18 Jan 16

2106 Shot Show, Range Day

We spent our day at the Range in Boulder City, NV today. Lots of guns and other equipment on display!

I got a chance to shoot most of the “Glock look-alikes” (double-column, mostly in 9mm, striker-fired, variable-grip geometry, no manual decocking lever/button, no manual safety lever/button) today, specifically the Ruger All-American, SA/XD, Walther PPQ, FNS, and H&K VP9. I’m currently carrying a SIG 320, which falls in the same category. The Beretta APX is not making its appearance at this year’s SHOT show, contrary to expectations. I’ve only seen pictures of it.

Several manufacturers are making single-column versions of the same “system,” specifically Kahr (PM9), Glock (G43), XD/S, Walther (PPSM2), S&W (Shield), and a new company called Honor Defense. These guns are specifically designed for concealed carry, currently a burgeoning market!

As I talk about my own preferences, I need to say first that all these pistols are very acceptable, and any will represent a good choice for serious use.

“Ambidextrity” is the rage these days among pistol designers. Ambidextrous controls are thus “featured” on some of these new pistols. I regard most ambidextrous controls as little more than useless bulk. Left-handers, who look forward to a long and happy life, need to be very good at adopting themselves to a right-handed world. Most do, particularly when operating guns. Some, however, insist upon building a left-handed bubble around themselves, and some manufacturers cater to them.

I particularly don’t like ambidextrous magazine-release buttons. A magazine-release button that faces to the outside as the pistol is carried will get inadvertently bumped, releasing the magazine at an unintended, and inconvenient, time! Not a “feature” that interests me!

Happily, magazine safeties are now mostly a thing of the past. I consider a magazine safety on an ostensibly “serious” pistol to be a death-trap, and I will not have one on any pistol I own! This industry is now, mercifully, mostly past this disastrous idea.

I like pistol triggers that have some take-up, crisp break, a little overtravel, but a short and snappy reset. I don’t particularly like deep, nor “mushy” resets. Although, I can tolerate a deep reset, while a mushy one is less tolerable. Trigger break-weight is acceptable between four and a half and six pounds.

Manual safety levers on these guns represent an annoying redundancy. Most of them don’t have one as an option. Some do. For one, I’d just leave it in the “off” position, but, so long at it is there, there is a chance it will be “on” when you don’t expect it to be. Better, in my opinion, that it not be there at all!

Walther’s PPQ has a good “feel,” according to most who handle it. Grip is small for a double-column pistol (sixteen-shooter). Trigger is crisp but light, not much more than four pounds. Short, snappy reset. This is a popular pistol, and for good reason!

The single-column (eight-shooter) PPSM2 uses the same system. Trigger is a pound heaver. Very flat! Well suited for concealed carry.

The Ruger AA is an eighteen-shooter. Trigger is 5-6 pounds. Reset is short, but mushy.

The FNS is an eighteen-shooter too. Trigger also 5-6 pounds. Reset also short, but mushy. Like the S&W M&P, the FNS uses an articulated trigger, rather than a trigger-tab found on the rest. Ambidextrous magazine-release buttons. The FNS can be ordered with or without a manual safety lever. However, versions cannot be retrofitted. When you have one with a manual safety, it cannot be converted, nor can a manual safety be installed on the FNS when it didn’t come that way.

The H&K VP9’s trigger is among the best! It breaks at 5-6 pounds. Reset is long, but snappy. Slight flairs at the rear of the slide make slide manipulation positive, without adding much bulk. The XD/M has the same feature, and I consider it a good thing!

The VP9’s magazine release are ambidextrous levers, instead of the traditional button used by everyone else. I could get used to it, but I prefer a button!

The trigger on SIG’s 320 is also excellent, probably the best of the lot. Changeable “shells” (frame) make this gun very attractive to police departments. Mine has served me perfectly!

The single-column 9mm pistol made by Honor Defense is very flat and suitable for concealed carry. 5-6 pound trigger, with a long, but crisp, reset. Ambidextrous magazine-release buttons.

As I said, all these Glock-like pistols are acceptable. Glock, however, has a considerable head-start, maintains a veritable army of certified armorers, and an excellent reputation for customer service. They’re still hard to beat!

Other items of interest include Comp-Tac’s new “Q-Line” of kydex holsters, allowing for the same holster to be used OWB, IWB, left-hand, right-hand, cant, reverse cant, straight-drop. Great idea!

Robar’s PolymarAR has been a great success, owing to its light weight. Now comes the PolymrARTI, which is even lighter! The “TI” stands for a titanium bolt-carrier and several other parts. Wonderful rifle for the small-statured!

Finally, you need a CSAT Sight Tool, available from Robar! Lots of optic-adjustment features in a small tool I carry on my keychain!

First day of the “regular” SHOT Show is tomorrow!