Category Archives: every day carry

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.

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.

Did Civil War Soldiers Carry Tourniquets?

Today, all the hip gun guys who carry TQs as part of their everyday medical (author included) often think that this generation practically invented its use.

So, so wrong.

French surgeon Jean-Louis Petit‘s innovative screw tourniquet dates to 1718 and its use by trained physicians was widespread by the 1800s, seeing lots of use on all sides during the Napoleonic wars.

Some reports are that, during the Civil War, more than 50,000 field (strap) tourniquets and at least 13,000 Petit screw tourniquets were used by the U.S. Army Medical Department.

“This item is a petit tourniquet that was used by surgeons during the Civil War.” Surgical Instruments M1999-2145. U.S. Sanitary Commission Collection. Record Group ANRC. Records of the American National Red Cross. Via NARA https://catalog.archives.gov/id/5753444

Simpler Prussian service strap-and-buckle tourniquets, as detailed by the esteemed Dr. Samuel D. Gross, consultant for the U.S. Surgeon General during the conflict and author of an 1862 handbook on military medicine, tourniquets, were extensively used in the military service, with “every orderly sergeant being required to carry one in his pocket.”

From Gross, via the National Museum of Civil War Medicine:

“It is not necessary that the common soldier should carry a Petit’s tourniquet, but every one may put into his pocket a stick of wood, six inches long, and a handkerchief or piece of roller, with a thick compress, and be advised how, where, and when they are to be used.

By casting the handkerchief round the limb, and placing the compress over its main artery, he can, by means of the stick, produce such an amount of compression as to put at once an effectual stop to the hemorrhage.

This simple contrivance, which has been instrumental in saving thousands of lives, constitutes what is called the field tourniquet.

A fife, drum-stick, knife, or ramrod may be used, if no special piece of wood is at hand.”

MRDs on Carry Pistols and Considering Gunfight Distances

Chris Baker over at Lucky Gunner has been doing some good work in recent years on firearms myths and realities and, in response to a well-done 12-minute video regarding “Do You Need A Red Dot Sight On Your Carry Pistol?” — to which my one-liner after 25 years of carrying handguns at both a professional and amateur status is “not for me, but if it works for you after extensive training with it, have at it,”– he tackled the “it will get you kilt on the streets” argument against MRDs and of training to engage at distances beyond 7 yards/21 feet with a carry handgun in a personal defense encounter.

As a follow-up, he delves into the available data behind self-defense shootings in so much as the old “three shots, three yards, three seconds” standard, which proved interesting, especially when it comes to the records maintained by Tom Givens of his former students and their experiences in bad places.

Have $400 and Want a Micro 9 with Change Leftover?

Taurus is looking to take on the big boys with its new micro pistol, which is designed to deliver maximum concealment without sacrificing capacity or ergonomics – the GX4.

Getting the specs out of the way, the 11+1 shot 9mm is the size of popular .380 “pocket guns,” using a 3.06-inch barrel to tape out to a maximum 6.05-inch overall length. The gun is slender, at just over an inch wide, and it is 4.4 inches high at its tallest. The unloaded weight is 18.6 ounces. Fully loaded with 12 rounds of 147-grain JHPs, I found my test gun to hit the scales at 23.9 ounces.

Compared to other recently introduced micro 9s, such as the Ruger MAX-9, Sig Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson Shield Plus, and Springfield Armory Hellcat, the GX4 is a dead ringer as far as size goes. Plus, its flush-fit mags hold one extra round over the Sig or S&W’s comparable magazine while being on par with the Springer and one less than the Ruger.

However, where the GX4 cleans house is the price: $392. That’s the MSRP, meaning that “actual” prices at your local gun store will probably hover closer to “Three Fiddy.” 

More in my column at Guns.com.

Taurus goes…Red Dot?

For a few months last year, I actively carried and shot the heck out of a Taurus G3C on a T&E review. I was surprised in the fact that the non-frills Brazilian-made gun just flat out worked and digested everything I fed it. Carrying with a DeSantis holster, it felt good and I felt confident with it. So much so that, at the end of the review period, instead of sending it back to Taurus (I had saved all the packing and was fully prepared going into the review to “return to sender) I bought the damned thing.

They ship with 3 12-round mags and are an extremely compact design– that works– which is always a good thing. Price runs between $275-$350 depending on where you find them. 

Now, Taurus just announced they are delivering an optics-ready version to the market, ready right out of the box to carry just about every pistol red dot (Trijicon RMR, Noblex-Docter, Vortex Venom, Burris FastFire, Sightmark Mini, Holosun HS407C, Leupold Delta Point, C-More STS2, Bushnell RXS-250, and TRUGLO TRU-TEC Micro) there is.

The asking price is in the low $400s, which is nice.

The Little CZ 2075 RAMI

For the last 15 years, CZ produced a great sub-compact pistol based on its vaunted CZ 75 line that was perfect for concealed carry, the handy little 2075 RAMI.

Introduced in 2005, the RAMI was in every sense a chopped-down CZ 75, using the famed pistol’s double-action/single-action design and double-stack magazine format. Whereas the full-sized CZ 75 typically had a 4.7-inch barrel which yielded an 8.15-inch overall length and 38-ounce weight, the alloy-framed RAMI hit the market with a 3-inch barrel, 6.5-inch overall length, and an unloaded weight of less than 26 ounces.

While the downsized RAMI shipped with a 10-round flush-fitting magazine in 9mm format, it could accept all standard CZ 75 double stacks due to its family tree. They typically shipped with a 14-round extended magazine with a grip extension as well.

More on the RAMI 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.

Repairman Jack’s Gatt

Originally billed as a “vest pocket .45” built for maximum concealment in mind, the 4+1 Semmerling LM-4 pistol was only 5.2-inches long, 3.7-inches high, and a svelte 1-inch wide. For reference, this puts it in the same neighborhood as common .32ACP and .25ACP pocket pistols, but in a much larger caliber. Today it still holds the title as perhaps the smallest .45ACP that isn’t a derringer and, for comparison, it is about the same size as a Ruger LCP.

It is also the only manually-worked slide action .45ACP carry gun I can think of…

And I have been fooling around with serial number #31 lately

More in my column at Guns.com. 

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