As much as I have enjoyed shooting my 9mm-converted 5.56 lower, which uses a magazine well block insert to allow it to accept Colt-style 9mm stick mags, I definitely prefer normal pistol magazines and a lower designed specifically to accept them. Although, yes, this limits you to pistol calibers, it also reduces failure points, extra parts, and time spent tinkering and adjusting to get everything working properly. For much of this year I’ve casually kept my eye out for a dedicated 9mm AR-15 lower receiver that accepts GLOCK or other pistol magazines, and when Lone Wolf‘s G9 became available again I decided to pull the trigger and give it a shot.
In recent years there has certainly been no shortage of sub-compact, “pocket-sized” 9mm pistols to choose from. Market demand has spoken, and manufacturers have answered with available products. However, if you’re a “cocked & locked,” hammer-fired kind of a gal (or guy) you’ve been almost completely overlooked. Thankfully, one of the only options out there happens to be a pretty good one — the SIG SAUER P938 . . .
Why do governments always have to screw things up? Take the US Army’s attitude towards our service pistol used successfully through two world wars, for example. After WWII, some desk-pogue decided that the 1911 in .45 ACP had to go; it wasn’t “continental” enough, I guess. The first time the US Army tried to get rid of the 1911 Government model in .45 ACP was in 1949. Back then, US Government requirements were issued stating that the new pistol had to be chambered in 9mm parabellum (Latin is even neater than French) and couldn’t exceed seven inches in length or weigh more than 25 ounces. Colt’s entry –a shortened 1911 with an aluminum frame (called Coltalloy) wasn’t adopted (neither was the Smith and Wesson M39). So in 1950, Colt started producing their version for the retail market, calling it the Commander. Colt wisely brought it out in .45 ACP as well as 9mm and also in the red-headed stepchild, .38 Super. In 1970, Colt began making the Commander with a steel frame, calling it the “Combat Commander” and it’s still produced today. . .
Centerfire cartridges are great, but sometimes a little rimfire lovin’ is what you really need to get the job done. Winchester has developed a pretty kick-ass rimfire cartridge in the .17 WSM or “Winchester Super Magnum.” It’s a higher-powered .17 caliber rimfire round with an insanely flat trajectory and a muzzle velocity equal to most 5.56 rounds. The caliber means you can pack more ammo and more power into the same space, but the only rifles set up to fire that new cartridge have been bolt action guns. Until now . . .
Beretta’s 1301 Tactical is a sleek, fast, lightweight semi-automatic shotgun designed for home defense and law enforcement roles. Its short (13″) length of pull and 18.5″ barrel keep size as handy as possible, while its BLINK gas piston system is claimed to “cycle 36% faster than any other shotgun on the market.” A big claim for sure, and I certainly can’t outrun it (i.e. pull the trigger faster than it can cycle). Of course, at under 6.4 lbs. thanks to the aluminum receiver and polymer stock and forend, it can shoot a lot faster than I can keep it on target . . .
The Smith & Wesson M&P line of polymer pistols has been a huge hit for the Springfield, Massachusetts gunmaker. That’s not exactly a news flash. After some comparatively uninspired initial efforts at countering the GLOCK polymer pistol onslaught almost a generation ago, the M&P line has developed a dedicated following that appreciates the pistols’ ergonomics, options and reliability. But looking across the M&P product line, there had been one model missing. Yes, Smith offered the M&P22, but that’s a full-size gun that’s still made in Germany by Walther, a holdover from their former corporate partnership. With other smaller options out there like the the Walther P22 and Ruger’s relatively new SR22, Smith needed their own “tactical .22″ to compete. Hence the M&P22 Compact . . .
Few can deny the timeless lines of a classic 1911. Unfortunately, a lot of manufacturers screw up Old Slabsides by treating all that real estate like billboards. Not Dan Wesson. The Valor, like most of the DW line, is one of the cleanest looking pistols out there and is a true testament to exceptional quality materials, workmanship, and finish. You can spend a heck of a lot more on a custom 1911, but a gun like the Valor makes that additional money a lot harder to justify . . .
When Masterpiece Arms announced that they were planning on releasing a bolt action rifle at SHOT Show, I wasn’t all that impressed. Masterpiece Arms has a bit of a reputation for making odd firearms, and they’ve never really been known as a precision firearms manufacturer. That was before I took a trip down to Georgia to see their operation in person, and the impression I had of their products changed a great deal following that weekend. To make sure that their build quality wasn’t a fluke I asked to test one of their new bolt action rifles back in Texas and see if it was really worth the coin . . .
HK is no stranger to striker-fired pistols, but it’s been a while since they’ve designed a new one — close to four decades. With the VP9 hot off the presses, the wait is over and Heckler & Koch has reentered the striker-fired handgun market. This bad boy is sort of like a cross between HK’s own P30 and Walther’s PPQ, with a trick or two of its own thrown in for good measure . . .
At some point, everyone looks back on their achievements and says, “Why not do more?” Primary Weapons Systems is known for their piston driven wonderguns and TTAG has had the pleasure of testing their MK 114 rifle and MK 107 Pistol in the last few months. Short story, we’re impressed with what they’re putting out. But back in early May, PWS announced that they’d also be releasing a direct impingement (DI) upper for the masses. It still uses the same high quality parts and manufacturing processes Nick and I raved about in our reviews, but in a simple, more cost effective package. When you make one of the best piston guns out there, making a good DI gun shouldn’t be too hard, right? . . .
By: Austin Knudsen
A few months back, TTAG was kind enough to post a review I did of the Robinson Armament XCR-M rifle in .308 Winchester/7.62 x 51 mm. The review was not flattering; the sample rifle, owned by a friend, had serious accuracy and reliability issues. Cosmetically and feature-wise, I was very impressed by it. However, after putting several different factory and bulk loads through the rifle, I ended up giving it only a 2-star rating. I added the caveat at the time that Robinson Armament had agreed to ship the rifle back for diagnosis and service. The rifle is now back from Robinson Armament, and, true to my word, here’s a second look at this controversial rifle . . .
Joe and I both really enjoyed Walther’s PPQ M2 5″ in 9mm. Actually, Joe is still enjoying it since he couldn’t bring himself to return the loaner and decided, instead, to purchase it. Considering how good that gun was, it was clear I had to get my hands on Walther’s .22 LR version of the PPQ. This isn’t a smaller scale, pot metal, cheapo plinker like so many .22 pistols out there — it’s the full-size PPQ you know and love, made by Walther, with the same controls and slide length options as its centerfire brother and with a pretty darn good trigger in its own right. This time I’m calling “dibs,” and just plunked down some sawbucks of my own to add this bad boy to the stable . . .