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FIRING LINE REPORTS

SPRINGFIELD ARMORY RANGE OFFICER COMPACT – RUGER LC9s


CONTENTS

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 | VOLUME 29, NUMBER 4 | PUBLISHED BIMONTHLY | www.handguns.com

FEATURES 38 THE NEXT LEVEL By JAMES TARR

FNH USA’s striker-fred FNS just got smaller—and therefore better.

46 UNSUNG 10

52

By PATRICK SWEENEY

Why the 10mm Auto is one of the best rounds you’ve never considered.

52 READY FOR YOUR CLOSE-UP? By RICHARD NANCE

When an attacker is at arm’s length, you need a new set of tactics.

58 TAKING CHARGE By BRAD FITZPATRICK

Ruger reintroduces the .22 Charger pistol. It’s a welcome return.

ON THE

58

38

46

COVER FNH USA FNS-9C Photo by Michael Anschuetz Art Direction by Heather Ferro

DEPARTMENTS 10 LETTERS 12 SPEEDLOADS

• Meet the gun wrangler • 10-20-30 Drill • The .38-40

18 AMMO SHELF

PATRICK SWEENEY Why one man is rethinking his rejection of the .357 SIG.

22 DEFENSIVE TACTICS WALT RAUCH Sensible ways of dealing with multiple threats.

2 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

26 ON PATROL

DAVE SPAULDING What the difference between skills and drills means to you.

30 GUNS & GEAR J. SCOTT RUPP

32 ESSENTIALS

JAMES TARR Easy ways to customize your polymer-framed pistol.

72 GUN SENSE

RICHARD NANCE Why faster isn’t always better.

FIRING LINE REPORTS

66 SPRINGFIELD RO COMPACT

By PAUL SCARLATA

68 RUGER LC9S By NORMAN GRAY


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FIFTH WEEK OF JUNE We kick off the second half of the 2015 season of Guns & Ammo TV with three totally new segments and more exclusive frearms, ammo and optics reviews in our At The Range segments by our writers and editors. The new segments—Class III Classics, Tactical Training, and Power of Air—run the gamut in the shooting sports, from classic full auto frearms dating from current to 100 years ago to Kyle Lamb and Richard Nance offering tactical training tips and techniques from a military and LE perspective to the often overlooked but rapidly advancing category of everything you need to know about airguns. FIRST WEEK OF JULY Ruger expands its lineup of 1911 pistols with its new Lightweight Commander .45, reviewed by G&A Handgun Editor Patrick Sweeney and feld editor Tom Beckstrand. LaserLyte continues to offer up new and unique laser systems for pistols, shotguns and rifes with its new TriColor laser, and under the category of “did you know?” Umarex has a Colt Peacemaker in its airgun lineup (who would have thought?), and fnally, we look at a modern day marvel in the world of Class III frearms by reviewing and shooting HK’s MP7. SECOND WEEK OF JULY “A handful of pistol” is one of several ways to identify the Magnum Research Desert Eagle semiauto, and we let a couple of our resident experts handle the family of MRIs chambered in both .44 Magnum and 50 AE. While some handgunners may believe these full-size pistols may be more than a handful and diffcult to manage while dumping a magazine full of ammo, our range results show the recoil from fring these semiautos was easily managed. Hornady’s .44 Magnum and .50 AE factory loads functioned fawlessly, and our shooters walked away from this range session impressed. We close out the show with a Triple Threat training session and how to get started with airguns. THIRD WEEK OF JULY Springfeld’s XD series of semiauto pistols has received a lot of attention in recent years, but one of Springfeld’s bread and butter frearms over the years has been its M1A rifes. To be blunt, they simply can’t make them fast enough, as rifemen still clamor for this classic semiauto rife. Craig Boddington and James Tarr review the M1A Scout Squad, one of several new models for 2015, and it doesn’t disappoint as it stacks up very favorably with other M1As. Hornady reaches out to long-range rifemen with its new .338 Lapua factory loading, and then we move on to Tactical Training, where Kyle Lamb, who named this shooting drill El Pollo Diablo, gives Richard Nance a workout on the range. We close out this week’s show with Gene Stoner’s classic Classic III rife—the Stoner 63.

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DIRECT RESPONSE ADVERTISING/NON-ENDEMIC Anthony SMYTH (914) 693-8700 HANDGUNS (ISSN # 1068-2635), August/September 2015, VOLUME 29 NUMBER 4. Published bimonthly by INTERMEDIA OUTDOORS, INC., 1040 6th Ave., 12th Floor, New York, NY 10018-3703. Periodical postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offces. POSTMASTER: Send address change (Form 3579) to Handguns, P.O. Box 37539, Boone, IA 50037-0539. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: 500 R. 46 East, Clifton, NJ 07011. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 41405030. SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES Should you wish to change your address, order new subscriptions, or report a problem with your current subscription, you can do so by writing Handguns, P.O. Box 37539, Boone, IA 50037-0539, or e-mail us at handguns@emailcustomerservice.com., or call TOLL FREE 1-800-800-4486. BE AWARE THAT HANDGUNS ONLY ACCEPTS SUBSCRIPTION REQUESTS FROM AUTHORIZED AGENTS! WE MAY NOT HONOR REQUESTS FROM UNAUTHORIZED AGENTS, AND YOU THEREFORE MAY LOSE YOUR MONEY IF YOU BUY FROM AN UNAUTHORIZED AGENT. If you are offered a subscription to Handguns, please call 1-800-800-4486 to determine if the agent is authorized. For more information on subscription scams, please visit www.ftc.gov. Subscription rate for one year is $19.94 (U.S., APO, FPO, and U.S. possessions). Canada add $13.00 (U.S. funds) per year, includes sales tax and GST. Foreign add $15.00 (U.S. funds) per year. Occasionally, our subscriber list is made available to reputable frms offering goods and services that we believe would be of interest to our readers. If you prefer to be excluded, please send your current address label and a note requesting to be excluded from these promotions to:

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| LETTERS fring pin lock might make Mr. von Benedikt more comfortable using the Micro in appendix carry. Patrick McM anus GRANGER, IN

Mr. McManus: The pistol does have a fring pin block. It is activated by upward pressure from the ejector. As you pull the trigger, the ejector drops, releasing upward pressure and deactivating the block.

Micro Matters

.480 Fan

Regarding Joseph von Benedikt’s article on the new Kimber Micro .380 (June/July), frst of all I wonder why all of a sudden the manufacturers are coming out with these guns right after just about perfecting micro 9mms? The article itself describes the graphic difference in performance between the calibers. Second, I question this even being a good “pocket carry” gun. As von Benedikt says in the article, this should be carried Condition One (cocked and locked). Pocket carry doesn’t allow that extra margin of safety, and Condition One carry just doesn’t seem safe in a pocket. Even if I weren’t a police frearms instructor, I would strongly warn against it. Mike kolendo

Just read Joseph von Benedikt’s article, “Balance of Power” in the April/May issue and want to thank you for covering the reintroduction of this fne cartridge. I recently bought a used .480 Super Redhawk from the original production period and could not be happier. I started with “light” loads: 375-grain hard-cast bullets pushed by Trail Boss to about 700 fps. Stepping up to a 375-grain bullet at 1,000 to 1,100 fps produces a manageable round that should be effective for close-range hog hunting. The only extraction problems I’ve had were with 400-grain factory loads. Great revolver and a good match for the cartridge. Mike HolMes

PALM COAST, FL

Joseph von Benedikt makes no reference to a fring pin lock on the Kimber Micro, such as the Colt Mustang Series 80 pistols have. Was this an oversight or does the Micro not have one? The presence of a

PARK CITY, UT

OYSTER CREEK, TX

Sight Right C’mon, guys. Let’s not dance around the “pistol shooter purist” tree (“Defensive Tactics,” June/ July). For those of us who qualifed for the senior citizen discount more than a week ago, the optimum

CONTACT US For letters to the editor or feedback on our content, email us at Handguns@IMoutdoors.com or write to us at Handguns, P.O. Box 13786, Torrance, CA 90503. Please include your town and state of residence. Letters to the editor may be edited for brevity and clarity. ADDRESS CHANGE OR QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SUBSCRIPTION? Please email Handguns@ EmailCustomerService.com, call us toll-free at 800-800-4486 or write to Handguns, P.O. Box 37539, Boone, IA 50037-0539. If changing address, please send both old and new addresses. 10 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

solution for us to “Sight Right” is an integral, grip-activated laser. When it “hits the fan” and adrenaline dumps into the system, 99 percent of us are going to focus on the threat, not the front sight. Train to be fully competent with iron sights? You betcha. But with my laser I can shoot from the hip, around corners, one-handed or in very low light and still be on target. k en Miller

Walt Rauch’s “Sight Right” article mentions fber optics, but he missed sights such as TruGlo’s TFO, which pairs fber optics with tritium vials. They provide sight clarity in all lighting conditions. I’m 75, and I frst went with the XS Big Dot with tritium insert for my self-defense pistols, but I’ve since replaced them with TruGlo TFOs. conrad Gabbard TUCSON, AZ

Clear That Up I think your magazine is one of the better ones out there, especially for new handgun shooters. However, I am some what puzzled about the article by James Tarr regarding lasers (“Essentials,” June/July). He stated on page 23 while talking about Crimson Trace lasers “you will need to practice with a loaded (emphasis added) gun.” Really? I hope this was just a typo. There is no mention of where this practice is to take place. If he is practicing at a shooting range, that should have been stated in the article. don coMfort MYRTLE BEACH, SC

You have a point, Mr. Comfort. However, when we talk about practice, it’s almost always live-fre. If not, we specify we’re talking about dry-fring and stress the need to clear the gun before proceeding. WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


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| SPEEDLOADS | Compiled by J. SCOTT RUPP

THE GUN WRANGLER

PETER SHERAYKO CALLS THE SHOTS ON TONS OF WESTERNS.

By Brad Fitzpatrick

12 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

Peter Sherayko (r.) and R. Lee Ermey flming “Gunny Time.” When Hollywood producers need guns and training to flm an authentic Western movie or television show, they turn to Sherayko’s Caravan West Productions.

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IN THE 1993 FILM “TOMBSTONE,” VAL Kilmer’s character Doc Holliday and Michael Biehn’s Johnny Ringo square off in an Arizona saloon. There’s no gunfre, but the characters demonstrate to each other and the rest of the patrons in the bar just how well they know how to handle their guns. That display of coordination and skill with a single-action revolver may seem spontaneous in the movie, but in reality gun wrangler Peter Sherayko is quick to point out it took months of training to shoot those few seconds of flm. “We started training the actors to handle guns in February, and that scene was shot in August,” Sherayko says. But for Sherayko, who has become the dean of Hollywood’s Western gun wranglers, it was essential the characters not only carried the proper guns but also knew how to use them. Biehn had been a street juggler before he made it big in Hollywood, landing roles in flms like “The Terminator” and “Aliens” as well as a role on the police drama “Hill Street Blues,” and Kilmer was also good with his hands, so the actors were perfect for the roles of dueling gunfghters in a dusty Arizona town. In “Tombstone,” and in more than 1,000 other movies, television shows and commercials over the past 25 years, it has been Sherayko’s Caravan West Productions that was called upon to provide the guns and the training actors needed to produce an authentic flm. In addition, his company also works on reality television shows, and the popular

reality show “Top Shot” is flmed on his ranch outside Los Angeles. Even though Caravan West provides set dressings, horses, saddles and clothing for Western flms, Sherayko considers himself a gun wrangler frst. Also called a weapons specialist or an armorer in flms, the gun wrangler is responsible for the care and handling of frearms, ammunition and other weapons throughout the flming process. And no matter how experienced the actors look with their frearms, when the director yells “Cut!” it’s Peter Sherayko’s set. “I provide all of the guns for the actors, and I collect them at the end

of each flm session,” Sherayko says. Providing, cataloging and collecting all of the guns on a set can be a daunting task, and with one or two assistants and sometimes hundreds of guns to keep track of, Sherayko stays busy while on set. But it is Sherayko’s attention to detail and his uncompromising commitment to accuracy in flm that have set him apart from other gun wranglers in the business, and this is why some of Hollywood’s top directors come to Caravan West Productions again and again. “Caravan West has over 1,100 guns and 650 gun belts,” Sherayko says. Whereas many gun wranglers in WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


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Sure, Sherayko has a vast collections of common Western guns such as the Colt SAA, but he also uses lesser-known, period authentic frearms in his work.

<

Hollywood rely on rental houses to provide guns, Sherayko is continuously studying the West and the guns carried by different outlaws, lawmen, heroes and villains. His home library contains more than 5,000 books, mostly about Western frearms. He knows more details about the guns that won the West than most historians, and he understands the subtle details that lend accuracy to a flm and help create an authentic experience for the viewer. “If a director tells me they want to shoot a flm that’s set just after the Civil War, I tell them they’re stuck with cap-and-ball pistols,” Sherayko says. “If the flm is set in the late 1800s and the character is poor, they’ll be carrying an 1866 Yellowboy rife. If they’ve got a little bit more money, they may be using a Winchester 1873 or 1876.” In addition to the guns, each actor is assigned a holster that fts the period and the location in which the flm is set. Sherayko hires some of the nation’s best leather workers to create holsters identical to some of the most famous rigs in history. “I found a historical photo of Wild Bill Hickok, and I had it blown up so we could see every detail,” he says. Sherayko then sent the photo to his holster maker who worked to develop an exact replica. Likewise, he has studied Frank and Jesse James, and when a director calls for authentic rigs for the West’s most notorious brothers, Sherayko is the man they seek out. “Jesse James carried a 7.5-inch single-action nickel Colt with ivory grips and an 1875 Smith & Wesson Schofeld with a Slim Jim holster,” Sherayko cites from memory. “Frank James preferred a ’75 Remington in the same style holster, and since he carried a ’75 Reming-

ton that makes me think that he probably carried a ’58 Remington cap-and-ball gun when he was riding with Quantrill’s Raiders.” Another hallmark of a Sherayko flm is the incorporation of frearms that were popular during the period of flming but which are rarely seen today. For the upcoming flm “Hot Bath and Stiff Drink II,” which is set in 1894, Sherayko provided a variety of guns rarely seen in flm— including an 1885 Colt Lightning Carbine, an 1883 Spencer pump shotgun, an 1887 Winchester leveraction shotgun and both 1877 and 1878 Colt double actions. The movie also includes an 1890 Remington single-action revolver, of which only 2,000 were ever made. For Sherayko, the nuances of Western guns, the culture and the lifestyle are what make a flm. That’s also why it is so diffcult for him to watch flms or television shows that, from a historical perspective, are inaccurate. “I saw a poster for a major West-

ern flm once, and one of the main characters was holding a singleaction revolver that had ‘EMF Italy’ stamped into the metal. Who doesn’t catch that?” On set, Sherayko coordinates with the director and provides a list of optional guns for each character and then teaches the actors how to properly carry and handle their particular frearms. Oftentimes, he has actors attend a “cowboy camp” on his ranch where they learn to ride horses and handle their guns. He teaches actors to use real frearms so they understand the way a gun feels when fring live ammunition. This adds to the authenticity because the actors know how to handle a gun properly and they have experienced recoil, which is so often forgotten on set when blank guns are fred. Many of the actors and directors Sherayko works with don’t have any experience with guns, and some of them are opposed to the use of frearms. In his line of work, Sherayko acts not only as a gun wrangler, but he also represents frearms in an industry that is growing increasingly intolerant of guns. For Sherayko, who is passionate about guns and appreciates the engineering and artistry of period frearms, creating a movie that is authentic and accurate is important. He’s managed to turn his passion into a profession, and when you watch a flm he has worked on, you can be assured the guns in the movie are truthful representation of what the character would have carried. Peter Sherayko has managed to turn his hobby into a career, and for that he’s thankful. “I don’t do this as a job,” he says. “I do it because I want to make great art. This isn’t work to me, it’s play.”

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 HANDGUNS 13


| SPEEDLOADS OLD SCHOOL | BY BOB SHELL

.38-40 WCF

The Colt New Service (top) was chambered for .38-40. Ruger chambered for it twice: a special Buckeye Sports gun with 10mm and .38-40 cylinders (bottom) and a special run of Vaqueros with .38-40 and .40 S&W cylinders.

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WHEN WINCHESTER BROUGHT OUT THE Model 73, one of its chamberings was the .38-40, which by most accounts came out in 1874. A few years later, in 1879, Colt chambered it as well. It became relatively popular because it was used in both rifes and handguns, which was a plus in the Old West. Settlers used it for hunting, although it was on the light side for that task. It did see some action against Indians and outlaws, where it was effective at short ranges. It was liked by some Texas lawmen and others because it has good stopping power. To my knowledge, no military ever used it. The .38-40 round is nothing more than a .44-40 necked down to a .40 caliber. The case has room for a decent amount of powder but care must be taken to avoid overloads in old guns. Like the .44-40, it has a thin neck, which can be a bit tricky to load. In power it resembles the .40 S&W. In spite of its name, it uses a .40 caliber, .401-diameter bullet as opposed to a .38 caliber slug. It started out as a blackpowder round with a 180-grain cast bullet. Later loads used a 180-grain jacketed loaded in the area of 1,100 fps. At one time, the 180-grainer was pushed out at 1,800 fps, which was excessively powerful for handguns

and blackpowder rifes. Since some folks don’t read labels quite a few guns were destroyed and the load was dropped. The blackpowder load I use is 42 grains of FFFg blackpowder and a 190-grain cast bullet, which produces 958 fps in my gun. I have a Ruger that was made some 20 years ago for Buckeye Sports, and it has 10mm and .38-40 cylinders. Some years ago, a special run of Ruger Vaquero revolvers were offered in the .40 S&W and .38-40 cylinders. Unfortunately, I missed

out on that one or I would have bought it. Some other companies that made revolvers in .38-40 include a couple of Smith & Wesson models—the N frame and the New Model—although neither is common. Colt offered it in its Bisley and New Service models as well. Merwin & Hulbert also made some .38-40 revolvers. Today, these guns will fetch high prices if you fnd one for sale. For shooting, you can fnd one made by some of the Italian makers, but they’re not as common as the .44-40.

50 Famous Firearms You’ve Got to Own Rick Hacker is a friend, so I can get away with saying this: “How could you leave off the Ithaca Model 37?!” All kidding aside, I’m sure there will be those who will quibble with his choices, but he’s made it pretty diffcult because every gun he has in this book can easily be defended as signifcant. I mean, if you include the P08 Luger, Browning Hi Power, Colt 1911 and Single Action Army and Smith & Wesson Model 29—and that’s just a sampling of the handguns in the book—you’re starting from a strong base. There’s a wealth of long guns as well, and all are given a well-rounded treatment, complete with a full history (well, as full as you can be in a two- to four-page write-up), design notes, full-color photos and, in many cases, the author’s personal experiences with the frearms in question. It’s a fun read and a great reference as well. The book is available from Gun Digest (GunDiGeststore. com) in either hardbound or ebook versions for $30.—J. Scott Rupp


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| SPEEDLOADS SKILLS DRILLS | BY DAVE SPAULDING

Alfredo Rico illustration

10-20-30 DRILL

MOVEMENT IN CONFLICT IS A VALID skill to master, but it should be performed with purpose because shooting and moving complicates the process and affects combat accuracy. I designed this drill to emphasize “moving to shoot.” Basically, it teaches fast movement, planting and shooting accurately and then immediately moving again to make oneself a harder target in a fght. GEAR Usual equipment, 10 rounds of ammo (extra mag or speedloader if your guns holds fewer than 10 shots), shot timer DRILL A single NRA B-8 25-yard timed- or rapid-fre target is placed 20 feet from the shooting line, with two shooting positions 20 feet apart. 16 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

It does not matter on which end the shooter begins. At the beep, draw and fre one round and then immediately move as fast as possible to the next shooting position—keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Stop, plant and fre one round before moving back to the original position. If your handgun holds fewer than 10 rounds you’ll have to perform a reload, preferably while moving. SCORING Goal is all hits in 30 seconds. If all 10 are kept inside the eight ring, it is considered “combat effective,” but the ultimate goal is to keep all rounds inside the black. If any rounds fall outside the eight ring, the run is a failure. WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


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| AMMO SHELF | By PATRICK SWEENEY

SEXY SIG

ONE MAN CHANGES HIS MIND ON THE .357 SIG CARTRIDGE.

18 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

You pay a price for the .357 SIG’s speed and power, but there’s no denying its capability. And in at least one load you can get the performance you need without taking a beating.

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I HAVE TO ADMIT THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES when I’ve been overly snarky when it comes to writing about the .357 SIG. I’ve called it blasty, touchy, hard to reload and not worth the cost to gain the performance. Unveiled in 1994, the .357 SIG was not new in its basic design. Bottlenecked pistol cartridges are as old as the self-loading pistol, which has been around since the late 1800s. The .357 SIG is, for all intents and purposes, a .40 S&W necked down to 9mm, although the case has to be longer than a .40 just to have the dimensions work out properly. What was new was that it allowed a semiauto pistol cartridge to match a revolver— specifcally the .357 Magnum with a 125-grain jacketed hollowpoint—in performance and stopping power. All during the 9mm vs. .45 wars and the stopping power arguments, everyone pretty much agreed that a .357 Magnum loaded with 125-grain jacketed hollowpoints was the ne plus ultra of handgun stopping power. What a lot of people liked to forget was the .357’s performance came with a six-inch barrel and lots of blast and recoil. As a result of the SIG engineers’ work, the .357 SIG has an increase in velocity over the 9mm Luger of up to 300 fps. Please note the “up to.” There are a number of variables entering into this. You might think the increase in velocity is due to a higher operating pressure. Not so. It runs in the same general pressure range as the 9mm, .38 Super and .357 Magnum, give or take a 1,000 psi. No, the larger internal volume allows ammunition companies a wider range of powders to choose from, powders giving them more acceleration without exceeding pressure limits.

The initial unveiling of the .357 SIG was not without problems, but brand-new cartridges, computers and cars all sometimes suffer teething problems. Reloaders also had trouble with it because it is unforgiving of neck-tension variances. What you can get away with neck tension in many other cartridges, the SIG will punish you for—and harshly. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and to hurl a bullet 300 fps faster, you have to put up with increased recoil. Sir Isaac wins all arguments. But in the process of using powders with more-progressive burn rates, you also increase the pressure at the muzzle—which means you increase muzzle blast. And if you shorten the barrel for ease of daily carry, then you lose some of the wondrous speed and gain even more of the blast. But how much? To that end, I tested a fstful of loads in .357 SIG in my Colt Delta,

with an Ed Brown .357 SIG conversion barrel in it. It is heavy, at 38 ounces, and with a fve-inch barrel, it will wring all the speed out of the .357 SIG there is to be had. However, it is not a friendly carry gun due to its size and weight. If you want speed, it is easy to fnd it in the .357 SIG, although not all .357 SIG loads run at warp speed. The new Hornady Critical Duty load generated just over 1,200 fps out of my Colt. I asked the guys at Hornady about the load, and they told me that since this .357 SIG load aces the FBI tests at its 1,225 fps catalog velocity, why subject their customers to a lot more abuse by trying to generate more than 1,300 fps? The blast and recoil would far outweigh any benefts of extra expansion or penetration. One of my fellow club members who helped me in chronographing the Critical Duty load questioned its lack of speed, commenting that a 9mm WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


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| AMMO SHELF can be pushed to 1,200 fps. Yes, but you can’t do it with a 135-grain bullet and still meet SAAMI 9mm pressure specs. (As an aside, the performance of the .357 SIG Critical Duty load encourages me for the future of the .38 Super, a cartridge I’m quite fond of. Getting a 135-grain bullet up to 1,225 fps out of the Super is a piece of cake compared to doing it in a 9mm.) In talking to SIG, I fnd it sells a lot of pistols to state wildlife resource agencies as well as state police agencies (the Texas Rangers carry SIGs in .357 SIG). This makes sense. When you work around automobiles or have

to dispatch injured animals, it is diffcult to have too much performance or velocity. The problem with the .357 SIG is not so much the cartridge but with the bureaucrats who choose it. Selecting a warp-speed cartridge and then issuing it in pistols with fourinch barrels, you lose some of that speed. Of course, issuing those same pistols in 9mm, you’d lose speed from the Luger, too. And since the 9mm doesn’t exactly start out with a stunning surplus of speed, cutting it back is more of a problem. For reloaders, the problem of the .357 SIG involves its short neck. You

.357 SIG PERFORMANCE .357 SIG

Fiocchi FMJ Cor-bon JHP Georgia Arms FMJ Hornady XTP Hornady XTP Hornady Critical Duty Speer Gold Dot HP Michigan Ammo FMJ SIG Sauer V-Crown

Bullet Weight (gr.)

124 125 125 124 147 135 125 125 125

Muzzle Velocity (fps)

1,366 1,470 1,449 1,394 1,241 1,206 1,329 1,324 1,332

Standard Deviation

Avg. Group (in.)

6.0 7.4 11.2 9.0 10.3 11.6 13.7 27.4 12.9

3.00 3.50 3.25 2.75 2.50 2.75 3.25 3.75 2.50

Notes: Test gun was Colt Delta fitted with an Ed Brown .357 SIG conversion barrel. Accuracy results are averages of four five-shot groups at 25 yards. Velocities are averages of 10 shots measured on a PACT MKIV chronograph set 15 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviations: FMJ, full metal jacket; HP, hollowpoint; JHP, jacketed hollowpoint

simply must use a neck expander with a diameter small enough to ensure a weasel-like grip on the bullet. Failing that, you’ll have feeding problems from mangled necks and set-back bullets. Well, that and bullet length. You’ll have to be careful to use only bullets that can be seated short enough to stay under overall length. A good reloading manual can help here. With a carry load such as the Critical Duty as the trump card, the only complaint I can muster against the .357 SIG is the case shape cuts down on magazine capacity. Coming from someone who is quite comfortable packing an eight-shot pistol, this is a pretty faint damning of a cartridge that delivers what it promises. I really can’t fault it there. And the use of the Hornady load in a four-inch barrel means you are still a step ahead of a 9mm—without the oppressive muzzle blast of the hot loads in the SIG. The more I consider this, the more I think I should own more than just a single frearm in .357 SIG. The cartridge is starting to grow on me. It is sort of like Scarlett Johansson: short, curvy and more than a bit exciting.


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| DEFENSIVE TACTICS | By WALT RAUCH

FLANKING MANEUVER A WELL-KNOWN ADAGE SAYS THAT IF YOU have only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. In these columns, my focus has been on the use of a handgun, but using a gun is not always the best solution. This point was brought home to me when I was recently questioned as to what I would do if I were surrounded by, say, four men in a tunnel. My immediate response was I wouldn’t get into such a position in the frst place. But then I recalled that when I worked on the waterfront, I would routinely walk into crowds of stevedores and search them for stolen cargo, so the idea of being surrounded by four men wasn’t as farfetched as it frst appeared. As the questioner and I got into the “what if” game, we feshed out and defned the problem. The tunnel is long, it’s otherwise unoccupied and I’m armed. I said that if I was so unlucky as to get into this pickle, I would turn around and get the hell out of there if possible. I don’t believe there’s any point in just standing there, hoping the four predators would decide I was such a nice guy they would leave me alone. Four men surrounding you in a confned space does not lend itself to conducting a philosophical discussion with them about the meaning of life. To further explain how to get out of this fx if you can’t get away, the frst thing to do is to try to fank two or more of the aggressors. If they happen to line up in a row, move to either end of the line. That way, only two of them have the “reach” to get to you while the others wait their turn. I also repeated what I said earlier: As soon as I realized I had walked into this mess, I would run like hell! 22 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

Alfredo Rico illustration

MULTIPLE ASSAILANTS USUALLY MEANS TAKING EVASIVE ACTION, NOT DRAWING A GUN.

Can you legally attack four men in the absence of any threatening action on their part? By them just being there, they are already menacing you. Would I use my handgun? Certainly not at frst contact. You might be able to argue your case successfully in court, but then again, maybe not. That’s the problem with “self-defense” absent a visible and physically direct threat. You can’t legally use deadly force in the face of mere “menacing,” so you have only two choices: Don’t get into this pickle or run like hell.

Whatever It Takes Now, if they attempt to grab you and restrain you, or if they continue to close in, that’s another story. All bets are off at this point, and you do whatever you have to do to live. I would push, shove, kick and stomp my way through the group, all the while being primed to use deadly force at the frst indication I wasn’t going to get away. This particular problem is actually a rather clear-cut situation for the use of as much force as necessary to evacuate the area. It gets more com-

plicated when you’re approached by two or more aggressors while you’re walking on a street, out in the open and in broad daylight. They usually don’t exhibit any hostile movements at frst (other than approaching you), and they most often are simply asking an innocuous question such as directions or the time or asking for spare change. If one guy moves on you, he may or may not be a threat, and you’ll have to hold back any attack. But don’t let him get close. Keep backing away from him and tell him frmly and loudly to back off or stay away. Given the odds of running into a deaf-mute or a foreigner who doesn’t understand the English language, it’s a safe bet if the guy doesn’t comply he’s telling you that you’re in for it— particularly if he can get his hands on you. Don’t let anyone put hands on you. In my experience, what you’ll get is the aggressor reaching out his hand to “just shake hands” as he blathers on about not wanting anything but a handout or directions. But why on earth would you shake hands? You haven’t even been WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


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| DEFENSIVE TACTICS introduced. Slip the outstretched hand off your arm or even bat it away. You might think you’ll make the situation worse if you’re loud and abrupt and strike his hand (or hands). You won’t. He’s already committed himself. Talk to any good defensive tactics instructor and he’ll show you what he can do to control you and how fast it happens if he can get a hand on you. I would also say if there are two or more, you are in trouble and should do whatever is necessary to get out of Dodge. You don’t want to take a hit because they may well be able to hit much harder than you can “take.” One good punch to the head can take out an eye or break a jaw. Now, about the running away part. There’s nothing noble about staying, fghting and losing—or staying and winning, for that matter. In these

24 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

sorts of situations, you’ll get hurt regardless of the outcome. Of course, nothing I’ve said thus far applies when you’re the fool who is forced to go into a crowd. When I worked cargo theft on the Philadelphia waterfront, frst for the Marine Trade Association and then as security chief at one of the marine terminals, part of the job was to wait at various piers’ exit gates and search stevedores as they left the posted property. This translated into walking into groups of up to 20 men as they left work. In this instance, we created the problem, even though it was part of our job description, and we were on shaky ground if we initiated any force. But if the suspect and his associates were “uncooperative,” we were surrounded by a dozen or so men visibly “armed” with hand-held cargo

hooks. Then it left us no choice but to move up to some form of deadly force, usually a handgun. The good side of this job was that these workers knew we would shoot if they fought, so our guns were never used in the sense of shooting, although we very much telegraphed intent by (usually, but not always, two of us) moving to fank the group in order to indicate we were prepared to do “something.” The bright spot in dealing with the workers was they came to work, not steal, and they thought picking up some goods such as imported canned food or liquor was a “bennie.” But if they were caught, they knew it wasn’t worth more than mouthing off and crowding us a little. They certainly didn’t want to risk being seriously harmed or killed for a tin of canned ham.

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| ON PATROL | By DAVE SPAULDING

SKILLS VS. DRILLS

THERE ARE SKILLS, THERE ARE DRILLS—AND THEN THERE’S A REAL FIGHT.

26 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

Don’t be fooled into thinking what you learn on a square range is suffcient to carry the day in a gunfght. Train hard, train smart, but don’t think this will be enough.

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RECENTLY, I WAS TEACHING A COMBATIVE pistol course to a group of law enforcement offcers and legally armed citizens. Although many instructors call the basic handgun skills “fundamentals,” I prefer to use the word “essentials,” as shooters must have these skills in order to use a handgun for any combative application. I begin many of my courses with several “time in” drills “cold” in order to evaluate each student’s skill sets. One drill is to draw from the holster and hit an eight-inch square at 20 feet. My time standard for this is two seconds. During one particular course, one of the students drew his frearm for drill number two and shot in a slow, deliberate manner. It took him more than three seconds to complete. It was, I supposed, an attempt to be deliberate and accurate, so I asked him to do it again, assuming he’d step up his pace on his second run. But he performed the drill with the same deliberate slowness. A bit befuddled, I asked about the speed of his draw stroke, and he said he found it led to a higher level of success on some particular drill he was fond of. I followed up by asking him what other skills he practices regularly and he told me, “None, I feel this drill is an excellent compilation of what I will need to win a gunfght. It covers it all.” After a brief pause, I said, “Except someone shooting back at you.” He didn’t know what to say since he had never thought of that aspect. I fnd this mentality in my classes more often than I would like. Few people have experienced closequarter combat with a handgun, so they confuse their competition

experience with what they believe will be combat. The brutal truth is they’re not the same. Although both involve shooting guns and stress, the stress level isn’t equal in severity. I’ve competed in scholastic and collegiate sports as well as competition shooting (PPC, USPSA and IDPA), and I’ve had someone try to kill me on multiple occasions. I can tell you the stress and duress isn’t the same. The activities themselves aren’t the same, either. If there are rules, it’s a sport/competition. There are no rules in a gunfght, so if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying hard enough to win. This is an obvious difference in mindset compared to sport/competition. Recently, I had a student take me

to task on this opinion, saying he had been in a gunfght and thought an IPSC match was much more complicated. I asked him what the circumstances of his gunfght were. He told me: “I had a man kick in my front door and he was holding a knife. I challenged him, and when he approached me with the knife, I shot him. It was actually quite simple.” “How close did he get to you with the knife,” I asked. “About 25 feet or so,” he responded. “So, he never shot at you or tried to stab you with the knife?” “Nope! I ended it too soon.” I congratulated him on his performance and then told him he had been in a shooting, not a gunfght. If you have a choice, a shooting is WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


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| ON PATROL the preferred event and will be more about your level of awareness than your ability to assess and make rapid decisions. Armed confict should be avoided because you always run the risk of losing, no matter how well trained and prepared you are. Worse yet, many people believe they’re better trained and prepared than they really are. It’s called the DunningKruger Effect, and it is defned as “a cognitive bias wherein unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is real. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive

Three Key Drills

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28 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

For specifc details on these drills, complete with full-color illustrations of them, visit handguns.com. EL PRESIDENTE , pioneered by the late Jeff Cooper. I like it because it tests a number of essential skills in a short exercise. Start with your back toward three targets 10 to 12 yards away. Turn and draw from your holster and shoot two rounds at each target. Perform an in-battery reload and then fre two more rounds at each target. Try to get all hits in at 10 seconds or less. 2X2X2 was created by the U.S. Army Special Forces and requires the shooter to draw from the holster and fre two rounds into a 3x5 card at a distance of 20 feet in two seconds. The 3x5 card represents either the heart or ocular vault, and the drill represents the fastest way to bring a pistol fght to a rapid conclusion. 15 TO THE 3RD was designed by me, and it incorporates a number of essential combative pistol skills. Stand 15 feet back from the target, using two fring points that are 15 feet apart. Draw and fre fve rounds into a 3x5 card, then move to the other fring point, fring another fve rounds. Then return to the original position and shoot fve more. The goal is to get all hits in 11 seconds or less.

inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude.” These people enter confict with a serious disadvantage they don’t know they have. Confusing profciency in a particular drill with combat preparation is a symptom of this affiction. Shooting standards and drills during training are an excellent way to build and maintain essential skills, but they aren’t a solution to armed confict—and they never will be. Skills are those essential physical activities needed to shoot well enough to save your own life, a drill is used to reinforce the physical activity, and standards are used to measure performance as training progresses. None of these are a gunfght and to confuse them as some type of equivalent is unwise and potentially deadly. Standards and drills should be viewed as vehicles toward preparation, as should competition, but neither should be confused with being prepared to act. With this understood, drills and standards are useful tools, and most every student of combative pistolcraft is always looking for new ones in which to test their skills. I thought I’d share some of my favorite drills. They’re certainly not all-inclusive, nor should any drill be thought of as such. For more, check out the “Skill Drills” column featured in every issue of Handguns. Hopefully, the difference between drills and standards is apparent. Both are designed to build and test skills, but they should never be confused with what will occur in armed confict. In a gunfght expect nothing: plan on everything potentially failing and be prepared to move on to a contingency plan. The person who will win in armed confict is someone who can adapt his or her essential skills to the situation at hand. This isn’t something that can be taught in a drill or standard shoot. WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


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SMITH & WESSON M&P COMPACT SUPPRESSOR READY

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The name pretty much says it all. The popular semiauto rimfre comes equipped with a supplemental thread adaptor and includes the tools required to install it. The pistol is built on a polymer frame with an aluminum alloy slide; the 3.5-inch barrel is carbon steel. It features three-dot sights adjustable for windage and elevation, and it has a 10+1 capacity. If you already own an M&P22 Compact, a stand-alone suppressor kit is available for $39. {$409, smith-Wesson.com}

SUREFIRE SF RYDER 9 TI

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The Ryder 9 Ti for 9mm pistols uses pig-nose baffes for sound attenuation and reduced muzzle blast, and its design promises easier cleaning—always a consideration with suppressors. The baffes are indexed and numbered for foolproof disassembly and reassembly. The titanium construction keeps the unit light at 9.5 ounces, and the outer tube has rounded edges and futing for an accurate sight picture. The SF Ryder 9 Ti is available in 1/2x28 or M13.5x1 threads. {$799, sureFire.com}

< WINCHESTER W TRAIN & DEFEND .45 ACP The concept for W Train & Defend is as simple as it is brilliant: Pair training ammo with top-notch defensive ammo, download each for less recoil and have them both shoot to the same point of impact. Train with the less expensive 50-per-box T (Train) ammo, then load up with the premium 20-per-box D (Defend) offering for home defense or concealed carry. New is a .45 ACP round. Both loads push 230-grain bullets at 850 fps (four-inch test barrel). Train has a brass case and full-metal-jacket bullet; the Defend uses a nickel-plated case and a bonded, jacketed-hollowpoint bullet. {Winchester.com}

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| ESSENTIALS | By JAMES TARR

THE OEM 411

THE NAME YOU SEE ON A PRODUCT ISN’T ALWAYS THE COMPANY THAT ACTUALLY MADE IT.

32 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

If you have a semiauto pistol and have purchased spare magazines for same, chances are they were made by the Italian frm Mec-Gar, which is marking its 50th year in business.

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IF YOU LIVED IN THE DETROIT AREA, you’d immediately recognize the names Magna, Faurecia, Visteon, Delphi, Borg Warner and TRW as manufacturers—specifcally, Tier 1 OEM (original equipment manufacturers) suppliers to the auto industry. There are Tier 1 OEM suppliers to the frearms industry as well, but most consumers don’t know or care. They just want their gun to work and for parts and accessories to be readily available. But sometimes knowing a little background not only can make you more informed, but also can save you some money. Mec-Gar, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, is one of the biggest OEM parts suppliers to the U.S. frearms industry. The name might be familiar to some people, but most don’t realize how closely this Italian frm is tied to so many American gun companies. What does Mec-Gar make? Handgun magazines. There are a number of companies that make magazines, and I bought Mec-Gar 1911 magazines years before I ever wrote an article. What I didn’t know at the time was Mec-Gar makes the OEM “factory” magazines included when you purchase certain frearms. Off the top of my head, I know Mec-Gar makes the factory magazines for the Smith & Wesson M&P, Ruger SR9, Walther PPQ, Beretta 92 and SIG P226, but those are far from the only ones. While in the midst of writing this article, I was testing the new Canik TP9SA, imported by Century Arms from Turkey. The magazines? Made by Mec-Gar. So why does this matter? Most semiauto handgun owners at some point wish to purchase additional magazines for their pistols. The last

time I did so was about a year ago. I was looking for some additional magazines for my SIG P226 SAO. I couldn’t fnd the Mec-Gar name anywhere on the factory magazines, but I knew it made them. Whether I was looking at the Brownells website or the MidwayUSA website, the SIGmarked magazines were much more expensive than the Mec-Gar magazines—even though Mec-Gar makes all of them. I ended up buying two of MecGar’s Optimized magazines for the SIG P226. They each hold 18 rounds, instead of the factory standard 15, and have different base pads. Normally, I might be a little hesitant to buy magazines offering features not found on factory mags, but knowing the background of the company (and the fact it is the OEM supplier of these magazines) told me the Mec-Gar magazines would have the proper dimensions and be just as reliable as the factory offerings. They are—and are my daily carry magazines for this pistol and helped

me win a local USPSA match. Next time you’re looking to buy some spare magazines for your pistol, check to see if Mec-Gar makes them. Since we are on the topic of parts, accessories and OEM companies, it seems apropos to bring up reloading components. Ammunition companies use OEM suppliers all the time. For example, Nosler Partition bullets can be found in the loaded rife ammunition from several companies. The same goes for Hornady XTP pistol bullets. You might think bullets or primers would be the most common outsourced components for ammunition manufacturers—bullets because their customers demand certain types/brands, and primers because the technology/equipment to manufacture them is so specialized—but the most commonly outsourced component of ammunition is gunpowder. Just as with Mec-Gar and magazines, when it comes to gunpowder, it is wisest to leave the technical WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


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| ESSENTIALS stuff to the experts and pay them for their time and knowledge. Manufacturing smokeless gunpowder is a highly specialized and hazardous endeavor. I don’t even want to guess at what the insurance premiums might be for such business. St. Marks Powders, a division of General Dynamics, is perhaps the

largest supplier of gunpowder to U.S. ammunition manufacturers, but most consumers have never heard of the company. That’s because it doesn’t sell powder under its own name but instead wholesales it to ammunition companies. Even some “gunpowder companies” are really just distribution points for powder made elsewhere. For example, I was doing research recently for an article on loading the .300 Blackout cartridge. The preferred powder for this is H110 from Hodgdon, most commonly used for loading large revolver cartridges such as the .357 Magnum and .44. When I couldn’t get the quantity of H110 that I needed, Ron < While the names and the loads tailored to it are different, Hodgdon H110 and Winchester 296 are in fact the same powder.

© 2015 Kel-Tec CNC Industries, Inc.

Reiber at Hodgdon told me I could also use Winchester 296, as it was the same powder. Not that it had a similar burn rate, but that it was the same exact powder. What does this mean for the consumer? Partly, it means you’ll get a quality product. Gunpowder isn’t one of those products Joe Tacticool can manufacture in his basement. Most of the companies that make gunpowder make only gunpowder. They are specialists. And that’s a good thing. It also means brand loyalty might not mean as much as you think it does (see the Hodgdon/Winchester example). But in much the same way that General Motors can slightly change the body style and offer different options to sell the same vehicle as a Chevy Traverse, GMC Envoy and Buick Enclave, gun-


powder manufacturers tailor their recipes for their customers. And more options are always better. The reloading component least likely to be outsourced is brass cartridge cases, in part because the tools and processes required to form cases are relatively simple. The availability of new brass, however, has always depended on the popularity of the caliber. If you’re looking for some .30 Luger or 10mm Magnum cases (yes, that’s an actual handgun caliber, not to be confused with 10mm) and you can fnd a company that makes them, the frm will probably have some in stock, as demand for niche cartridges is usually slow but steady. The best place to fnd new unprimed cases for rare or weird handgun calibers is Starline Brass (StarlineBraSS.com). Just because

the name might not be familiar to you doesn’t mean its brass isn’t top shelf. For a recent article, I needed some 9x23 Winchester brass, but Winchester didn’t have any in stock. Starline did. Starline serves both competition shooters and collectors. It might not have 100,000 pieces of .360 DW or .44 AutoMag brass on hand, but it’ll have enough. The more common the caliber, the more companies will make the brass, and then you as the consumer can start to get picky about whose name is on the headstamp. Winchester and Remington handgun brass is widely available online in various forms, but you’ve been out of luck if you’d been hoping to fnd new unprimed Hornady handgun brass. However, now that the mad rush we’ve been experiencing has died down a bit, production has

caught up with demand. Hornady has announced six handgun cartridge case offerings for this year: .380 ACP, 9x18mm Makarov, 9mm Luger, .38 Special, .357 Magnum and .40 S&W—in addition to the .357 SIG and .45 ACP it was already selling. This past summer, I had the privilege to tour the Hornady factory and saw workers making cases from raw brass stock. Every case and loaded round that leaves the Hornady factory is inspected by hand, and their cartridge cases are held to tighter dimensional tolerances than SAAMI specifcations. Having loaded rife ammo with its cartridge cases for years, I can attest it is good stuff. Packaged 200 to a box, Hornady handgun brass should be available everywhere by the time you read this.

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THE NEXT LEVEL BY JAMES TARR

THE NEW COMPACT VERSION OF FNH USA’S STRIKER-FIRED FNS MAY FINALLY GRAB THE ATTENTION THE COMPANY’S GUNS DESERVE.

38 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTMBER 2015

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Photo by Michael Anschuetz Art Direction by Heather Ferro

R

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ight now one of the bandwagons gun writers are jumping on is the perception the HK VP9 is the “greatest striker-fred gun ever!” This is a mystery to me not only because just about every other gun company is already making a polymer-framed, striker-fred gun, but also because most of them are as good as or better than the HK VP9. One of those is the FNS from FNH USA, but it hasn’t gotten nearly the press and attention as some competing designs. Now that FNH has introduced a Compact version of the FNS—the FNS-C—perhaps this perception will change. The FNS is a full-size pistol, a great duty gun but a little big to carry concealed. The FNS-C is reduced enough in size to be easily concealed, but it’s still large enough to be comfortably shot. It is appropriately named a “compact.” It’s small enough to conceal well in a holster or in a bag or purse, but it’s not a “pocket gun” because it’s too big and heavy for that. FNH has a history of producing frearms for government contracts (it was the U.S. military’s M4 supplier for many years), so I’m not surprised a full-size duty gun was the frst FNS model introduced. I’m also not surprised the frm has followed up with a version aimed at the huge U.S. concealed-carry market. FN Herstal is a Belgian company, but its FNH USA subsidiary is based in Virginia, and the FNS and FNS-C are made in the USA. The FNS has a 4.0-inch barrel; the new FNS-C sports a 3.6-inch barrel. The designers did away with the small beavertail at the back of the frame. The end result is a pistol more than half an inch shorter up top. But the biggest difference is in the frame, which is almost an inch shorter, and it is the frame much more than the slide that determines how well a pistol can be concealed. The FNS-C is available in 9mm and .40 S&W. I received the 9mm version (offcially the FNS-9C)

to test, and it weighs 23.4 ounces empty. FN pistols have a similar look, distinctive and spare. The lines of the FNS slide are mostly straight, with few curves anywhere on the gun other than the backstrap and the large oval trigger guards. The FNS-C has the exact same look, although the upper portion of the slide is slightly narrower than the bottom, which gives it a stepped look. The top of the FNS-C’s slide is fat, which aids in aiming as your hands come up and your eyes look for the sights. As for sights, the FNS-C has an excellent set for a factory gun. They’re steel three-dots, with a no-snag rear and post front, both dovetailed into the slide. The notch in the rear sight is wide with a shallow V shape to the bottom, and the rear of the sight is serrated to reduce glare. The white dot in the front sight is larger than the two in the rear, making it easy to pick out. I prefer a plain black rear sight as the rear sight should be used as a window frame—you look through it, not at it—but having a larger front sight dot is a good compromise. These pistols are available with night sights as well. The slide is stainless steel with a matte black fnish. (Versions of this gun are available with a polished silver slide.) The cold-hammerforged barrel is stainless steel as well, with a black fnish. It has an external extractor with a loaded chamber indicator. The slide has angled, fat-bottomed cocking serrations front and back, with the FN logo on the left side. Fit on my sample pistol was excellent. There was just the tiniest bit of play between the slide and frame, and the barrel locked up solid. With the slide forward, I couldn’t get the barrel to move at all by pushing down on the hood, which, short of shooting, is the only sure way to predict the accuracy of a pistol. The barrel has an integral

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 HANDGUNS 39


THE NEXT LEVEL polymer-frame, striker-fred gun, it was boring and average in every way—which isn’t a bad thing. The trigger itself is all polymer with a wide, rounded face. The trigger is hinged in the middle (the pivoting lower half features a drop safety), but you can’t feel the hinge while shooting. The trigger guard

The slide lock lever is just that, a lock lever. It’s too unobtrusive to use as a release lever. The mag release was also a little on the paltry side, in Tarr’s opinion—making it diffcult to operate without shifting his fring grip on the gun.

FNH USA

FNS-C

TYPE: striker-fired semiauto CALIBER: 9mm (tested), .40 S&W CAPACITY: 12 (2), 17-round magazines supplied (where legal) BARREL: 3.6 in. OAL/HEIGHT/WIDTH: 6.7/4.4/1.3 in. WEIGHT: 23.4 oz. CONSTRUCTION: black polymer frame, two interchangeable backstraps; matte black stainless slide (as tested) SIGHTS: steel 3-dot SAFETY: passive (on trigger), manual (planned option, not tested) TRIGGER: 6.5 lb. (measured) PRICE: $599, $649 (night-sight version) MANUFACTURER: FNH-USA, FNHusa.com

The pistol comes with not one, not two, but three magazines. The fush-ft one (top) has a little lip on the front the author didn’t care for, but most people will probably shoot and carry the fnger-hook version (center). Both hold 12 rounds. The 17-rounder (bottom) has a grip extension and would be a great backup reload if you’re carrying one of the smaller magazines.

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40 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

like you’d get with a double-action revolver; if you pull the trigger and nothing happens, you’ll have to work the slide to get going again. The more important question is, What’s the trigger pull like? Fear not, the FNS-C does not have a revolver-esque long, heavy, doubleaction trigger pull but rather one similar to all other striker-fred guns: a bit of plasticky take-up, then a slightly “sproinky” break. FNH USA advertises trigger pulls between 5.5 and 7.7 pounds for the FNS-C. Total pull weight on my sample was exactly 6.5 pounds, which is the same advertised pull weight for Smith & Wesson M&Ps and Springfeld Armory XDs. Total trigger travel including take-up was half an inch, with a quarterinch reset. For the trigger pull of a

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feed ramp, and both it and the chamber are polished. Working the slide takes a bit of effort because the FNS-9C comes equipped with a dual recoil spring. While this pistol is American-made, the company has European roots, and European gun companies love to equip pistols with recoil springs measured in metric tons. These are captured recoil springs in a steel guide rod assembly. Like all striker-fred guns the slide rides on steel rails set into the polymer frame, but the FNS-C frame rails are replaceable and not molded into the frame like they are on many other polymer guns. FNH USA has plans to sell versions of the FNS-C with an ambidextrous manual frame-mounted safety at the top rear of the frame, but this pistol was not so equipped. The controls it does have are rather simple: an ambidextrous slide release and an ambidextrous magazine release, in addition to a takedown lever. The magazine release I fnd a bit weird in shape and function. The release button itself is steel and teardrop shaped, with a serrated surface. It does not project far from the frame, and I think it doesn’t project enough. When pushing it in far enough to drop the magazine (which is quite a ways and required me to break my fring grip), I found the opposite side of the ambi safety pushing against my middle fnger. The slide stop is just that—a stop and not a slide release. Don’t try releasing the slide by pushing down on it because there’s just not enough there for purchase. It is further protected on either side by polymer wings. Once you’ve inserted a fresh mag just give the slide a tug to chamber a new round. FNH USA describes the FNS as having a double-action trigger. It sure seems like the striker is slightly pre-cocked inside the slide before trigger pull, so I don’t know if technically it is a true double action. There is no restrike capability

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THE NEXT LEVEL is oval in shape and wide. The front of the trigger guard is serrated for those who shoot with a fngerforward hold. The front of the frame is covered with small, horizontal serrations that aren’t as aggressive as I would like, but the rest of the frame makes up for it. Both sides and the backstrap are covered in raised squares, almost like disarticulated checkering, that do an excellent job of gripping the hand. The front of

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The FNS-9C has steel sights, and the front dot is larger than the rear two—which is a big help in sight acquisition because the eyes are drawn to the larger dot.

the frame has a three-slot MILSTD 1913 tactical rail for mounting lights, lasers and combo units. The frame features interchangeable backstraps, and two were provided with the pistol. I would consider them medium and small; the medium is what comes installed on the pistol. The full-size FNS backstraps have lanyard eyelets, but they are not present on the Compact. The magazine well opening in the frame has been beveled to smooth reloads, which is a nice touch. As for the magazines, the full-size 9mm FNS had a 17-round magazine, and FN earned big kudos by supplying each pistol with three magazines. The FNS-C in 9mm has a fush magazine capacity of 12, and it also is supplied with three magazines— but each magazine is different. The frst magazine is a 12-rounder

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The FNS-9C is a controllable gun for a compact and shoots as well as a full-size gun, but with the right holster and clothing, it’s also easily conceal-

ACCURACY RESULTS | FNH USA FNS-9C 9mm Luger

SIG Elite FMJ Hornady American Gunner +P Black Hills JHP Hornady XTP

Bullet Weight (gr.)

Muzzle Velocity (fps)

Standard Deviation

Avg. Group (in.)

115 124 124 147

1,077 1,063 1,056 955

15 6 13 11

3.1 2.9 2.4 2.5

Notes: Accuracy results are the averages of four five-shot groups at 25 yards from a sandbag rest. Velocities are averages of 10 shots measured with an Oehler Model 35 12 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviation: FMJ, full metal jacket; JHP, jacketed hollowpoint

42 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

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THE NEXT LEVEL with a fush-ftting base pad. The second magazine is a 12-rounder with an extended fnger hook polymer base pad. The third magazine is a full-size 17-round FNS magazine with a polymer grip sleeve. I don’t have large hands, and for reference, I wear medium gloves (at least according to Mechanix sizing). With the fush magazine in place, I can just barely get all my fngers on the gun, although because the base pad protrudes a bit from the front of the frame it isn’t as comfortable as I would like. If this was my gun, I would grind down a bit on the front of the base pad so it ft fush with the front of the frame. With the fnger-hook magazine in place, I can easily get my whole hand on the gun, and I presume this is how most people will shoot and carry this gun. The base pad is angled so it won’t print any more than the fush base pad. The 17-rounder with grip extension is a

great magazine for a backup reload. The magazines are steel with a cool blackish-purple fnish. They have black polymer followers and numbered index holes to the rear. My frst trip to the range reinforced my opinion that the fnger hook-equipped magazine will be the most popular one among FNS-9C owners. The fush magazine just didn’t give me the kind of control I wanted over the gun when shooting. While “only” a 9mm, it is a compact pistol with a polymer frame, which means it is light. The extended foorplate made my hands much happier and gave me much more control. Muzzle rise was sharp when shooting +P loads, but the gun was not hard on my hands even with the hottest ammo. I had no problems seeing the big dot on the front sight when doing rapid-fre drills on USPSA silhouettes or while knocking down steel. The FNS-C is defnitely big enough to shoot accurately at

distance while being small enough to carry concealed with the right choice of holster and clothing. One thing to remember when shooting and carrying compact models is you will take a slight hit when it comes to velocities. Most advertised velocities of ammo are generated by fve-inch test barrels. As an example, Hornady’s 124-grain XTP +P load is advertised at 1,200 fps, but out of the FNS-9C’s 3.6-inch barrel, it averaged only 1,063 fps. Still respectable performance, but also something to take into account. The FNS Compact has distinct FN looks and is a solid performer. Big enough to shoot, small enough to carry, supplied with any kind of magazine you might want, all for a competitive price. FNH USA has not reinvented the wheel with this pistol, but it does give gun owners interested in a handgun for selfdefense another quality option. And more choices are always better.


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THE UNSUNG 10 BY PATRICK SWEENEY

DON’T OWN A 10MM AUTO? FIND OUT WHAT YOU’VE BEEN MISSING. 46 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

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ing’s Power Factor, which is a momentum calculation using weight in grains times velocity in feet per second, then drop the last three digits. A hot 9mm will push a 115-grain bullet at 1,200 fps, which gives a 138 PF. A .45 ACP with a 230-grain bullet at 775 fps posts a 178 PF. In my chronograph work for this article, the lowest power factor posted by any of the regular loads was 195. Most were 205 or higher. This is normal for the 10mm for defensive use. There are hunting loads that will smack your hand with a 250 PF or more, but with one exception for this article I concentrated on loads designed for carry or defense. Even so, the 10mm is not for the new shooter or the shooter who is sensitive to recoil. Here is a look at what’s out there. Accuracy results and velocities are on the accompanying chart, ranked in ascending order by Power Factor. Unlike other defensive calibers, the low level of 10mm sales means you won’t fnd a wide variety of cutting-edge bullet technology in factory offerings for this cartridge. However, bullet design has come so far in general that even the previous generation of bullets will work well when harnessed to the horsepower of the 10mm. My experience with the 10mm is that while the lighter bullets can offer somewhat softer recoil, the added muzzle blast from the extra velocity offsets the softer hand-push. I’d rather put up with a smack in the hand than the muzzle blast some of the lighter-weight bullets produce, specifcally those weighing 155 grains and lighter. So, with one exception, I didn’t dip down that low in bullet weight in my testing. Hornady has four offerings, and you can tailor your choice according to the recoil you’re willing to put up with and whether you’re concerned with barriers. At one end we have Critical Defense, a 165-grain bullet not meant to be a barrier-buster. It delivers the 165-grain bullet performance that those who favor the .40 S&W think they are getting—and then some. The 180- and 200-grain XTP loads are amazingly accurate and perform well for being early designs in the gel test era. If you want top performance in relation to the

For a cartridge that never exactly caught fre, today’s selection of 10mm ammunition includes a decent variety of power levels and bullet choices.

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s a bullet diameter, the 10mm has been with us since the .38-40 was developed for the Winchester 1873 rife and introduced in 1874. It became the projectile in a pistol cartridge in the early 1970s when Whit Collins, John Adams and Irv Stone built a Browning Hi Power chambered in a cartridge called the .40 G&A. The Hi Power they came up with held 10 rounds of .40 G&A, and the resulting combination pushed a 180-grain jacketed softpoint at 1,000 fps. It did not, however, generate interest. A little more than 10 years later, the Bren Ten project appeared. Using the .40 G&A as a starting point, in a pistol shaped much along the ergonomics of the CZ 75—perhaps the only 9mm pistol Jeff Cooper had anything good to say about—it introduced the 10mm Auto cartridge to the world. Unfortunately, the ammo maker for the new round, Norma, went above and beyond its task. Instead of a “better than .45” loading, in 1983 the frm gave us a lowend .44 Magnum pistol load: a 200-grain bullet at 1,200 fps. The Bren Ten foundered, mostly due to a magazine shortage, but for other reasons as well, and it looked like the 10mm was a goner as a pistol caliber. Then Colt chambered it in the Government model, which it called the Delta, and SAAMI approved the 10mm Auto in July 1989. This was three years after the infamous 1986 Miami shootout in which eight FBI agents got into a frefght with two criminals, resulting in the death of two FBI agents, along with the crooks. The incident soured the FBI on the 9mm, and the agency decided it wanted the 10mm. However, the agency quickly found out many of its personnel—particularly desk workers—couldn’t pass the qualifcation course with the 10mm. So at the FBI’s behest the ammo companies eased up on the gas pedal. By the time they got down to a 180-grain bullet at 950 fps, there was so much dead airspace in the case they found they could shorten it. Thus the .40 S&W was born; its SAAMI adoption coming just half a year after the 10mm’s. The FBI immediately kicked the 10mm to the curb along with all the pistols it had ordered. With the heat off, the 10mm settled down to a simmer, with two special niches. One is hunting, where you can get a 10mm to exceed the performance of the original Norma load, if you can hang on to the gun. The other is defense. It’s a stellar defensive cartridge, doing what the .45 does but with more rounds in the magazine. Defensive loads for the 10mm are hotter than the .40 S&W with the same bullet weights. The common ones are 155, 165 and 180 grains, but the 10mm can go up to 200 and even 220 grains. For defensive use, the 10mm starts in the .45 ACP +P power region and moves up. A good way to compare loads is via practical shoot-

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 HANDGUNS 47


THE UNSUNG 10 FBI protocols, the Hornady Critical Duty load—a 175-grain bullet designed to max the FBI test parameters—is your choice. Recoil is stout, so be prepared. Not all shooting is defensive. A lot more of it is practice. If you want full metal jacket practice ammo, CCI offers the Blazer, a 200-grain total metal jacket bullet. It’s a gentle load by 10mm standards, but as with any full metal jacket or total metal jacket bullet, it’s going to pull an “Elvis”: If you use it in a home defense situation, it’s going to leave the building unless you live in a masonry house. Limit it to practice. You’ll love the soft recoil, but note its aluminum cases are not reloadable.

While I didn’t get Remington’s only current 10mm load—a UMC round featuring a 180-grain full metal jacket—I did have a box of the company’s old 180-grain jacketed hollowpoint. It’s soft recoiling by 10mm standards, and it’s accurate. If you can fnd any of this, snap it up. ProGrade offers its excellent Defense Grade line with no less than seven different weights from 125 to 200 grains. I tested the 180-grain jacketed hollowpoint. It’s tough, expands like there’s no tomorrow and holds together. Wilson Combat offers 10mm in three weights and two styles: the 140-grain Barnes TAC-XP, Hornady 155-grain XTP and 180-grain Hornady XTP. Again, I tested the 180-grain load because I favor heavier bullets. If you want the performance at the +P end of things, the Wilson load is one of your best choices. Be ready, though, for some manly recoil. A 180-grain bullet steaming along at just over 1,300 fps is not for the recoil sensitive. Accurate and reliable in the extreme, it is a robust load to be carrying. HPR offers jacketed hollowpoints < Sweeney tested 10mm loads out of a Kimber Custom TLE II. Well-built 10mm pistols tend to be accurate, and the Kimber was no exception.

10MM AUTO PERFORMANCE RESULTS 10mm Auto

Civil Defense JHP Remington JHP CCI Blazer TMJ Hornady XTP Hornady Critical Duty Hornady FTX Federal Trophy Bonded ProGrade JHP HPR JHP Hornady XTP Wilson Combat XTP DoubleTap Nosler JHP

Bullet Weight (gr.)

Muzzle Velocity (fps)

Standard Deviation

Avg. Group (in.)

Power Factor

60 180 200 180 175 165 180 180 180 200 180 200

2,468 1,080 988 1,141 1,178 1,264 1,181 1,206 1,226 1,127 1,319 1,198

29.0 21.3 15.1 26.1 8.1 19.3 6.9 18.5 34.6 10.1 11.3 12.6

3.00 2.25 2.50 1.75 2.25 2.00 2.50 2.00 1.75 2.25 2.50 2.00

148 195 197 205 206 208 212 217 221 225 237 239

Notes: Accuracy results are averages of five, five-shot groups at 25 yards off a Sinclair front shooting rest. Velocities are averages of 10 shots measured on a PACT MKIV chronograph set 15 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviations: JHP, jacketed hollowpoint; TMJ, total metal jacket

48 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

in 180- and 200-grain weights, as well as a total metal jacket 180-grainer. I shot the 180-grain jacketed hollowpoint, which is just a step behind the original Norma load in power. Still, in the scheme of things it turned out to not really be that hard in recoil, and it shot brilliantly. I tested a Federal load meant for hunting, but it doesn’t give the impression it was meant to knock unruly bruins back on their heels. With its 180-grain Trophy Bonded bullet, it delivered a nice, controllable 1,181 fps. Most hunting-oriented loads will be booting 200-grain bullets past that speed—or 220s up to that velocity. As a defensive load, something like this would have a lot of utility if you expect to be working in and around vehicles a lot. The weight and speed will slice through intermediate barriers, and being a bonded softpoint, it will hold together very well. In fact, if you subjected it to the FBI tests, I’d expect it to “fail” due to over-penetration. Perhaps it wouldn’t be my frst choice for home defense, but I would put it high on the list for an armored car guard or a state trooper. In fact, many of the 10mm loads ft such a use because they’re robust enough to penetrate chance obstacles such as sheet steel, walls and heavy glass. This is where the 10mm can shine, if you need such performance. DoubleTap uses Nosler bullets across the board, from 135 grains all the way up to 200. The 200-grain Nosler jacketed hollowpoint so closely duplicates the original Norma load that I was at frst a bit perplexed. I remembered the Bren Ten being harsher than the recoil I felt with the DoubleTap ammo on this test. But back then we were shooting a Bren Ten, which has a slightly higher bore axis than a 1911. Plus we were shooting it indoors, and that was a million rounds ago. I WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


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THE UNSUNG 10

Currently Available 10mm Pistols Delta Elite ($1,099) DAN WESSON Razorback ($1,350), Silverback ($2,064) EAA Witness, 10 versions ($607 to $1,179) GLOCK G20, G29 ($687); G20SF ($637); G40-MOS ($840) KIMBER Custom TLE II, 2 versions ($1,080 to $1,178), Stainless Target II ($1,108), Eclipse Custom II ($1,279) NIGHTHAWK , many models can be upgraded to 10mm for $200 upcharge PARA USA Elite LS Hunter ($1,249) REPUBLIC FORGE , many models can be upgraded to 10mm for $125 upcharge ROCK ISLAND FS and MS Tactical, four versions ($749 to $822), Pro Match, two versions ($1,186 to $1,342) SIG P220, three versions ($1,422 to $1,713) STI Nitro 10 ($1,599), Perfect 10 ($2,599) WILSON COMBAT, nine models ($2,865 to $5,195) COLT

guess I’ve gotten a lot more used to recoil. We can’t leave the recoil talk without considering Liberty’s Civil Defense load. No, the numbers on the chart are not typos. It really did deliver a 60-grain bullet at more than 2,400 fps. I’ve seen short-barreled ARs that won’t launch a bullet so fast. The recoil wasn’t as hard as the heavier-bullet loads, and while the rounds hit just a shade low, it wasn’t so much you’d be off by more than halfway between shirt buttons on an attacker. The test gun was a Kimber Custom TLE RL/II, a full-size Series II. It features a rail perfect for mounting a light, laser or combo unit, and the rail’s extra weight aided in recoil control. I conducted my test over the winter and was wearing a pair of light gloves, so I never felt recoilabused at any time in the testing. When I was chronographing loads, I used the range’s 100-yard gong as my aiming point. Out of a 10-shot

string, I’d hit the gong between seven and nine times. And when it came to accuracy testing, the Kimber turned in some stellar groups. This didn’t surprise me because a properly built 10mm is going to be an accurate handgun.

Reloading the 10 I did quite a bit of research on the 10mm for reloading back in the early 1990s when it looked like I was going to score a couple of 55-gallon drums of once-fred brass. For those who want to ease their practice costs, reloading the 10mm is about as simple as it gets. The case is tough as hell and has no taper, so it will withstand multiple loadings. Unlike the .40 S&W, the 10mm uses a Large Pistol primer, which means you’ll have a lot of fame volume for sure ignition. You don’t even have to change your primer feed system from what you’d use for .45 ACP, .44 Magnum and other big-bore handgun cartridges.

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carry/home defense load you’ve selected and you’re good to go. Oh, and one more point regarding the .40 S&W, the cartridge that essentially pushed the 10mm Auto out of the spotlight. The FBI recently came

to the realization that the .40 doesn’t do enough more than the 9mm does to make it worth the extra work, and the agency is going to shift back to the 9. The 10mm doesn’t care: It still works.

Hornady offers both its standard XTP bullet, which is known for accuracy, and its Critical Duty design, which was designed primarily for law enforcement because it performs so well on barriers.

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When it comes to bullets, the popularity of the .40 S&W actually aided the 10mm because the bullet diameters are the same and weights are the same. Jacketed, hard-cast, plated…all the .40 bullets work in a 10mm. You can go from cast 155-grainers at 800 fps up to 220-grainers at more than 1,200 fps, and all you need to do is swap out recoil springs. If you want jacketed bullets or plated ones, they can be found from 135 grains up to 200 grains. The cases last forever, although I have to tell you that resizing oncefred cases that had been loaded and shot with hard-cast 220-grain bullets pushed to more than 1,200 fps is defnitely manly work. For defensive purposes, you need not load into that territory. Practice ammunition with lead bullets— 180-grainers at just under the speed of sound—will serve you well. Then a quick pass with a bore-brush and a fresh magazine loaded with the

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AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 HANDGUNS 51


READY FOR YOUR

CLOSE-UP? BY RICHARD NANCE | PHOTOS BY ALFREDO RICO


DEALING WITH A THREAT AT ARM’S LENGTH IS A DIFFERENT KIND OF GUNFIGHT. HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.

S

ince handguns are projectile weapons, it’s easy to assume that if you were to fre at an assailant who posed a deadly threat, it would be from a distance far greater than arm’s length. While distance is generally favorable to the defensive handgunner, it’s a luxury we don’t always have. Any number of factors can affect the distance from which we are attacked and, therefore, the

amount of time we have to respond. It could be we’re less attentive than we should be and fail to recognize a potential threat until it is upon us, or maybe the crook’s behavior doesn’t telegraph his intent to accost us. After all, a mugger would starve to death if he demanded an intended victim’s money from so far a distance the potential victim had time to draw a gun or escape. Another possibility is that what starts out as a conversation leads to an argument then to an assault. Even if you detect potential danger, an assailant can close distance with surprising speed. Think you’ll have time to respond? Well, thanks to Dennis Tueller’s research, we know the average person can cover a distance of 21 feet in about 1.5 seconds. This happens to be about the same time it takes a reasonably profcient shooter to draw and fre two center of mass hits. Keep in mind a “tie” in such a scenario could result in you being seriously injured or worse. Regardless of the circumstances, there are some nuances specifc to close-quarter combat you need to be aware of. First, you need to realize that attempting to draw your gun without frst addressing an assailant’s weapon is a good way to get shot, stabbed or bludgeoned. Second, in close quarters, the role of your off hand becomes critical because it will be used to defend, control or strike as appropriate. Third, you need to be profcient in shooting with your gun indexed to your chest. In this position you are more capable of retaining the gun, but you’ll have to “aim” it without using the sights. Last but certainly not least, the fnal element of your close-quarter shooting repertoire is aggressiveness. When faced with a deadly threat, the natural tendency is to reach for your handgun. In close quarters, this tactic is dangerous because your assailant has a head start. Yes, bringing your gun into

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 HANDGUNS 53


READY FOR YOUR CLOSE-UP? play is a high priority, but you must negate the attacker’s weapon in order to facilitate your draw. If the weapon is static, as would be the case when an assailant holds you at gunpoint, knifepoint, metal pipe-point or what have you, your task is far simpler than if the weapon is in motion. When you’re accosted by someone who’s only threatening with a weapon as opposed to pulling the trigger or actively trying to cut you or strike you, the action versus reaction principle works in your favor. In such case, the attacker may certainly try to harm you, but his intent is likely to frst gain your compliance by threatening you with a weapon. For example, an armed assailant may demand your wallet or other valuables, or worse yet, he may order you into a vehicle or to a more remote area to lessen the odds of him being caught. If, based on the circumstances, you feel that handing over your wallet, watch or whatever else the assailant

Against a static weapon, the fastest way to get off-line of the attack is to move the attacker’s weaponbearing arm and your body in different directions simultaneously. If you’re carrying a holstered gun along the right side of your waist, using your left hand to redirect the weapon enables you to draw your gun with your right hand. Rather than simply slapping the assailant’s arm away, grab his wrist and force the arm away. This affords you better control.

Be mindful of your off hand as you draw; try not to let the muzzle of your gun sweep across your arm or hand. Speaking of your off hand, most shooters are taught to bring this hand to their chest as they draw so the gun is positioned to join their shooting hand as the gun is driven toward the threat. This makes perfect sense when the assailant is several feet away, but in close quarters, bringing your off hand to your chest is dangerous. When your off hand is against your chest, it offers no protection from incoming attacks. It’s much more benefcial to use your off hand to shield your head or, better yet, to strike or shove the assailant to take his balance and create enough distance to draw your gun. Of course, when your off hand is in play, there’s a chance it could wind up in front of the muzzle of your gun. In a close-range deadly force encounter, you may inadvertently sweep the muzzle of your gun past a portion of your body, which

If the situation is dire and you need to draw when an assailant has the drop on you, take care of his weapon frst. Grab and push his arm one way while you move your body in a different direction, creating space and opportunity to draw.

This is a good way to shoot your own hand. Instead, get the off hand in the attacker’s face and index the gun against your chest, canted downward, and fre if the situation calls for it.

demands will satisfy him, then by all means cooperate. Keep in mind, however, that cooperating with an armed attacker does not guarantee your safety. After getting what he wants, he may decide not to leave a witness to his crime. When an assailant intends to move you from one location to another, it’s probably best to make your stand then and there. Rarely does being taken to another location end well for the victim.

Get Of-Line

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is why it’s critical to keep your fnger out of the trigger guard until you’re on target and have made a conscious decision to fre. You can mitigate the risk of your off hand crossing the muzzle by indexing the gun to your chest. Though you may not realize it, indexing your gun to your chest is a natural component of your draw stroke. A proper index involves your elbow rising to full extension with the heel of your hand pressed against your chest. Your hand should be canted outward (clockwise for a right-handed shooter) to keep the slide from snagging on your clothing. Indexing your gun to your body is benefcial in two ways. First, with the gun against your body, it’s far less accessible to the suspect. Even if he does manage to grab it, you will have the leverage needed to retain it. Second, with a consistent index, you can fre predictably placed rounds at close range without having to see the sights on your handgun. When your hips and shoulders square to the threat and your gun is indexed to your chest, your body aims your gun.

Pelvic Shot From this indexed position, your muzzle will likely be angled slightly downward. At arm’s length, this may result in any shots hitting the assailant’s pelvis. The pelvis—or pelvic girdle, as it sometimes referred to—is a widely accepted secondary target when rounds to the chest are ineffective because the assailant is wearing body armor, is under the infuence of drugs, or is just hell bent on attacking you until his body literally shuts down. While a pelvis shot may not immediately incapacitate your adversary, one or more shots to this structure is likely to prevent it from supporting the assailant’s weight, in essence rendering him immobile. Of course, being shot anywhere (particularly multiple times at WWW.HANDGUNS.COM

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close range) is likely to generate a “psychological stoppage” because the assailant’s mindset is transformed from attack mode to self-preservation mode. With your muzzle oriented at the pelvis and your off hand either protecting your head or, ideally, in contact with the assailant’s head, there’s less chance of your hand or arm crossing in front of the muzzle. Unfortunately, during the course of the fght, it may not be feasible to use the index position. For instance, if you were to direct the assailant’s weapon-bearing arm downward, you would risk shooting your own hand by delivering rounds from the index position. In such case, targeting the assailant’s head may be a better option. In close quarters, aggressiveness reigns supreme. When a murderous criminal grabs hold of you, many of the fundamentals of marksmanship are meaningless. Stance, grip and follow-through are still applicable, but sight alignment, sight picture, trigger control and breath control are of little consequence. Understanding the importance of aggression is one thing, but translating that aggression into an effective technique is quite another.

Being defensive is no way to win a close-quarter gunfght. As a rookie police offcer, I remember being taught a technique called the Speed Rock. This technique entails leaning your upper body back to facilitate your draw stroke when faced with a deadly threat in extreme close quarters. The rationale behind the Speed Rock makes sense. By leaning away, you’re able to create a few inches of space and steal a few ticks off the clock. Theoretically, this would allow you to bring your gun in to play. However, in application, the Speed Rock fails to account for the fact that by leaning your upper body

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Aggression wins. Drive the attacker back by forcing his head back and powering through with your legs while drawing the gun. You can fre from the chest index position and then disengage and assess. WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


away, you’re compromising your own balance and inviting an aggressive assailant to literally run you over. You may be forced to employ the Speed Rock in a situation where you are shoved back against an object such as a railing or a vehicle; however, your goal should always be to take the assailant’s balance. Make him backpedal. Make him Speed Rock! In the martial arts, there’s an adage, “Where the head goes, the body follows.” One of the simplest ways to take a person’s balance is to elevate his chin with your palm. With his head tilted back, you can drive an assailant back on his heels rather easily. As he’s backpedaling, he’ll be more concerned with regaining his balance than harming you. If the assailant attacked you with a deadly weapon, you could then shoot him from the index position then disengage and assess from a two-handed sighted-fre position. You’re not merely striking his chin with your palm. While this may be an effective strike, the assailant need only take a step back to regain his balance. Rather than striking the assailant and retracting your arm, drive your palm under his chin and literally run forward, directly at the assailant. He’ll have little choice but move backward. At this point, you will have gained the upper hand, essentially turning predator into prey. If you’re caught off guard by an armed assailant, the fact that you’re an excellent shot carries little weight. In order to prevail, you will need to have prepared specifcally for this fast-paced, unforgiving realm of combat. Resist the urge to draw your gun without frst addressing the bad guy’s weapon. Realize the important role of your off hand in the fght. When possible, index the gun to your chest for optimal retention and effective unsighted aiming of your handgun. And most importantly, ramp up your aggression. Being defensive is no way to win a close-quarter gunfght. WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


58 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

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TAKING

CHARGE BY BRAD FITZPATRICK

RUGER’S OFF-THE-WALL CHARGER AND CHARGER TAKEDOWN STRADDLE THE LINE BETWEEN PISTOLS AND RIFLES AND CREATE A NEW NICHE OF FUN GUNS.

Photo by Michael Anschuetz Art Direction by Heather Ferro

B

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ill Ruger was a guy who thought outside the box, and although some of his designs left gun writers scoffing and scratching their heads, most of his creations were home runs with consumers. In the 1950s, as more and more handgun shooters were moving away from single-action revolvers in favor of more modern double-action designs, Ruger introduced the Single Six and Blackhawk, both of which were immediately successful. With bolt-action rifes dominating the hunting scene in the 1960s, Ruger introduced a brand-new centerfre single shot, the Ruger No. 1. Critics condemned the new design, but consumers loved the gun, and the No. 1 remains one of the brand’s most iconic frearms. In 2007 Ruger introduced the Charger, a brand-new pistol design based on the 10/22. It featured a gray laminate stock with an oversize target grip and came with a screwon base for mounting optics and the type of accuracy you’d expect from any frearm with direct lineage to the company’s 10/22 rife. But not long after the quirky Charger .22 appeared on the shooting scene, it vanished, which was a shame. It seemed like a great idea that never had time to take hold among mainstream shooters.

The team at Ruger knew it had something special, though, and the Charger was too good to disappear from the frearms landscape forever. The model has reappeared in the lineup for this year—a little trimmer, a little more versatile, but still just as funky and accurate. Ruger introduced two revamped Charger models at this year’s SHOT Show (which, if you’re not familiar with it, is the frearms industry’s big trade show held in January or February each year). There’s a Standard version that’s similar in overall design to the original Charger from 2007 as well as a new Takedown version. Both models come with a 10-inch cold-hammer-forged barrel that has 1/2x28 threads per inch for a muzzle device, a Picatinny rail on top of the aluminum alloy receiver for mounting optics, an A2-style pistol grip and a fore-end much slimmer than the original. Additionally, both come with a bipod that mounts to the front sling stud (there is no rear stud, by the way), although the guns I was sent for testing had two different bipod designs. The fxed-stock Standard Charger came with a UTG bipod that screws onto the front stud while the Takedown’s bipod featured two arms that hook into the stud and tighten down under bolt pressure.

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 HANDGUNS 59


TAKING CHARGE Both models work just fne and lock down frmly without risk of damage to the gun if properly installed, though the process of weaving the two arms through the opening on the Takedown model leave you feeling a bit like a snake charmer trying to coax a writhing cobra through the crown of a basket. Both bipods offer telescoping legs and provide a solid platform

for shooting these pistols. The overwhelmingly popular blowback rimfre design is relatively simple in its engineering, but Ruger has really perfected its system over the 50-year lifespan of the 10/22. The Charger takes advantage of this lineage (the two Chargers I tested had a 10/22 50th anniversary logo emblazoned on the bolt) and uses the same time-

tested Ruger blowback design. Like other 10/22 guns, it’s housed in an aluminum receiver and uses Ruger rotary magazines. Both new Charger models come with the company’s 15-round BX-15 extended magazine. The BX-15 is based on the success of the rotary BX-1 10-round version, and you can use the standard BX-1 rotary mags if you like. The BX-15

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TYPE: blowback-operated semiauto rimfire CALIBER: .22 Long Rifle CAPACITY: 15+1 BARREL: 10 in., threaded and capped OVERALL LENGTH: 19.25 in. WEIGHT: 3.13 lb. (Standard), 3.22 lb.

(Takedown) FINISH: matte receiver, blued barrel GRIPS: A2-style textured polymer SIGHTS: none; Picatinny rail TRIGGER: 5.1 lb. pull (measured) PRICE: $309 (Standard), $409 (Takedown)

The Charger comes with a Picatinny rail up top for mounting optics such as this Aimpoint.

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presents cartridges into the action at a 30-degree angle for consistent feeding and function, and the curved magazine design fts under the Charger with the bipod’s legs down. The new BX-15 design works well and offers plenty of frepower, and if you want extra magazines you can order them from ShopRuger.com for less than $30. In its controls, the Charger will

seem familiar to anyone who has ever owned a 10/22. The oversize magazine release is located just aft of the magazine and is easy to fnd and manipulate. A bit of thumb pressure forward drops the magazine into your hand, and the large magazine well is easy to fnd for blind reloads. After a few dozen rounds, I was dropping the magazines in and out without looking up from the screen of my chronograph. On the left of the magazine release lever, you’ll fnd the familiar 10/22-style bolt release, and the gun comes with a crossbolt safety mounted on the front of the trigger guard. Both versions are compact, measuring less than 20 inches, and the Standard Charger weighs

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Both Chargers came supplied with bipods, although they were different types. With bipod attached the gun becomes a great pistol for target shooting and plinking.

3.13 pounds while the slightly heavier Takedown model weighs 3.22 pounds. The Takedown model comes with a hard-sided plastic case with foam cutouts for the barrel, magazine, receiver and bipod, and the hard case is only slightly larger than a standard pistol case, so it’s easy to transport and store. The fxed-barrel model comes with a soft-sided zippered case. After taking a hundred-plus round beating from a .44 Magnum off the bench, the Chargers were a low-recoil blessing. I tested the Standard model with a one-piece brown laminate stock frst. The barrel on the Standard Charger is free-foated (not so with the Takedown gun), and the fore-end has horizontal fnger grooves with angled notches for a more secure grip. As I mentioned, both versions have the A2-style black pistol grip, which is light and well-textured for a frm hold. The Picatinny rail makes

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TAKING CHARGE it easy to mount an optic, and the Charger begged to be paired with Aimpoint’s Micro H-1 1 MOA red dot sight. It’s a compact sight that doesn’t add signifcantly to the Charger’s weight, and it made shooting small groups at 25 yards a simple task.

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The muzzle on the Charger is threaded for muzzle devices such as suppressors, and a thread cap is supplied if you’re going to shoot it as is.

I wanted to challenge the Charger’s reliability right away, so the frst load I tried was Lapua’s Midas ammunition. The Midas is deadly accurate in every rimfre I’ve tested but, being a strict target load, has a velocity that’s at least 100 fps slower than most bulk .22 ammunition—roughly 1,020 fps from the Charger’s pipe. Lower velocities test the reliability of a rimfre’s blowback design, and if a semiauto .22 will feed these target loads consistently, it will generally run with most off-the-shelf ammo without any hiccups. I loaded the magazine with Midas ammo, centered the red dot on the target and pressed the trigger. The action cycled the load perfectly,

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The Standard model was more accurate than the Takedown, but not by much. Both would acquit themselves well for both recreational shooting and for small game and varmints.

ACCURACY RESULTS | RUGER CHARGER .22 Long Rifle

Bullet Weight (gr.)

Muzzle Velocity (fps)

Standard Deviation

Avg. Group (in.)

Standard Model Lapua Midas Aguila SuperExtra HP Federal Target CCI Velocitor Remington Viper Solids

40 40 40 40 36

1,021 1,043 1,160 1,198 1,228

8.1 16.5 13.2 22.8 24.6

0.86 0.94 0.98 1.10 1.31

Takedown Model Lapua Midas Aguila SuperExtra HP CCI Velocitor Federal Target Remington Viper Solids

40 40 40 40 36

1,027 1,046 1,209 1,151 1,215

9.6 18.9 20.3 14.9 22.6

0.91 1.05 1.02 1.11 1.40

Notes: Accuracy results are averages of four five-shot groups at 25 yards from a fixed rest. Velocities are the averages of 10 rounds recorded on a ProChrono digital chronograph placed 10 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviation: HP, hollowpoint

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and I fred four more shots. That initial group measured just 0.74 inch at 25 yards off the bench. Not a bad start. The Charger made it through the entire test of fve loads without a hitch. I used a variety of ammunition with different bullet weights at average velocities ranging from 1,021 fps to 1,228 fps, and the results were good with each and every load. There were several groups averaging in the 0.70-inch range, and even the largest groups rarely measured over an inch. Based on the test data, it seems fair to say that with most ammunition you can expect sub-inch accuracy at 25 yards, slightly better if you fnd a load the Charger likes particularly well, and this includes both target loads like the Lapua Midas as well as bulk budget ammunition like Remington Viper. That’s an especially important consideration since .22 ammunition is still in short supply in a lot of areas, and it’s comforting to know it’s possible to achieve excellent accuracy with affordable and widely available ammunition. The Charger isn’t picky about loads in terms of function either. The BX-15 magazine’s design is excellent, easy to load and utterly reliable. The trigger has a bit of creep and breaks cleanly at around fve pounds. Being able to shoot compact groups with a gun that’s comfortable and fun to shoot made this an enjoyable afternoon on the bench. It’s hard not to smile while you’re shooting this gun. The Charger would make an excellent target gun, and if you’re into hunting vermin and small game with a .22 pistol, it’s hard to imagine a better setup for sniping rodents, especially considering that the Charger offers a threaded barrel for installing a muzzle device to dampen the report. The Takedown model features a Green Mountain laminate stock with a cutout in the underside WWW.HANDGUNS.COM

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TAKING CHARGE of the fore-end. The cutout accommodates a button that, when pressed forward, allows you to rotate the barrel 90 degrees for removal. To reinstall, simply slide the barrel back in place, rotate it in the opposite direction to lock it securely in place. There’s a threaded barrel nut holding the barrel assembly in place. Before initial installation, the nut is loosened, and then once the barrel is installed it is tightened down for a secure lock and proper ft. When I began the test on the Takedown version, I was seeing larger groups than I expected, with consistent four-shot groups and occasional fiers, so I disassembled the barrel, followed the directions and reinstalled. This time there was no problem, and the groups were smaller and more consistent. I’m not sure what

happened on the frst try, but I’m guessing I over-tightened the barrel nut. At any rate, the Takedown model’s second round of testing put it on par with the Standard, and the best groups were once again in the 0.70-inch range, although overall accuracy was slightly better with the standard model. Velocities from both guns were consistent, which you might expect since both guns utilize the same barrel. Since the Charger tandem is based on the 10/22 design, a host of aftermarket options are available, including triggers, magazine releases, hammers and sears and so forth. If you want to fddle with your Charger pistol, you can, but they’re both excellent shooters right out of the box. The A2-style pistol grip is comfortable, and combined with the bipod, it provides a

Ruger’s BX Trigger

64 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

The Chargers will accept standard 10/22 magazines, as well as the BX-1 and the BX-15, which present cartridges at a 30-degree angle for fawless feeding.

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For 2015 Ruger is offering its new BX trigger for 10/22 rifes and pistols. With minimal travel, a quick reset and a 2.5- to three-pound pound trigger pull, the new BX trigger offers a crisp, custom-trigger feel that’s affordable and easy to install. The new BX design has been drop tested for safety and comes with a dry-fre block that holds the pins in place and allows you to dry fre and test the unit before installation. The trigger design doesn’t require the removal of the fre-control components. To install, unload the rife, drop the magazine, loosen the takedown screw and center the safety, then remove the stock from the barrel action. Remove the standard trigger assembly by knocking out two pins, and after removing the dry-fre block from the new trigger is installed by placing it into the frearm and reinserting the pins. The whole process takes just a few minutes, and Ruger offers a detailed video tutorial on its website. At $90, it’s an affordable and simple way to improve the accuracy of your 10/22 and shrink those groups even further.—BF

secure platform for accurate bench shooting. Both laminate stocks were subjected to the usual rough handling that accompanies an extended accuracy test, and both withstood the beating without a single scratch or dent. Plus, they add to the Charger’s quirky-but-cool styling. The new fore-end, which is thinner than the original, is quite comfortable to hold, and the gun’s front-heavy design makes it rock-steady with the bipod in place. Of course, this isn’t a gun that you’re going to haul around in a holster, but sans the bipod it’s a pistol that could serve as a portable varmint and small game gun. Simply lean the Charger against a fallen branch and you’ve got a handgun that performs like a rimfre rife. Squirrel season had closed in Ohio by the time I had these guns ready to test, and that’s lucky for the squirrels because there’s no question about the Charger’s accuracy and its potential for dispatching bushytails. At its heart, though, the Charger is a target pistol and a fun gun, and if that’s what you’re after, this if your tool of choice. It’s great to see the Charger back in the lineup because it’s a fne example of what Ruger does best. If you’re married to the idea that every new gun has to have a familiar look and a noble purpose like hunting or home defense then the Charger may not be for you. But if you think simply popping tin cans or targets in the back yard and dispatching the occasional yard pest is reason enough to purchase a gun, this is one you’ll very much enjoy owning. Another of Ruger’s strong points is building quality guns the average shooter can afford to own, and with a suggested retail of $309 for the standard model ($409 for the Takedown) this is just such a pistol. It may not look like your standard .22 pistol, but that’s its charm. WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


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| FIRING LINE REPORT | BY PAUL SCARLATA | PHOTOS BY PAUL BUDDE & BECKY SCARLATA

SPRINGFIELD ARMORY 1911 RANGE OFFICER COMPACT WHILE MANY 1911 AFICIONADOS FEEL that chambering this design for any cartridge other than the .45 ACP is anathema, if not downright traitorous, 1911s pistols have been available in 9mm since 1950. And while they have never been as popular as their .45 and .38 Super cousins, today most major 1911 makers offer at least one model in 9mm while others offer a wide selection of them. Late last year Springfeld announced it would be adding a Compact version of its popular Range Offcer pistol and offering it in both .45 ACP and 9mm. A quick refresher on the Range Offcer. The original is an all-steel Government pistol with a fve-inch, fully supported, stainless steel, ramped, 66 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

match-grade barrel and adjustable rear and fber-optic front sights. Other standard features include a beavertail grip safety with a palm swell, extended single-side thumb safety, lightweight aluminum trigger adjustable for overtravel and an attractive set of cocobolo grips. To keep the price within reason, Springfeld uses a Parkerized fnish rather than blue. Springfeld then brought out a Commander-size version of the Range Offcer called the Range Offcer Champion. It has a four-inch barrel, overall length of 7.6 inches and an aluminum frame that reduces weight by almost 10 ounces. Which brings us to the Compact, which mates the shorter slide of the Champion to an Offcerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s-size

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aluminum frame. Like its bigger brothers, the Range Offcer Compact is available in both 9mm and .45, and since WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


The Compact features a low-profle combat rear sight, and it sports a lightweight three-hole trigger, cocobolo grips and extended beavertail on an aluminum frame.

between them and Commander-size pistols in a way that maintains concealability without sacrifcing ergonomics, handling, magazine capacity, recoil control or ballistics. I was suitably impressed with Springfeld’s 1911 Range Offcer Compact. If you’re looking for a reliable, accurate, compact 1911 for concealed carry, there’s not much you’re going to dislike about this pistol.

The Compact employs a coned, bushing-less barrel, and Springfeld provides a plastic sleeve to secure the two-piece recoil spring guide rod in the compressed position for easy disassembly.

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As befts a competition pistol and a practical choice for self-defense, the Compact’s front sight is a fber optic.

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WWW.HANDGUNS.COM

two inches to 3.5 inches in size, I was suitably impressed with how well this short-barreled pistol handled at that distance. To see how the Compact performed offhand, I ran it through a version of the El Presidente drill (turn, draw, two body shots on three targets, combat reload, two head shots on each target). I ran this drill a half-dozen times and was impressed with how the pistol shot and handled. I particularly liked how the nicely beveled magazine well opening allowed me to make fast, fumble-free reloads. My only complaint was the pistol’s short grip frame. I could barely get a full, three-fnger grip on the gun, and under recoil my little fnger tended to slip free. I think a small fnger-rest extension on the magazine base pads would solve this problem without compromising concealability. I am not a fan of Offcer’s 1911s, but the Compact splits the difference

<

the 9mm is my favorite pistol cartridge, that’s what I chose to test. Like the Champion, the Range Offcer Compact is ftted with a four-inch, fully supported, ramped, bushing-less, match grade bull barrel with a cone muzzle. The slide has two dovetail cuts to accommodate a fber-optic front and low-profle combat rear sights. The pistol’s Parkerized fnish gives it a plain, businesslike look, and I believe its dull appearance is just what you need on a handgun intended for concealed carry. The frame metal is relieved under the trigger guard, allowing a high grip on the pistol, while the diamond-cut cocobolo grips and checkered mainspring housing provide a frm purchase. Combined with a beavertail grip safety, this allows excellent recoil control for fast follow-up shots. The Compact features Springfeld’s Integral Locking System, which uses a supplied key to immobilize the mainspring to prevent unauthorized fring of the pistol. Unlike the full-size Range Offcer, the Compact uses a captive, dual-spring recoil system with a full-length guide rod. Springfeld provides a plastic sleeve that fts over the end of the rod when the slide is retracted to contain the spring and allow easy disassembly. The magazine well is beveled for smoother reloads, and all of the controls were positive in manipulation. Thanks to the smaller 9mm cartridge, the single-column, stainless steel magazine holds eight rounds instead of the six most .45 caliber Offcer’s models hold. Triggers on 1911 pistols often need a bit of work to smooth them out, but the trigger on the Compact I received had little take-up before it broke crisply at four pounds. In fact, it was one of the best I’ve felt on an out-of-the-box 1911 in some time. Accuracy testing was performed from an MTM K-Zone rest at 25 yards. With groups ranging from slightly over

ACCURACY RESULTS | SPRINGFIELD ARMORY RANGE OFFICER COMPACT 9mm Luger

Hot Shot FMJ SIG V-Crown Federal Hydra-Shok Winchester PDX Berry’s Plated*

Bullet Weight (gr.)

Muzzle Velocity (fps)

Standard Deviation

Avg. Group (in.)

115 124 135 147 115

1,109 1,129 1,028 921 1,072

32 22 27 28 30

3.3 2.5 2.5 2.9 3.0

Notes: (*handload). Accuracy results are averages of five five-shot groups fired from an MTM K-Zone rest at 25 yards. Velocities are averages of 10 shots chronographed 10 feet from the muzzle with a Chrony chronograph. Abbreviation: FMJ, full metal jacket

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER HANDGUNS 67


| FIRING LINE REPORT | BY NORMAN GRAY

RUGER LC9S RUGER’S RECENT SUCCESSES IN THE handgun feld have been with its lightweight pistols—the .380 LCP and 9mm LC9—and now Ruger has redesigned the LC9 to create the new LC9s. What does the addition of a small “s” on the end of the name mean? Unlike the original LC9 pistol, which is hammer fred, the LC9s is striker fred. This translates into a shorter, smoother and crisper fve-pound trigger pull that helps improve overall accuracy. I’ve always said the trigger makes the handgun, and if the shooter can’t pull the trigger easily, he or she is not going to buy it. And trigger pull can defnitely be an issue with some seniors, women and younger shooters. Ruger has addressed it with the LC9s, and since the change is internal, the LC9s will take the same magazines, holsters and lasers the LC9 does. My sample Ruger LC9s came in a cardboard box; I prefer a plastic clamshell case, but cardboard lowers the cost to the consumer, and a soft carry case is provided. The pistol includes one inert orange magazine for disassembly and 68 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

one seven-round magazine with a fushftting base pad; a separate fnger-grip extension foorplate is also provided. The LC9s is a right-handed pistol made with a blued hardened-alloy steel slide that sits on a one-piece nylon flled frame. Impregnated into the front, rear and side grips is light checkering that aids in gripping the pistol. The barrel is also an alloy steel and has an inspection port at the rear enabling you to verify a loaded chamber. The sights are bright and highly visible even in low light. The rear is adjustable for windage, and the front is fxed. There is an integrated trigger safety and a magazine disconnect, and the manual safety and slide release are on the left side for a right-handed shooter and accessible with your thumb. (Ed. note: Ruger recently introduced a new version, the LC9s Pro, which lacks the manual thumb safety and the magazine disconnect.) The LC9s’s weight empty is 17.2 ounces, and with 7+1 rounds of Federal 124-grain Hydra-Shok, it increased to only 20.85 ounces.

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LC9S

TYPE: striker-fired semiauto CALIBER: 9mm Luger CAPACITY: 7+1 BARREL: 3.12 in.; alloy steel; 6-groove, 1:10

twist rifling OAL/HEIGHT/WIDTH (IN.): 6.0/4.5/0.9 WEIGHT: 17.2 oz. CONSTRUCTION: black glass-filled nylon

frame; blue, through-hardened alloy steel slide SIGHTS: adjustable 3-dot TRIGGER: 5 lb. SAFETY: right-hand thumb, magazine disconnect PRICE: $449 MANUFACTURER: Ruger, ruger.com

Because the gun has a magazine disconnect, disassembly of the LC9s base model is unique. After you remove the standard magazine and ensure the chamber is empty, insert the provided inert magazine in order to pull the trigger—pointing the gun in a safe direction, of course. Once you’ve done that, WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


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| FIRING LINE REPORT | RUGERS LC9S gun had issues with trigger pull. I don’t like pistols with magazine disconnects, so I think I would prefer the new LC9s Pro model. I also don’t care for having to use a tool to feldstrip the LC9s, and the small retaining pin is prone to getting lost—especially in feld conditions. And last, I’m not a manual safety fan. It’s just one more thing to manipulate in a high-stress situation, but again, the new Pro model addresses this complaint. My general experience with the Ruger LC9s was gratifying. The striker-fred mechanism is a vast improvement and makes the LC9s a great handgun for CCW work. And depending on where you live and what kind of restrictions your state places on handgun designs, you now also have the Pro option, which will better suit some people.

The “s” in the LC9s stands for striker fred, and the change from the hammer-fred design of the original LC9 brings a much easier and crisper trigger pull.

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remove the inert magazine, push down the takedown plate with your fnger or tool and expose the takedown pin. Push the slide back an eighth of an inch and, using a paperclip or punch, push out the takedown pin. Move the slide forward and off and remove the recoil spring assembly and barrel. The process takes but a minute. On the frst sample gun I received, the magazine would not hold open the slide after the last shot. I tried a different magazine, but that failed to address the problem. Ruger customer service quickly replaced the pistol, and the replacement gun performed fawlessly. I never experienced an ammunition-related stoppage with either gun. The frst few shots made me really appreciate the striker-fred action, and none of the young or old shooters I had fre the

<

The standard-model LC9s features a single-side thumb safety as well as a magazine disconnect. A new Pro model dispenses with both, which some shooters will prefer.

<

The accuracy of the LC9s was more than adequate for a subcompact semiauto—thanks in large part to the striker-fred trigger pull.

ACCURACY RESULTS | RUGER LC9S 9mm Luger

Muzzle Velocity (fps)

Standard Deviation

Avg. Group (in.)

124 115 124 124 115

928 939 942 997 1,044

9.4 12.4 11.1 6.1 17.0

2.4 2.8 2.3 2.5 2.7

Notes: Accuracy results are the averages of five five-shot groups at 15 yards from a Caldwell Matrix rest. Velocities are averages of 10 shots recorded on a CED M2 chronograph 12 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviations: FMJ, full metal jacket; JHP, jacketed hollowpoint; TMJ, total metal jacket

70 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

The single seven-round magazine comes with a fnger-extension foorplate that can be installed on the magazine for better control.

<

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Bullet Weight (gr.)

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| GUN SENSE | By RICHARD NANCE

YOU KNOW THE DRILL

WHY FASTER ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER IN REAL-WORLD SITUATIONS. RECENTLY, I FILMED SEVERAL TELEVISION segments with Kyle Lamb, president of Viking Tactics. Each segment was based around a drill Kyle developed to teach or reinforce a particular skill or skills he deemed critical to winning a gunfght. These drills were not intended for competition, yet nearly all of them had established time and accuracy standards. Having watched Kyle’s instructional DVDs, I was familiar with many of them and in fact had implemented some of them in training for the police department I work for. I’m no slouch when it comes to shooting, but given Kyle’s background and the fact he developed most of the drills, I had no delusions I would shoot the drills as fast or accurately as him. On a break from flming, I complimented Kyle on how quickly he shoots. He replied, “I’m only fast for a tactical shooter.” What I think he meant was that an elite competition shooter might shoot faster than him, but the increased speed would come at the expense of sound tactics. As a case in point, reloading your pistol while moving from one position of cover to another clearly saves time compared to loading from behind cover then moving, but during an armed encounter, it would be foolish to leave a position of cover without a fully loaded pistol if you didn’t have to. Kyle’s drills are designed to improve a shooter’s speed and accuracy while maintaining proper tactics. Handgun Combatives founder and fellow Handguns writer Dave Spaulding offers a special coin to any student who can successfully perform his 2x2x2 Drill at the end of a course. Each student gets one chance at winning a coin. All he or she has to do is 72 HANDGUNS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

put two rounds on a 3x5 card from a distance of 20 feet in two seconds. Dave teaches about 30 courses a year, but he’s handed out only 16 coins in four years, and not one person has earned more than one coin. (I’ve come close but haven’t won mine yet.) Dave is an excellent shooter, but even he can shoot the drill successfully only seven out of 10 times. He cautions against training specifcally to master the 2x2x2 Drill (or any drill, for that matter) because it can be

close quarters, you could shoot from the index position because your muzzle is oriented to the threat. This draw stroke also aids in retention because your gun is closer to your body, where you have greater leverage and your adversary has less access. By now, scholarly types and profcient cheaters have already deduced that since the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, just clearing the holster with your gun and driving it in an upward mo-

It’s important to push yourself in training to see how fast you can shoot and still hit your target. detrimental to what Dave refers to as “the combative application of the pistol.” Believe it or not, there are ways to game the 2x2x2 Drill. I was always taught to not “dig a ditch” or “cast a line” when drawing my gun—the former referring to bringing the gun up to the target and the latter to bringing the gun down to the target. Instead, I learned to bring the gun up until my shoulder reached its full range of motion with the muzzle oriented to the threat in what’s commonly referred to as the “pectoral index” and then to drive my gun straight to the target. Drawing in this manner affords some tactical advantages. Imagine being seated at a table when a deadly threat emerges. If, while seated, you “dig a ditch” as you draw your gun, you will be unable to clear the table and bring your gun to bear on the threat. Another beneft to bringing the gun up and then out is that, in

tion—from holster level to eye level, or “digging a ditch” is faster than bringing the gun up as high as possible before driving the gun straight to the threat. If you’re training to win one of Dave’s coins, your odds are slightly better using this incorrect draw stroke. But in the real world, you won’t be shooting at a 3x5 card. Instead, you will be facing one or more adversaries who intend to do you harm. In such cases, the slightly slower yet tactically superior draw stroke will serve you well. Timed and scored shooting drills not only are fun but also are a great way to measure your progress. In a gunfght, being fast and accurate is critical. It’s important to push yourself in training to see how fast you can shoot and still hit your target. But keep in mind drills don’t account for the will to win or the proper application of tactics—two of the most important factors in a gunfght. WWW.HANDGUNS.COM


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