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.
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.
A generation ago, we defined the wonder nine pistol as a high-capacity pistol with a double-action, first-shot trigger.
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.
The history of men and women and machines is fascinating. The revolver may not be the most in demand at Cheaper than Dirt! but there are none more interesting. The first cartridge revolver in the United States was the little Smith and Wesson Number 1 in .22 Short. Colt was making thousands of cap-and-ball revolvers for the Union Army and Smith and Wesson sold its revolvers through private sale. Soldiers could tuck the little .22 into their shirts or jackets. Colts were the horse pistols, and the revolvers used by fast moving cavalry units.
Over 100 years ago, the U.S. Army adopted the John Browning designed 1911 Model .45 Automatic pistol. Proofed in the most grueling test of any handgun prior to that point, the Colt 1911 fired over 6,000 rounds without a stoppage, thus proving its reliability. Once it was in the hands of the troops, the Colt did not let them down. The pistol saw action first in Mexico during the Punitive Expedition then in Europe. The pistol was a favorite of adventurers including, T. E. Lawrence and Winston Churchill.
The Glock pistol is now over 30 years old. Those that grew up in the past few decades may not realize how sensational the Glock pistol was when it was first introduced. With groundbreaking polymer construction and a safe action trigger, the Glock 17 was a revolutionary handgun. While there had been polymer frame handguns before, none were as affordable or widely available as the Glock 17. The pistol also offered 17 rounds of potent 9mm Luger ammunition.
On a recent trip to the shooting range, one of the female range officers brought me a SIG P938 and said, “Here girl, try this.” She proceeded to tell me it was her preferred carry gun and that she can conceal it anywhere on her body successfully. “It hides under anything!” she exclaimed as she pointed toward her chest.
The need for economical practice has been hammered home during the past few months.
It is scandalous; here in the land of plenty, there hasn’t been enough. If there is a good side to the ammunition shortage it is that we have come to appreciate rimfire trainers so much more. One of the handiest and most effective trainers is a .22 caliber conversion unit for the 1911 .45 caliber pistol.
It is no secret Rock Island Armory (RIA) carved a reputable name producing reliable and affordable 1911s. Lucky for us, we got the chance to shoot their 22 TCM VZ Midsize at the 2014 SHOT Show Industry Day and we weren’t disappointed.
Cheaper Than Dirt! staffers covering the 2014 SHOT Show in Las Vegas have filed their first reports on new handguns introduced at the show. Manufacturers are offering an interesting mix of new handguns this year, running the gamut from several .22 rimfire models through dedicated competition guns.
When it comes to personal defense, the snubnose revolver is so handy, lightweight, easy to manipulate and simple to operate, it is widely used. Even those who carry a heavier firearm as a matter of course often deploy the snubnose as a backup or hideout. The backup gun may be a lifesaver in the case of a malfunction of the primary. The snubnose handgun must be used by a skilled shooter (meaning someone willing to practice).
DoubleTap Defense made news last year with the introduction of its revolutionary DoubleTap Tactical Pocket Pistol. Adding to that success, DoubleTap has introduced a comfortable, slip-on grip Training Grip. The new Training Grip provides users with a more positive and comfortable range exercise experience while training with their DoubleTap pistol.
Looking for a new home defense gun? MasterPiece Arms, manufacturers of the MPA MAC Line of pistols, carbines, suppressors and MPAR Rifles, has your solution—the new for 2014 MPA935SST Defender. The MPA935SST is based on the standard MAC design and is available as an 8-inch barreled pistol. The Defender will be chambered for the 9mm and feature a standard 30-round magazine. The barrel is also threaded and ready to accept any 1/2 x 28 tpi suppressor, but let’s not get to crazy—it is a semi-auto not full auto.
SIG SAUER’s new Scorpion handgun takes the 1911 pistol a notch higher in performance and brings proven combat ability into the new century. The Scorpion is a far different pistol than the blue steel and walnut 1911 handguns many of us deployed in the past. The SIG looks different, performs differently and leaves little to be desired. It is definitely a 1911 to the marrow. The new SIG features a rugged corrosion and wear-resistant Cerakote finish. Cerakote is a proven ceramic finish that is low maintenance, resists wear and requires little lubrication.
Well into 100 years of service, the 1911 handgun is going strong and more popular than ever. When the 1911 was designed, intensive skilled labor and machine work was less expensive. Today high-end 1911 handguns are often prohibitively priced for many of us. Affordable 1911 handguns, with a forged frame and slide, are few and far between.