Smith and Wesson has earned an enviable reputation for quality revolvers well suited to personal defense. The small five-shot revolver is among its most popular handguns, with the Model 649 carrying honors as the best of Smith and Wesson’s snubbie lineup.
When I first began shooting and realized the superiority of the bolt action—over lever action and self-loading rifles—for accuracy, I obtained affordable surplus rifles. I still own a stock Springfield 1903, and it is a fine rifle. However, sporting rifles were another matter and I eventually obtained a number of nice, scoped bolt-action rifles.
Smith and Wesson’s 1935 .357 Magnum was introduced to a handgunning world far different than the one we live in today. Smith and Wesson .38 K frame revolvers, the Colt Army Special, and even the Colt Single Action Army were popular sidearms. The Smith and Wesson Triple Lock was the choice was many professional shooters.
I don’t mind carrying a small handgun that is very efficient for its size. In fact, some handguns are a wonder of downsizing. However, small 9mm handguns have a set of problems that isn’t easily addressed. This includes lower magazine capacity and a lower hit probability.
I have used Del Ton rifles over the years and found they have good build quality, good reliability, and more than acceptable accuracy. When I was looking for a quality AR-10-type rifle in .308 Winchester, I looked to the DTI rifle. While I was eager to jump into the .308 AR, I was well aware of the lack of standardization with the rifle.
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.
The introduction of a new bolt-action .22 is a continuation of the classic American .22 caliber sporter. Despite the introduction of modern self-loading rifles, the Ruger American Rimfire has its place. The Ruger American Rimfire is a stablemate to the world’s most popular .22 caliber rifle, the Ruger 10/22.
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.
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.
Kel-Tec has discovered a potential issue with the Sub-2000 rifle. Although it only affects a limited number of firearms, all sub-2000 rifle owners are advised to stop use until they can determine whether their firearm is affected and/or repaired. Here is the full recall notice from Kel-Tec.
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.
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 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.