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FN goes G19, finally

Fabrique Nationale Herstal was one of the early competitors for the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System contract to replace the Beretta M9. Their submission, a beefed up and enhanced version of their FNS striker-fired handgun, wasn’t selected but they released it last year as the FN 509 in both a tactical and standard model that, for lack of a better comparison, are the rough equivalent of the Glock 19X and the Glock 17 G5 MOS, respectively.

Now, FN has introduced a Midsize 509 that fits the same envelope as the standard G19 and moves into the same neighborhood as the S&W M&P 2.0 Compact (I’ve been carrying one of the latter for nearly a year, and have dropped 3K+ rounds through it with no issues) and CZ P-10 C series.

Not throwing rocks, but why not lead with this?

More in my column at

Plinking with a Carabiniere hogleg

Dating back to 1814, and as such predating modern Italy, the Carabinieri are that country’s famous national gendarmerie force.

These guys

Long equipped with Beretta-made sub guns, LMGs, rifles, and handguns, the force has always been well-armed. Back in WWII, they used the M934 Beretta in 9mm Corto (.380ACP), replacing it in the 1950s with Beretta’s popular M1951 Brigadier series in 9mm Para. That gun, a single-stack 8-shot locked breech, short-recoil semi-auto, was modified and given a double-stack magazine, making the Beretta 92 that we know today.

Adopted by the Carabinieri in the 1970s, the early 92S is much the same as today’s 92FS, with the exception of some minor internal differences and the same M1951-style magazine release button located towards the bottom of the left-side grip.

Note the near-heel release

Replaced by more modern versions, these retired gendarmerie guns were imported in big numbers to the U.S. in the past couple of years.

Like, crate loads

Sure, they are 30~ years old, but the average LE handgun is only fired 2-4 times a year (if it is issued) for qualification and familiarization, with the round count likely at the 200-ish mark per annum. That translates to about 6,000 rounds downrange over a three-decade service life (if it was issued for all 30 of those years.) Even if you double that, you are only looking at 12K rounds. As the average durability of Beretta M9 slides is over 35,000 rounds, frames are over 30,000 rounds, and locking blocks are 22,000 rounds, they are only about a third of the way through their likely lifespan.

I picked up a few from SOG last fall (before they went out of business!) for sub-$300 and spent the better part of the day on Sunday giving one of these beaters a workout.

il mio amore…(also, note the cutouts for the mag release)

In all, I put some 250 rounds of Winchester White Box 124 grain FMJ (if it makes it with WWB, it will make it with anything, lol!) through it with (zero) malfunctions.

Seems to still hold the point of aim…


The Buffalos

Organized on 11 January 1812, wiped out at the Raisin River Massacre, and reconstituted in 1861 to join the Army of the Potomac, the 17th Infantry Regiment was in the forefront of the Civil War, proving key at Fredericksburg. Post-bellum, they remained on the Army’s rolls and, after the Indian campaigns, fought in the Spanish-American War, during which nine men of its C and D companies earned the Medal of Honor at El Caney, Cuba in 1898.

In between WWI/WWII (Presidential Unit Citation for Leyte), Vietnam, and Korean service, the 17th chased Villa in Mexico and was involved in the Philippine Insurrection, fighting at Malolos, San Isidro, Tarlac, and Mindanao between 1899-1900.

The regulars of the 17th Infantry head for action in the Philippine Islands, 1899-1900. Note the Krag rifles and Mills belts (National Archives Identifier 533179)

The regiment’s 4th Battalion is currently part of the 1st Armored Division, where they serve as a mechanized infantry unit. Their nickname is “The Buffalos” after Lt.Gen. William Wilson “Buffalo Bill” Quinn, who commanded the regiment at Inchon and remained their Honorary Colonel for over 40 years after. Their regimental association is here.

Per la donna che non deve chiedere mai

From the Beretta Gallery in Milan is this beautiful factory engraved Model 96FS in .40S&W, an uncharacteristic caliber for Italy where 9x21mm is more common (in the Model 98) for civilian handgun purchases as 9x19mm is illegal to own out of military/police circles.

Still, it is a striking piece.

“Per la donna che non deve chiedere mai!”

Mossberg…now in a pistol

In honor of their 100th Anniversary, Mossberg has announced a return to the type of platform they launched with in 1919 — a compact pistol.

Announced Thursday, the new 9mm Mossberg MC1sc pistol weighs some 22-ounces while fully loaded (19 empty), largely due to its polymer frame. Billed as ideal for every day carry, the new pistol boasts a 6-round flush-fit and 7-round extended magazine while a 3.4-inch barrel translates to a 6.25-inch overall length. As such, it is about the same size as the standard Glock 43 which boasts the same magazine capacity.

The problem is, with so much market share already invested deep in the Ruger LC9/EC9, S&W Sheild, HK VP9SK, and the G43, I feel like this pistol will get about as much love as the Taurus AR15 or Remington R51.

More in my column at

New Glock Slim models inbound

Meet the new 9mm 10+1 capacity Glock 43X and Glock 48. Two guns with the same frame, the 43X runs 6.06-inches long while the G48 is 6.85-inches (which makes it eligible for import to Canada) and yes, both are two-tone.

Sure to be the buzz of SHOT Show this month, the official release date is 21 January but most Glock retailers are already taking preorders for about $475~ in the standard models, $500 with Glock night sights and $575 with Ameriglos, although your mileage may vary.

Glock’s presser, released 2 January:

Today, GLOCK, Inc. announces two additions to the GLOCK pistol family. The GLOCK 43X and the GLOCK 48 feature the design of the Slimline series with a silver slide and are a perfect fit for everyday carry. Chambered in 9X19, both pistols feature a compact Slimiline frame with silver nPVD finish and a 10-round magazine capacity making them ideal for concealed carry.

“With the success of the Slimline series in the marketplace and over one million GLOCK 43 pistols sold in just three years, the Slimline series pistols have been tested, trusted and proven,” said GLOCK, Inc. VP Josh Dorsey. “We listened to the consumers request for a GLOCK Slimline model with increased round capacity and both of these pistols deliver that flawlessly. GLOCK’s continued pursuit of perfection drives innovation while not straying from our promise of reliability and durability and that is demonstrated in the G43X and G48.”

Designed for comfort, the G43X and G48 combine a fuller-size grip length with a minimal profile of approximately 1” for a comfortably balanced, versatile grip that’s ideal for a variety of users. While the two pistols share the same size frame, they have different slide lengths. The slide for the G43X is the same sub-compact length as the G43 (6.06 in.) while the G48 has a compact length (6.85 in) and is compliant with Canadian regulations.

These pistols incorporate elements of the Slimline series such as the short trigger distance, a frame with a built-in beavertail, a reversible magazine catch and the incredibly accurate, match-grade GLOCK Marksman Barrel (GMB). The G43X and G48 also feature precision-milled front serrations. Both models are available in three sight configurations; standard, GLOCK Night Sights (GNS), and Ameriglo BOLD.

Here is what people thought about them in a man-on-the-street that we did at

More to come, of course.

Black Ponies at 50

Vietnam War-era patch for the Black Ponies of Light Attack Squadron (VAL) 4 via NAAM

On 3 January 1969, the Navy established Light Attack Squadron (VAL) 4, the famed “Black Ponies.”

Prior to its disestablishment on 10 April 1972, the squadron flew OV-10 Broncos on hot-and-heavy close air support missions in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam supporting not only Navy and Marine forces but also ARVN, South Vietnamese Navy, and U.S. Army detachments as well. It was a wild 40-month ride, all of it in forward-deployed.

Look at that loadout…not bad for “light” attack

A U.S. Navy Rockwell OV-10A Bronco of light attack squadron VAL-4 Black Ponies attacking a target with a 12.7 cm (5 in) “Zuni” rocket in the Mekong Delta, South Vietnam, ca. 1969/70. PHC R.A. Hill, USN – Official U.S. Navy photograph No. 1139900 via National Naval Aviation Museum

U.S. Navy North American OV-10D Bronco (BuNo 155472) at the U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation shown in the VAL-4 livery complete with “UM” tail flash and Ponies crest. Originally an OV-10A which flew with The Black Ponies during the Vietnam War, she was transferred to the Marines after the unit was disestablished converted to a “D” model, retaining the aircraft in USMC service until 1991. She is one of only 14 Broncos on display in the U.S.

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