Tag Archives: Pistols

Whelp, looks like the SA-35 is the Hi-Power FN *Should have* made

I dig FN. Not even gonna lie. I probably have 15 FN-made handguns and rifles in my collection, including three generationally different Hi-Powers. My first EDC, back in the early 1990s, was a Hi-Power. Probably only two people bought the SFS version, one of them being me. I even owned a factory two-toned .40S&W variant briefly before I realized that I made a horrible mistake and traded it away. 

But FN stopped production of the gun in 2017, after slowly declining their emphasis on the model for two decades prior. In short, I think they just fell out of love with it and the catalog can only be so big.

On the flip side of that, I am not a Springfield Armory fan.

Other than the Omega (a German-import 10mm) and a few of their latter model Operator, TRP, and Ronin models of the M1911A1, I never really found a Springer that I had more than a passing interest in.

Then they made the SA-35. For $699!

I mean look at this thing:

I’ve been kicking one around for a couple weeks and have some feedback on just where it fits in the Hi-Power evolutionary chart, and where it has some improvements that FN should have done and kept the gun in production.

One of these things is not like the other…

More in my column at Guns.com.

The Springer Hi-Power may just live up to the Hype

Springfield Armory kinda broke the gun internet a week ago when they introduced their new take on the classic Hi-Power (GP-35) design of John Moses Browning and his Belgian understudy, Dieudonné Saive. While the gun looked great in early photos, and promised lots of minor improvements (no magazine cutoff with a resulting better trigger, a beveled magwell, 15-shot MecGar mags, user-replaceable combat sights, a redesigned hammer to curb hammer bite, and an extended safety lever) people were still skeptical because, well, SA has kind of a reputation some times.

Well, I just got one in over the weekend for T&E and, on initial impressions, this gun looks and feels great.

Now that is a pretty gun, and Springfield says it is made in America. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

The mags (both vintage milsurp and new MecGars) drop free. It has an excellent trigger. Great build quality and fitment. I am really impressed.

Plus, it has an MSRP of $699, which should translate to a local gun store price in the $599ish area. Never mind the fact that they are going for twice that on Gun Broker right now.

Anyway, expect a few updates as I take a closer look at the new SA35 and head to the range later in the week.

Springfield Armory of all folks is bringing the Hi-Power Back

Springfield Armory has delivered on rumors of a return of one of the world’s most iconic firearms, John Browning’s P-35 series pistol.

The newest version of the Hi-Power-style double-stack 9mm handgun, the Springfield Armory SA-35, seems like it stepped right out of the golden age of circa 1960s T- and C-series Brownings, but it only seems that way. While still showing off the vintage “wood and steel” look of mid-century commercial series guns, Springfield’s chapter in the firearm’s history has subtle upgraded enhancements that give a nod to more contemporary defensive pistols.

I’m not gonna lie, I have never been a Springfield Armory fan– although I know people who love their stuff– but I am looking seriously at the SA-35– and FN/Browning really screwed the pooch by ending the Hi-Power line in 2018.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Pocket rocket, DB9 edition

For the past few months, I have been carrying Diamondback’s new Gen 4 DB9 pistol.

The $225 micro-framed 9mm, with an unloaded weight of just 13.4-ounces, while maintaining a 3.1-inch stainless steel barrel that gives an overall length of 5.73-inches, is described by Diamondback as the “smallest and lightest” 9mm on the market. With a flush-fit magazine shoe installed, its height is 4-inches flat. The maximum width is 0.89-inches. This puts it a hair larger than “mouse gun” semi-autos in .22LR, .32ACP and .380 Auto, but more than, say a J-frame .38.

While I prefer to carry a double stack (G19, S&W M&P M2.0 Compact, et. al) on most occasions, I did find the DB9 great for going to the gym as I find it weird to wear a belt with track pants. Likewise, while kayaking in shorts or doing yard/housework, the Diamondback in pocket carry was a good fit.

In all, I put about 1,000 rounds through the palm-sized parabellum in the past few months and found out a few things about it.

Anyway, more in my column at Guns.com, should you be curious.

John Browning’s Swan Song

As a guy who has a few FN/Browning Hi-Powers, ranging from a circa 1943 Pistole 640b to a downright wonky circa 2005 SFS, I had fun examining a wide range of BHPs recently.

Browning’s original 1923 concept, as patented in 1927.

This rare late 1940s-produced Hi-Power is a very early model featuring the “dimple” on the right side of the slide to help with take down for maintenance and the “thumbprint” style internal extractor. Marked “LGK OO”: Landes Gendarmerie Kommando für Oberösterreich (Provincial Gendarmerie Command for Upper Austria), it is a former Austrian police-issue handgun.

This circa-1969 commercial Browning Hi-Power still features the original wooden grips that the model first entered production with but shows the updated external extractor. Also gone is the slide/frame dimple.

More detail in my column at Guns.com.

You are going to like this if you are into odd Russian gatts

From somewhere deep in the Old World’s borscht belt, a Russian with a rough haircut shows off the APS auto pistol and the PP-90 and PP-91 sub guns:

Sgt. Kirill Gorgoth lays mitts first on the wacky Stechkin APS automatic pistol, a hopped-up Makarov-ish handgun capable of dropping 9x18mm at 750rpm.

Next, he rolls deep with the PP-90 folding subgun which looks like a wonky VHS– because VHS is apparently still a thing in the USSR Russia.

Kirill then finishes with a Kedr PP-91 submachine gun, a handy (12-inches folded) blowback SMG designed by Evgeny Dragunov of SVD fame that can rat-a-tat at 1,000rpm.

Eye and ear pro? Nyet. Putin’s workout gloves and sweet full-auto action? Da. So much da.

Charles N. Daly was not a man to be trifled with

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The man pictured from these scans of Firearms Curiosa (Lewis Winant, Bonanza Books, New York, 1955) is antiquarian Capt. Charles Noe Daly.

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The book ( pg. 12) states that the armor was “found in Bordeaux in 1917” and found its way into the collection of aforementioned Mr. Daly. The cuirass weighs 30 pounds and holds nineteen cartridge pistols. Here is a further description from Firearms Curiosa:

“cuirass of steel . . . when brought into a right angle position may be fired in batteries of four and five by pressing the studs and levers, which release the hammers which are cocked by a hook carried on a chain.” The armor also came with a pair of stirrups that contained two pistols, which would fire by pulling on a strap in case one is pursued or attacked from behind. (ibid)

[ Hattip, Eldon Litchfield on the above ]

A 1922 article by Sumner Healy in Outers details the armor to more extent and includes photos of it with a set of pistol-loaded stirrups and two pistol loaded sabretechs which all told gave the horseman a total of 39 shots before having to reload.

noe curriass

As for Noe, he married one Mary Ecclesine in a New York society event, and died at age 65 on Thursday, October 5, 1933 in York, Ontario, where he had long been U.S. Consul.

His 1,000 item personal collection that included the strange armor above, a saddle gun used by William of Orange, Adm. Nelson’s pistol, and others, were sold in 1935 at public auction in Ottawa.

Some of the lots:

daly collection 2 daly collection

Who knows where it is at now.

Naval Special Warfare rumored to be dropping SIGs for G19s

Increasingly, rumors are filtering through the interwebs, confirmed by those close to the shadowy Navy Seal community that the nation’s preeminent special operators are going Glock to phase out a number of SIG pistols they have carried for generations.

Unofficial use by the Uncle

Using personal funds, Glocks to include the G22, G17 and G19 series have been used by numerous individual soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines deploying downrange since 9/11. There has long been an NSN for the Glock 19, which allows for small-scale buys with unit funds (such as inside AFSOC units), which, coupled with personal weapons, would explain numerous images of U.S. joes and aircrew with Glocks.

Further, troops seem to love getting their hands on them with Allies overseas.

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Ansil Lewis, Weapons Training Battalion Sgt. Maj., fires a Glock 17 pistol the Royal Marine Operational Shooting Competition (RMOSC), hosted by the British Royal Marines at Altrar Training Camp, Hightown, England, Sept. 9-16, 2015. The purpose of the RMOSC is to evaluate the marksmanship skill, and physical and operational abilities of American, British, French, and Dutch Marines in combat related shooting matches by utilizing realistic structures, fast-moving targets, and movement to contact drills. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Timothy Turner/Released)

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Ansil Lewis, Weapons Training Battalion Sgt. Maj., fires a Glock 17 pistol the Royal Marine Operational Shooting Competition (RMOSC), hosted by the British Royal Marines at Altrar Training Camp, Hightown, England, Sept. 9-16, 2015. The purpose of the RMOSC is to evaluate the marksmanship skill, and physical and operational abilities of American, British, French, and Dutch Marines in combat related shooting matches by utilizing realistic structures, fast-moving targets, and movement to contact drills. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Timothy Turner/Released)

Joseph Trevithick over at War Is Boring in September detailed an extensive move by special operations elements inside the military to acquire Glocks by any means necessary.

This included the transfer of 2,500 Glocks from the Dept. of Homeland Security to the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in 2010.

“The transfer allowed DHS to divest itself of excess weapons and fill a USSOCOM requirement,” a public affairs officer at SOCOM told War Is Boring in an email. “USSOCOM incurred no obligation to DHS in return.”

This was followed up this year by orders from the Marines of Gen. 3 and 4 Glock 19s for certain units of MARSOC, the Leatherneck’s special operations command.

Trevithick did the digging on the fact that the Army has ordered 1,600 G19s of their own and (wait for it) three select-fire Model 18s. There is also a contract believed to be worth some $12 million for even more Glocks for Big Green.

In short, the commandos and raiders who make up the sharpest end of the spear dig the Glock. Then there is…

Naval Special Warfare Command, whose East Coast teams have apparently picked up some Gen 3 G19s for testing to replace both the Sig P239 and P226R/Mk25, and like what they see.

SEAL training

Read more in my column at Glock Forum