Firearms


Since I first started shooting, I’ve been a fan of 10mm. My first semi-auto handgun was a Glock 20, I’ve owned the Tanfoglio (EAA) Witness in 10mm, and a Kimber Camp Guard. What I’ve really wanted was a 10mm carbine. A few manufacturers toyed with AR versions back over a decade ago, but quickly disappeared. CMMG is doing a Banshee in 10mm, but they’re $1600. Hi-Point is doing a perfectly decent, if ugly, 10mm carbine. But a smaller centimeter gun has been banging around for over a decade, the TNW Aero Survival Rifle. I’ve thought of buying one for years and finally decided to pull the trigger on it.

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The Aero came with a 28-round aftermarket Glock 20 magazine, and I dropped a Holosun red dot on it and took it out for a run at a local hillside used for target practice. Ranges spanned 10 to 50 yards. The accuracy was superb, but I was having repeated issues with the bolt not getting back far enough to eject the spent cartridge, which was then rammed back into the breech, jamming it so badly I had to unscrew the barrel and smack the but on the ground to get the barrel to come loose. After 50 rounds of this, I sent it back to the factory.

Even with the Coronanonsense, I had it back a week later. The bolt had been replaced and the barrel as well — the new one was threaded for a suppressor. No complaints there. Again, I had trouble with the same malfunction, but only with Armscor ammunition. It fired SIG-Sauer V-crown without fail. We took our time shooting, noting sharply different ejection on rounds that were getting out of the firearm. We decided the buffer spring might be too tight, so we backed it out a turn. Now only a few of the rounds were failing to eject or jamming in the breech. The ammunition was showing sharply different power. Another trip out I used some older Armscor without fail, and a box of nuclear load Action Ammunition. No malfunctions. But a new box of Armscor showed the same issues. Satisfied the issue was ammunition related, I shot up a few boxes of older Armscor and Action without fail.

So how does it shoot? In a word, superbly. Accuracy was solid out to 50 yards, with the rounds landing smack on where the Holosun was illuminating. The rounds were throwing milk jugs and can around the hillside in a way that the 5.56mm and .300 Blackout we were shooting didn’t.

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Takedown of the rifle is easy. Knock out of the retaining pins on the trigger assembly, unscrew the barrel, pop out the cocking handle, and drop the bolt out the front of the receiver. There’s a single pin to remove the firing pin. Done. Cleaning is a bit of a chore: the rifle got fairly dirty, but nothing unusual.

So is it worth it? Mine cost $700 or so and yes — the quality of the build, the use of Glock mags, and the performance of the rifle was excellent, outside of the issues I had with a lot of bad ammo. Still, this could mean the rifle, if shooting .40 or .357 SIG might need the buffer tube backed out to prevent issues with failure to eject or feed.

 

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So, I got lucky a few weeks ago and won a raffle. The prize was a choice of three similarly-priced pistols. I chose the Walther PPS, seeing as how I love the bigger PPQ and my old PPK/S. I’d fired a PPS M1 a few times years ago and liked it well enough, so I figured I would be happy with the new pistol.

The new M2 version has the American magazine release button, rather than the trigger guard paddles that most of the German manufacturers prefer (because learning a slightly different [and easier!] manual of arms is hard) The replaceable backstrap is a thing of the past, which makes for a very small pistol that is slim and super-concealable The weight is very low — noticeably so compared to my PPK. The trigger is good, with pull of about five pounds and an audible reset. The pistol comes with a flush fit 6 round magazine and an extended seven round that allows the shooter purchase for their pinkie. Unlike my PPK/S, the PPS is much more comfortable to fire with the finger extension; I prefer the flush fit and my little finger curled under on the PPK. Go figure.

The recoil and muzzle flip on the light PPS are manageable, but stout. The thinness of the grip made control, for me, difficult at ranges beyond seven yards, and I found my groups were awful. Assuming I was having an off day, I swapped to the PPQ and shot laser-tight groups. Same with the PPK/S. Back to the PPS and I couldn’t group to save my life beyond that seven yards. The PPK? three inch group at 15 yards with little issue.

A few trips to the range and I just wasn’t getting any better. Finally, this Monday, after a particularly annoying long weekend, I’d had enough. I finished my range time, when out to the showroom and traded the PPS for a new CCP M2 in .380. I’d shot the 9mm version and found it accurate and the recoil fairly tame compared to the PPQ. The pistol uses a delayed gas system similar to the old Heckler & Koch P7 series (a great gun!) to mitigate recoil on the small and light handgun, and it works. In the 9mm, the recoil lost a lot of muzzle flip that you see in the PPS. But the new hotness was in the store, so I went with the CCP in 9mm short.

I then took it and Rolf, my Ranger-made PPK/S from the Interarms era (see below), and compared them side-by-side. The CCP in both calibers is the same size. It’s a bit longer in the grip than the PPK/S, so it’s got more real estate than the smaller PPS; but otherwise the sizes between the venerable old pistol and this one are about the same. I’d like to see a flush fit magazine for the CCP to aid in concealment. Slide manipulation is incredibly easy. My eight year old daughter and wife can run the slide without issue. Both the 9mm and .380 use the same eight-round 9mm magazine, just with a block to allow the .380 to seat properly. Additionally, the CCP features a thumb safety, for those who want that added bit of peace of mind. The PPS, like most new Walther offerings does not have an active safety.

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Function out of the box and without a cleaning or lubrication was flawless on three types of ammo — Armscor 90 gr., Aquila 95 grain, and the American Gunner XTP 90 gr. bullets. In the lighter .380, the recoil is negligible and follow up shots should be very fast. They’re not, though. The trigger is smooth and breaks at about 5 pounds, but it’s long and the reset is terrible — you are almost off the trigger when the inaudible, vague reset happens. This slows follow up shots considerably, if you are used to the swift reset of the PPQ or the even the PPK. Accuracy from the fixed barrel superb to ten yards, and the grip — which uses similar stippling and contouring to the larger PPQ — really aids in control. The pistol is very light, and one-handed, I had no trouble putting lead where I wanted, so long as i took my time. I only did a single string of eight out at 15 yards and found the grouping was good, but the pistol was shooting low and right…that could have been me getting used to the grip.

So how did the CCP fare next to the PPS? They’re both competing for the concealed carry market, but they come at it from different philosophies. The PPS uses the usual canted Browning-style lockup and is hyper-reliable with anything you put through it, but I found it was jumpy and uncomfortable. After a few boxes, my thumb hurt in ways it didn’t dropping similar amounts of ammo through my 10mm 1911 or my PPQ. I just could not get it to shoot where I wanted it to. The CCP functioned flawlessly, shot great groups where I wanted them unless I was raid firing, then the groups got… unimpressive. The recoil of the .380 is light and pleasant, especially compared to the thumb-busting recoil of the old PPK/S, but the accuracy isn’t to PPK standards. (Yet..? I did only run a hundred round through it, so I might just need to get used to the pistol.)

As an aside, how does it compare to the PPK/S? The recoil is significantly more pleasant, the grip is better, and it carries an extra round in an ever-so-slightly bigger package. If you want a modern striker-fired pistol that is light and concealable — the CCP is your choice here, especially if you’re talking the new PPKs with the long tang, which I find bites the hand when shot and also makes the PPK much harder to draw from a pocket or concealment. (Nope — I don’t like it. Gimme the old design.) If you want a faster-shooting .380 that is pretty much flawless, get yourself an ’90s Interarms period PPK/S or the new Walther-made stuff. Steer clear of the S&W period pistols; I shot a few and they were Jamomatics.

As for field stripping, the PPS is the big winner here. It’s the usual striker-fire takedown. Pull the slide back a hair and pull down on the takedown nibs, then run the slide off. The end. The CCP requires you to push on the plate covering the striker, then to pop a little button to the right. This releases the striker assembly, then you pull up and run the slide off. After that, the CCP looks a lot more like the PPK, with recoil spring on fixed barrel. I cleaned the PPK and CCP back to back. The process didn’t take that much more time for the CCP, save for the initial placing of the slide: getting the gas piston into its home channel is a bit of a pain in the ass, but once done, the rest goes smoothly. (You don’t need a tool like the original M1 CCP.)

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The CCP in .380 is much easier to shoot and much, much more pleasant than its bigger 9mm brother. You get the small number of rounds in the same size and weight package, so if you want power — the CCP in 9mm’s a better choice; it you want comfort, go with the .380.

So, in conclusion: I really like the feel of the new CCP in the hand, and it is a pleasant companion to shoot. It would make a decent CCW pistol for everyday carry due to the light weight and small size, but I think regular practice will be necessary to get proficient with follow-up shots. I don’t think it will replace my PPK anytime soon, but — for me, at least — it’s a better choice than the PPS.

Your mileage may vary.

(Yes, I realize the PPS shown above is an M1… SCR)

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.

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