Springfield Armory has recently introduced one of the neatest, most compact, and useful .380 ACP handguns in the past decade. That is a bold statement, but this is a fine handgun sure to be enjoyed by many shooters. I normally include a spec sheet at the end of the report, but the size of the 911 is among the things that are most interesting, so I will discuss size first.
When asked to test the Omnivore holster, I did not know what I was getting into. I am not a big fan of one size fits all holsters. I had to erase all that I knew about holsters. This isn’t that type of holster at all. Instead, the Omnivore is a modern, well thought out holster.
The Hudson H9 is a modern handgun that the company has called an ideal marriage between the 1911 pistol and striker-fired handguns. There is some relevance to this claim, although the pistol feels more like the Browning High Power 9mm than a 1911 to this shooter—and that is a compliment. It may feel even better than the 1911 or High Power, and that is pretty interesting.
Recently, I invested a considerable sum in a new Colt Government Model 1911. This pistol represents a return to basics. A time when the Goose hung high for Colt, and the pistol had to be the best—damn the cost. For over 100 years, the Colt has been the most influential, respected, and effective self-loading pistol in the world.
In 1964 there were no surviving bigbore, lever-action rifle cartridges. The Winchester lever-action rifles were long out of production and the Marlin .45-70 rifles only a memory. Marlin saw a market for a bigbore rifle that used a hard-hitting cartridge, which was instantly recognizable as a woods rifle. The result of its market research and testing was the .444 Marlin cartridge.
Fabrique Nationale recently announced that the Browning Hi-Power pistol is being discontinued from manufacture. In the perfect handgunning world, all pistols would have the mix of history, performance, and collector interest of the FN Hi-Power. The Hi-Power is among the most recognizable handguns worldwide. If you scan the news, you may see a Hi-Power in the hands of Indian police or being waved by a woman during a street battle in Iraq.
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.