In defense of the obsolete.

Working in a gun store again, I get to hear all the old rundowns and complaints about the “Obsolete Old Man’s Guns”.  Maybe they are guns for the Older and Wiser crowd, but one thing they are not, is obsolete.  Windows 3.11 is obsolete.  A 1911 is going stronger than ever.1911ThreadedEnhanced_3QRight_BlkBushing
The 1911 has seen continuous use by the US Military ever since it was first adopted.  Sure, it was replaced in the Mid 80’s by the Beretta, but many units chose to keep their 1911’s in service.  Typically special operations type units.  These are guys who had the option to pretty much get whatever they wanted, and they chose to stick with what has been working.  For example, Marine MARSOC just bought a whole mess of Colt 1911’s… which replaced a whole mess of Springfields, which had replaced a whole bunch of Colts. Now, forgive me, but either MARSOC is staffed by overly sentimental geriatric clowns, or the 1911 is still a fine sidearm.  Given the fact that MARSOC follows an operational tempo that makes Call of Duty seem boring… I’m guessing those guys pretty much define “High Speed, Low Drag”.  Having met many MARSOC Operator, and worked with them on various things… Let me tell you… MARSOC knows their trade.  If a 1911 is so obsolete, I don’t think they would be using them.  On a side note, they also use Glock 19’s for when they are rolling incognito and have to carry concealed.  But that’s another subject.
Competitive shooters are still running a lot of 1911’s as well.  Guy’s who’s paychecks demand that they shoot as well as possible.  They are using those old obsolete 1911’s.   I don’t know about you, but every competition I’ve ever been in, hiccups in accuracy and reliability could pretty much cost you the match.Springfield-M1911A1-GI-45-Explodedv11
Here’s the thing. The 1911 requires a bit more knowledge, and a bit more TLC than other more recent designs.  But too many guys Harsh on the 1911 for the same “problems” that they give passes on the AR-15 for.  You just gotta know your gun. Know how to take care of it. Know what ammo shoots best in it.   The 1911 is complicated some people will say.  No, it really isn’t.  It’s a very simple machine and easy to understand if you will stop holding your breath and pouting that it isn’t a Glock.   Pay attention and learn… and show some respect.  The design is over a hundred years old and remains a top choice for handguns.
For the serious 1911 Operator the rituals of maintenance are part of the satisfaction of running it.  For them, the 1911 breakdown is like a Japanese Tea Ceremony.  It brings them peace and joy, and a belter understanding every time.  The Glock Operator is a crass barbarian in comparison.ruger-gp100-factory-3-inch-adjustable-sight
Revolvers are also far from obsolescence.  .357 Magnum remains the Gold Standard of defensive handgun cartridges.  .45 Colt is no slouch either.  .44 Specials, .44 Mags, always a crowd pleaser and few can shrug off catching one of those.  Loaded Light or Hot… Heavy slugs well aimed, no, that’s not obsolete.  Never will be… until we have a 40 watt Phased Plasma option.
Revolvers offer reliability with uncompromised accuracy and power.  If you call that obsolete, I’m calling you a fool.
The only thing truly obsolete is ignorance.  Yet in this Age of Internet, misinformation is at your fingertips and Urban Legends become forces of nature.  Opinions and facts feud like Hatfields and McCoys.
There is also the fact that like older cars, these Old Guy Guns are just better looking.  The visual appeal is biological… 1911’s, Revolvers… There are no new guns is as Sexy.   Maybe this is where the older and wiser comes in.  We take the time to appreciate the finer things.
Of course, all things considered, I guess Beretta 92’s and SIG 220/226/228/229 guns are Old Guy Guns as well.

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No… they are not Obsolete.  They are Classics.  Classics never go out of style for good reasons.  It’s why they are Classics.

Kimber’s Micro

You guys know I’ll call out a gun company if they put out crap… And you guys know I’ll give kudos to those that pull it together.  I’ve talked about Para, and Ruger, and others… This one though… This surprises me.
Kimber.   Kimber is a company that basically took Colt and bent them over a knee and gave them a good old fashioned whipping about how 1911’s are supposed to be made.  It changed the gun industry as far as 1911’s go.  It used to be that you bought a new Colt 1911 and you immediately set about working on it or having it worked on by a Gunsmith.  And it wasn’t just Colt, that was everyone pretty much. That’s just the way things were.
Until Kimber.  Kimber set about making 1911’s that ran right out of the box.
Until a few years ago when Kimber’s Quality Control dropped through the floor.   I had brand new guns with what looked like used parts in them.  I had barrels that had waves in them.   All this, I’ve talked about before.  It’s in the Archives at the Old MadOgre.com section.  I had to send back a whole shipment of Kimber Tac Custom II’s.  I just couldn’t trust Kimber anymore.
That was then.  This is now.  Kimber looks like they are taking things seriously again.  If fact, it looks like Kimber is better than ever.  And I’m not talking cosmetics.  I’m talking internals, machining, everything.  It looks like they are making some great stuff again.   Not only that, but they once again bent Colt over the knee and gave them a whipping again.
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See, Colt had the Mustang.  A mini 1911 like pistol in .380.  Colt gave the middle finger to the American Gun Owner and decided they wouldn’t sell to us unwashed masses.  Guns like the Mustang were all discontinued.  That was many years ago.   Many years later SIG came out with the SIG 238, which was SIG’s version of a Mustang.  It sold so well that Colt was like “Hey!” and they started making the Mustang again.   Well, Kimber looked at the SIG, and looked at the Mustang.  And then threw down the Kimber MICRO.  It’s like what Kimber did the the Colt 1911’s.  It makes the Colt look pretty dated.   There are various versions of the Kimber Micro.   All 13.4 Ounces in weight, all 6+1 Capacity.  All look great.  But the Micro Raptor… it just looks drop dead gorgeous.   And it’s a .380.  And I like it.  Crazy.   Now if Kimber does what SIG did… and make a version in 9mm… I’d be very tempted to buy that.  I’m very tempted to buy the Micro in .380 as it is.  And I don’t even like Pocket Guns.  That’s how cool these Micros are.

Don’t get me started about the SOLO.  Great looking guns that don’t work right.  There’s a sexist political jab I could make there, but I wont.   If Kimber could just take the SOLO back to R&D and engineer that thing to run right – That would be great.   Other than the SOLO, I think Kimber is back to making real guns again.

SIG P220’s in 10mm

Over on WeTheArmed.com, the subject is being discussed.  This is something I’ve been wanting now for – let me check – about 15 years.  And it’s finally happening.  SIG is going to release some variants of the P220 in 10mm Auto.
This isn’t just good for us 10mm fans.  This is really good for us 10mm fans.  Really, outside of custom 1911’s that cost the same as a decent used motorcycle or even a car… There have only been two options for a production 10mm pistol.
1.  Glock.
2.  EAA.
Let’s look at Glock.  The Model 20, and the Model 29 have been it.  Luckily for us, Glock is also bringing out the Model 40 MOS in 10mm so we have another decent option… the Model 40 sporting a long slide and being optics ready.  I’ve handled this gun and it’s going to be great.
EAA on the other hand… While they make a great gun in the Witness series, I still have a hard time taking EAA seriously because of their past marketing.  At least they’ve finally dropped the embarrassingly sexist crap with girls that look like they came from the Red Light District of Richmond, VA.   Looking at the new Witness line up, I see that EAA is taking great strides to be actually competitive in their offerings.    They are making some new models now that I’d be very interesting in trying.   But a lot of guys I know refuse to even look at an EAA for various reasons.   And EAA is not considered a top tier provider of service handguns.   Not like Glock, not like SIG…

With SIG finally breaking bad and throwing down 10mm, this legitimizes the 10mm cartridge even further.  If these guns have any degree of success, like I think they well… I will expect to see  the likes of Beretta and S&W jumping on board with 10mm service pistols down the road.    I can even see Ruger offering a few variants of their 1911 in it…

I’d still really like to see CZ-USA offer a 97B in 10.  The 97B and the P220 have been my dream Tens.   I am very happy about this.

Am I a Dark Prepper?

“You’re not a Prepper.  You’re a Dark Prepper.”
This was thrown at me some time ago and I dismissed it off the cuff… And for some time I’ve been thinking about it.  A Prepper is a guy that gets all the stuff he’s going to need to survive and stockpiles it and hordes it.  So I guess the Dark Prepper, or Anti-Prepper is different in that has preps are so that he can go get what he needs through the use of force.   So the accusation has some clearly dark meaning behind it.  Here’ the thing though.
It’s true.
But not in the way they or you think, but yes, basically it could be said that I am in fact a Dark Prepper.   I’ve laid out all my prepping plans in Uprising USA.
Here’s the plan.
1.  Secure your HQ.
2.  Secure your local area.
3.  Secure your People.  Your Friends, Family, Loved ones… Those that may need help.  Elderly, Young, Infirm.  Make sure everyone is okay and has what they need to survive.
Now here’s where it gets gnarly…
4.  Secure additional assets and supplies to insure longevity.  Food, Medicines, other supplies and equipment.

Now where I differ from the truly Dark, is that I would not use force on those that have the assets we’d be looking for.   Force would be only to defend.   This is all pretty clearly laid out in Uprising USA.  Moving further, in Uprising UK, there is a scene where assets were taken unknowingly from another survivor who hid when they came to get it.  When it was discovered that someone had a claim of ownership to the property, the person was fairly and justly compensated for what had been taken and an amiable conclusion was reached.

So really, maybe, I am not a Dark Prepper.  Just a humble procurer of that which sustains life… an amicable prepper.  A beneficent prepper.  A Magnanimous prepper…

My new Plan since I’m on the East Coast?  Not giving away any details, but it involves a large comfortable boat, all my pals and fam, and a long cruise to someplace nice.

Wilson Combat’s Beretta 92G Brigadier

10806363_10204743951852068_5343904235898778701_nThe #1 best thing I saw at the Ellott Brother’s show, was the Wilson Combat Beretta 92G Brigadier.
Wait, why would I say that?  The 92 is old school!  It’s out dated, it’s too big, it’s too heavy, blah blah blah…  Son, you don’t understand quality and refinement.  If this was a car, it would be a full sized luxury car from Mercedes, worked over by AMG and on the back of it would have the word “Kompressor”.   That’s what the 92G from Wilson is like.  The Trigger is as smooth as you can get, and much lighter than expected.  It breaks in both modes of fire very crisp and clean.  I have to say, it’s the best DA/SA pull I’ve felt on any handgun.   The Wilson sights are beautifully clear and visible – even with my poor eyesight.
These are pistols are – and I don’t say this lightly – the most astute choice for a DA/SA Semi Automatic 9mm that you could make if you appreciate the finer things in life.   A real working class gun, that cleaned up nice and is ready to go out to eat.   I must have one.

 

10898136_10204743952692089_8032036853834489508_nThis studd is Anothony, from Wilson Combat.   Surprise, Anthony!  Long time MadOgre.com reader.  (Sorry about that)  He’s also the guy that helped me get one of these fine pistols ordered.   One for a customer of mine – and one will be ordered for myself.   Because these handguns are exquisite.
He also had to show me another weakness of mine… 1911’s fit for EDC.
He had to put this little guy in my hand.
I’ve listed a Kidney on Craigslist.   Yeah, so that’s two from Wilson Combat.

10931436_10204743953332105_83957842980627955_nNow, if you already own a Beretta, I recommend this.
That’s a replacement spring that will improve your trigger pull.  I took a large enough photo of it so you can see the part number and order the right one.   It makes a huge difference.  I felt it.  By the time you’ve read this, I’ve already ordered one for my own use.  I need a set of their grips too.  Because they felt amazing.

I’ve always been a big fan of Wilson Combat.  I don’t see that changing.  They are still doing it right.

Ellott Brother’s Show in Columbia

Pre-SHOT Show so not a lot of the newest.  Mostly it’s Pre-Shot clearing of older products.  But there was some new things:

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This is SIG’s new BRAVO 4 optic.   Much larger field of view than the Leupold HAMR, with brightness and clarity that rivaled ELCAN.  SIG has a whole new line up of Optics and looking through them all… It competes square up against the Leupold HAMR and ACOG. It’s a fixed 4 power. HUGE field of view, wider than the ACOG, wider than the HAMR. 4 inches of eye relief – they said – felt more like 3.5 to me… but massive field of view and clarity I’ve only seen in an ELCAN. It’s MAP is about 1299. This is a staggering good optic.
When I asked how they did this – SIG snatched a lot of guys from Leupold. They have a Prismatic as well, called the Bravo 3. And other AR type optics and hunting optics…  Binos and such… 
SIG is doing them right too. These are good. I want one.

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This is the CZ EVO… It’s very smooth, very cool, and I think I like it more than the SIG MPX.  Especially since the mags are half the price of SIG’s.  There is an adapter for a SIG arm brace – which means it’s a perfect vehicle for an SBR.

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Leupold wasn’t just thinking outside the box here.  They threw the box away.  What you are seeing is a small 6 power optic with an objective lens on the side, and the occular lens were your back up iron sight would be.  It’s lower than the mini red dot… so you can use the red dot for fast work and tuck in for a more precisely aimed shot.  It’s weird and I’d really have to get used to it – but I like the concept.  Optical quality was not that great though – which defeats the purpose.   But hey – it’s just a concept.  I like where it’s going.

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We’ve seen the pictures.  They don’t do the Curve justice.  It’s a lot stupider than it looked.  I like they are trying something new.  But they just need to try a better idea.

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New handguard on the Mossberg 464 SPX.  Thinner, lighter… I love it.  I’ll have to order one soon.  Seriously.  I’m going to have to.

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The newest Ruger GP100 Match Champion… Now with an adjustable rear sight.  It feels better in the hand than the photos suggest.  For a Double Action Revolver – I think Ruger found perfection.  I WILL have one.

Fisking a Pro-Gun Article

I’m going to fisk a Pro-Gun article here.  Not to play Devil’s Advocate, but to make some corrections.   The article is found at BuzzPo.

1. TRIGGER:  Probably the most important feature for your EDC. 99% of all accuracy issues seem to always come back to trigger control. Now that doesn’t mean that with your skills and abilities you can’t master a goofy trigger. But why put yourself through that?

When selecting your EDC, pick a weapon that has a trigger that feels good. Think of it as putting on a pair of boxer shorts one size too small. You’d likely eventually adjust, but it never really feels natural and quite right.

You are correct, Sir.  Most all accuracy issues can be found in the trigger.  However it is not in the Mechanics of the Trigger, but in the Manipulation.  It’s how you use it.  Even a bad trigger used by a good shooter can result in outstanding accuracy.  Just like a great trigger used by a poor shooter will of course result in poor accuracy.   To quote Chuck Yeager, “It’s not the plane, it’s the pilot.”  You can not buy proficiency.  That takes practice, regardless of what pistol you buy.

2.  GRIP SIZE:  Look at your hands! If your a small petite woman with tiny hands, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you’re not going to like the full size 10mm Glock 20. And by the same token, I’m a big guy with bear claws for hands. So I personally hate shooting the Sig P938. Again, this is a preference thing. Does your hand naturally wrap around the grip? Does the grip length extend to the base of your hand, or are your finger(s) dangling off the end? Does the grip angle fit and feel well in the webbing between your thumb and trigger finger? Find what feels natural for you.

Here’s where a lot of compromises come in to play.  The Litany of Questions that the author asked are rather useless to the purpose.  EDC, “Every Day Carry”, for the most part really means “Concealed Carry”.  And that means different things for different people.  Everything having to do with Concealed Carry means Compromise.  You are going to compromise Power, Practical Accuracy, Comfort, and Capacity all for the sake of having something that you the EDC Person can have on you all the time, every day.  How you dress, what you are going to be doing that day, the weather, where you are going… all these factors come into play.   And for all of this, the gun is the least important selection… more importantly is having the right Holster.

3:  Frame Size & Safety:  This one is simple. How are you planning to carry? If you want to concealed carry, a full size Glock with a 5 inch barrel will pose some significant challenges. Furthermore, frame size plays a part in felt recoil with larger calibers as well. So that tiny 9mm may actually thump a tad harder than a full size .45.

What about an external mechanical safety? I prefer not to have one. One less thing to fiddle with if you need your EDC in action. But that’s only my preference. If you prefer an external safety, PRACTICE WITH IT! And by practice, I mean find a range that lets you draw and fire from the holster. Get your draw stroke and safety disengagement down as you draw, and your trigger press smooth and consistent as you extend your arms. Fire 2 or 3 rounds at your threat (target), clear the area to the right and left, safety, re-holster, and repeat.

Wait, didn’t you already talk about size?  So… you need to talk about it again.  Huh, I guess size does matter.   You pull out a 5 inch Glock?  So a Glock 34, 35, or 41… essentially Glock’s competition pistols.  So you are saying not to EDC a Competition Pistol.  Okay.   I guess that means I’ll leave my Razorcat at home as well.  Wait, we’re talking Size again and all the sudden you just straight into a day long pistol course in the space of one paragraph.    Dude, everything you explain, you do by asking questions.  Don’t ask me questions, give me the answers.  This is why we’re reading your article!  And why I’m fisking it.

External Mechanical Safeties, good point about practicing with it.  But the difficulties involved with it are grossly overstated.  If you have the mental capacity to conclude that you have all the legal criteria met for the use of lethal force to remedy whatever situation you are in, you should also be smart enough to know how to flip a lever from SAFE to FIRE.  This is not rocket science.  And it’s not solving a Rubic’s Cube.  It’s a Safety Lever.   Yes, indeed… Practice with it.  A lot.  In my police academy, we were told 500 Presentations from your holster before you carry a new gun or use a new holster on duty.  That sounds like a lot… and it is.  But it’s more of a goal than a requirement.  The point of it is practice and get used to it.

4:  Caliber:  My favorite subject. “My .40’s faster than your .45. My .45 hits harder than your 9mm.”

Good God, when this subject comes up, it’s worse than a male genitalia measuring contest! What good is a large caliber if your rounds are 5 feet off target? And I’m not talking about the first round. I’m talking about the follow up shots. In a real life or death scenario, you’re going to fire until you stop the threat. Your EDC should be a caliber that you can consistently control well. If you can do that, SIZE DOESN’T MATTER!

Well, yes and no.  There are minimums and maximums.  I wouldn’t go below .380 Auto for a defensive caliber.  Too many people out there are using .22 Long Rifle, .32 Auto, .25 Auto… These are just not up to the task.  Even if shot placement is perfect, it may not stop the threat.  The threat is the whole reason you are shooting.  The Bad Guy or Wild Animal or whatever alien, monster, zombie is ruining your day… you are shooting it because it’s about to do something really bad and you have to stop it from doing that thing.   If I come at you with my wee little pocket knife, and you pull your .22 or .25 on me… I promise you, I will turn you into coleslaw and you will be dead before I get tired and expire.  You will beat me to the Pearly Gates because your gun isn’t enough to stop me.  At least, not with a reasonable enough expectancy.  There are occasional antidotes of immediate threats being halted.  But there are far more that are just otherwise.  Such as people not even knowing they had been hit until later.  Such a President Regan, who caught a small caliber bullet and didn’t realize it.
On the flip side, handguns designed for hunting make poor EDC choices.  Not just for size and weight considerations but for power.  A cartridge designed to drop an Alaskan Brown is probably not the best idea for self defense.  Not from the stand point of ruined meat, but the legal liability of over-penetration and having to articulate this in front of a jury.   This is a very real and legitimate concern these days.  The heyday of “carry as much gun as you can” is long over.  I suggest using similar calibers and similar loads as your local law enforcement uses.   Because in court, you can articulate you chose that same loads for the same reasons.  Your attorney will be able to defend you easier than if you chose something along the lines of something exotic.   There are no Magic Bullets.

5:  Magazine Capacity:  Finally, the magical trade off. Magazine capacity vs. concealability. This is a question that only you can answer. Just remember, there’s no rulebook that says you can only have one attacker at a time. Be prepared, and be ready.

In conclusion, your EDC is by your side constantly, like your spouse. So make sure it feels natural, fits well, isn’t uncomfortable, doesn’t kick you too hard, and you practice with it frequently.

A question only I can answer?  You haven’t answered any questions!  I’ve never been in a situation where I wished I had less ammo.  Ideally you want as much as you can get in your gun.  But we’re talking EDC and that means Concealment for most of us, and that means compromising.  Capacity is usually the first to go.  But if your caliber is adequate, capacity is generally mitigated and less of a concern.  Most small handguns are packing 6 or more rounds, snub nose revolvers generally get 5 shots.  This is just fine for most of us.  Most defensive shootings are only 1 or 2 rounds.  Mostly.  Realistically though, a five shot snub is going to be plenty.  And if you need more, this is why you carry more ammunition, either in a Speed Loader, Speed Strip, or Spare Magazine.  Not a bigger, heavier gun.  But hey, if you can pack a full sized Beretta 92FS with a 17 round capacity, or an XDM with a whole box worth of Hollow Points – then more power to you.  But you will still want to carry a spare mag.

Unlike your Spouse, you are not married to your EDC carry gun.  You can have more than one.  In fact, in most places, there are no limits on how many you can have or even carry on you if you want to go Yosemite Sam.  I’d suggest having several guns and carry the best one for what your day has planned.   Feel, your perception of recoil, comfort… that’s all BS.  Clint Smith said that a carry gun shouldn’t be Comfortable, it should be Comforting.  You are not picking out a Puppy or a fluffy pillow… you are picking a weapon for which you are going to use to defend your life, or the lives of your loved ones.  The only considerations after you have concluded that it is one that you will be able to actually EDC with… RELIABILITY is First and Foremost.   It has to go bang every single time.  Second – Practical Accuracy.  You have to be able to make hits with it.    If you can’t hit your target with it, it does no good outside of brandishing and taking selfies in the bathroom.    And that takes – and I agree with the author completely – Practice.  Dedicated, frequent practice.    Even after you have taken your courses and have confidence, you still have to practice.  Shooting skills are like Milk.  It goes bad quick if you are not cycling through it.

Beretta Myth vs Fact

Myth:  The Beretta 92FS is inaccurate.
Fact:  No, you just can’t shoot.

Myth:  The Beretta 92FS is unreliable.
Fact:  No, it’s one of the most reliable… you need to stop reading Gun Forum Debates on the Internet.

Myth:  The open slide allows dirt to get in.
Truth:  It allows the dirt to get out too.

The End of 2014.

So, here’s i’m sitting in my office at the last moments of 2014.  At my fingertips is a Mac, and laying across my lap is an 870 Police Magnum. I’m in South Carolina and I am bewildered how I came about to be here.  A series of unfortunate events and fortuitous events played in such a way that I am in a place that I could never have imagined before.

A couple years ago, I was in a small old house in rural Utah, in the middle of no where.  Chopping wood and splitting wood daily.  Riding a motorcycle through snow.  Never warming up until late March. And to be honest, I was depressed as hell.  I felt stuck… trapped.  I had good friends around, but being stuck in a rut that was going to lead no where.  I found a chance to go to North Carolina, and I jumped on it.  Looking back, that was a mistake.  However I knew it was only a stepping stone.  So I stepped.

Now, I’m in a warmer place, in a new home that’s 4 times the size of that old Ogre Ranch… and the fireplace?  Runs on Gas.   I’m warm.  My joints don’t hurt.  All my old injuries don’t flair up like they used to and I’ve not had to use my cane for a great long time.   This is good.

2014 was a most interesting year.  Some of my worst lows in 2014.  Some of my best times.  I have cherished memories from 2014 now.

I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer.

 

2014’s Top 5 Best New Handguns.

I had intended to write this list before the Worst list… But had too much fun with the Worsts.  Here’s my favorites from all the handguns released in 2014.

Glock-42
#1. The Glock 42.   Despite being a .380 Auto, a subcompact .380 is just what some folks wanted, and has resurrected general interest pocket .380’s after the surge crested about 4 years ago. Concealed Carry remains a top reason for new gun purchases, and according to GunBroker.com the Glock 42 is #4 for Semi Auto pistol sales.  Yes, this pistol was on my Worst list because of the disappointment factor.  But for those wanting a .380 Auto pocket pistol the G42 has been the Go-To option for most people.  It offers good sights and a good trigger in a compact package.  Other options that offer this are the SIG 238, the Kimber Micro, and Colt Mustang… and all of them costing as much as 200 dollars more.

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#2 Ruger’s GP100 Match Champion.  This classic revolver has the features that I want on a general purpose carry revolver.  Big visible front sight, fixed rear that isn’t just part of the frame, good grips, target crown, and a good trigger.  I was mulling over the idea of getting another revolver… and the Match Champion is the one that pushed that desire over the edge as it’s everything I wanted to do with a GP100.  The half lug is a give or take sort of feature, but I find it visually appealing on this gun.

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#3  Walther PPQ 5″.  This gun was probably the most interesting new pistol I handled at 2014 SHOT.  It’s simply a long slide version of the PPQ, which already had a ton of great attributes.  Now, you get a good sight radius and barrel length to go with that great trigger the Walther has.   Walther is Germany’s 3rd great Gun Maker… behind HK and SIG (You guys can argue which is first and second) and it’s been the one with the most ups and downs.   10 years ago I said that Walther was struggling to  maintain its significance.  In 2014 it has certainly found it.  This is one of the very best handguns on the market.  Period.

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#4  The HK VP9.  This is the pistol that HK needed to build years ago.  Not because it’s just a Striker version of the P30… but because it’s priced where HK pistols should be priced.  It’s about 200 bucks less then others, and that’s were they should have all been.  It also has something rather new to HK since the P7… a damn good trigger.  Not just a good trigger for HK, but it’s just a damn good trigger.  Not as good as Walther’s PPQ trigger – but then again nothing is.  But this trigger in an HK pistol was unexpected.    Really, I think this makes it the best pistol HK has ever made.

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#5  S&W Model 69 Combat Magnum.  What makes this model 69 so sweet, other than the innuendo of the name, is that this .44 magnum is built on the smaller and lighter L frame instead of Smith’s normal N frame from .44 mags.  The L Frame is Smith’s frame for the delicious 686 series of revolvers.  So now you have that, but with full .44 Mag power.  That is just a fantastic balance of size and weight and power.   I had a 3″ 696 in .44 Special and loved it.  But it was incomplete due to the lack of horsepower.  When you say “.44″ you are not looking for a mild and pleasant plinker… you are wanting a ferocious monster slayer.  Here you go.

There are a couple Honorable Mentions:  Springfield’s XDS 4.0, Ruger LCRX, Ruger LC9S.