Category Archives: edc

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. 

In ‘Optics-Ready Micro 9’ news…

Smith & Wesson this week announced a new version of its “micro 9″ M&P9 Shield Plus 3.1 that comes with a 13+1 mag (which is comparable in capacity to the vaunted old Browning Hi-Power in a much smaller frame) and a factory slide cut for micro red dots. Sure, S&W could have just released the Shield Plus with an optics cut when it debuted earlier in the year– like Ruger did with the MAX-9– but where is the fun in that?

Further enhancements from past Shield models include a flat-face trigger and an optimized grip texture designed for concealed carry. It ships with two magazines: an extended 13+1 round magazine that adds to the overall grip length and pistol height, as well as a flush-fit 10+1 round magazine. The pistol features the M&P hallmark 18-degree grip angle, which S&W argues lends to a more natural point of aim, therefore helping to better manage recoil, and get back on target quickly.

For those keeping count at home, Ruger (MAX-9), S&W (Shield Plus), Taurus (G3C TORO), Springfield Armory (Hellcat OR), and Sig Sauer (P365 XL and P365 SAS) all now have optics-ready double-stack 9mm micro compacts that offer at least a 10+1 capacity in a gun roughly the size of a Glock 43. Meanwhile, Glock’s smallest answer to the micro-9 trend is the G43X MOS, which is only slightly larger.

Talk about the golden age of carry pistols.

Anywhoo, more in my column at Guns.com.

Beretta adds optics cut to APX Carry

Beretta this week announced a new installment to its APX series of modular striker-fired pistols, the svelte new optics-ready APX A1 9mm.

The company’s design philosophy of the APX A1 Carry was to develop a pistol that was easily concealed with its single-stack, sub-compact, and thin grip design that makes it essentially invisible, no matter the clothes you wear or whether you carry inside or outside the waistband.

And it comes in four colors at a price of $449

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Kimber’s Shark in the Micro 9 Pool

Since the Sig Sauer P365 came out in 2017, which gave the booming concealed carry market a 10+1 capacity 9mm that wasn’t much bigger than a 6+1 .380 blowback, seemingly everyone else is trying to catch up. You’ve seen the Taurus GX4, Ruger MAX, S&W Shield Plus, and Springfield Armory Hellcat all hit the shelves, which were basically the same thing only with different branding.

Now there is the Kimber R7 Mako, which allows a 13+1 capacity, has an optics cut and TruGlo Tritium night sights standard, and excellent– for a striker-fired gun– trigger and ergos.

Plus, rather than a brutal utilitarian look familiar to the rest of the competition, the smooth lines and laser-cut texturing of the Mako just seems, well, kinda pretty.

My thoughts after spending the past few weeks with the R7 Mako after the jump over to Guns.com. 

So We Should Talk About the PSA Dagger

This comes as a response to a reader’s question. 

One of the guns I carried and used the most from about 1999 to 2015 ish was my trusty (but never rusty) Gen 3 Glock 19. In short, I ran something like 30K rounds through that bad boy in a series of 3-, 5-, and 7-day classes during that period as a student and used it as a demo and “loaner” gun while as an instructor.

Mah beat-to-heck G19 Gen 3. All I’ve done to keep it running is swap out the recoil spring every 5K rounds whether I needed to or not and I recently changed out the firing pin spring, plunger spring, and trigger spring because I got paranoid. 

Today, Glock still makes the Gen 3/G19– largely because it is on California’s roster of handguns approved to sell to the public– with the 12-month average price as of this week running $558.11 new and $493.09 used. Heck, I recently just picked up a Mariner variant of the same gun just to say I had one.

So why all this talk about Glocks when the title of this post is about something called the PSA Dagger? Because this, if you haven’t heard, is the Dagger:

Call it a Glock 19 clone, call it a “Glock killer” just call it (says PSA, anyway)

In short, Palmetto State Armory in the past several years has beaten just about every black rifle maker in the AR-15 space with some guns that are just an absolute bargain. I can vouch for this as I have two extremely reliable builds I put together a few years ago using PSA’s 5.56 NATO “Freedom Upper” that included a lead-lapped, 1:7″ twist, 416R stainless steel barrel which yielded exceptional accuracy.

One of what I call my “6-pound basic $500 ARs,” with PSA uppers and guts. Again, these are often loaned out for classes and have never left the user with a bad experience.

With that same sort of logic, to hamstring their competitors by delivering well-produced guns and components at a lower cost, PSA last year tackled the consumer pistol market with the $299 Dagger that does everything a Gen 3 G19 will do for you at a much more attractive price point.

A striker-fired polymer-framed 9mm that has the same general specs (not to mention internal compatibility) of 3rd Gen G19s, the Dagger has several upgrades over the Glock. For instance, it uses a SAAMI Spec 1:10 twist stainless steel barrel that has been DLC coated as well as a stainless-steel slide that has been black nitrided. Go ahead a do a search to find out what Glock makes their barrels and slides from (hint: not stainless). Further, the Dagger has front slide serrations (something Glock only added on the Gen 5 guns), a better grip texture (IMHO), and a flat-faced trigger that breaks at 5.5-pounds.

By the way, PSA offers the Dagger as slides for those with an extra frame or kit on the shelf, and in versions with threaded barrel and CHF barrel options.

On the downside, the Dagger doesn’t have the same Glock name recognition and are a bit harder to find (you basically have to sign up over at PSA to get email blasts to see when they are available) but you get a decent modern double-stack 9mm that is domestically made and eminently supportable for a lot less.

And that’s my two cents on the Dagger.

Of My Time with the GX4

Taurus announced the new micro-compact semi-auto pistol, the GX4, in May, billed as an 11+1 shot 9mm that was roughly the size of a traditional .380 pocket gun that had half the capacity. The specs of the polymer-framed striker-fired handgun– 5.8-inches long with the small backstrap installed, about an inch wide, and 4.4-inches high with the flush-fit magazine inserted– put it in the same boat as the Ruger MAX-9, Sig Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson Shield Plus, and Springfield Armory Hellcat line.
I’ve been kicking around the new Taurus GX4 over the past couple of months, having run some 500 rounds through it, and have some things to say about it.

The 11+1 shot Taurus GX4 is definitely compact. Micro compact, you could say.

Kimber’s First Polymer Handgun

Kimber, at least for the past 25 years, has been seen as a steel-framed M1911 maker, and for good reason– until just a few years ago that was all they made. Then, in 2016, they jumped into wheel guns as well as their very compact Micro 9 series of aluminum-framed pocket autos.

Now, they have delivered their first polymer-framed, striker-fired gun, the R7 Mako.

I know, I know, yawn, right? These have been around since the early 1980s when Glock blazed that trail.

But the R7 is just 6.2-inches long overall, 4.3-inches high, and 1-inch wide. By comparison, this is a near match for the recently introduced Taurus GX4, Ruger MAX, Sig P365, S&W Shield Plus, and Springfield Armory Hellcat.

Unlike some of these micro-compact contemporaries, however, the Mako is optics-ready and has fully ambidextrous controls with a full wrap-around stippled texturing along with TruGlo Tritium Pro u-notch sights. Plus, its top half is stainless rather than some low-key carbon steel, with a matte FNC finish.

Looking forward to shooting this one…

More in my column at Guns.com. 

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