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Farewell, Sonny

What can I say, everyone loves wheelguns, right? (And yes, that is my Colt Dick along with same-period Roscoe switchblade, thanks for noticing!)

Famed Gotham detective and noted crime writer (Murder at the Harlem Mosque, Point Blank, et. al) Salvatore Anthony “Sonny” Grosso died late last week, aged 89.

Grosso and his NYPD partner Eddie Egan famously severed the “French Connection” heroin ring in the 1960s, then had a hand in not only the book but the acclaimed Gene Hackman film that followed it. This allowed Grosso to pivot from working a precinct detective pool to become a technical advisor on the Godfather and go on to have a hand in many of the best cop shows of the 1970s including Kojak.

As noted by the NY Times in his obit, he was a snub-nosed fan.

“Until he died, Mr. Grosso carried his off-duty .38-caliber Colt revolver, the very same gun that was taped to the tank of a toilet and fired (using blanks) by Al Pacino in a mob hit in “The Godfather.””

Pocket rocket, DB9 edition

For the past few months, I have been carrying Diamondback’s new Gen 4 DB9 pistol.

The $225 micro-framed 9mm, with an unloaded weight of just 13.4-ounces, while maintaining a 3.1-inch stainless steel barrel that gives an overall length of 5.73-inches, is described by Diamondback as the “smallest and lightest” 9mm on the market. With a flush-fit magazine shoe installed, its height is 4-inches flat. The maximum width is 0.89-inches. This puts it a hair larger than “mouse gun” semi-autos in .22LR, .32ACP and .380 Auto, but more than, say a J-frame .38.

While I prefer to carry a double stack (G19, S&W M&P M2.0 Compact, et. al) on most occasions, I did find the DB9 great for going to the gym as I find it weird to wear a belt with track pants. Likewise, while kayaking in shorts or doing yard/housework, the Diamondback in pocket carry was a good fit.

In all, I put about 1,000 rounds through the palm-sized parabellum in the past few months and found out a few things about it.

Anyway, more in my column at Guns.com, should you be curious.

Do you have a red dot carry gun? Seems like everyone will eventually

It seems like everything is coming up red dot when it comes to “carry” pistols. Just this year, we have seen Sig’s P320 series, the IWI Masada, and Springfield Armory Hellcat all pop up with compact or even micro-compact 9mm pistols that come pre-cut for red dots, preferably of the “micro” variety.

With that in mind, it should surprise no one that FN’s 509 series, which was made available in a mid-sized micro red dot (MRD) model this summer, now has been augmented by an optics-ready Compact model as well.

With a standard flush-fit 12-round magazine, the Compact MRD accepts all higher capacity FN 509 mags. When it comes to specs, the 3.7-inch barrel translates to a 6.8-inch overall length. Height is 4.8-inches and weight is 25.5-ounces. By comparison, this comes in slightly smaller than the 10+1 round Glock G48.

The FN 509 Compact MRD will be available in both FDE and black, optic not included. Note the front and rear slide serrations and tall co-witnessed sights. (Photo: FN)

More in my column at Guns.com.

So I have been carrying the Beretta 92X Compact for 2 months…

I’ve have been shooting and carrying one of Beretta’s newest versions of their iconic Model 92, the 92X, and have a few things to report.

While the standard/full-sized 92X uses a 4.7-inch barrel to produce an 8.5-inch long handgun that tips the scales at 33.4-ounces while unloaded, the smaller Centurion is a more Commander-style offering with a shorter 4.25-inch barrel which boils down to a 7.75-inch overall length.

Going even shorter, the 92X Compact has the Centurion-length slide and barrel on a shorter frame (5.25-inches high, versus the standard 5.4-inch) to produce a handgun more suited for concealed carry. This puts the Compact in roughly the same class, size-wise, as guns such as the Glock G19, Sig Sauer P229, and S&W M&P M2.0 Compact.

I have carried it for over 400 hours and ran 2,000 rounds in it drawn from a selection of loads from Winchester, Federal, CCI (Blazer), Wolf, and PMC in weights between 115- and 147-grain with a mix of various training and self-defense ammo in standard commercial, military, and +P velocities.

Long story short: one malfunction in shooting, some belly skin lost in carry. Other than that, not bad. Not bad at all.

In the end, the 92X gives the modern shooter a reliable handgun that stands on 40+ years of legacy while having a lot of features– DA/SA hammer-fired action, all-metal construction, slide-mounted safety/decocker– that you aren’t going to find on the average plastic fantastic.

Further, it does it all in three available sizes with a ton of aftermarket support. The 92X series may not get people to drop their polymer striker-fired handguns, but it does give those who are familiar with, or prefer, the 92 families a more contemporary pistol that is both fun to shoot and dependable.

See the full review with more context in my column at Guns.com

Tough weekend

Spent lots of time on the range this weekend as I am T&E’ing several new guns such as Beretta’s 92X Compact and Diamondback’s DB9 Gen 4. I also took advantage of the great weather (70 degrees, a downright cold front in Mississippi!) and lane availability to dig out some classics from my gun lockers.

Verdict?

Lots of badly injured paper men, one painful yet minor case of slide bite, and 3,000~ rounds of brass left behind for the case goblins.

Lots of this…

…And a little of that

All that being said, not a bad weekend. I’ve had worse

Snake in your pocket?

Recently introduced by the Cocoa, Florida-based gunmaker, the DB9 Gen 4, with a weight of just 13.4-ounces while maintaining a 3.1-inch stainless steel barrel that gives an overall length of 5.73-inches, Diamondback describes their gun as the “smallest and lightest” 9mm on the market. With a flush-fit magazine shoe installed, its height is 4-inches flat. The maximum width is 0.89-inches.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been carrying a DB9 G4 off and on as a backup gun and in situations where it is harder to carry a full-to-medium-sized pistol. In essence, it has been taking the place of my trusty old S&W J-frame, and with good reasons.

Here is a stack of the DB9 against the iconic pocket roscoe: The S&W J-Frame. As witnessed by this S&W M642, the DB9 is smaller and a tad lighter. Plus, it can carry seven rounds of 9mm as opposed to five of .38.

Further, the DB9 is downright skinny when the width is brought up and the Smith falls in alongside. Also, the DB9s barrel length and sight picture in both cases is an improvement, along with the faster reload.

Anyway, more on those size stack-ups in my column at Guns.com

Back-to-Back Gulf War Winner, updated

Beretta has been around for at least 400 years, with a lot of that in the handgun market. The M1951 popped up the days immediately after WWII and became a crowd-favorite not only in Italy but around the globe for a generation. Then came the Model 92 in the 1970s, which took all the lessons learned from the ’51 and made good on the design, primarily making it a double stack.

It is a good design, seeing much service.

Fast forward 40 years and the 92 spent most of that as the standard sidearm of the U.S. military– and will likely take another generation or so to be totally replaced by the new M17/M18 pistols if the past experience with the M1911 is taken as an example.

However, even though Beretta has introduced more modern polymer-framed handguns (APX, anyone?) they show no sign of putting the vaunted 92 to bed anytime soon. In fact, they are updating it.

For the past month, I have been shlepping this bad boy around.

Recently introduced by the Italian gunmaker, the 92X series is a wholly American concept, produced at their Gallatin, Tennessee plant. Introduced in July in Full-Sized, Centurion and Compact variants– the latter both with and without an accessory rail– the new handgun line is loaded with features and upgrades not found in the more vanilla 92FS/M9 pistols while coming in at a price that is more affordable than the M9A3 and the semi-custom Langdon Tactical/Wilson Combat 92G series guns.

So far, I have put about 600 rounds through this T&E 92X Compact and have carried it for about 150 hours. How does it stack up against other popular mid-sized carry guns in size?

Not too bad, right? Interestingly, the loaded weight difference between these two is only about an ounce apart…

More in my column at Guns.com.

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