This is the week of the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade) Show, where the lion’s share of new guns for the given year are introduced. I was scheduled to be there and had to cancel at the last minute, darn it, but fortunately lots of news is emerging from there daily on the blogosphere.
The new .17 caliber Savage rifle is the first semiautomatic I’ve seen so chambered. For the shooter who has lots of small, fast varmints and therefore needs rapid delivery of small, fast bullets, this sounds most promising. For hunting deer and such, I’m intrigued to learn that “the Christiansen Arms .308 with its carbon fiber barrel has almost no recoil, yet it weighs just six pounds, and its titanium muzzle brake does an outstanding job of keeping muzzle rise to almost nothing.”
The SHOT Show is in Las Vegas, and if I was there and they were taking bets on such things, I’d put my money down that the single best-selling new introduction mentioned in the dispatch from the front linked above will be Ruger’s drop-in trigger assembly for the incredibly popular 10/22 rifle. Said to be light and sweet, affordable and easy to drop in, it’s going to be a huge hit with target shooters of all types. I expect a lot of them to show up at the great Appleseed events, which we at Backwoods Home enthusiastically support.
One trend American gun dealers will see next week at their biggest trade show, the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, will be new 10mm Auto pistols by major makers.
The 10mm semiautomatic has a lot in common with the .41 Magnum revolver. Each had big name proponents behind it. Elmer Keith and Bill Jordan were the ones who convinced Smith & Wesson and Remington to come out with the .41 Mag circa 1964; it was promoted as the coming thing in police service revolvers; it turned out to be too large and powerful to catch on there, but became a “niche” cartridge that held great appeal for hunters and enthusiasts.
Whit Collins and Jeff Cooper were credited with bringing the 10mm Auto cartridge to life in the 1980s, and it was predicted to become the new paradigm of police service pistols. It didn’t…but “civilian” handgunners, particularly outdoor sportsmen, loved its ballistic potential combined with auto-pistol round count and shootability, and there it found its niche.
This year, SIG-Sauer is bringing out their excellent P220 all steel double action pistol in 10mm, both in service size (4.4” barrel) for general carry, and a long-slide (5” barrel) for those who want maximum velocity and/or sight radius. The 10mm P220 was pioneered as a custom item by master shooter and gunsmith Bruce Gray, whom I had the privilege of shooting with on the HK factory competition team back thirty-some years ago.
Glock has announced their G40, which will be their sixteen-shot 10mm Glock 20 of 1990, but with a longer, slimmer slide and 5.3” barrel, identical in appearance to the .45 caliber Glock 41 introduced a year ago. And mainstream ammo-maker Federal has joined small boutique ammo-makers like Buffalo Bore and CorBon in offering specific 10mm hunting loads.
The rationale for the outdoorsman is that, delivering ballistics between .357 Magnum and .41 Magnum revolvers but with way more than six shots, the 10mm with a deep-driving bullet gives more of a fighting chance against large bears, and perhaps faster follow-up shots on big feral hogs.
I’ve long been a fan of the 10mm concept, and I’m glad to see it making something of a comeback. My only complaint is the name Glock gave their new one. The company has long been overdue to make a factory .22 conversion unit for their popular pistols. Since the Glock 22 of 1990 is .40 caliber, it would have seemed “fair and balanced” for a .22 caliber version to be the Glock 40…
Correction, 1/21/15: Oops, the barrel length on the Glock 40 10mm is six inches, not 5.3. Sorry about that– Mas
Feeling a desperate need for something upbeat in this column in light of recent news, and bearing in mind that this is a firearms column at a website that celebrates traditional American values, it seems time to ask…
What’s for Christmas?
Under the tree for my significant other are a couple of Glocks. One is a G37 in .45 GAP (yes, there’ll be a case of ammo with it) for the large-bore Heavy Metal division she wants to try at the Glock shoots which seem to be her favorite shooting sport right now. She has frequently come in high female (and recently, high non-Master) in the similar Major Sub division, shooting a .45 ACP Glock 30SF that’s a bit big for her smaller hands. Since stock format guns have to be used, she’ll benefit from the 37’s smaller grip girth. The other is a .40 caliber G23 RTF2, the variation with gill-shaped slide grooves and very Rough Textured Finish on the grip area. She fell in love with the RTF2 treatment on a full-size 9mm Glock 17 and wanted the same format, one size down, for carry. The 9mm Glock 19 in that format is unbelievably scarce, and while a distributor has brought out a limited run with the RTF2 grip treatment, inspired by the great Larry Vickers, it lacks the gilled slide that she’s become fond of. Thanks to the good offices of my gun dealer buddy Ernie Traugh at Cedar Valley Outfitters in Marion, Iowa, I was able to score a 23 RTF2, and given how well she handles a .45, I expect her to wield the .40 with aplomb.
And she, bless her, got me a canopy for the shooting bench at my often rain-swept shooting range.
What guns (or gun-related stuff) are you hoping to receive? What gifts in that vein will you be giving to others? And why did you make those particular choices?
Please share here. Your comments may inspire another reader who has one of those hard-to-buy-for shooters (or potential shooters) on their Christmas list.
I recently passed through Waco, Texas and had a chance to kick one more item off the bucket list: a visit to the Texas Ranger Museum there.
As a little boy in the 1950s one of my favorite TV shows was “Tales of the Texas Rangers.” I can’t remember a single plot-line now, but I do recall the strong emphasis on old-fashioned ideals of justice…and I thought it was pretty cool that each Ranger carried a pair of fancy Smith & Wessons.
Live and learn: I hadn’t known until the visit that some two dozen Texas Rangers died at the Alamo in 1836.
I expect the many horsemen and horsewomen among the Backwoods Home readership would have spent more time than I did on the fabulous display of saddles. In my case, the only bronco I ever owned was a Ford product. As you might imagine, I spent more time among the impressive gun collection.
These brave men started out with single-shot muzzle-loaders for both their rifles and handguns, which shows how far back the organization goes. They were the first to use revolvers, the Patterson Colt of 1836. Its rapid fire capability proved to be a force multiplier, and Ranger Samuel Walker convinced Samuel Colt to make a larger and more powerful one, the legendary Walker Colt .44. In the latter 1800s, they all but standardized on the Colt Single Action Army revolver and the lever-action Winchester rifle, and when the more powerful box magazine 1895 model came out, they flocked to them so fast that they are prevalent in pictures of Rangers during that period.
The Texas Rangers may also have been the first law enforcement agency to (unofficially) adopt the Colt 1911 semiautomatic pistol as soon as it came out, and it remains hugely popular among the Rangers even today.
Even before that, they were buying semiautomatic rifles as soon as they were introduced, the Winchester 1907 and the Remington Model 8 which dates back to 1906. While today’s Rangers are issued .357 SIGs and 5.56mm autoloading rifles, they still follow the tradition of carrying privately-owned, department approved handguns, and the 1911 remains a trademark of the Rangers.
More than perhaps any other agency, the culture of the Rangers encouraged fancy, personalized weapons. Perhaps it was an extension of their historical emphasis on individuality as a means of encouraging superior performance.
In Rifle, one of my favorite gun magazines, I always enjoy reading Terry Wieland’s thoughtful column, “Walnut Hill.” In the May 2014 issue, he cited an important quote from a great authority on firearms, Bob Hagel.
The quote was, “You should not carry a rifle that will do the job when everything goes right; you should have one that works when everything goes wrong.”
Words to live by, and they don’t apply just to rifles.
It’s looking as if the FBI is going to scale down from .40 caliber Glocks to 9mm, starting next year. The 9mm has long been approved as an option for agents, and a recommended one for those who find the recoil of the .40 too difficult to manage in training and qualification, even though .40 Glocks have been standard issue for the Bureau since the late 1990s. The .45 caliber Glock 21, if privately purchased, is also approved, and I can think offhand of at least three agents I know who carry them, all “gun guys.” I hope that option remains for field agents if and when the Bureau goes to 9mm as its primary caliber.
It comes at a time when, as discussed here, there’s a push in the military to go back to .45 from the 9mm that has been standard issue for most elements since the mid-1980s. Non-expanding ball ammo being the norm for military pistols, I can certainly see the .45 argument: it’s what I’d definitely prefer if I suffered under the same limitations of bullet configuration. With law enforcement hollow points, current ammo has made the 9mm a much more viable defensive choice than it used to be. Of course, the same new designs make .40 S&W and .45 ACP more potent than they used to be, too.
Lower ammo cost, and smaller rounds allowing more cartridges on board, favor the 9mm over the .45 in a pistol, and the 5.56mm over 7.62mm in the rifle. Yet if there’s time for only one shot – whether it’s the winter venison or your own life that’s at stake – all of a sudden, more powerful cartridges seem more comforting.
Each of us has to assess our needs and our abilities, balance them, and make the right decision.