Category Archives: ccw

Ye Olde Glock: Obsolete or Not?

Back around 2012, my carry choice was a SIG Sauer P229R, a 13+1, a platform that I had lots of experience with as I carried one and instructed others on it in my “day job” as a contractor with the Dept. of Homeland Security. While I owned Glocks already, they were in .45 GAP and .40S&W (hey, it was 2012).

Downshifting to the more compact G19 in 9mm, I picked up a brand new Gen 3 model and found it easy and even fun to shoot. Soon, it was my everyday carry. The reason was obvious. While roughly the same length and height as a Glock 19, a P229 loaded with 14 rounds of 147-grain JHPs hits my kitchen scales at 37 ounces. The G19, with 16 rounds loaded, weighs 31 ounces. Plus, with the striker-fired action, there was no need for working a decocker or the hassle of a hammer catching on clothing. The Glock was point-and-shoot while at the same time being more snag-free.

Fast forward a decade and the question is: is it still a valid carry gun? The answer may surprise.

If you don’t care about a red dot-equipped pistol or fingergrooves, the Gen 3 G19 still stacks up despite being a lot older. Not bad for a pistol introduced the same year the Beastie Boys released Intergalactic.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Around the block with the Glock 43

In 2014, when Glock announced the .380 ACP G42, a wave of disappointment swept over the country as– except for nerds who really wanted a banned-from import/LE-only G25– it seemed everyone wanted a micro-compact 9mm pistol instead.

Glock 42 with Streamlight TLR6 combination light. The total weight package with the gun, light, batteries and 7 rounds of 380 is 24 ounces. Pretty heady stuff for 2014. 

The next year at the NRA Annual Meetings in Nashville, Glock made good and delivered the G43. I was there at the launch event and can vouch that the excitement was electric.

Having jumped on the G42 train early (don’t look at me that way), by the time the G43 came out I was already gun shy, no pun intended, and soon after Glock delivered the 10+1 capacity G43X (followed by the optics ready G43X MOS) to the market. This led to deals on lots of traded-in single stack G43s as folks went with the gently larger G43X and soon started buying extendo magazines/base pads to up the capacity even further.

Well, back in 2019, I finally took the G43 jump (not the G43X as I was intrigued by the short size of the original model) and picked up a Vickers Tactical edition which was a limited run that came complete with a Wilson Combat rear sight and AmeriGlo ProGlo tritium front, a Tango Down slide lock, enhanced magazine release, and Vickers +2 magazine extension.

Since then, I’ve found it has a lot of good things to recommend it, and few bad.

When coupled with a premium personal defense load such as Speer’s 124-grain 9mm Gold Dot Short Barrel JHP– which is designed to work in barrels as short as 1.9 inches while producing less felt recoil and achieving reliable expansion and penetration– you have a nice little carry set up. For reference, my G43, with 10 rounds of Speer loaded and the +3 Taran baseplate installed, weighs just 24 ounces and fits in the same places as my J-frame S&W while having twice the capacity. Don’t forget, you can always carry a flush-fit standard or +1 base pad in the pistol and a +3 as a backup.

More of what I have learned in carrying the G43 over the past few years in my column at Guns.com.

SIG Grows the P365 to a 17+1 Carry Gun

SIG Sauer debuted the original 10+1 shot 9mm P365 in January 2018, and it soon became one of the best-selling pistols on the market, single-handedly launching the ever-growing “Micro 9” trend of imitators, and soon surpassed over a million guns sold.

Then came expansions in the series such as the P365XL with a slightly larger grip module, flat-faced trigger, and 12-round flush-fit mag while only growing the height a half an inch; and the P365XL Spectre Comp, which introduced an innovative integrated compensator to the slide that helps tame recoil without porting the barrel or extending past the frame.

Well, the new SIG P365 XMACRO takes all those incremental improvements and blends them in a new grip module with some more extras, including a 40 percent increase in capacity and an M1913 accessory rail, while still standing just over 5 inches tall. Plus, it is about half the price of the Spectre Comp.

I’ve been kicking one around for the past month, and I’m really feeling it. 

More over at Guns.com. 

Everything old is new again: Pocket Pistol edition

I found this very interesting article by Frank Jardim over at Guns Magazine in their archives recently. It’s from 2019 so it isn’t out of date, but the meat of it is that he takes a circa 1908 pocket pistol– a Belgian Pieper Bayard– and stacks it against a KelTec P3AT.

The differences, in the end, are not that profound although the elderly gun is surprisingly still spry, although with misgivings.

Says Jardim:

Though separated by a century-wide technological chasm, the 1908 Bayard and Kel-Tec P-3AT are cut from the same cloth. Their .380 ACP caliber puts them on the top rung of pocket-pistol power and their extremely small size makes them easy to carry and conceal. If you don’t imagine yourself in a quick-draw confrontation where trying to disengage the Bayard’s awkwardly placed safety will cost you your life, then the Bayard is the better pistol for self defense in terms of accuracy and speed.

More here. 

Dick Special, Hi-Power edition

While Mr. Browning’s Colt 1911 design has been abbreviated over the years to Commander and Officer-sized models among others, his Hi-Power never got the same widespread treatment from FN. Sure, there were custom gunsmiths such as Austin Behlert’s shop and Bill Laughridge’s Cylinder & Slide who made so-called “Mini-Brownings,” and Argentina’s state-owned FM plant made so-called “Detective” models that were imported by folks like Armscorp, Century and Sarco, but even this limited supply petered out more than a decade ago.

I remember the FM’s very well, having owned a full-sized model for a while in the early 2000s.

FM was an FN-licenced Hi-Power maker from the 1960s-1980s, so they knew what they were doing and the guns generally mimicked the Belgian C/T-series guns but with a less refined finish. I actively carried this gun for a while. (Photo: Chris Eger)

Both the standard and “Detective” FMs were readily available once upon a time, as noted by this circa 1992 SOG ad in The Shotgun News. Don’t call SOG to get these prices anymore, they stopped paying their phone bill a couple years back. For reference, $239 in 1992 is about $505 in today’s dollars.

Fast forward to today and, cumulating a push by BHP fans to EAA– I know I’ve been telling Chase (and anyone who read our MCP35 reviews)– that the imported needed a Detective/Mini-Browning in the catalog, they just announced the new Girsan MCP35 PI as in, well, you get it.

The EAA Girsan MCP35 PI is a factory-shortened Hi-Power clone that still accepts standard magazines and most parts, save for slide and barrel components. (Photo: EAA)

More in my column at Guns.com.

Turkish Cheetah

To be clear, I love the Beretta 80-series of DA/SA pistols, best known to collectors as the Cheetah line. In my opinion, they were the high-water mark for when it comes to 1970s-80s all-metal hammer-fired compact carry guns. A simple blowback action, the pistol is light due to its abbreviated size, open-top slide, and aluminum frame.

As Beretta was in the small pistol market for about 60 years before the Cheetah hit the scene, they knew what they were doing when they came up with the design. What people wanted. What worked.

I have a couple of different .32 and .380 Beretta Cheetahs, all recently imported former Italian police guns, and I really like them.

While surplus Euro police guns can be had for around $300-$400 today, they often have a good bit of abuse to them as, let’s face it, many were carried for 25-30 years. Still imported as new-production for the commercial market as late as 2017, a factory-fresh Cheetah these days almost always goes for $1K or higher.

Sigh.

This lead us to the Turkish-made, some say commercially licensed (production started two years after Beretta closed down its own Cheetah line) Tisas Fatih B380 as brought in by SDS Imports, a double-stack 13+1 capacity .380 that I have found in testing to handle fairly well…

More in my column at Guns.com.

The Sig P365XL via Brazil

Taurus earlier this year released a stretched slide version of their well-liked G3C, promising full-size pistol performance in a compact package via the new G3XL.

Here’s what I found out.

The 9mm Taurus G3XL carries over the standard model G3’s full-size Tenifer-finished all-steel slide and 4-inch stainless-steel barrel assembly. A crossover concept, it also borrows from the G3C by using its compact grip frame. The resulting G3XL thus has the benefit of the longer sight radius, tending to better accuracy over shorter barrels, while adding a few fps to bullet velocity for increased terminal performance. Meanwhile, the smaller frame allows easier carry than the standard-sized G3.

Of course, the gun’s name is a riff on the Sig Sauer P365XL, and it is roughly the same size, although the Taurus is a good bit less expensive. Heck, both even have a 12+1 magazine capacity. Ironically, the G3XL can even use Sig P229/228/226 mags, which would have been a neat trick that Sig should have thought about. 

It is pretty basic, but it works and costs well under $350.

More in my column at Guns.com.

G3C, G3X, G3XL…what?

In the past couple of years, Taurus has really upped its 9mm game with a trio of G3 pistol models offering affordable options for everyday carry.

All based on the standard G3 line – the budget gunmaker’s third family of striker-fired polymer-framed pistols following in the wake of the PT111 Millennium and G2 series – the G3C was introduced in 2020, with the “C,” for “compact,” denoting the fact that it was both shorter in length and height than the base model.

Then came the G3X, which was much the same as the G3C but with a fuller grip and larger magazine capacity, and the G3XL, which had the same grip and magazine as the G3C but with a longer slide, offering a better sight radius and more controllability.

For reference:

Left to right, the G3C, G3X, and G3XL. (Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Check out my take on the trio, what makes them different, and why it matters, over in my column on GDC.

Yes, Stoeger Apparently still Makes Pistols, and they aren’t that Bad

Beretta-owned Stoeger is upping its pistol game for 2022 with a new series of optics-ready handguns that are billed as “Every Day Tough,” and the STR-9SC is one of the more interesting in the series.

Established in 1924 as an East Coast-based firearms importer, the Stoeger name was acquired by Beretta Holding of Italy in 2000 and is now listed as operating out of Accokeek, Maryland, where Beretta and Benelli USA’s HQ is co-located. Stoeger has imported an incredible array of firearms over the last century but is probably best known when it comes to handguns while under the Beretta/Benelli flag as taking over the old Beretta 8000, aka the Cougar, which was made in Turkey until 2016.

The Beretta 8000/Stoeger Cougar is how most people think of the company’s pistols.

In 2019, the company introduced the STR-9, a mid-sized 9mm double-stack polymer-framed striker-fired pistol with a 15-shot magazine. Stoeger soon followed up with the STR-9C Compact in 2020, the STR-9 Combat in 2021, and this year the STR-9F– a full-sized model– and the STR-9SC sub-compact available in an optics-ready variant.

I’ve got a Leupold DPP 6 MOA onboard for testing and will let you know how the combo works. The weight of the STR-9SC with the Leupold and 11 rounds of 147-grain JHP is 30 ounces.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Springer doing better when it comes to Micro-9s

Promising a more full-size performance out of its micro 9 series platform, Springfield Armory announced the new Hellcat Pro on Friday.

Using flush-fitting 15-round magazines rather than the standard Hellcat’s 11+1, the Hellcat Pro brings a 3.7-inch hammer-forged barrel to the carry game in what Springfield says is a smaller footprint than any other gun in its class. For those keeping count at home, the Hellcat Pro runs 6.6-inches in overall length and 1-inch wide, which puts it in the same box as the nominally 10+1 capacity Glock 43X. At a height of 4.8-inches, the Hellcat Pro is a tad shorter than the G43X when the Austrian polymer pistol has its standard mag inserted.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

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