March 19th, 2018

The 85% Scale 1911-380 — What Would J.M. Browning Think?

Browning 1911-390 Black lable .380 acp 1911 pistol

The classic John Moses Browning-designed Model 1911 pistol was created for the .45 ACP cartridge. Many believe the M1911 represents the pinnacle of .45 ACP pistol performance. The 1911 has served the nation in combat, and even today, full-size, hot-rod model 1911-type pistols dominate the top classes at action pistol shooting competitions (though typically shooting smaller caliber cartridges).

Which raises the question — does it make sense to shoot a down-sized .1911-type pistol with a smaller, lighter-recoiling cartridge? Browning, the company named after genius inventor J.M. Browning, thinks so. In 2014, Browning introduced an 85%-scale version of the 1911 that shoots the .380 ACP, another cartridge that Mr. Browning favored. What happens when the Model 1911 is reduced to 85 percent of its original size and paired with the .380 ACP cartridge?

WATCH: Check Out This Cool Animation to See How the 1911-380 Works:

This gun, with its polymer composite frame, is a LOT lighter than an all-steel 1911. The Browning 1911-380 tips the scales at a mere 17.5 ounces. Gun reviewers have praised Browning’s new 1911-380, saying that it functions great and fits well in the hand. NRA America’s 1st Freedom Editor Frank Winn states: “This is precisely where the [1911-380] Black Label .380 ACP excels so dramatically — as a transitional pistol. The 85-percent scaling caters to those with smaller hands and less grip strength. In every test we conducted, on paper, on steel (plates to 35 yards), and through defensive and competitive drills, the Black Label performed flawlessly.” Testers have praised the pointability and function of the down-sized 1911. It operates like a full-sized 1911*, and the “take-down” procedure is the same. This video shows the features of Browning’s 1911-380.

To be honest, we think this is sort of sacrilege. We like the full-size 1911 and we love the original .45 ACP cartridge. That classic fat round is accurate, easy-to-reload, and makes nice big holes in paper. One could also ask, if you want to shoot a .380 ACP, why not shoot it from another J.M. Browning design, the lovely little Model 1908. This beautiful design also served the U.S. Military, and it’s still one of the best-looking semi-auto pistols ever made. The NRA’s Frank Winn notes: “A revamped Browning design (based on the Colt M1903 “Pocket Hammerless”) became the M1908, the first mature, successful .380 ACP handgun. In 42 years of manufacture, several hundred thousand were sold.”

J.M. Browning 1908 Pocket Hammerless .380 ACP

So, much as we applaud innovation, we’ll stick to the original, full-size 1911. If we want to shoot the little .380 ACP cartridge, we’ll do so with J.M. Browning’s lovely little M1908, or another great .380 ACP pistol, the Sig P230/232. This editor owns a sweet Sig P230 in stainless. It is thin, handsome, durable, and easy to carry. It’s also an appreciating asset.


* The Browning 1911-380 has one main functional difference — it has a magazine disconnect. this means “with the magazine removed, the hammer won’t fall, even with all safeties disengaged”. LINK.

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January 24th, 2018

SHOT Show 2018 — New and/or Notable Handguns

SHOT Show Pistols Revolvers Handguns

There are literally thousands of handguns on display at SHOT Show, most of which you can hold, cycle, and test the trigger pull. Among the hordes of handguns, we found some very eye-catching examples, such as the very serious-looking Walther PPQ M2 Q4 TAC above. It comes standard with Red Dot sights and threaded muzzle for suppressor. Also shown (in negative) is a Smith & Wesson Performance Center S&W500 Revolver with a 10.5″ barrel. Below are some other interesting handguns we saw at SHOT Show 2017.

Lone Wolf Modified Glock 17 Signature Series

Glock 17 Lone Wolf Distributors TiN Gold Slide Bling

Why in Heaven’s name would anyone pay $1400.00 for a Glock? Well Lone Wolf Distributors thinks someone will fork over that princely sum for a Glock fully pimped out with a Titanim Nitride (TiN) gold-tone slide, Red dot sights, plus suppressor-friendly tall sights. Oh, it’s also fitted out with a TiN Gold PVD adjustable trigger. But underneath all that bling it’s still a Glock. What do you think? Glorious or Gaudy? It is certainly eye-catching. As they say, the “Bling’s the Thing”.

Smith & Wesson Performance Center Tuned, Unfluted 686

Smith and Wesson Performance Center 686 Unfluted Cylinder Release

For 2018, the Smith & Wesson Performance Center is rolling out a pair of specially upgraded 7-shot model 686 revolver. Offered in two barrel lengths, these special wheelguns feature the Performance Center® Speed Release Thumbpiece, which speeds cylinder release for fast reloads. These special comp guns boasts a PC-tuned action, vented/ribbed barrel, chromed trigger, and chromed, teardrop hammer (nice). The distinctive, unfluted cylinder is relieved for moon clips which can also speed up loading.

Smith Wesson 586 PC revolver

Walther PPQ M2 Q4 TAC 9mm

Our top photo shows the new PPQ M2 Q4 TAC, which is “race ready” right out of the box. Based the popular Walther PPQ, this TAC model adds a mount and threaded muzzle, plus some other features. “The Q5 Match has been very popular and we have had a lot of interest in a 4″ more tactical version. We are excited to combine a suppressor-ready and optics-ready pistol into a best-of-both worlds platform,” said Luke Thorkildsen, Walther VP of marketing. The 9mm Q4 TAC comes with two recoil springs. One for normal shooting and one for use with suppressors. The optics-ready slide features an LPA sight system with a fiber optic in the front and competition iron sight at the rear. The rear optics mounting system fits many popular red dots including Doctor, Leupold, and Trijicon. Trigger pull weight is a moderate 5.6 lbs. but the reset is ultra-short — just 0.1″. Priced at $799 MSRP, the Q4 TAC is backed by Walther’s lifetime warranty.

SIG Sauer P365 9mm Carry Pistol

Sig Sauer 9mm P365 Carry Pistol

SIG Sauer has just released an impressive new compact pistol, the SIG P365. This boasts excellent build quality and reliability in a slim package. It offers 10+1 round capacity in a gun that’s just 5.8″ overall and 1.1″ wide. Guns America got an early production model and their reviewer was impressed: “I have to applaud SIG. I was amazed by how much I liked shooting the P365. With its capacity advantage, small size, and good controls, it’s possible that the P365 will be the next go-to everyday carry handgun solution.” The gun comes with Tritium night sights and a good trigger. Each P365 also comes with an extra 12-round extended mag. With a $599.00 MSRP, expect street price around $500.00.

A SIG representative said SIG’s goal was to create a compact gun that shoots well — like a larger pistol: “We wanted to come up with a pistol that served the purpose — that gave people the capacity they have always wanted in this size gun, but something they could shoot. We’re busting paradigms, this is a game-changer.”

Taurus Raging Hunter .44 Mag and Model 692 Multi-Caliber

Taurus Raging Hunter 8.375

The new Raging Hunter from Taurus is an impressive beast. This six-shot .44 magnum has some interesting features. That red strip on the grip is extra padding to deal with the heavy recoil. Up front the dark gray slab is actually an aluminum barrel sleeve with Picatinny rail on top. This saves weight and provides a distinctive two-tone look. The actual 8.375″ barrel, which is ported, sits inside the sleeve.

Taurus Raging Hunter 8.375

Taurus also has another interesting long-barreled revolver. Shipping with TWO cylinders, the new Taurus Model 692 shoots .38 Special, .357 Magnum, and 9x19mm cartridges through the same barrel. That’s possible because 9x19mm bullet diameter is 0.355″. The nominal bullet diameter for .357 Magnum is 0.357″ or 9.1 mm, so you can see the diameters are very close. The 692 wheelgun ships with TWO cylinders — one for .38/.357, and a second for 9mm with moon clips. We like the ability to shoot inexpensive 9mm Luger ammo. Now you can take your favorite 9mm semi-auto pistol AND a wheelgun to the range and feed them both with the same box of ammo. Cool.

Kimber Full-Size and Compact 1911s

Kimber Aegis Elit Custom 1911 9mm .45 ACP

Kimber Aegis Elit Custom 1911 9mm .45 ACPKimber is releasing a host of new pistols for 2018. There are 23 new semi-auto pistols plus three new wheelguns. Most of the new Kimbers are 1911 varient. Our favorite new full-size Kimber is the Aegis Elite Custom OI, offered in both .45 ACP and 9x19mm. Shown above, the Aegis Elite has all the bells and whistles: custom G10 grips, bobbed backstrap, and stylized slide cuts front and rear. The $1395.00 MSRP includes a 6-MOA Vortex Venom 6 MOA Red Dot sight plus back-up iron sights.

Kimber also has an impressive compact-size 1911-style pistol in 9mm Luger. The Micro 9 Covert (at right) features gray camo LaserGrips plus a distincive Carry Melt treatment (softening the hard corners), plus a bobbed backstrap. Nice option for someone wanting a 1911-style pistol for concealed carry.

Ruger LCP II with Viridian Laser

LCP II .380 ACP Laser

Small, thin, and light — that’s what you want an everyday, pocket carry gun to be. The new Ruger LCP II with Viridian Red Laser is just 5.17″ long and 3.71″ tall, with a 3/4″-wide slide. That’s thin. Weight is 11.8 ounces. The compact size and low mass is the main reason to carry this .380 ACP rather than a more powerful 9mm pistol. This new version also features an integral, factory-installed Viridian E-Series red (635-650 nm) laser. Mounted on the trigger guard, the laser features ambidextrous push-button activation. Like other LCP II models, this pocket pistol features textured grip frame, easy-to-rack slide, bladed trigger safety, and low-profile snag-free sights. This latest LCP II with Viridian E-Series red laser has a $439.00 MSRP, including a handy pocket holster.

Beretta — The APX Family Grows in 2018

Beretta APX Pistol SHOT Show Red Dot plate

Beretta will greatly expand its line of polymer-framed APX pistols in 2018. And Beretta has models with a Red Dot optic mounting plate on the slide top. Interface adaptors will be supplied for Burris Fast Fire, C-More, DeltaPoint PRO, and RMR Red Dot sights. MSRP for the Red Dot-capable Full Size APX is $725. Expect street price around $685. The new tan model APX should be popular. Seen above, this features a Cerakote FDE (Flat Dark Earth) slide.

Parting Shot: S&W Double Trouble — Two Super-Sized Revolvers

At the Smith & Wesson booth last year, one visitor showed off two mega-sized S&W Performance Center hunting revolvers. These jumbo S&W500™ wheelguns, chambered for the mighty 500 S&W Magnum cartridge, feature massive 10.5″ barrels plus muzzle brakes. Overall length is 18″. Size counts right?

S&W 500 hunting revolver pistol shot show

MORE PISTOLS » Want to see more new handguns? GunsHolsterandGear.com showcases two dozen new pistols in its 2018 SHOT Show Preview.

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December 30th, 2017

Self-Defense Pistol Options for Women — Ladies Tell the Story

Self Defense Pistol Options Female Lady Ladies concealed carry permit CCW women

Women are arming themselves — millions of females now have carry permits. What factors should women consider when choosing a handgun for self-defense? What are good choices for a lady’s defensive handgun, suitable for concealed carry? Is a self-loading pistol better than a revolver?

We thought it was best for to hear the ladies’ own perspectives on these questions. After all they are the ones who will be carrying the firearm in a purse or on their person. In this article we include three videos focusing on handgun options for females. The videos cover six key factors: function, size, weight, ergonomics, reliability, and concealability.

Self Defense Pistol Options Female Lady Ladies concealed carry permit CCW women

Classic Swiss Precision — the Sig P239
The single-stack Sig P239 is an ultra-reliable, compact pistol with a grip suitable for smaller female hands. Weighing 25 oz. in 9mm, it is slightly heavier than polymer-framed handguns, but that may be a good thing. During my handgun training days, this Editor found most women shot the Sig P239 better than Glocks, with more control over recoil. This is a hammer-fired pistol with decocker but no separate safety. There are many other good handgun options for concealed carry — some smaller, thinner and lighter, but the Sig P239 provides a good benchmark for reliability and accuracy. Shown is the .40 S&W model. We prefer the 9mm Luger version. Photo Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0.

Choosing a Self-Defense Handgun — Ladies Explain the Options


Self Defense Pistol Options Female Lady Ladies concealed carry permit CCW women



Self Defense Pistol Options Female Lady Ladies concealed carry permit CCW women


Not Just a Guy Thing — 23% of Gun Owners are Women

Women & Guns magazineHere’s an interesting statistic — according to an NSSF survey, the percentage of gun owners who are female has increased dramatically since 2005. Back in 2005, just 13% of U.S. gun owners were women. By 2012 that number had risen to 23% — a huge increase in less than a decade.

The vast majority of first-time female gun buyers acquire a handgun for defensive purposes. However, the statistics also show that many new female gun owners are also getting involved in sport shooting and/or competitive shooting.

In the video below, NRA News host Cam Edwards interviews Celia Bigelow, who has written about the rise of gun ownership among ladies on the Townhall.com website.

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November 21st, 2014

New Pistol from Taurus has Lights, Laser, Curved Frame

Taurus has introduced an innovative new DAO pistol, the “Taurus Curve”. This .380 ACP compact carry pistol ($392.42 MSRP) features a curved frame (see photos below). Seen from the rear, the grip curves inward (to the left). Seen from the front, the frame and grip (below the slide) curves to the right. The purpose of the curve is to make the gun fit more comfortably when carried in a pocket or inside the waistband. (The Curve comes with a built-in metal spring clip for inside-waistband carry).

Taurus Curve pistol CCW LED Laser

The extended front section of the Curve’s frame houses a red laser and a lamp with twin LEDs. That’s a smart feature on a carry pistol we think. Taurus claims the Curve is the first production pistol that combines both integrated LED lights and an aiming laser.

Taurus Curve pistol CCW LED Laser

The 10.2-ounce Curve is a tiny gun. With a 2.5″ barrel, the pistol measures just 5.2″ long and 3.7″ high. Width is 1.18″ inches, while the grip is just 0.88″ — very slim indeed. Capacity is 6+1 rounds of .380 ACP. There is no external, selectable safety, though the Curve does have a magazine disconnect and loaded chamber indicator.

GUNS Magazine was able to field-test an early production Taurus Curve. Reviewer Mark Kakkuri reports that the DAO Curve was reliable: “The 100 or so rounds I fired through the gun fed well and the empty cases ejected perfectly. The long trigger was decently smooth and the recoil, while sharp, was manageable. And not only was the gun a reliable shooter, it also hit where I aimed, thanks in part to its integrated light and laser.”

The reviewer also validated the Curve’s unique shape: “In my pocket, the Curve indeed fit comfortably, printing less than most other pocket pistols, looking sort of like a large wallet. In my waistband… the well-designed bend in the frame proved more comfortable than most other pistols this size.”

Taurus Curve pistol CCW LED Laser

Taurus Curve pistol CCW LED Laser

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December 30th, 2013

Glock Model 42 — A New Single-Stack .380 ACP Carry Pistol

Glock will sell a small, single-stack .380 ACP pistol in 2014. The new carry gun, designated the Glock 42, was supposed to be a deep, dark secret until SHOT Show 2014, but news leaked out throughout the blogosphere, and Glock has confirmed that this is the real deal. Here’s the good news: the pistol is light (13.4 oz. empty) and slim (0.94 inches wide). Under 6″ in length, it should carry discretely in a variety of holsters. Made in the USA, the Glock 42 has a 6-round mag, and a 5.5-lb trigger pull weight.

First “Un-Boxing” of Glock 42 Carry Pistol in .380 ACP:

Colt model 1908 m1908 pocket hammerless .380 acp

Here’s the bad news: It seems Glock fans were hoping for a slim, single stock 9mm, as the .380 ACP cartridge is considered under-powered by many self-defense “gurus”. Some would-be buyers were also hoping that Glock would finally jettison the distinctive bulged-bottom backstrap that many shooters consider uncomfortable at best, and just plain wrong at worst. For many people, that fat bulge in the lower half of the grip causes the gun to point wrong. For many of us, the “hump” on the back of the grip forces an unnatural wrist angle when firing. If you don’t understand, shoot a Glock and a classic Sig back to back and you may experience ergonomic enlightenment.

Colt model 1908 m1908 pocket hammerless .380 acp

Colt model 1908 m1908 pocket hammerless .380 acpDoes the Glock 42
Really Represent Progress?

We find it interesting that, in the 105 years since Colt released its m1908 “Pocket Hammerless”, handgun design hasn’t necessarily advanced that far. Let us explain…

Compared to the Glock 42, the slim, .380 ACP Colt m1908 (derived from Colt’s .32 ACP m1903) has a smoother trigger, and boasts a 7-shot magazine (vs. a 6-shot mag for the Glock 42). The Colt also has a better-shaped grip, plus a smoother exterior (with fewer bumps, ridges, and snag-points). Remarkably, the 105-year-old Colt is actually thinner — it is 3/4″ wide compared to just under 1″ for the Glock 42.

On the other hand, at 13.4 ounces, the Glock is much lighter in weight than the 24 ounce Colt, and, yes, the Glock 42 is shorter than the m1908. For some, the Glock’s lighter weight is all-important. Others may prefer the Colt given its all-metal construction, lovely blued finish, and classic styling. Many gun aficionados feel that the m1903/m1908 pistols were the prettiest of John Moses Browning’s self-loading designs. What do you think? Is the Glock 42 really a better .380 ACP pistol than the classic Colt m1908?

Colt model 1908 m1908 pocket hammerless .380 acp

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June 19th, 2010

More Deals from CDNN Investments’ New Online Catalog

CDNN Sig SauerCDNN Investments has updated its online catalog, and now you can access the catalog with one click from your browser. (Previously you would have to download a huge PDF file). As usual the CDNN catalog is full of exceptional deals. Multi-Gun competitors may be interested in the ultra-reliable Sig Sauer 556 Carbines. For a limited time, if you purchase a Sig 556 in .223 Rem, you get a FREE Sig Sauer 522 rifle. The 522 is a semi-auto .22LR rimfire rifle with ergonomics virtually identical to the centerfire 556. This allows you to train for matches with inexpensive rimfire ammo. If you’ve always coveted a Sig Carbine, this is a great offer.

CDNN’s current catalog contains thousands of bargains in its 124 pages. In addition to handguns, rifles, and shotguns at bargain-basement prices, you’ll find a full range of shooting accessories. Some of the intriguing deals we found are listed below. The Sig p232 is a superb .380 acp carry gun — probably the most reliable .380 you can buy. This all-metal gun is a good deal heavier than “pocket” .380s, but it is durable and very accurate. As the owner of a Sig p230, the predecessor to the p232, I can tell you that these guns are crafted with typical Sig quality, and the p23X series of pistols hold their value very well.

CDNN Sig Sauer

CDNN is also selling Bore-Snakes for just $8.99, and it is selling Birchwood Casey target stickers at ultra-low prices. Choose from fluorescent orange stickers, or the Shoot-N-C variety that leave a bright yellow ring around each bullet hole. We really like the orange stickers for testing at longer ranges. The 2″ sticker is great at 300 yards, while the 3″ sticker is big enough for 600 yards. The orange circle is easy to pick up on a target board, and the black diamond in the middle of the 3″ sticker is visible at 600 yards with a high-magnification scope. This allows very precise aiming at 600.

CDNN Sig Sauer

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