I have used most of the popular old west calibers at one time or another, including the .32-20 and .41 Colt. Some have more merit than others. My favorite, hands down, is the .45 Colt. I began shooting long before Cowboy Action Shooting became popular. Most of us loaded for economy and with a certain number of loads put up for performance.
Taurus International’s Millennium G2 is an outstanding handgun that been a steady. An attractive price tag and spotless performance have fueled this compact 9mm pistol’s popularity. The Millennium G2 is at least comparable to similar size handguns from the major makers, and in some cases the Millennium G2 outclasses the others.
Among the most interesting of the introductions at the 2018 SHOT Show was the Taurus 856 revolver. The revolver illustrated—the 857—is even newer, and at present, a bit difficult to obtain. In this day of 8-shot N frame revolvers and 7-shot GP 100-sized handguns, the Taurus 857 is big news in a real way. Those carrying the snubnose .38 revolver now have a truly compact design that carries six, rather than five, cartridges.
Revolvers remain an important part of the handgun market. The niche for revolvers is stronger than ever, given the recent introductions of new revolvers and accessories. Among the most interesting accessories are revolver speedloaders. Many regard speedloaders as a necessity for personal defense, as much so as keeping a spare magazine for the-self loading handgun. You should too! Speedloaders typically carry a gunload of cartridges—usually five, six, or seven cartridges depending on the model—and have a means of keeping the cartridges steady and releasing the cartridges into the revolver cylinder as part of the design.
Snubnose revolvers are a favorite of armed professionals and have been for many years. The balance of lightweight power and maneuverability are excellent. About the only thing about these revolvers we may change are the grips.
The Single Action Army, Peacemaker, or Model P has been in production in various forms and generations since 1873. Now, it is also available from a respected maker based in Italy. The SAA was a favorite six-gun of many explorers, soldiers, and adventurers such as Lawrence of Arabia, General George S. Patton, General Douglas McArthur, and General Wainwright. In their hands, the revolver drew blood and defended their person and their country.
Some time ago, I began upgrading my on duty gear by a great degree. During the war on terror, and the war on drugs, peace officers often faced heavily-armed felons willing to shoot it out with peace officers. Working in a rural environment, where every household it seemed had a scope-mounted rifle, also colored my choices. The primary focus was people passing through, and I worked a pipeline of drug smuggling.
When I learned Ruger planned to introduce an upgrade on its successful gas impingement rifle, I was very interested. The AR 556 is a reliable and accurate rifle—possibly the best buy in its price range.
As a professional writer, shooter, instructor, and teacher, I test many firearms. I realize the merits of each, although I have my own favorites. As long as the handgun is reliable, the piece has the necessary baseline for personal defense. Just the same, my personal defense handguns have changed little over the past 40 years. The 1911 .45, Smith and Wesson Combat Magnum .357, and Smith and Wesson snub-nosed .38 have been the mainstays of the battery.
Handguns are the weapons of opportunity. Not as powerful as a long gun, they are portable and may be carried with us at all times. The handgun demands plenty of practice to master. The rub is that handguns kick a lot—in some calibers and in lightweight models. Until the laws of physics are changed, this is a reality. It is also a reality that the more powerful cartridges have greater wound potential and are more likely to stop a felonious assault with a minimum of well-placed shots.
The 9mm Luger cartridge is our most popular handgun caliber. It is a powerful number; capable of high velocity, and a cartridge that is affordable in the quantities needed to master the handgun. Recoil is manageable, and the handguns that chamber it are famously reliable. Ruger has an excellent reputation for reliable function. Ruger’s handguns do not break. Perhaps more attention to ergonomics would have been wise with some of the Ruger handguns, but that is another story. We now have that human engineering in the Security-9 9mm handguns.
For some time, American Tactical Imports has offered affordable firearms giving everyone a chance to get into the shooting game. These 1911s may be diamonds in the rough, but they are single-action 1911 handguns, and they are .45s. These GI-type guns have given many shooters on a budget the opportunity to try their hand at Old Slabsides at an exciting price.
The Colt Single Action Army was introduced in 1873 after much development, and the addition of key features including a solid top strap and chambering for the .45 Colt cartridge—there have been other calibers. The original revolver was intended to give troopers an edge against aboriginal tribesman. One requirement was that the revolver be effective against Indian war ponies at 100 yards. However, civilians and lawmen needed a faster handling revolver. Something more handle-heavy than barrel-heavy, and which might be drawn quickly from a well-fitted holster was needed.
As a person of Scottish heritage, I am adamant that quite a few people today do not really understand how much we gained, or how much we stood to lose, in the last election. Freedom seeking people came to America. So, it was with my hearty Scots as they fled the detested Crown. By the same token, in the South we are accepting refugees from the People’s Republics North of the Mason Dixon line. There are many freedom loving people in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey that have seen the socialist-Marxist creep into government and make life difficult through onerous taxation, regulation, and laws, making honest business practically impossible.
Marksmanship can make up for power, but the reverse is seldom true. In a gunfight, shot placement is everything. Unfortunately, when choosing a handgun for combat, we risk becoming too interested in absolute accuracy and forget combat accuracy. A fascination with firing small groups on the target, even in combat courses, is counter intuitive to true combat practice.
When I opened the box, my first thought was, “I am so lucky.” The stock on the new CZ 455 rifle showed excellent fit and figure. CZ rifles are never bad, but this was an exceptional piece.
The most common question presented to trainers, writers, and the family ‘gun person’ is, “Which handgun should I purchase for personal defense?” The bottom line is dependent upon the shooter and how much or how little time, effort, and training will go into the final choice. There are many firearms that are well suited to personal defense. But the student differs mentally and physically, and so should the choices each individual makes. The first step is individual research and study.
The AR-15 is America’s rifle in a very personal and individualist way—and in a manner no rifle has been since the Winchester ’73. The AR-15 may be modified, adapted, and built from scratch to suit the user. The rifle can be surprisingly affordable, or it may be as expensive and extensively modified as the user wishes. The rifle that was built as the subject of this review is in the middle of the road for expense, but at the top of my list for performance and versatility.