Sunday, July 24, 2016

ZEV Technologies Defender Custom Glock 19



When the Glock 17 hit the market in 1986 I had nothing to do with it.  I had a Smith & Wesson model 10 revolver in .38 Special which was the most dependable and popular handgun in the 60's, 70's, and early 80's and I had my cool gun, James Bond's Walther PPK,  Lastly I had the gun that real men carried: the Colt Government model in .45 ACP.  At that point in time we worshiped at the altar of Jeff Cooper and no self respecting disciple would be caught dead using the ineffective 9mm cartridge nor  carry it in a double action pistol which Colonel Cooper decried as a solution to a problem that did not exist.  So I declined to shoot or even hold a Glock for the first eight years or so after it was introduced in the U.S.

Fast forward to the middle of the last decade and I had found that Glock's "reason for being" was that it was as dependable as the S&W Model 10.  You could bet your life on a Glock 19.  And, by this point in time Smith & Wesson had discontinued the model 10 which had been the standard bearer of dependability for the last 50 or so years. The Glock model 19 quickly filled the void left by the discontinued Model 10.

So why spend the money to customize a Glock 19?  Why would anyone take a weapon's platform that the maker and legion of it's fans deem to exemplify the personification of "Perfection" and give it a total make-over?  Simple.   The best gun to use is a base platform for customization is one that is already dependable.  This is what happened in the '70's and '80's when people took my beloved Smith and Wesson model 10 and turned it from this:
 Into this:

The venerable model 10 was turned into a race gun for competitive shooters and it all stems from the fact that it was already a good gun made better by talented artisans.  

Features

So, just like the S&W model 10; the Glock 19, as good as it is, can be improved upon. So let's see the features that Zev Technologies can bring to the table:

1. The trigger.  

The heart and soul of any pistol is it's trigger system.  The Zev Defender incorporates Zev's Duty Trigger with the red safety bar.  This trigger assembly reduces most of the take-up, eliminates over-travel and smooths and lightens the pull.  Zev produces 18 different trigger kits for the Glock 19.  Naturally, all of them are drop-in assemblies.

2. Front Sight.  
Zev uses a red fiber optic front sight which I find to be preferable to a white dot, a black front sight or even night sights.  My aging eyes cause me to see two front blades with every sight option except the red pipe.  During shooting conditions where there is any light available, the red fiber optic stands out and only shows me only one front sight.3. Rear Sight.  

3. Rear Sight
The rear sight is a perfect match for the red pipe up front.  The sight is serrated to break up any glare and being plain black my eyes are drawn to the front sight without any visual disruption from anything on the rear sight panel.

4. Extended Magazine Release.  
The magazine release is large and really extends from the grip.  The top of the release became the resting place for my right thumb and that set-up never caused me to accidentally depress the release and prematurely dump the magazine.  Needless to say it is easy to find and can be pressed without having to adjust your hand position.  Whether you are using this pistol for competition or self defense, magazine

5. Extended Slide Stop
The extended slide stop is a feature I can live without.  If you prefer to release the slide stop in order to charge the pistol you will be glad it's there.  If you sling shot the slide to load a round in the chamber you won't take much notice of the extended lever.

6. Grip Reduction and Stippling
Glock grips are known to be rather "blocky", large and the finger grooves can be a little tight.  Zev reduces and recontours the grip and shaves down and widens the finger grooves.  They then stipple the grip making it more tacky than either the standard Gen 3 or Gen 4 grip.  There is no needs to apply skateboard tape in order to get a firm grasp on the Zev grip.

7. Undercut Trigger Guard
Zev enlarges the trigger undercut of which I am particularly fond.  The standard undercut on the factory Glocks is too narrow and does not fit my middle finger.  This condition produces the malady of "Glock Knuckle" which causes bruising and the formation of calluses on and around the knuckle of the middle finger.  The Zev undercut is the remedy for Glock knuckle.

8. & 9. Rear and Front Slide Cuts
The Zev slide is cut with larger rear grasping grooves while the front grooves are wide, scalloped and extend from the front of the slide to the front of the chamber.  Regardless of whether you grasp the slide from the front or read of the slide you will obtain a positive hold.

10. Black DLC Slide Coating.  The slide is coated with Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) which gives it a 90 Rockwell Hardness Rating.  It is non-reflective and it one tough finish.

This entire package gives you a Glock pistol with superior ergonomics, a terrific trigger and sights that provide premium visibility.  Naturally the pistol shoots well too!

Targets

All shooting was done at the distances noted using a standing two-hand hold and Magtech 115 grain 9mm ammo.

21 feet:

40 feet:


50 feet:


75 feet:

The 40, 50, and 75 foot targets all show some rounds pounding the bullseye.  Obviously the pistol can shoot better than I can.  

The Zev Defender is a dream to shoot.  The good news is that all of Zev's parts are available for ala carte purchase by consumers.  You can choose the ones you want to upgrade your Glock or you can send them your pistol for a complete overhaul.  Regardless of which path you choose, your good 'ole Glock can be made even better.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Kahr CT9 9mm


CEO Justin Moon founded Kahr Arms in 1995.  Moon had obtained a concealed carry license since age 18 but at that a time he couldn't find any quality made compact and sub-compact handguns that met his needs.  His first offering was the K9 and K40, two compact stainless steel pistols chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W.  These pistols were met with critical acclaim.  They were originally offered with wrap around wood or rubber grips that provided a superb feel when grasped.  The stainless steel series of pistols eventually included a sub-compact sized handgun, the "MK", and a full-sized pistol dubbed the model "T".  Kahr next introduced the same line-up with polymer frames with the "P" series being the compact handguns; the "PM" series being the sub-compact pistol and the full-sized pistols were dubbed the "TP".

Kahr's pistols were renowned for their long but extremely smooth double action only trigger pulls and their low bore axis.  The pistol's design was innovative and is protected by some seven patents making them truly unique.  I think it's important to remember that Kahr was making compact and sub-compact single stack 9mm and .40 caliber pistols twenty years before Glock introduced the single stack model 43.  

The one thing that may have stymied Kahr's market shard was the price.  Handguns of this quality were costly to produce.  Kahr overcame this hurdle several years ago by introducing a line of value-priced, polymer framed pistols, one of which we are addressing in this review, the model CT9.  The standard, and more expensive version, of the CT9 is the TP 9.  These are Kahr's larger framed polymer pistols that have a capacity of 8 + 1 rounds.  The barrel length is just a shade less than 4 inches; the overall length of the pistol is 6.5 inches.  It is 5 inches in height, 0.90 inches wide and weighs in at 18.5 ounces.  Even as Kahr's full sized entry the TP9 and the CT9 are fairly compact and very slender.


In my estimation the differences between the full priced and value-priced line-up are minimal and outlined in the table below:

Specification
TP9
CT9
Comment
Front Sight
Drift Adjustable
Pinned
Who cares that the front sight is pinned?  Let me count the times I have drifted a front sight.  That would be “0”!  Being pinned in means less of a chance that the front sight will get knocked out of alignment.
Slide Stop
Machined
Metal Injected Molded
Metal injection molding is a cost saving measure.  Purists decry it but I have not experienced any problems with them nor have a seen any reports of their failure.
Barrel Rifling
Polygonal
Conventional
When was the last time you heard of a finely tuned 1911 with polygonal rifling?  If conventional rifling was good enough for John Browning, Les Baer, Bill Wilson and Ed Brown, it is good enough for me and I experienced no issues with accuracy.
Slide Markings
Engraved
Roll Marked
Again, who cares?  The slide markings have absolutely nothing to do with reliability or accuracy.
Slide Machining

Minimal
The only machining on the slide are the rear slide serrations. 

As mentioned earlier, the trigger pull is excellent and the pistol has been completely reliable with everything I put through it.

So let's see how the CT performed for me on the range:

All of the targets below were fired from a standing two-handed hold using Magtech 115 grain 9mm ammunition.


The above target shows 10 rounds fired at 21 feet.


This target shows 24 rounds fired at 35 feet.


The final target shows 24 rounds fired at 50 feet.

I only have two minor issues about the pistol.  The first is that the value-priced models only come with one magazine.  I am not a person who needs 8 mags for each handgun they carry but I generally like to have two spare magazines.  That's easily remedied as Kahr mags are easily found.  My second issue is the width of the pistol.  At 0.90 inches thick it feels too slender for my fat hand.  I think this may account for some of my fliers at 35 and 50 feet.  However, I also realize two things; first is that all of the hits on those three targets would have been fatal (the accuracy was not bad).  Secondly is the realization that carry pistols require a compromise between what one would prefer in terms of handgun capacity in a size that is large enough to shoot well versus versus a handgun which is concealable.   Trust me, the CT9 is much easier to conceal than a 15 round pistol.


The good news is that, while I consider the differences in features to be minimal the difference is not.  The MSRP for the CT 9 is 30% less than the MSRP for the TP 9.


Caliber
9mm
Capacity
8 + 1
Operation
Trigger Cocking Double Action Only
Barrel
3.965 Inches
Overall Length
6.5 Inches
Height
5.08 Inches
Weight
18.5 Ounces
Width
0.90 Inches
Frame
Polymer
Slide
Matte Stainless Steel