Silver/gray compact RIA and a reddish dirt background, muzzle pointed down and to the left

Rock Island Armory’s Latest .45, the Tactical II

I have enjoyed good service with the Rock Island brand of 1911 handguns. The pistols are true to the original format and fire the authoritative.45 ACP cartridge. Armscor manufactures these handguns in the Philippine Islands. The original pistols were straight-up GI versions of the 1911, although there are also elevated examples with good features, including tactical-grade sights and improved grips.

Black SIG P290 with boxes of ammo on a wood plank background

SIG’s Light 9mm, the P290

You should think carefully about the reasons for choosing a handgun. I do my best to test and review appropriate defensive handguns. And although the pistols may not be your choices, they are reasonable choices. With the explosion of concealed carry permits, many are carrying pocket pistols that give them more comfort than performance.

Silver barreled-Taurus Track 637SS, barrel pointed to the right on a gray-and-white woven background.

Taurus Tracker .357 Magnum 7-shot: A New Baseline for Revolvers

When personal defense is the goal, the choice of firearms has a direct bearing on the success or failure of the mission. While mindset and training are vital, the firearm itself is material to the individual’s survival. The choice should be reliable, powerful enough for the task at hand and accurate enough to accomplish the mission. Reliability is an absolute, never to be compromised. Powerful enough begins with the .38 Special +P.

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Top 5 Cheaper Than Dirt YouTube Videos

Since 2009, Cheaper Than Dirt! has maintained a YouTube channel. With over 7,000,000 views and 338 videos uploaded and counting, you will find how tos, product reviews, Jerry Miculek Shoot Fast and many more! Become a member of our 8,942 growing subscribers here. If you have not checked out our YouTube channel, here is a taste of what you are missing. Listed are our top five YouTube videos. 

Late Model P229 with Modern Light Rail for attaching a combat light on a white background, barrel pointed to the left.

Range Report: SIG SAUER’s Best Pistol—the P229

The SIG Sauer P229 is widely recognized by SIG pistol fans as one of the best designed and proportioned of the SIG P series pistols. The P229, in some ways, builds on the compact P228 9mm. However, the short and heavy slide of the P229 has no counterpart in a full-size pistol. Many American law enforcement officers, including the Secret Service and Federal Air Marshals, use the P229.

Man in tan shirt and pants with his hand holding onto a gun in his waistband.

Concealed Carry and Practical Defense

Decide for yourself if you are content to learn from journalists or hobbyists who have been to a lot of schools or from a well-schooled expert of the trade. R. K. Campbell graduated at the top of his class with a degree in criminal justice and has studied the human situation for more than 40 years. He has published more than 2,500 articles, columns and reviews plus eight books on the subject of personal defense and concealed-carrying handguns. He is a former peace officer, serving as a patrol Sergeant and patrol Lieutenant, and  the National Institute of Justice published his abstracts.

A gray-haired man in a blue and black plaid jacket with red ear protection fires a Smith and Wesson Miliary and Police .38 at a target with a wooded area behind him.

Golden Guns for Everyone: The Orthopedic Winners

I have been fascinated by the great buildings of the world all my life and always find architecture interesting. While Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower are monumental achievements, the Pirate’s House in Savannah, Ga., is another structure I find completely interesting. And Joyce and I love the mile-high bridge at Grandfather Mountain.

The SIG P226 Navy Model

Range Report: The Navy Model P226, MK 25

As a writer, I do my dead-level best to test and evaluate every firearm that crosses my desk in a professional manner, including extensive range testing. Many of the commercial firearms are new and unproven, even when based on a proven handgun design. Every modification and new idiom must be proofed. Occasionally, I encounter a firearm that is proven more so than the rest. And then, there are the legends. For legends, there is little I may do to add or detract from the firearm’s reputation with my own test program. That is the case with the Sig Sauer P226 MK 25 or Navy Model.

Black Rock Island compact 1911 on a gray-and-white woven background, barrel pointed to the right.

Range Report — Rock Island Compact 1911

Is there a best personal defense handgun? I doubt it; the competition is fierce, and many handguns have their good points. We also have personal needs and personal worst-case scenarios. As long as the handgun is a quality design, well executed with good reliability and is accurate and powerful enough for the task, the rest is up to you. My personal favorite carry gun is the 1911 single-action self-loader in .45 ACP. There are many variants, and while some are ironmongery, many are well made of good material.

Five-inch Barrel ATI Pistol with brown grip, pointed downward and to the right on a black background.

ATI’s Affordable 1911 Handgun: The ATI .45

These days, it seems anyone with a small shop can put together 1911 handguns and offer them for sale. I would not be surprised to see Duane’s Lawnmower Shop offer a special edition. Most such guns are parts guns, with outsourced frames and slides and internal parts from various parents. I am disdainful of those guns and prefer a pistol manufactured by a major maker.

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.