Gun Review: Heckler & Koch VP9

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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 . . .

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Smith & Wesson’s Stock Tanks

Smith & Wesson rode the post-Obama II, post-Newtown gun sales surge like surfer Serena Brooke rides a Gold Coast roller. Smith racked up historic profits and increased their already impressive market share. They made so much money, in fact, they dodged the bullet of their bone-headed brand extension into the security business. The party’s not over, there’s plenty of cash to be made in the new normal, but the Cristal has run out. “Gunmaker Smith & Wesson [stock price] was down more than 11% in early trading after the company slashed its full-year sales expectations for the second time in two months,” businessinsider.com reports. Guess what Smith pumped out during the surge that’s dragging them down now. . .

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New From Smith & Wesson: M&P22 Compact

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Yes, Smith & Wesson already makes the M&P22, only they really don’t. The full-size M&P22 is made for Smith in Germany, a vestige of their one-time relationship with Walther. And the M&P22 is a full-size pistol. Which means Smith doesn’t really have anything to go up against “tactical rimfire” guns like Walther’s P22, SIG’s Mosquito or, most importantly, Ruger’s SR22. Until now. Today, S&W is introducing the new Smith-made M&P22 Compact. A hammer-fired single action, 3.6” threaded barrel, 10+1, two mags, ambi safety, fully-adjustable rear sight and an MSRP of $389. Press release after the jump . . .

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Gun Review: Walther PPQ M2 .22 LR

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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 . . .

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Washington Post: Meet the German Designer Behind the “Smart Gun”

Gun designer Ernst Mauch looks at the Armatix iP1 while violating one of the four safety rules. (courtesy washingtonpost.com)

Let’s get the politics out of the way first. Predictably, inaccurately, the Washington Post article on “smart gun” gun designer Ernst Mauch asserts that “Second Amendment advocates” and the NRA (‘natch) are blocking the U.S. Armatix iP1 “fearing the technology will be mandated.” To be clear, New Jersey has a law that does just that. Three years after any gun store in the U.S. offers the first “smart gun” for sale, all new guns for sale in NJ must be equipped with user-recognition technology. So it’s not paranoia that prevents Mauch’s handiwork from gaining acceptance among gun owners. It’s the fact that anti-gun politicians want to ram these unreliable, remote controllable firearms down owners’ throats. OK, so, here’s what inspired Mauch to develop the iP1 . . .

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Gun Review: Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special

 

Les Baer TRS Cover Courtesy Wes Minton

The name Les Baer conjures up an image of expert gunsmiths sitting in well lit rooms that smell faintly of Flitz and CLP. I like to imagine them taking their time with each and every single action masterpiece so that they can make each one feel loved and have enough time to sprinkle some magical gunsmith dust into each and every beautiful blued frame. The one we’re taking a look at is a well-used Thunder Ranch Special in .45 ACP. The TRS is kind of unique in that it was designed in conjunction with Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch to be the perfect combat 1911. And when I say it’s well-used, I mean over 6,000 rounds fired by me in a dozen ranges across Texas. So I think it’s safe to say that I’ve put enough rounds down range to make an informed decision as to its quality . . .

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The World’s Most Fire Retardant Paper Hat. Sorry! I Meant The World’s Best Hi-Point Semi-Automatic Pistol.

Back in the day, I couldn’t afford a Porsche. Or a BMW. Or a Ferrari. Sad to say, I drove a Ford Pinto station wagon. With Pirelli P3 tires. And various handling and engine upgrades. Mods that turned a car famous for exploding in read-end collisions into . . . a reasonable-handling Ford Pinto station wagon. After that, I upgraded to a Mazda RX-4. All the while knowing that nothing I could do short of total reinvention would make either car what I wanted it to be: a Porsche, BMW or Ferrari. And then, even if I had, it would have cost so much time and money that I’d wonder why I hadn’t just bought the real thing. Eventually I did. Which is the same reason neither I, nor anyone in their right mind, would ever spend $4300 transforming a Hi-Point into a competition GLOCK, Springfield or Wilson Combat killer. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

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Karl Lippard Needs to Hire Jerry Miculek

So Jerry Miculek shoots a balloon at 1000 yards with a revolver, aiming 75 to 80 yards above the target (figuring a 150 ft. drop). In other words, he lobbed the bullet on target like a mortar round. Which is exactly how Karl Lippard [may have] shot his infamous 800-yard grouping with his Combat NCO 1911 back in 2011. In the latter case, we never got anything like independent confirmation or convincing video evidence. In the former, GET SOME! Quite why you wouldn’t use a rifle at that distance I have no idea, save sh*ts and grins. Of which Mr. Miculek delivers many. Of which Mr. Lippard delivered none, at least intentionally. And therein lies the tale of two shooters and a whole lot of distance shooting. [h/t SS]

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NRA to Blame for Smart Gun Fail. Or Not.

Armatix "smart gun" (courtesy usatoday.com)

Let’s be clear about “smart guns.” American gun buyers don’t want firearms equipped with an authorized-user recognition system because they don’t trust the technology. They don’t trust “smart guns” to fire when they need them to. They don’t trust the government not to disable the guns remotely. The first issue can be overcome. The second can not. Which pretty much dooms “smart guns” to a niche market. At best. But it’s nowhere near best, thanks to the New Jersey legislature . . .

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Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Lance Corporal Marianne Lee

(courtesy witn.com)

Brannaird Riley’s next door neighbor is a Marine at Cherry Point MCAS, Lance Corporal Marianne Lee. Corporal Lee was packing her belongings for a move back to California when she “tried to make her 9mm pistol safe.” That’s how witn.com sets the stage for what you know is about to follow. But before we get to the ballistic denouement, I’d like to point out that unloading a gun isn’t a particularly intellectually challenging task. Assuming we’re talking about a semi-automatic pistol, you just point the gun in a safe direction, drop the mag, rack the slide, rack the slide again (why not?) and Bob’s your uncle. Oh, and keep your finger off the trigger. Hang on. It seems that Corporal Lee wasn’t making her gun safe after all . . .

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Self-Defense Tip: Don’t Shoot a TASER at Someone Soaked in Gasoline

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Force Science News’ latest email blast links us to a UK study at scienceandjusticejournal.comThe ignitability of petrol vapours and potential for vapour phase explosion by use of TASER® law enforcement electronic control device. As we’re too cheap to purchase the study, and most of our  readers possess a modicum common sense, I’ll give you Force Science’s best excerpt and put the abstract after the jump. “When the CEW discharged, the room was instantly engulfed in flames. In less than 1.5 seconds, heat at the officer’s head and hand level reached nearly 800 degrees Fahrenheit. ‘The police mannequin showed severe [burns] to about 20% total body surface area,’ the researchers report. (The dummy’s Kevlar vest tended to protect the chest area.) For the suspect mannequin, there was ‘almost 100%’ total body surface burned–’very probably fatal for a person if accompanied by inhalation injury.’” So now you know . . .

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Passively Constructed Negligent Discharge Story of the Day: MMA Edition

Joe Riggs before he shot his hand (courtesy mmafighting.com)

Joe Riggs out of UFN 51 after ‘unfortunate accident’ with gun, the headline at mmafighting.com proclaims. Setting aside the “unfortunate” descriptor, I’m not a big fan of the word “accident” when it comes to negligent discharges. I prefer “negligent discharge.” It’s a term that ascribes blame for an inadvertent ballistic event. “The UFC announced Tuesday that ‘Diesel’ injured his hand while cleaning his own pistol and won’t be able to recover in time for the UFC Fight Night 51 card in Brasilia, Brazil, on Oct. 13.” Yeah, about that cleaning thing. Are there really people stupid enough to shoot their hand before cleaning their gun? Shouldn’t that whole “accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun” thing be reserved for police suicides, protecting widows’ pensions? Anyway, the passive part . . .

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