Category Archives: ccw

Hanging out with the Unloved

Normally, the pistols I test and evaluate for publications come from so-called “top shelf” or at least “mid-shelf” manufacturers such as Glock, S&W, FN, Kimber, et. al.

In a departure from that, I have been kicking around the Taurus G3C, the company’s third-gen polymer-framed striker-fired pistol for the past four months and have run more than 1K rounds through it, often carrying it as a BUG to get a feel for it.

The verdict? The damn thing works. It isn’t pretty. You aren’t going to want to show it off on your social media feed. However, Taurus has gotten their quality control in order and this gun has very little to complain about.

Plus, it is a 12+1 subcompact that is roughly the same size as a Glock 43, but only costs about $300.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Or are you happy to see me?

One of the oldest forms of walking around with a concealed handgun, the practice of pocket carry has been around for centuries and is still alive and well today but needs a few tricks to pull off properly.

While owning a gun isn’t for everyone, the prospect of carrying a gun when outside of the home is for an even smaller subset of the population. Keeping with that mantra, toting around a gun in your pocket is really not for everyone. Some will advocate against it, full stop, while others have successfully used the method for years and it is their primary method of carrying.

I weigh the good with the bad, in my column at Guns.com.

Glad Big Blue is getting with 2019

For the past two years, I have probably spent more time with my S&W M&P9 M2.0 4-inch Compact (what a mouthful!) than any other pistol I own.

In all, I’ve dropped more than 4K rounds through it with no issues worth noting and, on most days, it is my EDC in addition to whatever gun I am T&E’ing at the time (yes, I believe in the concept of the New York Reload aka “dressing for success”).

My M2.0 chilling, also, forgive the homage to Alex Colville’s The Pacific. 

I personally think the M2.0 4-inch Compact is a Glock 19 killer as it does everything the G19 can, only slightly better from the factory. With that being said, I am glad Smith finally figured out that they should market an optic-ready model, able to take a variety of seven different red dots, with an MSRP of around $600~.

More in my column at Guns.com

Kicking around the G3c

For the past several weeks I have been wrestling a Taurus, the company’s new G3c model subcompact 9mm to be exact. I wanted to hate it as it wasn’t a Glock 19/26 or S&W M&P M2.0 Compact– my typical every day carry– or at least you could say I didn’t have big hopes for it. Now, I will admit that, after 500 rounds and about 120 hours with it on my side, I am beginning to look at the gun with a fresh sense of curiosity.

So far, I’ve have found the Taurus G3c to be a definite upgrade from the company’s previous polymer-framed pistols, the 1st Generation PT111 Millennium and the 2nd Gen G2 line. Without spending Sig money for a P365 or even Springfield money for a Hellcat, it gets you in the neighborhood of a very compact 12+1 9mm that leaves you some extra scratch to invest in brass.

Which is always a good thing.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Sun’s out, guns out

Resistance fighters with the French Forces of the Interior armbands meet up with curious recently arrived American troops on the beach in the Saint Tropez area during Operation Dragoon landings along the French Riviera, 15 August 1944. The irregulars of the FFI numbered an estimated 400,000 by this stage of the war and were no longer underground.

Signal Corps Photo 111-SC-212383 via NARA

The Resistance members all seem to have pistols stuck in their waist-band, channeling Dan Tanna long before the 1970s.

Inset of 111-SC-212383

The fella to the left has a Colt M1908 Hammerless stuck in his belt while his buddy with the short (German surplus?) wool jacket has what appears to be an Astra 400 grip just showing. The stabby guy with the bandana has what looks like a 6.35mm pocket pistol such as a Browning Baby or Colt Vest model in addition to his steel-handled sheath knife.

As for the GIs, the older Soldier on the right has the distinctive seahorse patch of the 36th Engineer Regiment.

The 36th Engineers were everywhere in the ETO, earning campaign streamers for Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Anzio, and Rome-Arno in the 22 months prior to the Dragoon landings. They would go on to prove essential in the push through Northwest Europe through Alsace and the Rhineland. An active-duty unit, after WWII they went on to serve in Korea, where they remained for 20 years. Reformed as the 36th Engineer Group in 1973 and as the 36th Engineer Group in 2006, they have continued to deploy downrange across the sandbox extensively over the past three decades.

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.

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