July 28th, 2018

Precision Reloading for Handguns — Smart Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) fields pistol teams as well as rifle and shotgun competition squads. Consequently the USAMU’s Reloading Shop loads tens of thousands of pistol rounds every year. In this article, the USAMU’s handgun experts talk about reloading for handguns — with smart tips on how to achieve superior accuracy with 100% reliability. If you load for pistols, take the time to read this article, which offers important insights on COAL, primers, crimps and more.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Optimize the Taper Crimp
One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of crimp and its effect on accuracy. Different amounts of taper crimp are used with various handloads to obtain best accuracy. The amount is based on bullet weight, powder burn rate and charge, plus other factors. It is not unusual for our Shop to vary a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ and re-test for finest accuracy.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice ReloadingUse Consistent Brass
Brass is also important to pistol accuracy. While accurate ammunition can be loaded using brass of mixed parentage, that is not conducive to finest results, particularly at 50 yards. It is important for the serious competitor/handloader to use brass of the same headstamp and ideally one lot number, to maximize uniformity. Given the volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. However, for the “long line” (50 yards), purchasing and segregating a lot of high-quality brass to be used strictly for slow-fire is a wise idea.

Importance of Uniform COAL
Uniformity of the Case Overall Length (COAL) as it comes from the factory is also important to achieving utmost accuracy. More uniform case lengths (best measured after sizing) contribute to greater consistency of crimp, neck tension, ignition/burn of powder charge, and so on. Cartridge case-length consistency varies from lot to lot, as well as by maker. Some manufacturers are more consistent in this dimension than others. [Editor’s note: It is easy to trim pistol brass to uniform length. Doing this will make your taper crimps much more consistent.]

Primers and Powders — Comparison Test for Accuracy
Pay attention to primer brands, powder types and charges. Evaluating accuracy with a Ransom or other machine rest at 50 yards can quickly reveal the effect of changes made to handload recipes.

Bullet Selection — FMJ vs. JHP
Bullets are another vital issue. First, there is the question of FMJ vs. JHP. A friend of this writer spent decades making and accuracy-testing rifle and pistol bullets during QC for a major bullet manufacturer. In his experience, making highly-accurate FMJ bullets is much more difficult than making highly-accurate JHPs, in large part due to the way the jackets are formed. Small die changes could affect accuracy of FMJ lots dramatically.

The CMP now allows “safe, jacketed ammunition” in Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Service Pistol matches, although wadcutter ammunition is prohibited. Thus, the option to use very accurate JHP designs simplifies the life of CMP Service Pistol shooters in pursuit of the prestigious Distinguished Pistol Shot badge.

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to any pistol shooters interested in accurate handloads, not just “Bullseye” shooters. Small tweaks to one’s normal routine can pay big dividends in improved accuracy and make practice and competition more rewarding.

Stay safe, and good shooting!

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July 22nd, 2018

Hang Your Handguns to Conserve Safe Space

hand gun storage solution under shelf handgun hanger coated wire

If you’re looking for a space-saving handgun storage system, consider the Easy Use Gun Hangers from USA GunClub. These vinyl-coated, wire hangers organize handguns below the shelves in your gunsafe, freeing up storage space above the shelves. To use the handgun hangers, simply slide each hanger on the shelf and then slip your pistol’s barrel over the lower rod. Handgun Hangers are intended for guns with an overall length of 10 inches or shorter. They will fit shelves that are at least 11 inches deep and 5/8-1 inch in thickness. Handgun Hangers will hold handguns .22 caliber and up, though the fit is a bit snug on .22s. A four-pack of Handgun Hangers costs $8.99. This product is now Amazon’s #1 Best Seller among handgun storage accessories.

hand gun storage solution under shelf handgun hanger coated wire

WARNING — Always Make Sure Handgun is UNLOADED when using Handgun Hangers!!

hand gun storage solution under shelf handgun hanger coated wireUSA GunClub also offers an Over-Under Hanger that holds two handguns — one above the shelf, and one below. A two-pack of Over-Under Hangers (capable of holding four handguns) costs $7.99. This may be a good solution for you. This Editor personally prefers the standard Handgun Hanger, so I can use the upper surface of the shelf to hold odd-shaped items such as cameras, binoculars, and miscellaneous valuables.

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June 23rd, 2018

Crowd-Pleasers: Best-Selling Pistols of 2018

Best selling gun genius firearms pistol Sig P320 gunbroker

Looking to acquire a handgun for personal protection of home and family? There are countless options on the market. Your buying decision may be simplified by seeing what other consumers have chosen, as revealed by nationwide sales trends. You can now check firearms sales figures using “Gun Genius”, a new data-crunching service of Gunbroker.com. On GunGenius.com you can select any type of firearm (handgun, rifle, shotgun)* and see the top sellers for that category.

Here are the five (5) top-selling NEW semi-auto handguns for May 2018:

Best selling gun genius firearms pistol Sig P320 gunbroker

And here are the five (5) top-selling USED semi-auto handguns for June 2017:

Best selling gun genius firearms pistol Sig P320 gunbroker

*Chose semi-auto pistols, revolvers, semi-auto rifles, bolt-action rifles, lever-action rifles, single-shot rifles, semi-auto shotguns, pump shotguns, and more. You can also filter for sales trends (upwards and downwards). Drill down to see detailed product specifications and current prices.

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June 19th, 2018

Quick History of Silhouette Shooting

Silhouette Centerfire high power history formation Mexico Ram Pig Chicken livestock

The NRA Blog ran an feature on Silhouette shooting by NRA Silhouette Program Coordinator Jonathan Leighton. Here are selections from Leighton’s story:

NRA Silhouette Shooting
The loud crack from the bullet exiting the muzzle followed by an even louder ‘clang’ as you watch your target fly off the railing is really a true addiction for most Silhouette shooters. There is nothing better than shooting a game where you actually get to see your target react to the bullet. In my opinion, this is truly what makes this game so much fun.

Metallic Silhouette — A Mexican Import
Silhouette shooting came to this country from Mexico in the 1960s. It is speculated that sport had its origins in shooting contests between Pancho Villa’s men around 1914. After the Mexican Revolution the sport spread quickly throughout Mexico. ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ uses steel silhouettes shaped like game animals. Chickens up front followed by rows of pigs, turkeys, and furthest away, rams. Being that ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ was originally a Mexican sport, it is common to hear the targets referred to by their Spanish names Gallina (chicken), Javelina (pig), Guajalote (turkey) and Borrego (ram). Depending on the discipline one is shooting, these animals are set at different distances from the firing line, but always in the same order.

Before Steel There Was… Barbeque
In the very beginnings of the sport, live farm animals were used as targets, and afterwards, the shooters would have a barbeque with all the livestock and/or game that was shot during the match. The first Silhouette match that used steel targets instead of livestock was conducted in 1948 in Mexico City, Mexico by Don Gonzalo Aguilar. [Some matches hosted by wealthy Mexicans included high-ranking politicians and military leaders]. As the sport spread and gained popularity during the 1950s, shooters from the Southwestern USA started crossing the Mexican border to compete. Silhouette shooting came into the US in 1968 at the Tucson Rifle Club in Arizona. The rules have stayed pretty much the same since the sport has been shot in the US. NRA officially recognized Silhouette as a shooting discipline in 1972, and conducted its first NRA Silhouette Nationals in November of 1972.

Now There Are Multiple Disciplines
The actual sport of Silhouette is broken into several different disciplines. High Power Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Cowboy Lever Action Rifle, Black Powder Cartridge Rifle, Air Rifle, Air Pistol, and Hunter’s Pistol are the basic disciplines. Cowboy Lever Action is broken into three sub-categories to include Smallbore Cowboy Rifle, Pistol Cartridge Cowboy Lever Action, and regular Cowboy Lever Action. Black Powder Cartridge Rifle also has a ‘Scope’ class, and Hunter’s Pistol is broken into four sub-categories. Some clubs also offer Military Rifle Silhouette comps.

Here is a rimfire silhouette match conducted by the Sporting Shooters’ Assn. of Australia.
Silhouette Centerfire high power history formation Mexico Ram Pig Chicken livestock

Where to Shoot Silhouette
NRA-Sanctioned matches are found at gun clubs nation-wide. There are also many State, Regional, and National matches across the country as well. You can find match listings on the Shooting Sports USA website or contact the NRA Silhouette Department at (703) 267-1465. For more info, visit SteelChickens.com, the #1 website dedicated to Silhouette shooting sports.

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May 11th, 2018

Six Tips for Novice Handgun Shooters

Birchwood Casey Target Spots neon day-glow
OK this is no novice. But even champion pistol shooter Jessie Harrison, Captain of Team Taurus, had to start with the basics. Jessie says that safety should always be your number one priority.

At AccurateShooter.com, our primary focus is precision target shooting with rifles. But it’s definitely fun to shoot pistols too, and we bet most of our regular readers own handguns. Here are six tips for shooting safely and accurately with handguns. These pointers will help you advance your skills and have more fun with your pistols and revolvers.

1. Make Sure Safety Is Number One

Whether you own one gun or one hundred, gun safety must always be your main priority. In this video, Smith & Wesson Team Captain Julie Golob covers the basics of gun safety.

2. Start with a .22 LR Handgun

Pistol Shooting Tips Target Mentor safety training

We strongly recommend that new pistol shooters start off with a .22 LR rimfire handgun. The .22 LR cartridge is accurate but has very low recoil, less “bark” than a centerfire, and very little smoke and muzzle flash. New shooters won’t have to fight muzzle flip, and won’t develop a flinch from the sharp recoil and muzzle blast common to larger calibers. With the .22 LR, the trainee can focus on sight alignment, breathing, and trigger pull. When he or she has mastered those skills, move on to a .38 Special or 9mm Luger (9x19mm).

What gun to use? We recommend the 10-shot Smith & Wesson Model 617. Shooting single action, slow-fire, this is ideal for training. Shown above is the 4″-barrel Model 617version which balances well. There is also a 6″-barrel version. It has a longer sight radius, but is a little nose-heavy. Both are great choices. They are extremely accurate and they boast a very clean, precise trigger.

browning buck mark buckmark stainless udx rimfire .22 LR pistol

If you prefer a semi-auto .22 LR pistol, we recommend the Browning Buck Mark series. Buck Marks are very accurate and very reliable. This rimfire pistol is available in a variety of models starting at under $350.00. Like the S&W Model 617, a good Buck Mark will serve you for a lifetime.

5. Use Quality Targets with Multiple Aim Points

Birchwood Casey Target Spots neon day-glow

Birchwood Casey Target Spots neon day-glowIt’s common for new pistoleros to start shooting at cans or clay birds at a public range. That can be fun, but it’s better to start with proper targets, placed at eye level, at 7-10 yards. We like to use targets with large, brightly colored circles. Focus on putting 5 shots in a circle. We recommend targets that have multiple bullseyes or aiming points — that way you don’t have to constantly change your target. There are also special paper targets that can help you diagnose common shooting problems, such as anticipating recoil. EZ2C makes very good targets with bright, red-orange aim points. You can also use the bright orange Birchwood Casey stick-on Target Dots (right). These come in a variety of diameters. We like the 2″ dot at 10 yards.

3. Shoot Outdoors If You Can

Pistol Shooting Tips Target Mentor safety training

We recommend that new pistol shooters begin their training at an outdoor range. There are many reasons. First, the light is better outdoors. Indoor ranges can be dark with lots of shadows, making it harder to see your target. Second, sound dissipates better outdoors. The sound of gunfire echoes and bounces off walls indoors. Third, an outdoor range is a more comfortable environment, particularly if you can get out on a weekday morning. Indoor ranges, at least in urban areas, tend to be crowded. Many also have poor ventilation. If you can make it to an outdoor range, you’ll be happy. Many outdoor ranges also have some steel pistol targets, which offer a fun alternative to paper. When shooting steel however, we recommend polymer encased or lead bullets to avoid ricochets.

5. Find a Good Mentor and Watch Some Videos First

Pistol Shooting Tips Target Mentor safety training
Photo courtesy AV Firearms Training.

Too many new pistol shooters try to move right to rapid fire drills. It’s better to start slow, practicing the basics, under the guidance of a good mentor. If you belong to a club, ask if there are certified instructors who will help out. This Editor learn pistol shooting from a seasoned bullseye shooter, who got me started with a .22 LR revolver and very close targets. Over the course of a few range sessions we progressed to farther targets and faster pace. But the fundamentals were never forgotten. When starting your pistol training, it’s wise to view some instructional videos. Top Shot Champion Chris Cheng hosts an excellent Handgun 101 Series produced by the NSSF. We’ve linked one of these Handgun 101 videos for Tip #6.

6. SLOW DOWN — This Is Not a Race

When you learned to ride a bicycle, you started slow — maybe even with training wheels. The same principle applies to pistol shooting. When you get started with handguns, we recommend you shoot slowly and deliberately. Start with the handgun unloaded — just work on your sight alignment and breathing. With snap caps in place, try some dry-firing drills. Then progress to live fire. But be deliberate and slow. With the target at 20 feet, see if you can get three successive shot-holes to touch. Believe it or not, many common pistols are capable of this kind of accuracy (but you won’t see many shooters at indoor ranges who pursue that kind of precision). Once you master your form and accuracy, then you can work on your speed.

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April 19th, 2018

Three Under $300 — Trio of 9mm Carry Pistols All under $300.00

CCW 9mm 9x19mm Pistols Brownells Bargain Smith Wesson Walther Creed Ruger

We frequently receive inquiries about compact self-defense pistols. Many folks (some of whom already own a full-sized pistol) ask: “What’s a good compact 9mm pistol I can carry or keep in a vehicle during trips?” Of course, there is the Glock 19. And the new Sig Sauer P365 is quite good. But they are both around $500.00. You can spend about half that and still get a very good 9x19mm pistol with lifetime warranty and good ergonomics.

Here are three 9mm handgun options, all available now for well under $300.00. In fact, our third choice, the Ruger EC9, is currently just $209.99 at Brownells (with promo code). That’s just a few bucks over two hundred! It’s a buyers’ market right now…

1. Walther Creed 9mm Pistol, $269.99

Five Budget 9mm sale bargain full-size 9x19mm pistol Canik RP9 Kahr S&W M&P Walther Creed CT9

The Walther Creed offers excellent ergonomics, good accuracy, and well-designed controls at a killer price — $269.99 at CDNN Sports. This gun, designed to be a value-leader, emulates Walther’s more expensive PPQ model (MSRP $649.00) at a much lower price. The Creed’s frame size and shape is the same as the PPQ, but the Creed lacks interchangeable backstraps. Slide and trigger are very similar. The Creed features a snag-free bobbed hammer. Testers have praised the new Creed, saying that, despite the bargain price, it “sacrifices little to nothing in… ergonomics, accuracy, and reliability.”

Five Budget 9mm sale bargain full-size 9x19mm pistol Canik RP9 Kahr S&W M&P Walther Creed CT9

2. Smith & Wesson SD9VE 9mm, $249.99 with CODE M8Y

Smith Wesson SD9V 9mm carry pistol handgun bargain brownells

Smith Wesson SD9V 9mm carry pistol handgun bargain brownellsThe two-tone Smith & Wesson SD9VE 9mm pistol features contrasting stainless-steel slide and barrel. Weighing just 22.7 oz, this DAO pistol ships with two 16-round magazines, offering plenty of fire-power. Overall length is 7.2″ with a 4″-long barrel. Both front and rear sights are drift-adjustable. This is a nice medium-sized pistol that shoots well. The Smith & Wesson SD9VE is on sale now at Brownells. Sale price is currently $259.99 with a $10 handling charge.

SAVE MORE: During check-out at Brownells.com, you can use code “M8Y” to receive $20 Off and get FREE delivery. That lowers your net cost to just $249.99 shipped to your FFL. Under $250.00 for a nice S&W Nine is a great deal.

3. Ruger EC9 9mm — $209.99 at Brownells with CODE M8Y

Ruger 9mm carry pistol handgun bargain brownells

Ruger 9mm carry pistol handgun bargain brownellsThe striker-fired Ruger EC9 features a 3.12″ barrel and measures 6.0″ overall. This 1.07-lb EC9 is slim for easy concealment. Weighing just 1.07 lbs., this is definitely an “all-day carry” option. With Brownell’s current sale pricing and promo codes, you can get this little pistol for just $209.99 delivered (see right). You heard that right. Sale price is currently $219.99 with a $10 handling charge. However, during check-out you can use code “M8Y” to receive $20 Off and get FREE delivery. That lowers your net cost, so that your all-up price, delivered to your FFL, is just $209.99. NOTE: This item is currently back-ordered, but Brownells will honor your order at this price and deliver when back in stock. Here is a recent review from verified buyer: “It’s an LC9 with fixed sights that are milled into the slide. Same trigger. Same frame. Sweet shooter. Perfect for concealed carry. Can’t beat it for the price.”

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February 27th, 2018

Six Great Guidebooks for Pistol Shooters

Pistol Marksmanship training book
Jessie Duff — one of the greatest female pistol shooters on the planet.

One of our Forum members asked: “Are there any good books on pistol marksmanship? I’m looking for a book that covers techniques and concepts….” Here are our recommendations — six titles that can make you a better pistol shooter. These books run the gamut from basic handgun training to Olympic-level bullseye shooting.

Pistol Marksmanship training book 1911 race gunGood Guidebooks for Pistol Shooters
There are actually many good books which can help both novice and experienced pistol shooters improve their skills and accuracy. For new pistol shooters, we recommend the NRA Guide to the Basics of Pistol Shooting. This full-color publication is the designated student “textbook” for the NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course.

Serious competitive pistol shooters should definitely read Pistol Shooters Treasury a compilation of articles from World and National Champions published by Gil Hebard. You could work your way through the ranks with that book alone even though it is very small. It is an excellent resource.

If you’re interested in bullseye shooting, you should get the USAMU’s The Advanced Pistol Marksmanship Manual. This USAMU pistol marksmanship guide has been a trusted resource since the 1960s. Action Shooters should read Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals by Brian Enos, and Practical Pistol by Ben Stoeger. Brian Enos is a well-known pistol competitor with many titles. Ben Stoeger is a two-time U.S. Practical Pistol shooting champion. Last but not least, Julie Golob’s Shooting book covers pistol marksmanship, along with 3-Gun competition. Julie holds multiple national pistol shooting titles.

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February 18th, 2018

Handy UV Bore Light — Big Fiber Optic for Pistol Barrels

UV Bore light Birchwood Casey Fiber Optic
Put the short “J” end of the UV Bore Light in the chamber area. Always make sure your firearm is unloaded. Doubles as a chamber flag for most calibers.

Let there be light… Here’s a handy new device for pistol shooters. Birchwood Casey has come up with a large-diameter “J”-shaped fiber optic tube designed to illuminate pistol barrels without the need for batteries. The Birchwood Casey® UV Bore Light allows gun owners to quickly check the bore of their firearm for obstructions, dirt and fouling.

UV Bore light Birchwood Casey Fiber OpticThe UV Bore light is an innovative design that uses ambient light instead of batteries. Simply put the short “J” end of the bore light in the chamber area of your unloaded gun and it will provide enough illumination to check the bore.

The UV Bore Light also doubles as a safe-chamber flag for most guns. To use the UV Bore Light as a chamber flag, place the LONG end of the Bore Light in the CHAMBER end of the barrel — see photo.

The Birchwood Casey UV Bore Light is inexpensive. It’s sold by the pair in a two-pack priced at $5.40 MSRP.

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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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January 21st, 2018

Handgun Marksmanship — Diagnosing Pistol Accuracy Problems

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

Over the past year, this was one of the TOP TEN most-read Daily Bulletin articles. We are reprising it today for readers who may have missed it the first time around…

When shooting pistols do your shots normally land smack dab in the middle of the target? If not, you may have some technique problems that are causing your shots to move off center. Top Shot Champion Chris Cheng has produced a good video for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) that helps handgunners diagnose accuracy issues. By shooting 3-shot groups and looking at the pattern and location of the shots, you can see what you’re doing wrong (or right). Here are some examples. Note, this process works best for shooters whose shots fall typically in one target zone. If your shots are all over the target, your form is inconsistent and problems will be harder to diagnose.

1. Low Left — Jerking Trigger: Here we see three (3) shots at the 7 O’clock position. This shows that the shooter is jerking the trigger, meaning that the shooter is pulling the trigger too quickly and therefore forcing the barrel to drop when breaking the shot. This is a very common problem, particularly with novices who are reacting to the noise/recoil of the pistol.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

2. 9 O’Clock — Too Little Trigger Finger: If we see three (3) shots at the 9 O’clock position, what this can be indicative of too little trigger finger on the trigger. And therefore with every shot, the shots are getting pushed to the left. Try moving your trigger finger on to the pad of your index finger. Also try dry firing drills.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

3. High Left — Anticipating Recoil: In this next example, we see three shots around the 11 O’clock position. What could be happening here is that the shooter is anticipating the recoil, and is actually lifting the gun up when he shoots. We recommend slowing down, working on your breathing, and, again, do dry-firing drills.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

4. 3 O’Clock — Too Much Trigger Finger: Finally, if you see three (3) shots at the 3 O’clock position, this can indicate that there is too much trigger finger on the trigger. Therefore when the shot breaks the shooter is pulling each shot to the right. Note: Each of these descriptions is for a RIGHT-handed shooter. If you are a left-handed shooter you’ll want to reverse those descriptions.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

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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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December 11th, 2017

.45 ACP Quick Guide — Reloading and 1911 Field Stripping

Do you shoot a .45 ACP? We love this short, fat cartridge because it is inherently accurate, it makes big, easy-to-see holes in paper, and because it it works so well in the classic 1911 series of pistols. It is hard to beat a good, tuned model 1911 when it comes to trigger pull/reset and natural pointing ability.

Once you get the hang of it, 1911-type pistols are also easy to field strip for cleaning. Here is a video showing how to disassemble and reassemble your model 1911:

Model 1911 Field Stripping and Reassembly

.45 ACP Ammunition Loading Guide

If you “roll your own” .45 ACP cartridges, there are many good powder choices. Our favorites are Vihtavuori N320, AA No. 5, and Hodgdon TiteGroup, but there are many other good choices. You’ll find these three recommended powders (plus seven others) in this .45 ACP Reloading Guide from Nosler:

Nosler .45 ACP 45 reloading guide 185 grain bullet

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November 15th, 2017

Pistol Fundamentals Explained — Infographic and Video

pistol fundamentals NRA marksmanship sight alignment
Photo courtesy St. Bernard Indoor Shooting Center.

Do you enjoy shooting pistols for sport, or perhaps you carry a handgun for self-defense? If you’re like most of us, you might benefit from a “refresher course” on the fundamentals of handgun shooting. The NRA has created a useful Infographic that covers important basics of handgun marksmanship — key things such as Sight Alignment and Trigger Control. Here are the first two (2) lessons. Click the link below to see all SIX (6) training topics: Sight Alignment, Sight Focus, Trigger Control, Breath Control, Hold Control, and Follow-Through.

CLICK HERE for FULL INFOGRAPHIC with SIX LESSONS

pistol fundamentals NRA marksmanship sight alignment

VIEW ALL Six Handgun Fundamentals

Video Shows Sight Alignment, Grip, Stance, Trigger Control and More
In this USAMU video, SGT Shane Coley talks about the basics of sight alignment and trigger control. But then SGT Coley talks about other important control factors such as grip, arm position, and body stance. For rapid-fire shooting, you need to have a good arm and body positioning to control recoil and get back on target quickly. This video is a valuable complement to the NRA Infographic because it demonstrates all the important pistol fundamentals during live fire, at the range.

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October 17th, 2017

Walther Creed — Quality 9mm Handgun under $300.00

Five Budget 9mm sale bargain full-size 9x19mm pistol Walther Creed CT9

Last week a close friend called and said he was looking for a good, affordable pistol for personal defense — not for daily carry, but for something to keep in the car and sometimes carry on wilderness trips. He said a local gun shop was steering him to a Glock 19 for around $570.00. I told him: “How’d you like to get a better handgun for less than half that?” I explained that, compared to a Glock, the Walther Creed has better ergonomics, better controls, better trigger pull, and better standard sights. Plus it is safer to field strip, and also has a much better warranty. And right now you can get this gun for under $300. In fact, CDNN Sports has it on sale for $269.99. That’s a steal.

Five Budget 9mm sale bargain full-size 9x19mm pistol Canik RP9 Kahr S&W M&P Walther Creed CT9

The Walther Creed offers excellent ergonomics, good accuracy, and well-designed controls at a killer price — $269.99 at CDNN Sports. This gun, designed to be a value-leader, emulates Walther’s more expensive PPQ model (MSRP $649.00) at a much lower price. The Creed’s frame size and shape is the same as the PPQ, but the Creed lacks interchangeable backstraps. Slide and trigger are very similar. The Creed features a snag-free bobbed hammer. Trigger pull is 6.5 pounds. That’s a little heavier than we’d prefer, but not bad for a defense gun. Testers have praised the new Creed, saying that, despite the bargain price, it “sacrifices little to nothing in… ergonomics, accuracy, and reliability.”

Testers Praise the Walther Creed
Cheaper Than Dirt (CTD), a major online vendor, recently conducted an extensive field test of the Walther Creed, shooting a variety of 9x19mm ammo. CTD’s tester came away very impressed:

“After testing, it is now my perspective that this might be the best value in a home defense/full-sized handgun [for] a first-time buyer… if price is a primary consideration. The Creed delivers top-quality customer expect from Walther. For under $400 the Creed is arguably one of the best gun values on the market. It delivers superb quality and features well above many standard firearms lines with proven Walther reliability and accuracy. The Creed was a significant makeover from the legacy PPX improving look and ergonomics while preserving all the great aspects of the original design.”

Five Budget 9mm sale bargain full-size 9x19mm pistol Walther Creed CT9

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October 16th, 2017

Pistol-Packing Pumpkin Carving with Taran Butler

Halloween pumpkinHalloween pumpkinIn just two weeks, October 31st, we celebrate Halloween (which was originally called All Hallows’ Evening). That means the neighborhood kids will be ringing doorbells as soon as it gets dark. No doubt some of you proscrastinators will wait ’til the last minute to set out your Halloween decorations and Jack-O-Lanterns. Don’t worry, in the video below, our friend, 3-Gun ace Taran Butler, shows how to carve a pumpkin in just about 5.5 seconds, give or take a tenth. Taran performed this feat of speed-carving with his trusty Infinity handgun, chambered in 9mm Major.

What Are the Origins of Halloween?
Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”), also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is a yearly celebration observed on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints). According to many scholars, it was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain. Others maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has Christian roots.

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October 3rd, 2017

How to Hold a 1911 Correctly — Tips from Todd Jarrett

Todd Jarrett

Todd Jarrett is one of the world’s best handgun shooters. A multi-time World Champion, Todd knows a thing or two about semi-auto pistols, particularly 1911s and 1911-based raceguns. Jarrett holds four World titles, nine National titles and has won more than 50 Area championships, as well as many other action shooting events. Jarrett is the only USPSA Triple Crown Winner and he holds four USPSA National titles: Open, Limited, Production, and Limited-10. Jarrett revealed in an interview that between 1988 and 2001 he shot about 1.7 million rounds during practice: “I had a gun in my hand for two hours every day for 10 years to develop my skill level”.

In the video below, Todd explains how to get the proper grip on your handgun, and how to employ a proper stance. We’ve watched many videos on pistol shooting. This is one of the best instructional videos we’ve seen. Todd explains, in easy-to-understand terms, the key elements of grip and stance. One very important point he demonstrates is how to align the grip in your hand so that the gun points naturally — something very important when rapid aiming is required. If you watch this video, you’ll learn valuable lessons — whether you shoot competitively or just want to have better control and accuracy when using your handgun defensively.

Related Article: Thumbs-Forward Shooting Grip for 1911s
“Shooting semiautomatic pistols using the thumbs-forward method really becomes useful … where speed and accuracy are both needed. By positioning the thumbs-forward along the slide (or slightly off of the slide) you are in essence creating a second sighting device: wherever your shooting thumb is pointing is where the pistol is pointing. This makes it incredibly fast to draw the pistol, get your proper grip, and press forward to the target without needing to hunt around for the front sight.” — Cheaper Than Dirt Blog, 9/13/2010.

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September 19th, 2017

New $4 Million Texas Shooting Range Offers Virtual Reality

Killeen Texas Shooting Range Virtual Reality
Story based on report by Ammoland.com, under Creative Commons License: Attribution.

While California politicians are doing everything possible to strip citizens of their gun rights, things are different in Texas. Very different. Shooting is big business in Texas. Witness the latest shooting facility being built in the Lone Star Star: “The Gun Range”. Under construction now in Killeen, Texas, this 15,000-square foot facility will have 16 indoor shooting lanes. It will even have a “Virtual Reality” room where you can shoot bad guys. The total cost for this state-of-the art shooting range? A cool four million dollars ($4,000,000).

Construction is already underway on “The Gun Range”, set to open in the Spring of 2018. The new facility will feature four 50-yard general purpose lanes plus twelve 25-yard pistol lanes, all equipped with advanced Target Retrievers. A new high-tech feature at the range will be a virtual reality projector that uses a real gun to shoot the “bad guys”, but without shooting real projectiles.

Killeen Texas Shooting Range Virtual Reality

Other features include a full snack bar, and TV Lounge. The Gun Range will offer online reservations for gun safety courses, range sessions, and appointments for large parties.

“This… will also be a great place for date nights too,” said The Gun Range owner Paul Doyle.

COMMENT: Only in Texas would they think of going shooting on “Date Night”. We love it.

The new $4 million Killeen Gun Range will be located at 2401 South Fort Hood in Killeen, home of the Fort Hood Army base. Fort Hood is the most populous army base in the world — roughly 88,000 active duty personnel live in the immediate area. When complete, “The Gun Range” will be the most modern shooting range to serve army personnel and the local population. Killeen currently has another 10-lane, 15,000 sq.ft. facility, the Mountain Creek Range, on the south side of town.

Texans Love Their Shooting Sports

There were some interesting comments on Ammoland.com about this project and the shooting sports in Texas:

“Funny how California is doing everything it can to deprive people of their Constitutional civil rights. But in Texas everyone I know has at least one shooting range on their place, every municipality has a shooting range, and commercial shooting ranges are making money hand over fist.” — Wild Bill

“In Texas, if you have 10 acres or more, the county is not allowed to prohibit your shooting on your land by state law. Ft. Hood used to have a sportsman’s range on Ft. Hood, but anti-gun commanders added onerous regulations that drove many people away, then finally closed the range. That was a real disservice to soldiers.” — D. Baker

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August 22nd, 2017

Handguns 101: Shoot with Both Eyes Open

Doug Koenig Pistol shooting training video
Photo courtesy DougKoenig.com and Leupold.

One eye or two? That’s the question that confounds some pistol shooters, particularly during slow fire. When shooting one-handed, some bullseye pistol shooters use a piece of tape or paper on one lens of their shooting glasses to obscure their non-dominant eye. That way they can get a more precise sight picture. However, when shooting two-handed, it’s almost always better to shoot with both eyes open. And if you are doing a “move and shoot” session/match, you’ll surely want to have both eyes open.

Champion pistol shooter Doug Koenig says he always shoots handguns with both eyes open: “To me it’s very simple — I wouldn’t drive my car with one eye closed. I wouldn’t walk around the house with one eye closed. To me, it’s all about your vision, your depth perception.” Doug adds that you definitely need both eyes open to transition quickly from target to target.

With both eyes open you’ll have better depth perception and peripheral vision. You will also be able to transition from target to target more quickly. In a timed, multi-target stage, you’ll want to move your head/eyes to the next target right after you break a shot. You’ll find that you will then reflexively move the handgun on to the new target when you swing your vision on to it. Don’t linger on the target you just shot — move to the next.

Doug Koenig Pistol shooting training video

Here are two other helpful videos from Doug Koenig and the NSSF:

Sight Alignment and Sight Picture

Trigger Press and Trigger Control

Doug Koenig’s List of Championships:
10-time World Champion
18-time Bianchi Cup winner
2016 NRA World Shooting Champion
More than 70 National Championships
6-time World Action Pistol Championship Winner
3-time World Speed Shooting Champion/Steel Challenge

Watch Doug Koenig’s Championship Season TV show on the Pursuit Channel: Wednesday 5:30 pm (Eastern); Friday 9:00 pm (Eastern); Saturday 1:30 am (Eastern) West Coast prime-time.

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August 2nd, 2017

Find the Right Holster for Your Handgun in Seconds

Midwayusa holster finder database 125,000 holsters

Here’s a helpful, time-saving tool for handgun owners. MidwayUSA’s new online Holster Finder lets you quickly find the right holsters for popular makes and models of pistols and revolvers. The wide variety of carry styles, materials, and features can make finding the right holster difficult or confusing. Drawing on a database of over 125,000 gun/holster combinations, the MidwayUSA Holster Finder turns that complex task into an easy three-step process.

The selection process is simple: 1. Choose Pistol or Revolver; 2. Select Make and Model of Handgun (and barrel type/length); 3. Click to view results. Just choose your gun type, select your make, model and barrel, then view the results. All major holster types are included: Ankle, Belly Band, Belt (outside waistband), Chest, Competition, Drop Leg, Inside Waistband (IWB), Paddle, Pocket, and Shoulder. Test the MidwayUSA Holster Finder by visiting www.MidwayUSA.com/holster-finder.

Midwayusa holster finder database 125,000 holsters

Jeff Larkin, Vice President of Marketing. “Our team built the Holster Finder so our Customers could find all holsters we offer for their specific firearm without sorting through thousands of search results. Finding the perfect holster is now easier than ever — just a few clicks, and we’ll show you everything that fits!”

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July 13th, 2017

National Pistol Championships and Handgun Marksmanship Tips

NRA Pistol National Championships Camp Perry
Camp Perry photos courtesy NRA Blog.

This has been pistol week at Camp Perry, site of the NRA National Trophy Pistol Championships. The handgun events started with the NRA Revolver matches and Prelim Pistol Agg on Monday, July 10. This was followed with .22 LR individual and team matches on Tuesday, and the CF Championship and Team Match on Wednesday. The pistol competitions conclude today, July 13th, with the NRA individual .45 Championship, .45 Team Match, and Pistol Awards Ceremony.

NRA Pistol National Championships Camp Perry

NRA Pistol National Championships Camp Perry

NRA National Bullesye pistol championship camp perry ohio OH

Precision (Bullseye) Pistol Championship (Camp Perry, OH — July 9-13, 2017)
Webpage: CLICK HERE for National Pistol Championships INFO
Program: 2017 NRA Pistol Championship Program (PDF)

national pistol trophy match 2016 Brian Zins CMP Camp Perry

Pistol Marksmanship with Brian “Gunny” Zins

The nation’s top bullseye pistol shooters were at Camp Perry this week. If you’ve every wondered what it takes to win a pistol match using the classic, one-handed hold, here are some tips from one of the best ever, Brian “Gunny” Zins, 12-Time NRA National Pistol Champion.

Brian has authored an excellent guide to bullseye pistol shooting. Brian’s Clinic on the Fundamentals recently appeared in The Official Journal of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. The CMP scanned the story so you can read it online. CLICK HERE to read full article.

national pistol trophy match 2016 Brian Zins CMP Camp Perry

Top Tips from Brian Zins:

Trigger Movement: If trigger control is ever interrupted in slow fire the shot needs to be aborted and the shot started over.

Relationship between Sight Alignment and Trigger Control: Often when the fundamentals are explained these two are explained as two different acts. Well, truth be told it’s really kind of hard to accomplish one without the other. They have a symbiotic relationship. In order to truly settle the movement in the dot or sights you need a smooth, steady trigger squeeze.

Trigger Finger Placement: Where should the trigger make contact on the finger? The trigger should be centered in the first crease of the trigger finger. Remember this is an article on Bullseye shooting. If this were an article on free pistol or air pistol it would be different.

Proper Grip: A proper grip is a grip that will NATURALLY align the gun’s sights to the eye of the shooter without having to tilt your head or move your or move your wrists around to do that. Also a proper grip, and most importantly, is a grip that allows the gun to return to the same position [with sights aligned] after each and every shot. The best and easiest way to get the proper grip, at least a good starting position… is with a holster. Put your 1911 in a holster on the side of your body[.] Allow your shooting hand to come down naturally to the gun.

It took decades of competition to acquire all those patches — that’s dedication to the sport.
Camp Perry 2017 Pistol Championship NRA

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