Monday, January 26, 2015

Ruger GP100 Wiley Clapp TALO Edition .357 Magnum

Ruger introduced the GP100 in the mid 1980's as a replacement for their Security Six/Police Service Six. The revolvers they replaced were built in the traditional Ruger "tough-as-nails" style.  While they were robust enough they came standard with rather small grips which required after-maket replacement to make them easier and more accurate to shoot.  The GP100 also went head to head with Smith & Wesson's "L" framed models, most notably the model 586 and 686.  The standard GP100 was produced in the tried and true .357 magnum chambering along with a very deep blue-black finish.  These were revolvers which were not only tough but impressively good looking.

The Wiley Clapp GP100 was a collaboration between veteran police officer and gun writer Wiley Clapp, Ruger and TALO a distributor that specializes in limited edition firearms.  This bullish revolver is produced in matte stainless steel with low mount Novak fixed rear sights and Novak green fiber optic sights up front.
These sights are perfect for people such as myself who suffer from aging eyes.  Lately when I stare down a front sight I frequent see two of them except firearms with a fiber optic front sight.  This sight arrangement is a life saver for those of us who are getting older.

As for other specifications the revolver has my favorite barrel length of 3 inches which makes it small enough to carry easily and large enough to shoot well.

The WC GP100 has an overall length of 8.5 inches, is affixed with black rubber grips with beautiful textured rosewood inserts and weighs 36 oz.  This is not a lightweight polymer revolver.  This baby is all stainless steel and weighs enough to make .38 Special +Ps a cream puff to shoot while making full powered .357 Magnums very manageable.

I found that this revolver likes the heavier bullets as shown on the targets below which were shot with Remington 158 grain lead hollow point .38 +P rounds  and Speer 158 grain Gold Dot Hollow Point .357 Magnum ammunition.

Here are three targets shot with the Remington .38 +Ps at 21, 30 and 35 feet.

And here is the Speer Gold Dot Hollow Point 158 grain .357 Magnum ammo shot at 21 feet.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ruger LC9s in 9mm and the LCR in .22 Long Rifle

It wasn't all that long ago that Ruger wasn't really interested in producing handguns for defensive concealed carry.  Those days are over and began with Ruger's entry into the pocket pistol realm with their .380 ACP caliber model LCP.  This has since become staple in their line-up and it's popularity has yet to wane.

Today we're going to take a closer look at two more defensive handgun entries by Ruger; the LC9s in 9mm and the LCR revolver in .22 Long Rifle.

Let's address the elephant in the room first: am I out of my mind calling the .22 caliber LCR a defensive handgun?  Here's my response:

1.  I had my choice in shooting the LCR in .38 Special and .22 LR.  There have been a multitude of reviews on the internet and in the print media of the .38 Special LCR so I wanted to try something different.

2.  Although I would not recommend a .22 LR as a defensive handgun it is successfully used for that purpose many times each year.  Sometimes it's employed in a defensive capacity because the owner can't afford the more expensive centerfire ammunition, sometimes it's employed because the owner has an injury or other ailment that prevents them from using a larger caliber and sometimes it's employed in a self defense scenario because it was what the owner had with them when they came under attack.

Let's start by examining what Ruger gives you with this little revolver. You get a Hogue Tamer synthetic grip which may just be the best small revolver grip you'll find on the market.  It may be a little much on a handgun chambered for the low recoil .22 Long Rifle cartridge but it's a big help on the LCRs chambered for centerfire ammunition.  It's still a benefit in the .22 revolver due to the fact that it is a hand-filling grip that keeps the little revolver well positioned in your hand.  It will not move around when you pull the trigger like a handgun with a smaller grip.  While mentioning the trigger, Ruger designed a patented friction reducing cam for their LCR line-up.  The double action pull on this specimen measured a very smooth 11.6 pounds. 

My only complaint on this LCR is that the front sight is plain black.  It gets very fuzzy on my aging eyes and I could use a big fiber optic red pipe up front.  

As for the rest of the specifications, the barrel is 1.875 inches in length, the overall length is 6.50 inches and the height is 4.5 inches.  It weighs a mere 14.9 ounces meaning it weighs next to nothing.  The MSRP is $545.00 but you should be able to find it for much less that than.

The revolver is very easy and fun to shoot.  Below are two targets shot at 21 and 30 feet.

Please keep in perspective that these targets are only 3 inches in diameter.  That's pretty good accuracy for a barrel length of less than 2 inches.

Next up is the LC9s.

The original Ruger LC9 was a hammer fired pistol with a rather dismal trigger pull.  This past year Ruger redesigned the pistol with a striker-fired system and the trigger pull was vastly improved.  This striker-fired pistol is the model LC9s.  Ruger has also recently produced the LC9s Pro model which is the same as the LC9s but without the manual safety on the left side of the frame.

The LC9 series of pistols are manufactured with a glass-filled nylon frame and a steel slide and barrel.  It has a barrel length of 3.12 inches, an overall length of 6 inches, a height of 4.5 inches, a width of 0.90 inches and a weight of 17.2 ounces.  All of this makes it an easy-carrying pocket pistol.  You get a capacity of 7 rounds in the magazine plus one in the chamber.

A much appreciated bonus are sights that are actually useful. This is not always the case on pocket guns.
The rear sight can be drifted right or left for horizontal adjustments. The MSRP on the LC9s is $545.00 but again you should be able to find it on your dealer's shelf for less.

This pistol is easy to carry and easy to shoot as you can see from the targets below.  The top target was shot at 21 feet and the bottom was shot at 35 feet.
Again, these targets are 3 inches in diameter and the accuracy in the LC9s will provide you the ability to adjust the attitude of any miscreants who misidentify you as a helpless target.

Ruger has many other offering for defensive carry and you can rely on the Ruger name for quality, reliability and value.  Now, go get one!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ruger LCRx 3 Inch Barrel

The Ruger LCR format has been around for several years and had been a hit with those looking for a feather-weight revolver for self defense or a great packing handgun for the trail.  Up until this past year the LCR line-up have all been produced with a 1.875 inch barrel and chambered in .22 LR, .22 Magnum, .38 Special +P and .357 Magnum.  In the later portion of last year their new LCRx with a 3 inch barrel began hitting dealer's shelves.  For those wondering about the difference between the LCR and the LCRx it is all in the hammer, or lack thereof.  The original LCR  was produced with a concealed hammer while the LCRx was manufactured with an exposed hammer that allows the shooter to manually cock the hammer and fire the revolver in single-action mode.
The first thing I noticed when I saw this LCRx in the display case were the rubber stocks.  Their appearance reminded me of Bill Jordan's Trooper stocks.
Bill Jordan Trooper Stocks

Regardless of whether the resemblance is intentional or coincidental the result is greatly appreciated by the shooter.  A .38 Special +P can really bark out of a light-weight revolver.  But thanks to the Jordan-esque Hogue Tamer grips the bark has no bite.  These grips fill my hand and provide a proper reach to the trigger.  These may be the best out-of-the box revolver grips I have ever handled.  As the name-sake of the grips implies the recoil is greatly tamed.  
The second think I noticed when handling the LCRx was the weight.  At 15.7 ounces it weighs next-to-nothing.  The weight and the Hogue Tamer grips contribute greatly to the appeal of this revolver.  The shooting public is always looking for a compromise between light weight hardware and recoil management.  The 3 inch LCRx provides this compromise perhaps better than any other revolver on the market today.
The sights on the LCRx consist of a replaceable, pinned front sight with an adjustable rear blade sight.
Adjustable rear sights are not common on small framed 5 shot revolvers.  This is a nice touch as it allows the shooter to fine-tune the sights to match whatever load the shooter prefers.
Other specifications for the revolver are height of 5.80 inches, a length of 7.50 inches and a width of 1.28 inches.  The LCR series of revolvers also contains a patented cam that reduces friction and stacking when the revolver is fired in the double action mode.  The patented cam also practically eliminates "stacking" at the end of the trigger pull giving the shooter one continuous, smooth trigger pull.  The double action trigger pull on my revolver came in at 10.11 pounds while the single action was a mere 6.15 pounds.
Once of the features that I have always liked on Ruger's double action revolvers is their push-button cylinder release.  I have always preferred this to the forward sliding cylinder release on Smith & Wesson's revolvers as I find the push button on the Ruger to be very precise and intuitive to use.
In terms of accuracy, the LCRx gives proper defensive accuracy as shown in the 21 foot and 35 foot targets shown below:

The 15 rounds shown above and fired at 21 feet all hit center mass and would have quickly ended the attack.

The 10 rounds shown above and fired at 35 feet again would have provided the accuracy and punch needed to stop an aggressor.
One of the challenges to carrying the LCRx 3 inch barreled model is finding a proper holster for it.  The tall rib on the top strap and high profile of the sights do not allow this revolver to fit into holsters designed for the SP101 or similar small framed revolvers.  After much trial and error I found this DeSantis holster for a Smith and Wesson "L" frame revolver to fit quite nicely.

I prefer revolvers with 3 inch barrels as I find they provide a better balance and offer a little more accuracy than their 2 inch barreled counterparts.  
If you're looking for an easy-to-pack revolver that is smaller than a service-sized handgun but still large enough to shoot well then you need look no further than the Ruger LCRx with the three inch barrel.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Christmas Ideas for the Shooter

Praetorian 2 gloves from 5.11 $54.99

Yellowknife mits with removable liner from Duluth Trading Company $99.00

Hornady Rapid Safe $249.00

Barksa combination safe $24.99 at Amazon

Complete cleaning kit including mat $49.99 at Russell's for Men.

Irish Blackthorn Walking Stick from Russell's for Men $110.00

Grant Cuningham's Picks:

Quark Tactical QT2A-X flashlight  $78.00 from $34.49  Priced by Course  $15.24 training, accessories, matches and more!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Yet Another Kimber, The Pro Carry II in 9mm

1911's come in a diverse mix.  There are some of superb quality with prices ranging from $3,000.00 to $4,000.00 and up.  If you have the money you can't go wrong with any of them.  There are a few at the opposite end of the price range for a few hundred dollars to around six hundred dollars.  Some of them are OK, some make good project guns if you want to spend more money on upgrades and some of the value priced 1911s are not worth the money, time or effort you would need to make them reliable and shoot to point of aim.  

This is where Kimber comes in.  Kimber's models start around $800.00 and level off just under three thousand.  They come with most everything you will need so any additions would be minimal.  The model being reviewed here is the Kimber Pro Carry II in 9mm.  The price was just a few dollars over $800.00 so this is one of Kimber's entry level pistols.  The Pro Carry II has a matte black aluminum frame with a steel slide and  4 inch match grade barrel.  It has a height of 5.25 inches, a length of 7.7 inches, and a width of 1.28 inches.  It weighs in at 28 ounces empty, has a set of rubber double diamond grips and a trigger pull between four to five pounds.  The sights are fixed Novak style low profile in plain black both front and back and this is where I decided to make a change.  
I asked the gunsmith at Bill's Gun Shop in Robbinsdale, MN to put a red fiber optic sight up front.

And I asked him to make that red pipe as fat as he could so my aging eyes couldn't miss it.  
I opted to leave the rear sight as it was, just black and serrated.  I have found that I pick up the front sight quicker if there are no distracting dots on the rear sight.  Lining up three dots is no more accurate for me than having just one dot to put on target. It is certainly a smidgen faster to acquire the proper sight picture if you are not trying to put three dots in a row.

The trigger and hammer are of the skeleton variety.
This fine but if they we solid it would not have been a deal breaker for me.  The trigger itself is long which I prefer as it allows for better placement of my trigger finger.  Those with smaller hands however may want to replace it with a shorter trigger.  The Pro Carry II is also devoid of a "memory bump" at the bottom of the beavertail grip safety.  The "memory bump" has become very fashionable on 1911's and is designed to allow more positive contact with the grip safety ensuring proper engagement so that the pistol will fire when gripped.  I am fine with no "member bump" on the pistol as I have never had a problem properly depressing the grip safety when I grip the pistol.

Let's see how she shot!

I first loaded up five rounds and pushed the target out to a scant 15 feet to get acquainted with the pistol.
These were the first five rounds out of the box and with four of the five touching any further "getting acquainted" time was not necessary.

The targets were then pushed out to 21 feet with the following results:

The target was then moved to 30 feet:

And then to 35 feet:

And finally we rolled the target out of 75 feet:

The pistol shot very well and is probably the second most accurate 9mm in my safe.  The Kimber's weight of 28 ounces tends to negate most of the felt recoil making the Pro Carry II a great pistol for a newer 1911 shooter or one who is more prone to recoil sensitivity.  The overall accuracy and low recoil makes the Pro Carry II one satisfying pistol to shoot and the lower priced 9mm ammunition allows you to make the fun last a little longer!

Overall Kimber makes a great 1911 in the moderate price range.  You don't need to spend thousands to get a great 1911.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kimber Sapphire Ultra Carry 9mm

Oh, how I love the Kimber brand of 1911s.  I hear a lot of flack directed their way via the inter web and mostly voiced by people who have never shot one and a few who put a couple of rounds through a friend's pistol.  I have never had a problem with Kimber 1911s and have owned more than I can remember.

Kimber's lower priced models begin around $800 and those prices escalate to around $2,000 for their pistols with greater handcrafted customization.  The Sapphire is about $1600.00 therefore it is a very Un-Average Joe type pistol, but everyone deserves a BBQ, Sunday go-to-meeting pistol.

I apologize for not having photos that are up to my expectation but the finish on this pistol is so reflective that every photo I took had a reflection of me, my camera, or the lights in my light box lights in them.  The ones chosen have the least amount reflected items in them.

So let's delve into the specifications of the Sapphire pistol.  The Sapphire is basically a special edition of the Kimber Aegis pistol.  It's 6.8 inches in length with a 3 inch barrel.  It's 4.75 inches in height with a width of 1.15 inches and a weight of 25 ounces.  There's checkering on the front strap of the aluminum frame, tactical wedge night sights on top and blue/black G-10 thin grips.  
The butt of the grip has been slightly rounded to reduce the chance of the pistol printing through or hanging up on your cover garment.

The stainless steel slide, safety levers, hammer, and beavertail grip safety all sport a high polish blue Physical Vapor Deposition  (PVD) coating with scroll engraved boarders.  Wikipedia tells us that "Physical Vapor Deposition describes a variety of vacuum deposition methods used to deposit thin fils by the condensation of a vaporized form of the desired film material on various workpiece surfaces.  The coating method involves purely physical processes such has high-temperature vacuum evaporate with subsequent condensation, or plasma sputter bombardment rather than involving a chemical reaction at the surface to be coated as in chemical vapor deposition.  PVD coatings are sometimes harder and more corrosion resistant than coatings applied by the electroplating process. Most coatings have high temperature and good impact strength, excellent abrasion resistance and are so durable that protective topcoats are almost never necessary."

The PVD process is used on semiconductors, precision cutting tools, precision watches, automobile bumpers, surgical equipment and firearms.

The other thing the coating does is round off edges.  This is no problem on the magazine release button but your thumb can slip off the the slide release, safety and the slide serrations.  But let's face it, this pistol is a safe queen, not an everyday carry piece.

However, it does shoot.  Here are two targets at 21 feet from two different shooting sessions"
The ammunition used in all of the shooting was MagTech 115 grain full-metal jacket.

Here's 10 rounds fired from 30 feet.

24 rounds fired at 35 feet.

And 50 rounds fired at 50 feet.

This is a good pistol but has limited appeal.  Some will not like the finish and it is difficult to keep it fingerprint free.  Some don't like 3 inch 1911's which is a category I usually fall into.  Some will feel that a 1911 chambered in anything other than .45 ACP is sacrilege which is a category I don't fall into.  And for most the price tag is out of budgetary range.  But there will be some, like me, who see this pistol as a work of art.