If you follow the firearms industry at all, you have probably noticed the plethora of sub-compact handguns designed for carry. Traditionally, these guns skimped on features more commonly associated with their full sized counterparts. As time has progressed however, we are seeing more and more innovation in the world of sub-compact carry pieces, and the lines between the pocket pistols and duty guns grow more blurred when it comes to features.
Smith and Wesson launched their wildly successful line of M&P (Military and Police) semi-auto, striker fired handguns in 2005. Though the lineup was originally geared towards and marketed for law enforcement personnel, where the guns have enjoyed great success, civilians took notice. In 2012, Smith and Wesson released the 9mm and .40 S&W variants of the Shield, and heavily marketed the pistols for civilians to use as concealed carry pieces. It worked extremely well. The guns began selling like crazy and haven’t let up since. According to CBS News, as of 2016, the M&P Shield 9mm was America’s #1 selling gun. Reportedly more than 1 million of these firearms have been sold.
It’s hard to argue with numbers like that. The Shield 9mm is a gun that carries well, shoots well, and has a respectable capacity of 7+1 with the flush fitting magazine, and 8+1 with the extended magazine. Here are some specs from Smith and Wesson’s website:
Sights are steel, with two white dots in the rear, one in the front
Weight is listed as 18.3 oz (unloaded)
Overall length is 6.1″
Width is 1″
MSRP is listed as $479.00
I have owned both the original Shield, as well as the 2.0. While I believe both are great guns, I do prefer the more aggressive grip texturing on the 2.0. The trigger is improved, but not enough that I would justify spending the money to upgrade from the 1.0 to the 2.0. Neither variant has ever given me issues with reliability, and holsters work for both versions. The MSRP that Smith and Wesson has listed is exorbitantly high compared to what I have actually seen the guns go for. Brand new 2.0’s can be had for less than $380 all day long, and used 1.0’s I have routinely seen for less than $300, and in fantastic shape.
As Smith and Wesson says on their website, “One million Shield owners can’t be wrong.” As much as I like Glock, I’d have to say they are right.
Here at The Hungry Handgunner, we like guns. We like shooting guns. We definitely prefer to carry a gun. Which makes holsters kind of an important discussion point. How comfortable they are, how easily they can be concealed, cost, durability…. those get discussed ad nauseum. But what about safety? Think back. When’s the last time you and your buddies talked about an unsafe holster? Do you know of any? You will after this article.
Sometimes a design comes along that just makes sense. Ergonomics are great, the holster is molded to specific models. It’s affordable, comes with a multitude of mounting options, can be found at Wal-Mart and other common establishments. But what if I told you, people started shooting themselves drawing from this holster? What if I told you that if you took a hard fall on your gun, or got grit in it, that the weapons retention system could, and has, locked up, making your sidearm stuck fast? You may have guessed, but this is the SERPA, by Blackhawk that I’m speaking of. I carried one, both for work in the Navy, and off duty as a civilian. I personally never had any issues with mine. But…. a quick google search will reveal a startling amount of bad news when it comes to these. If you are dead set on a holster with retention, the Safariland with the ALS lock is a great alternative.
Now that we got the SERPA out of the way…. there are some terrible holster designs floating around. So many, in fact, that I started compiling a list of each make and model and quickly abandoned the idea. If I list out some “must haves” on a holster they would all be disqualified quickly, so we will go that route.
A holster needs to cover the ENTIRE trigger of your firearm. If something can get between your holster and trigger, you have a ready made negligent discharge waiting to happen.
A holster needs to be secure. It needs to stay on until you want to take it off. A good belt helps with this, but holster design is also paramount.
If you are regularly exposing the muzzle of your sidearm to mud or other potential barrel obstructions, it would be a good idea to have a holster which protects against this.
Some level of retention is necessary. I don’t think every holster should have a thumb snap or anything like that, but it needs to hold your firearm securely enough so that your sidearm will not just fall out if you bend the wrong way, etc.
Nothing on the holster should be poking the trigger. If you have a leather holster, and it’s worn out, watch for this. If it has a thumb break strap, watch for this. You could very easily have a bad situation waiting to happen.
So, what do I recommend? I personally am a big fan of Kydex holsters, of varying styles. I have an appendix holster for my M&P Shield by Gearcraft that is outstanding. I have an outside the waistband holster for my CZ P-09 Urban Grey from Black Rhino Concealment. (Veteran owned company) I also have used Alien Gear’s hybrid design for carrying my Glock 19 for going on 3 years, without fail or issue. Links to these manufacturers are below.
For those just starting carrying, or even people who have been toting a concealed handgun for awhile, the term “appendix carry” is bound to come up at some point. This term aptly describes a carry position where the pistol and holster are tucked along the front of the midsection, usually close to the location of the appendix, for right handed folks. Though the controversy of this carry position seems to be a fairly recent phenomenon, the method of carry in itself is not new. It has been around for a long time, and likely isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
So what’s the issue? Nothing, and everything, at the same time. Detractors of appendix carry frequently can be heard saying things like “If you have a negligent discharge, you are going to hit yourself in the crotch or femoral artery.” Possible? Sure. But isn’t that the wrong point of focus? Is it somehow more acceptable to have your gun go bang when you didn’t want it to go bang, simply because you were carrying it somewhere else? For me, I feel as though appendix carry is getting the focus, instead of the real issue: negligent discharges. If your gun goes off while it’s inside a holster, regardless of that holster’s location, you have failed at firearms safety. So, perhaps we should take a closer look at what makes guns go bang when they shouldn’t.
A firearm of dubious quality. This one I almost didn’t even want to mention, because the likelihood of the gun’s quality being the issue in this day and age is so slim. Simply put, unless you are carrying an extremely old, or extremely low quality firearm, this is probably less likely to happen than winning a billion dollar Powerball payout. And no, for those of you thinking it…. Even Hi-Point’s QC department has a good track record in this area.
Holster. This is probably one of the most important, yet infrequently discussed causes of negligent discharges. A few decades ago, your choices for holsters were pretty much leather, or nylon, or some combination thereof. Leather is still a very common and popular choice, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. However, as leather ages, it begins to soften. What was once rigid, and held its shape, will start being more malleable and downright flimsy in many cases. While this may be more comfortable, it is not safe, particularly for modern striker fired handguns. That edge, corner, flap, etc that doesn’t stay where it should anymore has a real good chance of ending up inside your trigger guard while holstering, potentially pushing the trigger of your firearm. Does this mean leather holsters are bad? No! Just pay attention to your gear, and replace it if it gets worn out. I will go ahead and say that I have always been a fan of Kydex holsters for this reason though.
Foreign Debris. Guys, ever go to zip your pants and realize something was not where it was supposed to be, and get a painful lesson about securing your…..equipment….before zipping? Same principle. Many super secret tactical training gurus who were supposedly Delta SEALs will advocate holstering while remaining focused on the “threat.” I say bullshit. If there’s a “threat” that still warrants your eyes on him or her, why are you holstering? Anyways, LOOK your gun into the holster. Any jacket bungies, keychains, strings, voodoo dolls, etc need to be clear of your holster before you put your handgun in there. Secure your equipment, folks.
So, as we can see, it’s not appendix carry that’s the issue. It’s negligent discharges. Sure, if you have a negligent discharge, you have a better chance of altering your life permanently, whether fatal or not, with appendix carry. But I, for one, would like the conversation to be more centered around preventing bullets from leaving barrels when they shouldn’t. After all, a bullet fired at an unintended time, probably will hit unintended things.
TL/DR VERSION: If you have a modicum of common sense about preventing your gun from going off when it shouldn’t, appendix carry is A-ok. If you don’t….. Well, you probably shouldn’t be carrying anyways. 🙂
Here at The Hungry Handgunner, I often like to focus on the new, exciting, and popular. Well, today, we are going to walk back to a time of short jean shorts, bleached blonde poofy hair, when “Like a Virgin” by Madonna was #2 on the charts. That’s right, we are going back to 1985.
The U.S. Military was on a mission, and it wasn’t to address some of the fashion atrocities that were occurring during this time. The head honchos at the Department of Defense wanted to bring all the branches and units of the military into commonality with the sidearms they were carrying. Most military personnel were carrying the 1911 .45 ACP, but others, particularly the Air Force and flight crew personnel, were carrying .38 Special revolvers. The DOD also decided to review their options, as replacing the 1911’s was getting to be expensive , as well as establishing a common NATO round in case there was war with the Soviet Union in Europe. This process actually started back in 1979, and the 9×19 Parabellum was selected for its compliance with the NATO Standardization Agreement.
In 1980, the Beretta 92-1 beat out entries from Steyr, Walther, Sig Sauer, Colt, Smith and Wesson, and other entrants. The decision was contested, however, and more tests were performed in 1984, though they did not change the decision, simply coming up with more features for Beretta to add, which in turn, brought about the M9 variant. It is worth noting some of the things the Beretta entry did, and did very well, to win this contract. The test gun was exposed to harsh temperatures, ranging from -40 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit, submerged and withdrawn from salt water, buried in mud, sand, and snow, and slammed into concrete repeatedly. The gun was but through a test to determine the average number of rounds before failure. The Beretta proved it could go, on average, 35,000 rounds before failure, which is several times the pistol’s expected service life.
So, on paper the gun performed well, offered double the capacity of the previous sidearm, and had a much longer expected service life. But it was not without controversy. Many were upset and dubious that the 9mm would offer enough power to stop a threat, especially as the use of expanding projectiles is prohibited under the Hague Convention of 1899. There was also an incident where a Naval Special Warfare member was injured when the slide on a Beretta 92B came off of the frame and struck him in the face. It was discovered that the failure was caused by ammunition that was loaded beyond the pressures specified by NATO, but Beretta modified the guns to prevent this from occurring. Many in the military were and are not pleased with the gun, for one reason or another. Personally, I had no real issues with my issued sidearm, other than it being pretty worn out.
The individual gun I have for review, however, is immaculate. The M9 handles very well, and despite it being somewhat dated when compared with other double stack 9mm handguns, it is still a relevant and quality option for personal use, which we will discuss in detail further on. Let’s look at some specs on this sidearm:
Capacity is 15+1, 10 round magazines and models are available
Barrel length is 4.9″
Action: Double/ single
Sight Radius is 6.1″
Weight (unloaded) is 33.3 OZ
Sights are fixed, white post rear, white dot front
MSRP is listed as $675.00
The Beretta M9 has a very utilitarian feel to it when you pick it up. It feels as though it is made to be a workhorse and reliable companion, and that is certainly how I feel about it. The ergonomics of metal framed handguns in general, are very hard to beat, and the M9 is no exception. the gentle curve of the palm swell on the grip and the short beaver-tail below the hammer lend themselves to getting a snug grip and indexing your hand on the pistol quickly. The plastic grip panels afford some purchase with the checkering but not enough to be abrasive. There are vertical lines on both the backstrap and front of the grip, and these help with a secure grip more than one would think.
Shooting the M9 is actually pretty fun, now that I am removed from the qualification courses of fire of the military and just leisurely punching holes in paper 90% of the time. While certainly not a “capacity king” by today’s standards, having 15+1 rounds of 9mm on tap is nice. There is some muzzle flip with the M9, that I will chalk up to the higher bore axis, but not enough to prevent quick follow up shots. The sights are fixed and made of steel, with a white “post” underneath the notch of the rear sight, and a white dot on the front. Putting the dot on the post seems to be very easy and relatively fast to do, and for a fixed sight handgun in this price range, the accuracy was acceptable, if not even good, when I did my part.
So, does the M9 have a place in the world of civilian ownership for purposes other than sentimental for those of us who carried it for duty, or range fun? My contention is that it does. It is a time and battle proven design that carries with it a decent magazine capacity, a plethora of after market accessories and holsters, as well as shooting a common caliber that is easy to find. It is too large for me to consider as a concealed carry gun, except maybe in the months requiring a jacket. However, I would not hesitate to use it as a home defense handgun.
As always, thank you so much for reading. Please like and follow our Facebook page as well, The Hungry Handgunner. Stay safe, and keep shooting!!
Chances are, you’ve either seen the iconic Desert Eagle .50 AE either in one of several movies featuring the pistol, or in countless video games. You may have even heard various rumors about the pistol’s origins and intended uses, or even claims as to it’s capabilities. Let’s go ahead and get the facts straight on the gun before proceeding to the review.
Starting development all the way back in 1979, the Desert Eagle .50 AE was designed to be the semi automatic handgun capable of chambering the largest center-fire handgun cartridge in the world. Magnum Research Inc was responsible for the design and refinement of the pistol, and production was initially handled by Israel Military Industries until 1995, when Saco Defense took over production for a brief period of three years, and then back to Israel Military Industries. Since 2009, Desert Eagles have been made in the USA at Magnum Research, in Pillager, MN. Herein we see the origins of one particularly common rumor about the gun, that it is used by the Israeli military. It is not, at least in any official capacity. We also see that this is a “because we can” type of firearm, though it has certainly found some viable uses, which we will discuss later on.
The Desert Eagle is massive. As the gun can come chambered in other, more common calibers, such as .44 Magnum, and .357 Magnum, I almost feel as though Magnum Research should have named the .50 AE variant the “Desert Pterodactyl” for the size of the round it takes. The rim of the .50 AE is the same size as the .44 Magnum, and is smaller than the case itself. The case then tapers slightly down to .54″ to accommodate the .50″ projectile. The Hornady XTP hollow point rounds I fired during the review leave the muzzle at a respectable 1,475 FPS, and the 300 grain projectile generates a whopping 1,449 foot pounds of energy. To put that in perspective, a standard .44 Magnum round travels roughly 1,230 FPS and generates 806 foot pounds of energy. That is a LOT of power to be fired out of a handgun.
Let’s look at some specs on this impressive weapon:
Barrel length is 6″
Made out of carbon steel, other materials and finishes available (gun reviewed is “brushed chrome” finish)
Single action, trigger pull is listed as 4 pounds
Weight with empty magazine is 4 pounds, 5.8 ounces
MSRP is listed as $1,999, though typically seen for about $1,600-$1,800
The way the gun works is perhaps what is most intriguing to myself and other firearms enthusiasts. It uses a 4 lug bolt reminiscent of the 7 lug bolts commonly seen on AR-15’s and M-4’s, and has a port under the chamber where gas is routed when a shot is fired. The gas then travels inside a tube running underneath the barrel where it encounters a piston, which it then engages and cycles another round. It is essentially the same principle used in countless rifles, but rarely, if ever, seen in a handgun.
Firing the Desert Eagle .50 AE is an experience unlike any other. The recoil is extremely stout and the report is thunderous. The muzzle flash is bright, even under bright daylight conditions. One of Newton’s laws states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In considering the amount of muzzle energy we discussed earlier, you can imagine what the recoil is like. The gun has received a bad reputation for being prone to jams. I tried to replicate that today, and was able to by “limp wristing” the pistol. It doesn’t like that at all. I encountered a failure to feed three rounds into the magazine. If I maintained a proper firing grip on the pistol, I had no such issues. Speaking plainly, I cannot afford the amount of ammo it would take to run a proper reliability test on the gun, but in scouring the internet, did find several Desert Eagle owners with far more financial resources than I have who reported firing upwards of 1000 rounds with no issues, using factory loaded ammunition.
Accuracy with the Desert Eagle is surprisingly good, although I’m sure that others will fire the gun much more accurately than myself. After 7 operations on my right forearm and extensive metal hardware being inserted, I found myself truly not just anticipating each shot, but almost dreading it. Even considering that, the gun absolutely did its part and and the crisp, single action trigger really lends itself to lobbing the 300 grain hunks of lead where you want them. With the large section of rail atop the barrel, the gun also lends itself well to being fitted with an optic, if that’s your cup of tea. I would, however, recommend going with a quality optic, as it has been my experience most “bargain buys” will not hold up to sharp and powerful recoil, and the Desert Eagle certainly delivers that. The iron sights the gun comes with are plain, dovetailed fixtures which worked just fine against my light colored target. I’m sure there are other options out there if you wanted to change them out.
As far as uses for the Desert Eagle, concealed carry is simply out. The weight, size, chambering, and potential for jams when not held properly immediately disqualify it. However, there are people who deer hunt with it, carry it for bear defense, and even just enjoy shooting it. Handloaders have reported that you can really milk the cartridge for all different purposes, and that it is a good cost saving practice if you find yourself shooting the .50 AE frequently. The ammo IS pretty pricey, at $1.40 a round being the cheapest I found it from reliable brands. For bear defense, I would be reluctant to carry the Desert Eagle simply due to the size, weight, and the simplicity of a revolver vs a semi-auto in those fast paced and short distance encounters. Speaking honestly, this is just a fun gun to shoot, even with the joint cracking, bone jarring recoil. It is even more fun to shoot with a group of friends. I would advise that you make sure that anyone who shoots it is confident and fairly experienced with firearms before letting them take a turn with it. The internet is full of videos of inexperienced shooters whacking themselves in the forehead with the barrel due to lack of experience, and the power of the firearm. So, should you get one? That’s up to you! It’s fun, but expensive to buy, expensive to shoot, and in my opinion, should come with some coupons for Motrin in the packaging.
Thank you for reading. Please, consider following us on Facebook, Twitter, or Minds. Also, if you would like to make a financial donation, those are always very appreciated, and mean so much. Liking and following our Facebook page is also very much appreciated. Stay safe and keep shooting!!
In today’s world of super high capacity, polymer framed, modern, and commonly seen and carried firearms, we often enjoy a touch of elegance. Kimber is typically found at the low end of the high end makers of 1911 handguns. The tolerances are tight, the lines of their guns are refined, and Kimber enjoys a reputation for quality that is well earned. Kimber’s Ultra models are super compact 1911 handguns that are well suited for concealed carry and personal protection.
Though 1911 handguns are typically heavier than their more modern counterparts, the Ultra Carry II is built on an aluminum frame, which helps carve some of the weight down. The Ultra Carry II also enjoys the weight reduction and aesthetics of a skeletonized hammer and trigger. The model I own is the two-tone variant, with a satin aluminum frame, black carbonized steel slide, and beautiful rosewood grip panels. I have done no aftermarket work to the gun.
1911 style handguns are often considered unreliable, and that blanket assumption is often applied unfairly. Indeed, some hollow point ammunition may not feed reliably, due to the cavity shape in the nose of the projectile. Kimber 1911s in particular are often touted as prone to jam, but I have often found that the largest thing these owners have in common is that they fail to break their pistols in. These guns are built to extremely tight tolerances, meaning that the frame and slide are very tightly put together. This is why a break in period of approximately 500 rounds is often recommended. My own Ultra Carry II was not immune to this. After about 300 rounds, it started working all the kinks out and got just “loose” enough to reliably run. After the full 500 rounds, I haven’t had any hiccups at all with ball ammunition, and only experienced issues with Sig’s V-Crown hollow point defensive ammunition. I use Federal HST rounds for defensive purposes now, when I carry the gun.
With that out of the way, let’s look at some specs on the Ultra Carry II:
Weight is listed as 25 oz with unloaded magazine inserted
Magazine capacity is 7+1 rounds
Recoil spring weight from factory is 18.0 lbs
Comes standard with full length guide rod
Barrel is a match grade, 3″ bushingless bull barrel
Sights are fixed, low profile, 3 dot configuration
Trigger comes from the factory between 4-5 lbs and is user adjustable to a degree
MSRP is $837.00
I have carried my Ultra Carry II quite a bit, off and on, and can say that it is right at home inside the waistband riding in a Don Hume leather open top IWB holster. The beauty of a 1911 is that it is a narrow gun, and very unobtrusive to carry. The weight is mitigated a bit by the aluminum frame, but it is still a solid weapon. With 8 total rounds on board, statistically you are prepared for most self defense scenarios, and 1911 magazines are extremely slim due to their single stack design, so slipping an extra magazine or two in your pocket is not very difficult.
Shooting the Ultra Carry II is fun. If you predominately shoot striker fired handguns, such as Glocks, then the crisp, single action trigger will seem shockingly light and enjoyable. Recoil is manageable, even with the very short barrel and aluminum frame, and the checkering on the backstrap helps anchor the gun. The checkering on the Rosewood grip panels certainly looks nice, but it doesn’t do much to help securely hold the gun. There is no checkering or texture on the front of the grip, below the trigger guard, and I believe the gun would really have benefited from some checkering there. When only firing a few magazines’ worth of ammunition, the lack of grip texturing really isn’t that evident, but after an extended shooting session, or if your hands are sweaty, you may easily find yourself having to constantly readjust your grip on the pistol. Accuracy with the Ultra Carry II is as you would expect from a higher end 1911. It most likely will not win you any bulls-eye matches with the short sight radius and somewhat slippery grip, but for defensive purposes I found the Ultra Carry II to be more than adequate. I have also shot two coyotes with it, one of which was dropped in its tracks with only one shot. The other required a follow up.
A few subjective negatives should be mentioned however. I have fairly large hands, and even I cannot activate the slide stop/ slide release without altering my grip on the gun. Also, I feel that if you buy one of these guns new, you need to be prepared to put about 500 rounds through it to get it broken in. Unfortunately, that is the price you pay for tight tolerances, and Kimber is not alone in this. On the bright side, that’s a real good reason to shoot 500 rounds through your new gun, if you find yourself needing to explain it to a dubious wife or girlfriend.
If you are looking for a 1911 for strictly recreational purposes, I would recommend going with a full sized, or Commander sized model, rather than the Ultra Carry II. However, if you want a 1911 for defensive purposes, in the timeless .45 ACP chambering, that is small enough to conceal, large enough to control, the Ultra Carry II may be just what you are looking for. As always, thank you so much for reading. Stay safe, and keep shooting.
Long before we had semi-automatic handguns capable of holding 15, 17, even 20 rounds that we could conceal under a light jacket, there existed one type of gun that one could always depend on: the revolver. From its origins in the late 1930’s, all the way to present times, the .357 Magnum cartridge has earned its reputation as a fight stopping, deer dropping, health and hearth defending round. It is commonly referred to as “The King” when it comes to stopping bad guys in one shot. It traces its roots back to the ubiquitous .38 Special, which enjoyed great popularity. However, the power just wasn’t there for back country enthusiasts and hunters, so a man by the name of Elmer Keith set about improving the .38 Special. After experimenting with hot handloads (and destroying a few revolver cylinders in the process) Keith extended the .38 Special brass by 1/8th inch to accommodate the higher powder charges and Smith and Wesson gave him a stronger revolver to use in his developments. Thus, the .357 Magnum was born. Police departments and civilians alike received the round with open arms. Law Enforcement personnel were much more comfortable with the .357’s increased power, especially when compared to the .38’s of the time.
Ruger’s 7 shot, steel GP100 builds on the legacy of earlier Ruger models like the Security 6. The classic GP100 has enjoyed a reputation of being a stout workhorse that can handle a steady diet of full power .357 Magnum rounds, while also being capable of firing the soft shooting, and less expensive .38 Special ammunition. Ruger currently produces the 7 shot GP100 in 3 barrel lengths: 2.5″, 4.2″, and 6″. I have the 4.2″ and consider it to be the best of both worlds for a general purpose revolver that I may occasionally conceal, but more often will be worn during back country excursions.
Let’s take a look at the specs:
Barrel length as reviewed: 4.2″ (2.5″ and 6″ also available)
Made out of stainless steel
Grips are rubber with hardwood panel inserts
Weight is 40 OZ unloaded
Capacity is 7 rounds
Finish is a satin brushed stainless
Barrel twist rate is 1:18.75″ right hand
Cylinder lock up is in three places: front of frame, rear of frame, and at bottom of cylinder
MSRP is listed at $899
For me, the first thing I noticed when I picked the GP100 up is its weight. At 40 ounces unloaded, it is hefty firearm, and solidly built. The finish on the gun is a brushed satin stainless that I find very visually appealing. It seems to be the perfect balance of aesthetics and function. It should resist elemental degradation well, and has held up well in the time I’ve had it, despite having been on my side during some sweaty weedeating sessions and other yard maintenance activities. Not to say that the blued version of the gun would fare any worse, mind you, I just prefer the stainless look.
The sights on the revolver are great for most uses. You get a fully adjustable rear sight, which is a necessity if you plan on using varying bullet weights or different hand loads, as the point of impact can vary significantly with different powder charges and projectile weights. I only had to do some minor tweaking to go from 158 grain semi-wadcutter .38 Special loads, to 110 grain semi-jacketed hollow point .357 Magnum rounds. The front sight is a fiber optic affair that comes with a green fiber optic “rod.” The sight is manufactured by HI-VIZ sight systems and you can order different color fiber optic inserts to replace the green one if it isn’t what you like. The inserts are reasonably priced as well. As you can see in the picture below, the front sight is kind of difficult to see when indoors, or lacking sunlight. If this were going to be a defensive pistol, I would most certainly swap the sight out for a tritium/ fiber optic combo sight, to ensure I could get a good visual on the front sight in every lighting condition.
If there’s anything the GP100 does well, it’s shooting. Admittedly, I am not a revolver expert, or expert marksman by any means. However, this gun is as accurate as any handgun I have ever shot, and if I do my part, I have no doubts that the GP100 will do hers. When shooting full powered .357 Magnum rounds, one begins to appreciate the heft the gun brings to the table. The weight of the firearm certainly soaks up the recoil, and even after an afternoon of shooting nothing but .357 Magnums out of it, my hands were no worse for wear. Shooting .38 Specials out of the GP100 is even more enjoyable. Very mild recoil, and less concussive report. The double action trigger pull is long and heavy, as one would expect, and clocks in at 12 lbs. The single action trigger is delightfully crisp, and comes in at 4.2 lbs. 7 round speedloaders made for the S&W 686+ by HKS also work flawlessly with the 7 shot GP100.
Accuracy was great with this gun!!
I likely could not repeat this if I tried
It is in shooting the gun that I did notice one issue. While I don’t believe the gun is to blame, it is still noteworthy. When Ruger added the 7th round to the GP100’s capacity, it necessitated the rounds being held more closely together in the cylinder. With some ammunition brands, I encountered case rim discrepancies in size that prevented loading the cylinder to full capacity, as the case rims would not sit flush and would prevent the cylinder from closing if you tried to proceed with 7 rounds anyways. I encountered this with Tula’s steel cased .38 Special, Remington’s green and white box .357 Magnum, and UMC’s Bulk .38 Special ammo. It didn’t happen every time I would load the cylinder, but certainly enough to mention. I did not have any issues with Federal ammunition, or Hornady ammunition.
While the MSRP for these guns is listed at $899, I have not seen them for that anywhere. I have found them typically priced between $600-790 and for what the gun delivers, I think it a fair price to pay, even at the upper end of that price range. This is a gun sturdy and reliable enough for most tasks I can think of, and it has earned my trust for outdoor activities. Here are some links to Ruger’s website, and HI-VIZ. Thank you for reading, stay safe and keep shooting!
It is nearly impossible to do any research or have any discussion whatsoever about carrying a gun without the topic of ammunition coming up. In this article, we will largely stay away from the “caliber wars” that are never ending. We will continue with the assumption that you already have your carry firearm of choice and are now looking into ammunition choices.
Standard “ball” ammunition, of full metal jacket (FMJ) is the most commonly produced type of ammunition worldwide and is characterized by typically having a lead core, surrounded by a metal jacket that covers the lead. This jacket is usually copper, or a copper alloy. This jacket accomplishes two main things: it reduces lead deposits in the rifling (the grooves inside the barrel that impart spin on the projectile) of the barrel, and helps prevent projectile deformation when it strikes a target. This ammunition is typically much more affordable than other types of ammunition, and is what most shooters use at the range for target shooting and practice. Because the round is not designed to expand or deform, it usually offers much higher penetration in soft targets and is not recommended for carry or defensive applications due to this excessive penetration.
Though they are often maligned as “exploding” projectiles, or labeled as overly destructive, hollow point ammunition is actually safer in many ways for the application of carry and self defense. The hollow cavity of a jacketed hollow point round is designed so that when the round impacts a soft, or fluid target, the cavity is forced to open and expand. This results in a dramatic transfer of energy, as the round is slowed by the “parachute” effect of the expansion. This leads to a greatly reduced chance of over-penetration and a more effective transfer of energy to the target. Both of these effects are obviously a good thing for a concealed carrier, as the energy transfer leads to an increased probability of stopping a violent attacker, and the minimized chance of over-penetration means less probability of the fired round going through the target and injuring a bystander. So, despite what news outlets and other uninformed sources say, the hollow point round is a more responsible and sensible round to carry.
Unfired Speer Gold Dot next to a recovered, expanded Gold Dot projectile
Note the “petals” and how much width they add to the projectile
There are some other types of ammunition we will discuss briefly, as they are not recommended for carry.
Rat shot/ snake shot rounds- These projectiles often consist of a plastic case where the traditional bullet would be and are filled with very small shot pellets, usually #12 or #9 shot. They simply do not have the penetration and muzzle energy necessary for self defense, and you would be hard pressed to legally defend your use of them for self defense. Remember, if you shoot someone in self defense, it is deadly force, no matter what type of projectile you use. These rounds ARE very useful for venomous snakes and such though.
Rubber bullets- Just like the name suggests, these are hard plastic or rubber projectiles. They are simply not sufficient for self defense needs and could get you killed.
As far as what ammo you should get: There are so many choices that listing them all here would be impossible. I recommend going with a reputable brand, such as Hornady, Speer, Federal, Remington, etc and finding something that works well in your firearm. Yes, you need to practice with your carry ammunition and make sure that it functions well in your firearm and delivers sufficient accuracy.
I hope this article has been helpful, please consider liking and following our Facebook page, or subscribing via email to this site. Stay safe and keep shooting!!
Sometimes, when a firearm comes to market, it has immediate positive reception, and other times, immediate skepticism and misunderstanding. The Five-SeveN by FN falls into both categories. This full sized, duty style handgun is a 20+1, single action only, polymer pistol chambered in the unusual 5.7×28 mm cartridge. The gun isn’t so much the source of skepticism, but rather, the 5.7×28 mm round it uses. Before delving into the review of the gun itself, a closer look at its chambering is necessary.
The first variant of the 5.7×28 cartridge was developed and used in the late eighties, through 1993. The variants we have available today began production in 1993. Starting with a proprietary casing, the bottle necked round was designed to be a potential NATO replacement for the 9×19 Parabellum cartridge. Obviously, it did not replace the 9×19 round, but there are some nations whose military and law enforcement agencies use the round. The round was designed to be capable of defeating body armor at intermediate distances, with a muzzle velocity of 2,350 ft per second when fired from FN’s P90 personal defense weapon (PDW). With the Five-SeveN pistol, muzzle velocities of 1700 ft per second are more common, due to the shorter barrel. The round variants produced for military and law enforcement use are indeed capable of armor penetration out of both the P90 and Five-SeveN pistol, however, those variants are not commercially available for civilian purchase here in the U.S.
The Five-SeveN pistol was produced starting in 1998. It was designed to be the companion sidearm for the P90 PDW, with ammunition compatibility. Here in the US, the pistol has been met with controversy. It was the victim of vicious half truth that stated the gun would defeat the body armor of law enforcement and military personnel. While some rounds are made for the Five- SeveN that are capable of defeating soft body armor, such as that worn by law enforcement officers, it is virtually impossible for civilians to find and buy. NO rounds from the Five- SeveN pistol commercially made are capable of defeating the hard, plate body armor worn by military personnel.
The pistol is large, yet feels nice in the hand. There is an aggressive texturing that makes positive purchase on the gun very easy, both with dry or wet hands. The trigger guard has ample room allowing operation with gloved hands as well. I found the slide release lever to be very conveniently located and had no issues with activating it, due to its location directly under the joint in my thumb. The safety on the Five- SeveN has received mixed reception as it departs from the normal location and method of activation found with most manual safeties. It is designed to be activated with the trigger finger, and is directly above the trigger. It is ambidextrous, which can allow you to use the thumb of your support hand to activate the safety instead, if you so desire. I simply used my trigger finger. It does take some getting used to, and if it were my carry gun, I would spend considerable time committing the step of activating the safety to muscle memory. NOTE: The gun does have a magazine disconnect safety, so for any dry firing, you will need a (unloaded!) magazine inserted into the gun.
Diving into the specs on the gun:
The action is single action, not striker, as many believe. There is actually an internal hammer, and the cocking is done fully when chambering a round.
Barrel length is 4.8″ and is a chrome lined, cold hammer forged barrel
Trigger pull is listed as 4.4-7.87 lbs by FN. My gun comes in at 4 lbs, 6 oz.
Sights are a 3 dot configuration, with the rear sight being adjustable for elevation and windage
Sight radius is 7.0″
Weight is 21 oz, unloaded
MSRP is listed as $1,399 by FN, although a quick search showed pricing anywhere from $1,000-$1,700, depending on version, color, and new vs used.
A few other things that I found noteworthy on the pistol:
The slide is steel, but it is covered in polymer. I’m not sure why this was done, but it stands to reason that it would cut down on weight, while offering increased durability.
There are cocking “ears” at the rear of the slide in addition to the standard slide serrations. I didn’t pay any attention to them until a friend pointed them out to me and I realized I had been using them. I’m a fan!
The rail under the barrel is MIL-STD 1913 for all the gadgetry available. Mine pairs well with a TLR-1 HL by Streamlight.
The gun ships with 3, 20 round magazines and the standard documents, test case, and locking device in a hard case.
Shooting the Five-SeveN is comparable to a semi-automatic 22LR in terms of recoil. It is so soft shooting it belies the power of the cartridge. But, the muzzle flash and report quickly remind the shooter that this is no rimfire. Even in bright daylight, the softball sized fireball spouting from the muzzle is impressive, and brings out excited giggles with friends that have shot the gun with me. There is very little muzzle rise, so rapid, accurate follow up shots are ridiculously easy to achieve with this pistol. So much so, that I might consider recommending it as a home defense choice to someone very sensitive to recoil, especially since it has the cocking ears on the slide that would make chambering a round much easier for someone with limited hand strength.
One downside to this pistol is the price of ammunition. Even buying in bulk online, ammo prices pass the .30-.40 cent per round mark and is definitely something you will want to consider prior to picking up a Five-SeveN for yourself. I consider this highly unfortunate, as the gun is just so much dang fun to shoot! Part of the reason the ammunition is so (relatively) expensive is that there are only two manufacturers that currently load it in commercially available quantities: Federal and FNH. There are some “boutique” brands which machine and load their own unique projectiles, primarily for defensive use. These rounds are even more expensive, sometimes topping $2 a round. For those considering reloading the cartridge, I have bad news. In addition to very limited, and largely speculative, loading data, the 5.7×28 round’s case is coated in a special lacquer to facilitate reliable feeding and extraction. No one really knows what this lacquer is or how it is applied, though some forum contributors have found some solutions. I’m not saying reloading can’t be done, but it is going to be a much more involved project than most are willing to commit to.
So, should you get one? I’d have to say it really depends. As a self defense gun, it is larger than most people will be comfortable carrying, is expensive to feed compared to more common defensive calibers, and offers few ballistic advantages. However, it IS truly one of the most fun to shoot guns I have fired, unique, and is of the high quality we have come to expect from FN. It certainly would be my recommendation to think about spending the $1,000+ long and hard before buying the gun, but if you do, and decide to get one, I do not think you will be disappointed in the least!
As always, thank you so much for reading. If you found this review helpful, please pass it along to someone else you think might benefit from it, and consider following me on Facebook or Twitter. I appreciate any feedback you might offer as well. Stay safe, and keep shooting!
With the increasing transition from .40 S&W to 9mm by law enforcement agencies and civilians alike, we are seeing a number of duty sized 9mm handguns coming to market and gaining popularity. Building on their solid reputation for double action / single action (DA/SA) semi-automatics, CZ has released some feature loaded, polymer framed pistols. Lets look at some specifications for the P-09 Urban Grey version.
5.15″ cold hammer forged, threaded barrel
32.2 OZ weight, unloaded
Magazine capacity is 21+1 for Urban Grey version, 19+1 for standard P-09
3 dot tritium suppressor height sights
Ships with decocker, but can be converted to a manual safety, ambidextrous
Trigger pull in DA is 10.8 lbs
Trigger pull in SA is 3.2 lbs
MSRP from CZ is listed as $629
The first thing I noticed when I picked up the gun was its size. This is a large handgun. Full length grip, full length slide and barrel, AND the Urban Grey version ships with a +2 baseplate on both magazines. CZ does send standard baseplates for the magazines, limiting you to 19 rounds if you so choose, however, I have not changed mine out. On a gun this large, the extra length on base of magazines doesn’t really bother me, as concealment is simply not a priority (or option, in my opinion!) with this gun. Without a standard P-09 to compare it too, I turned to the internet to see what the differences are between the standard and the Urban Grey. Here is what I could gather:
Color- the Urban Grey has an FDE/ grey polymer frame, the standard is black
Sights- Urban Grey comes standard with tritium suppressor height sights, standard has standard height white dots
Weight- the Urban Grey is 1.2 OZ heavier
Barrel- Standard version has a 4.54 ” non-threaded barrel
Magazine capacity- 19+1 for standard, 21+1 for Urban Grey
Price- Standard is listed as $530 on CZ’s site
So, as CZ states on their website, the Urban Grey series is built to be suppressor ready from the box, and it only takes a few minutes online to figure out that if you are planning on running a suppressor, it makes more financial sense to get the Urban Grey than to try to retrofit a standard p-09 for the task. The cost of a new barrel alone would quickly eat up the price difference, let alone Tritium, suppressor sights.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have had this gun for about eight months. I have put approximately 1,000-1,200 rounds through it. It is not simply a range toy for me, but is, in fact, my go-to home defense gun. So this is not a typical review by any means.
In the 1000+ rounds I have put through the P-09 Urban Grey, I experienced zero malfunctions of any kind. Zero. Not one failure. Ammunition has been a mix of Speer Gold Dot 124 gr hollow point ammunition, Tula Steel cased “budget ammo” and standard Federal and Remington 115 gr brass cased ball ammo. None of these gave the gun any issues. While not an extensive torture test, by any means, it is impressive. Shooting the P-09 is where the real fun starts, though. With the slide riding inside the frame, as opposed to outside, as with most semi- automatic handguns, the bore axis is pretty low and close to the shooter’s hand. The benefit here is that muzzle flip is greatly reduced, also due to the barrel length of the gun. The double action trigger pull is not bad at all, and I can consistently keep “center mass” sized groups firing double action only at 25 yards. The single action trigger is truly remarkable. Crisp, light, and with a fairly tactile reset, it makes shooting the gun a dream. My target picture below is truly a testimony to the gun’s accuracy, especially when considering I am only a mediocre pistol shot.
The sights on the pistol are fantastic. They are non-adjustable, steel sights with tritium inserts with enough height to clear most suppressors on the market. I found them to be quick to acquire when presenting the gun, and clear enough to make good shots at distance. The tritium glows the brightest of any tritium sights I have had. Actually, when I first got the gun, I read a page of a book with nothing but the rear tritium dots. I’m not sure if CZ makes the sights themselves, or if another company supplies them, but they are fantastic.
In other corners of the internet, debates rage on about the best choice for home defense, and whether that’s the quintessential 12 Gauge shotgun, a modern sporting rifle like the AR-15, or a handgun. Personally, I buy into the option that a home defense choice is not a one size fits all decision. I think it depends on many factors such as the number and age of any children in the home, the layout of the home, and your own family’s home defense plan. Yes, you should have a home defense plan, and I will be writing a separate piece on that soon. For me, with young children and an infant, as well as residing on the opposite side of the house, there is the chance I may have to “herd” my kids and open doors in the event of a home defense situation. Hence why I have chosen a handgun as my go-to at this point. With 21+1 rounds of quality self defense ammunition, bright night sights, enough rail space to mount a full size, 800 lumen light, and the capability to mount a suppressor, the choice was clear for me, especially when I consider the accuracy this pistol is capable of.
As with all my reviews, I am not receiving compensation, monetary or otherwise, to give these reviews. If I give a good review, it’s because I hold the gun in high regard. Please let me know what you think, like and follow us on Facebook- The Hungry Handgunner, and stay safe! Thanks for reading.