Firearms


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.

2015-02-06 08.38.07

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.

So I got a hold of a Rock Island 1911A2 .22TCM today and had a chance to take it straight to the range for a break in. I only got 100 rounds of .22TCM and a box of 50 9mm through the gun, but it was enough to get some initial impressions on the weapon.

First, the look of the pistol is very nice. Unlike the usual natty RIA finish (very practical for a workaday gun), the TCM is beautiful with a nice black to the receiver, the underside and the flat top of the slide. The sides are polished and look a lot like the Kimber Eclipse, giving it a nice black on silvery gray two-tone. The fit and finish are premium quality — easily on par with much more expensive guns. It is a wide-frame, double-stack 1911. More on that in a moment. There are adjustable sights that work well, but a white or red dot on the front sight would have been a plus.

right

 

left

The grips. I know a lot of people like the wrap-around finger groove thing — I think it sucks. And blows. At the same time. Some complain about the look, but the fit was fine — they just make the gun a bit too wide for me, and the finger groove crap always messes with my natural hold on a 1911. There are almost no options for the pistol because the grip screws are just a smidge different from the Para-Ordinance A2. You can use the P-14 grips, but you have to dremel a bit on the screw holes, apparently. There are VZ Grips for the pistol, but they are available only in black through Armscor. I consider this a bit of a “lose” for the gun, but not enough to naysay buying one.

The upside to the double stack 1911: 17 rounds of 9mm or 18 rounds of .22TCM. The pistol is heavy — it’s not a great choice for concealed carry, but it isn’t a bad choice for backpacking, open carry, or the like. The magazines fit well, and mine functioned flawlessly. Another downside — it doesn’t seem to fit in a standard 1911 holster, or at least not the SERPA I have. Weight is about 41 oz., so about a quarter again heavier than, say, the Kimber Pro Carry II’s 35ish oz.

Function: Oh, but this is a great gun. For the $600 or so you’ll shell out for the TCM, you get one of the single best triggers I’ve used on a 1911, which means better than just about anything not costing you $2000+ (and even on par with some of those.) It broke at 3.5 lbs. nice a crisply with no creep at all. Reset is quick and loud enough that if you watch some video, you will hear it. The trigger and hammer are skeletonized, and there is a nice beavertall grip safety. The weapon ran all of the 150 through it with no malfunctions, save for me accidentally putting the safety on while shooting. (Lefty…)

Accuracy: 2 inches at 15 yards, free hand, taking my time in 9mm and .22. Better at 10 yards. The groups were amazing, but I consistently shot a bit low due to the finger groove grips. (Seriously…hate these things.) I suspect I can do better in another trip or two.

Ammunition: Armscor’s the only people doing .22TCM, just like FN was humping their customers on 5.7x28mm for the longest time. Seriously, Armscor, here’s your winning friggin’ proposition — do an AR in .22TCM. Yesterday. Why, you ask? Because you get the same performance as the 5.7mm out of a standard-size grip handgun. The rounds I shot were chronographed at 2000-2060fps by one of the other shooters who frequents the range. With a 40 gr. bullet, that’s about 350 ft lbs of energy, or the low end of 9mm. With almost zero recoil — the 1911A2 weighs enough you get less recoil than the FiveSeven, and more accuracy because the weight actually make your hand move less and the trigger is lightyears better than the FN’s. (And I love the FiveSeven — carried one for a decade.)

Even better, if you can’t find .22TCM (as low as $17/box online, usually $22-25 in town), you can swap the barrel and recoil spring with ease in about a minute, and shoot 9mm. I did not try hollowpoints this time out, just crappy Federal 115 gr. white box stuff. No issues. It shot well with little recoil. Armscor — make some kind of AR or carbine that uses the pistol mags and a swappable barrel and you have a winner. Just do it. Yesterday!

The two big complaints I have are the obvious grip screw, hard to find alternate grips thing, and the lack of an indicator dot on the front sight. Otherwise, this is a better functioning 1911 than the two Rock Island .45s my ex-wife had, better than the CDP 9mm and the Stainless Pro Carry II from Kimber, better than the Springfield Armory 1911s I’ve shot (with the exception of a friend’s Yost-Bnitz modified Springfield.) It’s got a superb stock trigger, good sights that a bit of paint on the front post would make great, CZ levels of ammunition in the magazine, and comparable accuracy to my CZ-85 (which is excellent.) Fit, finish, and frills are all high quality for budget 1911 prices. And you can shoot two different calibers.

So is it worth it? Not just yes, but hell yes.

 

Ah, yes…I know I’ve seen a bunch of these.

The local shooting range does a bunch of training courses and the former military and contractor guys are way to into the Central Axis Relock and C-Clamp bullshit. They’re not any better shots for it — it just looks tacticool. The CAR “check your six” whiplash thing? Stupid. The over the barrel hold for rifles? Great if you don’t need those iron sights. (But the modified Rambo..? That totally works. Totes.)

Three things make you a good shot: practice, find the grip that works for you…and practice. Think about all those amazing rifle(wo)men and pistoleers across the last two centuries — their stances and holds were what worked for them — but in the end, they shot. A lot.

 

For the last decade, I’ve had a selection of rifles — mostly AR-style carbines from various manufacturers in gas port and gas piston, but I never meshed with the ergonomics of the weapon. i was much more fond of the FN PS90 in 5.7mm — sure, it didn’t have the power of the AR-15, but for most urban engagements or home defense SHTF situations, a pistol cartridge carbine has a few definite advantages: 1) they’re lighter, 2) ammo is interchangeable with handguns, 3) they’re easier to control and shoot. The downsides are obvious: 1) lower power, 2) shorter effective range.

The PS90 served the house for a decade with the FiveSeven as my carry gun, but over the last two years or so, I realized i wasn’t carrying the FN, despite the lighter weight; my 1911 was more concealable. Also, I hadn’t shot the PS90 in almost three years. Time to make some room in the gun cabinet. I decided I wanted a 9mm or .45 for cost efficiency (and because it’s near impossible to get a 10mm carbine.)

There were only a few options — an AR in 9mm, but i don’t like the ergonomics and if you’re going to buy an AR, buy a rifle cartridge; there was the Hi-Point, which had some real boosters online, but looked like crap; and the Beretta CX4. The Storm is a sexy looking thing that uses M9/92 model magazines, and those are plentiful. All the reviews touted the reliability and the accuracy. I borrowed one from the local range and put a few boxes through it.

Sold.

The bad first: The trigger’s a bit heavy, but better than the PS90. The iron sights are spot on but horrible for quick use. The gun needs a decent reflex sight or a simple red dot. I dropped one on and I can still see the iron sights through the glass, just in case. Some might not like the safety — it’s a cross bolt and hard to operate unless you’re used to a shotgun; then you’ll be fine. The magazine well is a bit clumsy for seating the standard 15 round M9 magazines, but I suspect the extended 30 round ones should go in much easier. It’s a little pricey at $700 when a el-cheapo AR is running $850.

The good: Accuracy is great out to the 30 yards I tried it at. My suspicion is it should be spot on out to 100-150 yards. Reach to the trigger is about the same as the PS90. Recoil is very manageable and the rubber cheek pad and buttpad is very comfortable. There’s a Piccatinny rail on the top for optics, a light screw-on rail for the side near the front for a light, and there’s a very small nub of a rail under the barrel that after cleaning the Storm, I noticed connected to a long bit of plastic in the upper. Pushing in the front sling post allows you to slide a long, useable rail out under the barrel.

The great: It looks amazing and futuristic. You can swap the ejection port and charging handle with ease from right to left hand. The takedown is as easy as the PS90 — knockout a wee pin from either side of the foregrip, pull the stock out, pull the bolt out. Done.

New CX4 with a crappy BSA red dot scope.

New CX4 with a crappy BSA red dot scope.

So is it worth it? Yes.

UPDATE: I took the Storm out this morning and dropped 200 rounds through it. The old BSA RDA30 scope shook itself apart about halfway through the shoot and had to be junked in favor of a new BSA reflex sight. The rifle had no malfunctions, shot true to it’s iron sights and my original red dot, and once I got the new one sighted in, here were no issues. It is, however, a dirty gun — 200 rounds had me with soot all over my fingers and I could feel the oil from the ammunition on my face.

Lage Manufacturing builds custom accessories for submachine guns, and here they make the dreams of millions of geeks come true with a function replica of the Colonial Marine’s M4A1 Pulse Rifle called the MAX-41A:

Submachinegun component is a NFA registered SWD M-11/9 with an Anthony Smith style Suomi upper receiver. Magazine used is a Suomi “Coffin” magazine that holds 50 rounds of 9mm. No modifications or alteration of the M-11/9 lower receiver is required. Shotgun component is a NFA registered Remington 870 short barreled shotgun. BATFE letter was obtained confirming this is a legal configuration, prior to manufacturing.

The original Pulse Rifle was built off of a Thompson .45 submachinegun and SPAS-12 shotgun. In the film it was a 10mm caseless rifle with a 100 round magazine, and with a 30mm 4-shot grenade launcher. Considering there is the FRAG12 round out there, you could get darned close to the actual weapon…

Arsenal Arms created a “ballistic knife” — a combat knife with a six shot .22LR revolver cylinder inside the handle of the knife. The gun is actuated by turning a portion of the trigger, which levers up and for every squeeze, a round is fired. Some of the game stat stuff is conjecture based on videos on the web, as I’ve not actually seen one of these. The trigger looks very heavy and awkward, so accuracy is going to suffer severely. The cylinder looks like it might be off the NAA pocket revolvers, so you can probably carry an extra cylinder (if you can figure out how to keep the rounds in, and hot swap the cylinder. Reloading looks like you’d have to take the cylinder out, knock the rounds that don’t fall free, out, then feed and replace the cylinder before closing.

gun-knife

G.R.A.D. MODEL RS1 BALLISTIC COMBAT KNIFE

PM: o  DC: +2   CON: +1   DRAW: 0

(as gun) PM: -1   S/R: 1   AMMO: 6   DC: D   CLOS: 0-1   LONG: 3-6   CON: +1   JAM: 97+   DRAW: 0   RL: see GM information… COST: ~$2000

GM Information: the RS1 is designed to be a last ditch weapon, so reloading was not a priority. To hot-swap a cylinder, the reload time can be dropped to 3 rounds, to feed the cylinder in the weapon new rounds takes 5 rounds.

(Ed. If anyone has one of these and care to correct me on elements of the function, etc., please do…)

Here’s some vid of the thing in action:

This post was prompted by an incident at the local gun store this morning. A couple came in, with the guy asking the dealer if they had any pistols for his girlfriend. He was looking for a subcompact Glock in .40 for her to carry. The girlfriend, through the entire exchange, says nothing. The dealer had none — they were sold out in the crazy hitting the nation. The dealer points out a few excellent carry pieces, including a Kahr .40. I pointed out the equally superb CZ-75 P-07 Compact (also in .40.) Nope — gotta be a Glock.

The warning bells were going off for me at this time. Not just because I was certain this carry piece wasn’t for his girlfriend, but for this tattooed douche. He most likely couldn’t buy one legally, and dragged the cow-eyed chick in to do a straw purchase. But even if that weren’t the case, it told me — and I had gone over this multiple times with male customers looking for guns for their wives/daughters/girlfriends/mothers while working at a small local gun store — they hadn’t thought a second past the classic “we can’t buy her too much gun” or the “it’s small, so she’ll be okay with it” thought processes of the Y chromosome.

Keep in mind several things: 1) Hand size. Most women have smaller hands than you, tough guy. The Glock is a fine pistol (but, I think, highly overrated compared to some of the competition) but it’s not the self-defense/combat panacea most of its fan base would have you think. It’s also got a brick for a handle with an unnatural grip angle for many people. A lot of women have thin hands with long, long fingers. Grips with the finger grooving isn’t as good for them. 2) Grip strength. This is especially important for the older woman. This can make choosing the right grip size, but also grip shape even more important to give positive control of the gun. It’s also the main factor to consider for trigger weight. 3) Overall comfort with a weapon or shooting. Don’t start them out with the damned .40 or a magnum cartridge until they’re used to shooting and are comfortable with the weapon. .40 — I find, it prone to a lot of muzzle flip that 9mm, .45, and even the bigger brother 10mm don’t. 4) What’s it for? Is it for the home, the car, to carry?

So here’s the best first guns for a woman:

1) 1911A1 (any size or caliber save 10mm)

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Really, Scott? The 1911? But .45’s too much gun for a chick. Wrong. The 1911 in Officer’s size (3″) is a perfect carry gun for the purse of backpack. It’s small, relatively light, and can be had in the three big self-defense calibers of 9mm, .40, or .45. My ex-wife had tiny hands with low grip strength; this was what she swore by — both in .45 and later 9mm. If you’re just going to have it for the house, the full size 1911 is accurate, powerful, with a low kick, and decent safety features (leave the hammer down and you’re good.) Most importantly, it’s a short reach to the trigger and even crappy 1911s run about 6 lbs on a short trigger pull, as compared to the heavy, long trigger pull of the double action only hammerless revolver a lot of guys buy for their ladies as a first gun.

What about jams, you say? Revolvers are better because they don’t malfunction! Girls aren’t strong enough to rack the slide! 1) Wrong. Revolvers malfunction. It’s happened to me. 2) Most modern autos function quite well thanks to modern ammunition and better workmanship. 3) That’s why you practice. Practice mean if you get a jam you know what to do. As to working the slide — practice.

The downside: Price on 1911s tends to be high with even cheap handguns starting in the $700s here in the Southwest.

2) Walther PPQ

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The Walther PPQ shares similar positives to the 1911. The grip has interchangeable backstraps that allow you to size the weapon to the shooter. The trigger is light — about 5 lbs — and has a short reset. It’s light, concealable, and has 15 rounds in the 9mm. You can get it in .40. They function well and are fully-ambidextrous for lefties.

Downside: There’s no active safety that you can turn on or off. If the shooter is nervous about safety of the weapon, they might want to carry it without a round in the chamber, which runs into one of the perennial issues for “chicks are too weak to shoot autos” buyers; you need to practice running the slide. Period. I’d suggest getting a good retention holster, instead. Price-wise, I’ve found them for about the same price as the Glock, Smith & Wesson M&P, or similar polymer pistols.

Speaking of…

3) Smith & Wesson M&P Shield (or any M&P)

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The M&P has all the same upsides as the PPQ, but the Shield is their new concealed carry version of this series. Like the PPQ, the backstraps can be interchanged for different sized hands (making them very popular with the female officers here in Albuquerque.) They have a safety. The larger versions of the M&P have more options for caliber — 9mm, .357 SIG, .40, and .45. Take down for cleaning is dead simple. And they’re relatively cheap — the full-size M&Ps start in the $500s. For the new shooter, especially if it’s for just for home defense, a full size M&P is probably a better choice, as the shooter has a better amount of grip surface to work with.

4) Smith & Wesson Model 36 (or similar)

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The honorable mention, the S&W 36 — or any similarly hammered .38 special revolver — is an excellent choice for a beginner for several reasons: 1) Simplicity of use — point and click. 2) You can cock the hamer to lower the weight and distance of the trigger, which is important for the beginner, the person with small hands, or a weaker grip. 3) Ease of maintenance. 4) They fit well in a purse or a backpack, but they are a bit harder to conceal due to the size of the cylinder.

The downsides: 5 or 6 shots of a relatively anemic .38 special round (as compared to the other guns highlighted.) the range and accuracy of the short barrel work against the beginner shooter, as well, and they tend to be a bit jumpier in recoil than autos. Slow to reload, and can be difficult in high pressure situations. Lastly, they’re no longer cheaper than autos.

A friend of mine was divesting himself of some firearms this year, and one of the weapons was a Kimber Stainless Pro Carry II .45ACP. I took the pistol out for a run this week, and while I didn’t put a lot of rounds through it, I did enough to get a good feel for the pistol.

First off — aesthetics: The pistol is lovely. The stainless steel slide and the aluminum frame give it a two-tone silver look. The rubber grips look all right, but I think I’d like to swap to the black and brown grips they use on the Eclipse. It had come with the Hogue rubber finger grips for the front of the handle. Hated them, even though they probably contributed a bit to the excellent performance of the gun. The pistol is a commander-sized 1911, so it’s a 4″ barrel and a normal grip size. Here it is now…

IMG_0146Next, let’s discuss the carry factor. The size is nice — about on par with the Walther PPQ I like to carry. Weight-wise, I was very surprised. The Walther PPQ tips the scales with a full magazine of 115 grain 9mm at about 24-25 oz., the FN FiveSeven with twenty 27 grain about 25-26 oz., and the Pro Carry with eight 230 grain rounds is 32 oz. About half a pound heavier than the other two guns, but still well inside the comfortable to carry all day range. It also fits in the chest pocket my motorcycle jacket — the main requirement for a concealment gun — well enough to be drawn quickly. In short, it’s an excellent choice for carry based on weight to power.

Function: The accuracy of the gun is astounding. For as light as it is, the recoil is very manageable; certainly no worse than any other 1911 .45 I’ve fired. The sights are minimalist — no dots, just black front post between two black back posts…the way I like it. At 10 yards and a steady but not slow pace, I put eight in a 2.5″ group. Most probably never touched paper. At fifteen, which seems to be where I start to see degradation on accuracy for most pistol, I was still getting 3-3.5″ groups. I didn’t try a 25 yard test as I was out of ammo quickly. It’s a blast to shoot.

(Side note — the new eyes [I had LASIK done last week] probably helped with my accuracy. I’m about 20/10 now and could actually make out the 5.7mm hits a friend was making at 10 yards with little difficulty!)

As to the mechanical function – here we run into one of my complaints on Kimber. I doubt the previous owner(s) had put more than 200-400 rounds through the pistol, and the function was still a bit rough. The whole “you need to break it in” thing that shooters put up with is stupid. If you buy a guy and actually need it that night, what bloody good is it if the thing malfunctions because the manufacturer couldn’t do a bit of polishing and testing? I have never had to break in a Tanfoglio Witness (as much as folks love to malign them), nor my CZ, nor the FN, nor the Kel-Tec .32s I’ve owned. They worked.

The Kimber loved to jam up on the first round or two. I swapped mags — not the issue. Once running, it was fine after the first shot or two. the spring, to me, felt weak. The Pro Carry’s supposed to have a 22 lb. recoil spring, but it was about the same strength as my colleague’s Witness .45 (also on the range at the time) — a 16 lb. spring. I had my Witness with a Wolff 20 lb spring. this was not a 22 pound spring. I think this was the issue with the function, which admittedly eased toward the end of the session.

So I ordered up a 23 lb. Wolff spring for it.

Outside of the break-in or weak spring nonsense, the gun ran like a top. Enough so, it is replacing the Kel-Tec .32 I’ve carried in my motorcycle jacket for a decade. It’s not as light, true, but it doesn’t print and doesn’t seem to weigh the jacket down. I’m calling it Wee Jock.

The MSRP on the Kimber is just shy of $1100. It’s not worth that. Find a used one for about $700, it’s definitely worth it. Find it for less than that — jump on it.

UPDATE: My second outing with the Kimber saw no malfunctions, using crappy Blazer ammo. Shot a few rounds of Critical Duty .45, and wow! do you feel the +P with that frame.

I’ve yet to figure a name out for it, since I haven’t had a chance to shoot it, yet — but yesterday I got a smoking deal on a Benelli Nova Tactical 12 gauge shotgun. The plan is to add a +2 round extender to the magazine tube eventually. This model has the typical Benelli combat “ghost ring” sights — superb for fast target acquistion. The pump action is smooth, and I’ve yet to lubricate the thing. There is a magazine arrestor button on the pump to allow the chamber to be loaded without having a round leave the magazine. Total capacity right now: 6 rounds with one in the pipe? It can fire 2 3/4″ to 3.5″ shells. It’s very light, modern-looking, and shoulders very quickly.

I’d love one of their M4 Super 90 semiautos or the MR1 carbine in 5.56mm but we’re a bit tight on the budget at the moment. Still, a great buy from a great company.

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