The popularity of 9mm handguns continues to grow.
And the rights of Americans to carry concealed handguns for self-defense are becoming more entrenched across the country. Even if some areas only try to pay lip-service to them.
In light of recent product introductions, it is time to update our round-up of little 9mm handguns.
Back in 2014, Ruger released a striker-fired version of their LC9s pistol.
Buying a scope for a hunting rifle is pretty straightforward: determine the terrain you will be hunting in, and the distance that you typically take your shot at, and buy a scope of suitable magnification.
Hunting prairie dogs across an uncluttered plain calls out for very high magnification. Hunting whitetail in the Northeast probably means dense forest among the hills, and the shots that present themselves to a hunter will be much closer; less magnification is better for that. Variable magnification scopes give hunters extra versatility, but even with modern technology there are real and practical limits to what a scope can do. Shooting in low light (when hunting coyotes, for instance) calls out for an illuminated reticle, which is a more common feature in the last 10 years.
A scope for combat has different requirements, because there are so many different kinds of combat.
Well, the eagle has landed, folks.
The illogical and capricious nature of gun laws (I’m still waiting to hear what the problem with barrel shrouds is) renders them vulnerable to circumvention by engineering changes, or even cosmetic changes. Where there is a will, there is a way.
The development of bizarre AR-15 features like thumbhole stocks, fixed-magazines fed by stripper clips, bullet-buttons, single-shot operation, lever-action and pump action were driven by the need to circumvent specifically-worded gun laws.
In the wake of the SAFE Act in NY, Black Rain Ordnance created a snake-like stock to render their otherwise-stock AR15 NY-legal. Goofy-looking, but functional.
And now Ares Defense has redesigned the AR15 lower receiver to allow a traditional Monte Carlo stock to be attached (alas this particular shoulder thing will not go up), rendering the final product legal to own in CT without registering it as an assault weapon. They promised it back in April, but it is in stores right now.
Everybody likes new things. And the advertising practices of the past 50 years have deepened and solidified our hunger for new things beyond the limits of common sense.
How else to explain the mad dash to ditch a perfectly good smartphone when a new model (that is functionally 97% identical to the old model, and light-years better than the phones of 5 years ago) is released? IT managers were not hallucinating when they observed an increase in broken phones when a new iPhone was released. You can’t have bread & circuses without the bread.
Guns are not immune to this trend. When something bigger/smaller/faster/shinier comes out, we all salivate a little. Senator Phil Gramm once described the size of his arsenal as “more than I need, but not as many as I want”. A smart consumer should mitigate his/her urge to acquire new hardware with the knowledge of: budget priorities, how easy it will be to get ammo/parts/accessories, reliability of warranty coverage, and whether or not the gun is chambered for a caliber that he/she already supports. No one is saying that those are rules to adhere to at all times. But you need to weigh all the factors against your personal situation before deciding. Bullets without a gun to shoot them are as useless as a gun with no bullets.
Kahr Arms has been pursuing a 2-tiered product strategy for a few years now. When they entered the market, they sold high-quality pistols at pricepoints higher than Glock. They now sell a high-end version of a gun, as well as a low-end version. The potential benefit is access to a category of customers that normally wouldn’t be considering your product. The risk in such strategies is that you might negatively impact the sales of the high-end gun more than you gain from the sales of the low-end gun; and that you might dilute your brand’s perception. The vendor must be careful in designing their product tiers to clearly differentiate the tiers for the customer.
I like Savage as a company, and I like their guns too. Inexpensive and accurate. You don’t have to be a skinflint yankee to know that there’s a difference between “inexpensive” and “cheap”. One quality is admirable, the other is to be shunned.
Savage used to make a handy .22LR/.410 over-under called the Model 24.
Handy and versatile, and easy to feed. A lot of prepper/survivalist types sang their praises.
I was disappointed to learn that Savage discontinued the Model 24 a few years back.
The only other gun which combined these useful calibers was the also-discontinued Springfield Armory M6, which was more portable but less ergonomic.
Baikal also makes a .22/20ga or .223/12ga over under. (I might have to consider one.)
But now I see that Savage has replaced the Model 24 with a new gun, the Model 42:
Available in .22LR or .22WMR over a .410 shotgun barrel, the Model 42 boasts a more-modern design of synthetic stock than the Model 24, thus increasing its street cred among preppers. I looked forward to seeing one, and perhaps adding it to my arsenal.
After examining a Model 42, I realized that Savage cheaped out on this new gun in one significant way, with 3 specific effects.
The ejector is manually-activated, unlike an original Model 24 which partially extracts the shells when you break the gun open. Not a dealbreaker; and I can see some scenarios where it would be an advantage to leave the shells in the chamber until you decide you want them out. But for fast firing this change is a step in the wrong direction
The ejector mechanism is made of plastic:
The extractors are made of straight pieces of razor-thin metal, and look extremely fragile:
While I like the looks of the Model 42, I am disappointed with this lowering of quality. I think I will look for a used Model 24. Or maybe look at a Baikal.