Gun News

Happy Birthday Teddy: Theodore Roosevelt’s Personal M1903 Rifle

General Gun News - Fri, 10/25/2019 - 05:17

President Theodore Roosevelt was a statesman and soldier, but also a conservationist and noted sportsman with an interest in fine firearms. (Photo: Library of Congress)

As President and popular war hero, Theodore Roosevelt was one of the first in line to get one of the Army’s new M1903 rifles– but wanted it his way. With that, in honor of the 26th President’s 161st birthday this weekend, we take a look at one of his most interesting firearms.

Roosevelt, who earned perhaps a greater legend as a hunter and conservationist than any other American, had by 1903 led the New York City Police Department, been governor of the Empire State, was Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and had famously helped recruit and lead a regiment of volunteers up San Juan (Kettle) Hill in the Spanish-American War. At age 42, he became the youngest president in history– a record that remains today, after already filling the position of vice-president.

Roosevelt had a life-long love of hunting– shown above with a Winchester lever gun– and had resigned his post as assistant secretary of the Navy in 1898 to serve as a colonel in the Army during the Spanish American War, leading a volunteer cavalry regiment of cowboys and adventurers dubbed “The Rough Riders” into combat in Cuba. (Photos: Library of Congress)

As he had first-hand experience with the Army’s Krag .30-40 rifles in combat, and later became involved directly in the development of the new M1903 then being produced at Springfield Armory, it was natural that he moved to acquire one of these fine new bolt-action rifles for his own use in the field.

The M1903 Springfield in what eventually became .30-06 replaced a series of earlier Krag rifles made in the last days of the 19th Century which had proven unpopular in the Spanish-American War. The M1903 went on to serve in both World Wars with U.S. and allied forces. In the above photo, of the first issue version with the original bayonet, note the straight stock with no pistol grip. TR was no fan of the rod bayonet, writing the Secretary of War in 1905 to have it replaced, calling it “about as poor an invention as I ever saw.” (Photo: Springfield Armory)

In November 1903, TR reached out to Brig. Gen. William Crozier, then the Army’s Chief of Ordnance, including his personal rifle, for reference. The subject: getting a sporterized M1903 produced to spec.

“I have sent you over my Winchester rifle, so that you may have one of the new Springfield carbines made like it for me. I want the sights reproduced exactly. If necessary they can be obtained from the Winchester Company. I want the butt just like my present butt, only one inch shorter.” (Photo: National Archives)

The request and sample Winchester soon found their way to Springfield Armory where Col. Frank Phipps, then head of the historic facility, which dated to 1791, ran point on the project.

The trigger pull was set at 4.5-pounds. The top surface of the M1903 for the President was roughed to prevent glare in the field. A Lyman adjustable sight was fitted with a series of three different wedges sent back to the White House for review.

The stock was crafted from the Winchester design “of a very peculiar shape” to what would be described today as a Monte Carlo-style sporter, complete with checkering on the forearm and pistol grip and a cheek rest on the left side of the buttstock. Phipps wrote that “it required a great deal of care to manufacture.” A special commercial buttplate, with a cost of 40-cents, was attached.

Lacking a bayonet lug or attachment point, the rifle had a short blade front sight rather than the M1903’s taller one, and, as the forearm was cut down to expose the barrel, only a single band. The rifle was tested by one Mr. RT Hare, an expert marksman at the Armory with years of experience, and found to be accurate.

The custom M1903, with the bill, was sent back to the White House on February 1, 1904, with Phipps commenting to Crozier that, “I hope he will like the gun, and that it will prove satisfactory.”

Apparently, the rifle was a hit as it was promptly paid for by Roosevelt out of his pocket with check No. 1282, dated February 5, 1904, for $42.13. This amount, adjusted for inflation, is about $1,200 in today’s dollars. Of note, the standard Springfield M1903 of the day cost the government $11 apiece, which today is about $300– a bargain!

Crozier explained to the President, in a letter currently in the Dickinson State University’s Theodore Roosevelt Center, that Phipps, “took great interest in the gun and insured by his care and watchfulness that the material and workmanship should be the best.”

He was spotted with the rifle on at least two big game hunts, in 1905 in Colorado for bear, and a 1910 African safari.

“On the great bear hunt President Roosevelt after leaving Newcastle for the mountains, 1905 Colorado.” Note the Colonel, who was president at the time, is carrying the modified M1903 and is using a Spanish-American War-era military-issue Mills Cartridge belt to hold reloads. If a current U.S. president went on a bear hunt with a “military rifle” today’s press would go nuts! (Photo: Library of Congress)

Roosevelt on horseback, holding what looks to be the modified M1903 rifle. The man standing next to him is possibly his son, Kermit Roosevelt. The image was from a 1910 African safari. (Photo: Library of Congress)

The rifle today is preserved in the collection of the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, who graciously supplied with images of it in its current state.

Note that the rifle, SN 0009, and has a rear adjustable sight rather than the military ladder sight that was standard GI-issue. (Photo: Sagamore Hill National Historic Site)

Also, note the extensive oil-finished walnut and hand checkering. (Photo: Sagamore Hill National Historic Site)

As for the more standard GI-issue Springfield M1903, it remained in regular U.S. military service through World War II and still endures in small numbers as a line thrower as well as in ceremonial and drill use.  After all, it was good enough for the Bull Moose.

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Categories: Gun News

GDC Selects: 7 Rad 80s Action Movies and Their Guns

General Gun News - Fri, 10/25/2019 - 04:00


At we like to celebrate our favorite eras and genres as well as the guns that made them famous. Today, we’re headed back to big hair, shoulder pads and neons for a deeper dive into the top action movies from the 80s. Be careful, though, spoilers ahead.

7. Beverly Hills Cops: Browning Hi-Power

Eddie Murphy wields a Browning Hi-Power while searching for his friend’s killer. (Photo: Paramount Pictures via YouTube)


Eddie Murphy kicks off the list with the classic 80s movie that launched Murphy to stardom. Beverly Hills Cop sees Murphy as Detroit cop Axel Foley chasing down the murderer of his best friend in, you guessed it, Beverly Hills, California. Foley relies on his trust Browning Hi-Power to solve the crime. We first see the handgun appear around the 12-minute mark as he scouts for an intruder in his apartment. From there, the Browning Hi-Power makes its grand finale in a hail of gunfire in the big shootout scene near the end of the film.

6. Aliens: M41A Pulse Rifle and M56 Smart Gun

Ripley ultimately uses the M41A Pulse Rifle against a slew of aliens, including the biggest, baddest of them all. (Photo: 20th Century Fox via YouTube)

Bringing in some of the coolest sci-fi guns, director James Cameron’s classic showcases a variety of weaponry but the two that stand out the most are the M41A Pulse Rifle and iconic M56 Smart Gun.

The M41A Pulse Gun makes its grand entrance as Ripley attempts an escape. Stumbling across Mama Alien herself, Ripley uses the M41A Pulse Gun to let loose on the aliens. In a twist of irony, Ripely could have simply run from Big Mama but then we’d lose out on that epic battle scene.

The M56 Smart Gun uses a German MG42 construction with both the stock and grip removed. Rigged up to a Steadicam body mount, we get our first taste of the Smart Gun from Privates Vasquez and Drake around the 38-minute mark. From there, we have to wait another full 40 minutes before we see the gun in action taking out xenomorphs.

Special shout out to the Ithaca 37, another popular 80s gun that makes a cool close quarters appearance.

5. Lethal Weapon: Beretta 92 and Smith & Wesson Model 19

Riggs shows off his Beretta 92 at the range. (Photo: Warner Bros. via YouTube)


The first Christmas movie to grace the list, Lethal Weapon sees two of the biggest 80s stars, Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, star as LAPD Sergeants Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. Though this film features a variety of firearms, Riggs’ Beretta 92 and Murtaugh’s Smith & Wesson Model 19 take the cake. The Beretta 92 makes its first appearance during a drug deal gone south and eventually elicits the often quoted, “I’m getting too old for this shit,” from Murtaugh. The Beretta 92 flexes its muscles during the range scene where we see the Beretta take a chunk out of the paper target followed by an impressive smiley face tacked into the target by the 9mm bullets.

Murtaugh’s faithful and trusty 6-shooter, the Smith & Wesson Model 19, proves its reliability, later though, taking out the driver of the General’s car. Ultimately, this causes the car to crash and explode showing that all the fancy 9mms in the world can’t stack up against a good Hollywood explosion.

4. First Blood: M60

The M60 flexes its muscles in First Blood, even making its way onto the movie poster. (Photo: Orion Pictures)

First Blood is a pure action-driven flick starring Sylvester Stallone in the role of Vietnam veteran John Rambo. Though several guns come into play during the film, the one that most famously graced the movie poster is none other than the M60, a.k.a. The Pig.

Despite wreaking some serious havoc with The Pig, Rambo draws first blood with a rock. Launching the rock at a helicopter, he causes a sniper to fall to his death. At this point, he takes possession of a Winchester 88; however, he never really uses it. But who would when you could have an M60 at your disposal? The M60, itself, appears after Rambo hijacks a military truck. Using The Pig to knock the power out in town, Rambo uses lights-out to his tactical advantage.

Moral of this story: be kind to veterans and for God’s sake let a guy grab some lunch on his way out of town.

3. RoboCop: Auto 9

RoboCop taking first shots at the range with the Auto 9 — a futuristic take on the Beretta 93R. (Photo: Orion Pictures via YouTube)

From the opening title to talk of the Star Wars program and let’s not forget the laughable “Nuke Em” board game, everything about RoboCop screams the 80s. A film full of futurism, RoboCop employs Barretts lugged by bad guys, Aimpoint-style scopes and Sig Sauer 226 pistols; but the creme de la creme of this film is all in the Auto 9.

A modified Beretta 93R, the Auto 9 comes to Alex Murphy after his transformation into the hunk of man-metal known as Robocop. The cyborg uses the full-auto handgun to topple bad guy after bad guy, culminating into the action-packed battle scene where RoboCop takes on a factory filled with villains. Better yet, RoboCop pulls off some impressive gunfighting moves including the ubiquitous no-look shot. The film’s firearms culminate in a showdown between the Auto 9 and a Deagle wielding main boss. We’ll let you guess who comes out on top.

2. Terminator: SPAS-12, AMT Hardballer Longslide and Ithaca 37

Terminator takes aim with the AMT Hardballer Longslide. (Photo: Orion Pictures via YouTube)


A cinematic journey into 80s action flicks wouldn’t be complete without yet another cyborg on the list — of course, we’re talking about Terminator. The James Cameron directed Terminator catapulted the career of Austrian bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger, making him a household name. Not to mention, it’s got some of the most quotable lines in movie history.

With more gunfire than any other movie on this list, Terminator is jam-packed with action and weapons; but three firearms stand out as the most memorable from the film — the SPAS-12 shotgun, AMT Hardballer Longslide and Ithaca 37.

Terminator takes possession of the SAS-12 shotgun and Hardballer Longslider with laser early in the movie. Using the Longslider to dispose of the wrong Sarah Conner and the real Conner’s roommate, the handgun oddly enough sounds more like a suppressed model — though it features no can. Terminator tracks Conner to a local club and busts up in ready to claim victory. Unfortunately, Kyle Reese is a step ahead and saves the day with an Ithaca 37. Reese and Conner ultimately escape, but not for long.

An epic battle ensues pitting old against new, Ithaca against SPAS and human against cyborg. The Terminator’s fast pacing, amazing effects, and legendary fight scenes set the tone for sequels to come. Arnold wasn’t wrong when he uttered, “I’ll be back.”

1. Die Hard: Beretta 92, HK P7 and HK 94

John McClane stalks through the scene with an HK 94. (Photo: 20th Century Fox via YouTube)

A Christmas tradition for many, Die Hard tops our list as the most rad of all the 80s action movies. From great one-liners to memorable moments, Die Hard holds a special place for many 80s fanatics. Offering a ton of iconic guns to viewers, some of our favorites are the Beretta 92, HK P7 and HK 94– the latter converted to appear more like an MP5A3.

John McClane first shows off his beloved Beretta 92 — didn’t we tell you this was a fave of the 80s — a few minutes in when he openly carries it onto a plane. My, have times changed. Viewers are treated to full-auto bursts via the bad guys’ HK94. Everyone’s favorite bad guy Hans Gruber, played by the late and great Alan Rickman, soon enters the film dispatching his enemies with an HK P7. Don’t worry, HK, we don’t hold it against you. It isn’t too long, though, until McClane trades that Beretta in for the HK 94.

With a finale that features all three guns and some creative concealment, Die Hard proves why it tops our list.

What do you think? Did your favorite movie make it onto the list? Let us know in the comments.

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Categories: Gun News

Rare WWI-era Luger Saved from Torch by British Museum

General Gun News - Fri, 10/25/2019 - 02:23

While most of the firearms surrendered in the gun control-heavy UK are destroyed, a 1911-dated Luger was recently preserved (Photo: Wiltshire Police)

Turned over in a police firearms surrender, a trophy Luger from a historic Great War battle on the Western Front is now in a museum.

The pistol, a 1911-marked DWM, was collected by the Wiltshire Police during the UK’s National Firearms Surrender this summer. While the majority of firearms collected will be torched, the Luger was passed to the famed Tank Museum in Bovington for them to display.

“Firearms handed into the police during surrenders are sent for ballistic tests to ensure they haven’t been used in crime and are usually then destroyed,” said Wiltshire Police Armourer, Jamie Ross. However, an exception was made for the Luger, which was transferred in unmolested condition. “This live firearm is a part of history and I know that it is a welcome addition to the collection at the Tank Museum,” said Ross.

The standard sidearm of the Imperial German Army, the P08 DWM Parabellum was best known simply as the Luger after its inventor, Georg Luger. First adopted by the Swiss Army in 1900, the Luger design went on to serve in several militaries in Europe, Asia, and South America as well as prove a success on the commercial market, remaining in factory production until 1945.

Still very much in regular circulation over here on this side of the pond, we typically have any number of both historic Lugers and clones such Stoegers and Ermas in the Vault.

The pistol preserved this week was linked to the pivotal Cambrai attack, one of the first large scale use of tanks in history, and the holster is marked “Souvenir of the Big Advance at Cambrai November 1917.”

“The Battle of Cambrai is a hugely important moment in the history of the Royal Tank Regiment, so to be given this weapon captured during the battle is of real significance to The Tank Museum,” said Museum Curator, David Willey. “We are very grateful to the Wiltshire Police for handing it over to us and allowing us to preserve it for the collection.”

The intact DWM was made in 1911 and, brought back as a war trophy the UK, will be preserved (Photo: The Tank Museum)

The two week firearm surrender brought in “65 firearms, 24 flares and 21 rounds of ammunition” cataloged by Wiltshire including two WWI-era Short-Magazine Lee-Enfield rifles, a Webley .455, and what was described as a “Mauser Machine Pistol” although photos of the event would suggest the latter was a normal semi-auto C96 Broomhandle as it does not have the extended magazine common in the Schnellfeuer (literally, “quickfire”) guns.

The flotsam of history, mixed with BB guns and flare guns at this summer’s firearm surrender in Wiltshire. Note the C96 tucked under the fearsome-looking airsoft rifle (Photo: Wiltshire Police)

Although never formally adopted by the German Army as a primary sidearm, the C96 was common on the battlefields of Europe from the Balkan Wars onward as well as in colonial dust-ups around the globe and the Far East, still occasionally popping up in hotspots today.

Our C96 currently in stock looks to be wartime (as in World War I) commercial model with a serial number in the 300,000 range. This particular C96 is looking for a private collector to take it home today. Preserve some history on your terms. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

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Categories: Gun News

Oregon: NRA Files Opposition to 2020 Proposed Restriction on Gun Rights

NRA-ILA News - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 15:40
On October 24th, NRA filed comments with the Oregon Secretary of State opposing a proposed ballot initiative that seeks to restrict the self-defense rights of Oregon’s law-abiding citizens. This egregious attack on our freedoms, known as Initiative Petition 40, rehashes the failed language from Initiative Petition 44 that was defeated in 2018. It is apparent that Oregon’s anti-gun activists think they can outlast you in their incremental war of attrition; it is their fervent hope that your family will be too busy or too tired to notice their continued efforts to erode your freedom. Pay attention: These ballot initiatives represent a direct attempt to coerce Oregon legislators to pass gun control during the 2020 short session. 
Categories: Gun News

Naroh N1 Pro Concealed Carry Pistol–Hammer Fired with a Striker Feel

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 14:42

Naroh Arms is pleased to announce their newest product, the N1 Pro. Following the success of their debut at NRAAM earlier this year, Naroh immediately began working on the newest iteration of their N1 product lineup, based in part due to market demand for a striker style trigger as well as a factory night sight […]

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Categories: Gun News

Kahr Celebrating 25 Years of Concealed Carry with Commemorative K9

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 14:00

For 25 years, Kahr Firearms has produced the iconic K9, the compact 9mm pistol that started the revolution of single-stack 9mm handguns to follow.

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Categories: Gun News

Dick’s CEO Mulling Presidential Run in 2020

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 13:44

Dick's CEO Ed Stack is quietly testing the waters for a presidential bid in 2020 as a third-party contender.

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Categories: Gun News

Defense Distributed Announces Pre-Order for Ghost Gunner 3 with AK Compatibility

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 12:30

Defense Distributed announced yesterday the release of the third iteration of their “Ghost Gunner,” a mini-CNC mill capable of completing “80 percent” AR-15 lower receivers, blank 1911 frames, and AK-47 receivers.

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Categories: Gun News

Primary Arms Halloween Mega Sale: Deep Discounts, Huge Savings!

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 12:00

Primary Arms is having a mega Halloween sale for one week only! There will be deep disounts on many popular brands: Strike Industries, Magpul, Trijicon...

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Categories: Gun News

Top Hunting Safety Tips

Gun News Daily - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 11:48

Now that hunting season is in full swing, it would probably be a good time to go over some crucial hunting safety tips that you will want to apply when you are out hiking around with your rifle in the woods (or wherever else you are). Many hunting accidents have been caused out in the […]

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Categories: Gun News

Beto’s Assault Rifle Buyback is a Losing Game

Gun News Daily - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 08:58

All Talk and No Plan? Texan presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is taking heat for his “mandatory buyback” program, except this time, it’s coming from the left too. “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” People along both party lines are starting to question if the 2% nationally polling candidate is reaching for […]

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Categories: Gun News

NRA & Gun Owners Win. Bloomberg / Everytown Lose.

NRA-ILA News - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 08:38
The National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today applauded a decision by the Montana state Supreme Court protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners in that state. In an NRA-backed case, the justices held, in a 5-0 decision, that the City of Missoula's attempt to impose extreme gun control measures was a clear violation of state law. 
Categories: Gun News

The Simplest Single-Shot Pistol You’ve Ever Seen from Altor Corp.

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 07:55

The Altor Corp. is showing off an extremely simple single-shot pistol for self-defense at this year's NASGW trade show.

The post The Simplest Single-Shot Pistol You’ve Ever Seen from Altor Corp. appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

Michigan Constitutional Carry Bill Advances

General Gun News - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 04:53

“This legislation simply allows law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” said the bill’s sponsor. “Protecting yourself should not be a criminal activity.” (Photo: Chris Eger/

A Michigan bill that would drop the need to get a special license or permit to legally carry a concealed firearm passed a key committee vote this week.

State House Bill 4770 passed out of the House Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday. The measure makes a host of changes to Michigan’s weapon laws, the most polarizing of which is to repeal the requirement to have a license to carry a concealed handgun for those not otherwise prohibited from possessing one.

“It’s time we end the restrictions put on those asserting their God-given right to self-defense,” said the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Steve Johnson, R-Wayland. “Constitutional Carry will reduce barriers to our most vulnerable populations and ensure they have the ability to protect themselves and their families.”

Michigan currently requires training, a background check with fingerprints and a $100 application and licensing fee to obtain a concealed pistol license (CPL), a process that can take weeks. The state had 660,920 active CPLs as of August according to statistics from the Crime Prevention Research Center.

Johnson’s measure would remove the requirement to get a CPL but still allow those who want such a license to obtain one, which would still be useful for reciprocal purposes. It would also protect legal carry in places where either open carry or concealed pistol license holders are already currently allowed.

“This legislation simply allows law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Johnson said. “Protecting yourself should not be a criminal activity.”

Gun control advocates were dismayed at the HB 4770’s progress, with Bloomberg-backed Moms Demand Action saying it was “dangerous legislation.”

The bill would still have to clear a floor vote in the House, pass through the Senate and be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, to become law. Nonetheless, if HB 4770 is successful, Michigan would join the growing ranks of states that recognize permitless carry. So far in 2019, Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota have all passed legislation to codify carry without a permit.

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Categories: Gun News

Pocket Pistol Fun with the Beretta 950 BS

General Gun News - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 04:00


Pocket pistols provide a compact, lightweight approach to concealed carry and what better model to explore than the classic Beretta 950 BS.

The Beretta 950 BS’ history begins in the 1950s with its predecessor the 950B. Manufactured by the Italian company and imported to U.S. consumers, the 950B’s reach was effectively halted in 1968 by the Gun Control Act due to its lack of external safety. Beretta was on top of it though, popping a manual safety on that pocket pistol thereby creating the Beretta 950 BS for American consumers.

The Beretta 950 BS offers a micro-compact design. (Photo: Don Summers/

The pistol garnered praise and popularity in the 1980s, appearing in a rash of movies like Octopussy, Lethal Weapon and The Big Easy, to name a few. Near and dear to many hearts, the 950 BS has remained an option for those wanting to par down their carry load.

The Beretta 950 BS

To comply with the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Beretta 950B got an update with a manual safety. (Photo: Don Summers/

Chambered in .25 ACP, the 950 BS brings a centerfire round to the pocket pistol arena. Boasting a 2.4-inch barrel with weight hovering just under 10-ounces, the Beretta 950 BS offers a capacity of 8+1 rounds. As previously mentioned, the 950 BS sports a manual safety and also still opts for the half-cock — a nice feature for concealed carry enthusiasts.

The 950 BS provides a unique action featuring a flip-up barrel. It makes sense given how small this gun is, making slide manipulations extremely difficult. Beretta sticks to a steel upper and alloy lower, giving the gun a nice feel. At the range alongside Winchester 50-grain ammo, the 950 BS faired well at 5 to 7-yards.

The 950 BS features a flip-up barrel. (Photo: Don Summers/

Final Thoughts

The magazine offers an 8-round capacity. (Photo: Don Summers/

Though Beretta put the kibosh on the 950 BS design, relegating it to collectors and the used market, the company does manufacture the Beretta 21A. The 21A offers a similar slimmed-down design sans the flip-up barrel. While I wouldn’t carry either as my primary carry gun, the Beretta 950 BS and it’s updated partner the 21A make excellent back-up guns.


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Categories: Gun News

Sleeper Semi-Autos: Ruger’s 1980s P-Series Pistols

General Gun News - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 02:55

Introduced back when Atari was cutting edge, the Ruger P-85 and its descendants were the Connecticut-based gun maker’s contestant in the battle of the “wonder nines.” (Photo: Richard Taylor/


Bill Ruger had already made a name for his company by 1985 when it came to rifles, revolvers, and rimfires– then came the P-series pistols. 

Although Ruger had missed the boat on the U.S. Air Force’s pistol replacement trials in the late 1970s, and the first couple rounds of the Army’s follow-on trails to phase out the M1911– all of which had been won by the Beretta 92– by 1985 company had a double-stack 9mm that would show up for the postscript XM10 pistol trials.

Ruger’s first production centerfire semi-automatic pistol, the P-85, had a lot going on. Using an aluminum alloy frame, stainless barrel, and cast steel slide, the 15+1 shot semi-auto was designed as a combat handgun in an era that had little competition. Double action/single action with an oversized trigger guard and an ambi magazine release, the P-85 was comparable to early “wonder nines” like the S&W 459 and then only recently introduced Sig P226 and Glock 17.

Unlike the Glock, the Ruger pistol was hammer-fired and had molded G.E. Xenoy grip panels. Using a 4.5-inch barrel, weight was 32-ounces overall.

A short recoil-operated, locked-breech pistol that was more modern than guns like the Browning Hi-Power, the Ruger P-85 was a U.S.-made answer in the late 1980s to European imports like the Beretta 92, CZ 75, Glock 17 and Sig P226.

Almost over-engineered, the P-series guns are beefy, with easy to work surface controls. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

The bad news on the Army contract was that Beretta made it a clean sweep on the XM10 trials, repeating their earlier wins, which kept the P-85 out of the hands of the U.S. military. However, in 1987, Ruger offered their new gun to the public with a (suggested) retail price when introduced of $305, complete with a plastic case and spare magazine. They proved popular in the consumer market and even saw some brisk police sales in its day.

A redesign and subsequent retrofit led to the P-85 MK II series in 1990 which in turn morphed into the P89 after 1992.

The P-89 and stainless KP-89 replaced the P-85 and remained in production until 2009. As typical in a handgun originally designed for a military contract, the lanyard ring in the heel was standard throughout most of the series production (Photo: Richard Taylor/

Other caliber options followed on the same platform such as the .45ACP P90 and stainless KP90 in 1991 followed by the P91/KP91 in .40 S&W.

The P90 was a .45ACP upgrade from the 9mm P85/89 guns. The 8+1 capacity gun was produced for a number of government contracts in addition to consumer sales (Photo: Richard Taylor/

The 9mm pistol was also offered in a shortened variant, using 3.9-inch barrels, as the P93/KP93 as well as the P94/K94.

By 1995, the aluminum frame was swapped out for a polymer one to save a few ounces and the P95/KP95 was born. While the P-85 never suited up for military service, the later P95 was sold in small numbers to the U.S. Army for secondary service and several were also later adopted by the post-Saddam Iraqi forces.

The polymer-framed Ruger P95 was introduced a decade into the P-series run. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

An effort to slim the downright chunky pistol series came about in 2005, some two decades after the P-85 was originally developed. This resulted in the P345 which deleted the lanyard ring, featured polyurethane grips and a slimmer frame as well as bringing the option for a dustcover-mounted accessory rail. The swan song in P-series development, the gun would hint heavily at the later SR-series pistols that Ruger would put into production in late 2007.

In the Ruger P345, you can see how the original concept had morphed into something that was closer to the SR pistols that would replace the line beginning in 2007. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

Gradually, the P-series disappeared from Ruger’s catalog altogether, with the P-95 lingering on until 2013. Still, it was a good run that the company has followed up on with not only their SR-series pistols but also the more current Ruger American and Security-9.

The P-series guns looked kinda clunky but earned a reputation for reliability and durability. In all, they were in commercial production for over 25 years. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

Nonetheless, those looking for an affordable and hardwearing pistol would be well-served to grab an old Ruger P85, P90, or P95 before nostalgia kicks in and they suffer the price increase that comes with collectibility.

And we always have a nice selection on hand in the Vault of Certified Used Guns. (Photo: Richard Taylor/



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Categories: Gun News

The Murder of Malcolm X: Muslim Fratricide in Tumultuous 1960’s America

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 01:43

In his early years, Malcolm X advocated violence. But when he later took a stand for peace, he became a target—shot by a shotgun pistol, 9mm, and M1911A1.

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Categories: Gun News

Bolt-Action Accuracy in A Semiautomatic Platform: The Drake Associates Athena Rifle System

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Wed, 10/23/2019 - 15:42

According to Drake, the Athena Precision Chassis Rifle is capable of producing on average .6- to .7-MOA groups at over 1,000 yards.

The post Bolt-Action Accuracy in A Semiautomatic Platform: The Drake Associates Athena Rifle System appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

Video Emerges of High School Football Coach Disarming, then Hugging Armed Student

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Wed, 10/23/2019 - 11:50

A high school football coach in Oregon is once again being hailed as a hero after a video emerged this week capturing the moment he disarmed and embraced a student wielding a shotgun.

The post Video Emerges of High School Football Coach Disarming, then Hugging Armed Student appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News