Tag Archives: ruger

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.

Turns Out, People Like Pistols

Out of the thousands of firearms that Guns.com sold this year, the most popular category was for semi-auto handguns, which is not surprising as that category has consistently seen the highest production numbers by the domestic firearms industry for the past several years.

Want to take a guess at the top 10?

Spoiler alert: it includes a single Taurus and Ruger, two Sig Sauers, two S&Ws, and four Glocks…

Ruger’s Triple Roll of Double Sixes

Introduced first with the square-butt Security Six in 1972 and soon followed by the Police Service Six and rounded-butt Speed Six, these guns were born from what the Connecticut-based firearms maker described in their marketing ads of the day as the product of “Ruger engineers who started with a fresh sheet of paper and an unlimited budget!” in a move to ditch what was characterized as outmoded and obsolete designs and manufacturing methods.

By 1985, more than a million had been produced, making the company’s first commercially-available double-action revolver a success.

And if you have ever held one, you can tell why.

More in my column at Guns.com.

That’s a mighty thick wheel gun

When Ruger introduced the GP100 in 1986, they emphasized the tough new double-action revolver’s modern design with a full-frame and thick top strap, attributes it still has today.

“Strength and design separate an ordinary .357 from the Ruger GP100,” the company said of their newest DA wheelgun installment, a revolver intended to replace the company’s popular Six series guns (Security Six, Speed Six, Service Six) which had been around since the 1970s.

And some people just like ’em thick, as the line is still going strong nearly 35 years later.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Foldy Minis

For those who loved the old-school looks of the folding stocked Ruger-14, but found the $1K cost of hard-to-find O.E. stocks way over the top, New Hampshire-based Samson has finally come through.

You can almost hear, “In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit…” in the background.

Of course, they are still $279, but the new stocks are made in conjunction with Ruger– even drawing from the gunmaker’s in-house supply of walnut– and are reportedly a better product than the original.

For those who love it when a plan comes together, there is more on this in my column at Guns.com

Smack talk, 357 edition

In the summer 1988 issue of American Handgunner magazine, Ruger hyped their then-new GP100 revolver as being thicker and beefier than “an ordinary .357,” showing their frame next to that of a Smith & Wesson Model 686. The argument being that thickness= strength.

Smith, on the other hand, fired back in the next issue, complete with a Ruger-shaped burger including the company’s distinctive grip panels.

Because baffle strikes suck, that’s why

Mmm, look at that sweet, sweet bore alignment from the breechface to the suppressor end cap.

Regardless of whether you call them silencers, suppressors or mufflers, these Class III sound moderators have never been more popular but come with their own host of special considerations to keep them plugging along.

In addition to regular care and maintenance, you want to make sure you have a good bore alignment with your can– because a baffle strike can ruin your whole day.

More in my column at Tac.44.com

Ruger shows off Silent-SR integrally suppressed 10/22 barrel

Designed to work with any 10/22 Takedown rimfire, Ruger debuted its new ISB last week.

Nope, that is not an O/U double shotgun barrel. It’s a 16-inch long integrally suppressed 10/22 barrel.

Billed to be able to reduce the report of standard velo .22LR to 113.2dB on average, the lightweight Silent-SR ISB is Ruger’s follow up to their first suppressor introduced last year — the screw on Silent-SR. Designed to work with their new Takedown series of 10/22, the 16.12-inch suppressed barrel is a simple changeout and its 2.6-pounds retains a center of gravity close to the rifle’s receiver.

You get the idea

More in my column at Guns.com (including a look at that beautiful baffle system). 

Bermuda to hang up Bill Ruger’s GB

In a world in which over two million of Ruger’s handy .223 caliber rifle has been made since 1973, there were bound to be dozens of variants and subvariants. Sure you know about the Ranch rifle, the full-auto AC556, and the Mini-30, but what about the GB? What makes the GB so special? And what do they have to do with Bermuda?

Ruger’s attempt at government sales

Styled after an amalgam of pre-1968 US combat rifles including the M1 Garand, M1 Carbine and M14 rifle, the Mini-14 had features drawn from almost all of these guns. Although the gun went on to sell many more copies in its standard form on the US civilian market, it was sales to law enforcement and the military that Ruger wanted a slice of. In the late 1970s, the company made a Mini-14 with a longer receiver and selector switch to change the gun from semi-auto to 3-round burst to full auto at 700 rounds per minute! One big overseas sale of these guns was to the French National Gendarmes (as the Mousqueton AMD).

This model, the AC556, and its chopped down little brother the AC556K were sold for two decades in small numbers. The thing is, while this was a good model for military use, many law enforcement agencies were leery of full-auto weapons or could get free M16A1s from the US government. What they wanted was a more tactical Mini-14 but still in semi-auto. This led to the GB variant.

Differences in the GB

These guns were simply standard Ruger Mini-14’s that were given a list of extra accessories and without the fun button of the AC model. This included a flash hider that adorned the muzzle crown of the rifle. The muzzle attachment allowed for use with a line of CS (tear gas) and smoke grenades, which were launched by blank 5.56mm rounds. This hider doubled as a recoil reducer as it ported the gases out and away from the muzzle. About five inches being the muzzle was a bolted on bayonet lug. This would accommodate any M16 style bayonet (the M7, M9, OKC-3S, or others).

This made the gun good for riot/crowd control scenarios for paramilitary forces overseas and was key in selling the gun to such groups as the Bermuda defense forces. After all, nothing says “keep off the grass” around a government building than a line of guys with rifles with fixed bayonets. This feature gave the gun its “GB” moniker, which stood for Government Bayonet.

The Royal Bermuda Regiment is a territorial defense unit for the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda.

Being closer to North Carolina than the UK geographically, Ruger scored in the early 1980s by selling the colonial government a stack of Mini-14GBs for a song that included the crest of the regiment in their wooden stocks (since replaced by a Butler Creek style polymer one without the embellishment).

They have seen hard use in both ceremonial and training duties.


Now, with the drawdown of the British Army, it seems the Crown has found a boatload of arms to send round to Bermuda to put the Rugers out to pasture.

In late 2016, it was decided to send the colony 400 L98A2 (SA80A2) rifles with bayonets, 1,600 magazines, 440 TA31 optical weapons sights (Trijcon ACOGs), and four collimator-type weapons sights. The gear is valued at $1.4 million and was donated.

As noted by the local paper, the Regiment will divest themselves of the Rugers but retain its small stock of Heckler & Koch G36s, which are issued to members of the spec-ops oriented Boat Troop and the Operational Support Unit.

The Enfields look much different compared to the Mini-14s.

New and old compared

In training at Warwick Camp

And on parade

But do they have the RBR crest? Didn’t think so.

The forgotten but still useful revolver speed loader

Many wheelgun owners have heard of them but never used them, as they are a throwback to yesteryear. We are talking about the humble but very effective speed loader, and once you figure it out, you’ll fall in love.

The first revolver speed loader patented was that of William H Bell in 1879. Bell’s device was a simple metal disk with a rotating locking mechanism that held six revolver rounds. When used with a top-break revolver of the time, such as the Smith and Wesson Lemon squeezer, the speed loader would drop six ready rounds in the cylinder extremely rapidly.

prideaux ad
The Brits used a number of Prideaux and Watson speed loaders during World War I for their Webley topbreaks and, after a thirty year hiatus, by the 1950s Pachmayr of Los Angeles built a rubber-plastic speed loader while Matich and Dade Machine Screw quickly followed in their wake.

By the 1970s, police and security as well as those “in the know” had were using speed loaders and their ugly stepsister, the speed strip, for faster reloads.

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HKS, Safariland, and 5 Star make the most commonly encountered loaders.

First off, there are two types of speed loaders.

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The first, made by companies such as HKS and 5 Star, use a center loading knob that hold 5-6-7-8 cartridges, depending on your revolver choice until you are ready to use them. Turning the knob one way secures loose rounds when you are charging the loader. Turning them, the opposite will drop the rounds. HKS generally makes them with plastic bodies while 5 Star runs flashy aluminum billet jobs that cost a little bit more.

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The second type are made by Safariland and others that, similar to the other style, use a small plastic knob in the center to lock the rounds into place, but use a centerline button on the opposite side that, when popped by the ejector rod dimple on the revolver’s cylinder, set the loader free and drops the rounds into the chambers. These are very fast and often used in competition. Safariland makes three different models of these.

Finally, there are speed strips with the best-known maker of those being Bianchi. With no moving parts, these phenolic strips are very durable and easy to use.

These rapid reloading devices are a little tricky to use, but can cut that dangerous time without a loaded gun very short indeed.

With speed loaders, loading your revolver is a four-step process.

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And to read about that process, head on over to my column at Ruger Talk

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