If you were looking for new sub compact .380 pistol, Beretta has a new option for you.
As small as .380 Mouse Guns go, it looks good. Looks like it’s for little lady hands… I think I’d have to use chopsticks to hold it. But it’s cool looking, and it looks like it has good sights too.
I knew I was going to catch some flak from my 1911 Brothers out there for selecting, of all guns, the Glock in a .40. The Anti-1911. You wouldn’t believe the amount of flak I’m catching from work! They have been merciless. Let’s just say I don’t work at a Glock Shop. Guys, I am not turning my back on the 1911. I am still a 1911 Guy. But before I am a 1911 Guy, I’m a Gun Guy… which means I like guns… all guns.
The Glock’s biggest criticism is that it’s ugly. Many owners think it beautiful. Regarding the Glock’s beauty. I’ll be the first to say… it’s not Pretty. However the Function of it is what can make a Glock absolutely gorgeous. The low bore axis helps reduce muzzle flip. Combine that with that funky grip angle that helps return the gun to point of aim faster… now lets add in what really is a fine trigger pull… consistent and the same every time… with a super short Trigger Reset… And it’s simple. Nothing complicated. Nothing “trick”. It’s about as straight forward of a mechanism as it gets. The Glock really is the whole enchilada when it comes to Function. That’s why I am going to give the Glock another chance. I didn’t contact Glock for a Review gun, I ordered one for my own outright purchase.
When my Glock 23 arrived, I took off my SIG P229R and picked up the Glock. I had to carry it. I loaded it up with some 165 grain PDX1′s from my SIG Mags, and tucked it in. I know I usually advocate the test firing of your carry gun with your choice of carry ammo, but in this case, I had no concerns. There are 3 lines of guns have always felt comfortable with right out of the box. HK’s, SIG 22X series, and of course, Glock. See, I’ve owned a Glock before. A Gen1 17. I’ve been to this rodeo before… I know the Glock well enough and have always respected it’s reliability.
I dismissed them when the Gen2 came out, and I’ve not paid any attention to them since. They just didn’t feel right in my hand. The RTF2 grip feels much better to me, I don’t know why. I started looking at the Glocks again when we got in a 17RTF2 and I thought, “You know, this isn’t bad at all.” I’ve got friends who are into Glocks and they all kept recommending them. A lot of guys I respect recommended them. LittleLebowksi from WeTheArmed.com is one of them, but the kicker came Las Vegas. At SHOT Show, my friend Mark Walters and I sat down at Ceaser’s Palace and we had a good conversation. During which Mark gave good testimony about his favorite gun, the Glock 23. It was a convincing argument. I promised I’d give Glock a second look. So I did.
I borrowed a Glock 17 and shot several magazines through it. After a few mags I got used to the grip angle. It shot just as I expected it would. Reliable and predictably accurate. I had no problem with it. However I’m just not all that interested in a 9mm. I’ve become reacquainted with the .40, a caliber I used to stake my life on back in Virginia. My 229 is incredible with the .40 when it comes to shootability, but it’s heavy. When I carry I do the “AllDamnDay” Carry and that usually means from 6AM to 10PM. That’s a long time to have a Heater strapped on. As much as love the SIG P229… and I really do… I want (no, not need… just want) a lighter gun for all day carry. A mid-sized gun, not a compact, not a mouse gun for pocket carry… a Mid sized gun in a mid sized caliber. From Glock that means Mark’s beloved model 23. The balance of form, function and firepower is just perfect for what I was looking for. The Glock 23 is just “it”.
The RTF2 grip texture is said to be too rough, but it does perfectly what it was designed to do. Lock the gun into your hand so it wont slip. Oh, it does that. But it isn’t “Fabric Friendly” so you gotta watch what you wear over it, and you sure as hell want to wear something under it… it can be… abrasive. But when you draw the gun, and it’s in your hand. It’s going nowhere.
The large Tritium front sight post of these Warren Tacticals.
The trigger is one of the things that Glock Owners like to brag about. It’s worth bragging on, because it’s pretty dang good. The pull is consistent, shot to shot. But the trigger reset is what really sets it apart. The distance which you let the trigger move forward, to where it resets so you can fire it again… very short in the Glock. One of the shortest, if not the shortest resets on the market. What this does for the shooter is to allow that trigger to be run quickly and efficiently… which makes for fast and accurate shooting. Something Glocks are very good at. When I roll into an IDPA match, I note who’s shooting Glocks. More and more frequently it’s the guys with those Glocks that are on the tops of the Leader Boards.
Accuracy? That goes without saying. Glocks are going to just as accurate as any other service auto. And when it comes to practical accuracy, they can be even more so. From the holster to putting rounds into the target, they are just as fast as the classic old 1911 while shooting groups that rival John M Browning’s Masterpiece. This is why so many Law Enforcement Agencies have adopted Glocks. Combine this accuracy, the utter reliability, and the simplicity of the Glock system, you have something a Department can issue to all its officers with little more training necessary than with a service revolver. Many departments have reported improvements in qualification scores overall after a Glock adoption.
Does this mean I have gone over to “The Dark Side”? Why, yes, I think it does..
My disagreement with Grant Cunningham and Rob Pincus regarding the Beretta 92FS.
I checked out a podcast that Rob Pincus was guesting on not too long ago. The question was asked “What gun do you hate when they show up at your courses” or something along those lines… I forget, it’s been awhile since I heard the podcast. Rob’s answer was “The Beretta 92”. Now, I respect Rob a great deal, and while we differ in opinion on something, I always respect his opinions and positions because he always has a well reasoned explanation for them.
Rob tends to not like the Beretta because it’s large and heavy for it’s caliber… it is. It has an old fasioned DA/SA Trigger mechanism… it does. And it has an upside down, slide mounted safety lever. Yup. It has that too. This is a trifecta of good reasons not to like the Beretta. Rob is a believer in consistency, and a good consistent and simple trigger mechanism as in a modern striker fired pistol gives the shooter some advantage… Yes, that’s true too.
But I still disagree with him regarding the Beretta 92. More on my rationalizations later.
This morning I read an article by Grant Cunningham on why the Beretta 92 is an inefficient handgun for defense. And now I’m like “Oh come on.” I like Grant, and respect his opinions as well. However, I disagree with him on the Beretta 92.
“When you need to use your handgun, it should ideally come out of the holster in a ready-to-fire condition without you needing to do anything extra before pulling the trigger.”
I agree, Grant. And here is what I do… When I holster the Beretta, I then flick the weapon Off Safe. The Beretta is certainly safe to be carried in such a manner. Because in order to fire, the trigger must be pulled all the way to the rear to move the rather large and over-sized firing-pin block up and out of the way of the firing pin. Also, the trigger being pulled to the rear moves the hammer back against spring tension, into the firing position before it can be released to fly forward to hit the firing pin. These things are not going to happen on their own if the weapon is riding in any holster of half decent quality. Anything that could impact your holstered weapon hard enough to cause a discharge… Well, you’ve either been hit by an RPG or rapidly moving Osh-Kosh built M-ATV armored truck. Either way, you’ve got bigger problems to worry about than the risk of a 9mm wound in the leg.
As far as DA/SA trigger pulls go. This is a training issue. I’ve seen many shooters running DA/SA guns, do so with great skill and with great results. SIG’s, HK’s, CZ’s, S&W’s, and most self loading guns that are not 1911’s or Striker Fired Polyguns are in fact DA/SA guns. A shooter can and will get used to the trigger mechanism if they will actually get out to the range and fire their weapons once in awhile and practice with them.
Here’s the thing that the DA/SA guns have over most of these Striker Guns… That SA pull. I’ve fired some DA/SA guns with triggers so good it makes you want to go slap Gaston. Even with my tricked out Glock trigger, which is really dang good… It’s not as good as the SA pull on my Beretta 92. It just isn’t. Because mechanically all that trigger has to do is release the hammer. In the Glock and M&P, the trigger still has to pull that striker back just a little more before it can release. This gives it just a bit more take up… a little longer… just not quite there where a good SIG or Beretta or CZ trigger can be. I won’t say HK, because they have triggers like toggle switches, but that’s because the Germans believe in Corporal Mortification or something… I don’t know.
But back to the Off Safe Carry, the process is simple. After firing, you decock and safe the weapon, holster safely, and then flick the weapon off safe. Done. The most dangerous moment in handling the weapon is when holstering. And holstering a decocked Beretta 92FS is probably the safest gun you could ease into any holster. It doesn’t get safer. The trigger is disconnected and the firing pin transfer is rotated 90 degrees away from the firing pin. There is no way a round could go off in this condition. No matter how sloppy your reholstering is. Once safely nestled in it’s holster and everything is good… *Flick* Your weapon is now read for a rapid draw and fire without worrying about an external safety.
This method is not new or unique by any means. I know many Military Personnel who carry in this manner and are trained to carry in this manner. It’s safe and efficient and requires very little training to get used to doing. 1 day at the range. That’s it. Drill the motions for awhile, and then reinforce throughout a day of shooting… pretty much done. This is not solving a Rubik’s Cube. Give the Students more credit. Many who detract the Beretta’s mechanics make allowances for the 1911′s. Yet the Beretta has a couple distinct advantages. One, the Beretta’s safety when carried Off Safe is only manipulated after the fact. When everything is cooling back down and the gunshots are still ringing in your ears and your getting your breathing back into control… your checking yourself and following your training and thinking again. The 1911′s safety is manipulated in the heat of the “Oh Shit” moment when you “Skin Leather” and all your thinking about is that Treat Target that’s closing that 21 Foot Rule distance like a Saber Toothed Cheetah. It’s in that moment with a 1911 that you have to remember to sweep the lever Off Safe. Easier putting it on when reholstering than taking it off when drawing. See my point? Two, the other big advantage with Beretta is that I can load and unload the weapon, press check, and do whatever in need to with the Safety On. With the 1911, any slide movement has to be done with the safety off. And since you are gripping the weapon when doing it, you most likely also have the secondary grip safety disengaged as well. How many 1911 Operators out there have a 5 Gallon Bucket of Sand they use for Clearing and Loading in their home? Not many? Who’s safer? Advantage Beretta. I’m not saying a 1911 is unsafe here. But if we are boiling down Shooters as thick headed cavemen, I think I’d much rather see the students with a Beretta than a 1911. Personally I do cringe when students bring 1911′s shorter than 4 inches… but that’s because those guns are going to be jamming like a jazz band before the end of the day. And I’m saying this as a guy that loves 1911′s. But it’s an Aficionado’s gun. An Expert’s gun.
The gun is large and doesn’t fit everyone. True. But if I am buying the gun for myself and it fits me, then why the hell do I care if it might not fit someone else? This is my gun. Don’t “What If” unlikely scenarios that support your throwing your weapon to a small handed partner to support your argument. Leave such moves for the next Die Hard movie. Sure the 92 is a large pistol. My hands are not all that large, and it fits me. I can shoot the Beretta quite well. And I enjoy doing so… Because evidently shooting the same gun that has served both Military and Law Enforcement roles around the world for the last 30 years is something again to grinding your own flour and baking your own bread these days. Quaint and rustic. Like rolling down a car’s window with a crank.
Here’s the deal… The 92FS/M9 pistol is a fantastic handgun. It’s battle proven around the globe. It’s both accurate and reliable, and has proven to be more accurate and reliable than most. It’s passed all the tests and it’s leaped all the tall buildings and it’s still serving strong. It’s one of the very best handguns in the world.
10. The S&W Sigma. A direct attempt at copying Glock. Who’s idea was this anyways? Who thought that it was a good idea to copy Glock so closely the first versions you could even swap parts? They did a pretty good job to… They got everything right… save for the quality and not knowing what a decent trigger is supposed to feel like. They were crap then, and only until the last iteration now called the “SD Series” is it even half decent. Which brings me to #9.
9. The S&W SD Series. Trying to make the Sigma into a half decent gun, they’ve almost gone close enough to the M&P That it makes me scratch my head. Who are they competing with now? Drop the SD’s and the Sigmas all together, and lower the cost of the M&P by deleting unnecessary milling processes by giving it normal straight slide serrations and simpler slide geometry like on the SD while keeping the quality high like the rest of the M&P series. Done. You’ll be a better price point and you are no longer competing against yourself. The SD may seem to be filling a nitch, but it really isn’t anymore. It’s more money than that the cheaper guns, still has the Sigma Stigma, so buyers are just confused about it and either go cheaper or just get an M&P. Couldn’t give those things away as a Retailer.
8. Taurus. Anything Taurus. This whole list could be just the Taurus Product Catalog, but that’s too easy. So I’m just going to say “Taurus”. I’m not a Dealer anymore so I don’t have to make allowances or mince words about them. The only thing half decent from them are better made by S&W and Beretta. I know they are growing and trying hard and getting better, but they are not there yet.
7. CZ P-07 Duty. It’s ugly. It’s awkward. The CZ-100 looked cooler and should have been improved. “This is a P-01 with plastic frame”, no it isn’t. Because a P-01 doesn’t look like a Hi Point got drunk and fucked a Baby Eagle with Down Syndrome. I hate the trigger guard, the trigger pull and the sights. If there is anything good to be said about the P-07 Duty, is that you can’t hurt it’s feelings when you throw it off a bridge from the center span.
6. Ruger LCR. A Plastic framed revolver. W. T. F. Take something traditional, and make it bite a pillow. For what gain? What’s the point? To make it lighter? Take an SP101 and make it out of a light weight alloy like Smith & Wesson and even Taurus does with the classic J Frame. They figured it out, why can’t Ruger? Come on Ruger, Make an Air Light SP-101. Put some effort in it. Instead you phoned it in with a Polymer frame that looks like you made it on a 3D Printer after drinking too much Wild Turkey and staring too long at an HK VP70 and then watching Blade Runner with one hand down your pants.
5. The SIG 2022. You want a SIG, but you don’t want to pay for one. So you get this runt of the litter pick that only has one step below it on the SIG ladder, the P-250… you don’t want that, you want a “Real SIG” as I’ve heard said from behind the gun counter so many times I now have an involuntary eye roll when I hear “SIG 2022″. While it’s not really a bad gun, it’s just the weird way they made the grips. They couldn’t sack up and just make a decent grip like other guys, they have to just have interchangeable grips like all the cool guys do… But they could do it like that, they had to make the whole grip frame into two pieces like they just gave up and the end of the design day so it’s like a Stephen King book that’s good until the last chapter when King says “Fuck it” and let’s his Editor finish the ending for him.
4. The XD. Sure, it’s a good pistol, functionally. But it’s dated and now eclipsed by the new XDM series which not only looks better but is better in capacity, trigger and accuracy. Leaving the base XD’s in the Springfield line up is like Ford leaving the Mustang II in the line up as a low cost alternative to a new Mustang GT.
3. Kahr’s CW Series. Horrible patterning and molding on a gun that could be so much better. The guns themselves are full of good potential but Kahr cheaped out on them so hard that it’s laughable. The actions are about as smooth as Hillary Clinton’s thighs, while being about the same weight. It’s impossible to drop the slides using the lever, which is about as sharp edged as a new CRKT knife – and I hate CRKT knives too. For the price of 399, the gun might hit that “I’m cheap enough to buy on a whim” price, the fact that you can’t even throw in a spare mag makes the CW’s laughable. And then the price of the upper scale P series is even more laughable considering they look virtually identical. Find some Middle Ground, make the CW smoother, throw in that second magazine. The trick to selling a CW is to make sure they don’t try to handle it. Because they will try to pull the slide back, and then try to release the slide again… at which point the customer fails and and asks to look at the Stoeger Cougar. Sure it will protect you, but it will also hurt you… leaving the only people who like the CW’s as Domination Mistresses and guys who talk like they’ve had repeated concussions.
2. I was going to say The Judge here, but I’ll just leave that in the junk pile of #8 and move on to the Hi Point. However the Hi-Point its self is what it is and remains a self defense value. If it was food, it would be the burger off the Dollar Menu at McDonalds. They are cheap. Crappy, but cheap. And they work pretty good, for what you paid for it. But what makes it something that raises my lip into a Billy Idol Snear is the hordes of People Of Walmart who come out of Wal-Zone to defend the Hi-Point, yelling their one toothed yells of how good they are. I’ve watched 4 of them self destruct in the hands of the owners while shooting. Spontaneous Self Destruction, or Self Field Stripping… I can’t tell if this is a Bug or a Feature. Next time someone tells you a High Point is good, ask them to Field Strip it for you. Piece Of Shit. For 130 bucks for a self defense tool to ride in a tool box, man, it’s fine for that. For something to be actually used from time to time – Buy a good tactical folding knife. You’ll get more mileage out of it.
1. Kimber Ultra. Any Kimber Ultra sized 1911. Ultra Carry, Ultra CDP, whatever it is, it’s going to look nice, but not actually work. Attractive and Useless… like Half the population of California, Blackberries, and Super Models that don’t speak English. They are also expensive. I can’t tell where the pride in ownership of a Kimber Utra CDP comes from, but it must be like owning a Prius. You have an expensive, nice looking gun that is too good for the rest of us peasants that actually want a tool to be functional. That’s fine. You can look down your nose at my pedestrian Glocks, or my son’s M&P… but we can at least get through a day long shooting course without praying to Kimber that the gun finish a Magazine without Jamming.
92FS & 96FS. Standard Beretta 92/96 series. 3 dot sights. This is the classic. Used in every movie ever made through the 80’s. Used by Law Enforcement around the world during that time. It’s a great looking handgun. Solid. Accurate. Reliable. Shooting it is like driving a Cadillac. Much like the Cadillac’s of the 80’s, which were overly large, heavy, and under-powered. Yes, we make holsters for this.
M9 Commercial. Same as Military issue. Uses dot-bar sights, but otherwise identical to the 92FS. Used by just about everyone in the US Military who has no choice of what pistols they are issued. Those who have the option tend to roll with the SIG P226 or a 1911 (Looking at you, MARSOC) or really whatever they feel like at the time as long as it’s not the M9. Still, the M9 is a great pistol and will always be a great pistol. Yes, we have holsters for this.
M9A1. railed version of the M9 with checkering. Notice the straight and flat forward edge of the Trigger guard. You can see this was built to not just have the option of a light mount, but to actually run with a light mounted to it. I think they had the X300 specifically in mind when they designed this gun. Yes, we have holsters for this.
92A1/96A1. Railed version of the 92, but with a dovetailed front sight post, internal recoil buffers in the 96 version, no checkering like the M9A1, and note the rounded trigger guard. The rail is Picatinny and not the normal universal rail. This rail is bigger than the normal rail, which requires a completely different mold which we’ve not made yet. Beretta made this gun different from everything else, not because these changes made for a better pistol, but because Beretta doesn’t like you, or concepts like “compatibility”. NO, we do not have holsters for this at this time.
90-Two. Rounded trigger guard, new grips, and note the new slide profile. Sights are dovetailed, there is an internal recoil buffer, and note that the rails come with a removable Rail Cover over them. No, we do not have anything for this one, and we don’t need to as Beretta has killed off this gun. Probably the best of the 90 Series guns Beretta has made. And it’s a great looking and feeling gun too. But it didn’t sell very well, because Beretta doesn’t know how to market their tactical guns. That, and they gave it the worst name they could have possibly given it. How do you say that? “Ninety Two”. Just like their other gun, the “Ninety Two”. Brilliant.
There is a tidal movement to shooting pistols as quickly as possible. Instructors and wannabe “Know It Alls” are using 9mm to accomplish this. More bullets, smaller and lighter… rapid fire. This movement was very slow at first. Then The Art Of The Dynamic Handgun video came out. Haley and Costa rocking those M&P’s like they were SMG’s looked cool. Then all the sudden everyone wanted to shoot like that. Who wouldn’t? Those guys look like rock stars doing it.
Some instructors I know have been teaching that stuff for some time, but MagPul videos really did open the flood gates.
I understand the arguments and theory surrounding the use of 9mm and shooting fast… and that’s all fine and well. I can shoot that way myself if I want to… Even with a .40. However, I find myself moving more and more to bigger and harder hitting rounds. Slower fire but well aimed. Heavier for caliber load selections, bigger bullets, make the shots count. Shooting the 9mm’s the other day… 9mm Just doesn’t do it for me. Oh, I know all about the Modern Ammo. You know what? That Modern Ammo is really good in bigger calibers too.
Yes, I know all about Ballistic Gel Penetration comparisons. However that isn’t the whole picture when it comes to wound trauma and terminal ballistics. It’s not the whole picture when it comes to barrier penetration and deflection. Those Gel numbers are engineered, people. The results are just what the ammo companies want you to see. To get those numbers some loads are hopped and the others are neutered. Some rounds open more and others slower so those penetration numbers look great in the gel tests. Again – these Gel results are engineered to show just those results. Why? To sell ammo of course. “See, our 9mm is just as good as the rest.”
Porsche does the same with their sports cars. Boxster, Caymen, 911. The Caymen being detuned to fall perfectly in between the two other cars… when it has all the potential to beat the 911. But that’s another story.
I remember an incident where 9mm pistols were being fired at a windshield… the bullets were glancing off. One round of .45 Auto, fired by a steady hand penetrated that windshield and ended the situation. There are also incidents of 9mm failing to really even jostle a maniac when it impacted. FBI Miami Dade, anyone? Bank of American LA, anyone? The search for Magic Bullets is now as it has always been, an attempt to find a Unicorn. Don’t glue a paper cone on the head of a goat and tell me that’s its a Unicorn. I’m not buying it. Not even if you run a whole herd of them past me as fast as possible. They still look like goats with paper cones on their heads.
As far as “Fast” goes, fast is good. But fast follow up shots are not as important in a gun fight as the first round. That first shot is the most important shot you will take in any engagement. It needs to be made fast. But not at the sacrifice of accuracy. Shot Placement remains critical. Using a smaller round that can be fired at a higher cadence, if that’s your beat, that’s fine. I’m more Heavy Metal than Techno. I’d rather have slower heavier beats. See, I hear so many guys say, yeah but I’m more accurate with 9mm. I call bullshit. I’ve seen many guys who advocate shooting as fast as possible… cant keep a group. Why? Because they are losing the front sight and jerking that trigger like a 14 year old with a Playboy… They are giving up the Fundamentals in favor of Rapid.
Bullets hitting tissue is a rather predictable science. The only variables are the vector through the anatomy and the barriers the projectile have to penetrate before hitting that anatomy. The bullets all pretty much have the same effect. Displacing fluid (like rocks hitting water) and tearing and pulverizing the permanent wound channel. Bigger heavier rocks displace more fluid. That’s just a fact. Try it out at your closest body of water. That water gets displaced and then it comes back. In water, you have some cavitation effect briefly and what is left is the permanent wound channel that allows blood to flow out. The bigger the whole, and the more torn up that wound channel is, the more blood is going to flow out. That’s just a fact. And ask any hunter, the more blood you have flowing out, the less you have to track that deer. You put that wound channel vectoring through a heart, or CNS… Winner Winner Venison Dinner. That is meat on the table. For a defensive situation, that’s a Resolved Problem.
But then there is another problem. The fact of the matter is that no matter what school of thought you have – you remain legally liable for each and every round you fire. So I’m going to slow it down a notch. Fire a bigger and heavier bullet. And make sure those rounds go where I want them to go.
I know a few guys that can fire super fast, with accuracy. A few. And I’m not saying they should change… because that is working for them. But I’m just not feeling it myself using small calibers. I’m following Sun Tzu here. “Hit first, and hit so hard your enemy can’t hit back.
Sure, all handguns are less ideal than rifles or shotguns… but some are better than others. I’ll take my .40 calibers with my 180 grain loads. I’ll take my .45′s with 230 grain loads (when I used to prefer 185′s)
I think instead of drilling so much on Balance of Speed and Accuracy drills… I think more emphasis should be on the drills from the holster to the target from a Buzzer. Because that shot… that first shot right there is the key. You have to be fast on that shot. Before the threat can shoot you back or get to you with a knife, or cut the throat of a hostage or whatever reason you have that justifies the use of deadly force. I want to make the most of that first shot. I’m not looking at Gun Fight Averages here. Because most gun fights are 1 point something average or 2 point something. You know what they all have in common? That first shot.
Make the most of it.
1. Glock 23. .40 cal.
2. Caracal C .40 cal.
3. S&W M&P .40 Sub Compact.
4. Springfield XDM 3.8 Compact .40 cal.
5. Glock 19. 9mm.
6. S&W M&P Sub Compact 9mm.
7. Caracal C 9mm.
8. Glock 29 10mm.
9. Glock 30 .45 Auto.
10. Springfield XDM 3.8 Compact 9mm.
This list is going raise a few eyebrows. There are many popular guns that are absent. But this isn’t my tipping the hat to the popular. If I was to do that, then this list would have SIG’s, 1911′s, H&K… You know… the guns that are out dated, with cult like followings, premium pricing, and shortcomings for defensive use.
I’m looking at the best options for today and tomorrow. Feel free to disagree.
You’ll notice that I favor .40 cal over 9mm. I also favor the midsized options.
The old man closed his eyes and tilted his head back, remembering. “Back when I was a young man we used to shoot guns made out of metal.”
The 1911 platform remains a top selling gun design to this day. The entire gun industry has a 1911 sub-culture. Complete with it’s own language and economy and border security. I mean, if you want to join the 1911 Culture, you got to know your way around. You got to know who the big names are, know those families, know where to go for certain things. Most of the big families can build you a fine 1911, but if you just want certain things… Magazines… Wilson Combat. High Cap bodies… STI. And everyone has rabid family loyalties that remind me of Middle Age Europe. “We fight for House NIGHTHAWK!!!!” *clattering of armor and swords amid the shouts*
The one thing that I shake my head at is the continued push by these great houses to sell these Sub-Compact (in the 1911 world we call them ‘Ultra’) 1911 guns with 3″ barrels. It’s extremely rare that any of these guns fire reliably. If you have one, good for you. But I’ve never seen one that could finish an IDPA Match or a Shooting Class. And most Trainers that I’ve talked to about it haven’t either. I think Rob Pincus was The First Heretic to speak out against these, much to the shock and horror of everyone who heard him. But he was right. He’s the Martin Luther of Defensive Pistols. These pistols just don’t work as a whole. And it’s the very rare Ultra that does… so rare in fact… that the owners must spend much time petting their Unicorns and playing shuffle board with Big Feet… because I don’t think they are spending as much time on the range with those Ultra’s as they say they do. If sitting on your couch playing Xbox is “Range Time”, then we’re done conversating. Ultra’s just suck. The only one’s I found to shoot reliably are the original Detonics Combat Masters, and even then, that was a less common encounter. And by Original I mean from within the first 3 factories to wear a variation of the Detonics name.
It has occurred to me thought that this rise of the Ultra is not a push by the gun companies… but by the demand of the Consumer. The Peoples Republic of Shooters are shaking the gates of the Great Houses demanding wine, cake, and cheeses, and more varieties of Ultra Compact 1911′s. They don’t want the full sized 5″ 1911 for concealed carry anymore. They want something smaller and lighter and less effective… because they have forgotten, or in fact never learned, why it is we carry a gun in the first place. I don’t understand many things in life. Such as why some people don’t like Bacon. Why pop culture calls that girl, Justin something, an artist. Or why someone preparing for a fight will prepare around ineffective or unreliable weapons. (ineffective such as .32 and smaller calibers. .380 Auto is the minimum, but it’s better than harsh language)
Then it occurred to me that they are not making ready for a fight. Not just any fight, mind you. But a fight for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Packing a “cool gun” is just for that’s own sake alone and not for the sake of lives. It’s for the sake of Cool. A 1400 dollar custom Ultra… I’m not going to say any names…
Might be expensive… and might be as beautiful as Hellen of Troy… But it was made to be only that. Beautiful and Expensive. This reminds me of a song from “A Funny Think Happened On The Way To The Forum” which considering the name of the show, I find humorously ironic. “You’re Lovely, all you are is Lovely.” This is a gun that is not made for saving your life. It’s made to be Lovely, and nothing more. Like a trophy Wife or Girlfriend or Personal Assistant… it’s something to show off and make you look good. And that’s fine if you are showing off cars or girls… but in my mind, showing off something like a Kimber Ultra Duper Cool Carry, you spent a ton of cash for shows that me that you have a lot of money to waste on something superficial and useless.
If you want a 1911, DON’T get one with less than a 4″ barrel. Just don’t. You can have and enjoy a 1911… that’s fine. But going below a 4″ barrel you are taking risks and forgetting the actual purpose of having a gun on you in the first place. Of the current production 1911 builders, I’m down to 2 choices. SIG and SPRINGFIELD ARMORY. Going above that into the Semi Custom or Custom category, I’ll take an STI or NIGHTHAWK. Those are my choices. You can choose what you want. I’ve forged my opinions at the foundry of Range Time. On Live Fire Ranges where I have taken classes and have taught classes and have seen every example of 1911′s common in North America. I’ve seen all of them fail at some point. But some are more failure prone than others. These names I’ve mentioned… these Great Houses of 1911′ness… have failed the least that I’ve seen.
I was most pleased that in my last Defensive Pistol class that I taught, in West Virginia it was… there was not a single 1911 of any stripe at the range. SIG’s, Glocks, M&P’s. And you know what the problem child gun of the day was? SIG. A 229. Interesting that. Could it be that the SIG is the latest Metal Gun to show it’s age? No, not hardly. But I’m just putting it out there that the 1911 is getting long in the tooth and coming around full circle.
What do I mean by that?
Back in the day, it was just known that 1911′s, brand new out of the box, wouldn’t run right. Kimber actually, with the Kimber Custom model broke that mold… as they were putting out 1911′s that worked quite well as far as 1911′s go, right out of the box. This causes a stir because you could buy a new 1911 from Kimber, and actually go shoot it instead of sending it straight to a gunsmith for them to rebuild so it will work. (The Age of COLT was at an end at that time)
And now it’s seemingly perfectly acceptable to sell 1911′s again that don’t function well out of the box. I’m not talking about a mere “break in” period. I’m talking about guns that just don’t want to be reliable. If these 1911′s were teenagers, they would have nose rings and ear gauges.
Some time ago, Daewoo was importing a great little pistol into the US. Then for whatever reason, it was abandoned. Leaving all Daewoo pistols in the US orphaned.
I remember shooting one once and was very impressed. It was a great handgun. I liked it. The owner smiled and said I couldn’t buy it. I had offered him the 500 cash I had on hand, but he wouldn’t sell. At the time, I really wanted one myself. I believe I was living in Hanover County Virginia at the time. And that was a long time ago. Long after Daewoo stopped sending those guns to US Dealers.
Well, I have rediscovered these guns. They are now Lionhart Industries pistols. Here at work we have a couple in our vault and I’ve checked them out. They are ever better than I remembered them to be. And for some reason smaller and lighter than I remembered, but essentially they are that neat little Daewoo that I wanted so many years ago.
Check them out here… http://www.lionheartindustries.com/