Tag Archives: Handguns

Beretta Px4 Storm .45

I like this gun.  It felt very good in my hands, shot very accurately… Much closer to point of aim, point of impact for me… just ran “Good“.

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Good isn’t really the right word… Freaking Awesome is about right.  It felt freaking awesome.   I know the Storm isn’t a SIG or a 1911… But it’s a wonderful shooting gun.  10 rounds in the mag isn’t all that impressive, but the mag is smooth and easy to load and feels like its a higher quality piece than most other mags.
I don’t mind the Beretta Safety.  I even like it.  I don’t mind the DA/SA trigger.  I even like it.  I don’t mind the funky action – I really like it.  I’m weird that way.  But when you have a .45 that shoots like it’s launching Nerfs instead of 230 grain slugs… that’s something.  When you have a gun that puts the first 5 rounds into the same bloody hole, right where you wanted it to go – That’s awesome.  I know this group doesn’t look like its really all that much better than the Glock 30s’s group.  But the gun felt like I had much more control, and that I was placing my shots better…. It felt like that.  I knew where the bullet was going to go before I looked at the target.  I could call the shots with it.  Normally I can only really do that with a 220 or 1911… but I could with the Storm.
Now, the Storm is not up there like a SIG P220 is, or a nice 1911 is… But it’s right up there, real close.  I like this gun.  A lot.
The trigger pull could use some work.  It’s not all that smooth on the example I fired.  Which was a Range Rental Gun, that I think I was the first guy to try it out.

Five Stars, Beretta.  Five bloody Stars!

 

Glock 30s

There was a time… 2013, where the Glock 30s was the object of my desire.   Having spent some quality time with one… I’m not all that hot to trot for it anymore.

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At 30 feet, that’s a respectable group.  But I just feel… “Meh” about it.  Not that there was anything wrong with it.  The gun shot very well.  And 10+1 Capacity of full bore .45 Auto is nothing to sneeze at.  That’s more ammo on board than a full sized 1911, in a package that is much smaller and lighter.  Trigger was typical of Glock’s 5.5 pound trigger… You feel one, you’ve felt them all.  And I know that can be altered at will thanks to our friends at Lone Wolf Distributors.  And the sights too.  The sights on factory Glocks… Why THE HELL are they so stupid?  Seriously.  They suck.  Balls.  They suck balls.
The grip needs a bit of work being rather slick in my hands.  To me, really, Glocks are project guns.  Spend some time with them, making them feel and fire how I want them too.  And then once the project is over, I just feel done with them.   I like them enough to want to play with them… But I am not emotionally attached.   Like Vegas hookers or something.

I know all the arguments for the Glocks… I do.  I sang them myself when I was drinking the Glock-Koolaide.   But… I’m just… Done with Glocks.  They are just not me.  I don’t feel that connection with them.  I don’t feel that connection with my Microwave Oven either.  But I do with my old fashioned Weber Grill.  One is an appliance that I use to get a job done.  The other gets that job done, but takes time and care… and I spend more time with it and come to love it all the more every time I use it.  Not the Microwave.  And not the Glock.

But if you like it – I understand way.  I respect your opinion.   Mine just differs.

 

 

The Ultimate 1911 for Carry

The Ultimate 1911 for EDC (Every Day Carry) has got to be the classic Light Weight Commander.

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Those simple wood grips, with the simple blacked out finish… No Ramp rear sight… This is an example of LW Commander Perfection. It doesn’t get any better than this.

To me, this is the just the ideal 1911, period.  It’s the most flexible, capable 1911 you can get.  When you step away from this pattern, you step into more specialized, more limited areas.    You can easily rock an LW Commander in an IDPA match, and win it.  You can easily take that same gun and wear it for week concealed.  You go to a 5″ Government if you like.  And that’s fine.  But packing it concealed every day gets to be tedious.  Especially if you are getting in and out of vehicles all week.  You can go shorter than 4″ if you like… makes packing it much easier, sure.  But you sacrifice reliability in a way that I just find to be unacceptable.   Maybe you don’t need a reliable sidearm.  Huh… Well, someone is buying Kimber Ultras.     No… to me, the LW Commander just has it all.   The question though is WHICH light weight Commander.

ruger_lightweight_commander_1911_3Ruger is all over the place with their new LW Commander.  No, it’s not that I’ve been a Ruger Fan Boy lately, it’s just that Ruger is really “Doing It Right” lately.   (Granted – their new “Custom” LCP should be an LC9S, but that’s another topic)  I really like what Ruger has been doing lately.  5 years ago – I may have had to hurt you should you have suggested that I’d be saying that.  But it’s true.  Ruger is making some fine products, and their 1911’s are getting better.  If anything, they are really worth taking a look at.

 

Remington’s R1 Carry Commander.

Remington-Model-1911-R1-Carry-

I have handled the R1 Carry Commander again… This time taking a good hard critical look at it.  Dang if I can’t find a fault in it.  The action is super smooth, not too tight, not too loose – it’s totally Goldilocks.  This is just about the most flawless Commander I’ve seen for production 1911’s.   The finish inside was excellent.  I’m impressed, Remington.  Very impressed.  This gun is a contender for the next 1911 I get.   It really is.  If you get a chance to look at one at your local gun seller – take a good look at it and tell me what you think.

Pick The Brand

SIG-P220-1-Courtesy-Ryan-Finn

DA/SA Service Grade Automatics.   Who’s your favorite?  Okay, we’re talking the Brand on the whole, considering all the related models and variations they make.  Who’s your Top Brand and why?

SIG?
Beretta?
CZ?
Other?

The Traditional DA/SA auto seems to be in the gold years with more and more trainers and advocating striker fired guns with uniform trigger pulls from first to second shots.  Glocks, M&P’s, an XDM’s being the Striker Triad.   But I think that the DA/SA platform still has its place, and I still love them.  Especially for Open Carry, Duty Service… They are big, menacing, sexy, and very stable and accurate.   Outside of 1911’s I shoot them them best.  A lot better than Safe actions or DAO guns.

I’m thinking the Holy Trinity for DA/SA’s is SIG, Beretta, and CZ.  Across the board, I think the Beretta Brand takes the lead for consistent quality.   From what I’ve seen and dealt with with 8+ years behind a Gun Counter and… ahem… a few more years of shooting… I’ve seen problems with all of them.  I’ve seen far fewer though with Beretta.  But that’s not just the thing. It’s also how good they’ve been.  How smooth the triggers and slides were.  How tight they locked up.  I don’t think any brand for any type of auto is nearly as smooth as Berettas.  SIG’s are second and CZ is 3rd overall for smoothness.

However, for an out of the box trigger – the very best DA/SA trigger I have ever felt was on a CZ 97B.   Just incredible!  But other CZ triggers left me disappointed.  Same with SIG, overall very good, but not quiet as good overall as SIG’s I’ve fired.  One SIG though, a 229 SAS…. Oh man.   That was truly a great trigger.   Flip side, the SIG’s have shown some triggers that were less than stellar.
Beretta though wins in the same way a Race Team wins the Championship overall without having actually taken first place.

My 92FS had a very good trigger to start out with.  I swapped the main spring for the “D Spring” and it got a lot better.  It’s not a GREAT trigger.  This makes me wonder, why doesn’t Beretta just use the D Springs as standard?  Because the difference was dramatic!

I love the 92.  I love the SIG 220/226/228/229.  I love the CZ P-01/SP-01.  Overall though, I think that Beretta takes it.

What are your thoughts?

Armchair Quarterbacking: PARA USA

I’ve never really been all that fond of Para Ordinance for various reasons.  However Para Ordinance became PARA USA, moved from Canada to the US, and have been working hard to forge their spot in the American Gun Culture.  Some years ago at a Media Range Day at SHOT Show, I browsed the offerings at PARA’s booth and was impressed with what I saw.  The gun was a very basic 1911 for Wild Bunch competition.  Nothing fancy, just very “GI” style.  Simple.  And good.  It was very good.  I shot several other 1911’s from other makers, but the one that stuck in my mind, even the one I liked the best, was the Para.  During SHOT I went to the PARA booth and looked at the pistol again.  It wasn’t a fluke… I really did like the gun.  It was at that moment when I realized that PARA USA is a company to take seriously.

Now it’s about 4 years later and PARA USA has continued to improve their guns.   They’ve made huge strides to the point that PARA USA is now one of my TOP 1911 Makers.     They are making some 1911’s I want to buy.  Not their whole product line… but close.  They can do a few simple things to really hit it out of the Ballpark.   Let’s take a look at PARA USA’s line up.

Let’s start at the top of their own roster and work down.  The Executive Carry.    The gun looks good, with a nice finish, nice grips, and that awesome bobtail.  But it has a 3″ barrel.   This is basically a full length grip, bobtailed, and an ultra compact barrel.  If this was a revolver, this would be the equivalent of S&W Magnum Grips on a Snub-Nose.  It makes no sense to me.  The grip frame is the hard part to conceal, not the barrel.  Bobtailing it is a nice touch, but if you are going to have an ultra compact barrel, give it an ultra compact grip frame as well.  At least an Officer’s length grip frame.  Bobtail that.  This gun is just a bit off because of the short snout.   Because of that, I wouldn’t buy this one.  However, if it was sporting a Commander length slide and barrel – I would.  A nice clean Lightweight Commander on a Bobtail frame is missing from PARA’s line up and it should fit right here in the EXECUTIVE category.   That’s 1 missing gun.

The other missing gun from the EXECUTIVE Category is the CCO configuration.  A Commander Length barrel and slide on an Officer’s frame.  Basically just the opposite of the PARA Executive they have right now.  Colt’s CCO was a breakthrough for concealed carry 1911’s.  SIG followed that pattern and hit a home run with it in the C3 and RCS models.  Smaller frame for easier concealment, and a nice length barrel that doesn’t give up much on ballistics and sight radius.  It NAILS it.  PARA doesn’t have a CCO type 1911, and they should.

Here’s one more gun to add to the Executive roster.  The LDA Officer… But with a standard 1911 trigger mechanism.  Not everyone likes an LDA Trigger in their 1911, but the Officer platform is a good one, and should be reflected in the Executive, Elite and Expert lines. One thing that the LDA has that I’d like in the Executive line is that front strap checkering.  That Lightweight Commander Bobtail – I’d like some fine checkering on the front strap.

I’m not going to comment on the Competition guns, because I think PARA nailed those as offerings and every competitive shooter I know would change things anyway to their own liking and everyone has a difference of opinion so you’ll never make everyone happy there.   But it’s a solid line as it is.

Now, for the Tactical side of things.  The Black Ops line.   Sharp.  I could buy one of these.   Wait a second here… How come the Black Ops 1911 Single Stack doesn’t have the Checkering like the Double Stack?  If this is to be a full featured combat oriented line, let’s not skimp on it.    Also, the Recon, your Commander length tactical gun.  Where’s the Single Stack version of the Recon?

While we’re talking Tactical, not all Tactical ops are Black Ops.  I’d like to see Tactical versions in OD Green and FDE (Flat Dark Earth).  Same guns, just not blacked out.  I know you’ve had them before, I sold them.  FDE the slide and frame, and use the regular black parts and grips for a nice contrast.  Would look very sharp.

Now on to the Elite Series.  The PARA Elite is a wide range of 1911’s that we can probably say is PARA’s main line.  Or at least it should be. My only hang up with the Elite Series is that they are using Fiber Optic Front Sight Posts on all but the Elite Pro.    The Elite Pro is one of my very favorite guns from PARA’s line up.  It hits all the right buttons.  Now, where is the Elite Pro Commander?  There’s another gun that’s missing from PARA’s line.   Another one is an Elite Bobtail Commander.   Again with Bobtail Commanders?  I know.  But still, my point is valid.  Ask Dan Wesson.

The ELITE LS HUNTER.  This gun is one that I’ve been waiting for… a 10mm Long Slide – I must have this.  Thank you for making this one!   Now, if you could just add 10mm options to a couple other Elite or Tactical guns, thank you.  And to keep up with STI – mayhaps a double stack version as well?

Reverse Two Tone.  I want to see more Two Toned guns, specifically in the “Reverse” scheme.  Light on bottom, dark on top.  Make a lightweight bobtail commander in 10mm, in reverse two tone – and you’ll have my order by the end of Oct.   Seriously.   I’ll order it through Blackstone Shooting Sports in Charlotte.  I’m not kidding.  I will.

The Expert line.  I’m giving you some Golf Claps over here.  Bravo… You have it nailed here.   Simple lines, no frills, and “No Gills”.  None of those forward slide serrations that ruin the lines of a handsome Government model.   THIS is the 1911 that I want the OTHER companies to make!   And PARA USA made it.    This makes me quite happy that I am moving to the town that makes it!   Can I get a black slide on that Stainless frame?  In a Commander?

The Warthog is listed under the Expert category… and that’s fine.  But remember what I said about the CCO?  A CCO Warthog…. Call it the “A-10″ model, as in “A-10 Warthog“, the Infantryman’s favorite jet plane.  It would be the Goldilocks for concealed carry double stacked 1911’s.  The regular Warthog is just a bit too short in the snout for me.   I know it’s been popular, but trust me… a 4″ version would be even more so.  I could have sold twice as many, because that is what the most common remark about it was.   Springfield found this out when they made 4″ versions of the XDS, as did SIG with the C3 and RCS.  That’s the configuration that is IDEAL for concealed carry.

That’s about it for PARA USA.   They are doing a really great job and I’m happy to see it.  They’ve come a long way and are now a great 1911 company!   Well done, PARA USA!!!   *Standing Ovation Here*

My favorite 1911 Configuration.

To me, saying “1911” is like saying “Pickup Truck”.  There are many Makes and Models out there, all different, all with different purposes. But they are all 1911’s so they are pretty good and should all pretty much run the same way.   But one configuration of 1911 that always makes me drool…
A Lightweight Commander.  Specifically a two tone LW Commander.  As far as pistols go – these are my Redheads.  My Kryponite.  My weakness.

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This one is very nice… Subdued colors.  A big visible dot on the front sight… Very nice indeed.  I’m not a huge fan of the ramped rear sight, but I can deal with that.  On this gun the higher end red wood grips are a little dressy on the flat finished gun.

colt_04860txt_commander_eliteThis one is nice too… Subdued colors again, but with a set of black grip panels.  I like that a bit better due to the fact that it’s more in keeping with the motif.  The first one is like having White Wall tires on a Mustang GT.   I guess that would be fine if that’s your thing… it’s just not my thing.   And if it is your thing… and you like that… Well, “America”.   Bully for you!

kobra4Here’s one that’s very good.  Micarta grips, brushed stainless and a moderate polish on the slide… Not Subdued, but more natural.  I really like that.  I also like the Bobtail… a lot.  But it’s not necessary…  Just really really nice.  Like Navigation or a Back Up Camera, or XM Radio.

Yost_left_rearOh man… Here we go.  This is the higher end.  We have a high polish on that blued slide and burled walnut grips.  This one is so nice that it’s almost too nice.  We call guns like this “BBQ Guns”, but it’s what you wear to a BBQ at your friends place… your nicest gun in a nice leather holster.  Not something I’d EDC, but wear to special occasions.  It would be like having a date with a Super Model… You are not going to take her out on the rounds of your usual haunts, but to some place special.  (Unless she asked to go to the regular haunts mind you)   So for me, that last one there, the more natural one, that’s the one I’d pick.

What do all these Commanders have in common?  Two Tone Finishes, with Dark on top of Light.  The current Vogue due to the advent of stainless slides on polymer frames is to have a light colored slide on a dark frame.  This I don’t care for.  It makes all manner of sense though, sure.  It’s PRACTICAL.  A stainless slide will show less wear than a blued slide.  And frames will typically show less wear than slides… So putting a stainless slide on that black frame makes Reason and Logic smile.  But it doesn’t make me necessarily smile, no, just the opposite is true.  And let me tell you why.

Growing up reading every gun magazine I could get my hands on as a kid, I stared with wide eyes and great wonder at the custom 1911’s made by true master level gunsmiths… and all of them were two tones with stainless frames and high polished blued slides.   That LOOK defined “Custom” for me then and it does so now.  So the stainless slides on black frames just look “off” to me.   So my ultimate has to have a black slide on light frame.   That just visually tastes right to me.

Armchair Quarterbacking: BERETTA.

I’ve not always been a fan of Beretta.  I’ll admit that.  When I was first told to turn in my 1911 to be issued an M9, I was not a happy camper, and that caused a burning hatred of the 92 series pistol that lasted for a good many years.  Two decades later and I find myself to be a rabid 92 series fanatic.  It took a long time to come around… but the gun garnered my favor the hard way.  It earned it.  Working at the gun counter for almost a 9 years, I had sold a great many Beretta products.  And I do not remember a single one that ever came back with an issue.  Say what you will about Beretta, I know they have their share of detractors out there… But I love Beretta.  But I also know they are far from perfect.  Let’s hit the high notes:

The 92FS:
92fs
I hate to admit it, but this gun is a dinosaur.  I love mine, and I think these are the best looking automatics ever built… But the design is dated and need revision.  Oh, wait… You did revise it.  And you called it the 92A1:
92a1_zoom001
You added a rail.. which is a good… but better yet you gave it a dovetailed front sight post which was desperately needed, and you improved the internals… All of this is good, fine and well… Making this gun the best 92 you can buy.  But then you changed the trigger guard to differentiate it from the M9A1.  What I don’t understand though is why do you have these two very different pistols?  Because a holster for an M9A1 wont work with a 92A1, not even close.  I do not see the roles that these two different pistols fill.   This pistol just leaves me scratching my head.  So here’s what you need to do.   Kill the 92A1.
Wait, what?  I just said it improved everything an was the best 92 you can buy!   Yes, I did.  But it still needs to die.   Namely because it doesn’t stand out in the 92 series line.  Same with the 96A1.   I would build the 96A1 within the same frame as the M9A1, same trigger guard.  Giving the 96A1 the Civilian frame with the rounded trigger guards makes no sense.  It’s a tactical gun and needs to be better compatible with the lights.  I think this will fill that 96 nitch much better.    Now, back to the 92A1… Yes, kill it.   And fill the hole in the line up with with a reintroduction of the 90-TWO, renaming it simply as the 2092:
90two
This gun looks amazing, feels amazing, and shoots as good as it looks.  The reshaped safety levers are an improvement.  This gun moves the Beretta family forward.    It only failed because someone gave it a stupid name and your Marketing effort was completely lacking.
This was the stupidest name ever in the firearms industry.  It was a failure from the start.  But the pistol was awesome.  It needs  second chance.  So rename the bloody thing and bring it back.  Also, make a 2092 INOX.  And just for fun, maybe INOX slides on the blackened frames and barrels… and vice versa… because two tone guns are sexy.  There should also be a COMPACT version of the 2092 as well.

Here’s another gun that needs to make a comeback:
Shiny92

The Billennium.  But instead of it being blinged out… Just make it Black and Inox.  Here’s why.  It answers the #1 Complaint that people hate on the 92 for – the Slide Mounted Safety.  The Billennium’s Frame Mounted Safety – Especially if you matched that up with the old Vertec Frame – would be a WINNER.
98-96-Vertec-Steel
You guys actually had it… and like the 90-Two… you failed to market it correctly.  In fact, I didn’t even know this thing existed.  All steel though – so it was a heavy pig.  Nice idea, bad execution.  Make THAT but with an alloy frame and your current rear sight… Beretta… I’m telling ya… WIN.    How come this hasn’t been done already?

The NEOS.  I like the pistol.  But it’s skinny grip and extreme angle is ridiculous.  Have you looked at a Ruger MKIII or Browning Buckmark?  Well look again.   Because I don’t have hands like an adolescent E.T.
Cylon
This is why I’ve never bought one.  I can’t even hold on to the thing.   However I’ve sold it to people with smaller paws than mine, and they have loved it.   Never have I sold one to a guy with bigger hands though.   Look at Ruger… They have the option of a .45 like grip frame.  Do that, but with maybe your Storm.  A Storm like grip frame.  Seriously Beretta, as much as you guys may like this thing as it is – at American Gun Counters, it turns off far more people than it impresses.

The Storm Series:
PX4_SD-1
I love the Storm Pistols.  Two things though… the Sub Compact with the tilting barrel…  Get rid of it.  It does nothing the Compact can’t do and it’s using a different action so it’s not really a sub compact version.  The SD as shown.  Where are the 9mm and .40 cal versions and where is the Compact version?  Remember when the Navy bought a lot of HK pistols recently?  They bought the compact version of the HK45, and not the full sized.  Huge handguns are good… but sometimes those Operators who operate operationally need something a bit smaller so they can conceal them.   And US Citizens like do something called EDC with guns with many of these features.   That Midsized handgun is the sweet spot, and you need to maximize that.

This Thing:
cx4-1
I could write a 2,000 word report on everything wrong with this thing alone… But I don’t have time.  So I’m going to quickly outline what it needs to fix it.  It needs a major work-over.  The pyramid iron sights… Kill it.  Run a full rail across the top end to end.  Let customers use AR style irons of their choice.  No one likes these sights that doesn’t work for Beretta and have to say they do.   Extend the the body out till only an inch from the muzzle.  Thread the barrel.  Give it a thread cap.  Threads should be a common type.  Supply a flashhider/muzzle brake with it.  I like the lack of rails on the side and bottom, but put mounting hardware in there so rails can be added where needed.  The bottom of the pistol grip makes fast reloads a challenge.  Shape it like a normal pistol grip.  The Bolt Release needs to be a Safety.  On both sides, make it ambi.  Push the bolt handle out front and give it an HK style bolt catch and release.  That stock.  Get rid of it.  Put on a SCAR style Folding/Adjustable stock.  Done.  Now just rename it.  Your other rifles are the ARX series… call this one the ARX9 or ARX40 or ARX45 per caliber and you have a WINNER.   You’ll sell more than you ever had before.

I’m only going to touch on 1 shotgun.
1301tactical
I want a pistol grip version and I want the feed tube to run out to the end of the barrel.   Make these options.  I also want mounting points at the front end so I can attach a short rail section to add a tactical light.  That’s it.  Simple.