Tag Archives: pistol

PSA Dagger 9mm

INTRODUCTION

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 $299.

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.

DAGGER 9MM REVIEW

 

SPECIFICATIONS
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

PROS & CONS

PROS
  • 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
CONS
  • I couldn’t come up with something to dislike

ON THE RANGE TESTING

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.

OVERALL FEEL

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.

RELIABILITY

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

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

FEATURES

POLYMER FRAME

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.

TRITIUM NIGHT SIGHTS

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.

CARRY CUT SLIDE

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

HOW WE TESTED

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.

AMMO USED

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

psa dagger unboxing for review

SCORE CARD

RELIABILITY (9/10)

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

ERGONOMICS (9/10)

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.

CUSTOMIZATION (8/10)

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.

APPEARANCE (9/10)

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…

Shadow Systems DR920 9mm pistol

INTRODUCTION

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?

SHADOW SYSTEMS DR920 REVIEW

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…

SPECIFICATIONS

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

PROS & CONS

PROS
  • Same size and pattern as the Glock 17
  • Huge aftermarket support
  • Optics ready
  • Adjustable backstrap grip
  • Match Grade barrel
CONS
  • 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

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

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

RELIABILITY

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

ACCURACY

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.

OVERALL FEEL

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.

FEATURES

FLAT-BLADE TRIGGER

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

OPTICS MOUNT

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

SIGHTS

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

ADJUSTABLE BACKSTRAP

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

TEXTURED MAG RELEASE

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.

ACCESSORY RAIL

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 Pistol review

INTRODUCTION

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.

STACCATO P REVIEW

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.

SPECIFICATIONS

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)

PROS & CONS

PROS
  • 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
CONS
  • Short slide release – hard to reach with my thumb
  • I need another one

ON THE RANGE TESTING

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.

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.

RELIABILITY

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.

ACCURACY

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.

OVERALL FEEL

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.

Continue Reading here

 

Canik SFX Rival 9MM

Canik keeps throwing out one banger after another, I have followed them somewhat closely watching eagerly to see what comes next. I bought a Canik TP9 Elite Combat (EC) a year or two ago, and I was very pleased with how it functions. The latest thing from Canik to cross my path is the new SFX Rival 9mm which is the subject today.


The SFX Rival

The Rival is being marketed as an IDPA competition gun, with both it’s size and weight restrictions meeting the standard for most competitive circles. The Rival does this while bring all the many features from all its Canik siblings, with things like ambi-slide release, reversible and extendable magazine release, flat trigger-shoe, undercut trigger guard, magwell-flare and a picatinny accessory rail up front. In addition to these features, the Rival has deeply cut slide serrations, as well as a fluted barrel. Like many of the TP9 family it also comes optics ready, with an assortment of baseplates and sight options. All this with two custom Cerakote color schemes, mine has the Rival grey with gold accents.
As usual with Canik, the pistol came in a hard plastic case with an assortment of tools for cleaning and maintenance. It also came with a Kydex holster and spare magazine pouch, as well as a couple magazines.

First Impressions
My very first initial thoughts of the Rival were pretty flashy, it seems quite busy to the eyes. But I wanted to find out quickly though if the busy looks matched up to a busy time shooting targets.
As I expected, the Rival felt nearly identical to my TP9 in the hand. A good thing in my estimation as both of the pistols feel great filling the hand and giving a good textured grip to control with. I actually rubbed the Cerakote off of my other Canik doing draw drills, shooting and reload drills constantly. And after all that, the Rival felt like an old friend. My fingers instinctively landed on every control with perfection, and it didn’t take long to notice just a couple things.
The first thing was the ambidextrous slide release, I think perhaps the Rival uses a stronger spring because there is more felt resistance on the slide than my other guns. This translated into just enough extra effort to annoy me, but that’s all.
I also noted that the extended magwell-flare seems to be a better fit than the one on my other Canik, this made reloading even easier than I anticipated. Magazines were easilly slid into place with little to no effort.
The trigger felt fantastic, which has been my typical experience with these higher grade Canik pistols. Continue reading here…

Why Classic Sig Sauer pistols are still great

Sig Sauer perhaps leads the market with a plethora of new firearm products every year, and of course among those many items are their always popular pistols like the Legion series and the countless models of the P320. With all these hot releases and choices, it can be easy to forget some of the old standby pistols that Sig has made in the past. At the risk of sounding like the old guy trying to convince you to trade your Glock for a 1911, today I’m here to tell you about a few classic Sig pistols and why they deserve your time.

The P220
The P220 is an aluminum framed single stack pistol, chambered in the Automatic Colt Pistol caliber .45. It uses a double action (DA) trigger and an magazine with room for eight rounds. As with many of the older Sig pistols, this P220 is safety-less. The controls are extremely simple using only a trigger, slide-lock, and a de-cocking lever to safely lower the hammer. The mag release is in the traditional spot, all these controls are comprehensive and easily manipulated. It also has a low-slung accessory rail up front for installing weapon lights.

This P220 happens to be one of the fancy German made ones, and it also features a threaded barrel for installing a suppressor. I intended on running my Silencerco Octane 45 to see how they played together. With a few boxes of 230 grain ball ammo, the 220 and the Octane in hand I hit one of my shooting spots.
I don’t shoot much .45ACP very often, but it sure felt powerful coming out of this Sig. The full-size pistol felt perfect in my hands, its grip and angle match my natural point of aim. Hitting targets with the heavy and slow bullets was very enjoyable, even more so once I installed the suppressor. The naturally subsonic bullets of the 45 made shooting the suppressed P220 pure joy, I could have perhaps benefitted from taller sights but had no problem hitting what I aimed at.

The P220 has everything from classic firepower to the iconic looks of a service grade pistol. The trigger still feels fantastic all these years later, and the pistol’s function was flawless. The gun is obviously a little heavier than more modern pistols, and everyone but the old 1911 guy would probably like more magazine capacity. But despite those few things, I absolutely love this pistol. The heavy weight tames the movement of the gun significantly, making it smooth and deliberate in every motion.

The P239
One of the reasons that the P220 was so easy and familiar to me, was that it has the identical controls and design as my P239. I bought this pistol shortly after Y2K for those old people out there who remember phones with cords, though none of that had anything to do with my purchase. I bought the P239 because I was a freshly minted CCW carrier, and my taste then was just as good as it is now. Years later I found while reading that the P239 was frequently used as a concealable or backup pistol by agents and SEALs.

Much like the P220, the P239 is a single-stack aluminum framed DA pistol. The aforementioned identical controls are easily manipulated, and the only changes made over the last two decades has been a Hogue grip. The soft edges of the pistol and its low profile sights make it an easy option to conceal and draw.

I’ve carried the P239 for nearly half of my life, so nothing could feel more comfortable to me when shooting. And like it always does, the 239 functioned flawlessly during my latest trip afield. Shooting both 115 and 124 grain ammo, the P239 was right at home hammering targets. The eight-round magazines are solid and easily changed, and having several of them made reloads and multiple engagements quite fun. My wife who is significantly more petite than I also found the P239 to be easily handled and fun to shoot.

I typically carry this gun with the hammer down, which is easily done using these pistols. One need only pull the trigger whilst whistling Dixie. Both the 239 and 220 proved to be quite accurate, but the P239 and I have pulled off some near unbelievable shots over the years. Including the decapitation of a rodent on the first shot from sixty-nine yards, whether you believe that or not, you can certainly count on this gun shooting accurately.

The Mosquito
Before the P322, there was a Mosquito. The Mosquito is a .22LR chambered pistol that basically mimics the P series of pistols. It does use a polymer frame however, with an alloy slide and this one does have a safety. Not sure why, perhaps due to the idea that it may be used by young shooters. Other than the safety, the Mosquito is again identical in its controls and function to the other two pistols mentioned here. It does feature a pic rail for adding your favorite accessories under the front. The single-stack ten-round magazine is familiar and simple, much like every other 22 pistol from that era. Continue Reading Here…

Ruger EC9 9mm pistol

Though I have been lucky to handle untold quantities of pistols over the years, I’d never consider myself an expert on the subject. I am a gun nut though, and that is the only qualification I can claim expertise in. I love a good pistol the same as the next guy, and today I’d like to present another new-to-me pistol: The Ruger EC9.

The EC9 with 7 round magazine and extended 10 round magazine

The EC9
I owned a Ruger pistol once, back in the nineties, the P89 was the first pistol I ever owned. It worked great for what I needed at the time, and it met my skill level which was none. Ruger has changed quite a bit since then, as have pistols in general. Entry level pistols akin to my old P89 are everywhere and many of them nowadays are polymer framed, as are many CCW pistols. The EC9 is one of those, a striker-fired compact CCW type pistol that uses a single-stack magazine to keep it thin and easy to conceal. It utilizes a slender steel slide with rounded edges to avoid snagging on clothing. It features both a manual safety and a trigger safety, the blade type that deactivates the trigger safety when the trigger is properly pressed. The gun uses a seven round magazine, but Ruger also offers a ten round extended magazine with additional grip area added to the bottom as well.

Un-boxing
Upon receiving the EC9, I promptly opened the box eager to see what lay inside. There I found the Cobalt slate blue framed EC9, with a magazine, chamber-flag, a standard throwaway lock, and a strange orange magazine that appeared to be for training or something. More on that later.
Straight into the palm of my hand went the little pistol, to see how it felt. My initial concern about the gun was it’s size; would it fit in my hand properly? It did feel a bit small, which was no surprise, but it was certainly serviceable. I gave the pistol a vigorous course of draw and point exercises, which quickly began to give me the feel for this gun. Drawing the slide back I familiarized myself with the controls of the EC9. I found it to be a pretty stiff little pistol, the recoil spring is quite stout in my opinion. The slide release is located in the typical location for the thumb to operate, and behind that there is a safety. Initial inspection of the gun made it quite apparent that Ruger was aiming for the CCW crowd with this model, the trim control surfaces were very subtle to avoid snags. The magazine release sits at the front edge of the left grip area, and again it is fairly diminutive to avoid inadvertent release of the magazine. The sights are machined into the slide, making them both robust and un-adjustable. I purchased the extra ten round magazine to utilize in this pistol review, mainly because I figured it would help me hold onto it better. Continue Reading Here…

Pistol controls, front to back: disassembly opening, slide release, and two position safety at the rear.
The extended 10 round magazine gives more purchase for those with larger hands.

The Canik TP9 Elite Combat 9mm Pistol

Good friends can often be the catalyst we need to try something new. Whether it be a new activity, or way of thinking, some of our best practices are simply learned from the good people we surround ourselves with.
Im a rifle junkie, always have been. But due to the good influence of friends, I have been exposed to all kinds of additional shooting enterprises. One of them being IDPA style pistol shooting, which if you haven’t tried, you should.

Having tried it a few times, mostly as an informal competition between friends, I was immediately hooked. Steel targets, and fast reloads just seem like the best kind of practice for having a good time. But I needed a good pistol for it, being a rifle junkie, my pistol inventory was very superficial and necessity based (CCW). So I began the search for something that fit the bill.

What do we have here?
It was SHOT Show 2018 that I first noticed Canik USA firearms, they are imported by Century Arms from Turkey. My initial impression was they looked great, and I wanted to run a few mags thru one, but much time would pass before I would. A friend let me handle one, and I immediately fell in love again. It was the TP9 Elite Combat model, which draws on several aftermarket parts from Salient Arms International (SAI). The TP9 EC uses a fluted threaded barrel, trigger, +3 floor-plate, and flared mag-well from SAI. The styling and custom look only enhance the graceful lines of the TP9. The Canik is a striker fired 9mm, with double stack magazines. I purchased the pistol as a kit from Century, which included a host of additional goodies. Two magazines, one of which had the SAI +3 floor-plate boosting its capacity to 17+1. Two different grip back-straps to choose from to better fit your hand. A polymer holster to fit the pistol to your gun-belt. It also comes with the slide pre-cut for sighting devices, the kit included a Vortex Optics Viper red dot, and with several other baseplates, I believe you can mount others as well. The threaded SAI barrel is suppressor ready, mine came with 13X1 left-hand threads, but apparently the newer ones are 1/2-28 right-hand threads.
The EC also has a chamber indicator on the top of the slide, when a round is chambered, the red indicator is clearly visible. The chamber indicator is also tactile, you can feel it either in the dark, or while looking towards your next engagement. Also on top of the slide is the fiber optic sight (rear sights removed to install the Viper red dot). The fiber optics are interchangeable with others included in the kit.


Several other things are included in the hard-case, trigger lock, tools for assembly and cleaning, as well as different mag release height options you can customize.
I wasted no time, and literally within minutes of delivery, I was pumping magazines through the TP9.

The Vortex Viper was easy to mount, and zero. I was amazed at how accurate the gun was, I wasn’t shooting particularly far, but once zeroed, I could put a whole magazine thru a less than two inch hole at 10 yards. And if I can hold steady enough, whatever you put the red dot on within 30-40 yds, gets hit.
The trigger overall is pretty good, though I was a little bit let down, as mine wasn’t as good as the ones I had felt prior to purchase. The take-up has a bit of stickiness to it that I didn’t feel on other guns. The break and reset however is clean and very crisp. I have taken it apart several times to see if I can clean up the trigger pull, We’ll see if any of that helps.
The EC also comes with an oversized mag release, which I found to be very good for dropping the magazine. And despite its prominence, never caused an undesired mag drop.
Underneath the muzzle there is a pretty standard accessory rail, perfect for mounting lights, lasers, etc.
The magazines themselves are manufactured by Mec-gar, a well known manufacturer of great aftermarket magazines. There are several different models available including an 18 round and a 32 round stick mag.
The holster is about what you would expect from a manufacturer, nice enough to use, but leaving you wanting more. It’s serviceable, but I dont care for the release. Instead of pressure to the side releasing the pistol, you curl your trigger finger in the same action as you would to pull the trigger. This seems a little unsafe, in that once clear of the holster, if your finger continues the curling motion, it could find the trigger before your on target. This is probably just a training issue, but I didn’t care for it none the less.

Shooting the TP9
I mentioned the accuracy of the TP9,I’ll add that the functionality has also been almost perfect. I say almost perfect because I have had a couple malfunctions, nothing a tap, rack, bang wouldn’t fix. And more than likely due to the low budget ammunition I was shooting at the time.
Even so, with the cheap ammo I find it very easy to hit what I’m aiming at.
The flared mag-well made mag changes easy to feel into place, though I wish the flared part had at least two points of contact. As it sits, the mag-well flare is attached by a single screw at the rear, not a huge deal, but it has caused me to re-engineer it in my head.
I bought the gun with the plan of using the red dot on it, though I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I figured if I didn’t, I could just run the iron sights on it and sell the Vortex. But as it turns out, I really enjoy shooting with the red dot. So much in fact that I’m considering doing the same to another pistol I love and shoot quite a bit, my Taurus TX22. I have since run a couple other red dot optical sights on the pistol, and I settled on the US Optics DRS 2.0 Enhanced, I found it to be a superior option to the other two. One thing that I absolutely love, is the way this Canik feels in my hand. It’s a perfect fit with the larger grip back-strap, and it points so nicely and naturally. The way it draws from the holster and lines up perfectly for the shot gives me some undeserved confidence.

Suppressed
With a threaded barrel it was only a matter of time until I ran the Canik with one of my suppressors, and I was very happy with the results. I used two suppressors from Yankee Hill Machine, the first one and my favorite of the two is the Nitro N20 shown above. It is a modular can that has a short or long configuration and is built with extremely light materials. In the short configuration it is so light I barely noticed it when shooting the pistol, and the sound suppression was amazing. There was a slight uptick in the felt recoil, but I was expecting it. Not so much as to feel pressure against your hand, you could just feel the pistol cycling harder.

Conclusion
It may sound like I’m ragging a bit on the TP9 Elite Combat, but to be honest I really do like it. I’ve never been much of a gun snob, so when it comes to minor issues I tend to look right thru them. I love shooting the TP9, and intend on becoming much better with it, might even take a few classes or training courses to save myself the embarrassment in public.
I think despite the little issues I’ve brought up, the gun is a great option. I may get another holster for it, and I will definitely be getting a bunch more magazines, and ammo.
-CBM

Taurus USA TX22 Pistol

Introduction

I have long wanted a 22LR pistol, if nothing else just to have some cheap shooting fun for myself and the kids. Its hard to beat the 22 for teaching kids the responsibility that firearms demand, and they are so fun to shoot that anything less than a brick of ammo just wont do.
The only thing that kept me from buying one over the years were concerns of performance. There always seemed to be issues with 22LR pistols, be it malfunctions like a jam, or being finicky when it came to ammunition. All I wanted was a gun that ran perfectly every time, and one that I didn’t have to worry about what to feed it.

The Taurus USA TX22 pistol caught my eye at SHOT Show 2019, I immediately fell in love with the feel of the pistol, the grip did not feel like many of the 22 auto pistols I had held before. It felt like a full size gun in my hand, the grip texture gave an almost sticky feeling in your palm. The well balanced and lightweight TX22 felt much like an M&P, or maybe a Sig Sauer P320.
Another great feature of the TX22 is it’s 16 round magazines, and it comes with two. Most 22 auto pistols are single stack 10 round magazines, it is refreshing to see that barrier being broken.
For the many patrons to the NFA, adding a suppressor to your favorite pistol is a must. Many of the 22 pistols available today come with threaded barrels for suppressors, but the TX22 even comes with the adaptor collar needed to mount the suppressor.

When I picked up my TX22 from my FFL, I already had a box of ammo and suppressor in hand. So it should come as no surprise to you that I didn’t even make it home before shooting this handsome little Taurus.

The TX22 shown with suppressor collar installed, without it, the barrel is flush to the nose of the slide.

A quick stop by my local shooting spot armed with 100 CCI Mini Mags was just enough to wet my whistle. It was the fastest five minutes of my life if I recall, those hundred rounds burned through the TX22 like grain through a goose. I was now addicted to this thing, I temporarily left my range to get two important things; More ammo, and my son. I knew he would love this thing as much as I did.

A few hours later, after Junior and I had stopped by Cabelas, we were ready to go for round two. I had purchased an assortment of ammunition, a pretty good spread in my estimation. I wanted to try everything, from the cheapest bulk ammunition to the ritzy high end stuff. I even bought a couple different boxes of subsonic ammunition, to see how the TX22 would handle it.

The next few hours of shooting turned out to be some of the funnest we’ve ever shared, magazine after magazine of plinking fun. We tried every kind of ammunition I brought, the cheap bulk stuff from Remington, the Winchester 333 pack, CCi subsonic, Remington Hornets, and even some Aguila Eley Prime. I was ecstatic with the performance, after shooting six or seven hundred rounds, we hadn’t experienced a single failure (but for the 730 fps subsonics, they will not cycle the gun, even suppressed). My favorite ammo for the TX22 would have been both the CCI subsonic 1050fps, and the Winchester 333 pack. Both of them shot very accurate from the TX22, at least more so than the rest.

The pistol runs flawless whether suppressed or not. There is of course a bit more back-pressure when shooting suppressed, this causes the gun to foul a little more aggressively but that is no surprise. I loved shooting the gun without the suppressor too, it is balanced perfectly, and fit me so well that I found myself hardly using the sights.
The very mild recoil of the 22LR is soaked up nicely by the recoil spring, the gun hardly moves in the hand when fired. Follow-up shots are easily made, and can be done so very quickly.
The trigger of the TX22 features a trigger safety, but utilizes the whole shoe vs. a blade safety like many are accustomed to. The striker fired TX22 trigger is very clean, and resets are pretty short as well. I would love to shoot this gun in some kind of three gun competition or something similar, the inexistent recoil and fast shot to shot time would be a blast.

The sixteen round magazines were nice to have as well, one thing about 22’s is you spend a lot of time reloading. So having sixteen rounds to shoot prolonged the time one spent at the shooting line. The magazines have a small circular pin through the follower that you can pull down slowly as you add rounds to the feed lips until it is full.

The gun is easily disassembled following the directions in the owners manual. With as much ammo as you will go through, you will need to clean it often. Especially as dirty as most 22 ammo is. No tools are needed, except for removing or installing the suppressor collar. And I would suggest removing it after every range session, if only to clean it. I’d hate to see it get stuck on the barrel by all the 22 gunk.

The TX22 has a single magazine release, though it can be switched from side to side. It comes configured for a right handed shooter, but the simple directions in the manual allow lefties to switch it over to their liking. I initially found the magazine release to feel a bit small and perhaps difficult to purchase with my thumb. However I quickly withdrew that observation after shooting the gun, at no point during all my shooting did I find it to be a problem. Mag changes were done quickly and without any issues.

The TX22 with the Silencerco Spectre II suppressor

The easily adjustable sights were another welcome feature. There are two screws you can adjust with a micro flat blade screwdriver, one is for elevation adjustment, and the other for windage.
The TX22 also features an ambidextrous safety, with familiar positioning and function. Up for safe, and pulling down with the thumb puts the gun into the firing mode.
The front of the polymer frame features an accessory rail where you can add you favorite light, laser, or other device.

As it turns out, the Taurus TX22 is everything I hoped it would be when I first held it in a Las Vegas casino. It shoots as good as it handles, it’s function matches it’s handsome looks. It brings some great new features that were long overdue.
I love this little pistol, its been hard to put down. I even left my usual CCW at home, just so I had an excuse to have the TX22 with me so I could look at it, and show it to friends. Not that I would recommend a 22LR for a carry gun, but it sure was nice to have such a light and narrow pistol inside my belt for a change. We had fun shooting the pistol at the range, as well as a little squirrel hunting. The SilencerCo Spectre II made the gun so quiet, we could sneak into acorn distance.

You mess with the bull, you catch these horns.

The only negative things I have to bring up about the TX22 is regarding the magazine design. As I removed them from the box, the floor-plate of both magazines was easily pushed off. The first time resulted in my magazine guts getting shot out across the floor. They aren’t big pieces, so it took a bit to find them all. When I tested the second magazine for the issue, I found it to be the same, the floor-plate retainer didn’t seem to have enough of an anchor to keep them in place.
Oddly enough though, the problem never reoccured. After shooting the gun a few times, I again tried to get the floor-plates to slide off. But even with aggressive pressure they stayed in position. Perhaps the vibration of shooting helped seat them better? Either way, the problem has never been repeated.
Another concern is more of a user problem than a design one. When loading the magazines, it is easy to want to just pull the follower down well ahead of the cartridges you are feeding into the lips. This can cause cartridges to tilt inside the magazine, causing an obvious malfunction which usually requires emptying the magazine and starting anew. This problem is easily remedied by only pulling the follower down to allow the next cartridge to be fed into the magazine. One at a time until all sixteen rounds are loaded.

These are minimal complaints, and surely not something that would inhibit my purchase of another one. The Taurus USA TX22 is a fantastic pistol all around, it is simply done right. It wouldn’t surprise me if its a design they continue to build on for additional pistols, and I will be watching and waiting for it.

-CBM