Category Archives: pistols

Safariland ALS Holsters, the gold standard 

As seen on


When I started a gun-belt project some time ago, I didn’t realize how far down the velcro-lined hole I would get. I also never anticipated spending so much money on holsters, but necessity makes permissible things that otherwise might be forbidden. 

I say I spent a lot of money on holsters, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. I guess I may have become just a bit of an addict to Safariland’s ALS holster lineup, and today I am going to share some of my sickness with you.

I have long wanted a good gun-belt, and for it to be proper I was going to need a good pistol holster. To that end I found myself endlessly scrolling through Safariland’s website trying to decide on which one I liked the best. That was three holsters ago, and there are no signs of stopping. 


The Safariland ALS holster uses their level 1 retention system, using a thumb lever to release the pistol from the polymer holster. There are also other levels of retention that require multiple release movements by the user to get the pistol from its holster. I also have a level 2 retention holster, and believe it or not, it’s still very quick to get out and on target.

The ALS line of holsters are professional grade products, more likely to be seen on a duty belt than tucked under your rhinestone studded cowboy shirt and jeans. There are various models, but the ones you’ll see here today are not for CCW users, but more for sport or duty.

This model doesn’t feature the optics hood that flips open as you draw, but I still like it.


Safariland ALS holster Review

The ALS system uses a polymer block that hinges inside the holster to lock onto the slide of your pistol. The block is attached to a thumb lever perfectly placed on the side of the holster to release as you draw the pistol. The tight fit, and required retention demand that the holsters be custom fit for each pistol model or family.

The pistol I have shown here today is a Shadow Systems DR920, which is a Glock 17 clone. So I ordered a Glock 17 holster design which fit my pistol perfectly. In addition to ordering the holster custom sized to your pistol, you’ll also need to specify if said pistol will carry a red dot or not, as well as a weapon light if applicable. And of course there are many different red dots, and weapons lights, and as you can imagine the plethora of different models that Safariland has to model. To their credit it seems like they have achieved a good system to order holsters from their website by selecting popular models of pistols, sights, lights, and other options. Both right and left handed models are available, and add to the mix the dozens of different colors and wrap patterns they offer and the whole thing becomes overly impressive. 


My first holster came in, and I’ll admit I was a bit unprepared, and I’d neglected to order the appropriate Safariland accessories needed to properly position and mount the holster to my belt. Safariland offers a wide variety of positioning pieces and connecting hardware to fit almost any purpose. 

This is my SLS holster for my Sig Sauer P320 Legion and 5.11 Accessories

Later I purchased the Quick Locking System (QLS) which utilizes a rapid snap-on system to attach and remove the holster from the belt. This was an absolute must have, mainly because I have multiple belts for multiple purposes, and having the ability to swap from one holster to another is extremely convenient. The QLS system is robust and easily operated by a single hand.

This is starting to sound like some really nice gear right? Well I for sure think so, but let me warn you about the dangers of becoming an addict like me. All this equipment is very handy and definitely will help improve your high-speed operation (whatever that might be). But it won’t take long before you are signing your paychecks over to Safariland if you aren’t careful. 

Pros & Cons


  • Very high quality product
  • Adaptable to your needs
  • Very modular products
  • Great selection of styles and colors
  • If it doesn’t improve your game, you’ll at least look good


  • Not inexpensive
  • Can be a little intimidating to pick right 
  • Can you believe Safariland is based in California? The irony.

Shop Safariland Products at Brownells
Or shop Safariland products at Palmetto
Firearms Depot also has Safariland products

First Impressions

Every Safariland product I’ve bought has come with extra fasteners, tools, washers, etc. This is very handy as you try to configure your equipment. There are also several sets of fasteners with different lengths, to allow you to mount in different configurations. 

There are also detailed instruction pamphlets that come with them to help guide you in your installation. I of course threw those out like most guys, and figured it out on my own. I got a couple extra QLS forks to attach multiple holsters to my different belts, that’s something I would strongly recommend. The quality of these products speak for themselves, that said I am quite sure that someone who is far more tactical than myself will step in to say they aren’t durable enough for his needs.

And I’m sure there are plenty of folks who have managed to break this gear, which is no surprise. I mean c’mon it is only plastic, and it weathers with use and sunlight so it won’t surprise me if someday something snaps. I’m just glad that it is unlikely I’ll be hanging off the side of a helicopter when it does. But Safariland products come with a two-year limited warranty if such a thing happens.


ALS retention system

The ALS system does a fantastic job of keeping your pistol secured in the holster. You can run, jump, roll around on the ground, bail in and out of vehicles and your pistol will stay safely on your side. 

Notice the optics cover folded out of the way as the pistol is drawn

It’s also extremely easy to get your pistol out when you need it, with just a quick swipe of your thumb, the pistol slides smoothly into action.

Polymer housing

The polymer housing of the holster makes a soft touch that won’t damage the finish of your pistol. But I can tell you after much use, you will still start to see some rubbing evidence. But the holster does a great job protecting your pistol, muzzle, red dot and weapon light safe. The holster is closed at the end to keep dirt and debris from getting into your muzzle. At the top of the holster there is a winged hood to protect your red dot, it also has a flip up cover to keep your red dot window from collecting Cheeto dust between shots.

Tension Screw

Tucked neatly behind the holster and out of the way, there is a tension screw that you can adjust with an allen key to increase or reduce the tension against your pistol inside the holster. There is a soft pad on the inside that is progressively pressed against the pistol frame as the screw is tightened. This allows you to customize the feel of your draw, as well as reduce rattling of the pistol as you run back and forth at the range.

QLS change system

The QLS system is awesome for swapping one holster to another on your belt. The fork attaches to the holster, and the receiver mounts to your belt. You can slide the holster into place making the same motion you would to holster your pistol itself. Then the locking lugs at the end of the fork engage the receiver securing the holster to your belt.  I found this feature a must have if you are getting in and out of vehicles. While you certainly can wear the holster as you drive, it is much more comfortable to pop it off for longer drives. 

the QLS system allows easy removal and installation

Cordura Wrap

As an aspiring mall-ninja, I love the fact that most any Safariland holster can be ordered with any of their Cordura wrapping patterns. So if you are a multicam nerd, there are almost too many different options to choose from, like multicam tropical, or my favorite Tiger Stripe.

Read more about this and other great products at


If you do much pistol shooting, you are probably going to love the Safariland ALS holsters, the same way I have. They give professional grade performance to anyone willing to buy them. I absolutely feel like it has helped me get better and faster at drawing my pistols, and I love how they function. 

I typically wear one or another of these on a daily basis, if only to get more practice in. On any given day I draw my pistol from one of these holsters no less than many dozen times. If you are looking into a retention holster, I can strongly recommend the holsters from Safariland.


The Taurus USA TX22 Compact pistol



Semi-automatic 22 pistols have been a bit of a conundrum in the past, it seems every manufacturer has tried to make one that is both reliable and feature filled. But there always seems to be a shortcoming or compromise. When I first put hands on the Taurus TX22 years ago, I had a preconceived notion that it too would become another obligatory 22 pistol that was almost good enough. That was the initial TX22 pistol, but today we are going to look at one of the newest TX22 models, and see if it measures up, or exceeds what we are used to. I am happy to bring you a review of the TX22 Compact pistol from Taurus USA.

The TX22 Compact

The TX22 Compact is a polymer-frame striker fired pistol, it is fed from polymer magazines that hold up to 13-rounds. The compact version of the pistol also has some slide cuts to reduce weight, as well as an optics cut at the rear for mourning your favorite red dot sight. In a departure from the standard TX22, the compact features non-adjustable sights. That is probably because you can mount a red dot and adjust that instead. 

The small pistol also features a standard picatinny accessory rail under the muzzle for attaching whatever light or aiming accessory you’d prefer. Like its larger sibling, the TX22 Compact also features a threaded barrel, and comes with a suppressor collar to install your favorite hush-tube. At the rear of the frame there is an ambidextrous safety that is easily manipulated with the firing-hand thumb.


My very first impression of the TX22 Compact was its weight, it felt incredibly light. This is surely due to the polymer construction and aluminum parts. And much the same way as the full size TX22, I immediately fell in love with the grip. It fits my hand perfectly and the texturing makes it very easy to keep hold of. The lightweight and comfortable grip had already hooked me, but would it perform as good as it looked and felt? If my initial feelings were right, I was pretty confident that this pistol would be a winner.


The TX22 has a relatively short history. The original model was released only a few years ago, and Taurus has since expanded the line with an assortment of models and colors. The competition model uses a cut slide with a reduced front end on the slide as well as an optics mounting platform. The Compact is the most recent development, though I’m sure there will likely be additional offerings.



Lets go over some of the key features that set the TX22 Compact apart. Perhaps one of the most exciting developments with the TX22 is the magazines. For decades it seemed like 22 auto pistols had but one option for capacity, a single stack 10-round magazine. The TX22 uses what I guess you could call a double stack, in that the rims of the stacked cartridges are offset to the right and left as they are stacked into the magazine. The original full-size TX22 holds 16-rounds, while the flush-fitting magazines of the Compact model hold only 13. But to be fair, 13 rounds in a pistol this small, and this light make it very appealing. Also, the 16-round magazines of the full size TX22 also fit into the compact, though they do hang out exposed.

The Holosun 407 was a great choice

The trigger of the TX22 is another fantastic feature, instead of using a blade-safety, the TX22 utilizes the entire shoe. As the trigger is pulled, the shoe pivots into its firing position where the sear can be activated. It feels quite good considering the inexpensive cost of the TX22’s. The trigger also has a pretty short reset which I find spectacular, and greatly increases your ability to shoot rapidly with minimal movement.

The threaded barrel of the TX22 is another fantastic feature that comes from the factory. And the included suppressor collar allows you to go straight to the range with suppressor in hand. The barrel comes with a thread-cap installed, it is easily removed with a wrench using the machined flats on the thread-cap. You can then install the shouldered suppressor collar, which just threads over the muzzle with a flush fit. The collar also had a nice shoulder to tighten your suppressor against.

the Yankee Hill Phantom 22 suppressor is a perfect companion to the TX22

The TX22 Compact slide comes pre-cut for optics, and it fits micro red dots like the Holosun 407K and the new Vortex Defender. This is such a fantastic feature, especially to me who has become more and more addicted to red dots on my pistols. The steel plate is easily removed with the two screws, and your micro red dot will take its place.

The controls of the TX22 are easy to operate and understand, the slide release is easy to press with the thumb to drop the slide while shooting. The safety is not obtrusive but easy to reach and activate when needed, and it’s on both sides of the pistol for those wrong-handed folks out there. The mag release button is small and very functional, it too can be reversed to the opposite side of the frame for left-handers.

I guess my favorite feature of the TX22 family is that unlike most 22 auto-loading pistols, it doesn’t feel like a toy. While it is very light, even lighter than my son’s airsoft pistol, it still feels like a real gun. It doesn’t have the undersized grip that many others do, when you pick it up it feels like you’ve got a real gun in your hand. Add to that the dashing good looks of the pistol, and you’ve got a winner in your hand. 


Performance and Precision


Accuracy (8.5-10)

Being a humble little 22lr pistol, I’m not sure what level of accuracy people will expect from it. But I find the pistol to be very accurate for the purposes that I would use a 22 pistol for. I have used it to train my kids a great deal for pistol shooting, and every one of them absolutely loves shooting the TX22. It never fails, every time we go shooting I hear: can we bring the Taurus?

Shooting inexpensive bulk packed ammunition is what I expect most other people to shoot, as do I. The TX22 Compact is easy to keep on targets as small as squirrels at distances like 15 to 20 yards. Dispatching small rodents and even rats in the shed is surprisingly easy with the little TX22. 

In addition to its accurate shooting, the near lack of any felt recoil seems to help shoot the pistol even better. 


Ergonomics (8.5-10)

As I mentioned above, the fit in my hand is one of the first things that sold me on this pistol. It feels comfortable, and fills a man’s hand. The texturing on the frame makes it easy to keep hold of when manipulating the pistol, and the slightly flared magwell makes reloading an easy and smooth operation.

The trigger feels great, and all the controls are right where they should be and easy to operate. Even my wife who has particularly petite hands finds the TX22 Compact easy to operate and shoot well. 


Features (9-10)

The TX22’s features are outstanding. Not only does it have most everything a person could ask for, they are included from the factory. With a price this low you get quite a few features I am both surprised and happy to get. 

The higher capacity magazines, the optics ready slide, and factory threaded barrel are probably my favorite features of this pistol.

The TX22 compact (L) shown next to the full size TX22 (R)

Fit & Finish (8.5-10)

The TX22 family of pistols all come with a pretty handsome look to them. The different color frame options are nice, and the pistol seems to be put together well. I know it’s only a 22, and most people aren’t going to be betting their life on the durability of the TX22. That said, I think there are just a few things that do give the impression of a “cheap” pistol, such as the plastic firing pin bushings. And as much as I like the magazines, they are all plastic, and they don’t feel like it would be hard to crush them if accidentally stepped on or something. I also noticed that the coating of the slide isn’t as tough as I would like it to be, but at this price I can’t complain. 

Despite the few things that may make it seem cheap, I cannot find where the TX22 is flawed or poorly assembled. It’s a great looking pistol. 


I’ve been shooting the TX22 compact for nearly six months now, and I’ve lost track of how many boxes of Federal AutoMatch we’ve put through it. But at 325 rounds per box I’d estimate we have shot nearly two thousand rounds through the Compact TX22, this with a negligible occurrence of malfunctions. I was not surprised, as that was the same experience I had with the full size TX22, shooting through thousands of rounds with nearly zero issues. 

Of course being a 22lr, the TX22 is going to be dirty, and will need occasional cleaning to keep it running in top shape. Particularly if you are shooting suppressed, which a great deal of our shooting has been. 

I ran my Yankee Hill Machine Phantom 22 on the TX22 Compact, it was a perfect match that provided hours and hours of incredibly quiet fun for the family. Of course you should always wear eye protection when shooting, but it is an absolute must when shooting this pistol suppressed. There is a good deal of debris blown back when suppressed, so keep your glasses on.

Get the Yankke Hill Machine Phantom 22 suppressor here

Value (10-10)

With a street price just over $300, I think the TX22 Compact is an absolutely incredible value. There are other competitors like the Sig 322 that cost a bit more, and offer a higher capacity. The Keltec P17 is cheaper still, if you want a gun that looks like it was designed by a high school shop class. 

I think the TX22 performance and features are well worth the asking price, and having spent a great deal of time shooting this and other TX22’s I am quite confident its performance is long term. 


Pro & Cons


  • Excellent value
  • Reliable performance
  • High capacity magazines
  • Optics ready
  • Picatinny accessory rail
  • Ambidextrous controls
  • Suppressor ready from factory
  • Comes with 2 magazines


  • Magazines could be arguably fragile
  • I need more of them

Alternative Options

I mentioned the Sig P322 above, it would likely be a good alternative to the TX22. It carries a higher capacity magazine, and weighs a bit more but that is expected. It also comes with the big Sig Sauer name that so many crave.


The Keltec P17 is another option, with a comparable capacity to the TX22, and at an even cheaper price. It is also lighter than both the Sig and Taurus, but it also appears to come with fewer features.



How much is the Taurus TX22?

The Taurus TX22 can be had for as little as $308 depending on where you buy

Is it safe to dry fire the Taurus TX22?

Many 22lr pistols are not supposed to be dry fired, but according to Taurus USA, the TX22 series is made to be safely dry fired

What red dot will fit the Taurus TX22 Compact?

The TX22 compact accepts micro red dots with the same pattern as the Holosun 407K, I installed that model, as well as the Vortex Defender red dot.

Is the TX22 Compact? 

The standard TX22 is compact enough to conceal, and the compact model is even moreso. It is very comparable in size to the Glock 19.


For more information on the TX22 Compact Click Here


So if you haven’t gathered by now, I am a big fan of the entire TX22 family of pistols. I’ve spent the last 3 or 4 years shooting one version or another, and they have proven to be accurate, reliable, and incredibly fun to shoot. Compact pistols are typically designed for concealed carry purposes, which makes sense. I will say that I am not going to recommend carrying a 22lr as your concealed carry, but I will mention a few positive things for those that might. The TX22 Compact is very comfortable to carry, it’s both small and light so you wont notice it as much as other guns. And in the event that you should ever have to draw it, it can be emptied very quickly, and all thirteen shots can be dumped into a target with great accuracy and speed. 

Other features like the threaded barrel and optics cut slide give you many of the more desired features of modern auto-loading pistols. It may not be some top tier handgun, but when it comes to 22’s I don’t know of one that I would say is top tier.

Check out more Vortex Optics

I would say that if you are looking for a fun, reliable, and accurate 22lr pistol, you will not likely find a better option. There might be one that is comparable, but it will be more expensive for sure. I must admit that I have found the TX22 to be well worth the asking price, so much in fact that I have returned to the TX22 again and again. I now own four of them in one configuration or another, if you need a good 22 pistol, buy the TX22 with confidence.


A first look at the Canik METE MC9


Canik has been knocking out one new model after another for the last few years; the polymer-framed striker-fired pistols have been received enthusiastically by the American shooting public.

Today we are looking at a new pistol from Canik, part of their METE lineup. The Canik METE MC9 is a micro-compact striker-fired pistol with an eye on the concealed carry market.

The MC9 uses many of the same stylings and features of Canik’s popular TP9 series of pistols. The micro-compact pistol promises to bring Canik’s performance and affordable quality to the average CCW enthusiast.

With both a twelve and fifteen-round magazines included and many other little extras that come with Canik pistols, it is very likely to be a big hit with consumers.

As a frequent carrier of pistols and a Canik owner, I was eager to see how this MC9 stacked up to other pistols I have used in the past. As a micro-compact pistol, I was immediately concerned about capacity, but with as many as fifteen+1 rounds in the gun, those concerns quickly dissolved.a case with canik mete mc9 and holster grips magazines unboxing

Canik pistols are frequently less expensive than their competitors, and when I saw the MSRP was only $419.99, I was even more interested in the pistol. This aggressive price definitely makes the gun more appealing to those with HK taste but a Glock budget. That wasn’t a direct comparison for you HK guys out there, so calm down and store your pitchforks…

The Turkish made Caniks are imported and sold as an outstanding value, giving a great deal of value-added features like coming optics ready.

They also typically include a great deal of accessories, cleaning tools, holsters, and other extras that really make you feel like you got something.

canik mete mc9 hands on test


Caliber 9mm
Capacity 15+1 rounds (comes with 12 rnd also)
Weight 21.27 ounces
Sights Rear notch, front white dot
Barrel Length 3.18 inches
Overall Length 6.1 inches
Height 4.52 inches
Width 1.12 inches
Color Options Black, FDE, two-tone combination


  • Economically priced
  • Compact size
  • Good trigger
  • 15+1 capacity
  • Optics ready
  • Picatinny accessory rail
  • Interchangeable backstrap
  • Loaded chamber indicator
  • Flush magazine floorplate included
  • IWB holster included
  • Holster is kinda “meh”
  • I need one in each color
  • I couldn’t find any other downsides to the pistol


Of course I couldn’t wait very long to try out this handsome little pistol, so literally the day after meeting it I ventured into the mountains to give it a good wringing.

I’d brought along a bunch of 124-grain reloaded ammunition that I’d produced on my brother’s Dillon 550. And I’d also brought along a couple of boxes of S&B 124 FMJ ammunition to try as well.

canik mete mc9 review with sellior bellot 9mm ammo

After familiarizing myself with everything I could, it was time to load up a few magazines. As is typical with Canik pistols, the magazines are quite nice, and have indication holes cut in the back to show capacity.

The twelve round magazine comes with an extension for the pinky. I found it to be a perfect fit for my hand.

Though if you are a really big-handed person you will probably prefer the fifteen-round magazine. Both of them loaded up nicely, and I snapped one into place securely as I stepped to the firing line.

The recoil of 9mm cartridges is not particularly significant, but I have found that with smaller pistols like this, they can frequently snap back a little more than expected. The first few shots through the MC9 were actually even more pleasant than I’d expected. Enough, in fact, that it didn’t even feel like a compact pistol.

I lined up the sights on my target and started stacking up the holes.

I can’t wait to get a red dot on this pistol, as I have quickly become a red dot guy. Not that there’s anything wrong with traditional sights, I have just grown to prefer them.

The white dot on the front sight must have slipped past QC, as they’d missed a little spot. But that didn’t stop me from hitting things with it. The pistol pointed nicely, and lined up with my natural aim, making the hit even easier to make.

We spent a few hours shooting, burning through the two boxes of ammo and about as many of my reloads. I would have loved to double or triple the amount of ammo we shot, as the little MC9 ran perfectly and proved to be very fun to shoot.

canik mete mc9 review hands on test

My second trip to the range with the MC9 included a Holosun 407K, which added another layer of ability to the pistol. The optics plate was a very tight fit, I needed to almost pry it off of the slide. I don’t think it was a big deal, but it gives me even more reason to leave the 407 in place because I don’t want to go through that again.

That said, the 407K is an absolutely perfect fit for the little Canik, literally like they were made for each other. The pins cut into the slide mated perfectly to the bottom, and there was no wiggle room for it to move even without tightening the screws.

Once installed, I didn’t even have to zero the red dot, as it lined up perfectly. Making my shooting even more fun. Using the red dot allowed me to focus purely on the target, and I didn’t even need to focus on the sights of the pistol. Just put the dot in place and squeeze.


The MC9 ran flawlessly for the most part. There were a couple of minor failures, but I am very confident the blame can be squarely placed on my reloading QC, I’m embarrassed to say. The feeding and function of the pistol were fantastic; the quality magazines fed perfectly.

Little things like the chamber-loaded indicator were a nice visual and tactile indication of a hot chamber.

Take the plunge, shop for your own Canik pistol here


The short barrels of compact pistols aren’t particularly well known for great accuracy, but I had no problems hitting what I was aiming at. The adjustable backstrap ensured the pistol fit my hand well, which helped me shoot it better.

Despite its short 3.1-inch length, the barrel did seem pretty robust in its construction. Which probably helps keep bullets headed in the right direction.

The trigger in the little MC9 also felt great, which also aided in shooting the pistol well. The rounded and textured shoe of the trigger gave great purchase and control.


Like most Caniks I’ve shot, the MC9 felt great.

It was surprisingly light, and it filled my hand appropriately which is something I often complain about with compacts. The controls all felt smooth and easy to operate, and with a reversible mag release, it can work just as well for a left-handed shooter.

The ambidextrous slide release is just the right length to hit with my thumb without having to stretch.

canik mete mc9 review hands on test in mountains

The two magazines give you good options for avoiding the dreaded print of a CCW. The fifteen-round magazine is easily concealed if you’re a big person. While if you are a little more light in the frame, you may find the twelve-round magazine less obtrusive.

I am torn on the holster that came with the pistol. I understand that manufacturers like to offer accessories like these for added value. The problem is that holsters are subjective, and you either offer an inexpensive one that won’t break the bank, but many people won’t like or use.

Or conversely you have to research and see what most people want or like, and make the investment hoping it doesn’t go to waste. Either way, you run the risk of the holster being a dud.

canik mete mc9 review concealed carry

The included holster will certainly work, though I would probably replace it with something better like the Black Arch Entrada.


canik mete mc9 review close up with 12 15 round magazines


The twelve and fifteen-round magazines give you the option for various concealment scenarios. And the included flat-base floor plate gives you yet another option


canik mete mc9 sights review

The included sights are perfectly serviceable, but it’s also very nice to have optics mounting solutions included in the box. Mounting up the Holosun 407k was easy, and made a great upgrade.


With no safety, an ambidextrous slide release, and the ability to reverse the magazine release button, the MC9 can easily be configured to shoot right or left-handed.


canik mete mc9 backstrap replacements review

The various back straps that can be swapped out allow you to further customize the gun to fit your hand. This is becoming more and more common, and it is certainly a welcome change.


The accessory rail under the front of the pistol is a perfect place to add a compact weapon light.


The duration of my testing with the Canik MC9 was mostly range shooting. We tried a bit of drawing and firing, as well as some reloading drills.

There is a stark difference between the full-size pistols with big flared magwells and such, and a small micro compact frame. It’s not as easy to stab the magazine perfectly out the gate. I expect it will take some practice to get good at it, like anything else.

Using the included iron sights, I found the pistol to be very useful and easy to hit targets at typical CCW anticipated ranges. The MC9 might be useful at further ranges, but I didn’t find that as relevant to the subject.

With the red dot installed on the slide, I found it to be even more fun to shoot. Making transitions from one target to another without having to shift focus.

Using the included holster, we also tucked in the pistol to see how it felt to draw from concealment. While I personally didn’t find the holster to be particularly great, it certainly worked as intended. And it sure beats not having one.

After the several hundred rounds fired between several trips to the range, I was quite happy with the performance of the MC9. And felt I had gotten a proper understanding of its strong points and the few issues I encountered.


Apart from my 124-grain FMJ reloads, I also shot several boxes of S&B 124 FMJ Ball ammunition. Everything we shot through the MC9 worked perfectly except for a couple of malfunctions that were reload issues.



The only malfunctions were due to improperly seated bullets, which has nothing to do with the little Canik’s reliability. Other than that, it ran flawlessly.


Micro compacts tend to be a bit small for my hands. I wouldn’t mind having a bit more grasp. The adjustable backstrap and magazine floorplates are great for accommodating, however.


With an accessory rail, and an optics platform milled into the slide, the MC9 offers some great options to customize it. No doubt there will be other barrel options and such if there aren’t already.


I’ve always been a fan of Canik’s styling. The METE MC9 is another good example of a handsome pistol. The finish and surfaces all look outstanding.

VALUE (10/10)

For the MSRP of $439.00, I think this pistol is an excellent value


After my time with the Canik METE MC9, I was not surprised by how much I liked the little pistol. Much like the last few Canik pistols I have been through, this one met every need I had in a pistol, and it looked good and functioned great. And to top it off, the price is outstanding.

The MC9 provides a solid CCW pistol with better than most capacity while still being small enough to carry around every day. With minimal accessories and some practice, you could find yourself being quite proficient, which is everything in a concealed carry pistol.


For more information, accessories, and comparisons, click here.

Taurus Defender 856 T.O.R.O. 38 Special Revolver


For years I’ve had a very challenging relationship with Taurus firearms, I have had in the past an experience that left me quite displeased. But after some time I have meandered back into a place where I would try again, the TX22 line of rimfire pistols got me quite hooked on 22’s. And years later I’ve got four of them.

But today we are looking at a new product from Taurus, their Defender 856 TORO. The TORO is according to Taurus the first ever optics ready revolver, and being a sucker for red dots and pistols I had to try it.

The Defender 856 TORO

The 856 model ha been around for a few years now, and it seemed a good host for optics I suppose because that’s where they went with it. The Defender 856 is a double-action revolver that holds six rounds in its stainless steel cylinder. The pistol uses a three-inch barrel and a target-style trigger for optimal performance. I was expecting a 357 Magnum but the TORO comes with 38 Special chambers, which is fine because I was probably going to shoot a lot of 38 Spl anyways.

What sets the TORO apart is its optics platform that mounts to the top of the sight rail and is affixed with two screws. The plate itself uses the Holosun K footprint, which is also good because I have a Holosun 407K that would fit perfectly. The TORO is finished in a matte black, which turns out is pretty sexy in my opinion.


Upon opening the box I was surprised a bit, as I was expecting something a bit different like I’d seen on the floor at SHOT Show. This model actually looked better in my opinion and as I lifted it from the box my first thoughts were about how handsome a little gun it was.

After opening the cylinder and checking everything out, I held the gun and pulled the hammer a few times. Like most revolvers I’ve ever shot, I found something romantic about the drawing back of the hammer. The trigger felt good as well, nothing fantastic or extraordinary but certainly good. Everything fits tightly and rolled like it was on bearings.

I pulled the optics kit from the box, and found the plate and mounting screws. I took it to my bench to get it mounted using a drop of Loctite to secure the screws. I then installed my Holosun 407K and secured it with its own two screws. I again lifted the pistol into the shooting position to see how the Holosun showed; “pretty slick” I muttered to myself. So I grabbed a sack of 38 Spl hand loads I had sitting on my bench and headed out the door.

To the Range!

As I lined up at my shooting spot, I contemplated what this little revolver would be good for. It’s certainly small enough to easily conceal and use as a CCW, though I am one of those that feel much better about carrying 15+ rounds for such purposes. But it still would be a great little pistol to have in a pinch.

I loaded a handful of cartridges into the cylinder and snapped it closed. I like how tight and timed this gun feels, the cylinder doesn’t have any slop and locks securely closed. I tapped the button to power up the Holosun, and it looked close enough to not even mess with it until after shooting a few shots. So that’s what I did, I fired the first cylinder of cartridges and as I expected I loved every minute of it.

I also installed the new Vortex Defender red dot, it was a perfect match.

The Holosun really needed no adjustment for now, so I let it be as I fumble another cylinders worth off cartridges out of my pocket. I also had brought a few boxes of factory ammunition, but I was lucky to have inherited my Grandfather’s supply  of 38 Spl handloads. Grandpa was a huge fan of the little 38, and he cast thousands of 148 grain semi-wadcutters loaded into spent nickel cases he brought home from the police ranges back in the 80’s.

I spent the late afternoon and into the evening shooting the little TORO at just about anything I could. It seemed about as accurate as any other three-inch revolver I’ve ever shot, I can’t help but feel that the red dot allows some additional precision in aiming though that could just be my personal bias.

Pros and Cons


  • Comfortable grip
  • Light recoil
  • Quality fit and finish
  • Red dot sight easy to aim


  • Larger grip would fit my hand better
  • Trigger slightly jumpy

I guess I am warming back up to Taurus after all these years, and I have certainly grown to like this little pistol. The grip is very comfortable, and the rubber texture does allow some additional purchase to hold it back. The 38 is not a large recoiling pistol but its not a 22 either. I would have liked a slightly larger grip to fit my hand, but of course that would have made it harder to stash. I let a few friends shoot it as well that had smaller hands than I and they didn’t seem to have any issues with it.

The quality of the TORO was great, the fit and finish looked quite handsome and well put together. The trigger was a little jumpy but I suppose it’s fine, by jumpy I mean there can be felt movements before it breaks sometimes. It seemed perfectly serviceable for a pistol of this type and price point. The added function of the red dot made shooting the TORO quite easy, instead of focusing on the sights I’d just cover the target with the dot as I squeezed the trigger. The red dot lined up pretty closely to the built in iron sights, which made it easy to co-witness and matched my natural aim-point.

Read Conclusion Here…


Taurus Defender 856 TORO .38 Special Revolver

The Taurus Defender 856 TORO has turned out to be quite a breath of fresh air for me. When I first saw a red dot mounted on a revolver, I thought maybe we’d reached the bottom of the barrel. I was happy to be proven wrong.

I think it’s a great little handgun. It’s fun to shoot and accurate enough to be useful, especially at the affordable price point. I’d like something a little bigger for my hand size, but I was still able to shoot it well. If you want to try something new, the Taurus TORO revolver is certainly worth a shot.


PSA Dagger 9mm


Palmetto State Armory (PSA) has been a big name in the firearms industry for some time. Their mission of arming law-abiding Americans has brought affordability and options to many.

Whether it be MSR rifles, parts, or accessories, PSA sells it, probably in seven different colors and calibers. Today we are going to review one of PSA’s own productions, the new Dagger SW3 9mm pistol.

The Dagger is a polymer-framed striker-fired 9mm pistol with incredibly similar features to the venerable Glock 19. That is no mistake either. The popular pistol has been copied, cloned, and customized by countless manufacturers.

But what makes the PSA version different you might ask? Well, that’s what Gun Made is here for; we’ll show you.

The Dagger utilizes fifteen-round flush-fit Glock magazines and is available in too many different models to mention. There are threaded and non-threaded barrels, extreme carry cut slides, night sights, optic-cut slides and so on.

I would recommend you go browse their selection as there is surely one you will like.

There are many advantages to the Dagger, and most of them are related to its kinship with the Glock. Magazines and other parts can be used to customize the pistol if one of the many models doesn’t perfectly fit your fancy.

The polymer frame is textured nicely to give the shooter a good purchase on the grip area, and the undercut trigger guard allows you to ‘choke-up’ your hand into the grip and seat the pistol deep into your grip.

The trigger features a flexing shoe safety, similar to those I’ve seen on S&W M&P pistols.

The Extreme Carry Cuts and Gatormouth slide add some custom detail to the pistol, and add to the gripping area of the slide while reducing weight. The slide itself is stainless steel with a Cerakote finish and topped with Tritium Tru-Glow night sights.

The 1-10 twist barrel inside has a hard DLC coating for durability and long life.

psa dagger disassembled parts

Upon receiving the Dagger, I wasted no time in giving it a thorough look over. And I must confess I was quite impressed with the little pistol; not only did it feel quite robust and smooth, but I had no idea they could be purchased for as little as $259.

The model shown here goes for about $60 more, but if this thing lives up to my hopes, I’d consider it a steal for that price.



Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 15 rounds
Action: Striker Fired
Weight: 22.4oz (unloaded)
Overall Length: 7.15″
Overall Width: 1.28″
Overall Height: 4.78″ (Without Mag)
Barrel Length: 3.9″
Twist Rate: SAAMI Spec 1:10
Slide Finish: Cerakote, Flat Dark Earth


  • Very Affordable
  • Lighter than a Glock 19
  • Magpul Magazines
  • DLC Barrel coating
  • Cerakote over stainless finish
  • Picatinny accessory rail
  • Included night sights
  • Striker block and trigger safety
  • I couldn’t come up with something to dislike


With the Dagger in a holster and several boxes of ammunition I headed out into what we call springtime here in Utah. After a short ride on my snowmachine, I found myself at my spot, and after hanging a target, I started loading magazines. I’d never loaded a Magpul Glock magazine since I’ve never owned a Glock; they do feel stiffer than I expected.

With fifteen rounds in the magazine, I chambered a round and prepared to shoot. The lockup feeling as the slide closed felt great, and I tightened my grip around the pistol as I settled the sights on my target.


The Dagger felt great in the hands; it really does feel above its price-point.

The trigger isn’t anything out of this world, but I certainly wouldn’t expect it to be for a CCW pistol. I kind of expected it to be a little long, and a bit stiffer than I would normally like. Turns out I was pretty much spot on. I wouldn’t consider myself a trigger snob, but I do like a good trigger, and this one impressed me as pretty standard.

I broke one shot after another, listening to the trigger reset between shots. After emptying my first magazine, I gave the pistol a good look over to ensure everything was in place before reloading.

I carried on through magazine after magazine of Magtech 124 grain FMJ ammo. I was very pleasantly pleased with how the Dagger felt in my hands and how it pointed so well. Every time I’d lift the pistol, the sights were lined up on my target.

The snappy recoil was easily controlled, and follow-up shots came fast and accurately. I’m also not a competition pistol shooter, so I wasn’t expecting to be particularly accurate with the Dagger. And yet I felt quite confident at hitting what I aimed at after just a few magazines.

I holstered the pistol and drew it from retention quite a few times. Since this is sort of a CCW-focused pistol, I figured I would try and simulate drawing it. Again, everytime as I drew it from the holster, it would come up on target for a good clean shot. Well, almost every time.

Shop PSA pistols and accessories


The Dagger was very reliable during my testing; no significant malfunctions or jams occurred.

During my range time, I experienced no malfunctions other than one time the pistol failed to lock back upon emptying the magazine. The magazine appears to make good contact with the slide-lock, so I’m not sure if there was another issue or if maybe my thumb was riding the release. But I haven’t been able to repeat it yet.


Accuracy was perfectly acceptable; I would like to shoot another one with the red dot sight.

The Tritium sights were great for targeting, even though I’m a bit of a red dot kinda guy. But the nice thing is that you can certainly get the Dagger with a cut slide for your red dot.

psa dagger hands on review and range test



The lightweight polymer frame with its grippy texture felt great in my hand; the slippery polymer allowed the magazines to drop free easily and seat properly as well. The mag release is not reversible.


The low-profile night sights work well for targeting, and they were unobtrusive. I think they could be improved by perhaps rounding off the edge to reduce the likelihood of snagging.


The carry cut slide reduces weight and also gives an excellent grip area to cycle the pistol. I suppose it is possible that the large cuts allow more dust and debris to enter the pistol, but as long as you have it holstered, I don’t see a problem.

psa dagger hands on review and range test


During the course of more than a couple of hundred rounds, I got a good feeling for the function of the PSA Dagger. Shooting many courses of double taps, reloads, and other typical pistol drills.

I carried the pistol as my CCW for the better part of a month in a compatible OWB holster.

Part of my daily interaction with the pistol included repeated drawing and presenting of the pistol, and when in the right kind of place, shooting a few rounds to see how well I could place them under time limits.

It didn’t take long to see why these style of pistols are so popular. It was relatively easy to get comfortable and present some modicum of proficiency.

Shooting the pistol on the range got me very comfortable with the Dagger, and after spending a few weeks and boxes of ammo shooting the pistol I was very happy with the performance.


For this review, I used Magtech 124-grain FMJ ammunition, and it worked great.

psa dagger unboxing for review



The Dagger worked almost perfectly and flawless during my shooting. The controls felt and functioned perfectly.


The Dagger felt fantastic in the hands. I think the only way you could improve it would be to add some kind of adjustable backstrap or grip.


The incredible custom options of the Dagger allow you to get almost anything you want in the pistol. The various colors, slide, and barrel options make it easy to please nearly any shooter.


The Dagger is a handsome pistol; again the custom options make it more so. The finish and look of the pistol are every bit as good as the famous Glock pistols they mimic.

VALUE (10/10)

I was literally blown away when I saw the price of these pistols. I had played with and shot the pistol quite a bit before I looked and saw the street price of the pistol as tested was only $359.00

Continue Reading Here…


Palmetto State Armory has certainly hit a major goal in its mission of arming America.

The PSA Dagger is an outstanding value. I think it would serve as a perfect start for someone who is new to the firearms game and looking for an economical entry.

The great features and function of the Dagger come not just at a good price but with market compatibility and customizability.

I have no doubt these pistols will be very popular with the American shooting public. I myself look forward to seeing how this pistol continues to kick.

The only thing left to do is shoot a few thousand rounds through it. That might take a while, so follow along if you’d like to see how that goes.


Palmetto State Armory Rock 5.7×28 pistol


Palmetto State Armory (PSA) has been a well-known supplier of many firearm parts and products. They live with the motto of selling as many guns to law-abiding Americans as possible. That’s something I can get behind!

PSA has recently entered the polymer-framed pistol market, offering several PSA branded pistols. ThePSA Rock 5.7 is one of those, and the subject of our review today. We are going to take a look at how it works and what it brings to the table.

psa rock 5.7 unboxing
The PSA Rock 5.7 is a polymer-frame striker-fired pistol

The PSA Rock 5.7 is a polymer-frame striker-fired pistol.

It is chambered in 5.7x28mm. It feeds from twenty-three round magazines to its 5.2 inches and 1-9 twist barrel.

The fluted barrel is also threaded to install a suppressor or other muzzle accessories. The Rock’s slide comes precut for adding optics and also includes suppressor height sights with the threaded barrel models.

The un-threaded models come with Ameriglow sights. The pistol operates using a delayed blowback system, making it a very simple operation.

The pistol is available in various color combinations, including black, FDE, grey, and combinations of the same.

I must have missed the Belgian 5.7 train years ago when it passed, as I never got too excited about it. And over the years, as other guns chambered in the diminutive cartridge popped up, I didn’t pay much attention to them either.

So being my first encounter with a 5.7×28 pistol, I encourage you to come along and discover the pros and cons with me.

The Rock comes in a nice little soft pistol case with one extra magazine and a few other accessories.

Excess Arms makes a +7 baseplate for the Rock to increase capacity to 30 rnds

My first impressions of the pistol were actually quite positive, the gun doesn’t impress me as heavy, and it felt comfortable in my hand. I ran the slide a few times and pulled the trigger to get a feel for it, and I was quite surprised at how good it felt to my finger.

There are only a few options currently for 5.7×28 pistols, and it seems that the PSA Rock is likely the most affordable one available. That being the case, I determined to find out if it deserves a place in the safe, and if its performance justifies the new 5.7×28 inventory I’d need to feed it.

psa 5.7 rock disassembly
The Holosun 407K made an excellent red dot for the Rock


The 5.7×28 cartridge was developed by FN Herstal for several of their firearms, notably the P90 bullpup assault rifle. The cartridge shoots a .224 caliber bullet like other centerfire .22 caliber rifles.

The bottle-neck cartridge closely resembles a shrunk rifle round, and compared to other pistol cartridges, it performs like one as well.

With its forty-grain projectiles leaving the barrel well beyond supersonic velocities, the 5.7 acts more like a rifle cartridge than a pistol cartridge, which is likely why manufacturers are chambering additional firearms with the 5.7 cartridge.

The performance of the 5.7 lends itself to high-velocity and high-energy shooting and comes with the attributes of supersonic performance. Just how good a performance I was determined to find out.

psa 5.7 rock review with holosun 407k yhm suppressor and surefire light
My Surefire X300 weapon light fit nicely and the YHM Phantom was a perfect match

The Rock 5.7 carries twenty-three rounds, and with the extended capabilities of the cartridge, it could certainly be useful at carbine distances compared to normal pistol cartridge rounds.

This could be very appealing to shooters who need such a thing. Before I even got started with this review, I was confronted by one of the drawbacks of the 5.7, and that was the price of a box of ammunition.

The local Cabelas had many boxes labeled at $50 each, which for a rifle isn’t unheard of, but for a handgun, it seemed to be quite excessive to me. Granted, the Rock isn’t just a plinking pistol, so I bit the bullets and left the store even more curious to see if this project would serve my purposes.


Caliber: 5.7x28mm
Capacity: 23+1
Weight with Empty Mag: 25 oz
Barrel Length: 5.2″
Twist Rate: 1/9″
Thread Pitch: 1/2×28 TPI
Magazine: 23rd Steel 5.7x28mm Magazine (Ships With 2)
Action: Delayed Blowback Striker-fired
Mag Catch: Reversible
Barrel Material: Carbon Steel With QPQ Finish; Fluted
psa rock 5.7 disassembled grip


  • Comfortable grip
  • Quite affordable
  • Excellent trigger
  • 23+1 round capacity
  • Factory threaded barrel
  • Suppressor height sights
  • Optics ready slide
  • Excellent accuracy
  • Includes soft-case and many extras
  • Double-stack magazine
  • Failure to lock back on empty
  • Slide-release is a little stiff


psa 5.7 rock test

My first trip to the range with the PSA Rock 5.7 was on a snowy day in March. I had also acquired a couple boxes of American Eagle 5.7x28mm FMJ ammunition, and I started shooting with that.

After loading the double-stack magazines to their 23-round max, I seated my first magazine and dropped the slide.

I fired a few rounds and was immediately surprised by a couple of things; the recoil is quite mild, which is very nice, and the trigger in this pistol is very crisp. And the trigger reset is quite short as well.

These two attributes made it quite easy to do two things; shoot fast, and shoot accurately (not at the same time).

I continued shooting to see what else I liked with the pistol, only to be let down as the magazine emptied its contents.

The first hiccup I noticed was the failure to lock back when the mag went empty. I tried the second magazine and found the same thing happened. I even fired a single shot from both mags repeatedly to confirm.

It’s certainly possible that with some simple fudging of the magazine I could correct the problem, as it worked everytime when I ran the slide manually on an empty magazine.

With a target hung at 25 yards, I looked down the tall sights of the Rock and tried firing a group. To my great surprise, the shots were very consistent, and the group measured just under 2.5 inches.

I felt like it could easily be better if I used a red dot for a finer aiming point, something I was going to try for sure on my next range trip.

psa rock 5.7 range test with groupings

My next task was to try the pistol suppressed. I had brought along my YHM Phantom 22 suppressor to see how the Rock performed with a suppressor. The thread protector is secured with a small O-ring. I removed the protector and threaded it on my suppressor and loaded a magazine.

Read more about the YHM Phantom 22 here

The first few shots I fired in a slow cadence, inspecting things to ensure alignment. Everything looked and sounded good, so I continued to fire until the magazine went empty. The phantom did a great job at reducing the noise, I would consider it enough to shoot without ear protection, but I am also half-deaf, so take that with a grain of salt.

I would also mention always shoot with eye protection for safety, but this is especially important if you are shooting suppressed. With glasses on, I did notice debris coming back and hitting me in the face a couple of times while shooting suppressed. There was some additional gas blowback as well, which is not a big surprise, but something to be aware of.

After shooting a couple of boxes of ammunition thru the Rock, I had some good opinions formed about its performance.

The gun is very accurate in my opinion, and the action is smooth and predictable. It was very enjoyable to shoot with its mild recoil and excellent trigger pull. The only significant issue I encountered was the failure to lock back.

I did have one failure to go into battery, but I’m not convinced this was an issue with the gun, as I may have not seated the top round properly in the mag.

Shop all PSA Handguns right here you cheapskate


The firing portion of shooting went fine, but the gun would not reliably lock back on empty.


Accuracy when shooting the Rock was excellent, and exceeded my expectations


The gun felt great in my hand, I typically don’t like the wide grip of pistols because of the 5.7 length magazines housed inside, but it didn’t seem to affect my ability to grip it properly.



psa rock 5.7 review in snow

The Rock comes ready to install a red dot; I did so and found it quite easy and extremely useful to take advantage of its accuracy.


psa rock 5.7 threaded barrel

The threaded barrel of the Rock fit my suppressor perfectly, it was a very nice add on to an already fun experience.


The 23-round double-stack magazines performed perfectly. It seemed like quite a shooting string to not have the magazine extended beyond the bottom of the grip.

According to PSA the magazines can be used in the Ruger 5.7 pistol, though they don’t guarantee function.

psa rock 5.7 23 round mags


I again wanted to mention how good the trigger felt when compared to other striker fired polymer pistols, it was definitely above average.

psa rock 5.7 trigger


The magazine release is reversible for left-handed shooters; I found it to be perfectly adequate and flowed perfectly with my shooting.


During the testing of the Rock 5.7, I shot almost two hundred rounds of ammunition through the pistol. I did a great many reloads during the process to see how the controls functioned.

I did notice that the longer 5.7 magazines are a bit tougher to hit the magwell that we are used to. I think perhaps a slightly more flared magwell would aid in this.

The other thing that I noticed while reloading the gun was the stiffness of the slide release. This may also have something to do with the gun not locking back on empty. I plan on breaking the gun in with a bunch more ammo. Follow me to see if it results in better function.

I only fired a couple magazines worth of ammo suppressed, just to see how it functioned. Recoil was slightly increased, and some additional blowback was noted, but it was still acceptable in my opinion.

I was surprised the suppressor didn’t heat up more than it did due to the higher pressure of the 5.7 cartridge.


For the most part, I use the American Eagle 40 grain ammunition. The FN brand 40 grain ammunition also functioned flawlessly.



Other than the issues I mentioned about not locking back, and stiff slide release, the gun functioned very well.


The Rock felt great in my hand, the textured grip makes it easy to hold onto, and the slide texture allows easy operation of the action.


I am unaware of any aftermarket parts for the Rock, as it is still quite new. But the threaded barrel and optics-ready slide give the user the ability to make it their way.


The various color options are nice, and the Rock looks as good as any other comparable pistol

VALUE (9/10)

The Rock is significantly lower priced than the other options like the FN or Ruger 5.7 pistols. If the couple of slight issues I’ve had are easily worked out, I think it’s a steal by comparison.

Continue Reading Here…


The PSA Rock 5.7 offers an affordable and accurate 5.7 semi-automatic pistol for those who are looking.

As I mentioned at the start, I was never a big fan of the 5.7, particularly in a pistol configuration. Having said that, I have definitely come around to the potential benefits of this pistol. I had never considered a small pistol like this so potent at distances more common for carbines.

I could easily see myself using this pistol as a hiking companion, taking small game inside 100 yards. And if you were ever unlucky enough to find yourself in a gunfight, twenty-three or 30 rounds of 5.7 would be an incredible advantage over traditional handgun cartridges. As would the added advantage of the Holosun 407K red dot sight.

Both the distance and accuracy would be very handy, and if distance wasn’t a concern, then you would definitely have velocity on your side.

The PSA Rock, despite my issues with it, is still a great little pistol, in my opinion, and has done far more to convince me towards a 5.7 pistol than against it.

The last hurdle I have is ammunition costs. Maybe PSA is currently working on removing that obstacle as well.


Shadow Systems DR920 9mm pistol


When I first started showing my Shadow Systems DR920 around, lots of folks would respond with, “nice Glock sir, but this is a Wendy’s”. I know it looks like a Glock, and surely shares a lot with them, but I was determined to see it differently.

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll give some background. I’ve been a Sig fan-boy for twenty years, and while it would be silly to deny the success of the large family of polymer-designed pistols, I just never really liked them. Friends would get one, I’d handle them at a shop, but I never felt like I needed one bad enough to spend my money on one.

Now to be fair, the Shadow Systems family of pistols (DR920, XR920MR920) are not just Glopies of the Austrian pistol. Shadow Systems pistols utilize many interchangeable parts but are also their own, the DR model pistol is comparable to the Glock 17.

The DR920 pistol is made with law enforcement in mind and built for duty purposes. The frame features an oversized beaver tail and interchangeable grip backstrap to accommodate different-sized hands.

The grip is textured for additional grip and control while shooting, and the trigger guard is undercut to allow additional purchase for a better grip. The flat-blade trigger has a 4.5-5 lb break and feels pretty clean.

shadow systems dr920 disassembled

The DR920’s slide is aggressively cut to provide additional purchase both at the front and back of the slide. It’s also cut for optics, so you can add your favorite red dot. Most red dots can be mounted without the use of adaptor plates like many other pistols use.

After a fairly short time with the DR920, I was quite quickly enamored with it, despite my distaste for pistols of this type. But how far down the marriage aisle would I get with this polymer-framed beauty?


Let me backup a bit; there’s more to this story than I’d let on.

A few months prior to this event, I found myself in the freezing desert of Wyoming, shooting an assortment of pistols belonging to my baby brother. Among the many was another Shadow, a different model but close enough. I’d already explained to him that I wasn’t big on that particular type, but he was adamant that I try it.

After only a few rounds, I found myself quite surprised at how well I could shoot it, and how good it felt in my hand. So when the opportunity to get my own Shadow, I figured I better pick it up.

shadow systems dr920 hands on review in snow

The DR920 promises to bring service-grade reliability with superior quality to a 9mm polymer-framed pistol. They are marketed toward shooters needing a high-grade pistol for durable service in any condition.

While the pistol may share some features with other common pistols, it brings additional qualities which will demand a higher price. Let’s see if it’s worth it…


Caliber 9mm
Capacity 17 rounds
Action Striker fired semi-auto
Length 7.75”
Height 5.25”
Trigger pull weight 4.5-5 lbs
Weight 22.4 ounces
Sights Front dot, serrated rear
Barrel Twist 1-10


  • Same size and pattern as the Glock 17
  • Huge aftermarket support
  • Optics ready
  • Adjustable backstrap grip
  • Match Grade barrel
  • I’d like a more pronounced mag release
  • I wouldn’t mind a slicker trigger (less friction)
  • I’ll add a flared magwell
shadow systems dr920 hands on review range test


My first trip to the range with the DR920 was a quick one, and it didn’t take long to feel it out.

Running seventeen-round Magpul magazines, I stuffed a pile of cartridges in and loaded the pistol.

Cracking the first few rounds, I went slowly just to see how everything felt. To my surprise, the pistol recoiled a little more than I had expected. It wasn’t bad or anything, just a touch more than I had anticipated.

I ran through several magazines, running them dry til the gun locked open. I smiled a crooked smile to myself there in the pistol bay, and I thought to myself; I may end up loving this gun.

Those first fifty rounds went way too quickly, so I went to get more.

After several range trips and not as much ammo as I would have loved to shoot through this gun, I have gained a shine for it.

I’ve shot nearly five-hundred rounds through the pistol so far, and it hasn’t hiccuped yet. That should come as no surprise from a pistol with this pedigree. The natural aim of the pistol in my hand lined up very well; every time I presented the pistol, the sights were already on target. This made the pistol quite easy to shoot well, in my opinion.

During a later trip, I installed a Holosun 407K to see how I liked the gun with a red dot. It came as no surprise that I enjoyed it further still, as I prefer shooting pistols with red dots.

Shooting the Shadow was very comfortable and familiar. There are a couple of things I think I might change. I would like a flared magwell, and it looks like Shadow Systems has them for sale on their website, so I might get one on the way.

Not a huge deal, but it would probably help me stab magazines a little faster. And I’m definitely going to get some more magazines for it.

shadow systems dr920 hands on review close up


The pistol functioned flawlessly for the duration of my testing, with no malfunctions or failures.


The DR920 was perfectly acceptable, in my opinion, as far as accuracy is concerned. Hitting 50% IPSC targets at 25 yards was easy; I don’t shoot pistols much further than that in any case.


The textured grip felt great in my hand, and the grip angle was perfect as well. Trigger and other controls were easily manipulated and comfortable. The adjustable backstrap made it easy to fit the hand.



The flat-blade trigger was smooth and clean to break. It’s a service pistol, so I wasn’t expecting it to be super light or short. I suppose I wouldn’t mind if it was a little lighter or less friction.

shadow systems dr920 trigger and grip


The Shadow slides come pre-cut for optics. With threaded holes for various optical mounting patterns.

The idea is to be able to mount a red dot without needing a mounting plate. Instead, Shadow Systems includes a set of small polymer spacers that can be used to place in front of or behind the optic to fill any voids. I had no problem mounting red dots to it.

shadow systems dr920 slide and mount


When I first opened the box, I almost thought the gun came with suppressor sights, but they are just slightly taller sights than normal.

I actually quite like them as they always lined up with my target upon presentation. And once the red dot was added, they all co-witnessed, which I believe is a requirement for many LE agencies.

shadow systems dr920 mounted with red dot


The DR920 came with a baggie of different backstraps that are easily swapped out by simply pushing a pin out with their provided tool. The backstrap then slides down and off the frame. Then you reverse the process to install the backstrap of your choice.

shadow systems dr920 with grips


The textured mag release works fine, but I wouldn’t mind a slightly taller version. It seemed just a touch more out of the way for my thumb than I would have liked.


The pistol also features a typical accessory rail under the front of the pistol, perfect for mounting a weapon light. I installed my Surefire X300 with no problem; it’s pretty hard to mess this up.

Continue reading here…

shadow systems dr920 with holosun 407k mounted and reloading

Staccato P 2011 9mm Pistol review


The Staccato P pistol is a 2011 pistol built specifically for use as a service pistol for law enforcement, but the general shooting public has very well received it. The high quality and performance of the pistol have made it highly sought after by pistol aficionados in and out of the LE community.

The Staccato P is a 2011 model pistol. The 2011 design is a modern version of the 1911 design. Incorporating double stack magazines and chambered in 9mm has brought incredible versatility to the pistol. It comes in a custom soft case with three magazines.

STI was famous for making these pistols. They have since rebranded to the Staccato name and lead the way in the 2011 pistol market.

Being new to both 1911/2011 designs and the Staccato P, I was very excited to get familiarized with this pistol and see what all the hype was about and if it was well founded.


The Staccato P is a pistol designed for duty and anyone else who could use the features of the pistol. The manufacturer has gone to great lengths to get the pistol approved for LE service by at least 650 agencies, including the Texas Rangers.

With an MSRP of $2199.00, it is certainly not an entry-level pistol; however, to be fair to Staccato, it boasts professional-grade features to justify that price. The Staccato P has all the great benefits of the extremely popular and common 1911 design but also adds new technology and features to enhance the historical design with modern expectations. Pistol shooters who want exceptional quality and extremely smooth operation will be happy to feel the sticky Staccato stippling in their hands.

Much like buying a sports car, this pistol is not something you’d compare to the average 9mm pistol on the shelf at your local gun shop. And much like the sports car, you may want to get it purchased before the wedding and not after.


Caliber 9mm
Capacity 17 rounds
Barrel length 4.4 Inches
Trigger 4-4.5 lb adjustable
Dimensions Length 8.0 X Grip Width 1.3 X Height 5.5 – Width At Safeties 1.49
Weight 33 ounces (empty)


  • Outstanding SA trigger – adjustable and crisp
  • Optics ready – to add your favorite red dot
  • Ambidextrous safety- in case you’re wrong handed
  • Picatinny accessory rail- to mount accessories
  • Flared magwell- for enhanced mag changes
  • Heavy bull barrel- for enhanced accuracy
  • Dawson custom sights – fiber optic for better sight picture
  • Short slide release – hard to reach with my thumb
  • I need another one


I was understandably excited to get the Staccato P to the range, I had already worn in the pistol quite a bit playing with it in my office. But with a few boxes of ammunition and a few targets, I headed to my shooting spot.

After loading a few mags, I loaded the pistol and made it ready to shoot. The feeling of the slide riding forward and chambering a round is addictive, smooth as glass, and locks up tight. I’m not a big manual safety guy, but the 2011 safety is so easy to use that it immediately became second nature. It is almost automatic that as the pistol comes up, your thumb moves it from safe to fire, and back to safe as you return the pistol to the holster.

The trigger was everything I’d hoped to be, clean and crisp. The short reset seemed to allow for incredibly rapid follow-up shots, allowing a massive amount of lead to be put downrange very quickly. And the clean break of the trigger allowed for accurate shooting on targets, and the hits just kept coming.

I found the large grip of the pistol to be very comfortable in my hand. The rough texturing and the full palm gave a great deal of purchase on the grip. And being a bit heavier than your average 9mm pistol, the recoil was very easy to control with this better and bigger grip area.

Shop all Staccato products here

The bright fiber-optic front sight was quick to find and easily aligned with the rear sight. I would love this pistol even more with a red dot mounted to it, perhaps next time.

As I plowed through the ammo, I quite enjoyed doing reloads. The Staccato P features a flared magwell to aid in rapidly seating new magazines. I found myself loading two or three rounds per mag just to get more reloads in.

The frictionless slide of the magazines against the polymer grip module made seating the magazine effortless, and empty mags drop free and clear with an appropriate press of the release. I was quickly becoming a fan of everything this pistol was, and deciding if I could justify keeping it.


The reliability of the Staccato P was immaculate. During the course of firing several hundred rounds, I experienced no malfunctions. That may not sound like much, but the way it just chewed through everything smoothly and without so much of a hiccup made it feel even more reliable.

Slow shooting cadences and rapid mag dumps all resulted in the same way, a locked open slide waiting for the next magazine to be loaded.

The cycling of the slide and the chambering of cartridges all worked so flawlessly that it felt like a well-oiled machine churning away in the palm of your hand.


I am not what I consider a big pistol accuracy fanatic, nor do I consider myself exceptionally talented in accurately shooting pistols. As far as I am concerned, if I can hit what I aim at within the distance I typically shoot, then it’s good enough for my purposes.

The Staccato was certainly better than I was, as I found it easy to hit everything I aimed at. I did find that the sights aligned pretty naturally with my generic pistol pointing, which may have helped my shooting significantly. I think I might have shot even better had I installed a red dot on the back of the pistol, but that’s for another time I guess.


The overall feel of the Staccato P is outstanding. The perfectly filled hand with the perfect fit controls and trigger was missing only one thing for me. The slide release was a bit too far forward for me to reach with my thumb, making it necessary to break my shooting grip in order to do so.

I don’t know if they make an extended version, but if they do, I would certainly buy it, as it is the only thing I could complain about this pistol.

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The hybrid frame of the Staccato P uses either steel or aluminum for the upper portion of the frame to mate with the slide assembly, and the grip area of the frame consists of a polymer portion.

I actually really like this feature; it gives you the robust metallurgy you want to properly carry the slide assembly while still giving the versatile properties of polymer magwell and grip.


The Staccato barrel is quite heavy, or thick might be a better word to describe it. This extra barrel material likely makes it stiffer and a better shooter; it also adds weight to the overall firearm, which I don’t mind though others may.


The tool-less guide-rod has a spring-loaded lever built into it, which allows the guide-rod and barrel to be removed from the slide without any tools. You simply push the guide rod forward out the front of the slide, then depress the lever, which locks the spring in its compressed state.

You can then remove it from the slide, followed by the barrel. It’s a very slick system to use and goes a long way at adding value to the pistol.

staccato p dissambled


Under the front of the frame, you will find a Picatinny accessory rail. It’s perfect for mounting your desired weapon light. I installed my Surefire X300, and it fits perfectly.

staccato p with surefire x300 weaponlight


The Staccato P can quickly be converted to shoot with a red dot sight by removing the rear sight mounting plate. It can be replaced with a Dawson Precision RDS mounting plate. These can be ordered on Staccato’s website for various optic configurations.

staccato p dissasembly
There are many good magazine options for the Staccato’s


I shot the Staccato P throughout several range trips. I also carried it as my main CCW for about a month. I fired several hundred rounds through the pistol, using repetition to see if my poor 1911 skills would cause issues to surface.

Shooting steel targets at ranges from fifteen to thirty yards was very enjoyable with this pistol. Maneuvering it from shot to shot and forcing repetitive mag changes made me like it more.

I also let other friends shoot it to see if it was simply my skirt being easily blown. But as I found with everyone who picked up the Staccato, they too were quite impressed with more than just its looks.

Do you prefer the Springfield prodigy?


I used two different types of Winchester ammunition during testing. Both were from Winchester, one was a 124-grain load, and the other was a 115-grain load. Both of them shot flawlessly and with comparable accuracy.

I perhaps might give the 115-grain load the nod because it seemed faster to get from target to target.



The Staccato P is not recommended for 9 Major ammunition, but it will shoot +P ammunition.


DPO stands for Dawson Precision Optics mounting system for mounting red dot optical sights.


+P is ammunition loaded to a higher pressure for more velocity.


38 Super is a slightly longer case; this allows it to shoot similar velocities at lower pressure. Or higher velocities at similar pressures as the 9mm Luger.


The Staccato C2 is a concealed carry version of the pistol. It features a shorter barrel and grip module and uses the aluminum upper frame to save weight.


The grip module portion of the frame is polymer.


In the John Wick film, he used a Taran Tactical Combat Master version of the Staccato pistol.


After spending more than a month with the Staccato P, I have been able to develop a pretty good understanding of the gun. I believe the modern 2011 design brings all the best features of the original 1911 and so much more. It also allows modern technologies, materials, and practices to be applied to the time-tested pistol design.

If the only improvement was the double-stack 9mm cartridge capability, that would be a significant improvement by itself. But the added improvements and composite frame that come incorporated in the Staccato pistols bring so much more, and they do it with sex appeal and class.

I truly enjoyed the time with this pistol. Only days after I picked it up, I decided I needed to find a way to keep it. It crosses all the T’s and dot’s all the i’s for me as far as a pistol can. It feels well built and smooth as it could be.

The trigger is outstanding, as are the other controls but for the short slide release. The heavy barrel and quality sights make it easy to shoot well, the positive grip lets you know you’ve got something fantastic in your hands, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll keep holding onto it.