Tag Archives: every day carry

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.

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

 

My ‘Less than two-pound’ EDC for summer carry

Here we have a S&W Model 642 Airweight in a leather Bianchi #6 waistband holster loaded with five rounds of 130-grain Federal HST +P that altogether weighs 19.6-ounces. Sure, accuracy past 15 yards is not as tight as a full-sized handgun with a nice long sight radius, but I can still keep it center mass out to 25– and with a little practice so can anyone. As there are only five rounds in the cylinder, I carry a pair of Bianchi Speed Strips with another 10 rounds loaded and ready inside a repurposed Altoids tin for an additional 5.9-ounces. Why the tin? It is actually lighter than any speed strip wallet I have come across and holds the reloads securely and rattle-free. On the downside, if someone catches a glimpse and wants an Altoid they are SOL.

The light is a Streamlight Microstream which is just 1.2-ounces with the battery and the wallet is a Magpul Daka minimalist which, even when loaded with the same stuff as the regular leather pocket rider, only weighs 1.8-ounces. Finally, for those moments when something sharp is needed, a Leatherman Skeletool KBx multi tool joins the crowd for a downright skinny 1.4-ounces and haves the benefit of a bottle opener, which is handy for those craft beer emergencies. All up weight for a gun, light, holster, 15 rounds of ammo, knife, and wallet is 29.9-ounces.

More details in my column at Tac-44, here

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.

Thinking about EDC with your Glock

My current "winter" EDC: Gen 3 Glock 19 in Galco Royal Guard inside the waistband holster, cheapo Cree LED light (they work well, are adjustable and are inexpensive if you lose them), Skallywag Gladium knife, extra mag.

My current “winter” EDC: Gen 3 Glock 19 in Galco Royal Guard inside the waistband holster, cheapo Cree LED light (they work well, are adjustable and are inexpensive if you lose them), Skallywag Gladium knife, extra mag.

With a dozen states now codifying the right to possess a concealed handgun without a permit and over 15 million license holders from coast to coast, there has never been a better time to practice every day carry.

A true EDC is one you are 110 percent comfortable with keeping 366 days per year. It is your “get out of trouble” escape plan translated into mechanical format. By pairing that one sidearm with its dedicated holster and accessories, you are making a statement in reliability. You trust that device in any situation, without reserve.

However, if you have a Glock, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The rest in  my column at Tac.44.com