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.
We all like to be competitive, which isn’t easy in fast paced shooting sports, such as IPSC or even in local IDPA matches. Custom grade 1911 handguns often cost well over $1,000, and the sky is the limit for a true top-end pistol. With standard and stock categories, and many matches catering to guns that might be carried on a day-to-day basis, there was a niche in the market for a high-quality but affordable competition-based handgun. Competition shooting has grown tremendously in the past decade, contributing its share to the ammunition shortage and making for improvements in factory grade pistols. The 1911 is among the most popular competition handguns.
We probably have more handgun calibers than we need. Some should be allowed to die a quite death. Just the same, during my career I remember scrambling to locate and actually fire such oddities as the 7.65 French Long, .32 Rimfire, and the .41 Rimfire. Quite a few old numbers might be useful even in modern times. Then there is the family heirloom that we just may want to fire.
With most new introductions in the concealed carry handgun market focused on polymer-frame striker-fired handguns, it is good to see that Springfield Armory has catered to the rest of us with a modern, polymer-frame double-action first-shot handgun with a decocker. Springfield incorporated a manual safety into the design as well.
I have been shooting since I was nine years old. My grandfather taught me firearm safety and the .22 rifle. We kept a .22 for hunting squirrels and a shotgun for wing shooting or rabbits. The handgun was for personal defense.
Some years ago, when the Kahr 9mm pistol was introduced, I obtained and tested an example as soon as possible. In doing so, I found a reliable handgun with excellent features. A smooth Double Action Only trigger, excellent machine work, and a truly compact frame made for a trend-setting pistol. The design was both fresh and intelligent.
I should start this report with a disclaimer. The North American Arms PUG isn’t my idea of a defensive handgun. But then, it is a well made revolver that never gives trouble, and that means a lot. There are folks that simply cannot be convinced to carry a larger handgun, and something is better than nothing. Many people would have loved to have had a .22 magnum revolver handy when attacked. It is better than tooth and nail.
If there is a battle proven handgun that stands a head and shoulders above the rest—in this century—it is the Beretta 92. Soldiers returning home from overseas often choose a Beretta for their personal sidearm. My son, Captain Matthew Campbell carried the Beretta in Kosovo, Korea, and the Middle East. That is enough recommendation for me.
Tip: A few decades ago the FBI did a study and found that a handgun that weighs over 35 ounces becomes a drag on the pants after a few hours. Perhaps concealed carry handgun permit holders should consider 26 ounces as a reasonable top end.
I have been exploring a packing handgun for a specific scenario. The bottom line criterion is that the pistol must be completely reliable, accurate enough for personal defense and taking accurate shots at an adversary behind cover, and powerful enough for defense against both biped and quadruped threats. Vehicle penetration is important, and so is penetration against heavy bones.
Many of us are looking for a rifle that will be a jack of all trades. In the past, the Winchester .30-30 rifle came close with its wide use in hunting and law enforcement. A rifle for taking thin-skinned game, protecting the homestead from predators, and for recreational shooting is a desirable commodity. The Ruger American is a light, handy, powerful rifle that clearly fills the bill for most needs. The Ruger American has been a successful firearm, offering reliability and affordability, combined with excellent performance for American shooters.