Most Accurate 9mm Pistol out of the Box

There are many great 9mm pistols of the past and present out on the market. But, which ones are really accurate right out of the box without any customization.

We’ll be straight up with you. We did not test fire all the 9mm pistols (except a few) from the list below. The following sentiments were collected from shooters in various gun community.
We also understand these sentiments are subjective and not objective (scientific). You can take our suggestions of the most accurate 9mm pistols with a grain of salt.

As most of you all know the “Indian” is always the variable factor that has to do with accuracy and not the “arrow”. From the groups that have shot these 9mm pistols are the Joe average with maybe some military or law enforcement background. None of these shooters are newbies or of elite status like a Rob Leatham. Rob can pick up just about any pistol and be accurate with it.
As we stated earlier these reviews are not true gun benchmark from Smith&Wesson or Sig Sauer. These perspective are not from a defensive or combat shooter stand point either, just from the plinker/recreational shooter. In retrospect, if these were competitive shooters doing this accuracy test. Our list of 9mm pistols could be different or more 9mm’s added to this list.

The following are two 9mm pistol lists, the first is from shooters who just went out and shot targets without any purpose just on a “feel and where the bullet hits on target”.
The second group are the same type of shooters just different person. This group actually thought of ways to reduce human error as much as possible. For example shots were fired from a hand rest or sandbags. There were no warm-up firing, all shooting was done cold from the line. Atlanta Arms 115 grain 9mm FMJ match bullets were used. Shots were fired from 12 and 25 yards. Another thing to note, some pistols had optic sights mounted. This can affect accuracy as you find out later in the result section.
The course of fire was 5 shots at the 12 yard line and three 5-shot groups from the 25 yard.

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After the smoke had cleared, the grouping is looked at to determine the accuracy of the pistol. For example, 1 inch groupings from 12 yards.
Groupings from 12 Yds
Groupings from 25 yds

Here is the first list of most accurate 9mm pistol out of the box:
  • Sig Sauer P226X5
    Single action trigger, adjustable, steel barrel
  • Glock34
    Long barrel
  • Swiss AT 84 S
    Considered a CZ75 clone but many shooters feel this is more accurate.
  • Browning Hi-Power 9mm
    The name and reputation speaks for itself.
  • Glock17
    Straight out of the box accurate
  • Sig Sauer P210
    See the results from the test below.
  • Beretta APX
    This shouldn’t have surprised you.
These 9mm pistol are really accurate, reliable and available in most local gun stores.

In the second list some of the 9mm’s are not your regular pistol that you’d see at the local gun store, they are quality target pistols for competition shooting. I think the rationale was to see how the regular pistols and higher end target pistol compares.
S&W Performance Center 5906 PPC 9mm
Sig Arms P210-5 Heavy Frame 9mm
Sig Sauer P210 Legend Target 9mm
Sig Sauer P226S X-Five Enhanced Classic 9mm
CZ 75 Tactical Sport 9mm
Pardini GT45-II 9mm
Beretta 92 Combat 9mm
Glock 17L 9mm (3rd gen)

Based on the best group sizes, nearly all of the pistols performed well. Nearly every single pistol was capable of a group of less than 2 inches at 25 yards and less than 1 inch at 35 feet (11.7 yards). Despite the good performance, there was a clear stand out winner, the X-Five.
The X-Five shot the overall smallest group at 25 yards as well as the overall smallest average group at 25 yards and at 35 feet. This consistency, however, was likely driven by the unfair advantage of the Aimpoint T-2 red dot sight. Other pistols had excellent groups but could not get the consistency. This variability in the other pistol groups seemed highly affected by the type of iron sights particularly those used in the older pistols. Regardless of the unfair advantage, the X-Five turned in tiny group after tiny group including that 25 yard group of well under an inch.

The runner up was the S&W PPC9 6 inch. With that long sight radius, that hand built Performance Center fit, Briley bushing and excellent single stage trigger, the PPC9 excelled at accuracy. Its consistency nearly won the day. It may have been a closer race if we had mounted a red dot to the PPC9 instead of the irons.

The performance bargain was the CZ75 Tactical Sport. The TS ran competitively with pistols costing many multiples of its price and even beat many pistols costing far more. The sight radius, light trigger and weight make this a joy to shoot. For the shooter on a budget, the TS is an outstanding choice.

As noted earlier, in a better test, they would have shot three to five 10-shot groups at each range with each pistol for more statistically significant results. They couldn’t do so due to time, fatigue and other human constraints.

They began this test by trying to ascertain the most accurate pistols in this group test of high quality target pistols. They did our best to remove the human factor by shooting over support. Despite their best efforts, they ended up constrained by a very human factor: our vision and our ability to see each respective set of sights.

We hope this test was in some way helpful, but we stress that all these results should be taken with a grain of salt. This is a sample set of one of each pistol with one type of ammunition and one set of shooters. Your results may vary.

Best 25 Yard Groups
Sig Sauer X-Five Classic w Aimpoint T-2 0.893
CZ 75 Tactical Sport 1.029 inches
S&W 3566 1.381 “
Sig Arms P210-5 HF 1.622 “
S&W 5906 PPC9 6″ 1.628 “
Pardini GT45-II 1.796 “
Sig Sauer P210 Legend Target 1.829 “
Glock 17L Gen 3 2.155
Beretta 92 Combat 3.422

Best 12 Yard Groups
S&W 5906 PPC9 6″ 0.421 inches
Sig Sauer X-Five Classic with Aimpoint T-2 0.441 “
Glock 17L Gen 3 0.63 “
CZ 75 Tactical Sport 0.719 “
Sig Arms P210-5 HF 0.789 “
S&W 3566 0.866 “
Glock 17L Gen 3 0.88 “
Pardini GT45-II 0.906 “
Sig Sauer P210 Legend Target 1.002″
Beretta 92 Combat 1.181″

Other Pistol Notes
S&W 5906 PPC9 6″ By virtue of consistency the PPC9 came in second place in our accuracy test. It did not have the overall second smallest 25 yard group at 1.63 inches but it did have the overall second smallest average 25 yard group at 1.92 inches.
In addition the PPC9 has the overall smallest 35 foot group of 0.42 inches and the overall third smallest average group size at 35 feet of 0.89 inches. The 35 foot average was thrown off by a single bad group of 1.6 inches.
Sig Sauer P210 Legend Target The P210 Legend was very consistent. The best 25 yard group was a poor 1.83 inches but the average 25 yard group was a third best 2.02 inches.
The best 35 foot group was 1.00 inches and the average 35 foot group was 1.25 inches.
These were solid but not exceptional results from the German P210 and it appears that the Swiss P210 might have a slight edge on it based on best groups.
Sig Sauer P226S X-Five Enhanced Classic The X-Five had the unfair advantage of the Aimpoint T-2 red dot sight. This was reflected in the sheer consistency of group after group. We did not have the broader swings in group size at 25 yards that we had with other pistols as we settled into each new set of iron sights.

The X-Five achieved stunning accuracy. The smallest 5-shot group at 25 yards was 0.89 inches and the average 25 yard group (average of five groups) was a best overall 1.31 inches. These were both the smallest overall. The X5 also achieved the overall second smallest 35 foot 5 shot group of 0.44 inches and smallest 35 foot average group of 0.54 inches.
Even the worst groups were excellent. The worst 35 foot group was 0.65 inches and the worst 25 yard group was 1.63 inches.
The X-Five was the clear winner coming in first in nearly every metric, but we should have either equipped the other pistols with red dot sights or removed the red dot sights from the X-Five to keep the competition fair.
CZ 75 Tactical Sport The CZ Tactical Sport was the clear price to performance ratio winner.
It had a second best 25 yard group of 1.03 inches but was let down by a 2.30 inch average 25 yard group. The other four groups ranged from 2 to 3 inches.
It also had a 35 foot group of 0.72 inches and the second best average 35 foot group of 0.89 inches.
Although it did not outright win, the CZ kept up with pistols costing many times as much.

The Wonderly Webley .455

The only recoil-cancelling pistol made, this first successful British automatic may be largely forgotten today given the rise of the M1911, but it sported notable features for its time.

Story and Photos by Jim Dickson

Recoil and muzzle bounce are a fact of life for pistol shooters firing powerful calibers. The time taken to recover from that muzzle bounce is the biggest limiting factor on accurate rapidfire. Only one pistol has successfully engaged this problem and eliminated it: the Webley & Scott .455 automatic pistol. It accomplishes this miracle with its unique locking system. More on that later, but rapidfire is furthered by perhaps the best trigger pull ever put into a military pistol. Sights are big and easily acquired under combat conditions. Quality, fit and finish are up to the best of the pre-World War I commercial standards.
Another unique feature of this gun is the use of a powerful V leaf spring for the recoil spring, which offers significant advantages over a coil spring. The leaf spring can stay compressed or flexed indefinitely without losing strength, like a coil spring will. A properly made and polished leaf spring is also much less likely to break than a coil spring. Webley & Scott also made Best Quality double guns and no one makes a better leaf spring than the gun trade in the British Isles. Best Quality doubles have typically shot five to 15 million rounds and been as good as new. You won’t do that with coil springs without frequent replacements.

Right and left side views of the M1913. Its origins trace back to the Mars Automatic Pistol, which was rejected by British military testers because “No one who fired once with the pistol wished to shoot it again,” according to the book Tools of War: History of Weapons in Early Modern Times.
Leaf springs in American-produced guns typically have not been as well designed or made as these, so coil springs got the better reputation on this side of the pond.
Some folks said that the fact that the grip covers the recoil spring is a drawback because if the hard rubber pinch the fire out of your hand. I can find no record of this ever happening, though, and had it been a problem, the simple addition of a steel backing plate to the grip would have solved this.
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There is a grip safety but no manual safety, as the English were aware of the problem of people being killed because they did not remember to take the safety off under the stress of a life-or-death situation. With the grip safety, or “back safe” as Webley called it, the gun was as safe to carry as a Webley revolver; unlike the revolver, however, it could be safely carried cocked.

The gun looks awkward, with its nearly 90-degree grip angle, but it was designed for British officers who all had boxing as part of their training. Punch the gun at the target and the sights seem to align themselves. The grip is small enough around for average-size hands but long enough for giant hands. It is a very easy pistol to hit with.
This is a full-size military pistol meant for open carry, but it is still not overly large. It weighs 39 ounces and is 81/2 inches long, of which 5 inches is the barrel.
Another unique feature of this gun is the two-position magazine. Drop the magazine down to the second magazine catch hole and the pistol becomes an effective single-shot. The barrel stays open after the last shot, so you just drop a new cartridge into the chamber and hit the slide release. If the enemy is at close-quarters with you and counting your shots, he may expose himself when he thinks you must change magazines. Instead, you just hit the magazine release, shove the magazine all the way up in the grip, and hit the slide release. This takes significantly less time than the fastest magazine change and there are times that this can become a big advantage. The magazine holds seven shots and is made of heavy 20-gauge steel.

Unless you have boxes of Kynoch commercial ammo from the 1950s on hand, bullets for the M1913 are tough to come by today, but there’s a work-around with .45 auto rim casings, the author says.
THE DESIGN IS extremely simple with heavy massive parts that do not fail and are few in number. The firing sequence begins when the grip safety is depressed by picking up the gun. This makes the sear lever touch the trigger lever so that when the trigger is pulled, the trigger lever forces the sear lever to rotate out of its notch in the hammer so that the hammer can fall on the firing pin, discharging the weapon. The barrel and slide are locked together at the moment of firing by a locking shoulder on top of the barrel that engages the slide. As the barrel and slide move to the rear under the force of the recoil, the barrel is forced down its two diagonal grooves on each side of the barrel, unlocking the barrel from the slide, while the downward unlocking motion cancels out the upward flip of the muzzle. This also transmits the remaining recoil into the almost 90-degree angle of the grip, where it is absorbed unnoticed straight into the shooter’s arm without any tendency to bounce the gun in recoil, so the gun remains steady when fired. Thus the remaining shots can be accurately fired at a much faster rate than with any other pistol.

A barrel for the M1913 shows the locking step on top and the diagonal slide rails for unlocking that cancel out the upward flip of the barrel as they move down.
The barrel strikes its stop in the receiver, enabling the slide to continue to the rear without it, while the big top-mounted extractor pulls the cartridge back out of the chamber until the ejector hits it and sends it flying. The powerful V spring is attached to a slide bar and it now slaps everything forward back into battery.
There is a very positive disconnector by which the barrel forces the trigger lever away from the sear lever when the barrel is unlocked, thus preventing the gun from being fired unless the barrel is locked into battery.
Field-stripping is extremely easy, foolproof and fast. This feature cannot be overrated in any firearm. Guns that are hard to strip may not get proper maintenance, and worse, may be reassembled wrong with fatal consequences in combat.

To take this pistol apart, remove the magazine and cock the gun. Pull the slide back ¼ inch, while pushing in the recoil lever stop stud located on the right side of the pistol to the rear of the trigger, thus locking the recoil spring. Now push the slide forward. Pull the slide stop to the right as far as it will go and pull the slide to the rear. The barrel can now be lifted up and out of the frame. Push the slide catch in and move the slide forward off the frame. That’s all there is to it. Having the barrel free to clean the corrosive primer residue with hot soapy water is a big help. Since the primers loaded by the British were the most horribly corrosive ever made, this is a very big deal.

The .455 self-loading cartridge it fires is also well thought-out. A semirimmed case enabled a one-way interchangeability with the .455 Webley service revolvers, which made the acceptance of another cartridge in the supply chain easier for ordnance to bear. The .455SL fires a 224-grain bullet at 710 feet per second.
It is blunt-nosed like the .600 Nitro Express for maximum energy transfer to the target. Both the gun and its cartridge were accurate out to 200 yards and this resulted in the Royal Horse Artillery ordering some with adjustable sights and shoulder stocks.
The pistol passed all the reliability tests the Webley factory and British Royal Ordnance could devise. As America was considered a rival and a country England might well go to war with at this time, they chauvinistically declared it more reliable than America’s new M1911. Events in WWI would prove this wrong, but the pistol still remains more reliable than most modern pistols.
This is an extremely well-thought-out gunfighter’s pistol. Unfortunately, all these features were wasted on most of its users since the British are a nation of shotgunners, not pistol shooters.

THE FIRST ENGLISH automatic was the Mars pistol of 1902, designed by Hugh Gabbett-Fairfax. W.J. Whiting, Works Manager of Webley’s, patented his first design in 1903. Prior to this, T.W. Webley had taken a license on the Mars automatic pistol in 1898 and instructed his protege, Whiting, to develop a military automatic from this. The next Webley automatic model was the M1904 in .38 and .455. This was followed by their first commercially successful automatic, the M1905 .32.

In 1906, a new model introduced the locking system and the basic design of the gun that would be adopted by the British military. The “back safe” grip safety was added in 1908 and other refinements were made. The number of inclined grooves were reduced to two on the barrel and the slide release stud was moved to a more easily used spot. The hammer safety was discarded. All the improvements were finished in 1909. Whiting was considered England’s best pistol designer of this era and he was assisted in this project by F.T. Murry and J. Carter. Webley could not afford to tool up and make this pistol without a government contract, though.
The Royal Navy came through with a contract in 1912. The first deliveries were not until June 1913, hence it was termed the “1913” model. The pistol was approved for “land,” meaning for use by the British Army, in 1916. The Webley had an exposed barrel, like the M96 Mauser Military Pistol and the Luger, which proved its value in the mud of WWI. If the barrel is blocked with mud when it is fired, it will bulge, but the pistol will still function. A pistol with a slide over the barrel will jam because the slide cannot go over the bulge.
Eley Brothers was contracted to produce the ammunition in April of 1912 and the first ammo was delivered before the first guns were. It seems a bit unfair that Eley got the government contract when Kynoch had done all the development work, but that’s what happened.

The grand total produced of the Webley .455 automatics was a mere 9,298. Cost-cutting after WWI meant no more orders from the government. Surviving guns saw service in World War II as well, but most .455 automatics then were the 13,510 Colt M1911A1 pistols that the British bought chambered for the .455 self-loading cartridge. A great number of the remaining Webley .455 autos were imported to the U.S. after the war, along with the rest of the surplus guns that blessed these shores in the 1960s.

The Webley Self-Loading Pistol saw only a limited run of production, and while it may be widely forgotten today, it still boasted features that for its era put it among the ”ranks of many stunning advances in firearm design.”
AS THE YEARS went by, the virtues of this remarkable automatic pistol were forgotten. In 1975, I was talking with the head of Webley & Scott when I mentioned the lack of muzzle flip and recoil of their M1913 .455 automatic. A look of surprise crossed his face and he immediately turned to one of his men and said, “Make some ammunition. We’re going to fire the Webley.”
The M1913 had joined the ranks of many stunning advances in firearm design that had been fielded and forgotten. Only big orders can keep one going. The old saying “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” has proven a fairytale over and over again to countless inventors.

Ammo is a problem since the cartridge is long out of production. Cases can be made from .45 auto rim cases by shortening them and thinning the rim down. I was able to find a nice spare barrel and had the chamber relined to .45 ACP. As .45 ACP cartridges are too long, there are some jams and I cannot recommend the practice of firing the more powerful .45 ACP in a gun intended for a weaker round.
The safe way is to load .45 ACP rounds to .455 Webley self-loading specs, paying particular attention to the cartridge’s overall length. The Webley requires cases with an overall length of 1.230 inches, where the standard .45 ACP factory loads are 1.260 to 1.270 inches long. The .45 ACP semiwadcutters are too short. Unless the case length is 1.230 inches, the cases stick in the magazine under recoil, throw off the timing, and lock the slide open after every shot. Remember, no gun should ever be used with improper ammo for it.
The Webley is a splendid design by England’s best pistol and revolver designer of his day. It offers unparalleled speed of fire and that can be a lifesaver at times.

Best Full Size 9mm Handguns

There are so many good 9mm handguns available to shooters these days and the choices are just humongous.
Going with a full size 9mm handgun for home defense is hard to beat. Combine this with quality loads will give you knock down power and able to rapidly fire accurately is a huge plus. This may be one of the reasons why the FBI have gone back to the 9mm as the primary service pistol for their agents.
Almost hands down 9mm handgun is now one of the most popular self-defense calibers for concealed and open carry. In this segment of full service pistols we’ll look at some 9mm caliber handguns. What makes it a full size is the barrel length. Anywhere near the length of 5 inches we’re stating it as a full size.
Here’s a quick list not the complete list of some of the best full size 9mm handguns:
  • S&W M&P9 2.0
  • Springfield XD(M)
  • Glock 19 Gen 5
  • HK VP9
  • Sig Sauer P320
  • Ruger SR9c
  • Sig Sauer P320 X-FIVE
  • Glock34
  • Sig Sauer P226 Tacops
  • Springfield Armory XD MOD 2
  • Walther PPQ Q5 Match
  • CZ 75B
  • HK VP9 Tactical
The 9mm is a weapon that provides a good balance between ease of firing and stopping power. It is a lightweight pistol that has moderate recoil with less chance of over penetration. Ammunition can be found nearly everywhere and comes in a variety of configurations, FMJ, hollow point and frangible.

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  • Smith&Wesson M&P9 2.0

    There have been some changes made to Smith&Wessons M&P pistol hence the new model number 2.0 tacked onto the name. The changes are stronger frame strength, with extra stippling around the grip with a heavy texture, beaver tail has been removed, small front serrations have been added for ease of handling and the top of the slide slimmed down a bit.
  • Springfield Armory 9mm XD(M)

    Priced less than the HK but similar to a Glock it’s a great first gun to buy and a solid performer for a compact.
    This handgun is your more bang for the buck. It is packed with features and shoots flawlessly. Pretty fun to shoot with.
  • Glock 19

    Think you all know the G19 reputation for its reliability is off the charts and is by far the most popular handgun in the United States. It is a striker fired polymer frame pistol that other handguns in the same class are compared to and sets the standard for this class of handgun.
    The gen 5 Glock 19 can be configured with upgrades to the slide, barrel and grip. It also has a rail that allows a flashlight or other accessories to your desire.
  • Sig Sauer P320

    The Sig Sauer P320 (the chosen one) has been chosen by the army as it’s new serive sidearm. It has a lot of variants so finding something that fits your requirements is simple. The trigger breaks around 6.5 pounds allowing for precise and quick follow up shots.
    Beside being an excellent shooting pistol that its known for. Other great features are ease of use, reliability, modularity and accuracy. It is a compact that can be quickly changed to meet your requirements and give you a custom handgun.
  • Ruger SR9c 9mm
    This compact 9mm handgun comes in four versions. The versions differ in color and magazine size with one having a 17+1 round magazine.
    Considered the lower end of the price scale but performs well and gives you every thing you need in a compact 9mm handgun. Only one version has the 17+1 round magazine, the other versions have a 10+1 round magazine.
  • Sig Sauer P320 X-FIVE

    Just love the striker-fired Sig Sauer P320 Compact and would recommend it as an EDC to anyone. But this Sig Sauer P320 X-FIVE is something else entirely.
    This might be the ultimate custom striker-fired handgun. The metal work on the CZ won the battle, but if you want a polymer pistol taken to the limit then maybe look here instead of an Agency Arms Glock. Some are calling it an apex predator.
    This is really a big gun, and it’s been perfectly balanced by the in-house tuning aces at Sig Sauer.
  • Glock 34

    Yes, it’s a blocky snag-free and simple striker fired pistol. The Glock 17 is famously accurate and the grouping at 50 yards is stunning.
    But the G34 is another level of laser precision. If cost is a big issue, look to the Glock 17 and possibly some aftemarket parts. If you can buy the best, go with the G34. This was designed for competitive target shooters and that 5.31″ match-grade barrel means its the creme of the crop.
    You get 17+1 rounds, more if you opt for a John Wick style mag extension, and this Glock is just about the most complete home defense handgun you’re likely to find.
  • FN FNS-9L Long Slide

    With its low price the FN509 is making its mark and it’s giving Glock a run for their money.
    The stainless steel slide is serrated in all the right places and it comes with night sights. The grip is just like holding a 1911, especially with the pronounced beavertail that lets you get high up on the gun and close to the bore axis.
    The grip does look a little slim at first glance, but you can change out the backstrap for a thicker gun.
    This comes with an external extractor, a loaded chamber indicator and a fully ambidextrous mag release and slide stop.
    Another polymer handgun, with replaceable steel rails that means this is a cut above the standard plastic pistols. At this price, it’s the right time to pull the trigger if you want to try it out.
  • Sig Sauer P226 Tacops

    Sig Sauer will always be on any top gun list. This P226 Tacops comes with a 20+1 capacity and a DA/SA operation that might suit you.
    The Sig comes with a stainless steel slide that has evolved into the perfect companion. Experienced shooters can manipulate the slide and even strip this weapon in their sleep.
    This is a fully-loaded version as well. It comes with a SIGLITE rear night sight and a full-on Tritium loaded TRUGLO fiber optic front night sight. Has a Short Reset Trigger too. This is a seriously good handgun, perfectly balanced and suppressor ready.
  • Springfield Armory XD MOD 2

    Springfield Armory makes our favorite CCW in the world and the 5” barrel version of the XD MOD.2 is technically the near-ultimate handgun.
    This striker fired 9mm pistol is not just accurate but, seriously accurate. You get 16+1 rounds if you take the extended mag, it’s lightweight, pared down and clean. It isn’t quite as monolithic as the Glock, but it is definitely understated and every piece of the form has followed the function.
    This gun is thin, just over an inch wide at the controls, and the widest part of the gun is the double stack magazine.
  • Walther PPQ Q5 Match

    Performance benchmark, it is up there with the best 9mm handguns in the world. The Walther PPQ Q5 Match is capable of taking your home defense duties and if you own one, you will learn to love it just like HK fanatics and Glock fanboys love their chosen weapons.
    If you are into custom Glocks, as most of us, then the Walther PPQ Q5 Match should make sense to you. That slide is about as light as it could get, the barrel is Walther’s best match-grade unit and you get a lot of bullets.
    The Walther is a big chunky gun, with a slide that is serrated front and back for easy manipulation.
    In a way, this gun offers better value for money than the bigger names and the other leading 9mm guns in its class.
  • CZ 75 B

    If you didn’t know most CZ Shadow is expensive, this one is cheap.
    The CZ 75 B is a break from the striker-fired routine. This really is a stripped down and evolved 1911 with a proper hammer fired action and everything.
    Its not a 1911, but It’s a fresh design and clearly resembles a lot from the classic 1911.
    This is not just one of the best 9mm pistols right now, it’s one of the best handguns on the market.
    It’s a steel-frame gun with a double-stack magazine, which means it can mix it with the best plastic pistols here in terms of magazine capacity. You get a 16+1 round set-up that weighs in at 2.2lb. Yes, its heavy, but it’s a metal gun, and that’s a big deal for the heavy metaller.
  • HK VP9 Tactical

    HK is no stranger to striker-fired pistols, but it’s been a while since they’ve designed a new one — close to four decades. The VP9 Tactical fit is really comfortable.
    HK engineers focused on designing a better trigger system for the VP9 than competitive polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols.
    The Heckler & Koch VP9 Tactical is accurate and absolutely reliable with several types of ammunition.
Last Look
As we stated earlier, this isn’t the complete list of full size 9mm handguns. If you’re a newbie this should help give you an idea of what to start with and take it for a run. For the seasoned carrier, doesn’t hurt to look at other toys while you’re at the gun (candy) store.
Overall, these newer generation of polymer guns are quite durable, accurate and you can custom tailor to your content. And, they are very fun to shoot.

Medusa Model 47 – Multi Caliber Revolver

Did you know theres a revolver that can shoot multiple calibers?, and can you name it?
If you’re a gun freak and was thinking of the Medusa, you were right!
The Medusa M47 is a revolver manufactured by Phillips & Rodgers in the late 1990s, and is based on the Smith & Wesson K frame, capable of chambering and firing around 25 different calibers within the .38, 9mm and .357 family. It is capable of both double and single action firing.
Inside the cylinder there’s a prong spring-loaded that sticks out, this allows the gun to chambers the many different calibers. Not many revolvers can do that. Due to the chrome-moly steel barrel, this makes the gun a bit heavy but strong. Many survivalist consider this a prepper’s dream gun.

The Phillips & Rodgers, Inc. Medusa Model 47 was going to be a favorite amongs lawmen, outdoorsman and military for self-defense.
Unfortunately, the revolvers were only made in small numbers for a short period of time. Accuracy with free-bore cartridges and extraction issues may have doomed this concept. If you come across one, be prepare to fork up some big money for it.

American Derringer Pistol

Small hideout guns tend to be small caliber and that means ineffectual stoppers. The current crop of ultra-light polymer-framed .32s and .380s with double action only trigger mechanisms are also very hard to hit anything with. There is a more effective alternative available.

John Price (pictured) and American Derringer build all their guns in-house to the highest standards.

American Derringer has beefed up the traditional Remington Double Derringer to .45 Colt caliber and it also will chamber the 2½-inch .410 shotgun shells. The .45 Colt is a one-shot stopper with a hit to the vitals, and you have two shots. It is a close range weapon, but then most gunfights are also close range and an attacker coming at you will shorten the range for you.
At these ranges, stopping power is everything and that mandates a .45. This one is small enough to slip unnoticed into a pocket and yet has a big enough grip that with a tight hold on it you won’t be bothered by the recoil. It is the perfect close range backup weapon to a .45 automatic or revolver. How effective is it? Let’s look at three examples.
-In Wyoming a hunter left his rifle in camp as he went a short ways into the woods to relieve himself. A moose stepped out of the brush right in front of him and he shot it dead with his .45 Double Derringer. A grizzly was nearby and tried to claim the carcass by attacking him, but once again the little .45 Double Derringer came to the rescue, killing the bear at a distance of a few feet.
-A soldier was shipping out to Iraq and was allowed to take one of his own guns. His wife insisted he take the .45 Double Derringer because he could always have it on his person. In Iraq he was hit by an IED that overturned his Humvee. An Iraqi came up to shoot him through the window and finish him off, but the G.I. pulled the little .45 Double Derringer from his front shirt pocket and killed the Iraqi with it. He dropped the gun as he scrambled to get out of the burning vehicle and it was burned with the Humvee. He recovered the Derringer from the ruins of the burned out vehicle and sent it back to American Derringer where they fixed it for him free.
-A woman stateside was attacked in her home by an intruder. She killed him with her .45 Double Derringer.

THE COMMON DENOMINATOR in all three cases was that the gun was compact enough to be there and powerful enough to get the job done. Sure, a M1911A1 is the better gunfighting pistol, but it may not be there in all the places a backup gun can be. Despite the ease of carrying and concealing a full-size fighting pistol, there is no denying that the Double Derringer is lighter, smaller and easier to carry and conceal. These are the virtues that balance out its short-range two-shot limitations and make it desirable.

The versatility of being able to also use the 2½-inch .410 shotgun shells means that you can also fire flechettes. Sabot Designs LLC loads seven of these little arrows in a .410 shotgun shell and they are very effective, as well as having very little recoil. These are loaded in a patented sabot that protects the bore, unlike some sellers that simply load them in a shell where the bare steel flechette can contact and ruin the gun barrel, which they will do in short order.

It is vital to have a .45 for man-stopping. Some people put their faith in smaller calibers with expanding bullets, but even the best hollowpoints do not always expand. I have dug too many unexpanded hollowpoints out of my sand and dirt backstop to ever depend on expansion. Anything that will expand does it to the fullest there and results are usually perfect expansion. Usually, but not always.

AMERICAN DERRINGER WAS founded in 1980 by Robert Saunders and the .45/.410 Derringer dates from then. Bob started gunmaking as a kid. His grandfather had bought WWII surplus gun parts in 55-gallon drums after the war and Bob found these and began putting guns together from them.

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In 1986, Elizabeth Saunders (formerly Elizabeth Bowen) was hired for marketing and she and Bob were married in 1988. The business grew and had 18 workers but Bob got pancreatic cancer in 1991 and died in 1993. Determined not to let her husband’s dream die, Elizabeth took on running the company.

The next year, 1994, Bill Clinton was president and he caused a gun-buying panic across the country resulting in the distributors becoming overstocked. The distributors were now demanding such low prices that American Derringer wasn’t making any money, so the decision was made to focus on quality instead of quantity and cut the distributors out.

In 2003, Elizabeth got her degree in mechanical engineering and met John Price in one of her classes. John went on to work for her. She found out that she had an employee theft problem and ultimately laid off everyone except John, reaching a small but sustainable size like many of the British gunmakers in the Best Quality gun trade.

John liked gunmaking better than anything since his military service. He was drafted during the Vietnam War and sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, for artillery training in 105mm and 155mm howitzers. From there he went to Germany on a Nike Hercules site and when he came back to the U.S., he was sent to Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. Loving the Army, he reenlisted in 1973 and was sent to Fort Bliss at El Paso, Texas, where he was in a Hawk missile battalion. From there, he was sent to another Hawk missile battalion in Korea, then back to Fort Bliss. After the Vietnam War ended, the Army began to act like they didn’t need the soldiers anymore and didn’t have to treat them well anymore, so John got out in 1978.

He missed the good old early years in the military and so he decided to try the Navy, joining in December of 1980. Despite his training in artillery and missiles, the Navy did not send him to sea but sent him to the Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Texas, where they made him a dental assistant, of all things! He found the Navy treated its men worse than the Army did and promotions were based on who you knew instead of what you knew. When his hitch was up, he left the Navy because he felt they didn’t care about their sailors.

The military’s loss was the American gun owner’s gain. John went on to get his mechanical engineering degree, where he met Elizabeth and went to work at American Derringer. Together they make all the guns in-house by hand to the highest standards.

The Double Derringer has been beefed up to .45 Colt caliber and it also will chamber the 2½-inch .410 shotgun shells.

SURE, THERE ARE cheaper guns, but you get what you pay for. A backup hideout gun is normally only used when your life is on the line. Seems foolish not to carry the very best for that. If you want to stake your life on a cheap gun, that’s your business. I don’t. I want the best and that means the handmade American Derringer. I have used one for years with complete satisfaction.

Since this gun is meant to be carried, it has a neat little safety that blocks the hammer but comes off automatically when the hammer is cocked to fire. I like that.

You must pull the hammer back to the safety position when loading, for if the hammer is down, one of the firing pins is sticking out and can fire the cartridge when the barrels are swung shut.

If you want to carry it in a holster you must have a safety strap, as the gun is too butt-heavy to stay in a holster safely without one.

This is a very compact gun that will hide in the palm of your hand. It only weighs 15 ounces and is 4¾ inches long. The hand filling grips are 1 3/8 inches wide and the gun is 3 3/8 inches high. Barrel length is 3 inches. Despite this, it is not unpleasant to fire. Just have a tight grip on it.

The gun is stainless steel except for the carbon steel springs. This not only prevents rust, but it makes it exceptionally easy to clean after firing and I have fired this gun a lot.

This gun should be used as a hideout gun and a backup pistol, as it is not a long-range weapon like the M1911A1, Luger, or Colt SAA. Used within its limitations, it is priceless.

Story and photos by Jim Dickson

Colt Single Action 45 Revolver

The 19th century’s legendary Colt Single Action Army Revolver rides on in the 21st.


Why would anyone today want to stake their life on a gun with a 146-year-old design and a 183-year-old lock work design? Well, there are good reasons, such as power and ease of hitting with the best pointing and fastest revolver ever made. I’m talking about Colt’s legendary M1873 Single Action Army .45 revolver.
Thanks to Hollywood, it is the most recognizable pistol in the world today and the most intimidating. It doesn’t need Hollywood’s hype, though. This gun can still stand on its own virtues.
Its .45 Colt cartridge was designed to put down a cavalry horse at 100 yards with one shot. The original load was a 250-grain bullet over 40 grains of black powder that gave 1,000 feet per second out of a 7½-inch barrel. The Army was tasked with ridding the plains of the buffalo and the Indians’ larder, and the cavalry troops found it great sport to ride alongside a buffalo and kill it with their powerful new Colt pistols. As a grizzly bear-stopper, it was tried and not found wanting.
With a .45 Colt you only need one shot per man and you can immediately turn your attention to his fellows who are also attacking you. If you have a smaller caliber and have to do a double tap, you are probably going to get killed quickly if you have even halfway competent adversaries. This caliber does not need expanding bullets to work.
That’s important because expanding bullets don’t always expand. If your bullets are dependent on expansion for stopping power, then you are in for a world of hurt.
Its single-action mechanism first appeared on the Colt Patterson revolver of 1836 in an era of double-action pepper box pistols that no one could ever seem to hit anything with. Samuel Colt reasoned that a gun that was easy to hit with would sell better and be more effective than a noisemaker. His reasoning proved sound and the Colt revolvers were all single-actions until the late 1870s when they marketed their first double-actions. Then as now, very few men were true masters of double-action shooting, but most quickly learned to hit firing single-action.
While you can empty a double-action revolver faster than a single-action, you cannot shoot it any faster if you take time to point it accurately, so the supposed speed advantage of the double-action is academic at best A gun is only effective if you hit with it and the incredibly good pointing of this gun made hitting easier than it had ever been with a pistol. It came in three standard barrel lengths, 7½ inches, 5½ inches, and 4¾ inches.
Of the three, I always found the 4¾-inch length the fastest and best balanced. This was commonly called the gunfighter model on the frontier because of its popularity with the gunfighters of the Old West.

A CLOSELY GUARDED secret of the gunfighting trade was the gunfighter’s secret grip that made for the fastest and most accurate shooting. As the last living man with this trick, I became the only one to ever put it in print. Why not? I am not likely to face an opponent with a single-action revolver in this day of plastic-frame double-action automatics.
The secret grip begins by cocking the gun with the thumb laid crossways across the hammer, not behind it like cocking a modern double-action. This positions the hand high on the grip, where it has to be for accurate pointing. Cocking the other way throws your grip low on the rounded bottom part of the grips, where accurate pointing is well nigh impossible.
The hammer spur comes razor-sharp from the factory and that sharp edge must be stoned off because the hammer spur needs to be digging into the top of your hand. The palm of the hand should be as much behind the grip as possible, instead of right beside it.
The trigger is held in the crook of the first joint of the trigger finger and not by the tip of the finger, unless your hands are too short to use this grip. The two flat Colt logo panels on each side of the grip are pressed in by the base of the trigger finger on the hand and by the thumb with both of them angling downward. The tip of the trigger finger rests against the tip of the thumb.
To fire, you squeeze the two flat Colt logo panels, as this aligns the gun with whatever you are pointing at. Now press the trigger finger against the thumb to fire. This converts the normally disruptive force of pulling the trigger into a steadying force. The gun now shoots right where your eyes are fixed.
In the days of cap and ball revolvers, it was always a good idea to raise the gun muzzle up high as you cocked it so that any loose cap or cap fragment that might fall off the nipple would fall free of the gun, instead of jamming it by landing and wedging itself between the hammer and the frame. This was continued by many with the cartridge revolver simply because it aided accurate pointing to raise the gun up between shots. While no secret, this too seems to be a forgotten trick today.

The gunfighter’s secret grip described in the article.
IT IS IMPORTANT to remember that a pistol is pointed in a gunfight. Emphasis on sights came only after target shooters took over training novices in the 20th century. Point shooting, also called instinct shooting, is the only way you can fire accurately in all light conditions and fire fast enough to keep alive. Speed is not rushed in these situations but comes from polished practice. Rushing gets you killed quickly. Point shooting was not easily mastered until the late Lucky McDaniel developed ways to teach it. Lucky was the man who taught the U.S. Army the Quick Kill instinct shooting method during the Vietnam War.
To learn to hit without using the sights, assume the classic duelist stance with the body held sideways to the target, presenting the smallest target for return fire. Keep the arm fully extended with the wrist and elbow straight and your chin against your shoulder. Lay out a row of matchsticks or empty .22 cases as far away as you can easily see them. Now lock your eyes on the target, ignoring the gun and its sights as you point the gun at what you are looking at, and fire. Shoot at each target in turn, for if you miss one you will just miss again in the same place on your second try. You will soon be hitting better than you ever could using sights.
Lucky was very proud of a 7½-inch barrel .44-40 Colt Single Action that he called his “magic pistol” because he never missed with it. I remember it was a very tight-fitted single-action with absolutely no play in the cylinder. Lucky always said that it was the only one that he had ever seen like that.
Under no conditions should you fan a single-action like you see them do in the movies. That ruins lockwork fast and is inaccurate. People wanting to act like some damn fool movie actor is the reason I don’t let people handle my guns.
The ease of hitting with the Colt Single Action Army revolver is extraordinary. You can match it with other revolvers, but it takes a lot more practice than it does with the Colt single-action. The unsurpassed ease and speed of mastering this revolver keeps it a top favorite of shooters. Only hits matter. Everything else is just noise. Too many people carry guns that are just noisemakers past point-blank range because they cannot hit at longer ranges with them. Whatever you carry, you had better be able to hit with it at all ranges. The Colt Single Action Army makes that a lot easier than other revolvers do.

TODAY THERE ARE super featherweight guns made of space-age materials in pipsqueak calibers that can never be depended on as man stoppers. These have a vicious recoil because they are so light. Some of these modern marvels are actually dangerous to fire. A policeman had a broken bone in his hand after one shot with one of these and it is generally accepted that you will only be able to get one shot off in a gunfight with the worst offenders of these because of the resulting injury to your hand. Not my idea of how to win a gunfight, especially if there are multiple opponents.
The old Colt stands in sharp contrast to them, having virtually no felt recoil with a caliber proven to stop man or beast. It does it all with the absolute minimum weight possible without going overboard and unleashing a kicker. It is pleasant and fun to shoot.
When you make even a .22 pistol much smaller and lighter than the Single Action Army it becomes much harder to hit with as well. Full-sized guns hang steadier and are far easier to shoot accurately. Inexperienced shooters often fall into this trap and buy guns that are difficult for even the experts to fire accurately. What chance of hitting has the new shooter then? At best it is discouraging. At worst it is fatal. These guns have a place as back-up hideout guns, but not as primary defense guns.

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ON THE FRONTIER there were plenty of men who could shoot the Single Action Army accurately out to long carbine range. It was not just a close-range weapon. Because it was right there on your hip, it brought every type of game to bag since you don’t pass up a good opportunity for dinner in the wilderness.
It’s no accident that single-action revolvers have always been the most popular pistols for handgun hunting. Their ease of hitting keeps them at the forefront. Those who use double-action revolvers usually cock them and use them as single-actions on game even though the double-action revolver’s hammer is smaller and not well suited for serious single-action use.
The big Colt is extremely safe to carry because it was always carried as a five-shooter with the hammer down on an empty chamber. That’s because the design predates hammer blocks and a blow to the hammer can fire the cartridge beneath it. The procedure is to load one chamber, skip one, load four, then cock and let the hammer down on the empty chamber. It’s safe as houses to pack now.
For those who think five shots are not enough, I ask you, how many times do you go up against more than five at a time? Legendary Texas Ranger Frank Hamer is most famous today as the man who tracked down and whose posse killed Bonnie and Clyde. Frank’s favorite pistol was a Colt Single Action .45 he named Old Lucky. Frank always said, “If I can’t handle the situation with five shots, then I’m not much of a lawman.”

A 4¾-inch barrel Colt Single Action Army in El Paso Saddlery’s copy of famous gunfighter John Wesley Hardin’s holster, with their six-round and 12-round belt slide cartridge carriers above it. This is Dickson’s favorite open carry holster for this gun and the one that he uses on his farm.
THE ORIGINAL HOLSTERS still work quite well. El Paso Saddlery has been making them since 1889 and they were holster makers to John Wesley Hardin, the Old West’s deadliest gunfighter with the highest score of men killed. I live on a remote farm deep in the mountains of North Georgia and I often carry a Colt .45 in a copy of the hip holster Wes used. It is a Slim Jim style of the early type with extra loops for six cartridges sewn onto the front of the holster. Carrying cartridges on the holster was typical of Wes’s holsters.
It holds the gun securely and comfortably and is very fast. The extra cartridges carried on the holster are quite handy when you aren’t wearing a cartridge belt. Being able to quickly reload after firing is always important. I consider this holster well nigh perfect.
I have also used El Paso Saddlery’s M1890 Mexican loop holster and found it very secure and comfortable. For concealed carry, nothing beats the modern pancake holster and El Paso Saddlery makes a fine one they call their Tortilla. It has a thumb break snap and holds the gun securely against the body.
Extra cartridges can be carried in six-round and 12-round belt slide cartridge carriers from El Paso Saddlery or you can carry them in a duplicate of the U.S. Cavalry pistol bullet pouch from Pacific Canvas and Leather Co.
For this article, I had 1,140 rounds to fire, consisting of:
• 500 rounds of Black Hills 250-grain RNFP firing at 725 feet per second
• 150 rounds of Armscor 255-grain lead at 847 fps
• 150 rounds of Aguila 200-grain LFP at 600 fps
• 100 rounds of Fiocchi LRNFP at 725 fps
• 80 rounds of Hornady Critical Defense 185-grain FTX bullet at 920 fps
• 80 rounds of Hornady Cowboy Action 255-grain lead at 725 fps
• 100 rounds of Georgia Arms LRNFP at 725 fps
• 80 rounds of Federal 225-grain SWHP at 830 fps
The lower velocity loads are intended for cowboy action shooting matches. Even though labeled a cowboy action load, the Armscor is a full-power load.
All the ammunition gave good accuracy and proved capable of 2-inch groups at 25 yards, as long as I did my part. While I would not use it for big game, the lower velocity Cowboy Action loads should not be dismissed for defense against humans. The British found with the .455 Webley that a big heavy bullet at these lower velocities dumped more energy with less over penetration in thin human targets.

LIKE ANY GUN that has screws, the screws of the Single Action Army work loose when firing and have to be tightened. I check mine after every box or two of shells. If you don’t, they can tie up the gun and/or fall out and get lost in the leaves.
Eddie Janis of Peacemaker Specialists makes a pair of screwdrivers fitted to the screws of the Single Action Army that I highly recommend. When you see an old single-action with the screws all buggered up, it doesn’t necessarily mean the gun has been worked on.

Often it just means the screws were tightened with whatever screwdriver was handy. Eddie also makes a cylinder pin puller that is a necessity for pulling out a tight cylinder pin without marring it. I polish the cylinder pins on my guns with 600-grit sandpaper until I can get them out without prying on them.
If you want the Colt’s lockwork to last as long as the latest coil spring single-action designs, simply take the grips off and ship it to Diversified Cryogenics, to the attention of Mark Link. Cryogenic treatment involves cycling the metal from 300 degrees below zero to 300 degrees above. It removes all stresses in the metal and closes the pores so that the gun cleans like it was made of glass.
Accuracy and parts life are drastically improved and there is no outward change to the appearance of the revolver. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. I wish all guns were cryogenically treated. It makes the greatest improvement imaginable.
The one thing to remember is that this gun has the same sustained fire rate as a cap and ball revolver using paper cartridges. As long as you only have five targets, you are fine. If you are facing a Red Chinese and North Korean human wave attack, you are in trouble. That’s why the military uses automatic pistols.
If you want to hold a piece of history in your hand or write your own page in the history books, the .45 Colt Single Action Army revolver is a proven performer that can still get the job done the same as it could in 1873. What more can you ask of it?

The Lighter Side Of Sig P226

Testing SIG Sauer’s P226 Air Pistol


At first glance the SIG P226 air pistol could be mixed up with the SIG P226, which comes in 9mm and .40 caliber, which is a pistol preferred by elite military forces around the world. I can see how their airgun could be used for training purposes and you could do a lot of inexpensive training with a pistol that so closely resembles your real one.

The P226 can shoot pellets between 308 and 510 feet per second, depending on air temperature and pellets chosen. Using official SIG pellets ensures better accuracy.
The P226 can shoot pellets between 308 and 510 feet per second, depending on air temperature and pellets chosen. Using official SIG pellets ensures better accuracy.

The P226 air pistol uses a conventional size 12-gram Co2 canister, which slips into the back of the grip. The magazine pops out of the bottom the same way it would on any modern semiauto handgun. Each end of the magazine has a rotary clip that holds eight pellets, so when you empty one end you simply eject the magazine, flip it over, reinsert and shoot again. To load the chamber, rack the slide, just like any semiauto.

It’s a blast to shoot. My daughter has several pesky deer that invade her garden. I think this will be a good airgun for chasing them off. The P226 is billed as spitting out pellets at up to 510 feet per second, but we were only able to get 308 fps. However, the feet-per-second measurement is directly related to the charge pressure in your cartridge, outside temperatures – because cooler or very cold temperatures drastically reduce the Co2 capability – and which pellets you use. Even at 308 fps, it would still be perfect for running deer out of your yard without damaging or penetrating the hide, like many high-powered pellet guns might do.

Among SIG’s air target selection is a trap box target, which is perfect for shooting indoors.
Among SIG’s air target selection is a trap box target, which is perfect for shooting indoors.

SHOOTING FROM ABOUT 20 feet, we were getting 1¾-inch groups with the JSB Match Diabolo pellets and 1½ with the SIG Match Ballistic pellets. OK, I’ll be honest: When I say “we,” I mean Ron Spomer, an outdoor hunting professional and television host. I used his groups, since I am not a world-renowned pistol shot.


  • Picatinny rail on the bottom, which is great for mounting a light;
  • Realistic blow-back slide;
  • Each magazine holds a total of 16 pellets.

The P226 air pistol comes in black or flatdark earth, which is similar to a light tan. I think the moment you pick it up you’re going to be impressed with the authentic feel of this pistol, and it is fun to shoot. I also think this pistol would be the perfect gun for shooting grouse or varmints.

SIG offers a full line of dynamic air-pistol and air-rifle targets.
SIG offers a full line of dynamic air-pistol and air-rifle targets.

Now, let’s get into SIG’s line of airgun targets. I don’t know about the kids you take shooting, but mine like dynamic targets, and this line offers all the flippers and spinners for just such stimulation. While testing these guns, we set up four SIG targets to work with, but they offer as many as 10 different styles. Shooting these targets definitely encouraged my kids to shoot more.
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SIG recommends setting the targets at least 25 yards away because pellets and fragments might ricochet off the spinners. Also, if you have a clear stretch in your garage or basement, you could even set up SIG’s box target to plink. These targets are specifically designed to trap the pellet, which makes it perfect for shooting inside.

Ah! Yet another gun and line of accessories one cannot live without. AmSJ

The SIG Sauer P226 air pistol is properly weighted, has slide blowback and the magazine functions just like a real semiauto pistol.
The SIG Sauer P226 air pistol is properly weighted, has slide blowback and the magazine functions just like a real semiauto pistol.

Editor’s note: If you would like to know more about SIG Sauer’s P226 air pistol, you can visit them at

CZ 75 Kadet .22LR Adapter Kit

Conversion kit a well-designed, well-made unit that gives CZ-75 owner two guns in one.


While there are many dedicated .22 LR pistols on the market, one of the best for everyday use is not a pistol in the pure sense, but instead is a conversion kit for the popular CZ-75 from the Czech Republic. And although this is not a new product, it remains one of the best of its kind on the market.

CZ Kadet .22 LR conversion kit
The CZ Kadet .22 LR conversion kit is an all-steel slide with a fixed barrel that mounts on most CZ-75 variants. (CZ USA)

The CZ-75 Kadet (and the more recent Kadet II) .22 LR conversion kit is a CZ factory-made unit that allows a shooter to quickly and easily convert a CZ-75 series pistol from centerfire to rimfire ammunition (and back again). This gives the shooter a lighter recoiling gun, which shoots less expensive ammo, while retaining the same trigger, controls, and overall feel of the pistol.

The Kadet unit consists of a replacement slide assembly with a fixed .22 LR barrel. The rear sight is adjustable for both elevation and windage. The entire unit is made of steel and is coated with a durable black polycoat. A Kadet kit-equipped pistol closely replicates the weight and feel of a standard pistol. The kit includes two 10-round .22 LR magazines. The Kadet magazines are made with a .22 LR inner liner sleeved in a full-size centerfire
metal magazine body. The integral baseplate and followers are both plastic. The magazines cannot be disassembled and, unlike some other designs, there is no way to compress the magazine springs for easier loading.

To install the Kadet kit on a pistol, take the complete pistol and pull back the centerfire slide until the witness marks on the slide and frame line up, push out the slide stop, and slide the centerfire top end off from the front. (This should be familiar to any CZ-75 owner.) Then, slide the .22 LR unit on the frame, line up the witness marks, and reinstall the slide stop. It’s that simple.

Holding CZ-75

BECAUSE A TIGHT FRAME-TO-SLIDE fit is important for accuracy, certain points on the rails of the Kadet slide are very slightly oversized. This may require the user to fit the kit to the pistol the first time it is installed. All this takes is a needle file, a little focused time, and some patience. Simply note the high points on the rails of the kit slide and alternate between a few file strokes on the Kadet slide and test fittings until the Kadet slide goes completely onto the frame.

The Kadet kit was recently redesigned slightly to work with the newer Omega trigger system, and these newer kits (the Kadet II) may not require as much, if any, fitting. The Kadet kit works on the full-size CZ-75 and SP-01 and the compact CZ75 models, including the P-01, P-06, PCR, and RAMI. The Kadet kit will not work on the CZ-97, CZ-75 TS, or P-07 Duty models. When used with the compact models, the magazine will protrude below the mag well.

In my experience the CZ-75 Kadet kit has proven to be reliable, accurate, and fun. I’ve owned mine for over a dozen years and have fired untold thousands of rounds through it in that time. I’ve found the Kadet-equipped pistol to be more reliable than most other .22 LR pistols I’ve tried.

This view of the author’s well-used CZ-75B with a Kadet kit installed shows both the small area of the slide that reciprocates and the fixed barrel.

The only times I have a problem is when the pistol gets excessively dirty, usually after several range sessions without cleaning, especially if using the cheaper .22 LR ammo that is known to leave more residue behind. The problem typically manifests when the slide starts to feel gritty or “sluggish,” and sometimes includes failures to feed or failures to extract. These problems typically clear up with the application of additional lube at the range, followed by a thorough cleaning before the next trip.

Of course, like any .22 LR pistol, the Kadet-equipped CZ-75 will likely show a preference for certain ammo for both reliability and accuracy. As this often differs from gun to gun the best way to find what shoots best is to try different brands and take notes.
THE FIXED BARREL HELPS PROMOTE accuracy. While it’s not up to the standards of a NRA Bullseye competitor’s pistol, in my experience it shoots as well, if not better, than any “plinker grade” or entry level .22 LR target pistol. The adjustable sights allow the shooter to sight in for any particular load or distance and are easy to see. While the exact trigger feel and weight depends on the specific host frame, I’ve found the gun is capable of very precise shooting, especially when fired single-action.

In addition to using it for general shooting, I’ve found a Kadet-equipped CZ-75 to be an excellent training pistol for new shooters. The similarity of the controls to other centerfire pistols is a bonus, as is the general accuracy and reliability of the unit.

There are, however, a few issues with this design worth noting. The first is that the requirement that the Kadet slide be hand-fitted to the host pistol may be off-putting to some shooters. This is mitigated by how easy it is to do and the fact that the new units require less, if any, fitting. But frankly, if this is an issue for you, perhaps you shouldn’t invest in a conversion kit in the first place.

Another view of the author’s CZ-75B with the magazine in place

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In order to make the action work with less powerful .22 LR ammunition, the Kadet slide had to be redesigned from the centerfire original. Instead of a one-piece slide, which moves on the frame, the Kadet slide is made of two pieces. The larger piece, which includes the top and bottom of the slide, stays in place with only the smaller cutout portion of the slide actually reciprocating. This makes manipulating the slide to load the pistol a bit more difficult as the
moving part is smaller than the complete slide and some shooters find it hard to grab.

The other potential issue is with the Kadet magazines. While well made, they cannot be disassembled for cleaning or maintenance. Fortunately this has never become an issue for me, but is something to be aware of.

The CZ-75 Kadet .22 LR conversion kit is a well-designed, well-made unit that gives the CZ-75 owner “two guns in one.” A Kadet kit-equipped CZ-75 is easily the equal of any .22 LR pistol in its price class and is practically a must-have for any CZ-75 fan. AmSJ

A CZ-75 with a .22 LR Kadet kit installed looks and, more importantly, handles like a regular centerfire CZ pistol, while allowing the use of less expensive .22 LR ammunition. (CZ USA)

Contact: CZ USA

For Young Shooters

The five shot .32-caliber Colt Pocket Pistol Model 1849, is the smallest and lightest at 25 ounces perfect for the youthful novice, who might enjoy the Old West flavor.

Story and Photos by Frank Jardim

The first handgun I ever shot was a target .22LR S&W Model 17 revolver with a 6-inch barrel and those hefty checkered target grips. I was a skinny 12-year-old, and the gun was much too big for me. It was only a K-frame, but that thick-walled long barrel got it almost to 40 ounces and it was every bit of 11 inches long.
Though the recoil was negligible, it was a strenuous undertaking for me at that age to just hold it up, and it required both hands just to get a grip on those big stocks. I loved it, but it was hard to shoot well. Today, as a publicly professed grown-up, I find myself in the same position as those seasoned adult shooters who generously cultivated my youthful interests in firearms.
In doing so, I’ve experienced what must surely be the same anxieties they did with me. Even though a youngster may passionately want to shoot a handgun, I ask myself, “Is this kid physically big and strong enough to handle a pistol safely?” Most of what adults would consider medium-sized handguns are simply too big for youngsters with small hands and slim arms.
My solution was to find a handgun that was kid-sized. Those little .22 LR and .25 ACP pocket pistols are actually perfectly scaled for little hands, but I believe they are a poor choice because they require a really tight (vise-like) grip to shoot without jamming, the slides are hard to pull back because of the heavy blow back recoil springs, and the safety discipline of any autoloader requires the additional steps of removing the magazine and checking the chamber.
The aforementioned heavy recoil spring will probably make it impossible for a kid to pull back the slide and check the chamber. I know many full grown women who can’t. Therefore, in my opinion, autoloaders for kids are out.

THE REVOLVER LOOKED TO BE a better choice. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many small ones made anymore. You can still buy the J-framed S&W Kit guns in .22LR.
The current Model 317 has an aluminum frame and weighs less than 12 ounces. It will set you back about $700 new. Used Harrington & Richardson .22LR revolvers still show up, and they can often be had for less than $200 in nice shape. For youthful novices who you suspect might enjoy an Old West historical flavor to their shooting experience (just about all boys), replicas of the Colt’s Patent Firearms black powder, cap-and-ball, pocket revolvers are perfectly proportioned in grip size and weight.
The five shot .32-caliber Colt Pocket Pistol, commonly called the Model 1849, is the smallest and lightest at 9 inches long (with the usual 4-inch barrel) and 25 ounces. There are lighter versions of this pistol, but they sacrifice the integral loading lever to save weight, and that makes them just too awkward to load, even for adults.
This compact and mild recoiling pistol was so popular, Colt sold nearly 336,000 before production ceased in 1873. In my opinion, an even better cap and ball choice is the graceful Colt New Model Police Pocket Pistol of Navy Caliber or Model 1862 Pocket Police.
It is a five-shot .36-caliber, measuring 113/4 inches long (with the usual 61/2-inch barrel) and weighing only 261/2 ounces, 11/2 ounces more than the shorter Model 1849. This pistol resembles a miniature 1860 Army of Civil War fame, except that it also has a fluted cylinder to save weight.
The longer barrel and sight radius make it easier to shoot accurately, but the main advantage is the longer loading lever, of improved creeping design, makes it easier to load than the 1849. Though this pistol can be charged to pack quite a punch, reduced powder charges produce minimal recoil for comfortable shooting.

The author’s son
Franklin ready to
shoot cap and ball.
Reproductions of the 1849 and 1862 Colts have been in production by one Italian gun maker or another (and sometimes a few at once) for at least 20 years. New guns are available from several distributors at retail prices from $350 to $375.
Dixie Gun Works ( in Union City, Tennessee, currently has the exceptionally nice Uberti-made ( 1862 on sale for $325.
In many states, black powder firearms can be shipped directly to the buyer. If you live in one of these, online price-comparison shopping makes good sense. You don’t need a local FFL dealer and you don’t need to pay for a transfer on a pistol you order from out of state. Just find the best deal from a quality maker.
I’ve notice the online competition for new cap-and-ball revolver sales is so fierce, it’s hard to find a genuine bargain on a used pistol at a gun show.

MY NINE-YEAR-OLD SON and I spent a recent morning in the backyard exploring the merits of our Uberti reproduction 1862 Pocket Police. The revolver was beautifully made, with European walnut stocks, a color casehardened steel frame and brass backstrap.
He’s excited to try it, partly because he knows that it’s a man’s pistol, despite its small size. I’ve explained that Colt wanted a powerful handgun in a compact lightweight package for ease of carry and concealment, particularly for city police officers. In addition, the Model 1862 was the last of its kind. It was the final cap-and-ball pistol Colt produced before changing over to the manufacture of cartridge firearms after the Civil War.
Around 47,000 were made by 1872. It was so well balanced and easy to carry, many were used for protection well into the cartridge era and made their way with the wagon trains west to adventure.
A historic firearm, even a historic replica, has a romantic appeal that modern firearms can rarely approach, and I believe that adds to the quality of the shooting experience for youngsters. In the case of this little Colt and my son, there was definitely a Cowboys & Indians thing going on in his head.

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From a practical standpoint, firing a cap-and-ball pistol requires the shooter to develop discipline that will help him or her as they mature in the shooting sports. To make the guns shoot, there are, frankly, a lot of steps you need to go through, and in this case, that’s a good thing.
All the effort drives home the point that, in order for the pistol to function reliably and safely, every step must be completed correctly, and every technique executed consistently, while the shooter continuously observes its mechanical state. Because you basically hand-craft every shot, you become inclined to aim and shoot carefully to make each one of them count.

FOR THE UNINITIATED, HERE are the process details, to be executed while always keeping the barrel pointed in a safe direction. After taking the pistol from storage, you need to clear the nipples and chambers of oil that might contaminate the powder or caps before you load for the first time.
A pipe cleaner and cleaning patch works well. You can also fire off a cap from each nipple to burn it out, but this always seemed like a waste of caps to me. In preparation for loading, first position the hammer at half cock so the cylinder can be rotated. (Always check for loads or caps that still in the cylinder. Accidentally loading powder over a full chamber will make a mess.)
Don’t worry about overcharging the pistol. You can’t do that with FFFG black powder because the chamber capacity represents the maximum load. If my son double-charged a chamber, it would have just overflowed. No great danger, only wasted powder. I made him a special reduced charge powder measure with a 9mm cartridge case that threw 13.5 grains. The maximum load for this pistol is 20 grains.
To load the cylinder, charge the first empty chamber with FFFG black powder, drop a ball in the chamber mouth, and seat it firmly over the powder with the loading lever. Properly sized balls (.378 diameter) are slightly oversized, and a thin ring of lead will be shaved from them as they are seated, indicating a good seal.
I like Hornady swaged pure lead round balls because they are perfectly round and can thus be loaded any way. By contrast, cast round balls have a sprue that should always be oriented up during loading.

When all chambers are loaded with powder and ball, the pistol is turned on its left side, pointing downward, and a Remington No. 10 percussion cap gently but firmly seated on each nipple with your fingers. Small fingers are ideally suited for this (I always use my fingers rather than a capper, because I know I can’t accidentally detonate a cap with my thumbnail).
By the way, cap sizes vary from brand to brand and even within the same brand and type. Beware of caps that are too long or tight on the nipple because they often won’t seat fully, which can cause a misfire on the first try as the hammer drives then down.
After capping, Crisco is smeared into the front of each cylinder as extra insurance against the blast from the firing chamber flashing over and igniting the adjoining chambers in a chain fire. I’ve never seen it happen, and it shouldn’t with a properly sized bullet, but why take chances?
The Crisco also lubricates the gun and keeps the fouling soft. Once the revolver is loaded, the hammer should be set on one of the safety pins between chambers until ready to shoot. The firing ritual itself requires the pistol be pointed skyward while cocking to allow the blasted remains of the exploded percussion cap to fall free of the action.
If you don’t do this, they will eventually fall into the hammer channel and cause aggravating misfires, each one requiring a 30-second delay while you wait to determine if the misfire is actually a hang fire. This is where constant observation of the operation of the action pays off.
Paying attention to where those exploded caps are going, and that the unfired caps haven’t fallen off, will insure trouble-free shooting. As with all single-actions, the long hammer fall requires shooter follow through each time the trigger is pulled. Fortunately, this pistol had a simply beautiful, crisp, light trigger.

My son started with a two-hand hold and bullseye targets but quickly moved on to tin cans at fifty feet using one hand. Each round delivered a gratifying boom, some noticeable but manageable recoil, a small cloud of white smoke and, most of the time, a can dancing around and jumping in the air downrange. That’s his payoff for all that loading and shooting discipline: making the tin can dance, and a habit of safety that comes from honing his sense of firearms situational awareness.

This story was originally published in AmSJ July, 2017

Revolvers: Perfect or Out-Dated for Personal Defense?

Are revolvers ideal or out-dated for personal defense?
Not many gun enthusiasts debate this, they rather speak of comparison between 9mm vs .45 but its still worth a discussion.
Chris Baker from Lucky Gunner asked that question a while back and came up with some really good points about revolvers while attending a defensive revolver training class.

The class was conducted by Darryl Bolke and Wayne Dobbs of Hardwired Tactical. Other instructors to help lighten the teaching load were Chuck Haggard and Claude Werner. Each instructor taught different topics related to the defensive use of revolvers.

Semi Video Transcription – Things that came out of this training
“…the guys at the revolver roundup came across as being a lot more pro-revolver.
The prevailing sentiment…was that the revolver are kind of like the every man gun. It should be the go-to firearm for the average civilian who wants something for personal protection and semi-autos are probably best reserved for more dedicated shooters.
These two perspectives might seem pretty incompatible on the surface, but I think there’s a lot of merit to both of them.

And that’s been one of the recurring themes of the Wheel Gun Wednesday series — this paradox of how revolvers can be seriously flawed but also maybe the ideal self-defense tool for most people.”
He is quick to point out, however, that the revolver is not without its flaws.
“It never ceases to amaze me just how many people are under the impression that revolvers are incapable of malfunctioning. You can just look at some of the comments on some of our other revolver videos and blog posts to see just how common that sentiment is.

The fact of the matter is that even though revolvers can be very reliable, they’re also prone to some pretty serious issues that don’t affect semi-autos. Just in the past year, had I’ve had plenty of revolvers malfunction on me and I’ve also seen people on the range have problems, too.
Problems like…
A frozen cylinder from debris under the extractor star or from out of spec primers.
An extractor rod backing itself out preventing the cylinder from opening.
Multiple light primer strikes.
A shooter being sprayed with bullet fragments from a revolver with severe timing issues.
A Smith and Wesson revolver with a broken cylinder release latch.
A Ruger GP100 that completely stopped working due to a broken cylinder latch.
And several instances of triggers spontaneously dragging or freezing up for undetermined reasons.

And I’m not even going to go through all the user-induced problems like short stroking the trigger or all the different ways you can fumble a reload.
Out of all those issues, only one — the light primer strikes — is easily fixed.”

Recap Downside to Revolvers

  • Low Ammo capacity
  • Slow Reloads
  • Malfunctions – takes longer time to fix
  • Revolvers can Break – Frozen Cylinder
  • Cylinder won’t open
  • Broken Cylinder Latch
  • Unexplained Trigger drag
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The Good side
Most experts are saying that most people that only buy a gun they wind up sticking it in their drawer and never practice shooting it. Its probably perfect for them. For the more active gun enthusiasts, get a semi-auto. What do you all think?