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Blue-toned box of Liberty 45 Acp + P ammunition with cartridges toward the front of the picture on a plank of wood.

Liberty Ammunition Range Report

When it comes to personal defense ammunition, the first criterion to meet is reliability. This criterion is closely followed by accuracy, clean burning and a good primer seal. That is the bottom line. No ballistic advantage is worth pursuing if the ammunition is not completely reliable.

White-haired man in blue jacket with white ear protection points the Ruger LCR at a green target set against a backdrop of leafless trees.

The Ruger LCR — The Most Advanced Revolver in the World

Revolver history is interesting. I am leading up to something because the revolver on my desk as I write this has me going back over everything I have learned about the revolver.

A Bit of Revolver History

The revolver is older than commonly believed. Double-barrel and combination barrels were common during the flintlock era, although they are not true repeaters. Revolvers with multiple chambers were not rare—they were expensive. The revolving-cylinder handgun dates back to at least 1540, so it was a case of the technology of the day not catching up with the thinking man’s dreams.

Gray haired man in green shirt with red ear protection and safety glasses shoots a Sig 4-inch 1911, muzzle pointed to the right, against a wooded background.

SIG 1911 Carry Stainless

There are two great service-grade types in the 1911 handgun—stainless steel handguns are good, serviceable pistols for hard use and commander-size handguns are a good choice for concealed carry. After all, if there were a legitimate criticism of the 1911 pistol, it would be size and weight. The 1911 is thin and heavy. Ergonomics are excellent and beyond question. The attributes of the type make modification, and even redesign, desirable as long as you keep the advantages.

Young woman in white t-shirt and pink ear protection shooting a black AR-15 with CMMG .22 caliber conversion on a green grassy area with wooded area in the background.

.22 Conversions — Good Practice or Making Brass?

One of my associates recently showed off his brand new AR 15 type rifle at the firing range. The difference between that rifle and the others on the range —it was chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. He bragged about how the stock, sights and firing mechanism mimicked his .223 so closely that he was able to practice tactical rifle shooting for a pittance. I nodded my head, put the eyes and ears on and began firing my Daniel Defense .223 caliber rifle. My cohort busily ripped through a brick of .22-caliber ammunition.

3 boxes of Hornaday XTP ammunition with scattered bullets on a bed of gravel. The box on the left sits beside another box on top of an open box on a white background.

Hornady’s Top Flight XTP

Most of my handguns are all around-do-anything-go-anywhere handguns. I most often carry a Commander-size 1911 .45, although sometimes carry a .40 or .45 caliber SIG pistol. When hiking, or in an area where large animals might be a threat, a four-inch barrel Magnum revolver is on hand. These handguns are versatile, accurate and, most of all, reliable.

Cimarron Open Top revolver left side

Cimarron’s Open Top Revolver

The history of men and women and machines is fascinating. The revolver may not be the most in demand at Cheaper than Dirt! but there are none more interesting. The first cartridge revolver in the United States was the little Smith and Wesson Number 1 in .22 Short. Colt was making thousands of cap-and-ball revolvers for the Union Army and Smith and Wesson sold its revolvers through private sale. Soldiers could tuck the little .22 into their shirts or jackets. Colts were the horse pistols, and the revolvers used by fast moving cavalry units.

Gray haired man in navy blue jacket with red ear protection firing the Glock at a target with a wooded area in the background.

Glock’s Long Slide Model 41 .45 ACP

Long slide and ‘Pro’ model self-loaders with elongated slides and barrels are popular. Used by tactical teams as well as serious shooters, the long-slide Glock pistols in 9mm and .40 are great competition handguns. If you have never handled one, well, you have missed something; they shoot like a dream. But Glock has not offered a long slide .45 until this year.

A Taurus .44 Magnum being held in both hands of a person, barrel pointed left with dirt in the foreground and trees in the background.

Big Steel — The Taurus M44 .44 Magnum

The .44 Magnum is something of a wonder cartridge. It is all that most of us are willing to handle in a sidearm. There is no sugarcoating the recoil of the big magnum—it can be brutal. Yet the .44 Magnum is among the most accurate handgun cartridges. It is as deadly as a high power .30 caliber rifle against game at moderate range—perhaps more so.

AK-47 with camo finish lying on a against a tree, barrel pointed down and to the right.

Where’s My AK-47? It’s Hunting Time!

Whether you love or hate the AK-47, you must admit the rifle is among the most successful designs of all time. Mikhail Kalashnikov designed the rifle for reliable operation in the harshest conditions. The rifle has not failed to meet his expectations. The AK-47, adopted by the Soviet Union in 1947, has been around long enough for many to have an opinion about it.

Colt Commander, circa 1975.

The 1911 Pistol — Reliability and Accuracy

Today we see a great deal of revisionist history in the media, often tainted with rose-colored glasses and a personal agenda. Young people seem to demand more continuity from their comic book epics than from their history professors. However, when you level the criticisms and fallacies toward a firearm that has served Americans well for over 100 years it is more than irritating. When that same firearm has saved your life more than once, perhaps it is time for a report.

Thompson1_BobCampbell

The Auto-Ordnance Thompson Carbine — Americana at its Finest

One of the most famous icons among American firearms is the Thompson submachine gun (SMG). Originally developed as a trench broom for use during the horrific battles of World War I, the Thompson was not fully developed until 1921, missing the Great War. However, it saw widespread use in America. Admittedly, both sides heavily used the Thompson SMG—with lines often blurred—during the Prohibition Era.