Editorial

Get Yours While the Getting is Good

May 2019 - Gun Tests Magazine

On April 2, NRA and California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) attorneys filed an opposition to California’s request seeking an immediate stay of enforcement in the case of Duncan v. Becerra, which found California’s restrictions against so called “large-capacity” magazines unconstitutional and unenforceable.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

April 2019 - Gun Tests Magazine

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).

I'm Not in a New York State of Mind

March 2019 - Gun Tests Magazine

A long time ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I worked at Field & Stream magazine in Manhattan, at 1515 Broadway, or 7th Avenue and 44th. At the time, New York City’s gun rules were just as crazy and un-Constitutional as today, maybe worse, and were difficult to accept when the articles I edited nearly every day concerned firearms that couldn’t be possessed in the city. But I shot in NRA smallbore matches on Long Island and upstate in a Friday-night quarter-course league at West Point (which was awesome), so the strongest anti-gun sentiment didn’t extend very far into the ‘burbs. But that seems to be changing for the worse again.

Why Hide Your Sources?

February 2019 - Gun Tests Magazine

One of the more important claims in the gun-control debate is that the United States has more mass public shootings than any other countries. I’m sure you’ve heard that reported on gun-ignorant major media outlets. But as John R. Lott, Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center points out in a new video, conventional TV wisdom on this topic is likely misinformed — but we can’t find out for sure.

Cool New Guns and Ammo

January 2019 - Gun Tests Magazine

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.

What November's Midterm Elections Might Mean for Gun Control

December 2018 - Gun Tests Magazine

By the time you read this, the midterm elections will have already happened, and we’ll know if more federal regulations and laws restricting our civil rights are on their way. I would like to say that the congressional outcomes don’t mean anything for two years, as long as President Trump is in office. But that’s simply not true. PDT has shown an irresolute streak on publicly considering more gun regulations, though, to be fair, we haven’t seen any new laws at the federal level.

Short Shots

November 2018 - Gun Tests Magazine

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.

New Threats to Gun Ownership

September 2018 - Gun Tests Magazine

I honestly thought that once Donald Trump became president, we’d see fewer onerous gun regulations being rolled out - and, perchance, a rollback of some existing regulations, or even an expansion of gun rights. Silly me. President Trump did make it a campaign pledge to delete two regulations for every new one installed, but that effort hasn’t been extended to gun regulations, at least that I’ve heard of. Moreover, while wide-ranging federal efforts to restrict gun ownership and simply make it harder to own, buy, and transact firearms have stalled at the national level, that doesn’t mean that the inalienable right to self-defense with guns isn’t being challenged across the country. In fact, the new challenges to 2A rights are especially pernicious.

Problems with SIG’s P320

September 2018 - Gun Tests Magazine

We recently published a news item that updates our readers on legal troubles the SIG Sauer P320 is encountering. Most recently, the Loudoun Times-Mirror website is reporting that a Loudoun County (Virginia) deputy has filed a lawsuit against SIG Sauer alleging that her fully-holstered P320 duty weapon discharged and sent a bullet into her leg. According to the newspaper’s account, the incident occurred this year on Feb. 7, “… when 37-year-old Loudoun County Deputy Marcie Vadnais went to the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy to attend a general instructor course.” The Times-Mirror further reported, “In accordance with academy policy, Deputy Vadnais began removing her firearm from her belt when she arrived.” According to the lawsuit, as she fed the belt through the holster’s first tooth, her SIG Sauer P320 somehow “fired one nine millimeter bullet, which hit her in the upper right thigh.”

Gun News

August 2018 - Gun Tests Magazine

The NRA-ILA website had an interesting news item looking into why it might be that gun owners hesitate to share their status as gun owners in surveys. I have to agree with the sentiment expressed in the NRA item: “It makes perfect sense, particularly in times of heightened concerns that anti-gun politicians are plotting to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights and the routine vilification of law-abiding gun owners by politicians, celebrities, and the media.” Okay, that’s the why. Here’s the what.

Gun News: July 2018

July 2018 - Gun Tests Magazine

Remington Outdoor Company announced that it has emerged from Chapter 11 after successfully implementing its plan of reorganization previously confirmed by the Delaware bankruptcy court on May 4, 2018. The plan provides a comprehensive balance sheet restructuring of the company and converts more than $775 million of the company’s debt into equity. The plan received support from more than 97% of the voting lenders and noteholders.

S&W Issues Advisory on Shield EZ

June 2018 - Gun Tests Magazine

Smith & Wesson has launched a “consumer advisory” notice for owners of the M&P 380 Shield EZ Manual Thumb Safety pistol, a common concealed-carry sidearm. It seems the function of the M&P 380 Shield EZ Manual Thumb Safety pistol can be influenced by the type and quality of ammunition used with the pistol. In the case of the M&P 380 Shield EZ Manual Thumb Safety, the company has found “that in very rare circumstances,” ammunition that produces a high level of felt recoil can cause the manual safety to move from the Fire position to the Safe position during firing. That means your Shield unexpectedly might not go bang after it’s fired. That could be very bad for a concealed-carry gun owner who’s depending on the EZ in a self-defense situation.

July 2018 Digital Back Issue

June 2018 - Gun Tests E-books

More On Self-Defense Insurance

Caliber-Conversion Pistols From Rock Island Armory, Glock, SIG

Single-Action Revolvers: Best Buy Is Uberti’s Cattleman 1873

Did You Know?

May 2018 - Gun Tests Magazine

Did you know that a retired associate justice of the United States Supreme Court had penned a New York Times op-ed entitled, “John Paul Stevens: Repeal the Second Amendment”? In his op-ed, Stevens (nominated by a Republican president) praises the work of the March for Our Lives organizers and urges the group to “seek more effective and more lasting reform” via a “repeal of the Second Amendment.” He calls the Second Amendment a “relic of the 18th century.”

Downrange April 2018: 'Say Something' Leads to 'Do Nothing'

April 2018 - Gun Tests Magazine

We also posited that it’s up to us to be sufficiently aware of our environment and the people around us - to be on the alert for people who might commit these horrible acts of violence against innocents. Following the Parkland massacre, there have been many discussions about how, and even if, we can spot those sufficiently deranged who might be capable of committing mass murder. But we have to try - like the grandmother in Everett, WA, who led police to her violence-prone Aces High School grandson and probably stopped another mass killing.

Gun Laws in the News

March 2018 - Gun Tests Magazine

I hate to be a downer in these pages, but there’s crazy anti-gun stuff going on all over the country. It seems that because gun owners don’t have much to fear federally, gun-restrictive states are going their own way with new regulations, fees, and other infringements on the right to keep and bear arms. Here’s a sampler of a few things that you might devote a couple of brain cells to.

Gun Rights Wish List Bogs Down

February 2018 - Gun Tests Magazine

We’re already into the second month of the year, and 2018 is looking like 2017 regarding gun legislation. To see how far gun legislation advanced, I checked the January 2017 “Downrange” column, which had a wish list of efforts for gun owners — and saw that not much is moving, or what is moving continues at a glacial pace.

NICS Gets Attention, Good and Bad

January 2018 - Gun Tests Magazine

The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has been getting a lot of attention recently. If you’ll recall, a court-martialed Air Force veteran purchased a rifle illegally and used it to kill 25 people inside a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church on Nov. 5. Turns out that the Air Force had not provided the FBI with details of the court martial. The Air Force also missed the shooter’s initial arrest on domestic-abuse charges and his 2012 escape from a New Mexico behavioral health facility. Had NICS been properly updated, it’s likely the system would have blocked the sale of the murder weapon to the shooter.

Grading the News

December 2017 - Gun Tests Magazine

The New York Post reports that gun ownership in New York City (such as it is) could soon come with a warning - it’s dangerous to the gun-owner’s health. The City Council Public Safety Committee voted 6-1 Monday to require the NYPD to hand out written warnings about the risks of gun ownership to new applicants for firearm permits.

After Las Vegas

November 2017 - Gun Tests Magazine

The first dreadful pieces of news coming out of Las Vegas on Sunday, October 1, coalesced into yawning horror that would grip a nation and sadden our world. Fifty-nine people were dead and hundreds injured at the hands of a lone sniper, who had secreted more than 20 rifles and handguns on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. From that perch, the shooter had uninterrupted views of the Las Vegas Strip and the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music concert, that kicked off at the Las Vegas Village, a venue across the Strip from the Luxor hotel and the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Another Disaster, Another Column

October 2017 - Gun Tests Magazine

In the November 2005 “Downrange” column, I wrote to you after the arrival of Category 5 Hurricane Rita, discussing what our go-to guns were when we were considering bugging out of Houston. Now we’re dealing with the remnants of Category 4 Hurricane Harvey, and the water is Biblically high. Our gun-column angle for this disaster are the legal ramifications of moving guns during emergencies.

Surplus 1911s Might Be Back

September 2017 - Gun Tests Magazine

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018. Included in the bill is a provision that would make U.S. Army surplus 1911 45 ACP pistols available to the American public through the Civilian Marksmanship program (CMP), according to an NRA release. In November 2015, then-President Obama signed the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2016 into law with language that authorized the Secretary of Defense to transfer 1911s no longer in service to the CMP for public sale. That language made the transfers subject to the Secretary’s discretion and capped them at 10,000 per year. Unsurprisingly, no actual transfers were made under the program while Obama remained in the White House.

Peruta Declined Supreme Court Hearing

August 2017 - Gun Tests Magazine

I was disappointed to see that on June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear Peruta v. California. A Supreme Court decision would have answered some important legal questions: Does the Second Amendment’s coverage for people to keep and bear arms extend outside the home? Does it cover the right to carry concealed firearms in public? Peruta might have provided definitive legal answers to those questions. Gun owners already know the answers, so we’re frustrated that a natural right to self protection is hemmed in by state statutes.

Way to Go, Judicial Watch!

July 2017 - Gun Tests Magazine

You may have not heard about Judicial Watch (JW), a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group that bedevils many different agencies with requests for information that said agencies would rather not share. They use what are called Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, which is part of federal law, to pry out information that should be public. Usually, federal agencies thumb their bureaucratic noses at JW and don’t deliver squat, which then prompts JW to sue their sorry a***s. I admire what JW does generally, but I also like that they take on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in particular.

22-Caliber Handgun Shoot-Out: Smith, TacSol, Beretta, Colt

June 2017 - Gun Tests Magazine

In this installment, we are looking at some of the best 22-caliber pistols for all-around target shooting and training for marksmanship and personal-defense practice, with an emphasis on viability for personal-defense training. Some handguns are just fine for general plinking, but the modern shooter demands the ability to train with combat lights or even a red-dot sight. All 22s do not allow this type of versatility. Let’s look at four 22-caliber handguns and see how they stack up as modern trainers.

The 22 self-loading handgun is a great firearm that every handgunner should own at least one of. The 22 is a great trainer, and it is also a good small-game handgun, and it is even useful in some forms of competition. The absence of recoil and muzzle report compared to centerfire handguns is often touted, but recoil and muzzle blast are there, simply in easily manageable portions. The shooter is free to concentrate on trigger press, sight picture, sight alignment, and grip. Practice in offhand fire, combat practice, firing for extreme accuracy from a solid rest, clearing malfunctions and hunting game are just some of the practice that may be accomplished with the 22 pistol. For small-game hunting, excellent accuracy is demanded. For combat practice—and this is an important point—the handgun should be similar to the centerfire defense gun in accuracy. In that manner, the shooter isn’t given a false sense of security by a 22 that is much more accurate than the 9mm or 45 they use for personal defense. When practicing with the 22, the serious shooter should use the same grip and trigger press that he or she uses when mastering the 9mm or 45. Using a lighter grip or shooting fast just because the 22 is so controllable doesn’t cross over into personal defense skills; it is simply shooting for fun.

We collected two 22-caliber handguns and two 22-caliber conversion units for comparison. One of the handguns is a new model and the other, a relatively new and often overlooked pistol. The firearms tested included the Smith & Wesson Victory 22, Beretta Neos 22, Tactical Solutions’ Glock conversion unit, and a Colt 22 Ace conversion unit.

A Piece of ‘Gunmageddon’ Challenged

June 2017 - Gun Tests Magazine

The California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) and several individual plaintiffs have filed an important Second Amendment lawsuit challenging California’s newly expanded Assault Weapons Control Act (AWCA). The suit, Rupp v. Becerra, seeks to have the courts declare the AWCA unconstitutional because it infringes on the right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.

New Accessories, Gear, and Ammunition Choices for 2017

May 2017 - Gun Tests Magazine - Subscribers Only

As prices continue to come down as the result of a gun glut (supply and demand economics), more folks will be buying guns, and we’ll want to shoot them. So we will be adding enhancements to those firearms and feeding ammunition into them with a big grin. Here are some new products Gun Tests’ staffers have taken note of that will make your firearms run, run better, or add fun.

Browning’s Sweet Sixteen: Still Sweet After All These Years?

May 2017 - Gun Tests Magazine - Subscribers Only

The popularity of the 16-gauge shotgun, in particular the Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen, has never waned among those select shooters with a streak of nostalgia in their genetic makeup. A common refrain of, “I’ve still got my granddad’s old 16 — best bird gun ever made,” is often heard whenever veteran shooters gather to share tales of old or create new memories of quality time in the outdoors.

Responding to a reader’s request, we decided to give the recently unveiled Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen that premiered at the 2016 SHOT Show a closer look to see what motivates the 16 gauge’s small, but very loyal, fan base. The new semiautomatic is built with a smaller, lighter receiver than the old-style Humpback and utilizes a different recoil system than the long-recoil creation of legendary firearms genius John M. Browning, so only time will tell if it has the lasting power of its predecessors.

The Light Twelve was added to the mix for a couple of reasons. First, the older Sweet Sixteen is built on the same-sized frame as the 12 gauge. Also, we wanted to see if the 16 gauge lives up to its reputation as a more sporting shooting tool. And, of course, 12-gauge ammunition is much more available than 16-gauge shotshells, and if the potential wingshooter is in the market for one of these Humpbacks, how much will nostalgia and pride of ownership of a “Sweet Sixteen” override the economics of shooting the bigger gauge, assuming similar performance?

Three More 10mm Autos: Kimber, Dan Wesson, Tanfoglio

May 2017 - Gun Tests Magazine - Subscribers Only

Last year we tested three 10mm Auto pistols and found there was a lot of interest in these big-bore handguns, so we decided to return to these powerful handguns for another look. Our most recent crop of 10mms includes two 1911 platforms and one based on the CZ 75 platform. The Kimber Custom TLE II and the Dan Wesson Bruin Bronze share the 1911 platform, while the Tanfoglio Witness is based on the CZ 75 design. We liked all three of these pistols and found that all three could serve multiple duties from hunting to self-defense. Since the 10mm has the power of a 41 Magnum, we feel it is a bit much for everyday carry. If we ever were in a shooting incident, it’s possible the overpenetration of the 10mm could be a liability. But in a self-defense situation where you are facing an angry bear in the back country, we think the 10mm Auto makes perfect sense. Also, as a hunting round, the 10mm offers a lot of power and is well suited for game like deer and pigs at short distances. We’d even use it in a tree stand to take black bears visiting a bait.

All three pistols ran exceptionally well with no malfunctions or jams, and we found they were accurate. Two-inch five-shot groups at 25 yards were the norm. For ammunition, we used SIG Sauer V-Crown Ammunition loaded with an 180-grain JHP bullet. The SIG ammo was loaded to velocities that 10mm Auto was designed for.

The other two loads were Federal American Eagle and Armscor USA labels, both using 180-grain FMJs. These two rounds weren’t as hot as the SIG load, as the table data reveal. The SIG ammo factory data shows a muzzle velocity of 1250 fps; we got very close to that muzzle velocity from the Kimber and Dan Wesson. The Tanfoglio produced less velocity. The Federal and Armscor ammo is factory-speed stamped at 1030 fps and 1008 fps, respectively. With the three pistols, we saw higher muzzle velocities than the factory figures.

For accuracy testing, we used a rest and open sights, firing at targets placed 25 yards downrange. For our speed stage, we fired at 10 yards. A fast and accurate follow-up shot was faster with the Bruin and Witness, which we will get into shortly. Remember that a 10mm Auto is not a learner’s pistol or for those who are sensitive to recoil. In our opinion, the Bruins and the Witness helped us manage recoil the best. Shooting this trio side by side at the range, we learned a lot about them. Here’s the skinny on all three.

More Winning Gun Laws, Please

May 2017 - Gun Tests Magazine

Man, everywhere you look, there’s good new laws pertaining to guns, gun rights, gun culture, you name it. At the top of the list would be sending congratulations to our subscribers in North Dakota. Governor Doug Burgum (R) signed House Bill 1169 into law. HB 1169 will eliminate the requirement to obtain a permit in order to lawfully carry. HB 1169 will make the current permitting system optional to allow citizens to obtain permits and take advantage of reciprocity agreements with other states.