Firing Line: May 2001


Magazine Releases
I read Stanton Bergs letter in the April 2001 Gun Tests and was quite concerned with it. He states that he has investigated 28 cases where a magazine safety would have prevented an accident and collected 45 newspaper articles where accidents would have been avoided. He does not acknowledge the golden rule of firearms safety-Keep the muzzle in a safe direction. If he wants to blame something, it should be improper storage or handling, not magazine safeties. As for the 12 officers who had accidents, I can only speculate that they didnt follow proper firearms handling safety. Being in law enforcement, I have heard multiple first-hand instances of locker homicides. If the case was a suspect wrestling the gun from the officer, I would invite Mr. Berg to try to drop a mag from a gun with four hands encouraging it while violently moving. Odds are either the suspects hands are covering the mag release or covering the mag, not allowing it to drop.

His insults and tone were not necessary. If it were me, I would have laughed at his one-sidedness and thrown it in the trash. I guess its all part of your impartiality, and for that you should be commended.

-Name and address withheld

Because of the volume of mail criticizing Bergs stance on magazine releases last month, we also solicited comments from Chuck Taylor, one of about half a dozen four-weapons combat masters and a training consultant to the Swiss army. He said, Everyone has their opinions, but I, too, feel that magazine disconnectors can be more life threatening than life-saving. The notion that they save lives by preventing someone from using the weapon when the magazine is removed is, in my view, absurd since the need to fire can easily come during a reload sequence, et al. Complexity breeds disaster when life is on the line, and theory versus reality shows mag disconnectors arent nearly as useful as some believe them to be.

Kel-Tec Defense
I would like to comment on your recent review of the Kel-Tec P-11. Your Dont Buy rating was, in my opinion, too harsh. I feel that a Conditional Buy with comments on how to improve the weapon would have been justified.

Yes, some P-11s have a problem with the take-down pin working loose. I have had one about five years and, except for one or two minor problems during break-in, it has seen daily use and I would, if necessary, stake my life on it.

Some things an owner can do to improve the performance of the P-11 include:

* Polish the feedramp and the slide/hammer interface with a Dremel tool.
* Polish the slide rails to take out small machining burrs.
* Use a good grease (I use Slick50) on the slide rails and the slide/hammer.
* Use a good oil (I use Mili-Tech 1) on all moving parts.
* Install a Hogue Hand-All Jr. slip-on grip. This lessens perceived recoil.
* Be sure the P-11 has the 8.5-pound hammer spring.

The metal guide rod is a good addition, as is a trigger shoe. The addition of the pinky rest to the magazine makes the weapon fit larger hands.

May I suggest you visit the Kel-Tec Owners Group (approximately 1200 strong) at for more information on Kel-Tec products. KTOG is not affiliated with Kel-Tec, beyond being composed of Kel-Tec owners.

-Michael E. Anderson

Express Mistake
I just received the April 2001 issue of Gun Tests. While reading your excellent review on Specialty Turkey guns, I did notice something that I would like to call to your attention.

The header within the article for the Remington 870 SPS-T actually reads Remington 870 Express SPS-T. This is not quite accurate as the 870 Special Purpose shotguns do differ somewhat from the Express line.

However, I do feel that in your comparative analysis, the 870 Express Super Magnum Turkey Camo would stack up rather well competitively to the Mossberg 835. The 870 Express Super Magnum Turkey Camo comes fully camouflaged in Advantage Camo, and is equipped with a Turkey Extra Full choke tube. MSRP on this firearm is $500.

I enjoy reading your publication and will no doubt continue to do so in the future.

-John C. Trull
Product Manager, Firearms
Remington Arms Co., Inc.

Please do not let your friend bend the sight blade left on his Colt SAA (April 2001). Not before he prices replacing a broken front sight. Have a good gunmonkey twist the barrel tighter instead. I have a small accumulation of SAA shooters and a beautiful barrel with a broken front sight.

Murphy rules the word bend in every land.

-Mark S. Dirty Doc Zachary


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