Category Archives: ccw

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. 

Stetching the G3C

Taurus this week delivered a new installment in its popular and budget-friendly 9mm G3 pistol series, the G3XL.
I got an early look and have been kicking it around for the past couple of weeks.
The crossover design blends the polymer grip frame of the compact G3C, with its standard 12+1 magazine capacity, with the more full-sized 4-inch barrel and slide of the Taurus G3 to create the G3XL. The result is a very concealable handgun that still allows a decent sight radius akin to the one seen on the Glock 19, while just weighing 24 ounces.

With a 3.2-inch barrel, the commonly-encountered G3C is just 6.3-inches overall, putting it right at an inch shorter than the G3XL, and couple of ounces heavier. However, in terms of height and width, the guns are a match for each other, no surprise as the G3XL uses the same grip frame as the G3C.

In the hands, the extra inch of slide/barrel really makes a difference. The G3C, left, G3XL on the right

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Mas on AIWB, IWB and OWB

Mr. Massad Ayoob, a staple figure who has been writing about and teaching modern handguns for something like 40 years, recently dished for a quarter-hour as part of Wilson Combat’s Critical Mas (get it?) series on the pros and cons of carry belts and different holster positions for concealed carry when toting “a serious fighting pistol on the belt,” as he clarifies. This includes Outside the Waistband, Inside the Waistband, and the always controversial Appendix IWB Carry.

It is worth the investment in your time should you be looking to answer questions or just be looking for reinforcement of your own current carry practice.

Enjoy!

Wasn’t the whole point of the P365 to make a 380-sized 9mm?

I was on the ground at SHOT Show in 2018 when Sig Sauer introduced the P365, a micro-compact 9mm– really the first in its class– that delivered a 380-sized carry pistol but with a 10+1-shot capacity in 9×19 rather than 9x17mm.

It was the talk of the show and the gun has become one of the most popular carry pistols since then, sparking a flurry of imitators from Ruger, S&W, Springfield Armory, Taurus, and the like. Hell, even Sig has like a dozen different models of P365, all cannibalizing the same marketplace, which is now bordering on oversaturation.

Speaking of which…

Meet the new P365-380, which is the same size (albeit three ounces lighter) as the 9mm version while only having the same magazine capacity (surely they could have crammed an extra round or two in there?).

Sig says the design philosophy for the P365-380 is to offer shooters– especially those with smaller hands or those that find the manipulation and snappy recoil of small 9mm pistols challenging– another option.

Plus, in my opinion, it also opens up markets such as in Latin America and Europe for the P365 where 9mm Luger is banned for civilian consumption, reserved for M&P use, but .380 is allowed.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Taurus goes TORO with the GX4

Taurus’ micro-compact 9mm just got a little better as the company on Friday announced a new optics-ready TORO model addition to the line.

The increasingly American-based company debuted its new micro pistol in May with an 11+1/13+1 capacity and a sub-$400 asking price. This made the gun– which I found dependable in testing— a budget competitor against similarly-sized contemporaries such as the Sig P365 and Springfield Armory Hellcat, with about the only rock that could be thrown against it is the fact that it did not come with a slide cut to support popular micro-red dot carry optics.

Well, that has now changed as the new Taurus GX4 TORO series has a factory cut and mounting pattern that supports Hex Wasp GE5077, Holosun HS507K/HS407K, Riton 3 Tactix MPRD2, Trijicon RMR, Shield RMSc, Sig RomeoZero, and Sightmark Mini Shot A-Spec M3 sights.

At an asking price of $468.

Thus…

More in my column at Guns.com.

Emp Ronins?

Springfield Armory is blending its Ronin series M1911 single-stacks with that of its carry-ready Enhanced Micro Pistol platform. 

The two new Ronin EMP models include an ultra-compact 3-inch with a 9+1 capacity, and a 4-inch version with a 10+1 capacity. When stacked against traditional M1911s, this is equivalent to Commander and Officer-length guns, only about a half-inch shorter in each instance.

And, with a two-toned look of a carbon steel slide with a hot salt blue finish over a lightweight aluminum frame with a satin silver Cerakote finish, paired with walnut grip panels, they are easy on the eyes.

More in my column over at Guns.com.

Turkish Tisas Tanker Tally

So I’ve been testing the new Commander-length Tisas Tanker from SDS Imports for the past few months. After 500 rounds, including hollow points, the subtotal number of jams/failures I came away with was four.

I say subtotal because two of the four were likely due to a weak magazine spring on an old GI mag failing to chamber the bottom round– they worked fine when loaded in another mag– while the third was a failure to eject on a dirty chamber with PMC. The fourth failure was a misfire likely due to a hard/bad primer as the round in question failed to go off when struck a second time. That leaves the final tally at one out of 500, fresh out of the box.

Not too bad, especially when you consider you can get one of these 70 series Commanders with a forged frame and slide for $400 smackers.

The Tanker…

More on the Tanker in my column at Guns.com.

Swimming with the Mako

With a 13+1 capacity and the option of an optics-ready slide, the very concealable Kimber R7 Mako is competitive in the micro-compact field.

Introduced in August, the R7 Mako is a striker-fired 9mm with a polymer frame. When it comes to specs, it runs just 6.2 inches long overall, 4.3 inches high, and one inch wide. Weight, in its most basic form, is 19.5 ounces. This puts the new double-stack ultra-compact Kimber in the same category as guns like the Sig Sauer P365 and Springfield Armory Hellcat series.

The weight of the R7 Mako O.I., with the CTS-1500 red dot nstalled, the extended magazine inserted, and 14 rounds of Browning 147-grain X-Point loaded, is 28.6 ounces on our scale. My first CCW gun back in the early 1990s was a much heavier and larger Browning Hi-Power with the same capacity and the only hollow points it could feed reliably were 115-grain Hydra-Shoks. Times change.

Over the course of the past several weeks, I’ve run 500~ rounds through one and carried it for about 200 hours. I have a list of likes and dislikes about it after the jump over to my column at Guns.com. 

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