Despite all of the recent attention given to the 6.5 Creedmoor, the cartridge has been around for more than a dozen years. There are many specialized benchrest cartridges, and like many of them, the 6.5 Creedmoor didn’t get much attention.
The first handgun I fired was an old Smith and Wesson Victory Model with fixed sights. It was some time before I progressed to a Smith and Wesson with click adjustable rear sights. A movable front sight is a recent addition I find very modern. While the adjustable sight is a must have for competition and hunting, for personal defense it isn’t needed if you know how to use fixed sights and zero the piece.
I am certain that I will never be accused of failing to make an honest comment when needed. As an example, some years ago a friend owned an Uzi carbine and thought it was the best thing in the world for home defense. I disagreed completely. The trigger action was too heavy to allow good hits, and it was difficult to get hits with on the combat range.
When I was challenged to come up with the best, concealed carry handguns of the past 20 years, I set down with a pencil and tablet and began making a list. This seems like an easy task, but there are many good handguns.
A new offering from Glock is a pretty exciting pistol. The pistol isn’t just a black 19X, rather, it is a new take on the Glock line. It is configured in a similar manner to the Glock 19X but differs in important particulars.
The Beretta APX is Beretta’s entry into the polymer-frame striker-fired field, and they added a modular design for good measure. The APX is going against stiff competition. While Beretta has brand loyalty, the piece must stand on its own merit.
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.