The M1 Carbine was the most produced American Infantry weapon of World War II. We built around 6.5 million of these tidy little rifles by the time the last shot was fired. At the apogee of production, we were producing 65,000 M1 Carbines a day. Truth be known, the Axis never had a chance.
There are few subjects as prone to create an argument as personal defense handguns and calibers. Some have a “devil may care” attitude and deploy anything, stating most are the same, while others go into great, even minute detail, in their testing and choices. I think that everyone should master the personal defense handgun of their choice.
The pistol reviewed invites cliché. As long as it begins with “four” has been a strong motto for most of my handgunning life, but then I am a great believer in the .357 Magnum. The .22 LR is a fine recreational caliber, but the .25 ACP was designed purely for personal defense. The jacketed bullet and centerfire case are more reliable than the .22 rimfire with its heel-based bullet. A 50-grain FMJ bullet at 650 fps isn’t an impressive loading. But then, the best gun is the one you have with you,
Arex broke into the market in a big way with the introduction of the Rex zero 1S. The pistol was not revolutionary or chock full of new features. Instead, many labeled its reliability as the ultimate SHTF gun—an improvement on current popular models all combined into one gun. The zero 1 was followed by the Alpha, an out-of-the-box competition-ready pistol with an MSRP around $1,000. For 2019, Arex is set to release the Delta, a striker-fired polymer pistol, and The Shooter’s Log went to Slovenia to get a first look at the prototype.
The HK VP70 began as a space age version of the disposable single-shot Liberator pistol that the OSS dropped to resistance members fighting the Nazis during the Second World War. The original intent was to produce a reliable, rugged, selective-fire 9mm machine pistol that could be economically produced in quantity. The gun was intended to arm partisans operating behind enemy lines during a global conflict with the Warsaw Pact that thankfully never quite brewed up. Radically advanced by any objective standard, the VP70 was almost, but not quite, awesome.
Did you ever notice that looking at a gun is like morphologically analyzing a family member? Little Timmy might have Dad’s ears, Mom’s nose, Uncle Edgar’s dour disposition, or Aunt Edna’s penchant for eating her boogers. He’s his own kid, but the raw material is drawn from a motley well. Likewise, most tactical weapons come from recognized families.
There has been a tremendous amount of development in ammunition during the past few years. Among the most interesting of these has been the advances in nonexpanding ammunition. These loads are intended to produce good wound potential for personal defense without the problems of jacketed hollow point manufacture and performance.
I do not buy into the ultra compact handgun for concealed carry and feel any caliber below 9mm or .38 Special +P isn’t suitable for personal defense. I work my wardrobe around concealed carry, not the other way around. While I occasionally bow to necessity, most often I carry an effective handgun in a service grade caliber.
The AR platform is the Mr. Potato Head of rifles. From the .22 rimfire to the .458 SOCOM, the AR-15 is available in a host of different calibers. The newest and brightest addition to the AR-15 family is a 5.56mm diameter cartridge with more punch and long-range potential than the .223 Remington.
While I use modern 1911 .45 autos for personal defense, I am never happier than when I am firing single-action revolvers. If they are good quality, these revolvers are accurate, well balanced, reliable, and powerful. Those looking at the Traditions Bill Tilghman will not be disappointed.
Among the oldest and most respected firearms manufacturers is Fabrique Nationale de Armes de Guerre. FN is a company that has housed some of the most innovative firearms of the age and great inventors including John Browning and Dieudonne Saive. Thousands of FN firearms are in use worldwide with our military. Many of them are manufactured in South Carolina, USA. FN produces police, military, and sporting rifles. With the bonafides out of the way, how it performs at the range still has to be answered?
The Austrian ISSC M22 self-loading pistol is a fun gun that resembles the world’s most popular police pistol, the Glock. The pistol is affordable at little more than the price of a .22 conversion unit for the Glock pistol and has good features including a Lothar Walther barrel. While it looks like the double action only Glock, the ISSC-Austria M22 is a single-action pistol.
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.
For those serious about safety, a good supply of personal defense and training ammunition is vital. I practice rapid, aimed fire, and do not aim for the whole target. Instead, I aim for a small area on the target. Precise fire is important, and getting the bullet to where it will do the most good is vital.
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.
There are many factors to consider when choosing ammunition. Recoil, control in the individual handgun, a clean powder burn, good bullet pull, limited muzzle blast and flash, and reasonable accuracy are important.
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.