Tag Archives: pistol

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. To 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 factory 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

Optics Cuts

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.

suppressed taurus TX22
the YHM Phantom 22 was an outstanding addition

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. 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 Yankee 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.


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.


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.

Continue Reading here



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.


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 Canik SFX Rival 9mm which is the subject today.

The SFX Rival

The Rival is being marketed as an IDPA competition gun, with both its 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…

Once I was on the firing line with the Rival, I decided it would be a good idea to compare it to its well-known relative, the TP9 EC with a Vortex red dot. With a stack of ammo on the tailgate, we went to town. The first order of business was to adjust the Holosun red dot for proper impacts, which didn’t take very long. In less time than it took to empty the magazine, I was hitting my pop-can targets.

Going back and forth between the Rival and the Elite Combat, it didn’t take long to feel and see the differences between the two pistols. The triggers felt very comparable, as they should. It seems they are the same in everything but their colors. The grip area on the Rival was a bit more generous, allowing for more engagement with the grip.

The mag release on all of the TP9 family seem to be reliable and easy to manipulate. The Rival shared that trait, but it did feel ever so slightly stiffer than the others. This could have simply been that it was newer and not worn in. The dual slide-release levers on either side of the frame felt significantly stiffer than other TP9s I’ve shot.

Pick out your own Canik, because you deserve one


Then again, after shooting several magazines through the gun, that seemed to loosen up. One thing that I felt was a significant improvement on the Rival was its flared magwell. Blindly stabbing the magazine into the gun took nearly zero focus to get it right. I quickly became proficient at fast and smooth reloads. This was a definite improvement over the EC, and not an insignificant one.

The Rival plowed through an expensive pile of  Magtech 124-grain ammunition and Winchester 115 grain, showing no failures or malfunctions during the shooting other than an ammunition malfunction confirmed in several other pistols. The bluish-grey Canik Rival finish was losing its shine in the afternoon sun, exchanging it for a powder-burned darker shade.

Pros & Cons

The overall experience shooting the Rival was an outstanding one. It offered flawless function and very predictable, accurate hits. The quality and just plain performance of this pistol is quite evident, as good as almost any striker-fired poly-framed pistol I’ve played with over the years. The aggressive serrations of the slide as well as the engraving details bring a bit of “noise” to the gun’s image, but for me, it just works. The ease of reloading the pistol, the filled palm with a great grip, the smooth trigger, and the short reset all just make this pistol feel like it truly is an excellent Rival for others.

Buying yourself a Rival is not, however, a sure shot to becoming the next John Wick. Still, at the price, it isn’t going to kill you either. The adjustable grip backstraps, extra magazines, and extra sight mounting options are also a fantastic value. The modularity of the mag-release buttons also help the shooter perfect their fit.

The Holosun 507 was a perfect companion for this pistol. I’ve used many slide-mounted optics now, and this one seems to be a great option for not just the Rival but any pistol. The various mounting plates that come with the Rival will allow you to mount whatever optic you choose.


There are a couple of things I would change about the Rival if given the chance. First of all, it seems like a chance was missed to port the barrel to match the fancy slide cuts. Not only would that have added to the mall-ninja factor, but it would also have helped a bit with the recoil. For a full-size pistol, the Rival did seem to climb a bit more than I expected from a ported slide. Even a built-in compensator up front would help with that. The fluted barrel itself seemed fine, and I expect that friction is reduced as well in that weight loss.


For a pistol directed at the competitive shooter, I feel like the many features of the Rival are an absolute win. It is affordable but feels like you are getting so much more for your money. The many extras just keep coming as you get into it, and those included extras allow many gun owners to do what they love most – customize their gun.

The beauty of this pistol is that it is flashy and handsome right out of the box, and it is indeed ready to lay out one target after another with speed and comfort. I have to say, Canik continues to bring us consumers new options, and the Canik Rival is a great option to consider.


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.  Ruger also offers a ten round extended magazine with additional grip area added to the bottom as well.


Upon receiving the EC9, I promptly opened the box eager to see what lay inside. There I found the Cobalt slate blue framed EC9. Shipped with a magazine, chamber-flag, a standard throwaway lock.  As well as 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.


With a bucket of 115-grain FMJ ammo in hand, I headed out to the desert to see how this pistol runs. After loading the magazine, I pointed the pistol downrange at my target and started squeezing. As it often happens, we ran through a lot more ammo than I anticipated in a short amount of time. Which is a good time to point out, since with seven-round magazines you spend a lot of time loading.

The extended 10 round magazine gives more purchase for those with larger hands.

My very first impression as the little Ruger barked and how much more recoil I could feel when compared to my other pistols. Obviously, this is a 9mm, so I’m not talking about a ton of recoil, just noticeably more than what I am used to. That is to be expected though. A smaller pistol is not going to buck recoil like a heavier full-size pistol will.

Shop all the Ruger EC9 models at Palmetto State Armory

The trigger-pull seemed a smidge longer than I would have liked, but again this model is aimed at concealed carry users. The reset was also longer than I would have liked, requiring a good sweep both fore and aft to keep this little lead pump humming. I’m not a huge fan of trigger safeties, but I did find that this one was hardly noticeable.


We continued to bang through more ammo than we should have with the EC9s, and it didn’t take long for me to start forming a few opinions on it. But before I did, I wanted to get some additional hands on the gun. Particularly my wife’s hands. She has much more petite hands, and I wanted to see how the pistol met her stature. Just as importantly, I wanted to see how she felt about the gun. Guns are still a bit new to her, but nevertheless, I was interested in her beginner’s perspective.

She took no time in getting used to the grip of the EC9s, and she was slapping targets after some modest instruction. We did discover some challenges for smaller shooters. The grip and pull required to draw the slide was a bit of a challenge for her, as I mentioned above the gun is quite stiff. But even with her smaller hands, she was able to grip the pistol properly and run the gun effectively.

Firearms Depot also has a full selection of Ruger EC9 pistols 


I’ll give you my pros first, of which I think there are plenty. After shooting a moderate amount of ammunition through this little gun, I was impressed with its reliability. Through all the rounds fired, I don’t think there were more than a few stoppages. All of which I am quite confident were user induced. The little Ruger just seems to shoot.

I am certainly no pistol marksman, but I found it was pretty easy to hit what I was aiming at. The same went for my wife, and what I think she perhaps enjoyed most was hitting what she aimed at.

With a price point around $280 over the counter, this little gun is easily attained. I was worried its price point would dictate much of the quality, but the handsome collection of color options and other features seem to make it worthwhile. The larger 10-round magazine made the gun much easier for me to shoot, while my better half was happy with either magazine length.


There are a few cons that I would point out, but I am ready to admit that many of them are fairly subjective. First of all, I’d address the stiffness of the pistol, it’s not very big, so there isn’t a lot to hold onto and purchase. The strong pull of the recoil spring also made it very difficult to operate the slide release, to the point that I nearly quit using it entirely and simply pulled the slide to release. Many will say that’s better anyway, so it may be a moot point for you.

I don’t really use safeties, especially on carry guns. But this safety actually took a second to figure out, the natural motion for me was to swipe at it with my thumb a la 1911. But the safety actually pivots from the front, so I had to make a conscious motion to push and pull at the rear of the safety. Not a big deal, and it’s something I could simply learn if needs be.

I spoke about the orange dummy magazine that came with the gun. Its sole purpose is to aid in disassembling the pistol. You use the magazine as part of the safe deactivation and takedown. Again, probably not a huge deal, but something worth mentioning.

I already mentioned I would have liked a shorter and lighter trigger. But I am also perfectly willing to concede that concealed carry guns are probably better off with longer and even heavier pulls. My last two gripes are perhaps the most subjective and probably due to my hand construction.

I found the mag release to be just a tad awkward to reach with my thumb. It took a very deliberate motion to release the magazine. Again, this may be by design, so you don’t drop your mag in a gunfight or while leaning against the counter at the convenience store.

Lastly, I would really prefer to have more than 10 rounds available in a carry pistol, but I also understand there are compromises.


I frequently carry a full-size pistol. Compared to that, this little pistol is a fresh breath of air and a much smaller pain in the waist. The single-stack design of the pistol and its compact size seem to square up the grip area some. This felt to me just a little less comfortable than I’d like, but these are just one person’s opinions.

All things considered, I think the EC9s is a decent choice. I like the gun more than I expected to. The price point makes it an extremely easy pistol to get into carrying. The various safeties and its small size also make it an easy choice for newcomers to the concealed carry gang. I think it punches at its price point. But you won’t want to compare it with something like a Sig P239.

Now that you’ve heard my opinion, go check one of these out. If you drive a diesel, it may cost you more to get to the gun shop than to pick up a Ruger EC9s.


If you like this review, check out our other pistol reviews

Three red dots

Pistol shooting, like most shooting disciplines has benefitted greatly from technological advancements. Incredible improvements have made todays handguns lighter, faster, more accurate, and reliable. One of these many improvement is in the sight market, pistols have long relied on the simple task of lining up a front and rear sight as you press the trigger. But today we will discuss the hot and competitive red dot sight options that are frequently replacing traditional iron sights. We’ll also look at it from the perspective of home defense use.

The three sights we will specifically look at today are the Vortex Viper Red Dot, the US Optics DRS 2.0 Enhanced, and the Riton Optics X3 Tactix PRD. To give the three sights all a fair rattling, I ran all three of them on the same pistol. The Canik TP9 EC is a poly framed pistol featuring a SAI barrel and trigger, its very accurate and its cut slide makes a perfect host for this trio of optics. To read more about the pistol click here.

The Vortex Viper MSRP $349.99

With a well known name like Vortex, I was sure I was going to like this optic. It was the first of the three in this article that I got my hands on, it wasn’t long at all before I had it mounted up and ready to shoot. The tools provided made zeroing the optic a snap, I was blown away at how quick I went from adjusting the zero, to stacking a whole magazine into a small hole.

Upgrade to the Vortex Razor

I was quickly in love with my Canik and the red dot sight combination, I kept stacking shots and giggling. Shooting the pistol at distances much further than I was used to became quite easy, and the accuracy of the pistol coupled with the precise and tiny dot made hitting my aim point was as simple as breaking the trigger cleanly.
The Viper utilizes a 6 Minute Of Angle (MOA) dot, and uses one MOA adjustment graduations. It has rubber armored control buttons, to adjust the brightness of the reticle, as well as to turn it on and off.

The US Optics DRS 2.0 Enhanced MSRP $349.00

US Optics has long been part of the optics game, though they are a relative newcomer to the electronic sight realm. As soon as I opened the box, I was as impressed as ever with USO’s quality and presentation. But more importantly was the impression on the range.

I was a bit confused at first, because the DRS 2.0 didn’t appear to have a button or control to adjust the brightness as did the Viper and the Tactix X3. But in perhaps my favorite discovery of the whole project, I read the owners manual to find that the DRS 2.0 is always on, and has a built in photo-eye to automatically adjust to ambient light. Another beneficial feature I was happy to see, was the side-loaded battery compartment, which doesn’t require the user to remove the sight to change the battery as the Viper required.

As with the Vortex, the USO was easily and quickly zeroed, and in no time I was back to banging targets.

The Riton Optics X3 Tactix PRD MSRP $299.99

Riton is a relatively new company, but persistently bringing out more products. The X3 came to me before the USO and after the Vortex, it did require changing the Viper type baseplate to the RMR type, as it doesn’t share the same plate as the other two.
Similar to the Vortex, the X3 has armored up/down rubber buttons to adjust the six level brightness settings of the reticle. It also has a four hour auto shutoff. It features a 3 MOA dot for some very precise shooting, at least for red dot shooting.
It wasn’t until after I had it mounted that I noticed the X3 features a rear sight cut, something you can use in the event your reticle goes out. This is something the other two lacked, and while not likely to be used often, it is still handy. The X3 features a top loaded battery, so you wont need to remove the sight for battery changes.

All three red dots took a bit of getting used to, as the reticle appeared higher than expected as compared to the iron sights. But once I grew accustomed to the hold and sight picture, I was addicted to it. One of the many pros of using red dot pistol sights that is often mentioned is the shooter’s point of focus. When using iron sights you have to focus to some degree or another on the sights that are at arms length. Shooting with a red dot sight gives a great advantage because you never have to take your eyes off the target.
For example, if there is a threat approaching you, simply bring the pistol into the plane between you and the threat. The glowing reticle is naturally brought into place without ever having to change focus from the target. Obviously after much practice and training, it becomes second nature. That is one thing less you’ll need to focus on in a defensive situation.
And even if its not a dangerous target, shots can be made faster as can target transitions because you never have to take your eyes off the target[s].

As it pertains to home and/or self defense, I think a red dot sight could be a valuable asset. The bright red reticle makes a very easy focal point when tension is high, and the precise nature of its aim is very useful in a life or death situation. The aforementioned point about keeping your eyes on the threat is also a strong reason, especially in a low light or no light scenario.

I was surprised by this experience, it wasn’t that I liked the USO the most, it was actually that the Vortex was at the bottom for me. After much shooting with the Viper, I found the Riton X3 to be a preferred fit for my eyes. And perhaps the finer reticle also helped. The sight picture of all three was more than satisfactory, they all got dirty and dusty just the same. But what really won this comparison for me was the reticle on the DRS 2.0, I never had to turn it on, or up or down. Every time I jerked my pistol from the holster, regardless of time of day, indoor or out, the reticle was lit, and nearly perfect brightness. I only say near perfect because it occasionally might have been a smidge dimmer than I would have set it, but surely not enough to be a concern. All three of these red dots are great pistol sights, I would feel very confident shooting any one of them in a competitive situation.

I have shot pistols without red dots for many years, so I was a bit apprehensive about trading my iron sights for a red dot. But I’m happy to say that after some practice I feel just as if not more confident with one of these three sights than the iron sights I always used before. Give one of these three a try, you will very likely be surprised how much you like it.