SIG Sauer’s 9mm Pistol feels both new and familiar within the MPX line.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY OLEG VOLK
The MPX family of pistol-caliber ﬁrearms ﬁxes the main ﬂaw of close-bolt blowback designs: excessive bolt weight. Adapting the AR-15 platform to 9×19 Luger with a gas-piston action, SIG engineers cut the overall weight and the reciprocating bolt carrier in particular, making MPX lighter than other 9mm ARs and cutting the recoil intensity at the same time. The resulting weapon is available as a 16-inch carbine, and as submachine gun, short barrel riﬂe and pistol, all available with 8-inch or 4.5-inch barrels.
In the carbine form, the 7.6-pound overall weight of the weapon is no different from a riﬂe-caliber AR-15, making it more of a practice version of the 5.56, with less expensive ammo, less concussive report but substantially similar handling and manual of arms. The shorter barrel and forend of the 8-inch SBR and submachine gun variants bring the weight down to 6 pounds, and collapsed length down to 17 inches.
Unfortunately, National Firearms Act restrictions make the SMG unavailable except to government or corporate users, and the tax stamp and yearlong ATF turnaround on approving applications restrict the SBR. That leaves the pistol as the less legally encumbered purchase that can be turned into an SBR at a later date.
The 9mm Luger cartridge generated far smaller volume of gas than 5.56x45mm, so the MPX gas port is almost right at the chamber to generate sufficient pressure for cycling. With most 9mm loads, 8 inches is sufficient to get most of the potential velocity increase from the limited case volume. With the A2 ﬂash hider, the muzzle signature is nonexistent.
As with other gas-operated pistol-caliber guns, the MPX favors full-power ammunition for reliability – in my testing, it ran perfectly with 115-, 124- and 147-grain SIGbrand defense and range ammunition, but short-stroked occasionally with wimpy commercial remanufactured ball. With full-power ammunition, MPX has less felt recoil than blowback guns had with subpar loads.
WHEN SUPPORTED, the MPX pistol is superbly accurate. When rested on an convenient cardboard box and sighted with a red dot, the pistol shot very small groups at 25 yards, especially favoring 124- and 147-grain SIG JHP ammunition.
Similar or slightly better results were obtained using the MPX submachine gun in semiautomatic mode. In auto mode, running at about 850 rounds per minute, it remains fairly controllable and will keep two- or three-shot bursts in A zone at 25 yards. The mechanics of the MPX design are very sound. Compared to HK MP5, it runs a good deal cleaner, especially when sound-suppressed. Takedown for cleaning and especially the reassembly are much simpler, with all bolt and carrier parts accessible with the removal of a single pin.
MPX ergonomics are similar to AR-15, but with an emphasis on ambidextrous controls. Slide lock levers and magazine release buttons are duplicated on both sides, a helpful feature. On the left side, the controls could use more separation, as trying to lock the slide back sometimes caused a dropped magazine. The transparent, metal-reinforced polymer magazines made by Lancer are extremely reliable, durable and were easy to load. While more expensive than typically used single-feed Glock magazines, they are far more convenient in use. Available in 10-, 20- and 30-round capacity, MPX magazines ﬁt any purpose, from combat to concealed carry to shooting from a range bench.
THE PRINCIPAL DIFFERENCE between the SBR and the pistol is ergonomics. The pistol comes with a QD socket at the rear of the receiver, right under the rail for the arm brace or the stock. In theory, a solid shooting position can be established with the use of both hands and a stretched sling. In practice, holding a 6-pound weapon in outstretched arms gets tiring fairly soon. Practical accuracy is no better than with a conventional pistol, and the sling length and position make effective concealment difficult.
Furthermore, the ambidextrous charging handle retained from the AR-15 has a tendency to entangle with the plastic sling ﬁxtures, pulling the bolt out of battery and disabling the gun. At close range, especially indoors, the MPX pistol would be more stable if ﬁred from the hip using a green laser for aiming.
In my opinion, the best ﬁghting pistol made by SIG would be something like a full-size P226. The MPX is terriﬁc as a carbine or a submachine gun, but – thanks to ﬁlling a regulatory niche created by illogical government regulations – is a pistol in name only. In reality, it’s a stockless carbine and would be best treated as a pre-SBR that the owner gets to take home before the tax stamp arrives.
If NFA regulations and restrictions aren’t your cup of tea, the 16-inch version of the MPX is superbly accurate, has almost no felt recoil and has a proper stock without requiring a tax stamp. For unsuppressed use, carbine-speciﬁc 9mm loads, such as 77- (2,000 feet per second) or 115-grain (1,500 fps) Overwatch, provide ﬂat trajectory and effective terminal ballistics. From the 8-inch barrel, Sig V-Crown defensive loads are superior. With lower muzzle pressure than the pistol it also suppressed even more effectively, particularly with the SIG subsonic 147-grain load.
Unlike the 5.56mm AR-15, the MPX has no perceptible gas blowback reaching the shooter. Given the excellence of the MPX concept, we can only hope that NFA regulations would be rolled back in the coming year, putting all of its features into the hands of a large and very appreciative group of American ﬁrearms enthusiasts. ASJ
Editor’s note: For more on SIG Sauer’s MPX line, see sigsauer.com.
Here’s Rob Pincus checking out the Sig MPX 9mm at Reno Guns & Range back in 2019
Putting a pistol caliber cartridge in a rifle is simple but a rifle round in a pistol? You gotta be nuts…
In a nutshell, the FN Five-SeveN is a big little handgun with a whole lot of attitude. Why? Mainly because of the unique 5.7x28mm cartridge that it’s designed to fire. While the FN Five-SeveN is not a small gun, the 5.7×28 bullet is small in caliber, but it is a very fast one as far as pistol projectiles go.
While gun enthusiasts are going nuts over rifles chambered in classic handgun rounds, we seem to forget that the opposite exists as well. Although not exactly a rifle round, the FN 5.7x28mm cartridge is also not quite a pistol round either.
Clearly, the Five-seveN is truly a unique kind of gun. It is a lightweight polymer pistol that shoots FN’s own 5.7x28mm round.
Developed by FN back in 1989, the 5.7x28mm cartridge was envisioned as a replacement option for 9mm submachine gun use.
Originally the 5.7x28mm was designed for the FN P90 Personal Defense Weapon, a compact and highly portable carbine, and, eight years later, the Five-SeveN pistol. NATO never officially adopted it, most likely due to selection process politics related to the battle between competing offerings from FN and German company H&K’s 4.6x30mm cartridge. Nevertheless, the two guns and the nifty little cartridge are in use throughout the world by dozens of military and law enforcement groups.
The 5.7x28mm cartridge looks a little bit like a .223 Remington (the standard AR-rifle cartridge). The diameter bullet (.224 inches) is the same that a standard AR rifle shoots, but the bullet is a lot lighter, usually weighing between 28 and 40 grains as compared to the standard 55-grain weight of the average .223 Remington cartridge. The cartridge itself is significantly shorter and smaller in diameter, measuring 1.6 inches long and .31 inches wide. This bullet is small, light and fast.
In the early 2000s, NATO conducted a series of tests with the goal of standardizing a personal defense weapon round and replacing the iconic 9mm.
The 5.7x28mm surely impressed—it was highly effective, performed at extreme temperatures, and could even be manufactured on the same production lines as the loved 5.56x45mm NATO round.
Effective range when shot from a Five-SeveN: 55 yards (maximum range of 1651 yards!)
Total Weight: 6.0 grams=93 grains (half the weight of a 9mm)
Projectile Mass: 28-40 gains
Velocity: 2,350 ft/s (FN 28gn, JHP)
The Five-SeveN is a full-sized pistol and a compact-sized weight. It has a nearly completely polymer frame, with some small steel internal components.
From the outside it looks similar to other striker-fired pistol.
Its a full size pistol, single-action pistol and the grip circumference is identical to the Beretta 92/M9. The barrel is 4.8 inches long with a weight of 23 ounces when unloaded. The magazine release and safety lever is ambidextrous.
The pistol is 100% polymer but the functional interior of the slide and fire control parts are made of steel. Which makes the pistol light and durable.
Disassembling the pistol is very simple and you can probably do it blindfolded with one hand. All you do is pull the slide back about 1/4-inch and slide the take down lever to the rear. The slide, barrel, and recoil spring lifts right out.
The trigger pull is roughly around 6 pounds.
Finally, last the Five-SeveN comes with three 20-round magazines.
While the grip is considerably thinner than most full-sized pistols and a bit long, which could be a bit uncomfortable for some hand sizes, it features ambidextrous controls that are conveniently placed for thumb or trigger finger manipulation.
Although the grip can feel a bit odd at first because it is so nontraditional, it grew on me as I manipulated the gun and actually shot it.
Adjustable rear sights for both windage and elevation, which is important because of the round’s uncommon ballistics.
Since the 5.7×28 cartridge is so small it is easy to fit a lot of ammo into a single magazine, especially when using a double stack-double feed design.
The design of the magazines is equally brilliant and lightweight. They hold 20 rounds and load in a similar fashion to standard AR magazines–you simply push the round straight down instead of maneuvering it in and under like in most pistol magazines.
Shooting the Five-SeveN is really a BLAST!
People that have shot this pistol say its very fun to shoot. The gun is loud, accurate with no recoil. Someone says the recoil is about 30% less than a typical 9mm pistol.
The Five-SeveN velocity is somewhere at 1550 to 1600 feet per second. While the average 9mm shoots somewhere between 1050 and 1200 feet per second.
Imagine the almost non-existent recoil of a .22 LR juxtaposed with the noise of an AR. The first few shots fascinated me yet confused me.
I had never shot anything like it and could easily tell it is one-of-a-kind.
The lightweight frame makes for a comfortable range session while magazines are a breeze to load.
Sadly the rigger is not the greatest but features a pretty crisp break and moderate pull weight, my groups were pretty consistent with how I would normally shoot a handgun; maybe slightly better at longer ranges – likely due to the high velocity of the 5.7 ammo.
I could see this gun being liked across the spectrum, from novice shooters to seasoned vets.
Looks and Accessories
The Five-SeveN has a sleek and almost futuristic look to it. It comes in either an all-black finish or a tan frame and black slide (my personal favorite).
The rail can be outfitted with a flashlight and aftermarket night sights are available for purchase as well.
Threaded barrels do exist for this gun and I can only imagine what a great time it would be shoot suppressed.
Practicality – Good for Personal Defense?
The 5.7x28mm cartridge was designed to meet a goal and in that role it is unequaled – but the Cold War is over and the need for armor penetration in an EDC is limited at best.
There is quite a bit of debate surrounding the topic of whether the Five-SeveN can be used as an effective carry gun.
The 5.7x28mm bullets, like “standard” AR-rifle ammunition, aren’t designed to expand like traditional hollow points. When they hit organic targets, they tend to fragment or tumble end over end, thereby creating a similar effect of making a bigger hole in the target.
On the pro side, it is extremely lightweight, has a decently heavy trigger pull and safety, very high magazine capacity, and effective stopping power.
Looking at the cons we have expensive to shoot ammo that is only available in FMJ, and the high possibility of over penetration due to such a fast round.
As with most things, it is a personal choice as to whether this is a viable carry gun or just a fun range toy to make your friends jealous. However, we tend to be on the side of the fence that says there are Better Options for Full-Size EDC.
By the Numbers
Nice grip texture, super lightweight, but an oddly shaped grip could be uncomfortable for some.
Better than most handguns, especially at longer ranges.
I had no issues with it jamming, ever. After doing some research I did not conclude that there were any known reliability issues and NATO testing definitely backs up the effectiveness of the round.
This category is lacking a bit because the gun is not very common and the design is unique. It might just be better to leave it as it comes from the factory and trust FN’s creative design.
I like the almost futuristic and very sleek look, but it does not necessarily look special, especially for the price.
This is the real kicker. The actual gun is expensive and so is the ammo. While it could make a great splurge purchase, it is not exactly a cheap plinker.
Really the only downside to this gun is the price, not only out the door of your FFL but also in trying to keep it fed. There is also the fact that although 5.7x28mm was a perfect solution the problem it was designed for – there just isn’t much of a need for it currently.
But, if you have the money and the desire, it will always turn heads at the range.
If you have the chance to shoot a Five-SeveN, you should. It is unlike any gun I have ever shot and is truly a remarkable weapon.
The unicorn of the polymer pistol world is definitely not for everyone but has surely caught the attention of many. An amazing combination of a lightweight frame, high-speed but low recoil round, and loud bang come together to make the FN Five-SeveN noteworthy and intriguing.
Evaluating Guncrafter Industries’ Model No. 4 50 GI
Story and photographs by Oleg Volk
Handguns are almost always inferior to riﬂes in terms of accuracy and stopping power. Since defensive ﬁghting usually happens up close, those qualities are important, but casual carrying of long guns is not socially acceptable in much of the world. The solution is to use the most powerful handgun that’s still practical for unsupported ﬁring. Guncrafter Industries Model No. 4 Hunting pistol attempts to create exactly that kind of weapon by combining 6 inches of barrel with a .50-caliber bore, the largest legally possible without National Firearms Act paperwork. That way, the projectile already has an impressive frontal area, 23 percent wider than .45 ACP, and 15 percent higher velocity for the same 230-grain bullet weight. For hog hunting use, slower but much denser 300-grain bullets are available. While less energetic than a hot 10mm auto load, the 50 GI is more efficient by not having to use as much of the kinetic energy to expand the projectile.
The 50 GI accomplishes all that with the pressure of only 15,000 pounds per square inch. With the 6-inch barrel, especially, it gives much-reduced muzzle blast compared to other powerful defensive chamberings intended to supplant .45 ACP. While the case has a rebated rim like .50 AE, it’s straight rather than tapered. Seven cartridges ﬁt a regular 1911 magazine.
Recoil was the same as with a standard .45 ACP Government model, and the pistol showed impressive practical accuracy. Fired at the rate of about a shot per second, Model 4 gave one inch dispersion at 10 yards with all four loads. The sights as supplied were regulated for 230-grain HP and 300-grain JFP ammunition, with 185-grain HP hitting slightly lower and a 275-grainer an inch higher. At 25 yards, the groups predictably scaled to 2.5 inches, which is quite good for a ﬁghting pistol with iron sights. The combination of plain rear sights and tritium front worked well in moderate light, with the eye focusing on the vial with ease. With the long slide providing a nice forward balance, the sights returned on target readily. Overall weight is only a couple of ounces more than a regular M1911. The pistol is available in a wide variety of ﬁnishes and with various sight options.
Magazines required a good smack to seat on a closed slide when full, and dropped free when empty. The textured slide release worked well, so that I didn’t even bother with dropping the slide with the weak hand. The degree of texturing was sufficient for retention, not enough to abrade the hands. Unlike .357 Coonan, the Model 4 in 50 GI didn’t require conscious wrestling back out of recoil. It shot like any other 1911, with the sole difference of delivering a greater impact downrange. The report was not noticeably different. The muzzle ﬂash was not visible in daylight.
DEAD FOOT ARMS
So for the cost of dropping the full capacity from 8+1 to 7+1, it is possible to get a well behaved but more powerful weapon with the familiar form factor. The only down side I found has been the price: the pistol lists for a bit over $4,100, magazines are $50 each, and the ammunition runs $30 to $50 per 20-round box. I plan on talking to a couple of manufacturers to see if cheaper target ammunition may be developed for practice. AmSJ
Although the Ruby pistol became a procurement nightmare, it nevertheless armed French troops and scores of others throughout World War I and beyond.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY ROB REED
The Spanish “Ruby” pistol is the result of France’s desperate need for arms in the early days of the Great War. By 1915, much of the French industrial heartland was under German control, and what remained under allied control was producing critically needed material such as riﬂes, machine guns, and artillery. As the conﬂict grew beyond even the most pessimistic expectations, the sheer volume of troops sent into battle literally exhausted the meager stores of small arms. To meet this rising demand for pistols for the trenches, the French contracted with the Spanish ﬁrm of Gabilondo y Urresti-Eibar for their Ruby semiauto pistol.
The Ruby made use of a prewar design largely copied (without license) from the Browning Model 1903. Among the changes are the deletion of the grip safety and a relocation of the manual safety closer to the trigger guard. The resulting Ruby is a direct blowback pistol chambered in 7.65 (.32 ACP). The pistol features an internal hammer and a frame-mounted safety that goes down for “FIRE.” The original magazine capacity was nine rounds.
The original contract called for the ﬁrm to produce 10,000 pistols a month, but the insatiable French demand for handguns saw the production numbers increased in stages until the incredible target of 50,000 pistols a month was set.
THIS IS WHERE THE STORY of the Ruby gets messy. Since Gabilondo y Urresti-Eibar could not hope to meet that production quota, they licensed out manufacture of the pistol to other companies. Although only four other manufacturers were originally contracted to produce the pistol, the ﬁrm eventually partnered with seven companies to meet French demand.
At the same time, French purchasing agents were individually contracting with other Spanish ﬁrearms makers to also produce the guns. By the time all the contracts were signed, roughly 50 companies were producing the pistol, either for Gabilondo y Urresti-Eibar or directly for the French. Soon, multiple companies (both legally and otherwise) were producing the pistol across the continent, making it a truly European weapon.
The result was chaos. The quality of the pistols produced varied widely from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some were good, others substandard, while others yet were simply unsafe to ﬁre. At ﬁrst the French tested every pistol, but soon went to batchlot testing instead. Even among the pistols deemed acceptable to issue, problems would arise after the guns broke in with use. Some references list the expected service life of the Ruby at only 500 rounds.
As you can imagine, parts interchangeability – so vital for a service weapon – was lost as the number of manufacturers involved grew. Parts and magazines from one manufacturer would not work in another manufacturer’s pistol, and often parts would not interchange even within pistols made by the same manufacturer. Features such as barrel length and magazine capacity also varied from source to source as different manufacturers put their own spin on the design.
All in all, the Ruby became a textbook example of what not to do for small arms weapon procurement.
Still, the pistols were desperately needed, and almost as fast as they were produced they were sent to the front to be engulfed in the horrors of trench warfare. Records show that the French military had accepted an estimated 700,000 to 900,000 pistols by war’s end.
The large number of pistols produced has made the Ruby available in the U.S. collector’s market for decades. Some came home as souvenirs after WWI or WWII, while others found their way across the ocean in various import lots over time. The modern U.S. collector is unlikely to know the exact origin of his pistol, as many were imported prior to import marks became mandatory in 1968.
ALTHOUGH I’VE NEVER OWNEDa Ruby pistol, I’ve had several opportunities to ﬁre them. Their best attribute is their simplicity. Unlike other pistols from the same time frame they are a “modern” design with a one-piece slide and breechblock and what we would consider conventional controls. The safety lever is relatively easy to use, as is the European-style heel mag release. The pistol does not have a slide stop/slide release. On some examples I have seen, a rivet was installed to keep the safety from moving to the “safe” position. My understanding is that this is a postWWI French military modiﬁcation.
The gun in the accompanying photos is an actual Gabilondo y Urresti-Eibar-produced pistol and owned by a friend. Recently, I was able to fire several magazines of modern-production .32 ACP FMJ through this particular pistol. Surprisingly (based on reputation alone), the pistol fired 100 percent of the time, with no misfires, failures to feed, or failures to eject. This is not always the case with these little pistols as, in addition to their hurried manufacture, they have by now seen an additional 100 years of often hard use. Obviously, it is important to have a qualified gunsmith check out any Ruby-type pistol before attempting to fire it. Besides the original manufacturing issues listed above, other problems may have arisen in the decades since these pistols were produced.
The condition of the original magazine is especially important, as a bad feed lip or worn-out springs will cause problems. Since most pistols only come with one mag, and magazine interchangeability is spotty at best, a bad mag can deadline an otherwise functional pistol.
The tiny sights make the pistols better suited for point shooting than precise aimed ﬁre. The combination of the steel frame and low-powered .32 ACP cartridge reduces the felt recoil considerably. I was not able to bench test this particular pistol, but we were able to keep a full magazine inside a paper plate out to 10 yards. Accuracy began to drop considerably at 25 yards, and the best either of us could do was to keep about half the shots on a plate at that distance. The tiny sights and gritty trigger on this particular pistol made us work for even those results.
Although not rare by any means, except in certain variants, the Ruby pistol remains an interesting historical artifact. And even though it was hurried into production to meet insatiable wartime needs, the gun I tested still functioned as intended a century after it was produced. If nothing else, shooting a Ruby pistol is a way to make a tangible connection to the time when the French struggled to survive during “the war to end all wars.” AmSJ
Here’s a review from Youtuber Forest Firearms used as a pocket pistol.
Better question, do you know about all the options available to help carry extra ammunition?
Even better question, do you understand the differences between the different styles and brands of CCW mag holders?
If you don’t know, I have good news…
We are going to explore the idea of carrying extra ammo and the practical considerations of a concealed carry magazine holder, including what features a mag holder has to have to be a great addition to your carry lineup.
We are also going to suggest a few of our favorite methods of carrying an extra mag or two, and where to buy them to best save your hard-earned dollars
Now, you six gun guys and gals may be feeling a little left out, but don’t worry!
I get it, I really do, but today we are focusing on the folks who carry automatics. Your time will come, and we’ll discuss practical carry of extra ammunition for six gunners soon, but for now, let’s see talk about mag holders.
Why You Need One
Carrying a semi-automatic is generally the more popular option for concealed carriers. With little effort, you can carry a relatively substantial amount of ammunition in a tiny package.
One of the other main benefits of this is, of course, the ability to rapidly reload should you need to
Now, to be completely realistic the likelihood of ever needing to reload your firearm in a defensive situation is very, very low. Clear statistics aren’t really out there, but there is a general consensus that the majority of defensive firearms uses do not involve extensive gunfights.
However, the likelihood of ever really having to pull your firearm is low in the first place.
With this in mind, we all still conceal carry – correct? We carry because it’s a right, and because if we ever fall into that statistical outlier of being in a violent situation we want a means to defend ourselves.
With that in mind, I’ve always found it bizarre that half the gun community seems to think to carry an extra magazine makes you are a mall ninja.
Yes, it is superbly unlikely I’ll ever need an extra magazine. However, it’s superbly unlikely that I, a normal, law-abiding, reluctantly-tax-paying citizen will ever need my gun, but I carry it anyways.
The same goes for an extra magazine. Maybe it’s just from my time as a Machine Gunner in the Marine Corps, but more ammo is always better than less ammo in my simple grunt mind.
That Other Reason
The other big reason to carry an extra magazine is in case of malfunctions.
First and foremost, magazines fail. Some more than others, but it can and does happen. In a situation where you have a magazine malfunction, you don’t have time to try and fix the magazine.
Drop it and reload with your spare.
An extra magazine makes it easier to recover from a malfunction and to get back into the fight and can aid in clearing nearly any complicated malfunction.
If you get a complicated malfunction like a double feed, the best thing to do to remedy the situation is to remove the magazine to clear the malfunction.
It’s quicker to drop the magazine, clear the malfunction, and then reload with a fresh mag. Plus you now have more rounds on tap.
Carrying an extra magazine isn’t hard, it’s much easier than trying to carrying a gun, and not that much different than carrying a pocket knife. Since most guns come with two or more mags anyway it just seems like common sense to carry one extra.
The 5 Desirable Features of a CCW Mag Holder
Concealed carry mag holders, like holsters, are available at really any quality and price point. Some out there are better suited for range use, or to use when shooting airsoft guns. Others are better suited for tactical use.
In the middle somewhere we have CCW mag holders designed for concealed carry. There are 5 features I think every CCW mag holder needs to have to be effective and worth the money.
Easy to Conceal
The key to a CCW mag holder is the big C in CCW. C being concealed of course. Your magazine pouch needs to be easy to conceal.
There are a few options for concealed carry and follow most holster configurations. This includes IWB, OWB, and pocket carry methods. Some systems are more suited for duty belts and are often wider, and easier to access for sure.
However, when worn on the belt they tend to print a helluva lot more than a purpose-built concealed carry magazine pouch. Typically a pocket or IWB option is naturally very easy to conceal carry.
A concealable OWB option is typically designed to be held tight to the body and can ride high if worn vertically. Horizontal is another concealed carry option with OWB that’s a bit odd, but extremely effective.
The last thing you want to happen while carrying an extra mag is for the pouch to break. Especially if you spent hard earned money on it. Concealed carry mag pouches are exposed to everything you are exposed to.
This includes your sweat, rain, varying temperatures, as well as tons of movement, vibration, and stress. So you want to buy one that’s made to last, from a material that’s resistant to these stressors.
The best materials are generally leather and polymers, but a few high-quality synthetic cloth materials options out there.
Ease of Use
Ease of use generally refers to how easy it is to draw the magazine from the pouch. This has to do more with what standard the user is willing to train to. If you want an active retention device you’ll have to train to overcome it.
You’ll need a model that is appropriately sized for your handguns magazine. Take a look at these Glock magazines. They are the same width, but of course, one is way longer than the other.
If your magazine is too long the weight of the ammunition will make it unstable, and easily fall out of the pouch. If it’s too short it will be nearly impossible to remove the magazine with ease. So remember to find an appropriately sized magazine pouch.
We mentioned retention a little above, and there are two types of retention, active and passive. Active retention means there is a physical device you have to defeat to access your magazine. Passive retention means the magazine is retained without an active device.
With CCW mag holders the only real retention device is an overhead flap. These are typically secured via a button and hold the magazine in place effortlessly. The mag is highly unlikely to accidentally fall out of this style pouch.
The downsides to active retention holsters are they are slower to utilize and take more training time to learn to effectively use.
Passive retention is most often friction based. The magazine pouches are slightly smaller than the magazine, but can still fit the magazine. The tension and friction from the magazine pouch keep it in place.
Passive retention devices are easier to use and are often sufficient to retain the magazine. It is more likely you’ll drop a magazine, but still unlikely with a well-made mag pouch.
When it comes to passive retention it’s critical you choose a magazine pouch designed for the magazine you are using. Glock 19 magazines, for example, are wider than CZ 75 magazines. So you need to pay attention to the width of the magazine the mag pouch is aimed at, or passive retention is useless.
Lastly, like any gun holster, a mag pouch needs to be comfortable while being carried concealed. Sharp corners and abrasive materials are a big no-go, as are ill-placed seams. You need something comfortable if you are going to be carrying it tight to your body.
If it’s not comfortable then you won’t carry it. If you don’t carry it, it’s worthless.
IWB, OWB or Pocket?
So there are three main ways to carry an extra magazine. Just like a firearm, you can carry it inside the waistband (IWB), outside the waistband (OWB) and Pocket carry. There are additional options, like the mag pouches built into certain shoulder holsters or attached to IWB Appendix holsters.
Today, however, we are going to talk about the magazine pouches that are independent of holsters. The most common CCW Mag holders are the styles listed above.
IWB magazine holders offer the most concealment, especially mag pouches that can be worn with a tucked in shirt. These are called tuckable options. Since they sit in the waistband they often have incredibly effective passive retention devices.
The downsides to IWB carry is a lot of people find it uncomfortable in general. I’m incredibly picky about IWB carry and only trust a few companies to really give me a comfortable option. That might just be the price I pay for a tactical fat guy.
Your mileage may vary.
OWB is my preferred style of concealing an extra ammo pouch, and my gun, and my knife. I find it to be the most comfortable and quickest to access. Of course, to do so I have to say goodbye to a tucked in shirt.
Outside the waistband, carry is the most popular option for magazine pouches and what you’ll traditionally find the most options in. OWB options need to be made to conceal since many are made for tactical applications.
You’ll also find both active and passive retention choices in this category. As far as I’m aware this is the only category that features active retention options.
Like a handgun, you don’t want to throw a magazine in your pocket and call it a day. The dirt, grime, and lint in your pocket will make you instantly regret that decision. It’ll gum a magazine up pretty fast without a popper pocket carry mag pouch.
This method of carrying is gaining steam due to convenience. Unlike a handgun, almost all magazines can be pocket carried. There are a wide variety of pocket carry options and it’s a very comfortable way to carry.
The downside being reaching into your pocket is not as always possible in some positions. Trying to dig into my left-hand pocket while kneeling simply isn’t gonna happen.
Some Modest Selections
If you are looking to for a concealed carry mag holder I have a few suggestions. I’ll suggest specific models, but the companies I’m suggesting in general produce very high-quality mag pouches, so feel free to explore the other options they produce.
Gould and Goodrich
If you are a classic leather lover you can’t go wrong with Gould and Goodrich. They produce awesome holsters and awesome magazine pouches. They do have a focus on OWB mag pouches and offer models with both active and passive retention.
For Concealed carry, I’d suggest the Gold Line Single Mag case. This leather mag pouch is very versatile and comes with an adjustable tension device that will allow you to carry almost any double stack magazine. This is an OWB device and is cut low enough to access a compact magazine.
This simple little case is quite affordable, easy to use, and simplistic.
The Blue Force Gear Ten-Speed Single Mag Pouch
I as a rule generally stay away from most synthetic cloth based anything when it comes to concealed carry. I’m not a big fan of universal nylon gear. However, Blue Force Gear does it right with just about everything they do, so I trust them.
Blue Force Gear Belt Mounted Ten-Speed Pistol Magazine Pouch
Their Ten Speed Single Mag pouch is made from a combination of ULTRAcomp and ten speed elastic. The Elastic front allows you to utilize nearly any magazine, be it a single stack, or a double stack.
It’s an OWB option and can be worn vertically or horizontally. Horizontal carry is very easy to conceal, and quite intuitive once you train with it. Blue Force Gear makes great stuff and this CCW Mag holder is no different.
Desantis Mag Pack
Desantis makes some pretty awesome pocket holsters for guns. When in my day job work attire I utilize one to conceal carry my little Walther. The Desantis Mag pack is made from the same synthetic material they make their holsters from.
This material is textured to keep it in the pocket when you draw the magazine from. This mag pouch fills your front pocket and presents the magazines at an excellent angle for easy drawing. The Desantis Mag pouch is also quite affordable, and the design naturally breaks up the outline of the magazine.
Carrying a little extra ammunition isn’t a difficult thing to do. With the right mag pouch, it’s comfortable, easy to do, and concealable. Just remember, like a holster you want a quality option, not the cheapest option.
If you’re want to learn more about CCW, take a look at ourDefinitive CCW Guidefor all of our reviews and recommendations.
We want to hear from you, do you carry spare ammunition? If not why? If you do, how do you carry it?
Choosing a spot to carry your gun is almost as important as the gun you carry. When it comes to choosing a concealed carry location, the ideal place for you is where ever you have easy access to at the time.
I know that kind of sounds confusing, but one location isn’t an end all be all for carrying a gun.
Being able to access your gun quickly depends on the situation, the place you’re in, and what you are wearing. What I mean is, if you are in a vehicle and have to draw your weapon, would it be easier to access your CCW if it was on your hip versus at the 6 position?
If you are wearing clothing that’s more form-fitting, it’s harder to hide a concealed carry weapon. In these cases, you might want to look into an off body carry. While the most common place is on your hip or by your kidney, take a look at some of the other options as we go through and see if they may be better for you depending on your day-to-day activities.
We’re going to cover 9 of the most essential carrying positions and our favorite holster for each. If you’d like more choices once you narrow down your position, check out Best Holsters.
Around The Clock: 1, 3, and 4-6 O’Clock
Carry positions around the waist are usually referred to by the location on a clock face. For example, if you’re carrying on a hip, this would be referred to as the 3 o’clock position. That being said, all of these positions have two options.
Option 1: Outside Waistband (OWB) Carry
There different levels of holsters for your OWB carry depending on where along your body you are going to carry. The 3-9 o’clock positions are where you’ll usually see an OWB holster.
IWB is probably the most common concealed carry choice. Because it’s inside your waistband, you can get holsters that allow for you to tuck in your shirt which hides the weapon even more.
Placing the holster and weapon inside your waistband lets you carry at pretty much any position around your waist. This opens up the door for an appendix carry, which is in front of your hips and off to one side. The appendix carry offers a very quick draw, but if you have a larger weapon, it can make it uncomfortable to sit or squat.
A belly band is an ideal carry option for those of you who don’t have a belt. This could be your wearing basketball shorts, or you are out running and don’t have the option for a belt or off-body carry.
At first, I wasn’t too sold on a belly band. To be honest, it kind of reminded me of a girdle. However, they’re surprisingly comfortable especially if you have a smaller concealed carry gun. If your gun is a little heavier, like a compact or a subcompact with a double stack magazine, it might not be the easiest weapon of choice to wear when being active.
If you have a smaller gun, like a bodyguard 380 or an LCP, you can easily wear a belly band and have your full range of motion and an easily accessible CCW in case your life is threatened.
To ankle carry your CCW, you’ll need a specialized holster. Typically these holsters have some sort of fur inside, often rabbit fur. The holster is securely attached is around your ankle and lower calf. Obviously, you’ll have to wear pants that are a little looser fitting when choosing an ankle carry.
The ankle carry option offers you a unique opportunity. It frees up your shirt choice to anything you’d like, and you don’t have to have a belt either.
Another benefit of an ankle carry is that if somebody comes up from behind and knocks you down, it’s much easier to reach for your ankle in many cases than it is to grab a gun that’s behind you in the 4 or 5 o’clock position. It’s also less likely that someone will try and grab your gun from you if they see it.
Carrying your CCW in your pocket is another common option. Many of the smaller guns like a .380 or .22 will fit easily along with a holster into a front pocket. Well, the draw it is a little trickier, you can carry a weapon in many more circumstances than you might have with an IWB carry.
If you think a pocket carry option is right for you, look into some of the holsters available. Many times there are generic holsters that fit a specific caliber or shape weapon.
These holsters have a stickier material on the outside of the holster and a slicker material on the inside to make the draw quicker. Something to practice with a pocket draw is pulling out just the gun and not the holster and the gun then needing to remove it from the holster before you can use it.
I’m sure you’ve seen a shoulder harness before on TV. Many times detectives, police, and government agents will have a single or dual shoulder rig. This puts the weapon on the opposing side of your body because you’ll have to draw across your body.
So if you’re right handed your shoulder rig will put the gun on the left side of your body that way you reach into your coat or shirt or whatever the case, and draw the weapon. This can be an extremely quick draw, but it’s very obvious draw as well.
Some bras are made with holsters built in. Some fit more like a standard bra with the holster typically situated between and under the breasts, while others fit like a sports bra with the holster on the side, under the arm. There are also specialty holsters that can be affixed to most regular bras, though many multipurpose holsters with loops will also work with most bras.
The quickest access holsters have the gun horizontal below the bra. This allows you to pull up your shirt a little, reach up, and draw the weapon quickly. There are videos from manufacturers showing a pretty consistent 1.6-second draw and shoot times from under various style shirts.
This carry option is predominantly used by women but is an underrated choice for men as well. While most people think of thigh carry with skirts or dresses, it can also work with loose shorts.
A thigh carry holster is meant for a smaller weapon like a 380. You could probably get away with small 9mm, but it would depend on the weapon. In most cases, thigh holsters are used because there’s no pockets or firm waistband. Using a thigh holster also keeps the weapon on you, unlike an off the body carry in a purse or something similar.
Off the body carry options are plentiful and have their own set of considerationsand training needed to use them successfully. When you have a weapon in something like a backpack, you need to keep that backpack on or near you at all times. Otherwise, it’s like setting your gun on a counter and walking away.
Specially made binders or art portfolios that have concealed carry provisions.
For me, I consider having a gun in your center console or glove box to be in off the body carry as well. You don’t want to just toss a non-holstered weapon in your glove box because you never know what will happen. If you have some way to mount a holster into your glove box or console, it’s much more preferable.
Choosing where to carry is a personal preference. If you like an ankle carry or OWB, go for it. There’s no need to be uncomfortable just to make sure you have a gun on you, there are a lot of options. You can try a few to see what works best for your daily activities.
Are you a jogger? Then I’d recommend a belly band and a small 9mm or 380. They are light and comfortable. Do you wear a suit with a jacket all day? How about out a shoulder harness, ankle holster or a horizontal OWB holster at the 6 o’clock position?
The place you carry isn’t as important as the fact that you are carrying.
Greeley, PA – Kahr Arms is happy to announce that three of their popular CW9 9mm models are now California legal. These models include the CW9 in a Black Carbon Fiber frame, standard CW9 with front night sight and the very popular Cerakote Burnt Bronze.
The three CW9 models all feature a 3.6” barrel with conventional rifling, an overall length of 5.9”, and a height of 4.5” and each pistol weighs just 15.8 oz. All three models offer a trigger cocking DAO, lock-breach, “Browning-type” recoil lug, and a passive striker block with no magazine disconnect. Capacity is 7+1.
The attractive CW9093BCF is one of Kahr’s newest finishes in a classic Black Carbon Fiber print. This textured weave provides a 3-D dimensional appearance to the 9mm while also providing a textured grip that has a tacky feel in your hand. MSRP on the CW9093BCF is $495.00.
Next in the line-up is the CW9093N which features a stainless steel slide and a black polymer frame. It also features a drift adjustable white bar-dot combat rear sight and a pinned in polymer front night sight. MSRP on this model is $495.00.
Last in the group is the CW9093BB. The Cerakote Burnt Bronze has been a popular finish for Kahr Firearms Group having introduced it in both the Kahr and Magnum Research product lines. The attractive brushed bronze finish always turns a few heads at the gun range and has proven to be the top choice of many shooting enthusiasts. The MSRP on that model is $482 and is now available for California gun dealers to buy from authorized Kahr Firearms Group wholesalers.
For more information about these three models, please go to www.kahr.com or check with your local gun shop.
While the price has not yet been set for this little gun, we can tell you that the PAK1’s barrels are interchangeable with other Heizer Defense pistols chambered in .223 Rem. and .45 Long Colt/.410 bore.