Tag Archives: edc

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.

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.

The Micro 9 Race is Heating Up

Every 25 years or so, handguns catch a big developmental wave. For instance, the last one prior to modern times occurred with the “Baby” Glocks of 1994, when the company debuted subcompact 10+1 shot pistols to make the most of the federal assault weapon ban. Those guns proved so successful that Glock now makes a subcompact model in all of their calibers– including the only company that makes a 10mm Auto pocket gun– while others have increasingly tried to imitate, duplicate or one-up the concept.

This brings us to 2018 when Sig Sauer brought their new “micro-compact” P365 to SHOT Show. Even smaller than the Glock G26 but with the same magazine capacity, it was a smash. Since then, Springfield Armory has brought their Hellcat to the market, with much the same concept, as had Taurus with the G3C.

Well, on the same day this week, both Ruger and Smith & Wesson announced their own separate P365/Hellcat/G3C competitors, the MAX-9 and the Shield Plus, respectively.

Ruger’s new MAX-9 Pistol, which, importantly, is optics-ready for under $500.

S&W M&P Shield Plus

Here is a snapshot of who they stack up when it comes to specs:

As for how they compare against each other in real life, the jury is still out on that one.

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

22 Years with the same old Snubby

For those situations where a more full-sized gun isn’t on the schedule, this Smith & Wesson Model 642 Airweight has often tagged along with me, especially in hot summer months.

I picked up this 15-ounce piece of prevention back in 1997 and, while my typical everyday carry is a double-stack 9mm compact (alternating between Glock’s G19 and S&W’s M&P 2.0) this .38 special often pokes its head out of the safe for various uses. While not perfect, they do have their place and this one has been nothing but faithful for 22 years.

More on its journey in my column at Guns.com.

Carry choices for rangemaster certified instructors

I thought this list was pretty interesting. It’s a survey of the carry choices of 100 Rangemaster certified firearms instructors.

Most commonly, they carry (almost every day) a 9mm striker-fired semi-auto, with about 80 percent falling in the compact to full-sized arena (very few mouse guns or subcompacts). Almost all waist-carry (concealed) IWB on the strong side, appendix to the back of the hip, in a Kydex holster. All have a round in the chamber, with about half carrying a secondary piece for a New York reload.

Hmm. I agree with most, but I do like my leather sometimes…

 

Getting in touch with that flashlight technique

While weapon mounted lights are increasingly the norm, carrying around a broad selection of low/no-light shooting skills in your toolbox will keep you well-lit in even the darkest of situations.

Going back to the era of the old town watch of Colonial times, which employed men who were armed with a sword or polearm and a lantern, it has always been preferable for those wandering about in sometime perilous conditions to have both a weapon for self-defense and some portable illumination to know when to use it.

Today it is no different.

Woe is the EDC practitioner who carries a defensive handgun without a light and no access to one on their person. Let’s face it, in your typical 365-day cycle, about half of that time is spent at night or in twilight, while the prospect of our species, as predominantly urban dwellers, to be thrown into pitch dark at high noon as we move about our homes or offices– due to a simple thrown light switch or power outage– has never been higher.

The Neck/eye/cheek Index flashlight technique, one of six that I cover after the jump

More in my column at Tac.44.com

 

A look at a half-dozen fixed blade carry knives ‘in the rotation’

That’s pretty stabby

On the cutting board, I give you six sub-$125 (most sub-$50 if you shop around) light fixed blade knives that are small enough to carry every day (depending on clothing options) while still being able to along with you almost everywhere in an urban or suburban environment if needed while remaining nominally concealable. Besides typical chores in daily life, they should also be strong enough to fill a foray into the woods or camp, capable of light bushcraft.

From left to right: A Kershaw 4007, CRKT Mossback, Cold Steel Spike, CRKT Obake, Tops Mountain Spike, and a Benchmade SOCP 176. All in current production

More detail on each, with plusses and minuses, noted in my column at Tac44.com.

5 Decent tactical folders I’ve found useful for under $50

A good tactical folder for the purpose of this installment is a knife that can accomplish all your classic “penknife” or “pocketknife” tasks– cutting a thread or cord, trimming fingernails, touching up a shave in a pinch, cutting an apple, and box cutting and opening mail– while still being available as a fast and earnest edged weapon if needed. As such, they need to be at the fast ready, have a sufficiently long blade, be capable of one-handed opening, be strong enough to take real abuse, and, to prevent cutting off one’s own fingers in such a situation, lock upon opening.

Five “budget” tactical folders under $50 (if you shop around) that get the rotation in EDC: Ontario Knife Company’s RAT1A, a Spyderco Tenacious, Matthew Lerch’s CRKT Argus, Ken Onion’s 1660 Kershaw Leek, and a Gerber Applegate–Fairbairn Mini Covert.

All are used and have spent their time in pockets, clocking in as needed. The Leek even survived the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina with me in my pocket– and I was glad to have it several times in that week. As such, any spots, dings, scratches or mars on the blades or scales are honestly earned and not the fault of their maker.

Why the $50 benchline? Bottom line is, sure you can carry your Chris Reeve Sebenza 21 or really nice ZT, Benchmade or Microtech– and I have a few of those– but if you were to have one of these upper shelf blades pull a pocket jump without your knowledge while you are in your travels, you are going to be out a lot more than $50.

Of course, as with anything, your mileage may vary and by default, the best knife you have is the one you have on you.

I do a mini-review on each in my column over at Tac.44.com.

Current EDC

Glock 19 Gen 3 with InforceAPL, Streamlight Stylus, SAK 2015 limited edition officer, CRKT Obake skoshi, SnagMag concealable carrier with spare OE mag, Leatherman Rev multitool, Rite in Rain notebook, all atop a Tac.44 armorer’s table pad. Not shown: lightbearing holster, wallet, keys

On the reasons why for each, check out my article over at Tac44.com

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