-inch-long barrel. In the September 2014 issue of Gun Tests , we evaluated the Springfield Armory Socom 16, which added a scout-style scope mount positioned forward of the ejection port. This was a simplification of the Socom II we covered in 2012 that featured a multi-rail forend made by Vltor Weapons Systems. The subject of this evaluation is the newest carbine, the $2442 Socom 16 CQB. The CQB uses the same barreled action as previous carbines but sheds the traditional stock in favor of a carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer stock by Archangel featuring a 5-position adjustable-length buttstock.   More...