November 2018

Short Shots

One of the changes I’ve seen in the firearms industry over the years is the timing of new-product introductions. Formerly, most companies rolled out their new lines at the end or the very beginning of the calendar year, in both cases to time with each year’s Shooting Hunting & Outdoor Trade Show, better known as SHOT Show, generally held in January. That always seemed odd to me because it guaranteed new-product coverage would get trampled by the volume of similar coverage.   More...

What About the Ithaca Pump?

I received my copy and enjoyed the article. I was curious as to why you did not include the Ithaca Model 37 Defender? I have seen your past report for this gun. Your people evaluating the shotgun gave the Ithaca the very top choice. Yes, I know it’s more expensive - but the walnut stock, walnut corncob forend, the best trigger, and old-fashioned high quality build, when added to the home defense purpose, made it my choice.   More...

9mm Slim Line Compact Pistol Shoot-out: Five Go Head To Head

Close in importance to the most basic needs - food, water, and shelter - is the ability to protect yourself from threats. Concealable, compact, and powerful handguns give us peace of mind in a dangerous world. There is no doubt there are more effective cartridges than the 9mm Luger, but the 9mm is far more powerful than any 32 ACP or 380 Auto cartridge, and it holds more rounds than a compact 38 Special revolver. The 9mm is a powerful cartridge with good performance that will get the job done, given adequate shot placement. A compact handgun with good sights, a decent trigger, and ergonomic controls is a stalwart companion in difficult times. So we tested a quintet side by side to get an idea about what we would buy, then relay those impressions to Gun Tests readers. The pistols tested are unique in many ways, but they share a few common features. Takedown, trigger action, and slide-lock designs differ. Each may fit your needs more than the others, but there are a couple at the top of the heap. Our test handguns chambered in 9mm Luger were the following.   More...

Cowboy Up with Lever Guns From Cimarron, Uberti, Taylor’s

Subscribers Only — Good, modern-day cowboy-action shooters can push lead out of lever-action rifles at about 10 shots in two seconds. That’s fast. Tuned guns help. SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) rules allow only original or replica centerfire lever- or slide-action rifles that reflect the period between 1860 and 1899. Caliber can be the minimum, 32, to the largest, 45. Rifles must have exposed hammers, tubular magazines, and barrel lengths longer than 16 inches to qualify for matches. That means clones of the Winchester Model 1866, Models 1873, and Model 1892, are contenders, as well as the Marlin 1894 and reproductions of the Colt Lightning. Many competitors run reloaded 38 Special to the minimum velocity. SASS rules require rifle ammunition to have a maximum muzzle velocity of 1,400 fps or less. The 38 Special has other attributes that make it popular, such as mild recoil, less cost, and ease of reloading.   More...

Deep-Penetrating Heavy-Bullet 9mm Loads: Pretty Good Picks

Subscribers Only — The 9mm Luger cartridge is the most popular handgun centerfire round in the market today. It’s easy to understand why: The 9mm is a powerful number with high velocity and good accuracy potential, and it can offer deep penetration with the proper loads. Also, the 9mm is controllable in compact handguns by shooters with modest experience, and many very experienced shooters favor the 9mm as well. At the same time, the 9mm has a well-documented string of failures with non-expanding loads and loads lacking sufficient velocity and energy to ensure penetration. This just proves all jacketed-hollow-point bullets are not created equal, and too little penetration may not stop an assailant. The ideal load should have a balance of expansion and penetration. The 147-grain 9mm has been criticized by some for lacking expansion potential. The 147-grain load originally was designed to meet FBI requirements for deep penetration and barrier penetration. Expansion was modest. Many 147-grain loads still meet this criteria, while others demonstrate greater expansion. A new choice is the 135-grain bullet weight. This projectile is designed to provide greater velocity than the 147-grain JHP while offering greater penetration than the popular 124-grain expanding bullet. We tested two 135-grain loads along with ten 147-grain JHP loads and a single 150-grain JHP as well as a heavyweight 165-grain combination. For those living in a true four-season climate that find themselves likely to face heavily bundled adversaries, these loads offer optimal performance. Anyone needing penetration against light cover might consider these loads. A follow-up question would be are they the best choice for personal defense? We believe that some of the 147-grain loads provide a good choice for personal-defense use compared to light-bullet loads with less expansion. The HST, as an example, offers excellent expansion and deep penetration in water. We used a new Glock 19X as a test gun. The barrel length at about 4 inches is a compromise between service pistols and subcompact handguns. We fired three cartridges of each load to average expansion and penetration in water. We also fired three five-shot groups for accuracy at 25 yards. The remaining rounds were fired for function testing. During the test, there were no function problems of any type. Accuracy was likewise good in every case, with some loads being more accurate than others.   More...