Tag Archives: Pistol

Whispers of a Portland Colt

You often hear, when talking about old firearms, “if only they could talk.” Well, they can’t, but sometimes their hidden history tells a story.

Speaking of which, I recently came across a nice early Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless and did some digging on its background. Turned out, it was made in 1911 and was one of 25 pistols of the same type shipped to Honeyman Hardware in Portland some 111 years ago.

Who is Honeyman and why is that interesting? Find out in my column at Guns.com.

Tisas PX-9 Gen 3. Say what?

Tennessee-based SDS Imports is bringing in an affordable 9mm double stack with a ton of features, the Tisas PX-9 Gen 3.

SDS specializes in importing quality pistols, shotguns, and accessories. In the past few years, they have partnered with Tisas (pronounced “Tis-ash”) in Turkey to supply well-made M1911-style handguns to the U.S. market that have built a following through a combination of good reviews and affordable pricing. Newer and more modern is the PX-9 series of polymer-framed striker-fired pistols, with the third generation guns being the most feature-rich.

This brings me to the Tisas PX-9 Gen 3 Tactical I currently have under evaluation.

Gotta say, I don’t hate it as it has a lot of good things going for it including an RMR direct-mount optics cut, an extended threaded barrel, Glock pattern sights, P226 pattern magazines, a decent trigger, modular grip ergos, a ton of accessories, and the ability to use XD-M holsters– all for about $500.

It looks like a mix of every modern combat pistol– and for good reason

More in my column at Guns.com.

Stetching the G3C

Taurus this week delivered a new installment in its popular and budget-friendly 9mm G3 pistol series, the G3XL.
I got an early look and have been kicking it around for the past couple of weeks.
The crossover design blends the polymer grip frame of the compact G3C, with its standard 12+1 magazine capacity, with the more full-sized 4-inch barrel and slide of the Taurus G3 to create the G3XL. The result is a very concealable handgun that still allows a decent sight radius akin to the one seen on the Glock 19, while just weighing 24 ounces.

With a 3.2-inch barrel, the commonly-encountered G3C is just 6.3-inches overall, putting it right at an inch shorter than the G3XL, and couple of ounces heavier. However, in terms of height and width, the guns are a match for each other, no surprise as the G3XL uses the same grip frame as the G3C.

In the hands, the extra inch of slide/barrel really makes a difference. The G3C, left, G3XL on the right

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Post-9/11 M1911s Downrange

Other than a couple of heirlooms that are steeped in family history, the most cherished firearm in my collection is the Colt M1911A1 mixmaster that I received through the Civilian Marksmanship Program via the “Army’s attic” at Anniston Army Depot.

I just refer to it as “No.24” for obvious reasons. Gotta love the 19-year old PFC that probably put the dummy mark on it…

So far about 20,000 of these veteran pistols have been transferred to the CMP over the past few years from the Army’s stockpile of about 100K held in long-term arsenal storage at Anniston. The guns, remnants of more than two million produced for the Army between 1912 and 1945, were withdrawn from front-line duty in the mid-1980s, replaced by the M9 Beretta.

However, to be clear, some of these guns were very much in recent 21st-century martial service.

Retired Green Beret Jeff Gurwitch covers the “re-adoption” of the M1911A1 by U.S. Special Forces after 9/11 in the below very interesting video. The half-hour piece covers the timeline, how it was employed, accessories, and its performance in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Warship Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021: The Story of an Unsinkable Carrierman, and his .45

Here at LSOZI, we take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1954 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021: The Story of an Unsinkable Carrierman and his .45

With this month marking the Navy’s 246th Birthday, the 79th anniversary of the loss of USS Hornet (CV-8) at the Battle of Santa Cruz (a ship commissioned 80 years ago today), and the 77th anniversary of the loss of USS Princeton (CVL-22) in the Philippine Sea, I’m breaking from our typical Warship Wednesday format to bring you the story of a Colt Government model in the Navy’s archives and the resilient young officer who carried it.

The below pistol itself at first glance would seem to be an otherwise ordinary M1911A1 Colt Military, martial marked “US Army” and “United States Property” along with the correct inspector’s marks. The serial number, No.732591, falls within Colt’s circa 1941 production range.

Accession #: NHHC 1968-141 (Photo: Naval History and Heritage Command)

We often say, “if only a gun could talk,” but in this case, the voyage through history that the above .45ACP took is well-documented.

Also joining the fleet in 1941 was Ensign Victor Antoine Moitoret, a Californian who was admitted to the Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1937 and graduated with the Class of ’41.

Moitoret’s first ship was the brand-new aircraft carrier USS Hornet, which he joined three months prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that ushered America into World War II.

Moitoret served as an assistant navigator on Hornet during the flattop’s secret mission to carry the Doolittle Raiders to bomb Tokyo in 1942— possibly best remembered among today’s youth as the third act of Jerry Bruckheimer’s 2001 film “Pearl Harbor”– and was also aboard the carrier for the massive naval victory at Midway (where Hornet was something of a mystery).

Flanked by torpedo boat escorts, the aircraft carrier USS Hornet arrives at Pearl Harbor after the Doolittle Raid on Japan, 30 April 1942, just five weeks before the Battle of Midway. (Photo: U.S. National Archives 80-G-16865)

When Hornet was irreparably damaged by enemy torpedo and dive bombers during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in October 1942, Moitoret was armed with the above pistol while serving as the carrier’s Officer of the Deck on the bridge. The young officer still had it buckled around his waist when he was pulled out of the ocean more than two hours after Hornet went to the bottom in 17,500 feet of water off the Solomon Islands, carrying 140 sailors with her.

Moitoret’s pistol belt, consisting of an M1936 Belt, M1918 Magazine Pocket, and russet leather M1916 Holster. (Photo: Naval History and Heritage Command)

Two years later, Moitoret, with his relic of the lost Hornet still with him, was a lieutenant aboard the new light carrier USS Princeton, fighting to liberate the Japanese-occupied Philippines.

USS Princeton (CVL-23) steaming at 20 knots off Seattle, Washington, 3 January 1944. Moitoret was a plankowner of the new flattop, which had originally been laid down as the Cleveland-class light cruiser Tallahassee (CL-61) (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Historical Center. Catalog #: NH 95651)

In October 1944– almost two years to the day that Hornet was lost– Moitoret was on the bridge of Princeton when the ship was hit by a Japanese bomb and was wounded by shrapnel from the resulting explosion.

According to his Silver Star citation for that day, Moitoret “remained on board for a period of seven hours, fighting fires, maintaining communication with other ships in the area, preserving confidential publications and obtaining all available lengths of fire hose for use where most needed.”

Leaving his second sinking aircraft carrier, Moitoret reportedly kissed the hull of Princeton before boarding a whaleboat, one of the last men off the stricken ship.

After the war, he remained in the Navy through the Korean and Vietnam wars, retiring in 1972 at the rank of Captain. On 30 May 1999, while aged 80, he delivered the Memorial Day Address to the assembled cadets at Annapolis, continuing to serve as a proud link in the long blue line up to the very end.

Moitoret died in 2005 and is buried at Fort Bayard National Cemetery in New Mexico, next to his wife, Rowena, and son, Alan.

His well-traveled sidearm and pistol belt are in the collection of the NHHC, held in the Headquarters Artifact Collection

As noted by the Navy,

“The central theme of this year’s 246th Navy Birthday and Heritage week is ‘Resilient and Ready,’ which speaks to the Navy’s history of being able to shake off disaster, such as the loss of a ship or a global pandemic, and still maintain force lethality and preparedness. It allows the messaging to showcase readiness, capabilities, capacity, and of course the Sailor—all while celebrating our glorious victories at sea and honoring our shipmates who stand and have stood the watch.”

Happy Birthday, Navy, and a slow hand salute to Capt. Moitoret.

Back to our regular Warship Wednesday format next week.

***
 
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LAPD Goes…FN?

Since FN’s 509 series debuted in the aftermath of the Army’s Modular Handgun System program, which FN did not win, I’ve kinda liked it.

To be fair, I also have reviewed (and run 5K rounds through) the Glock G19X and Sig Sauer P320-M17), the last two models standing for the MHS contract, and, while I liked them as well, the texture/ergos and sights of the 509 appealed to me more. Over the years, I’ve run (and now often carry) the FN 509 Compact, and the FN 509 Edge LS longslide (which I liked, but found overpriced for what it is and who it competes against), so I think I have done my time with the family.

Well, although FN couldn’t get the nod from Big Army, it looks like they did just catch the eye of big LE, as the LAPD is apparently moving away from generations of Glocks, Berettas, and S&Ws and is going with a variant of the FN 509 MRD as its new duty pistol.

The 509 MRD-LE model selected by LAPD, has a 4-inch target crowned hammer-forged barrel with a polished chamber and ramp. Other features include the company’s new flat-faced precision trigger and high-performance striker, adapted from the FN 509 LS Edge, as well as 3-dot tritium night sights co-witnessed to installed micro red dots that can be mounted via FN’s Low-Profile Optics-Mounting System, originally developed for the Army’s Modular Handgun System program.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Walking the Edge: Testing FN’s 509 Longslide

The FN 509 LS Edge– with the “LS” being for Long Slide– is a polymer-framed practical/tactical striker-fired 9mm that hit the market earlier this year. It’s the size of an M1911, packing a 5-inch barrel and a Hi-Power slide nose profile– but is considerably lighter than either.

I have taken a liking to 509s in recent months and recently just swapped out my EDC piece in favor of a Compact variant from the same family tree and I thought the Edge, after I ran 1,000~ rounds through it, had a lot of things to like about it and one big thing to kinda not like so much: the cost.

Double taps from 7 yards in rapid-fire on old casino castoffs were a snap, so the gun is on point, but costs a bit more than direct competitors, for instance, going about $500 higher than the HK VP9L OR.

More in my review at Guns.com.

My New Carry Gun is an FN

There, I said it.

If you have been following me for the past few years, my primary for a long (long) time staple EDC was a 3rd Gen Glock G19 or a newer G19X with a well-used S&W Model 642 J-frame or FN 503 as a BUG. This, I switched up in 2019 after testing the S&W M & M&P M2.0 Compact, which was the same size/capacity as the G19 but felt so much better and more accurate to boot. The Smith chewed through 2,000 rounds with no issues and, as I was able to buy it cheap, was my go-to, especially when flying around the country.

Now, after three months of kicking the tires, I am putting the M&P back into the safe in favor of an FN 509 Compact.

Just slightly smaller than the G19 (or M&P Compact) it offers a 12-round chopped mag in the chopped down grip and a 15 if you want to go more full-sized. Not a huge difference, but still noticeable, and if you are good with running the 12 rounder, the FN 509 Compact is even more concealable. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

After going northward of 1K rounds without a hiccup, I bought the gun from FN rather than sending it back and will be carrying it for keeps moving forward.

My reasons why? Check out my column at Guns.com.

Meet No. 24

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but back in 2015, I was one of the first people in gun media– or any media for that matter– to cover the story of Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers’s effort to include an amendment to the NDAA while the Pentagon spending policy bill was in the House Armed Service Committee. Rogers, who represented the district of Northern Alabama that included the Annison Army Depot and CMP’s headquarters operations, found out that the Army had 100,000 surplus World War II-era M1911s in long-term storage at a cost of $200,000 per year, or about $2 per gun.

The amendment: save Uncle Sam the cash by transferring the guns to the CMP for sale to qualified members of the public, with the funds generated used to support worthwhile marksmanship projects ranging from JROTC to 4H and the National Matches.

I continued to cover the story, which grew legs and captured the imagination of– no joke– millions according to the analytics. Over the course of the next half-decade, I would file at least a dozen updates for a couple different publications. In 2017, after an initial batch had been greenlighted for transfer by the Obama administration (!) on a visit to the “Army’s attic” the Army Museum Support Center at Anniston Army Depot, I was shown crates packed and filled with M1911s pulled from the military’s museum stocks that were in excess of the service’s needs, pending shipment to the CMP once the handgun program got underway.

The thing is, 19,000 people got excited enough about the first round of M1911 sales from CMP and submitted packets for the first 8,000 guns transferred. With that, I felt I had little to no chance of getting one for myself, so I did not wade into the deep waters of trying to get one of these old warhorses through the program.

C’est la vie, right?

However, as CMP announced their Round 2 of the M1911 program earlier this year, I cautiously allowed myself to get optimistic that, perhaps, my chance had come as the really rabid collectors had already shot their bolt– CMP only allows an applicant to get one of these pistols– in the initial go-round.

So I spent a day getting my packet together, sent it in during the open window (January 4 to March 4, 2021), and sat back to wait. On 6 April, I got an email saying I had a randomly generated number (20581) and found out that the current batch of orders was going to start at 20,000.

Nice.

Then, on 20 April, I got the call. All three grades (Service, Field, Rack) were available, so I selected Service– the best– and asked politely for a Colt.

The very next day (after a mandatory two NICS checks!) I walked away from my FFL with this:

The M1911A1 has a Colt GI Military frame, SN 904594, of 1943 production with GHD inspector’s stamp (left) complete with a dummy mark (!) and ordnance wheel/US Property/M1911A1 US Army stamps on the right.

Rather than the original slide, it has a “hard” GI replacement slide with FSN (Federal Stock Number) #7790314 M (magnaflux inspection) TZ (IMI Israeli, who supplied such slides under contract to the U.S.) with a minty chrome-lined barrel marked with FSN #7791193 91. The plastic grips have “24” rack number.

Although I could find no arsenal rebuild stamps, I am theorizing that the gun was reworked at Anniston late in its life, probably in the 1980s, then put back in storage.

I’m totally happy. It was worth the wait.

The 7791193 series barrels have a good reputation for accuracy. I’ll let you know…

The Best Concealed Carry Piece of 1903 Still Looks Good Today

Compact, slim, accurate, and simple. All mantras for the most modern concealed carry pieces today. They all apply to a design introduced 118 years ago as well – the Colt M1903.

While well-engineered semi-auto pistols abound today, the same statement simply wasn’t true in the early 20th Century. Most early autoloaders were downright funky (see the Bergmann 1896), had bad ergonomics (Borchardt C93), were overly complex (C96 Broomhandle, which are notoriously hard to disassemble), and proved to be evolutionary dead-ends (the Luger – not a lot of toggle actions in production these days). 

Enter the gun guru of Ogden, Utah, Mr. John Browning, who largely hit it out of the park with his freshman semi-auto handgun, the FN M1900 of 1896, the first pistol with a slide – let that sink in. A simple blowback single-stack chambered in .32ACP – which he also invented – he followed that up in 1897 with his short-recoil operated Colt Model 1900, a larger gun whose action was recycled into the Colt M1902, which we have talked about before, then scaled down to make the Colt M1903. 

And with a “carry melt,” easy maintenance, and outstanding ergonomics, the new gun is surprisingly modern when compared to today’s offerings.

Boom, sweetheart. 

More on the Pocket Hammerless in my column at Guns.com.

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