A handgun I wanted to shoot for decades was the Coonan 1911-style .357 Magnum. This combination of power and function is uncommon in a relatively compact package. Recently, I finally had the chance to fire the Coonan. The Coonan isn’t a lightweight handgun but it is far more compact than the Desert Eagle .357 or a six-inch barrel revolver, as an example.
The Smith and Wesson 625 JM is a big burly revolver that has many good design features. This stainless steel revolver features fully adjustable rear sights, a post front sight with a brass insert often referred to as a gold bead, a full underlugged barrel, and a smooth trigger action. The piece is named for Jerry Miculek a wizard of the handgun. Miculek has demonstrated the ability to fire six shots from a custom 625, reload, and fire six more in the span of three seconds.
When it comes to handguns, everyone has a favorite. There are a few I respect for service grade reliability. I give a picayune nod to the big bore revolver, but the 1911 is a handgun that fits my world view. On more than one occasion, the 1911 has adjudicated an argument in my favor. On a personal level, the 1911 has defended me against adversaries with a ferocious enmity toward me, for no other reason than I was attempting to put and end to an illustrious criminal rampage. Those who have vigor and proficiency at arms will find the 1911 is a great fighting handgun.
Over the years, I have seen many people struggle with the handgun. Some older folks, and others with limited hand strength, have a difficult time with the revolver. While revolvers are simple enough to handle, the long double-action trigger press challenges some shooters. The Smith and Wesson M&P .380 pistol is the answer they have been looking for.
I think, in practical terms, I have learned more concerning the world around me, and how to work through an emergency, than most. My father taught we how to manage my finances, maintain vehicles, and be a man. My grandfather had a genuine love for animals and taught me to care for them and also taught me how to hunt successfully. My grandmother taught me to prepare food. Today, many are concerned with being prepared. We call them preppers. I think they are simply self-reliant folks who do not wish to stand on the corner and beg for help with the sheep when things go wrong. Firearms are a critical part of the plan too.
Among the most exciting rifles to come down the pike this year is the Ruger Rimfire Precision Rifle. This is a bolt-action rimfire rifle chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. The rifle is based on the full-size Ruger Precision rifle. The rifle would make a great understudy for the .308 rifle, but it is also a fine choice for anyone interested in using an accurate rifle for recreational shooting or small game hunting.
Like many instructors, I prefer a student with no prior experience. Hopefully they have done their homework and understand how to manipulate the handgun, and load and unload it safely. However, if they have picked up bad habits and continue to exhibit these bad habits, there is some difficulty encountered during the class. I have to avoid terms like getting the student up to speed, because sometimes I have to slow them down.
Among the biggest and most interesting markets for firearms is the cowboy action shooting market. The appetite of the buying public for replicas of the guns of the Old West is a healthy one. The originals are pretty expensive these days. Many were well made of good material, but they are simply are too valuable for most of us to use.
Sometimes you just get excited no matter how long you have been at this game, and no matter how many air guns you have handled and evaluated. The right one can still strike a happy chord. The Spartan 1911-type airgun is among the most distinctive airguns I have ever handled. It is modeled, like many others, after the real thing, SIG’s 1911 .45 caliber Spartan.
If there is anything I have learned in 40 years of shooting, it is if you buy cheap, you buy twice. When it comes to optics many that are OK for informal target practice and others are suited to some forms of competition. However, if you need a quality holographic sight for critical use, few if any, have stood the test of time as the EOTech sight has.
Beretta introduced a handgun a few years ago that was not revolutionary—instead it was evolutionary. The PX4 Storm married the proven Beretta double-action trigger and de-cocking safety to a polymer frame. Those preferring a double-action first-shot pistol had a relatively inexpensive alternative to the Beretta 92, and those wishing a durable and reliable polymer frame handgun had a counterpoint to the Glock. The primary advantage of the pistol is accuracy.
Many of us use a match grade pistol—the IDPA gun or the IPSC gun—for home defense. The reasons are simple. The pistol is accurate, easy to use well, and one that we are likely most familiar with. The pistol may have fired many thousands of rounds without a failure. When it has needed new guns springs, or a magazine has failed, it has been at a high round count, demonstrating reliability. But then you read that the authorities on personal defense say you should never carry a modified gun for personal defense.
After many years of carrying the 1911 Government Model .45, I find that the weight on my back is beginning to drag. It isn’t the handgun, but a number of difficulties, fights for my life including a fall from a porch of some four feet with 400 pounds of felons intertwined with me, car wrecks, and climbs in ancient artifacts of architecture have been a strain on the lumbar. Just the same, when the time came, the 1911 sounded loud and clear and did its job like no other I wish to consider.
A frequent stop and gathering place of kindred souls is the local gun shop. We gather together, those of us with a certain mental telepathy that connects us, and we take a break from work and enjoy rubbing elbows with normal people. Well at least those with similar interests. These interests include shooting, hunting, competition shooting and accumulating firearms.
Beretta is our oldest gun maker in continuous production of quality firearms. Having delivered rifles to Napoleon and handguns to our own military, Beretta has developed an excellent reputation for reliable and durable handguns. While excellence of manufacture is always a selling point, so is the price point.
When it comes to shooting pastimes, they can get expensive, quickly. My handguns are rugged and reliable for the most part, but competition shooting may become expensive in both time and money. It sometimes becomes a race for the best equipment, not taking anything away from the skill involved.
Possibly, the most interesting Glock handgun introduced in some time is the Glock 19X. The pistol shows that Glock is thinking out of the box and may be the harbinger of a new line of handguns. The idea is simple enough. The 19X features a Glock 17 full size frame with the Glock 19 barrel. There is much precedent to this.
Before I begin singing the praises of the Springfield EMP 1911, I should say that I have never felt the 9mm 1911 made a lot of sense. It was like putting a six cylinder engine in a Corvette. The 10mm 1911 is like a 454 Chevelle by comparison. However, the Springfield EMP is not an average 1911 9mm.