.38 Special Ballistics – Snubnose

Get Shorty

While I was caught short on 9mm ammo to test, I had plenty of .38 laying around so I decided to test that.

I discovered some pretty troubling things.

To be clear: most manufacturers publish their ballistics numbers based upon testing that uses a 4″ vented test barrel.  Testing that same ammo in a snubnose .38 will result in lower velocities; that’s to be expected.  How much lower?  Sometimes a little, and sometimes a lot!

Hollow-point bullets are designed to expand properly within a certain envelope of velocities.  If the bullet is moving slower than the minimum of the envelope, the bullet won’t expand (resulting in deeper penetration and less “stopping power”).  If the bullet is moving faster than the maximum of the envelope, the bullet may fragment instead of expanding (creating a shallower wound channel and less penetration).

If you are going to entrust your life to a gun/ammo combination, you had better make sure you know exactly what you are using and have a good grasp of what it will (and will not) do.


9mm Ballistics – Ultracompact pistol

Mighty Mite

After kicking the tires of the growing assortment of little 9mms, I settled on the Kahr CM9.

It was soft shooting, and the trigger was an easy enough transition from a DAO revolver trigger.  During the break-in period as spelled out in the manual (200 rounds), and later practice, I found it to be completely reliable and more accurate than I expected.  3″ – 4″ groups at 50′ if I did my part.  The short sight radius made it a little challenging.

And since it has the shortest barrel of any 9mm I own (3″, including the chamber), I thought I had better test some ammo to see how much velocity I lose with that short of a barrel.


Ballistics Testing: .40S&W (Updated!)

The Need for Speed

We have talked about pistol-caliber carbines before.  They are light, fun to shoot, more accurate than a handgun of the same caliber, and give your favorite cartridge a little extra velocity, too.

But how MUCH extra velocity?  Lots of estimates get thrown around, but not a lot of hard #s.  And how accurate are the factory specs, anyway?

Well here they are.


Walther+Smith&Wesson = Kaput?

A Relic?

A Relic?

I heard that S&W is divorcing from Walther.

This leaves me with curiosity on several points:

Will S&W still manufacture the Walther PPK for Walther?  (And if not, does that mean the design is departing the American marketplace?  Or will some other manufacturer step in to make them?)

Who will handle parts and service for existing Walther (P99, PPQ, PPS) guns, and who will handle those issues for S&W/Walther guns like the PPK and SW99? If Radom of Poland is making the PPS for Walther (in addition to the ones they make themselves), and Walther was/is making the P99/PPQ themselves, will they open up an independent channel to market/sell/service their products, or will they find another partner?

And what will the answers to those questions mean for American shooters & collectors?

I recognize that the PPK fell out of favor due to its complicated (“expensive”) manufacturing processes (thus increasing prices), its heavy weight (as compared to its competitors) and its heavy DA trigger pull for the first shot; not to mention the reputation of unreliability with hollowpoint ammo.

Perhaps advances in firearms design have rendered the PPK obsolete.  Even the cachet of being James Bond’s sidearm (in the past) hasn’t been enough to help the PPK fight off the tide of smaller, lighter .380 pistols.  (Bond also used a Gyrojet pistol in one movie, and we all know how that concept worked out).

So does this mean the end for the PPK?  Or will nostalgia & collector fever keep the design alive?