Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Glock 43X

One of the gun industry's big January announcements was Glock's additions to their line-up of single stack pistols. This year's introductions include the Model 48, a single stack version of their venerable Model 19, and the 43X, which is basically the slide of the Model 43 mated to the 10 round grip frame of the (G19 sized) model 48.  One of the most obvious features of both new offerings is the matte stainless PVD coated slide.  PVD is a very tough coating used on everything from watch parts to heavy machinery.  I'm not sure why they used the PVD coating rather than using a stainless steel slide, but I'm sure Glock has its reasons.  

Clearly the model 43X was engineered to combat the SIG Sauer P365 which has substantially eaten into the standard Glock 43's market share.  SIG's little micro pistol took the gun buying public by storm in 2018 with it's diminutive size and 10 round capacity. Let's see how the 43, 43X and SIG P365 stack up:

Glock 43
Glock 43X
SIG P365
6.26 inches
6.50 inches
5.8 inches
Barrel Length
3.41 inches
Same as 43
3.1 inches
1.06 inches
1.10 inches
1 inch
4.25 inches
5.04 inches
4.3 inches
Loaded Weight
20.64 ounces
23.07 ounces
17.8 ounces
6 rounds
10 rounds
10 rounds

The SIG P365 is clearly smaller in all but one dimension and boasted a 10 round capacity that made it the concealed carry darling of 2018.  However, for some shooters, it (as well as the standard 43) was just too small.  The grip height could be improved by the use of SIG's 12 round, extended magazine but the width and overall length was still too small for some customers.  The 43X solves this issue.  

The height of the 43X is taller than the standard 43 largely due to the longer grip that angles diagonally backward.  The grip is also just a tad bit wider than the standard 43 and I tend to prefer the feel of the 43X's grip over that of the 43 or the SIG P365.  The extra length is probably the reason that I shoot the 43X better than the other two pistols and the increased grip height is not going to make it decidedly more difficult to conceal.  The taller, angled grip frame is also the reason that 43X magazines will not fit into the original Glock 43.


The 43X also includes the wider cocking serrations (both front and rear) of Glock's Generation 5 models and I like this feature over the slimmer serrations of the standard 43.  

Glock is currently producing the 43X (and the 48) with three different options in terms of sights.  The first option is the original Glock painted-on white dot front sight with the rear outlined sight that you will want to replace as soon as you can.  The second option is Glock's own night sight combination and the third option is the Ameriglo night sight with the blaze orange dot on the front.  Obviously there is an incremental price increase if you select one of the night sight options instead of the original Glock sights.

The biggest surprise is the trigger pull. The trigger on our rental pistol is much better than any other non-modified Glock trigger I have ever experienced.  I will be extremely displeased if the next ones we receive have stronger, grittier pulls.


The 43X shoots better for me than most other Glock at the abbreviated range for which the 43X is most likely to be used.  The brain was shot at 5 yards, the head was shot at 7 yards and the torso was set out to 10 yards. 20 rounds was fired at each of these distances.

At 20 yards I fired 40 rounds with 3 missing the target, 19 rounds penetrating center mass and the remainder hitting the other areas of the target.

I have a hot and cold relationship concerning Glock pistols and currently, just like our January weather, it has been pretty chilly.  However, I really like this pistol.  This gets a huge thumbs up from me.  If you want to shoot one, come see me at Stock and Barrel in Chanhassen.  We have one in the rental case!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Howdah .410/.45LC Double Barrel Pistol

I have wanted this pistol since I saw it introduced a couple of years ago.  The pistol is manufactured by Pedersoli of Italy and, at the time, nobody could give me any information on who was importing them.  Then, by chance last year I spied them in the Taylor's & Company catalogue right before a trade show in January. On the day of the show I hustled to the Taylor's booth and found a treasure trove of beautiful single action revolvers and lever action rifles and carbines.  Smooth trigger pulls and buttery-soft actions abounded.  However, no Howdah pistols.  "Very difficult to come by" the Taylor's representative told me. Then, a few weeks ago I was ordering a couple of Taylor's rifles for a customer and asked the rep. if he had any of the .410/.45LC pistols in stock.  I was shocked when he told me that they had recently received a shipment from Italy.  I couldn't wait to finally get my hands on one, but more on that later.

The Howdah pistol is a recreation of the Ithaca Auto Burglar shortened shotgun produced from 1922 to 1933.  Ithaca produced the Auto Burglar in 20 gauge with a small variety of grip styles.  The most identifiable being the saw-handled grip with the spur that keeps your hand from riding up over the safety during recoil.  I have seen a couple of people shooting the Mossberg "Shockwave" 12 gauge who needed bandaids after the safety tore into the web of their hand.

Ithaca also produced a belt holster for the pistol however, I would imagine this was more of a case for storage and transportation rather than an actual mode of belt-carry.

This would have certainly been a handy homestead firearm if something went "bump" in the night.  Also, in the 1920's, traveling by automobile could be a lonely and sometimes sketchy pursuit.  Interstate highways were a long way off and what are now considered "the back roads" were the only roads at the time. You could also drive hundreds of miles without seeing a police officer, Sheriff's  deputy or highway patrolman.  A short, double-barreled 20 gauge shotgun could be a welcome companion and a confidence builder in your uncertain travels.

During it's 11 year run Ithaca produced about 4,000 models.  Production was halted in 1934 with the enactment of the Firearms Act of 1934 that required a $200 Federal tax stamp be applied for and purchased if one wanted to own a shortened shotgun.

That brings us up to current where some brilliant person at Pedersoli realized that the Auto Burglar could be reproduced as a fully legal pistol if the barrels were rifled. This has been the case for many years with Bond Arms Derringers and the Taurus Judge both in .45 LC and .410.  And the Pedersoli Howdah is a wonderful pistol to behold.

Deep blue steel, case hardened frame and checkered walnut stocks.  Just as God had intended.  No polymer, no synthetic, no MIM, no Cerakote.
Absolutely beautiful.  The sights are a raised gold bead with a folding rear leaf and provide a good sight picture at at its intended ranges, which are fairly short.  I was fairly amazed with the trigger pull.  The Howdah is not an inexpensive pistol and the fit, finish and trigger pull show that quality does have a price...and it's worth it.
This is not a bird gun.  The Howdah is purposely designed as a back to the wall, closed quarter defensive tool.  And I think it works.

The safety automatically engages every time the action is closed.  I like this feature but some people that have shot it have a difficult time remembering that the safety is always "on".

The Howdah is a short-range pistol.  25 yard shots with a .410 shell have not been attempted.

For the purposes of today's shooting I used Federal Premium Person Defense 000 Buckshot with 4 pellets in a 2.5 inch shell.

So here's what I like about the Howdah.  You pull the trigger and 4 holes instantly appear!  The above target was shot at a scant 5 years.

Moving out the 7 yards the shell's wad hit a perfect bullseye but my four 000 pellets went high.

Out at 10 yards my center point of aim put my pellets into the small bullseye at the upper right hand corner.  In the rest of the target I am lowering my point of aim to bring the pellets down with the bottom four hitting low right with the brass bead centered just below the 5 ring.

There is one thing that I am doing that may be pushing my shots high.  For some reason my mind has not wrapped itself around that fact that the recoil is much less than I am expecting.  In other words I flinch horrendously.  And...I'm kind of OK with that...means I need to practice more.

While I do consider the Howdah to be a close quarter firearm, I did run a man-sized target downrange and fire two 000 shells out at 25 yards.  Seven of the eight buckshot pellets struck the torso with three of them landing in the 9 ring.  Not too bad.

Many people poo-poo the 410 for defense and I would tend to disagree...depending upon the barrel length and the load.  The 10.25 inches of barrel gives more performance than the snub-nosed variety of revolvers that have become popular.  There are "00" and "000" defensive loads in 2.5 and 3 inch shells that contain 4 to 5 pellets of each sized buckshot respectively.  At close quarters this would definitely be an attitude adjuster.  I have not shot .45 LC rounds and I may not. While they would certainly be potent coming out of a 10.25 inch barrel, there are other tools available that hold more ammunition and may be more accurate.   I'm sure that curiosity will eventually get the better of me but I plan to keep it true to it's Ithaca Auto Burglar history.

Is this the best firearm for defensive purposes?  Hardly.  Is it the best handgun for defensive use?  No.  But few other firearms as a classy and as fun to shoot as this one.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Glock 19X

I have great respect for Glocks but it is difficult for me to get excited about them.  I have been of the opinion that everyone should own a Glock 19 due to their ruggedness, reliability and ease of parts replacement.  However, now I will Include the 19X to my list of components for a standard battery.  If you are unaware, the 19X (or 19X Crossover as Glock sometimes refers to it) the the slide and barrel of a Glock 19 mated to a Glock 17 frame.  Let's take a quick look at the specifications.

Glock 19X Crossover Generation 5 Specifications
7.44 inches
Barrel Length
4.02 inches
Line of Sight
5.94 inches
1.0 inches
5.47 inches
24.83 ounces
Glock Night Sights
Coyote Colored nPVD
One 17 round and two 19 round magazines
Our Price

I must confess that, when these came out, I thought that Glock's manufacturing group  must have read the work order incorrectly and reversed the concept of the pistol.  I thought it made much more sense to put the longer barrel and slide of the model 17 on the more compact grip frame of the model 19 thereby producing a compact grip for easier concealment along with the longer line of sight and inherent increase in accuracy with the longer barrel.  Apparently though, input from tactical operators (Geez, I hate that phrase)  professed a desire for increased capacity and shorter barrel when maneuvering in tighter spaces.  Thus, the 19X Crossover was born.

Although the 19X is a Gen 5 model there are two differences between the 19X and the Gen 5s that Glock is making for the FBI.  There is no orange colored magazine follower and no flared magazine well.  Although I kind of like the slightly flared magazine well, neither of these omissions are deal breakers for me.

In addition to the specifications in the table above, the 19X includes the standard Gen 5 "Marksman" barrel with enhanced polygonal rifling and a reverse crown to increase accuracy.  Also, a slide stop is present on both the left and right side of the frame making this an ambidextrous handgun.

The finish on the 19X's slide is nPVD.  Standby while I attempt to explain what this is (I'm sure Doc Wesson will correct me if I get this wrong).  PVD stands for Physical Vapor Deposition. Basically this process vaporizes specific materials, such as titanium, chromium or zirconium.  The vaporized materials are then deposited into nitrogen gas to form a thin, but extremely durable, nitride coating.  The PVD coating increases wear resistance, reduces friction and improves the appearance.  I will say this, the slide has a metallic glint to it that definitely gives it a more lively look then the dull finish of most Cerakoted firearms.

One great addition to the 19X is that Glock does not equip it with their usual plastic, disposable sights.  These come with Glock's own night sights with are made from steel.  They are definitely easier to work with than Glock's normal and nominal sighting set-up.  

This Glock also comes with a lanyard loop as requested by most militaries of the world, several foreign police departments and should be a standard feature for dancing FBI agents (it you don't know what that refers to, Google is your friend).

Show How It Shoots!

For some reason all Glocks tend to shoot low and to the left for me.
I was fairly exasperated when the 19X rewarded me with this 10 shot group at 15 feet.  7 rounds low and to the left on the 3 inch bullseye and 3 rounds flying into the outer stratosphere. 

I was a little surprised when I rolled the target down to 21 feet and shot a much better 10 round group.  How could I possible shoot a better group at a further distance?  Maybe the pistol was sighted-in further out than 15 feet...that would make sense.

So then I pushed the target out to 30 feet and still shot a better group than what I shot at half the distance!  Perhaps I am getting more familiar with the pistol.

Here's the 60 foot target with 30 rounds.  These would all be very good torso hits.

So...just to satisfy my curiosity I rolled it back to 15 feet.
Yeah, I think after the first 10 rounds fired on target #1, the Glock 19X and I became better friends.

All in all, I think this is the best pistol Glock has produced in quite a while.  Better sights, great color and better than average metal coating, and a good trigger.  All this and one 17 round magazine and two 19 rounders! This could cause me to upgrade from my Gen 3 pistol.