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The briefly rebooted Walther Taschen Pistole

Walther, originally located in Zella-Mehlis, Germany, was founded in 1886– back when Kaiser Willy was on the throne. After spending the first quarter-century of their existence crafting highly accurate schuetzen competition rifles, Fritz Walther returned to the company from an apprenticeship at DWM, home of the Luger pistol, and, seeing the industry was rapidly moving to produce then-novel semi-auto pistols, urged the older Walther to move in that direction as well.

This led to a flurry of new patents for small, blowback-action semi-autos handguns with fixed barrels and the steady production of little popguns from the Walther Model 1 in 1908 through the Model 9 in 1940. Thus:

Fast forward to the 1960s and Walther, after losing their Zella-Mehlis factory to the Soviets– who transported it to the East to make Walther PPs, err Makarov PMs– set up a new plant in West Germany. Their first German-made product after the move (as the PP/PPK and P-38 were being cranked out in France) was a throwback to Fritz’s little pocket pistols, or taschen pistole.

The Walther TP:

Only produced for about a decade, the Walther TP was “retro” even when it was introduced in the 1960s.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

A good sub-$300 12+1 capacity 9mm? Just don’t ask who makes it

Over the years, I have had lots of Taurus K-frame revolver clones pass through my hands, and they were decent guns mechanically if not in fit and finish. I even own a Taurus M1911A1 that has proven itself better than some American-made pistolas of the same breed. However, the company hasn’t been able to make a polymer-framed striker-fired gun that excited me, and they have certainly been trying. I’ve shot a few PT-111s and a G2 in the past several years and passed on them all with a shrug. Just not for me.

However, I have been testing one of the company’s new third-gen G3c models, and (puts on flame suit) I may be warming to the idea of carrying one of these.

Weight of the G3c, unloaded, is billed as 22-ounces and we found that the gun, when stuffed with 13 rounds of 147-grain Federal Hydra-Shok JHP bulks up to 27.1-ounces. Height is 5.1-inches over the sights with the standard magazine inserted.

More in my column at Guns.com 

Going the Distance with FN’s New Baby

The original pocket Browning (FN) was a slim, six-shot .25ACP blowback-operated handgun that weighed about 13-ounces and used a rear grip safety much like the one later seen on his M1911. This early Browning grew into the Colt 1908 Vest Pocket and a slightly modified variant was sold by FN in Belgium as the Model 1905 for decades.

That’s where Belgian small arms guru Dieudonné Saive (who later finished the Browning Hi-Power and designed the FN-49 and FAL) came in.

Working with the original Model 1905 as a baseline, Saive dropped the grip safety in favor of a manual thumb-operated safety lock that doubled as a hold-open. Lighter, weighing just over 9-ounces while still being an all-steel pistol, the gun was sold from 1931 onward as the Baby Browning.

The Browning Baby was a half-inch shorter than the FN M1905 or Colt Vest Pocket and 4-ounces lighter, while still being a 6+1 shot .25ACP. (Photo: Richard Taylor/Guns.com)

Out of production since 1983, FN has since moved on to polymer-framed double-stack 9mm pistols that were a good bit larger. However, their new FN 503, the company’s smallest and slimmest gun since the Baby line ended, came out in March and I have been burning one up as of late.

The new FN 503 pistol is a 6+1 9mm that has a 3.1-inch barrel with recessed target crown which contributes to a 5.9-inch overall length. Some 4.6-inches high, the gun is slim– with a width of 1.1-inches overall.

A big baby, but a more mighty one for sure.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

What’s in your fifth pocket?

Did you know that Dick Casull– as in the father of the big ole thumping .454 Casull cartridge– also invented the modern mini-revolver in the 1970s?

This thing.

They actually have a pretty interesting story and have grown in popularity over the course of the past five decades.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Is Taurus finally getting its pistol act together?

Since the 1980s, I’ve had a few Taurus handguns pass through my hands and, while I had fair success with their S&W-cloned K-framed .38s and similarly-cloned M1911A1 .45ACPs, the same could not be said for their polymer-framed semi-auto 9mm pistols (looking at you, Taurus Millennium).

However, a few years ago they upgraded their semi-autos with the G2 (Generation 2) model which exercised a lot of the demons with the Millennium line. Then last year they coughed up the G3 series, which got a lot closer to being good, especially for the price.

Now, this week, they came out with the G3c, a 12+1 capacity 9mm that takes Glock sights, is about the same size as the Springfield Armory Hellcat, and is set up to run sub-$300 at retailers. Also, as opposed to the Hellcat, it seems to be partially American-made at the Brazilain company’s new plant in Bainbridge, Georgia.

It looks like I am going to have to T&E one of these…

More in my column at Guns.com.

The Tiger’s Everyday Carry Pocket Gun

Here we see a .32 ACP Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless self-loading pistol carried by General (later Field Marshal) Sir Gerald Templer, KG, GCB, CB, GCMG, KBE, DSO. The S/N (377681) dates to 1921 production.

UK National Army Museum NAM. 1998-01-118-2

Dubbed  “The Smiling Tiger,” Sir Gerald commanded infantry and armored divisions, as well as the German Directorate of the Special Operations Executive, during the WWII and later went on to lead British forces during the Malayan Emergency, one of the few successful counter-insurgency operations undertaken by the Western powers during the Cold War.

He was also something of a gun buff.

General Sir Gerald Templer (left) testing a .45 inch De Lisle bolt action silenced carbine during a visit to 1st Battalion The Gordon Highlanders, Perak, 1952. He may very well have a Colt in his pocket. 

The signed 1954 card in the pistol’s case reads:

“The .32 Colt revolver and ammunition, in this case, was one of about 20 purchased by me when I was GSO I (1(b)) at GHQ, BEF. It was necessary for some of my officers to/ have a small automatic in their pockets on a good many occasions. I carried this one throughout the War, and when I was High Commissioner and Director of Operations in Malaya it never left my side. It was under my pillow every night whilst I was in country, ready and cocked.”

Sir Gerald died in 1979, aged 81.

Meet FN’s smallest pistol in 40 years

Once upon a time, Fabrique Nationale was known for making the smallest, most compact handguns on the market. These included John Browning’s Mle 1900, Mle 1906 Vest Pocket (which predated his Vest Pocket for Colt by two years), Mle 1910, and the Browning Baby.

Fast forward to the 1980s and all of those classic designs were put to bed.

To fill this hole in their catalog in recent years, full-size polymer-framed double-stacks like the FNS and FN 509 have been chopped down to more compact designs, but they were still pretty chonky compared to Mr. Browning’s early guns.

Well, earlier this year FN launched the FN 503, a slim, 6+1 shot single-stack 9mm that is the company’s smallest handgun in generations.

Well hello there…

Separated by 110 years, today’s FN 503 compares well in size to Mr. Browning’s FN 1910 but comes in 9mm rather than .380 and has much better ergonomics and sights.

I’ve been playing around with it for the past couple of months, and have the details in my column at Guns.com.

M1911s and Browning Hi-Powers: Outdated Carry?

I get myself involved in firearms debates pretty frequently with people and, as a guy that has extensively carried and/or used dozens of different handgun platforms across the past 30 years, I have logged lots of time with both contemporary guns– such as Glocks, HKs, S&W M&Ps, FN 500-series, et. al– as well as more traditional classic guns like Smith J- and K-frames, Colt D- and I-frames, Walther P-38s, etc.

With that being said, I took a 2,000~ word deep dive over in my column at Guns.com into the subject of if two of John Browning’s most-admired handguns, the M1911, and the Hi-Power, are still relevant when it comes to EDC and personal protection these days.

Some things, like an M1911A1 GI, a Browning Hi-Power, a Swiss Army knife or a P-51 can opener, have been augmented by more modern offerings but that doesn’t mean they stop working as designed. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Your thoughts? More on the article, here, for your reference.

Proven handguns for tough times

While your best and most effective bet in the majority of hairy self-defense scenarios (barring something laser-guided or belt-fed) is a rifle– preferably a few different ones in a range of calibers– in a pinch a handgun is better than verbal judo, a pointy stick, or the lid off a can of sardines. With that in mind, I made a list centered on pistols and revolvers that are 1) modern, 2) accept common ammunition, 3) have spare parts that are readily available, 4) proven, 5) are simple to manipulate, and 6) easy to maintain.

Sure, each of these has their haters, but most importantly each type has a huge crowd of fans and users that have kept them in regular production for decades.

More in my column at Guns.com

Wilson Combat meets Sig polymer. Amazing ensues

Arkansas-based custom gunmaker Wilson Combat has joined forces with firearm icon Sig Sauer to produce an enhanced P320 pistol collaboration.

Dubbed the WCP320, the 17+1 capacity 9mm semi-auto comes with a raft of upgrades over the standard Sig Sauer P320.

The WCP320 is loaded with features including a beveled X-TAC slide, Wilson Combat battle sights with a red fiber optic front, WC’s carry grip module, and a beveled mag well. 

More in my column at Guns.com. 

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