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Gumshoe Roscoes: Classic Film Noir Revolvers & Pistols

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 03:58

One thing that remains constant in the noir films and fiction is the gun selection. (Photo: Chris Eger/

For a big chunk of the 20th Century, handy, often pocket-sized revolvers and pistols accompanied the hardboiled gumshoes of the period’s entertainment.

Film Noir, the cinematic term for the legion of black & white movies from the late 1920s through the 1950s based on popular crime and detective fiction of the era, followed the likes of tough-talking private investigators such as Lew Archer, Mike Hammer, Philip Marlowe, and Sam Spade. In a reflection of their fictional life and times, they carried an array of now-classic heaters, hog legs, mohashkas and roscoes that likewise accompanied that day’s real police while being popular in the consumer market for self-defense as well.

Colt Detective

When going into harm’s way on a case for a questionable dame, the Colt Detective was mandatory. (Photo: Chris Eger/


Perhaps no other wheel gun is as popular in noir fiction than Colt’s Detective Special models. First introduced in 1927 as a chopped down take on Colt Police series, the reliable all-steel six-shot snub predated Smith & Wesson’s J-frames by a generation and were soon in service from coast to coast during the Prohibition era and Great Depression.

Besides regular life in the pages of the day’s pulps, Hollywood tough guys like Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Charlton Heston, and Sterling Hayden used the classic Colt on-screen. Heck, even future President Ronald Reagan carried one during his acting days. The guns proved so popular that Colt kept the “Dick Special” in production into the 1990s and today’s more modern Cobras are in many ways a return to the line.

Colt 1903/1908

The Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless is a single-action semi-automatic pistol chambered in 32 ACP with a 7+1 round capacity. One of the most common concealed carry guns of the 20th Century, we also have several in the Vault, ready for the discerning collector, fedora not included.


Carried by Bogey in no less than five movies including as Rick in Casablanca and as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep, Colt’s Pocket Hammerless (which actually does have a hammer!) was a go-to semi-auto pistol of the time offered in .32ACP and .380. A design of John Browning’s, it remained in production for more than 40 years.

Remarkably snag-free for its era, especially when compared to many contemporary autoloaders, you can see why they were so enduring. Speaking of which, the model even made an appearance in this year’s  John Wick installment, proving its aesthetics never really went out of style.

S&W I-frames

This Smith & Wesson pre-32 Terrier is a five-shot revolver chambered in 38 S&W, not Special.


Even before the great J-frames such as the Model 36, Smith & Wesson produced the small framed Terrier, Model 30 and Model 32 round-butt wheel guns. Dubbed I-frames, these models were made in several barrel lengths, with snubby 2-inchers proving among the more concealable. Actor Ray Milland carried one in the Fritz Lang WWII-era noir spy film Ministry of Fear— complete with pearl grips. Notably, that film also includes a Mauser M1934, because, Fritz Lang.

FN 1910/1922

These FN 1922s up for grabs in the Vault were used by the German military in WWII and have the funny little eagles to prove it.


Speaking of Fritz Lang, besides the standard fare of odd German pistols, the noted director’s bizarre proto-noir thrillers M and Testament of Dr. Mabuse featured several of Browning’s FN-produced pistols such as the Model 1900 and 1910. The guns and later models like the FN 1922, due to their international use and adoption, remained popular on the big screen in moody spy films and crime movies from Paris and Moscow to Tokyo and everywhere in between. Heck, even Sean Connery used one in Dr. No, although it was just past the noir period.

Walther PP

This German late WWII-era Walther PP up for grabs includes a 6-digit number with “P” right on slide and “ac” code. Does it get any more noir than that?


We couldn’t obliquely mention Bond without covering Carl Walther’s Polizei Pistole. First produced in the 1930s, these German-made .32s and later .380s may not have faced popped up directly in period films but they were out in circulation and very much carved a notch in gun culture through later spy movies– starting as far back as the 1950s version of The 39 Steps— as well as neo-noir action films. Sure, it’s not a Luger, but what is?

Of course, there were other guns of the era, such as Vest Pockets, M1911s,  pre-Model 10 Smiths, Baby Brownings and the like, but we only have so much time. If you can think of a favorite we missed, drop it in the comments below and if you mugs want to check out our complete collection of great Certified Used Guns, do that after the jump, sweetheart.

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Categories: Gun News

Supreme Court Gun Control Challenge will get its Day in Court

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 01:33

Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued New York could have changed their law at any time in the past half-decade and only chose to do so in order to avoid defending the statute before the Supreme Court– which could lead to a win for gun rights. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rebuffed continued efforts by New York officials to hold off on a challenge to the City’s restrictive gun laws.

New York had asked the nation’s high court to turn away the case brought by three local gun owners who argue the City’s “premises permit” scheme — which drastically restricts the ability to leave one’s premises with a firearm — is unconstitutional. City officials, once the court agreed earlier this year to review the challenge, changed the local law rather than risk the court ruling that could be applied to other potentially unconstitutional gun control schemes nationwide. This, New York argued, made the case moot.

This week the Supreme Court issued orders that the case will proceed.

“The Respondents’ Suggestion of Mootness is denied,” read the orders of the court. “The question of mootness will be subject to further consideration at oral argument, and the parties should be prepared to discuss it.”

While the law was previously upheld by lower and appellate courts, the Supreme Court agreed in January to hear a further challenge to the City’s restriction — the first such move by the court on a major gun case since 2010. This triggered repeated attempts by the City to short circuit the case, all of which have been turned away.

The gun owners who first took the City to court six years ago are backed in their effort by the National Rifle Association and their state affiliate, the New York Rifle and Pistol Association. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued New York could have changed their law at any time in the past half-decade and only chose to do so in order to avoid defending the statute in Washington– which could lead to a win for gun rights with nationwide reverberations.

“It’s outrageous that the city has furiously tried to derail this case by changing the law,” Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan M. Gottlieb told on Monday. “That says volumes not only about the city’s fear of having to defend their restrictive gun control law before the court, but it also suggests to us that the city knew all along their law would not pass the constitutional smell test under any level of scrutiny, and they panicked.”

Since the case has been on the high court’s docket, 120 Republican members of Congress have filed a brief in support of the gun owners, followed by another brief submitted by the allied attorneys general or governors of 24 red states.

Add to this are separate briefs from dozens of gun rights groups ranging from SAF and the Firearms Policy Coalition to Black Guns Matter, the Liberal Gun Club, and the Pink Pistols. Importantly, the U.S. Justice Department has also gone on record as being against New York’s gun restriction with the office of Noel Francisco, the U.S. Solicitor General, saying, “The ban all but negates the textually protected right to bear arms, and interferes with the right to keep arms as well.”

Supporting the gun control position are five Senate Democrats — Sheldon Whitehouse, Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal, Richard Durbin, and Kirsten Gillibrand as well as 139 Dems in the House, with the lawmakers taking New York’s side. Similar filings came from the states of New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia as well as anti-gun groups such as Everytown and March for Our Lives, all angling to insulate the city from a ruling which could prove to be a huge victory for Second Amendment advocates.

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Categories: Gun News

Pocket-Sized Powerhouse: The Diamondback DB9 Gen 4

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 23:30

The Diamondback DB9 Gen 4 brings 6+1 rounds of 9mm parabellum to the party in a pint-sized package. (Photos: Chris Eger/


We looked at Diamondback Firearms’ newest version of their micro-compact DB9 9mm pistol, the Gen 4, and compared it side-by-side with some of its contemporaries.

Recently introduced by the Cocoa, Florida-based gunmaker, the DB9 Gen 4, with a weight of just 13.4-ounces while maintaining a 3.1-inch stainless steel barrel that gives an overall length of 5.73-inches, Diamondback describes their gun as the “smallest and lightest” 9mm on the market. With a flush-fit magazine shoe installed, its height is 4-inches flat. The maximum width is 0.89-inches. We’ll take a comparative look at what that means in a minute.

The original DB9 was first introduced in 2009 and the new and much-updated Gen 4 version has a lot of improvements over the initial gun that go way past style. These include a slide lock lever, and improved trigger pull with a shorter reset, and updated grip with better ergonomics, and a rating for +P ammo. Standard features include front and rear slide serrations, a 6+1 magazine capacity, steel (not plastic) sights that are compatible with Glock aftermarket replacements, and a captive recoil spring that helps with field stripping.

The replaceable sights include a red front post with green rear dots while night sights are readily available. Note the front and rear slide serrations and fenced slide stop lever

Field stripping for cleaning is simple, with anyone familiar with breaking down a striker-fired pistol able to pull it off without tools. The captive recoil spring helps with field stripping in the respect that you won’t have to chase it down after it shot across the room.

You can say a lot about the DB9, but Diamondback doesn’t believe in nice boxes. The gun ships in cardboard but includes a zipper bag for storage. It ships with a single mag, but extras are cheap ($20) and the box includes both a finger extension floor pad and a flush example to allow the user a choice.

While popping spicy 9mm +P out of a 13-ounce gun doesn’t sound fun, the DB9 Gen 4 is rated for the task.

The redesigned grip has front and rear stippling with a smooth midsection. Those with the free time and an unhealthy proclivity to disfigure plastic with a soldering iron can change that to suit their own needs.

The Gen 4 DB9, as with all Diamondback firearms, are made wholly in the U.S. Of note, the slide barrel, and internal parts are coated to resist corrosion and the gun utilizes steel sights and a steel mag catch.

When compared to a compact 9mm, such as the Glock G19, the DB9 Gen 4 is a much-reduced envelope, though granted, it only has half the magazine capacity of this double stack. However, even when compared with the 18-ounce/6.26-inch Glock G43, it is still notably smaller.

The same can be said for the S&W M&P M2.0 Compact.

Here is a stack of the DB9 against the iconic pocket roscoe: The S&W J-Frame. As witnessed by this S&W M642, the DB9 is still smaller and a tad lighter. Plus, it can carry seven rounds of 9mm as opposed to five of .38.

Further, the DB9 is downright skinny when the width is brought up and the Smith falls in alongside. Also, the DB9s barrel length and sight picture in both cases is an improvement, along with the faster reload.

A more apples-to-apples comparison is between the DB9 and the Ruger LCP I. While the Ruger is smaller, you can also argue the Diamondback is chambered in 9mm, which has far more self-defense loads available than the LCP’s .380 caliber. Both guns have the same magazine capacity.

However, they are near identical in width, while the DB9 brings better sights and a longer barrel. When stepping up to Ruger’s LC9/EC9 series, which has a 3.12-inch barrel, that gun weighs in at 17-ounces, going larger than the DB9.

Even when compared to other “mouse guns” such as the AMT Backup and Beretta Bobcat .22LR, the DB9 is at least in the same ballpark while showing up to the ball with a larger 9mm chambering, better sights, and a longer sight radius. Moreover, height is nearly the same, an all-important issue when it comes to concealability.

Even more dated comparisons with noir-period pocket guns, like this Mauser 1914 .32ACP, are enlightening.

The DB9 Gen 4 is a pocket-sized 9mm single stack that has evolved from a decade of Diamondback’s experience with the platform and makes a good EDC choice for those counting grams and ounces, in need of a deep-cover gun in a non-permissive environment without switching to a .380 or smaller, or a back-up gun that won’t break your back– or budget.

Some would even call it palm-sized, depending on the size of the palm

Slim and with a lightweight profile, the DB9 Gen 4 has a lot going for it, especially for deep or carry in a nonpermissive environment or as a backup gun. How does it shoot and carry? We are currently working on that and will have a follow-up in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned.


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Categories: Gun News

The FN Five-Seven: A Phenomenally Fun Plinking Gun

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 08:23


What happens when you pair the FN brand with a fun plinking round? The FN Five-Seven, of course! The Five-Seven brings a unique chambering in the way of the 5.7x28mm round. The round itself was created in response to NATO’s need for a replacement to the 9×19 Parabellum cartridge. Offering a lighter weight than the 9×19, the 5.7 brings with it a flatter trajectory and less recoil. FN initially developed two firearms that could chamber the cartridge, launching the FN P90 PDW and the FN Five-SeveN pistol —which brings us here.

The Nitty Gritty

The FN Five-SeveN shipped with two 10-round mags and a 20-round mag. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Introduced in the early 1990s, the Five-Seven brings a full-size design to the table measuring 8.2-inches in length with a barrel length of 4.8-inches. Weighing 21-ounces, the pistol offers a capacity of either 10 or 20-rounds, depending on which magazine you opt for. Featuring adjustable 3-dot sights paired with a polymer frame, the pistol itself is a manageable size — not that you need something hefty for that 5.7x28mm round but more on that later.

FN’s Five-Seven pistol sports a forward manual safety that can be engaged or disengaged with the left thumb or right index finger depending on preference. While I’m not particularly fond of safeties, myself, the forward position on the gun was something I did like. It felt natural to manipulate the safety and didn’t require a significant change in my grip.

The FN Five-Seven is also equipped with an accessory rail to mount lights or lasers if that’s something you’re after on your plinker. The gun ships in a really nice hard case and this particular model from came with three magazines — two 10 rounders and one 20 round mag.

On the Range

The handgun offers a forward manual safety. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Let’s talk about range performance. I’ve shot a lot of pistols in my life and I have to say the FN Five-Seven is, by far, one of my favorites. That 5.7x28mm round really does the job in terms of reaching the target but also bringing with it little to no recoil. While some guns beat me up at the range, the Five-Seven is one that I can easily plink with and suffer no consequences.

The construction of the Five-Seven is very intuitive. Though I am a Glock girl, I had no significant qualms when switching over to the FN. The platform makes sense and, most importantly, it just works. All in all, the FN Five-Seven proves fun to shoot, easy to operate and that’s really the secret sauce to this design.

The downside to such an enjoyable pistol is its price — both ammo and the pistol itself. While I loved plinking with the Five-Seven, my wallet didn’t. In comparison to .22LR, another fun plinking round, the 5.7x28mm is expensive. I can easily nab a 50 round box of .22LR around $5. The 5.7, well, I spent over $20 for a 50 round box. That adds up quickly. Not to mention, at least where I’m located, 5.7x28mm ammunition isn’t easy to come by, which means I often have to head online to purchase ammo incurring shipping costs depending on where I shop. The price of ammo alone might be a deterrent for some in need of cost-effective plinking and let’s not forget the Five-Seven itself costs a pretty penny.

The handgun brings a fun plinking design to 5.7 fans. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Retailing for over $1,400, the Five-Seven isn’t a budget gun by any stretch of the imagination. Coupled with the high price of ammo it’s not one I would recommend for those watching their bank accounts. If you’re looking to strike a deal, used Five-Seven models are floating around working that price down closer to the $1,000 mark.

Final Thoughts

Price aside, the FN Five-Seven proves why it’s stuck around since the 90s. It’s pure fun in a polymer platform! If the Five-Seven floats your boat or you’re on the hunt for another FN firearm, check out’s new and used FN guns!


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Categories: Gun News

The Best Shotguns for Bird Hunting

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 08:00

Different types of hunting call for varying styles of shotguns. Whether hunters chase geese, ducks, upland birds, or even turkeys, there are plenty of scatterguns on the market both new and used. These favorites are guaranteed to make your next bird hunt a success.

Mossberg 500 Pump Actions

Take home a nice Mossberg 500 today

Few firearms are as reliable as the old pump-action and fewer still define that action as well as the venerable Mossberg Model 500. While the Remington 870 could be interchanged with the Model 500 here, we like what Mossberg is doing with quality and options in the newer models. Whether shopping new or used, and anything from 12-gauge on down to the baby .410 bore, there is a shotgun for any type of hunting at bargain prices. Most of the newer models make use of interchangeable chokes, meaning the scatterguns will work well for a variety of different game at varying ranges.


Winchester SX3 and SX4 Semi-Autos

This SX4 is sure to stay hidden in the field

There are many quality semi-autos on the market for hardcore waterfowlers, but few have proven as durable and user-friendly as Winchester’s SX3 and SX4 shotguns. These do-all scatterguns accept all sizes of shells without adjustment. For instance, the 12-gauge shoots lighter 2-3/4-inch shells, 3-inch, and even the heaviest 3.5-inch hunting loads with no adjustment to the gas system. While we prefer the earlier SX3 made in Belgium, the newer SX4’s wear some very hunter-friendly control upgrades. With models available in compact size for smaller-frame shooters, finishes in all sorts of camouflage or wood, and many other options, the Winchester SX is a hunter’s shotgun.


Browning Auto 5 Semi-Auto

The A5 makes a classic and classy statement in the field

For over a hundred years, John Browning’s Auto-5 semi-automatic platform of shotguns has taken down every kind of game and bird imaginable. The trademarked humpback design is immediately recognizable while the recoil driven action sees both the barrel and bolt recoil together. While older round-knob Belgian versions of the Auto-5 are most collectible, Browning still produces the gun to this day. Newer models include many modern finishes and iterations to bring the gun into the modern era of bird hunting. Plus, the 100,000-round guarantee on a new gun is hard to beat in the industry. Look for the Auto-5 in 12, 16, and 20-gauges.


Ruger Red Label


The Red Label could just as easily hang in an art gallery as it could be in the field

There are so many worthy over/under shotguns that could hold this space. For instance, the older Browning Superposed or more modern Browning Citori are difficult to best in any era. Those who ever shot the Ruger Red Label O/U’s, however, will quickly recognize the guns capability in the field. Available at one time in 12, 20, and 28-gauge, Red Labels came in both blued or stainless variants. They also feature several barrel lengths and both pistol grip or straight English-style stocks. Though now out of production, many used models still hit the market today.



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Categories: Gun News

Modular AR-alternatives: The World of the SCAR, ACR, ARX, etc

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 01:54

Futuristic and versatile, the 21st Century has seen a broad field of lightweight, modular rifles and carbines that have gone on to success and give the AR some still competition.

Speaking of the AR platform, many of these guns came about as part of a pair of Pentagon programs. This included the 2004-era Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifles program and the later 2011-era U.S. Army Individual Carbine competition, the latter intended to find a successor to the M4 carbine. These guns, which have seen varying levels of adoption, typically feature more ambi controls than the AR, low recoil, are easy to maintain, increased reliability, and are modular in the sense that that the user can typically swap barrels and/or calibers.


The SCAR has been a hit on the international military and law enforcement market, seeing adoption by more than 20 countries. Meanwhile, semi-auto variants have proved popular in the consumer market.


The people’s champ when it comes to modern tactical rifles is FN’s SCAR series. First selected and adopted in limited numbers by U.S. Army Rangers in 2007, several SCAR variants soon filtered out through elite U.S. SOCOM units such as SEAL teams and Army Special Forces, seeing combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. These select-fire versions included the 5.56mm NATO Mk 16 (SCAR-L), 7.62mm NATO Mk 17 (SCAR-H), and Mk 20 (Sniper Support Rifle). Using a short-stroke gas system that did not rely on the same buffer-tube required by the AR-pattern rifle, the SCAR can use folding buttstocks.

A Green Beret assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) fires the MK17 SCAR-H rifle at a 550-meter target during a training event near Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Aug. 23, 2019 (Photo: U.S. Army)

On the consumer market, semi-auto SCAR 16S (5.56), SCAR 17S (7.62) and SCAR 20S precision rifles are now available.

Check out our own deep dive on the SCAR 17S, below.

Remington (Bushmaster) ACR

Today, the Bushmaster ACR is marketed in a few different models to consumers, including this DMR version with an 18.5-inch stainless Melonite treated barrel, Magpul PRS stock and MIAD grip, Geissele trigger, and AAC 51T Blackout flash hider.

Back when Magpul was still in their first generation of PMAGs and located in a state that rhymes with avocado, they came up with a concept rifle dubbed the Masada.


This design, using a short-stroke gas piston and rotating bolt, soon traveled over to Remington in 2008 who later began marketing it as a contender for the Army’s next new gee-whiz rifle. These days, variants of the Adaptive Combat Rifle (ACR) are marketed by both Remington Defense (select-fire) and Bushmaster (semi-auto) chambered in 6.8 Remington SPC, 5.56 NATO and .450 Bushmaster. Also, they tend to run a good deal less than a comparable SCAR.


Beretta ARX

The Beretta ARX series has seen adoption by the Italian military and others.


The Italian solution to replace legacy rifles such as the BM59, Beretta has supplied AR70/90s to the Italian Army since 1992 and started deliveries of the more advanced ARX versions in 2007. Both are in 5.56mm while the ARX200 is chambered in 7.62 NATO. On this side of the pond, the semi-auto ARX-100 is available in 5.56 on the consumer market while the ARX-160 runs .22LR. Like other systems noted in this article, the ARX was a contender in the U.S. Army’s ill-fated Individual Carbine program.


The CZ BREN 2 is offered in several calibers and is seeing increased use with European military customers. It is specifically built to switch between calibers and even magazine systems easily. (Photo: CZ)

In the Czech Republic, the very SCAR-ish BREN 2 multicaliber rifle was developed to replace the Czech Army’s Cold War-era Vz. 58 rifles and has also gone on to replace neighboring Hungary’s FEG AMD-63 Kalash pattern guns. The BREN is offered in both 5.56 and 7.62 NATO. Here in the states, CZ USA sells a ton of different rifles but sadly, not a semi-auto version of the BREN at this time, although the blowback-action Scorpion EVO 3 S1 pistol caliber carbine is available.

HK G36

A U.S. Marine hefts a German-made Heckler and Koch G36 automatic rifle overseas, June 10, 2019. The HK G36 and semi-auto SL8 are constructed almost entirely of a reinforced carbon-fiber polymer. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

Using a short-stroke piston and rotating bolt, not roller-locked like the company’s previous designs, Heckler & Koch designed their 5.56mm NATO G36 carbine to replace the German Army’s legacy 7.62 NATO G3 battle rifle in 1995. Although a futuristic design, it still had less “space magic” than the company’s largely unsuccessful G11 or XM8 designs, which bookended the G36 program. HK has tried selling semi-auto versions of the G36 in the U.S., such as the SL8, while the more standard G36 continues to be pitched to military and LE users.

Radom GROT

In Poland, the Radom FB company has been developing the Modulowego Systemu Broni Strzeleckiej GROT. While the Polish military has ordered something like 50,000 of these, and FB hinted at U.S. production for the consumer market in America as far back as 2015, these are currently unobtanium here in the States.

Finally, in China, a new modular combat rifle has been making the rounds in state parades. You know what they say about imitation…

Here’s the latest on a new Chinese assault rifle seen during the recent military parade; ‘This gun is deployed wide…

Posted by Larry Vickers on Wednesday, October 2, 2019

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Categories: Gun News

Ruger Announces New Mini-14 Tactical Models

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 23:13

Ruger’s latest Mini-14s are Tactical series rifles that vary in their furniture. (Photos: Ruger)


Sturm, Ruger this month unveiled two new Tactical series installments to their rugged .223-caliber Mini-14 line of semi-auto rifles.

Both models run a compact 16.12-inch hammer-forged barrel with a factory-installed flash suppressor and feature integral scope mounts, machined directly on the solid steel receiver. What separates the two new rifles are furniture options, with the first sporting a Strikeforce ATI 6-position stock that is both collapsible and folding while the second Mini has a more traditional brown hardwood stock that is speckled black.

Overall length on the Strikeforce ATI model, which has a 6-position collapsible/folding stock, is 34.5- to 38-inches while weight is 7.5-pounds.

The speckled wooden stock model Mini-14 Tactical is 37-inches long overall and weighs 7.2-pounds. You can almost hear the A-Team in the distance…

Each also has a blade front with an adjustable ghost ring rear sight. Like other Ruger Ranch Rifles and Mini-14 pattern carbines, they have the company’s typical Garand-style action with a breech bolt locking system and fixed-piston gas system.

Both rifles have barrels with a 6-groove 1-in-9 RH thread pattern and 1/2X28TPI thread pitch on the muzzle device. Shipping with two 20-round magazines, a Picatinny rail, and scope rings, MSRP is $1,069 regardless of the model.


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Categories: Gun News

What Is Barrel Rifling and How Does It Relate to Twist Rate?

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 04:30

The rifling in a Glock 19 S3f barrel. (Photo Credit: Christopher Orth)

When selecting a firearm, the term “rifling” often comes into play and sometimes gets caught up in a blanket statement about twist rate. Though twist rates are created by rifling, it’s important to understand the process behind rifling to grasp its importance in the world of shooting.

Rifling History

What makes up rifling — in short, lands and grooves. Lands are the raised, uncut areas of metal while grooves are the lower, depressed portion of rifling. Groove depth varies between .005-inches and .010-inches and is chosen based on what best suits the type of bullet the gun will use. For instance, muzzleloaders require deeper grooves than a bolt-action 6.5 Creedmoor.

Rifling of an AR (Photo Credit: David Werner)

The first instance of well-done rifling can be traced back to 1498 and is credited to the Germans. At that point in history, cutting rifling grooves was far more difficult than it is today; grooves were cut by hand, one by one, slowly and skillfully by gunsmiths to ensure even, smooth results. It took nearly half a century for rifling to transform from a rare art form to today’s where it can be easily mass-produced – though, hand-made barrels still remain superior. The advent of modern technology and mass production has benefited shooters who now can pick up barrels for their firearms at more reasonable prices.

Types of Rifling

The method used to create rifling matters too. Different methodology creates either more consistent or less consistent tolerances which in turn means more or less stability for the bullet. If you want a precision rifle you need a precisely made barrel.

There are a few means to cut these grooves into a barrel to create rifling. The first method is called broached Rifling. A broach is a hardened steel rod with blades staged in a spiral around it. The rod is made so each blade cuts a little bit deeper than the one ahead of it.

A mandrel, responsible for the chamber and rifling, is inserted into the bore during the Hammer Forging process creating lands and grooves. The above is shown in the center in a cutaway factory process from Daniel Defense, which performs Cold Hammer Forging on 4150 CMV steel blanks. (Photo: Chris Eger/

This gives barrel makers the ability to cut grooves in a cold barrel in one pass; though sometimes broaches are used in progressively larger sizes to cut a barrel until the groove depth is where the maker wants it. Broaching is fantastic for mass-production, does not put undue stress on the barrel and can be made to decent tolerances.

Another means of rifling is through button rifling. This type of rifling is achieved by using a somewhat bullet-shaped piece of tungsten carbide – a “button” or “plug” — to cut grooves. The button can be either pushed or pulled through the barrel depending on the maker’s preference. This is another solid method for mass-produced barrels and results in a beautiful finish. Tolerances of these rifles tend to be quite good.

The rifling of a 30mm cannon being made by Proof Research for the US Army. Photo Credit: Proof Research)

The oldest method in the gun world for cutting grooves, cut rifling involves the use of a single-bladed cutter. The cutter is usually pulled through a cold barrel with a single groove being created with each pass. Using this method doesn’t put much stress on the barrel and allows for tight tolerances. It is, of course, not well-suited to mass-production due to the lengthy process.

A newer technology, Electrolytic Cationic Machining, uses a wet-etching method that uses reverse-electroplating to remove from inside the barrel rather than add to it. These machines utilize electrodes shaped as plastic cylinders with reverse-imaged metal strips encircling them. To create the desired twist rate, the cylinder is pushed through the barrel while the barrel is immersed in chemicals like sodium nitrate and methodically rotated. Although this is an expensive method of rifling, it results in precise rifling.

What is Twist Rate and How Does It Relate

Rifling culminates to twist rate — a term seen most often when checking out the specs of guns. Twist rate is a figure that explains how many times a bullet spins as it travels through the barrel. For example, 1:7 twist rate means the bullet will rotate once every 7-inches. Twist rate is created by rifling and, yes, your twist rate does have an impact on precision. You shouldn’t expect amazing precision from an AR-15 with a 1:12 twist rate; however, an AR-15 with a 1:7 twist rate is another story. A slower twist rate tends to give the bullet more opportunities to yaw, which leads to tumbling and ultimately, larger and less reliable groups.

Bottom Line

There is a difference between twist rates of rifle and handgun barrels. The standard AR-15 might have a 1:7 twist rate but an M1911 chambered in .45 ACP could have a 1:16 twist rate. That doesn’t mean there’s a problem with the .45 ACP barrel, they are two varying cartridges and bullets with different requirements. Twist rate matters but there’s also a wide variety out there and for good reason, as there’s a variety of firearms, calibers, and purposes for shooting.

At the end of the day, if you’re after precision rifle shooting and beautifully tight groups a precisely-made barrel with a certain rifling is a necessity; however, if you’re looking for a plinking or duty gun a high-end or hand-cut rifled barrel isn’t needed.

To check out our inventory of plinking guns and precision firearms, head over to to see more.

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Categories: Gun News

All Time High: Now Over 18.6 Million Concealed Carry Permit Holders

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 01:43

Gunmakers have been eager to cater to the country’s growing population of concealed carriers with offerings such as the Sig Sauer P365 (Photo: Chris Eger/

A new report into the number of concealed carry permit holders announced this week found the numbers at an all-time high even as 16 states recognize permitless or constitutional carry.

The 62-page report, compiled by the Crime Prevention Research Center, shows that 1.4 million more permits and carry licenses were issued in the last year, bringing the number of active holders to some 18.66 million. This represents an 8 percent growth from 2018’s figures and a serious 304 percent increase since 2007.

Percent of adults with concealed handgun permits by states. (Photo: Crime Prevention Research Center)

Fully 7.3 percent of American adults have permits at this point. The report details that 13 states have more than 10 percent of their adult population with permits with Alabama and Indiana taking the lead in that category. Florida alone has more than 2 million permits in circulation while Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Texas have over a million each. In each case, the gun owners in these states enjoy a fairly relaxed “shall-issue” permitting process.

On the other side of the spectrum, at least nine states– California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island– have restrictive “may-issue” permitting practices when it comes to concealed carry licensing.

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Categories: Gun News

NICS Background Checks on Guns Jump 10 Percent in September

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 01:15

September 2019 saw a 10 percent bump in the number of firearm background checks performed in September 2018. (Photo: Chris Eger/

September 2019 saw a significant increase in the number of firearm background checks performed over the same month during the previous year.

The unadjusted figures of 2,189,028 checks conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System last month is a nearly 15.5 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 1,895,841 in September 2018.

When adjusted — subtracting out gun permit checks and rechecks by numerous states who use NICS for that purpose — the latest figure remains a stout 1,011,636, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry trade organization. This number is a significant 10 percent higher when compared to the September 2018 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 919,979.

The figure is the third-highest for the month of September in the past 20 years, only narrowly bested by the numbers from 2016 and 2017. When compared to the data from 15 years before, last month’s figure was a mouth-dropping 51 percent higher.

September 2019 is also the fifth month in a row that the number of adjusted checks was higher than the previous year’s data. As such, the third quarter 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 2,955,750 reflects an increase of 9.1 percent compared to the 2,708,048 figure for the third quarter of 2018.

The NICS numbers do not include private gun sales in most states or cases where a concealed carry permit is used as alternatives to the background check requirements of the 1994 Brady law which allows the transfer of a firearm over the counter by a federal firearms license holder without first performing a NICS check. Some 24 states accept personal concealed carry permits or licenses as Brady exemptions.

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Categories: Gun News