Tag Archives: Pistols

Springfield Armory MC Operator

If I were in the market for another full sized, railed 1911, I’d be looking for a Springfield Armory MC Operator. Let me tell you why…

Back when I was still in the Gun Industry, a Springer Rep came with a number of guns to try out first hand. I shot the lot of them, but the one I kept coming back to was the MC Operator. It just felt awesome in the hand, was exceptionally accurate for me, and it was flawlessly reliable.

A couple years after that, I was visiting the MARSOC armory at Camp Lejeune. We were fitting holsters for their new Colt Rail Guns, that won the contract to replace the MC Operators. The Marine Operators there spoke highly of the Springers and talked about how they never had problems with them… and the new Colts were giving them fits and nightmares. This made a lasting impression on me… and here I am years later again, and the MC Operator remains just as accurate and reliable for those that I know that have them and shoot them.

There are a lot of great railed 1911’s out there on the market. But few provide the bang for the buck value that the Springfield MC Operator gives you.

FN Five-seveN

FN’s Five-seveN pistol is one strange handgun. The exterior of the pistol is all polymer, including the slide. The gun is very light with a balance that makes it feel like some sort of toy. The safety strange too, like an AR-15’s safety, but reversed. The 5.7x28mm cartridge it fires is also odd, like a little bottle-necked rifle cartridge.

But as strange as it is, the gun works very well. It’s accurate and reliable. And it hits like a .22 Magnum from a rifle. Which is impressive from a handgun. And with a full 20 rounds in the magazine, that’s a good amount of firepower on tap. And with the proper ammo selection, it’s armor piercing.

The gun is odd feeling in the hand. The long narrow profile of the grip frame is different. It’s 1911 Government Model in size, so it points well, and handles the recoil quite well too. What recoil there is. It’s low. And the trigger is different too. But it’s not bad. Not bad at all. But the oddities all mix together into something unique and pretty damn cool. Making hits with the Five-seveN is easy.

If there is any downside to the Five-seveN, its that it’s $1,435.00 MSRP makes it an expensive novelty with a proprietary cartridge that needs to be chambered in a small light bolt action rifle that would then equal a .22 Hornet. Instead of a nice little bolty, the option is the FN P90 series of carbines which is even stranger than this pistol. Which is pretty dang good. The options for holsters and ammo is limited, but they’re out there. Overall, I like these weird little pistols and shooting them is a blast.

The Most Unreliable Pistols

I put out a survey and talked to a lot of Firearms Instructors about the most consistently unreliable pistols they’ve seen come through their classes.  When the pattern emerged through the Signal/Noise filters, it confirmed my theory.   Short Barreled 1911’s are the Most Unreliable.   Let’s look at this for a second and see why.
The 1911 family of guns tend to be very reliable.  During the Pistol Trials before the gun was adopted by the US Army, the Colt ran well over 6,000 without problems and thoroughly crushed the competition (Savage) which didn’t even make it halfway.   Since then, it garnered a reputation for being unreliable?  What happened?
Well, for a long time, Colt owned the patent on the design and if a 1911 wasn’t built by Colt, it was built under license and the guns all tended to follow that pattern rather closely.

Continue reading The Most Unreliable Pistols

Top 5 Production 1911 Pistols.

At my core, I’m a 1911 Guy.  Though I have a great fondness for SIG, CZ, and Beretta DA/SA type pistols, and a love of Revolvers… my heart belongs to the 1911.    I get asked about them from time to time, though not as often as I used to.  Because everyone’s talking about polymer framed, striker fired pistols these days.  People are generally forgetting about the amazingly wonderful 1911.  When asked, I’m most often asked about what my top choices are in a 1911.  And usually, I’m asked about this after the person buys their 1911 pistol and then gets their Feels bruised because their pistol isn’t on my list.
Now, as far as lists go, I’m not going to a top 5 Brands.  Because that’s not just boring, but obvious.  So I’m going to pick the Top 5 Pistols.  The individual model version… This is a much more challenging list.  Made far more difficult by limiting it to only 5 pistols when this list could easily – very easily – go to a Top 20.  So if you’re baby isn’t in the top 5, it’s probably really close… so your knee-jerk reaction of “What about this?” is going to be answered with, “There Can Be Only Five.”
Also, this list is just for Production pistols… Wilson Combat, Nighthawk Custom, Carolina Arms Group, Ed Brown, Les Baer and the like, I classify as “Custom” 1911’s.
Anyways, without any more preamble, here’s my Top 5 Production 1911 Pistols: Continue reading Top 5 Production 1911 Pistols.

Why do you hate Glocks?


Message this morning: “Why do you hate Glocks?”
If I’ve given anyone that impression… My apologies. I do not hate them. In fact, I respect them a great deal. For a long time, my EDC pistol was a Glock 23. Solid, good gun. They are reliable and accurate and have a great balance of size, weight, and firepower. A Glock is just fine.

For me though, personally, it’s just not a favorite. I like guns with some character to them. Just like I prefer motorcycles with character to say, a Honda Nighthawk. Nothing wrong with a Nighthawk at all… Fine bike… even a great bike. But like a Glock, I find them to be a very pedestrian, soulless lump that I don’t appreciate spending quality time with, and would rather be spending it with something more interesting. And something that improves on the characteristics that I find important. Like a really really good single action trigger.

If you really groove on your Glock (Or Honda Nighthawk) that is totally good. Join the hundreds of thousands of other people who feel the same way too. Sure, there’s something to be said for them.

There’s also a reason McDonald’s has so many busy locations around the world.

RUGER 1911 Lightweight Commander .45 UPDATED


A few weeks ago I added a Ruger 1911 Lightweight Commander to my personal collection.   I wanted to go back to a lightweight Commander style 1911 as an EDC for some time, for a variety of reasons…  Namely style, accuracy, hard first shot hits… and I’ve always been a 1911 guy and it’s been a few years since I really carried one.   I really appreciate the narrow profile of a 1911.  So I started my shopping process.  I wanted to try something a little different.  And I’ve been impressed with the quality and value that Ruger has been churning out lately.  So I overlooked my normal Go To brands… and I’m glad I did! Continue reading RUGER 1911 Lightweight Commander .45 UPDATED

Unfiltered Gun Rant

Common Practice is that Semi-Autos and Single Shots are referred to as Pistols on the Form 4473, and Revolvers have their own check box. However, this is quite stupid. The term Pistol can be used for all handguns, and in the past it was quite common for Pistol to be used referring to revolvers.


Arguing that one is not the other and vice versa is like splitting hairs between a Riding Crop and a Driving Whip. The differences do not matter, don‘t even try to make the argument and being a pedantic jackwagon. Because no one should even care. Pistol is as generic a term as “Handgun” and can correctly be used interchangeably.
The 4473 is rife with retrograde thinking. Defining pistol or revolver is just one. Rifle or Shotgun also doesn’t matter. If there has to be any split in type, it should be along the Handgun or Long Gun line. And even there, the line is blurry now with Braced Handguns and SBR’s. I could show you different photos of AR-15’s and it would take the Owner of the gun to tell you which is which. So that’s another thing that needs to be deleted. All the SBS/SBR jackassery that is a part of the National Firearms Act… Which was terrible law making back in 1936 and it’s even worse now.

We have laws and ordinances requiring mufflers on a great many things… but on a firearm it’s illegal, unless you pay 200 Dollars for a TAX STAMP. Something you used to be able to buy from a hardware store for 5 bucks now costs you a Grand, plus 200 bucks, and then you have the asinine wait until His Majesty’s Service deems it’s ready to process your paperwork… average is what, 9 months now? This is beyond retarded. The process for doing a background check to buy a Tactical Shotgun is done pretty much instantly, and if you have a CCW Permit, it’s not even required… and if you don’t pass instantly, the background by law has to be done within 7 days or you can by law go ahead and buy the gun.
But to purchase a bloody muffler – you could have a Baby and start a Family before you get approved for a metal tube with some baffles in it. Never mind you could make a suppressor with stuff most guys have in their garages…. but to buy one requires the Federal Government to deem you worthy and you get to pay 200 dollars for the privilege. Thank you, Sir, may I have another!?!

These laws are utterly useless. They prevent no crime, they serve no purpose. They don’t even make the Feds any money as it requires a whole bunch of people to process everything and at the speed in which they get the job done… if it was a private business doing these transactions, they would be out of business.  Well, maybe not – they are selling a product that they don’t have to either buy or produce… selling you a Right.  Much like the old Catholics selling Indulgences.
Here’s the deal. We either delete the NFA… Or we make the NFA a Checkbox on the 4473 and they get processed like everything else, all at the same time.

Is there room at the table for a new Auto Mag?

 

NewAutoMagI got a press release from Laura Burgess Marketing that AUTO MAG is trying to make a come back.   First thought was “Wow, that’s cool!” Followed up by the next thought, “They’ll fail again… Because the same conditions that caused them to fail the first time are only worse this time.”

But is that true?   What caused the Auto Mag’s failure back in the 80’s?

First, let’s talk about what the Auto Mag was.  It’s whole point was to deliver a .44 caliber slug at .44 Magnum power, in an Automatic Pistol.   The idea to make the .44 Magnum feed in an Automatic, was to give it a Rimless Case.  To do this they used a .308 rifle cartridge, and cut it down to length, and there you go.   This actually worked quite well.  Unfortunately the ammunition was expensive back in the 80’s and is even more so now.

To handle the .44 Magnum level power in an automatic, the gun needed to be strong.  They used a fixed barrel for Revolver like Accuracy… this limited the locking options.  And since it needs a more robust locking mechanism, so they used a rotating bolt.  We also see this in the Desert Eagle.

The design of the Auto Mag is interesting.  It feels better in the hand than the Desert Eagle, more ergonomic.   And it’s much better looking.  But it’s also a complicated design and manufacturing it is a process that has more steps in it than other pistols…. which makes it a more expensive pistol to make.   Back in the 80’s, they didn’t have the CNC milling technology like we have today.  Even with that, there is a lot of hand fitting/finishing of the internal parts, and being a large pistol, requires a lot of material.  So it’s going to remain an expensive pistol to produce.

Expensive to make.  Expensive to shoot.  This is not a pistol for everyone.   This isn’t just Mercedes Benz level of handgunning… This is Maybach level.  This is… Exclusive.  Is there room at the SHOT Industry table for something more exclusive and expensive like this?

Absolutely.

Because it’s cool.   See, outside of Food, Shelter, and Clothing… Men only spend money on Two Things.  Sex and Violence.   And the Auto Mag is a combination of both distilled into a handgun that is above the means of the every day common man.    Like owning a Porsche 911 Turbo or dating a Super Model.   It’s Mid Life Crisis that you can hold in your hands.  It is designed to make everyone at the range envy you and want to be you.    And unlike the Desert Eagle, it has no history of being gaudy like something a New Orleans Pimp would have.  You’ll never see an Auto Mag in Gold Titanium Tiger Stripes.  Because it doesn’t need that…. It doesn’t need the Bling.  Because it’s one of those few things that are an instant Classic.  And there is nothing else like it on the market.   Comparing it to a Desert Eagle is like comparing a luxury yacht to a tug boat.

Auto Mag will sell every single gun they make.

But does that mean they will fail again?  Because it’s exclusively priced… and ammunition is terribly expensive…  Few people will be able to get one.   And you don’t want a company to crank out as many as they can produce only to sit in stockpile.   For the company to succeed, they will have to stay small… And keep the production tight to keep overhead down.   Success or Failure is going to depend on Management, not Marketing.   Since they are the only ones making anything like this.  It’s their game to win or lose… and that’s going to be an internal struggle, not external.

Suggestions for Auto Mag:
1.  Offer a Blued Steel version.
2.  Don’t do Distributors… Go Customer & Dealer Direct to maximize your profits for the first 5 years.  Or longer.
3.  Don’t look at how other gun companies market.  Look at how Omega and Breitling Watches markets.  Your customers are going to be their customers.  You’re going to be exclusive as hell… so be exclusive.

Remington R51 Do-Over

Remington_R51_RightSide

I was asked what I thought about the Remington R51 Re-Release.

Look… I wanted to like the R51.  I really did.  I think it looks cool, and I like the idea of an all metal single stacked 9mm, that’s not a 1911, Kahr, or SIG P225… just for the sake of variety.  I really wanted to like it.  But a couple things gave me pause.  One, is the Pederson Hesitation Lock system it uses… which is… just not that good.  Then Remington made a very limited invitation only special pre-release introduction for certain Gun Media guys with a history of liking everything that comes their way.    Okay, that’s fine… They wanted good impressions to get out there.  Sure.  Every Gun Company wants that.   But the warning lights started flashing when shortly there after at the Media Day at the Range, the day before SHOT SHOW that year – The Remington R51 was suspiciously absent.

Warning Klaxons sounded in my head when at the Remington Booth, Remington Employees were physically blocking people from getting to where the R51 was on display.   They stood around the display like defensive Musk Ox surrounding their young.

Remington Reps protecting the R51 at SHOT SHOW.
Remington Reps protecting the R51 at SHOT SHOW.

They wanted Dealers to order them… they just didn’t want anyone to actually touch it.  But I did.  I went around behind them, went behind a counter, and got in to where it was hanging on the wall, behind the Remington People.  I could tell from the expressions on their faces when they saw me – that they were pissed.

When I handled the gun… I liked the size and weight just fine.  But the action felt like it was broken inside.  That hesitation lock felt like it was going to be a Jam Maker.  The Grip Safety was awkward as it pivoted backwards from normal, it had sharp edges of the frame exposed when the safety was depressed.
I warned people to avoid being an early adopter of the R51.
Turns out I was right, and all the pistols I had warned people about – all got recalled.  The gun was a bigger pile of crap than I had expected it to be.

Remington_R51_LeftSide

Now, fast forward and Big Green is releasing the gun again.  All the work to rebuild the gun, all the new engineering and testing… should have been done before it was released to begin with.   It should have been tested – thoroughly – before it was released.    This was Remington’s fault, resting squarely on the shoulders of Remington.  But Remington pointed their fingers at Para USA, in Charlotte, NC…. where the R51 was being produced.   This wasn’t a quality control issue… this was a DESIGN ISSUE.   And guys at Para were saying “This isn’t right”.  Turns out that the guys at Para were right as well.  Because to fix the gun, Remington didn’t have to tight QC on the production line… they had to re-engineer  the bloody handgun.  Proving that it was indeed, a design issue.

Maybe the gun is now “fixed”.  But the first people to test it and say it’s fine – are some of the first people that said it was good to go the first time.   I have a bit of a problem with that.   When asked by a friend what my initial thoughts were about the new again R51… my knee-jerk reaction was “I’d rather have a Bersa.”

So my advice is the same as before.  Avoid being an Early Adopter of these R51 2.0’s.