Firearms


I had some Herrett walnut grips on the old Interarms period Walther PPK/S I bought a few months back. After fixing the safety assembly and swapping the weakened trigger spring, the pistol ran flawlessly but was a bit painful to shoot. The grip was just wide enough I was taking a real pounding on the thumb joint. I invested in a set of Altamont grips that needed just a very wee bit of sanding at the top to give clearance for the slide, and voila!

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It not only looks better, the grips allow for hitting the magazine release easier, and reduced the recoil impact on the thumb. The grayish-black laminate matches with the wear in the bluing and gives the pistol a nice used, yet classy look. (I think.) I thought about getting it reblued, but really, I like the distressed look it’s got.

The other bonus — accuracy is much higher as the pistol sits in the hand better. I have found that with the flush magazine, holding the pistol in the old “teacup” style gives me better and more consistent accuracy than the modern thumbs forward. The most recent trip to the range saw “Rolf” here put down a 3ish inch group at 20 yards, free-standing, into the 8/9 ring. I’ve got about 1000 rounds through this thing in the last eight months and it is a delight! It’s bigger and heavier than Wee Jock, my little Kel-Tec P32, but has become my normal carry pistol. I have utter confidence in the ol’ boy.

It has not jammed on any hollow-points or other ammo I’ve used although except for the Seller & Belliot, which saw light primer strikes requiring a second trigger pull to get them to fire. Simple fix: don’t use Seller & Belliot. Rolf particularly likes the American Gunner and Critical Defense series XTP 90-grain round that Hornady puts out. Speeds are consistently in the 975fps range or about 190 ft-pounds of energy, with low felt recoil. If it weren’t a bit pricey for practice, I’d run this on the range as it’s comfortable to shoot.

That said, for you James Bond fans, sorry to disappoint, but you’re not shooting a helicopter down with a PPK!

Look what followed me home…

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This early to mid-90s era Interarms Walther PPK had been sitting neglected at the local neighborhood gun store for months. I had been considering the Glock 42 next to it — a pre-owned but never fired piece, but the historian in me was drawn to this treasure, and I beat the guy down to $300. Hit the range and dropped 100 rounds through it. No jams, one failure to fire from a dry and dirty firing pin that was quickly remedied.

It’s about the same size as the Glock 42, but about twice the weight. Still, that fixed barrel: it’s a tack driver.

Here’s an NPC that is featured in The Queen of the Orient sourcebook for Fate and Ubiquity. In the course of last night’s play, I threw in a bit of character development that came directly from a Facebook video, of all things. In it, she’s climbing out of her cockpit and snags her Mauser M1932 Schnellfeuer broomhandle. It’s a select-fire “carbine” where the wooden stock/holster turns the pistol into a short-barreled rifle. she leaves it in this configuration because inside the stock is another Mauser M1932 broomhandle.

I can’t embed the video, but here’s the link (https://www.facebook.com/Anthonysfirearmwarehouse/videos/1911688675513828/)

I have already done a review of the CZ-85 Combat, but here’s another in the CZ stable that I finally got a change to shoot a few times in the last week: the CZ-75B SA (single action).

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I had fired a few different types of CZ over the years — the original CZ-75B, the new CZ-75 P-01 compact, and the CZ-75 P-07 polymer frame, in addition to my own CZ-85 Combat, which I bought for duo-tone finish and the full ambi controls. (Being a leftie is a pain in the ass, sometimes…) Spurred on by his delight with my CZ-85, a colleague of mine bought himself the CZ-75B SA for a pretty reasonable price ($550 or so.)

Like the other pistols from this manufacturer, the fit and finish are tops. CZ uses an all-steel frame and slide, with the slide fit inside the frame to give a lower bore to grip axis. This makes recoil absorption a breeze, and the CZs are all very easy shooting weapons. It has the standard 16 round magazines, a safety only lever — no decocking mechanism, and is otherwise indistinguishable from the normal -75s. The difference is the single-action only trigger, which is probably the nicest of all the CZs I’ve shot. There’s a lot of takeup, as with all of its cousins, but the release is light (guessing 4-5 lbs or so) and sharp, and reset is quick and audible.

Thanks to the fantastic trigger, the low bore axis, and the superior ergonomics of the grip angle (John Browning got it right, Glock…), the pistol is an incredible shooter. Sub-2″ groups at 25 yards unsupported were possible, and at normal engagement ranges for a pistol (3-10 yards) with a quick draw and panicked rate of fire, we still could put 3-5 round strings in a 3×5 card out to 10 yards.

We haven’t fed it much outside of the Blazer Brass on the range, but if my CZ-85 Combat is anything to go by, it’ll eat just about anything you throw at it. Mine is particularly found of the steel-cased Russian stuff, Brown Bear, Wolf, and Tula, but has fired everything from the lightweight Pow-R-Ball up to 125 gr. without issue. The only ammo it doesn’t like is the aluminum-cased Blazer.

Finish is the standard CZ black polycoat with black plastic grips. It’s a fine looking piece and the polycoat is durable — mine has slight holster wear from seven years of use and close to 5000 rounds through it. With care in your handling, I suspect it will stay good-looking for some time to come.

I highly recommend this one — the trigger’s even better than the CZ-85, and I may have to look into whether I can get this trigger mod for the -85.

This is truly going to be a “quick review”, as I only got to shoot a few dozen rounds through my friend’s M&P. First, the overview:

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The particular model was the “Viking Tactical” — which fits my friend’s Teutonic beginnings quite well. The VTAC has nice fiber optic green sights that work very well. They’re visible, quick to come to bear. The rest of the gun is the standard M&P striker-fired 17 round 9mm full size in the reprehensible desert brown. It has the replaceable backstraps that Walther made so popular with the P99, and it’s a simple weapon with just a slide release and mag release. no safety. The slide is easy to operate, the trigger is stiff and a bit heavy when compared to the wonderful Walther PPQ and H&K VP9, but the weapon shoots lightly and the accuracy seems decent for a service weapon. We put some 115 gr. lead and 124 copper jackets through the pistol and there were no issues with function.

This is a popular gun for police (or I should say the standard M&P is) due to the backstrap and cheap deals for law enforcement. It’s a decent full size choice for females with smallish hands, and I was not blown away by the pistol, but I certainly wouldn’t have minded having it as an issue gun; it’s light years better than the Beretta M9, but I think my metal frame CZ-85 is still a superior shooter.

The Steyr TMP has been a staple of action movies for a decade, but was a somewhat lackluster piece of equipment in real life. However, Brügger & Thomet, a Swiss defense contractor that specializes in sound suppressors, bought the design and did improvements to it that led to its recent adoption by the Swiss military for its echelon troops. (It is also popular with some police departments around the world.)

B&T MP9-N

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Also called the Machinenpistole 14, the MP9-N is a selective-fire 9x19mm personal defense weapon in the same vein as the P-90 or H&K MP7. It is capable of 1100 RPM, and uses either a 15, 20, or 30 round magazine, usually clear plastic to allow the user to do a spot ammunition check. It uses an H&K style selector, rather than the original Steyr cross-bolt safety/selector, has a folding stock, and a Piccatiny-style rail for attaching tactical lights or lasers.

PM: 0   S/R: 2/10   AMMO: 30   DC: F/I   CLOS: 0-8   LONG: 25-50   CON: +3   JAM: 98+   DRAW: -2   RL: 2   COST: $3000

GM Information: With a suppressor affixed, the MP9-N specs change in several areas:

PM: +1   DC: E/H   CLOS: 0-6   LONG 18-30   CON: n/a   DRAW: -3

Back in December, I traded my Kimber Stainless Pro Carry II for a Rock Island Armory .22TCM/9mm 1911A2. I had initially been looking for an Officers or Commander-sized 9mm 1911, but this one just looked to good to pass up. Here’s my initial impressions of the weapon. After a month of living with the thing, and making a few important changes (for me), here’s my review of the pistol.

It turns out, this is one of the first runs of the TCM, according to the guys in Nevada, with a low serial number. The pistol had been worked on a bit before I got it. The previous owner polished the slide flats, giving it a Kimber Eclipse kind of look. (Good thing I live in the desert, or I’d have to be at this consistently to combat rust.) Fit and finish, otherwise, is better than the usual RIA Gi models, not as good as the higher end models from Ruger, Springfield, or Kimber.

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It came with Hogue wrap around grips with the finger grooves the first owner had dropped on it. Those came off as soon as I could get to it; I hate finger groove grips (your mileage may vary, and whatever god bless you for it, but I hate them) and the only real choice was the VZ G10 grips for it. Apparently, grips for the Para P-14 will also work, but might need work to get the grip screw holes to line up properly. I didn’t feel like dealing with that, so it was either modify the Hogue (still an option, I suppose…) or these.

If you do the VZ Grips, you may need to get a Dremel out and do some work. The tabs to cover the inner workings stick out a bit. I’m left handed, so they don’t bite me, but a few rounds shooting right handed showed the tabs are sharp and still out a bit under the safety switch. I’m going to sand them down to fit more comfortably, eventually. These grips flattened the cross-section of the grip so even my wife finds it not uncomfortable; without the finger grooves, I can index my digits more naturally. The result was a much clearer picture of the pistol’s capabilities.

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Not taking my time, a two inch group, spot on the target, is possible at 10 yards in 9mm; point shooting, old-school style, gives me similar accuracy, one or two handed. The groups are about half an inch tighter with .22TCM, but fall about two inches low inside 10 yards. Out to 25 yards, taking my time and unsupported, the rounds in 9mm drop about two inches from point of aim in a 2-3″ group. In .22TCM, it’s similar groupings, but with the right elevation at that range.

Part of the reason this was possible is an exceedingly good trigger, that broke at just a hair under 4 lbs., according to the scale of one of the competition guys at the indoor range I was at that first day. It really is a remarkably high-quality trigger and hammer combo.

The magazine accommodates 17 rounds of 9mm or 18 rounds of .22 TCM (Tuason Craig Magnum) and this pistol came with a flush fit, flat bottomed magazine. It’s good quality machining, properly finished so that the magazines slip in and out smoothly and function well. I’ve ordered another.

The reliability of the TCM with the 9mm barrel is tops. I’ve had one malfunction, and that was me knocking the safety on by accident in 600 rounds. The .22 TCM barrel, however, gave me two failures to extract the round from the breech in 150 rounds. This seems to be a common issue if you use the 9mm barrel regularly; the extractor spring isn’t strong enough. A quick email to Rock Island and they sent me a replacement extractor assembly for free. This supposedly fixes the issue. (The Rock Island has a lifetime warranty. Customer service, on a side note, has been pretty good with Rock Island so far.)

The wide body A2 is similar to the Para-Ordinance 1911A2, but the TCM is just a bit off from even Rock Island’s A2s for the grip screw placement. Also, it doesn’t seem to like a few of the standard 1911 holsters (a big surprise to me.) It will not lock into my Blackhawk SERPA for the 1911 Government model. I’ve yet to try others as this thing is heavy at about 41 oz. in 9mm (probably about 39 with a mag of the TCM.) It’s a bag/car gun, right now.

As to the .22TCM round. We chronographed it with an average of 2050fps in a 40 grain hollow point. That’s about 375 ft-lbs at the muzzle, which places it firmly in the 9mm range of energy. Good for self-defense? There’s plenty of chortling about small calibers and self-defense from the “if it don’t start with a four…” crowd, but statistics show just about every pistol cartridge until you hit the 10mm/.41 magnum range requires 2.25 rounds or so to incapacitation. This is a super accurate round, so shot placement and follow-up shots should be a breeze. I certainly found this to be one of the easiest guns to shoot accurately I’ve fired. And you’ve got 18 in the mag…

As for the longevity of the round, Rock Island has a new .22 TCM 9R round that will fit in a conversion barrel for the Glock 17. As with the TCM, you use the same magazines the pistol normally uses. They also have a bolt gun that uses the 17 round pistol mags coming, a single stack version of the 1911, and a few other small manufacturers are toying with semi-auto carbines for the .22 TCM. I’d say the chance of it sticking around is on par with the 5.7x28mm, which it is a definite match for, if maybe slightly superior to, FN’s civilian SS197 ammunition. I’ve so far been able to find the ammo reliably in several shops in Albuquerque, and it’s been in stock online for about $17 a box whenever I’ve checked, thus far. And if you can’t find it? It’s a 9mm.

Is the Rock Island worth the $600-750 price tag? Yes, unequivocally.

UPDATE: I did buy a new magazine for the Rock Island TCM a few weeks ago, and after ordering the wrong one — which Armscor didn’t just replace with the correct one, they refunded my money because of the error — I finally encountered an issue that turns up on some reviews and boards regarding the gun: it locks the slide on the last round. you can hit the slide stop and fire the last round with no issue, but it will lock open as if empty with one round left.

The issue was easy to diagnose putting the mags side by side. The follower on the new mag is flat and engages too early; the older one is shaved at the corner just a millimeter or so (I’ve yet to measure it), but that allows the weapon to function properly. It should be a few minute fix with a file, if it really bothers you.

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