Tag Archives: shot show 2023

An Unlikely All-steel Micro 9

EAA, long known for its Regard, Witness, and Windicator models, two years ago began to import the Girsan MCP35 from Turkey. That later pistol seems to be modeled after the later post-1980 Browning Mark II/III models made by FN during the last few decades of the model’s run with that company. The latter includes an external extractor, a serrated ring hammer, a slim trigger, a windage drift-adjustable rear sight, ships with a Mec-Gar produced 15-shot aftermarket double-stack magazine and includes both an ambidextrous safety and a magazine-disconnect safety (more on this abomination later).

I really dug the standard-sized MCP35, seen here in a factory FDE option, finding it an excellent value and lots of fun on the range. (All photos: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

While EAA introduced updated OPS and Match series MCP35s, which upgraded the legacy standard with accessory rails, optics cuts, and a better trigger, what I openly wished for was a shortened version optimized for carry. Hi-Power fans will immediately recall the old FM Detective.

Made by FM in Argentina, which had been set up under license by FN back in the 1960s to make BHPs for the Argentine military and police, the Latin American armory developed a shortened model that retained the same size grip and magazine capacity. It was only brought into the States for a few years in the 1990s, when it was marketed as the Detective by importers.

I was a huge fan of the Detective and bought and carried the gun on the right for several years. It was rough and basic, but it worked. For those interested, according to the online inflation calculators, $239 in 1992 is worth $514.18 today, which is around what the MCP35 PI runs. Also, do not try to go to SOG and get the above deal, as that importer closed its doors years ago.

Taking a cue from the old FM Detective, EAA teased the new MCP35 PI late last year and started shipping it a couple of months ago.

The basic concept trims an inch off the barrel length and almost an inch and a half in overall length, as well as a few ounces in weight, from the standard MCP35, leaving a more compact pistol, roughly akin to the concept of a Commander 1911.

The big kicker is that, in that size, it is the same size as guns like the SIG P365 XMacro and Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro, while being hammer-fired and all-steel. 

The EAA Girsan MCP35 PI is a factory-shortened Hi-Power clone that still accepts standard magazines and most parts, save for slide and barrel components. 

My full review on the PI after the jump.

SIG Making Consumer NGSW Rifle Variant

SIG Sauer this week officially introduced the version of the military’s new Next Generation rifle that won’t require talking to a recruiter.

Last April, the New Hampshire-based firearms giant made headlines around the globe by pulling down the award for the Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons, a series of 6.8mm rifles and light machine guns and their companion suppressors that are planned to replace the current 5.56 NATO small arms in front line service. The rifle, originally introduced as the XM5 and recently renamed the XM7, is based on the company’s gas-piston action MCX platform and uses SIG’s in-house developed SLX suppressor system.

While the as-issued XM7 currently being sent to the Army runs a standard 15.3-inch barrel (as measured over its muzzle device) and SIG released to the public a limited run of suppressed 13-inch barreled commemoratives last year that required two tax stamps, the MCX Spear will be fully NFA-compliant in at least most of its variants.

We were able to get a sneak peek at the consumer MCX Spear late last year while visiting SIG’s plant in New Hampshire but were sworn to secrecy on the program.

I thought it was pretty cool.

Maybe not $4,000 kinda cool, but still pretty neat.

More in my column at Guns.com.

A Carry 22?

Taurus introduced its newest, most carry-friendly, rimfire pistol earlier this year, and it aims to be both feature-rich and easy on the wallet.

The new TX22 Compact looks to be the hat trick in Taurus’s .22 LR handgun lineup, coming on the heels of the well-received standard and Competition-sized models. Unlike the other formats of the TX22, the new Compact runs a 13+1 round magazine and not the more commonly-used 16+1.

Developed as a handier version of its older brothers, it features a 3.6-inch alloy steel barrel that gives it an overall length of just 6.7 inches. In terms of dimensions, this puts it about the same size as a Glock 43 or Walther PPK but, at just 16.5 ounces, it comes in lighter than either.

This thing is pretty handy…and comes in at 16 ounces as shown.

Note that I compared it not to range plinkers but to carry guns. That’s because of the vibe that the TX22 Compact gives off. Unlike the rest of the TX22 series, which uses a three-dot sight system with a fixed front and two-way adjustable rear, the new TX22 Compact has a blacked-out serrated rear sight with a white dot front. Of note, this is the same sight used on the Taurus G3 series, which goes to say it is a standard Glock pattern. While no slouch on the range, the TX22 Compact was meant to be carried if needed.

While it may not be my particular cup of tea, there has been a move in recent years to produce dedicated self-defense .22LR ammo loads from Federal (Punch Personal Defense) and Winchester (Silvertip Rimfire) that give such guns more of a fighting chance. Plus, when it comes to both recoil and manipulation, those with low hand strength may find such a set-up ideal.

Moreover, and I love this, the TX22 is both suppressor and optics-ready, which is something tough to find in its size with a 13+1 round capacity for $350ish.

As shown, the dot-and-can-equipped TX22 Compact weighs just 20.8 ounces, loaded with 14 rounds of Federal Premium’s Punch Personal Defense rimfire ammo.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Glocks Fuddy Five Lurches into the 2020s

Glock first announced the .45 ACP-caliber G21 alongside the 10mm G20 and .40 S&W caliber G22 back in 1990, in a host of caliber changes that offered more than the company’s 9mm initial offerings– the G17 and G19. At introduction these were 2nd Generation guns, a series only gently updated from the company’s original debut in the mid-1980s.

I’ve been fooling with the G21 off and on for almost 30 years. My first was a Gen 2 AAZ-serialized G21 that I picked up in 1994, just as the federal AWB and magazine cap kicked in that chopped the standard mag capacity from 13 rounds to just 10. I kept that tough-as-nails .45 through Hurricane Katrina, during which and immediately after it was never far away, and only passed it on to its current owner in 2006, downgrading to a 9mm as my everyday carry.

My first G21, a Gen 2 model, is seen here in a low-res circa-2005 image. It worked when I picked it up 11 years before, ran everything I fed it in the interlude, and it is likely still working wherever it is today. Note back then they didn’t even have thumb grooves or an accessory rail.

Then came the Gen 3 Sport/Service models in 1997, which brought with them recessed thumb rests, finger grooves molded into the frame, and, eventually, an accessory rail.

The Gen 4 G21 arrived in 2011 with the company’s improved RTF-4 texture, interchangeable frame back straps, a reversible enlarged magazine catch, a dual recoil spring assembly, and a new – some would say improved – trigger

And since then, the G21 has been frozen in time, locked in 2011. In the meantime, the company introduced their 5th Generation guns – but only in 9mm (G17, G19, G19X, G26, G34 and G45), .40 S&W (G22, G23 and G27) and .22 LR (G44).

Now, Glock finally reached back and brought the old “large frame” 10mm and .45 full-sized pistols into the present.

Importantly, it is the first time the G21 is optics-ready, in addition to other Gen 5 enhancements that are long overdue.

More in my column at Guns.com

So what’s the deal with the Glock 47? (A: Interoperability)

Glock came to SHOT Show in Las Vegas last month with the new commercial variant of the G47, and I snagged one for a better look.

A pistol that debuted a few years ago but wasn’t available to the public, the G47 came as part of an $85 million/10-year contract with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in 2019. With more than 45,000 sworn law enforcement agents and officers, CBP’s mission includes security through the U.S. Border Patrol as well as customs and counter-smuggling operations at over 330 ports of entry. It is the largest federal LE agency inside the Department of Homeland Security.

The contract included not only the previously unknown G47, which by all accounts was created especially for the contract but also compact Glock 19 Gen 5 models and subcompact Glock 26 Gen 5s, all in 9mm. Keep that in mind moving forward.

The G47 isn’t a “game changer” but it does have a few little things that are interesting about it.

Such as this:

The G47, right, is seen above compared to the crossover G19X, which is the same height and roughly the same frame but with a G19-length slide and barrel. (Photo: Chris Eger)

And, showing off that modularity, I give you the “you got chocolate in my peanut butter” that is the G19X and G47 MOS with swapped uppers. Both guns shoot and cycle fine. You could do the same between the G47 and the G17 Gen 4/5, G45, and G19 Gen 4/5. (Photo: Chris Eger)

More in my column at Guns.com.

A look at the new .264 Round from FN and the Rifle that Uses it

FN America brought some of the best new tech to SHOT Show last month, including a new weapon system developed for the “Irregular Warfare Technology Support Directorate.”

Built around a new 6.5x43mm Lightweight Intermediate Caliber Cartridge, or LICC (lick?), that the company says delivers 7.62 NATO performance in a 5.56-sized package, FN’s new Individual Weapon System was developed for the IWTSD, a government office that supports the U.S. special operations community. Originally formed in 1999 as the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, for those curious, the “IWTSD Identifies and develops capabilities for DOD and Interagency customers to conduct Irregular Warfare against all adversaries, including Great Power competitors and non-state actors.”

The 6.5x43mm was developed by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in partnership with IWTSD and was originally dubbed the .264 USA back in 2014 while the LICC designation was in use by 2016. Awarded a contract in 2019 to further develop the concept and a weapon platform to use it, FN delivered prototyped 6.5x43mm Individual Weapon Systems to the government for testing last summer.

FN optimized the round for practical use and had examples on hand at SHOT Show, seen here with 103-grain bullets loaded. Would be interesting to do the math on that ballistic coefficient. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

The IWS is a fully-ambi piston gun rather than using direct gas impingement like the M4 series. (Photo: FN)

More in my column at Guns.com.

As Close as it gets to an ‘Affordable’ Modular Carbine

Modular 5.56 rifles are the way of the future. However, they are expensive by any measure. Just look at the Beretta ARX160, the FN SCAR, and the CZ Bren M2– the cheapest of which hit the low $2K mark and go far north from there.

Take for example the new SIG Sauer MCX Spear in 6.5 Creedmoor. While I dearly love SIG– my West German P226 has been shot out twice over the three two decades, each requiring a new breechblock and spring rebuild; while my daily carry pistol for most of the past six months has been a P365 XMac– they are very proud of their guns.

There is a lot to be proud of with the MCX Spear in 6.5 Creedmoor.

A kind of stepped-up version of the new MCX Spear LT, which was announced last year in 5.56 NATO, 7.62x39mm, and .300 Blackout, the new variants will be in .277 Fury, .308 Win, and 6.5, with the latter being the most interesting in my opinion.

The new rifles share the same broad strokes of the Spear LT, including AR trigger compatibility, a push-button folding stock, fully ambi controls, dual charging handles (left side non-reciprocating and rear AR-style), SIG’s SLX suppressor quick detach muzzle device, a full-length top rail, and the ability to swap bolt/barrels for caliber exchanges.

Couple that with a 6.5CM and you run a laser-accurate round capable of effective hits to 800 yards with little hold over

Of course, SIG says the gun will cost $4K, sans optics.

Enter the Israeli IWI Carmel, which is now in production in the U.S. as the prospect of importing it adds a lot of flies and 922R problems to the mix.

Complete with a folding stock, fully ambidextrous controls, and a rock-solid reliable short-stroke gas piston that keeps everything cleaner (and doesn’t use the gas ring systems of the SCAR), the soft-shooting Carmel will hit the $1,600-$1,800 range and be available later this year.

Also, it uses AR-15 mags. Boom.

Everything you want in a P365, without the loudener

SIG has an optimized variant of the 17+1 round 9mm P365 XMacro headed to the market– minus the integrated compensator that a lot of folks detest– but with a few extra goodies.

The new P365 Macro TACOPS will have the slightly taller grip module of the XMacro that comes standard with a frame-mounted M1913 accessory rail for lights and lasers. The upper half is that of a standard P365 XL. What is totally new on the micro 9 is an integrated magwell for faster reloads, an extended slide catch lever, and, as it is a TACOPS package, four flush-fit 17-round magazines.

I ran into the P365 Macro TACOPS at SIG’s media event in Nevada last week on the eve of SHOT Show and got a sneak peek at the new pistol.

The P365 Macro TACOPS can be looked at as a P365 XMacro in which someone swapped out a regular XL top half and added a magwell and extended slide lever. The pistol shown wears a SIG RomeoZero Elite 1×24 micro red dot– which fits the Shield RMSc/Holosun K footprint of the series– with its optional metal shield installed.

More in my column at Guns.com.

In one of the most surprising stories from SHOT…

Confession time: I have long owned and used an 8+1 shot Bersa Thunder CC .380, finding it both reliable and very easy to conceal. At the time I picked it up, I’d gone down a rabbit hole in which I owned several Argentinian-made pistols including a few HAFDASA Ballester–Molina .45ACPs and a couple of 9mm FM (not FN) Hi-Powers.

Not a bad little gun…

Founded by a trio of Italian immigrants to Argentina back in the 1950s, the company made a name for itself crafting small and dependable blowback-action pistols that evoked a sort of Walther PP/PPK flavor.

Long imported by Eagle Imports, Bersa switched gears in 2021 and elected to go with Talon moving forward while also looking to bring some production to the U.S. This led to a new state-of-the-art facility in Kennesaw, Georgia which has been slowly standing up for the past two years.

That’s what brought me to Bersa’s booth hidden over in the 70,000-block of Ceasar’s Forum during SHOT Show last week.

Did I mention they are making a half dozen different AR models now?

More in my column at Guns.com.

So Beretta *finally* made another SAO 92

“Did you see the Single Action?” he asked in lieu of a greeting. The man posing the question was a friend of mine, long involved in the behind-the-scenes R&D and market research at Beretta and now with another similarly large and distinguished European gun maker in whose booth we were standing at SHOT Show in Las Vegas.

In fact, I had not seen the new Beretta 92 XI, or “9211” first-hand but I had heard of its existence from a fellow gun writer who had gone to the media day for the gun the day prior. It was a small community and news always traveled fast, especially in the digital age.

“So I take it you had a hand in that?” I asked.

“Oh yeah.”

“Why did it take so long to do that? Folks loved the Billennium,” I said, speaking of the limited run of SAO Beretta 92s released in 2001. These guns are often described as the best 92 ever made.

Heading over to Beretta shortly after speaking to my friend about everything his new company was working on, I encountered the 92XI and was impressed.

Using all the “X” series features that the company had previously introduced in the 92X Performance model– optics ready slide, slim Vertec frame, DLC coated trigger internals– the new 92XI runs a crisp single-action-only trigger with a flat bow and a manual frame-mounted safety lever, ideal for carrying “cocked and locked.”

More in my column at Guns.com.

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