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Springer’s Mustang is really starting to grow on me

In 1983, in the days before Baby Glocks and back when the Walther PPK was the coolest carry gun available, Colt introduced the Mustang (or Pocket Lite) single-action subcompact single-stack single-action pistols chambered for the .380 ACP cartridge.

Colt Mustang XSP-SS AMBI. 380ACP…their current polymer-framed offering.

Well, they stopped making them in 1996 but that didn’t stop Sig from coming out with their extremely similar P238 in 2009 and Kimber to produce a line of likewise very Mustang-y clones (their Micro series). Then, in 2011, seeing all the popularity of their dated design in play, Colt put the gun back into production (see above photo).

Well, this year Springfield came out with their own send-up of the gun- the Model 911. Debuted earlier this year in a bi-tone stainless top half and black frame, they now have a more sedate black nitride finish on the 416 stainless slide and barrel.

The new model 911 now shipping still uses a 7075 T6 aluminum frame to keep the svelte .380 ACP pistol down to 12.6-ounces in weight, which for comparison is about 2-ounces more than a Ruger LCP with the same magazine capacity. Springfield said the nitriding process hardens the outermost layer of the frame, creating a finish more resilient to the abuses of inclement weather and strenuous use.

Best yet, the MSRP ($599, with “street prices” closer to $450ish) complete with night sights edges out the Colt ($699), Kimber ($629 for the Micro Night) and Sig ($760) offerings bit. And don’t even start that “but, MIM…” argument either, because if you think the other guys don’t utilize MIM for some parts, you are higher than Snoop Dogg.

More in my column at, including a look at the guns we took in Arizona in April.

DEA goes 5th Gen

Last December when Glock gently rolled out their Gen 5 models of the G34 (MOS) and the G26, I was sent one of each to review. While the 34 was no doubt a tack driver, the 26 really caught my eye as I had a 3rd Gen of the same breed back in 2001 and carried it for a bit but then passed it on to a friend in need but never got it back (apparently they still need it).

When I say that I liked the new 5G G26, I mean what’s not to like? First of the “Baby Glocks,” the G26 has been on the subcompact carry market for over two decades and it is the smallest Gen 5 model produced by the company. Notably, the 10-shot abbreviated semi-auto does not share the same flared mag well that is standard on other guns in the generation but does have a host of other features such as an improved barrel (Glock’s new ‘Marksman’ series), updated trigger and grip ergonomics (read= no grooves).

It is the same size as my classic snubs, such as this Colt Detective, while bringing 10+1 rounds of 9mm to the party…making it a logical carry option

It also makes good home defense sense, especially when you think about cornering and slicing around the rabbit’s den of staircases and hallways in my house

So with this in mind, it was no surprise to me that the DEA just sent out a RFQ for 100 of these (for starters, it is listed as “recurring”).

More on the DEA contract in my column at

Want a factory Walther PPS M2 with a RMSc red dot? Done

So I ran across this at the NRAAM in Dallas earlier this month. Increasingly, carry guns are coming standard with RMRs…even very small ones.

The parallax-free red dot is a slimmer version of the Shield RMS designed for subcompact carry pistols, a category that Walther’s PPS M2 fills nicely. The 1-inch wide single-stack 9mm uses a 3.18-inch barrel and goes just 6.3-inches overall, specs that are comparable to the Glock 43 and Smith & Wesson Shield. The factory-standard red dot model has its top slide milled to accept the RMSc with no overhang but ships with a cover plate should the user want to just rely on the co-witnessed iron sights.

More in my column at

My thoughts on fooling around with the Glock 19X for three months…

So in December 2017, Glock snuck me an early production model of the 19X “crossover” to test and evaluate. Now, after carrying it around the house and about town, at SHOT Show and in weather that ranged from snow and ice to desert and saltwater marsh, taking time out to fire 2,000 mixed rounds in six range sessions and not cleaning it, I have to say, it has rather grown on me over the past few months.

The full review in my column at

S&W has a new Bodyguard on the job…

Smith & Wesson last week introduced a new flavor to their roster of M&P Bodyguard snub-nosed revolvers that deletes the laser, changes the styling, and drops the price.

The new Bodyguard offering is chambered in .38 Special, rated for +P loads, and uses a stainless steel barrel and cylinder coupled with a one-piece aluminum alloy upper frame. With that in mind, it is a dead ringer Smith’s legacy M&P small-frame self-defense revolver sans integrated laser and with a polymer gray grip.

Weight comes in at a few ounces less on the updated laser-free snubby, tipping the scales at 14.2-ounces. Overall length is 6.6-inches with a 1.875-inch barrel. The five-shot “snag free” style revolver is double action only with what S&W bills as a smooth trigger and uses a pinned, black ramp front sight with an integral rear sight.

More in my column at

Carry choices for rangemaster certified instructors

I thought this list was pretty interesting. It’s a survey of the carry choices of 100 Rangemaster certified firearms instructors.

Most commonly, they carry (almost every day) a 9mm striker-fired semi-auto, with about 80 percent falling in the compact to full-sized arena (very few mouse guns or subcompacts). Almost all waist-carry (concealed) IWB on the strong side, appendix to the back of the hip, in a Kydex holster. All have a round in the chamber, with about half carrying a secondary piece for a New York reload.

Hmm. I agree with most, but I do like my leather sometimes…


Smith’s game changer

Debuted last October, the S&W M&P M2.0 Compact, a 15-round capacity medium-sized entry to Smith and Wesson’s line, was from the beginning thought to be a direct contender to niche populated by the well-liked Glock 19. The G19 has long been the people’s champ when it comes to a double-stack 9mm handgun that is serious enough to provide solace if needed while compact enough to carry without pulling your pants down every other step.

Over a five-month period, I put 2,000 rounds through the new Smith, give or take a handful, and carried it for approximately 400 hours, and compared it directly to the G19.

In short, Smith got a lot of things right.

Jump to my column at to see what I found.

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