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February 13th, 2021

9mm Carry Pistol Comparison: Glock, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson

Sig P365 Glock 43 Smith Wesson Shield 9mm 9x19mm luger pistol

Over the past year, large-scale social unrest and calls to “defund the police” inspired millions of Americans to buy their very first handguns. Pistol sales set new records. Americans were looking to acquire handguns for personal protection, both in the home and while away from the house. Thus, many folks are looking for slim, relatively lightweight pistols that can be carried comfortably and discretely. There are dozens of carry guns on the market currently. Here are three good choices, as reviewed by our friends at GunsAmerica.com. In this article, we cover three of the best “micro-compact” 9mm pistols: SIG Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson Shield, and the Glock 43.

GunsAmerica Review of SIG P365, S&W Shield, and Glock 43 »

After looking at a variety of factors, including accuracy, reliability, ergonomics, build quality, size/weight, and price, GunsAmerica’s tester Jeff Cramblit concluded that the SIG P365 was the best of the three: “Bottom Line — The SIG P365 wins this shootout in my humble opinion. The MSRP of $599 is a bit higher than the other guns but SIG brings a bit more to the game. The outstanding grip design, higher capacity, great sights, lighter trigger pull, smaller length, light weight and just a great overall feel make it a winning product. The other two guns are great, they have been the cornerstones of concealed carry for many years, and I have personally carried both of them, but SIG has changed the game.”

Choosing a Carry Pistol — Performance, Reliability, Value
This Editor owns two SIG Sauer pistols, a P226 and P232. Both are “old school” metal-framed handguns. I can attest to their quality and reliability over many years. So I’m not surprised to see that SIG’s new P365 took top honors in this recent test. But I also think the Smith & Wesson Shield also offers excellent value for the dollar. The S&W 9mm Shield is ON SALE now for $289.99 at Palmetto State Armory.

This YouTube Video Compares the SIG P365 and the S&W Shield

Accuracy with Various Ammo
In the GunsAmerica Test, the SIG P365 had the best accuracy, based on five (5) different types of 9x19mm ammo shot off-hand at 25 yards. The SIG’s average 5-shot, 25-yard group size was 1.45″, vs. 1.7″ for the Glock 43, and 2.1″ for the S&W Shield. The P365’s accuracy edge may be due in part to its lighter, 5.1-lb trigger pull compared to 6 lbs. for the S&W Shield, and 6.25 lbs. for the Glock 43.

Sig P365 Glock 43 Smith Wesson Shield 9mm 9x19mm luger pistolDimensions — Width and Weights
Size matters — particularly when it comes to a carry pistol. The S&W Shield is the narrowest of the three guns at 1.03″ wide vs. 1.11″ for the P365 and 1.36″ for the Glock 43. Though it has the highest round capacity, the SIG P365 actually has the smallest grip circumference and grip depth. Weight-wise, the Glock 43, at 18 oz. unloaded, is the lightest. The SIG P365 is 18.8 oz., while S&W Shield is the heaviest at 20.5 oz. weight.

Capacity — SIG P365 Has the Edge
The SIG P365, holding 10+1 rounds, has the highest ammo capacity. This is remarkable as the P365 has the smallest grip circumference of the three pistols. Kudos to SIG for clever design. The S&W Shield has an 8+1 capacity, while the Glock 43 only holds 6+1. Advantage SIG.

Sig P365 Glock 43 Smith Wesson Shield 9mm 9x19mm luger pisto

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Handguns, Tactical No Comments »
February 13th, 2021

Triggers for AR Platform Rifles — Single-Stage and Two-Stage

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

AR-platform rifles are fun and versatile, but the standard, mil-spec triggers leave much to be desired. They tend to be gritty, with creep and heavy pull weight. One of the easiest, most effective AR upgrades is a trigger group swap. An improved fire control group makes a huge difference. There are many aftermarket trigger options for the AR platform rifles. Choose single-stage or two-stage, either standard trigger assembly or unitized “drop-in” trigger, such as those made by Timney or Triggertech.

Read Full AR Trigger Article in NRA Blog HERE »

AR15 Space Gun trigger
When upgraded with a precision trigger and match barrel, AR-platform rigs work great in NRA High Power competitions (Photo from NRA Blog, at Camp Perry).

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stageTwo-Stage vs. Single-Stage Triggers
Two-stage triggers have two separate movements. The first stage offers a light, spring-loaded pressure that works against the shooter’s pull until stopping at the second stage – this is called “take-up”. If there is no spring pressure, it is known as “slack”. Should the shooter continue to pull the trigger once he’s arrived at the second stage, the mechanism will operate like a single-stage trigger from there until engaging the sear and firing the gun. Some shooters prefer a two-stage trigger because it allows a mental preparation (first stage) before the final decision to “break the shot”.

Single-stage triggers feature no take-up or slack, as they begin engaging the sear as soon as the shooter begins pulling the trigger. Some competitive shooters prefer the two-stage trigger because of the feedback it provides during its first stage, while other shooters, including those using their rifle in tactical scenarios, may want the surety of a single-stage trigger, ready to engage and fire once their finger is inside the trigger guard. Regardless of preference, a good trigger will feature minimal creep and should be free of grittiness, providing a smooth, even break.

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

Drop-In Trigger Assembly vs. Standard Trigger Group
Once you decide between a single-stage or two-stage trigger, you can choose between standard and drop-in trigger groups. Standard trigger groups feature all the fire control group parts separated, and need to be pieced together and installed much like a mil-spec trigger, while drop-in trigger are pre-assembled and contained within a casing that simply drops in to the receiver and accepts the pins, hence the name.

After-Market Trigger Comparison

Some shooters prefer drop-in triggers due to the ease of installation, while others opt for standard groups so they can access the components individually for cleaning adjustment or replacement. If one piece of a drop-in trigger fails, you’ll need to either replace the entire unit or send it to the manufacturer for repair, whereas you may be able to simply replace the broken component of a standard trigger without needing a whole new trigger set.

Trigger Terminology — “Creep”, “Stacking”, “Overtravel”
“Creep” or “travel” is the distance the trigger moves between the end of take-up and when the trigger breaks to fire the fun. Too much creep can affect accuracy, but no creep can be unsafe, as the shooter may not be prepared to fire. “Stacking” occurs when the trigger weight actually increases during travel — this shouldn’t happen. Lastly, “overtravel” is the distance the trigger continues moving back after the gun fires.

This article is based on a longer story in the NRA Blog.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Tactical, Tech Tip No Comments »
February 13th, 2021

Fire-Form with Foulers — Save Time, Bullets, and Barrel Life

Fire-forming fouler barrel life fouling shots

PPC Fire-formingFire-Form with Foulers
Here’s a tip for guys who shoot the 6 PPC, 6 Dasher, 6 BRA, .284 Shehane, or other wildcat cartridges that require fire-forming. Use your fouler shots to fire-form new cases. That way your fouler shots do “double-duty” and you get your brass fire-formed without putting extra rounds through your expensive barrel.

This procedure is recommended by Joel Kendrick, the 2004 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year. After he cleans his barrel, Joel knows it takes two or three shots to foul in the bore before accuracy returns. (YMMV — some barrels may need five or six foulers.) When shooting his PPC, Joel uses those fouler shots to fire-form his new brass. Joel explains: “I like to have relatively new brass always ready. By fire-forming a couple cases after each barrel-cleaning during a match, by the end of the weekend I’ve got a dozen or more freshly fire-formed cases to put into the rotation. If you do this with your fouler shots you get your fire-forming accomplished without using up any extra barrel life.”

This not only saves barrel wear, but it saves you trips to the range for the purpose of fire-forming. We thank Joel for this smart suggestion. For those who do not have a dedicated barrel for fire-forming, this should help keep your round-count down. Note: With this fouler fire-forming routine, you should ALWAYS do the fire-forming with the SAME POWDER you load for your match ammo. Joel currently works as the Supplier Quality Process Engineer for MMI-TruTec, a company that offers barrel surface coatings that can further extend your barrel life.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »