TTAG has a reputation for hard-hitting, no holds barred reviews. That’s why it pains me to tell you that this review is pretty much the same kind of slobbering lovefest that you’d expect from industry glossies. But after spending six months and well over 3,000 rounds running the Walther PPQ M2, Jeremy and I could find precious little to complain about. Even my quibbles amount to nothing more than minor personal preference issues. So without further ado, let me tell you why I think the Walther PPQ M2 is one of the best of the polymer wonder 9s . . .
When I decided to turn my HK SL8-6 into a “designated marksman/sniper” configuration, I knew I wanted a good muzzle brake so I could “call my own shots,” so to speak. I also wanted to tame the recoil of my Steyr SSG-69. So I did some research and determined that a Grizzly Gunworks Defcon-1 brake would meet by needs, called owner Jeff Cox and placed an order. As he and I talked, I mentioned that I had recently purchased a Beretta CX4 Storm, and he convinced me to get a brake for it as well. Easy sell . . .
Last year, I reviewed the now discontinued Heckler & Koch SL8-6 after making an impulse buy at my LGS. My reaction to the rifle was a mix of hot and cold, but much of the “cold” was related to its horrible ergonomics. The ill-conceived thumbhole stock, of course, was a consequence of government-mandated restrictions. But even then, HK seemed to have gone out of their way to make it extra crappy. Well, for the last year I’ve been debating whether to go all in and convert my SL8-6 to a G-36 configuration, or simply stick with the designated marksman rifle concept. Either way, I knew TommyBuilt Tactical LLC had my six . . .
The Sa. Vz. 58 is an excellent weapon system, but its stock configuration is admittedly a bit dated. Fortunately, there are quite a few firms that invested in modernization programs for the venerable little carbine. One of these, an Israeli firm named FAB Defense, makes Vz. 58 accessories authorized for use by the Czech military. The Mako Group distributes FAB Defense products in the United States, and was kind enough to send me some T&E samples so I could pimp out my Vz. 58. I’ve been running the FAB Defense products through their paces for two months and can now make a full report to the Armed Intelligentsia . . .
The Czechoslovakian Sa Vz. 58 assault rifle has to rank high as one of the least understood and most underappreciated military rifles of the twentieth century. Case in point: for many years I thought that it was simply a copy of the AK-47. But I’m not alone: I’ve even seen it described in books as being an “AK.” However, outward appearances aside, they only thing the Vz. 58 has in common with an AK-47 is the round it shoots: the M43 (7.62 x 39mm). In fact, internally this rifle has more in common with Walther P38s, Beretta 92s, Brens, and Glocks than it does with an AK-47. Over the past couple years, I had the opportunity to test two civilian-legal adaptations of the original Czech design: the D-Techniks Vz. 58 “Sporter”, and a Century Arms International Inc. parts kit build called the “Vz. 2008.” . . .
While at the SHOT show, I blogged about the technological bolt-action marvels from German marques such as Mauser, J.P. Sauer, Merkel, and Blaser. While restrictive European gun laws have pushed the Germans to focus on interchangeable barrels, caliber conversions and platform versatility, high-end American gun makers remain dedicated to old school designs focused on accuracy, workmanship, and value. So if you are looking for something that is truly “new” when it comes to bolt action hunting rifles, you probably aren’t going to find much from the domestic manufacturers. But companies such as Cooper Firearms of Montana, Inc. will provide you with dead-nuts accurate rifles with drop-dead gorgeous looks . . .
Until the supply of 22LR dried up, my metal-receiver GSG 522SD had become one of my favorite range toys. Accurate and reliable (if the chamber is periodically cleaned), the GSG 522 has sold like hot cakes. ATI followed up the success of the GSG 522 with a .22LR copy of the MP-44 Sturmgewehr, and is now going to market a new Teutonic plinker, the MP-40 “Schmeisser.” The MP -40 will be available as a carbine (underfolding stock and faux suppressor) and a pistol version (underfolding buttstock permanently retracted). Both 10- and 25-round mags will be available. Like the STG-44 that preceded it, the GSG MP-40 will come from ATI with a wood crate for storage. MSRP will be $539.95. So is the MP-40 really a Schmeisser? . . .
Colt has teamed up with Cooper Firearms of Montana to add two more bolt guns to the M2012 family: the “M2012MT308T” and “M2012LT308G/M2012LT260G.” Made by Cooper for Colt, these new rifles feature the Cooper Arms repeater action with integral M1913 Picatinny rails, a 3-lug bolt, and 60° bolt throw. They also feature a custom fluted, match grade barrel and a single stage, adjustable Timney trigger. A signed, serial numbered and dated test target is included with each rifle. I fired both on range day and was very impressed with the overall feel, performance, and quality . . .
I’ve been shooting for around 36 years, but I had never a seen a break-open three-barreled rifle and shotgun combo. So when Chris Dumm and I stopped by the Merkel booth at SHOT Show, I thought I had stumbled upon something, um… “new.” Calling Chris over, I said: “Check this out.” He comes over and says: “Oh, cool, a drilling.” “A what?!”, I responded with a confused look on my face. Chris says “It’s a drilling: a three barreled rifle shotgun combination.” Surprised that Chris would know anything about high-end European rifles, I asked: “How did you know that?” He responded “There was an article on TTAG a while back, for one thing. They have been making these things for over one hundred years in Europe.” Hmmm. Ok, I’m feeling kinda stupid at this point . . .
A definite highlight of Media Day was running two mags of 5.56 full auto through the sub 6-pound Daniel Defense MK18. This excellent little rifle features a 10.3-inch cold hammer forged barrel (1-7 rh twist). The new Daniel Defense furniture on this rifle is pretty nice as well – it’s very ergonomic and features soft touch rubber overmoulding. It feels softer and more “grippy” than the Magpul furniture I’ve been running on my AR . . .
After spending four days walking up and down the aisles at the SHOT Show, we’re happy to report that the whole zombie green thing seems to pretty much be dead. On the other hand, we did see a few manufacturers promoting guns adorned in “arctic white” stocks, and scope manufacturers such as Schmidt & Bender offering scopes finished in white. And, as Chris already posted, Tapco is producing AR furniture in white. Will this be a new trend, or is white just the color of the month? More pics of the limited edition Steyr AUG stock after the jump . . .
The good folks at Gemtech are stepping up their game with their new titanium G-Core silencers. These solid two-piece cans are the result of tons of research using the latest computational fluid dynamic (CFD) and finite element analysis (FEA) software. While all that may sound rather geeky, the results are hard to beat: tough-as-nails, full-auto rated, user serviceable cans at a reasonable price . . .
Seeing a row full of Schmidt & Bender PM II scopes lined up with typical German military precision almost brought a tear to my eye. Be still my beating heart. Sigh. Well, its been a busy year for S&B: nine new scope offerings are being shown at SHOT this year. Included in this release are two new long range “compact” scopes from the PM II series of scopes: the 3-20 x 50 PM II Ultra Short and the 5-20 x 50 PM II Ultra Short. The smaller of the two, the 5-20, is just under 30cm long (11.7 inches) and weighs only 870 grams (30 ounces) . . .
Tucked away in a corner of the ground floor of the SHOT show was a small but visually impressive display by Cabot Guns. I thought I had struck gun blogger gold and immediately took some photos of the some of the most beautiful 1911s I had ever laid eyes on. Of course, when I mentioned my achievement to Nick Leghorn a few hours later, he rolled his eyes and informed me that our very own Robert ‘Tex” Farago had blogged the latest Cabot ballistic eye candy a few days earlier. Undaunted, I am posting these pics anyway, because I hate to see perfectly good images go to waste . . .
Besides meeting Colion Noir and the Gunny, one of the other highlights of Media Range Day for me was getting the opportunity to get some trigger time on the Beretta ARX 100. I’ve been pining to add this plump little ball of Italian goodness to my collection ever since I first laid eyes on its full-auto cousin at NDIA 2012. Features include: Quick change barrel capability (no tools required, takes seconds); chrome-lined hammer-forged barrels; ambidextrous and redundant controls (safety / selector switches, bolt hold open latches, barrel release latches, magazine releases, etc., multiple ambidextrous sling attachment points; SCAR-like 4 position collapsible folding stock, AR ergonomics and the ability to use standard AR-15 magazines . . .