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January 25th, 2022

Handguns for 2022 — Nine Notable Pistols and Revolvers

shot show 2022 new handgun pistols revolvers ccw carry gun show

A large selection of new handguns have been introduced in recent months, with manufacturers racing to meet unprecedented high consumer demand. Millions of Americans have joined the ranks of gunowners in the past two years. At least 5.4 million people purchased a firearm for the first time in 2021 based on NSSF retailer surveys and NICS background checks adjusted data. And, for most new firearms owners, their first purchase was a handgun, most likely a 9mm compact. Here are nine notable new handguns* introduced over the last 12 months. Many debuted at SHOT Show 2022, while others were introduced in 2021.

Taurus TX22 Competition SCR (Steel Challenge Ready)

Taurus TX 22 SCR pistol steel challenge
Taurus TX 22 SCR pistol steel challenge

The Taurus TX22 SCR (Steel Competition Ready) was designed as a fun rimfire for steel plate competition and action pistol games. We like the balance and ergonomics of this pistol, and the integrated forward compensator does reduce muzzle flip, allowing faster follow-up shots and better split times.

In this video, watch Jessie Harrison, the world’s best female action pistol competitor, shooting the TX22 on steel, starting at 0:14 time-mark.

Girsan MC P35 Hi-Power from EAA

Girsan high-power hi-power FN clone EA

This is the year of the Browning Hi-Power revival. Springfield Arms brought out the SA-35, FN Herstal has a new High Power, and the Turkish company Girsan now produces the MC P35 (sold in the USA by EAA). Based on the original John M. Browning pistol design, EAA’s MC P35 by Girsan pays homage to one of the most widely-used military handguns in history. The steel-framed MC P35 boasts a 15+1 capacity in a staggered column magazine. With classic styling, good machining, and a sub-$600 MSRP, this MC P35 may be the best bargain among the latest generation of Hi-Power clones. It is offered in three finishes: Two-tone (gray/black), Black, and Dark Earth.

Uberti 9mm Single-Action Classic Revolvers

Uberti classic single action revolver 9mm luger 9x19mm pistol

Italian gun-maker Uberti expands its portfolio of classic single-action revolvers with the addition of new 9mm wheelguns. For 2022, Uberti offers select El Patrón and Cattleman Brass single-action revolvers chambered for the 9mm Luger (9x19mm) cartridge. These revolvers headspace at the cartridge mouth without the need for moon clips, allowing cartridges to be loaded individually into the cylinder and ejected in the regular fashion. With 9mm Luger ammo being available at a lower price than many other handgun cartridges, revolver shooters can put more rounds on target without breaking the bank.

Stoeger Introduces STR-9SC subcompact

Stoeger sub-compact str-9sc optics ready

Based on the original STR-9 compact 9mm introduced in 2019, Stoeger’s new STR-9SC Sub-Compact series offers three models: SSTR-9SC Sub-Compact Optic-Ready, STR-9SC Sub-Compact with Tritium night sights, and base model TR-9SC Sub-Compact. All come with a medium backstrap, left- or right-side mag release, trigger safety, accessory rail, front post/square notch rear sight configuration, and a 10-round magazine. These are all very affordable — the basic STR-92C Sub-Compact has a $329.99 MSRP.

Shadow Systems DR-920P Pistol with Integral Compensator

shadow systems DR920P pistol 9mm luger compensator steel challenge

Shown at the top of this article, the new Shadow Systems DR920P 9mm Luger pistol features a built-in, multi-port compensator at the end of the barrel. This reduces felt recoil and muzzle flip allowing faster split times on multi-target scenarios. NOTE that the front sight is mounted on the forward compensator so it does not reciprocate with the slide.

If you are an 3-Gun or Steel Challenge shooter, you may want to consider this new pistol. The DR920P fits Glock 34 holsters, and ergonomics are similar to Glock, but we like the Shadow DR920P’s trigger better than a standard Glock trigger.

Savage Stance 9mm Compact Pistol

This is the first compact pistol produced by Savage Arms in a century. Outdoor Life notes: “For the first time since 1920, Savage is back in the pistol market, diving right into the most competitive category — the micro 9mm. The Stance is an ultra-thin, polymer-frame semi-automatic striker-fired 9mm with a 3.2-inch barrel. It’s less than an inch thick, but an abrasive stipple finish on the grip and interchangeable back straps should make this one a pleasure to shoot.”

Kimber R7 Mako Optics Installed

Kimber R7 mako optics installed carry handgun pistol

Released in 2021, the R7 was Kimber’s first Polymer-framed handguns. The latest optics-installed R7 Mako ($799.00 MSRP) features a factory-installed CTS-1500 reflex sight for fast target acquisition and accurate shot placement. Capacity is 12+1 with flush-fit mag or 14+1 with extended. This little pistol features co-witnessed tritium night sights, and Hooded ejection port to vent gasses/brass away from the optic. For other features see this video review from Colion Noir:

Taurus Defender 605 3″-barrel .357 Magnum Revolver

Taurus defender 605 revolver 3

The new 3″-barrel Taurus Defender 605 wheelgun comes in four versions, starting at $472.63 MSRP for matte black stainless with rubber grip. Show is the Altamont wood grip model with Tungsten Cerakote finish (MSRP $517.33). These are significantly less expensive than similar S&Ws. Unlike many 3-inch barrel revolvers, the Defender 605 comes with an extended ejector rod for quicker reloads. The Defender 605s come with factory-installed tritium front night sight with an orange outline.

Ruger PC Charger 9mm Large Format Pistol

Ruger PC charger Pistol carbine


Pistol brace, sling, suppressor, optic, and Glock Magazine NOT included.

The Ruger PC Charger pistol was is a handgun version of Ruger’s PC Carbine. This pistol was actually introduced last year, but now it is being sold without the legally problematic folding stock (err, make that a “pistol brace”). The 2022-model PC Charger still has a quick detachable barrel system, MLOK rail, and a 1913 rail up top for accessories. The PC Charger runs Ruger pistol magazines, and there is a handy, drop-in conversion for Glock magazines. This is hardly a carry pistol, but we can see how someone might favor this for home defense or fun shooting on steel.

CLICK HERE to view MORE New-for-2022 Pistols and Revolvers »

Good Handgun Transport Case — Discrete Gun Luggage

Here’s a sensible transport option for range trips with handguns. This discrete, double-sided unit from Elite Survival Systems allows you to transport four pistols — as well as eye protection, cleaning kits, magazines and ammunition — no more conspicuously than a laptop. There are two identical 2-gun compartments for pistols, plus a top section for your muffs, targets, and other accessories. This bag system earned the U.S. Concealed Carry Magazine Editor’s Choice Award.

laptop computer pistol transport case

* We count the two Uberti single-action revolvers as one new design because they are nearly identical in layout and operation. However there are some differences (e.g. the brass-frame option on Cattleman model only).

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January 25th, 2022

Test Fore & Aft Rifle, Rest, and Bag Position for Best Accuracy

Benchrest stock

To get the best accuracy out of any benchrest rifle, you need to find the optimal position of front rest and rear bag. The important point to remember is that each rig is different. One gun may perform best with the front rest right at the tip of the forearm (Position ‘D’ in photo), while another gun will work best with the rest positioned much further back. This Editor’s own 6mmBR rifle has a laminated stock that is pretty flexy in the front. It shoots best with the front rest’s sandbag located a good 6″ back from the forearm tip (position ‘A’).

Here’s some benchrest advice that can help you reduce vertical and shoot tighter groups… without spending another penny. Many benchrest shooters spend a fortune on equipment and devote countless hours to meticulous handloading, but they never experiment with their rifle’s position/balance on the bags. This article explains why you should test your rifle in various positions. What you learn may surprise you (and improve your scores).

Next time you go to the range, experiment with the position of your rifle on the front rest, and try a couple different positions for the rear bag. You may find that the rifle handles much better after you’ve made a small change in the placement of your gun on the bags. Recoil can be tamed a bit, and tracking can improve significantly, if you optimize the front rest and rear bag positioning.

front rest Sally benchrest IBS
This competitor has the front rest positioned fairly far forward but not all the way out. Note the stop on the front rest — this limits forward stock travel.

A small change in the position of the forearm on the front rest, or in the placement of the rear bag, can make a big difference in how your gun performs.

Balance Your Gun BEFORE You Spend Hours Tuning Loads
In the pursuit of ultimate accuracy, shooters may spend countless hours on brass prep, bullet selection, and load tuning. Yet the same shooters may pay little attention to how their gun is set-up on the bags. When you have acquired a new rifle, you should do some basic experimentation to find the optimal position for the forearm on the front rest, and the best position for the rear bag. Small changes can make a big difference.

Joel Kendrick

Joel Kendrick, past IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, has observed that by adjusting forearm position on the front rest, he can tune out vertical. He has one carbon-fiber-reinforced stock that is extremely rigid. When it was placed with the front rest right under the very tip of the forearm, the gun tended to hop, creating vertical. By sliding the whole gun forward (with more forearm overhang ahead of the front sandbag), he was able to get the whole rig to settle down. That resulted in less vertical dispersion, and the gun tracked much better.

stock position benchrest forearm sandbag front rest
Fore/aft stock position is important even with very wide fore-ends.

Likewise, the placement of the rear bag is very important. Many shooters, by default, will simply place the rear bag the same distance from the front rest with all their guns. In fact, different stocks and different calibers will NOT behave the same. By moving the rear bag forward and aft, you can adjust the rifle’s overall balance and this can improve the tracking significantly. One of our shooters had a Savage 6BR F-Class rifle. By default he had his rear bag set almost all the way at the end of the buttstock. When he slid the rear bag a couple inches forward the gun tracked much better. He immediately noticed that the gun returned to point of aim better (crosshairs would stay on target from shot to shot), AND the gun torqued (twisted) less. The difference was quite noticeable.

A small change in the position of the forearm on the front rest, or in the placement of the rear bag, can make a big difference in how your gun performs. You should experiment with the forearm placement, trying different positions on the front rest. Likewise, you can move the rear bag back and forth a few inches. Once you establish the optimal positions of front rest and rear bag, you should find that your gun tracks better and returns to battery more reliably. You may then discover that the gun shoots smaller groups, with less vertical dispersion. And all these benefits are possible without purchasing any expensive new gear.

Rifle photo courtesy Johnson’s Precision Gunsmithing (Bakersfield, CA).

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January 25th, 2022

Defensive Firearms — Understanding Terminal Ballistics

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

If you are evaluating a firearm for self-defense use, you should consider three main factors: Reliability, Functionality (sights, trigger, ergonomics), and Effectiveness (ability to halt/neutralize threats). Regarding effectiveness, you need to consider what happens when the projectiles from your firearm reach the target. That involves penetration and terminal ballistics.

A 12ga shotgun is very effective inside 20 yards, with less risk of over-penetration* vs. a centerfire rifle.
Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

You’ve probably heard the term “Terminal Ballistics”. But do you really know what this refers to? Fundamentally, “Terminal Ballistics” describes the behavior of a projectile as it strikes, enters, and penetrates a target. Terminal Ballistics, then, can be said to describe projectile behavior in a target including the transfer of kinetic energy. Contrast this with “External Ballistics” which, generally speaking, describes and predicts how projectiles travel in flight. One way to look at this is that External Ballistics covers bullet behavior before impact, while terminal ballistics covers bullet behavior after impact.

The study of Terminal Ballistics is important for hunters, because it can predict how pellets, bullets, and slugs can perform on game. This NRA Firearm Science video illustrates Terminal Ballistics basics, defining key terms such as Impact Crater, Temporary Cavity, and Primary Cavity.

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

External Ballistics, also called “exterior ballistics”, is the part of ballistics that deals with the behavior of a non-powered projectile in flight.

Terminal Ballistics, a sub-field of ballistics, is the study of the behavior and effects of a projectile when it hits its target.

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity


*This Shooting Illustrated article discusses over-penetration risks with a variety of cartridge types. “A bullet passing through a threat and continuing with the potential to cause unintentional damage to a bystander or object is a situation commonly described as over-penetration.”

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