Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review, 2012 Predictions, and My Brief Wish List for the New Year

Trends in 2011

Small kept getting smaller.  A few short years ago the trend was to make a .380 pistol in the size of a .25 ACP handgun.  Kel-tech did it followed by Ruger, Magnum Research, Taurus, Diamondback and others. 2011 saw gun makes try to take this one step further and shrink the 9mm pistol down to true pocket pistol size.  Kimber came out with the Solo which did not work for me even though the pistol went back to the factory a couple of time.  

I get people who write me telling me that their Solo works just fine but I still get just as many who contact me and say that their Solo doesn’t work.  On the one hand I feel like a cheating husband writing this because I love Kimber’s 1911 pistols, but on the other hand I kind of feel like they are the beloved wife that doesn’t listen when you have a real problem.  What I find amazing is that the mainstream firearms press ignores the fact that a good deal of the people who purchased a Solo are reporting problems that can’t seem to be fixed.  It would be great it they reported on this, Kimber acknowledged it, and the magazines later gave us the "all clear" when the issues were corrected.  I would love to have one of these but I can't see spending that much money to risk getting one that doesn't work.  Although it doesn’t take much to understand that the magazine writers and editors reluctance is probably based upon the fact that Kimber is a prime advertiser in most gun magazines buying prime real estate on either the back or inside front cover in most magazines.  Another thing that baffles me is the number of gun magazine writers who talk about the similarities between the Solo and the 1911.  What?  It's striker-fired and has a hinged trigger...those are pretty major differences from the 1911.    

Sub-compact pocket 9mm’s were successfully fielded by Diamondback with their DB9, Ruger and their LC9, Beretta’s Nano, and SIG’s P290.

Smith & Wesson continued their string of coming late to the party (they followed Ruger into the polymer small-framed revolver market and just as every other manufacturer was designing a pocket 9mm Smith & Wesson brings out their pocket .380).   Six years after Taurus introduced their .410/45 Colt revolver, which continues to be the sales leader for Taurus, Smith realized that it wasn’t going to be just a passing fad, jumped on the bandwagon and introduced their near look-a-like revolver calling it the Governor.  
The median price on Guns America for the Judge is $450 while the Governor is averaging $664.  I know that the Governor will also take the .45 ACP but I am not sure that feature will drive people away from the established Taurus Judge so that they can spend an extra $214 on the Governor.


Smith & Wesson has gone from being a leader in the firearms industry to a follower.  My suggestion?  They should talk to their customers and find out what they want.   Ruger listened and came out with the compact SR9C.  SIG listened and came out with the P238 which appealed to the customer base that wanted a small pocket .380 and wanted one with "class".

2012

Here’s what my crystal ball tells me is in store for 2012.   While the 100 year anniversary of the 1911 is over this will not stop Kimber, Springfield, Wilson, and NightHawk from introducing new pistols to excite the 1911 shooter.


The rush to miniaturize will continue as manufacturers push the point of diminishing returns and try to stuff .40 caliber cartridges in pistols whose size was once reserved for .25 or .32 ACP handguns.  I am eagerly awaiting to see what is going to be done to produce the pocket .45.   The opening salvo had been fired by Heizer Defense with their Double Tap 2 shot .45 ACP pistol.

Taurus and Kel-Tec will continue to introduce firearms that only the mainstream gun writers will ever see.  Has anyone seen the Taurus DT Hybrid or DT Integral?

Has anyone seen the Taurus 9mm Carbine?


Kel-Tech probably holds the record for introducing firearms at the SHOT show that no one will ever see.  Maybe we should put the some of the Kel-Tec firearms on milk cartons and amber alerts so find out if anyone has ever seen the PMR .22 Magnum, 

the KSG Shotgun, 

The SU 22 Carbine 

or the RFB (Rifle, Front Ejecting Bullpup) in 7.62MM Nato?


And where are the Boberg 9mm pistols that used to be all the buzz when other gun companies were still trying to figure out who could make a small .380?  

My fear is that Boberg, which is a very intelligent design, will be left behind as customers can actually find the DB 9mm and Ruger LC9’s.


And I eagerly await Charter Arms 9mm and .45 ACP revolvers.  Oh, please let the .45 ACP have a three inch barrel!  Please!  Please!

My Want List

For any manufacturer who cares here’s my wish list:

I would like for Kimber to get the Solo to work and to actually enlarge it to the size of the Colt Pocket Hammerless 
(Can you make me one of these in a 9mm?)

and I would like for Glock to make a single stack 9mm on both the compact and baby frames but I want them to start with a fresh sheet of paper and really re-design the frames around the size of the cartridge.  I want thinner.  And I would also like them with a stainless slide treated with Tennifer but otherwise left the color of the bare steel.

So, there you have it; my take on 2011, my predictions for 2012, and my wishes for 2012.  I wish all of you a healthy and prosperous new year.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the thinner Glock in a single stack of some kind. One of my wishes is that Glock would make the G36 a little larger (not thicker) single stack with 7 or 8 rds.

You are right on with the Kimber issues. They buy a load of high dollar advertising. Its a rare gun rag that doesn't have Kimber on the slick, thick, and shiny back cover which may also undoubtedy translate into higher gun prices and few if any less than favorable gun reviews. It wouldn't surprise me if that advertising adds 15 or 20 per cent to the price of their guns or maybe more.

Matt L. DeTectre

Sport Pilot said...

I'd be more than intrested in a single stack, slim 9x19 Glock. As to the Kimber SOLO, it look's good and feel's good in hand but...
The KelTec PMR 30 22 Mag pistol's are avalable but seem to be pre-sold before they hit the shelve's. As to the other KT products I agree, where are they?

Al said...

A great review and lots to look forward to this New Year- Thank's for your efforts.

Bluegoose59 said...

My favorite small 9mm is the S&W "Chief's Special", model CSD9, a DAO/single-stack that is reliable and remarkably accurate for its size. It'll also accept the one-round-longer mags from the model 39. I honestly forget I'm carrying the CSD9. Naturally, it's no longer made.

Anonymous said...

FYI for anyone seriously interested in some of the hard to find listed above. Just looked and there are five PMR's and five KSG's listed on Gunbroker.com. There is also one Boberg listed. Appears all of them are going for premium prices although none have been on my shopping list so I don't know what a "good" price is. Some guns are auctions with a buy now provision and some are just auctions.

Matt L. DeTectre

Anonymous said...

CORRECTION TO MY LAST COMMENT: There are 23 listings on Gunbroker.com for the KSG shotgun.

Matt L. DeTectre

Anonymous said...

Why no mention of the Kel-Tec PF-9?

okto said...

Tenifer's black, son. Chemically, inalterably black.

Average Joe said...

OKTO,

First of all you don't know me well enough to call me "son". Second of all you are wrong. Tenifer is a metal treatment that adds no color to the metal, it is not a finish. Technically speaking Tenifer is the trademark name for the ferritic nitrocarburizing case hardening process that diffuses nitrogen and carbon into the barrels and slides on Glock pistols. It produces a 64 Rockwell C Hardness rating and is 99.9% salt water corrosion resistant (not corrosion proof...you can still rust your Tenifer treated Glock). It is the second to last process that the slides and barrels go through before they are finished. The final stage of production is finishing the metal with black Parkerizing. This is why you will see police trade-ins where the black Parkerizing is nearly worn off from years of holster friction but there is no sign of rust. It is also the reason that some Glocksters strip the Parkerizing off their slides to create a two tone look without having to worry about the risk of casual rusting because the Tenifer is in the metal, not on top of it.

wasiech said...

Total agreement about the Solo. I've watch Kimber cut the ammo list to nothing and the gun magazines hoot how good their big advertiser is.

My hope is the Sig P938 may be the next gun I buy. However, this time I'll give it 6 months plus before getting serious.

Arne Bpberg said...

As a small firearms manufacturer, we have no choice but to be "left behind" in sales since we can only make a small quantity of guns per month, having started our shipments in Sept 2011. We are not as big as the other guys, but hope that people getting guns they can actually buy now will some day upgrade to more power and half the felt recoil of the XR9 pistols. The other gun companies had to start somewhere too.

Average Joe said...

Arne,

I hope you do Arne and I hope to someday see one, shoot it, and write about it. The business climate that the larger companies started in was very different than today's and it not very favorable to small businesses. I hope you make it.