Where’s the Meat?
My May 2022 issue of Gun Tests arrived via USPS with only the front and back cover. All the “meat” of the issue is missing, and I was looking forward to the Springfield Armory SA-35 evaluation. Our Postmistress said to call you, which I did. A very nice, efficient lady took my info. In just over a week, I had my issue in perfect condition. I have been a subscriber for many, many years. You are my go-to source for all my gun-related info. Thanks for a great magazine with all the info I need and can trust. Always read every issue from page to page, cover to cover. — Michael
So glad to help, Michael. The folks in customer service are very diligent in trying to resolve all the delivery and circulation problems. — Todd Woodard
Re “Downrange, June 2022
It was good to read that half of the U.S. states have approved “Constitutional Carry,” with Georgia the latest. However, when Governor Kemp said: “The Constitution of the United States gives us that right, not the government,” I don’t believe he is accurate. The U.S. Constitution was written to prevent the government from infringing or making laws that limit the inalienable rights referenced in the Declaration of Independence. As has been written, these rights are a right that can’t be restrained or repealed by human laws and flow from our nature as free people, endowed by their Creator. — Mike
Mike, I believe you’re correct. It’s easy to fall into the language trap of the Constitution “giving” us natural rights, because if that’s the case, then the same document could “take” rights away. — tw
Re “Value 9mm Semi-Automatics: Ruger, Taurus, KelTec, and S&W,” February 2021
Hi Todd, I have every issue of Gun Tests going back six years or so. I sometimes like to reread previous issues. In that vein, I just re-read the February 2021 issue, which reported the test results on the 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ pistol. A great gun — with two exceptions, for which your testers rightfully downgraded the rating a little. I’m amazed and disappointed that the front sight was too tall, right from the factory. And the too-wide dovetail for the rear sight is disappointing and uncalled for. Those results, of course, were for the pistol bought in early 2021 or late 2020. I recommend testing a much newer 9mm EZ, one made, say, in 2022, to see if Smith & Wesson has improved the sights since your previous test. I think many of your readers might like to know, since the 9mm EZ has a lot going for it — except for the sights problems. — Phil
Hey Phil: We didn’t see a repetition of the sight problem on the Shield 9mm, 380, or 30 Super Carry pistols reviewed beginning on page 6 of this issue. — tw
Re “Long-Barrel 357 Magnum Revolvers: Buy Old, Or New?” June 2022
Reading your disappointing review of the Smith & Wesson 686, I instantly thought of the exact same problem I had with my S&W 627 (misfires due to light strikes). There’s a “mainspring strain screw” on mine (I think the 686 is similar) that changes the trigger pull. When I started getting failure-to-fire malfunctions with tiny dents in the primer, I took it to a gunsmith who glanced at the gun and said, “You don’t need me. Just tighten that screw. It loosens up with shooting. Put a little more tension on the mainspring and you’ll cure the problem.”
This, of course, increases the trigger pull a bit. He also mentioned that, since the screw is plainly just sitting there for anybody to mess with, some folks deliberately tune down the trigger pull to the point where the gun stops shooting. The owners manual should say, “Loosen this screw to prevent firing.” — Michael
Recoil and Older Folks
I have several pistols, but the ones I like the best are a Springfield Armory XD 3.5 and a Ruger American. For the XD, I bought a rear-sight optic-mounting plate and had my local gunsmith install it, along with a Holosun green optic sight. The XD also has a Powder River trigger kit and is very soft recoiling. I bought the Ruger American because it has an ambi safety, and I’m left handed. Then I bought a Remington 380 ACP for concealed carry. The simple sights were black, but I used a toothpick with yellow paint to make the sights more visible. But I didn’t like the recoil, so I added a Hogue rubber grip. I do a lot of dry-fire practice with it. Last October at a local gun show, I bought another pistol, a SCCY 9mm CTX with a red-dot optic mounted. Took this to the range and discovered that, for me, the recoil is punishing. The grip is rather narrow (0.6 inch wide), and I thought a Hogue rubber grip might help. It didn’t.
Because both the Remington and SCCY are double actions, I wondered if that unpleasant recoil was the nature of the beast for this type of pistol. Finally, I found I had some quarter-inch rubber padding that was in a box from another gun optic I had purchased a while back (don’t know why I save such things). I wrapped it around the grip and tightly secured it with black tape. With this jury-rigged grip, it is now much more comfortable to shoot, but I can just barely reach the trigger.
Thinking that since I am 84 years old, I wondered if my weak hands were possibly the problem. So I have a pair of spring-type hand-strength gripping tools I started using when watching tv. I also walk every day with sticks, and I concentrate on gripping them like I would a pistol, with my index finger pointed straight out. Now that it’s warmer, I will take both the SCCY and the Remington to the range to see if there is some improvement in my recoil tolerance.
Because I read many gun magazines, especially yours, I note the testers will say in their reviews of individual pistols, things like “recoil is manageable,” or “soft” or “comfortable.” Now, these people shoot a lot of pistols, and perhaps the web of their hands are tougher than mine, or other people’s.
All this led me to come up with an idea for a new tool for use in testing pistols — possibly for any firearm. Trigger-pull weight tools are available, and stats on any reviewed weapon usually include trigger-pull weight. So I wondering if somebody in the industry could design a 1-inch-square soft flexible pad that could be wrapped over the back of the pistol grip or a rifle buttstock. This pad would have a sensor that could measure recoil and send it to a cellphone app. Then reviews could include measured firearm recoil! Thanks. — JNL
Hey John: I’ve considered adding recoil measurements to our lists of stats. According to the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, the more precise term is Free Recoil Energy. To find a document that discusses the various factors that would go into such a calculation, search online for “SAAMI gun recoil formulae” without the quote marks. You’re looking for the July 9, 2018 document.
I’ve chosen not to add that calculation because, while it does offer a quantitative measurement of Free Recoil Energy, it doesn’t factor in qualitative design factors that affect perceived recoil. So, light 9mms shooting +P loads will have more recoil velocity coming back into the hand than heavier 9mms shooting lower-power rounds. Also, your experiment with the padding distributes the recoil force over a wider area, which makes the recoil feel not so sharp. Tough to boil down to a single meaningful number. I’d bet a comfortable gun for you to shoot would be one of the 5.7x28s, such as Ruger’s 57. — tw