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General Gun News
Handguns are the most logical choice for home defense. By design, they’re easy to maneuver in enclosed spaces, engage targets at short distances, and control with one hand, which makes the other available to hold a phone and call 911. Deciding on your go-to home defense gun, especially for first-time gun buyers, can be difficult, though. There are dozens of top-tier brands and literally hundreds of models between them. So, how do you narrow your selection?
If you ask Guns.com, we recommend that you start by exploring duty pistols. Service weapons used by law enforcement and military. To procure such items, these organizations run the guns through their paces and test them under real world conditions. However, when selected a company gets much more than a steady stream of revenue. They also get bragging rights. A title to declare and results to show they earned it.
Today, duty pistols all share similar characteristics. Typically, they’re full-size polymer framed handguns chambered in 9mm or .40 S&W. Features generally include a passive trigger safety, three-dot sights, ambidextrous and/or reversible controls, an accessory rail, and a magazine with a high capacity.
Under these conditions, Guns.com has selected six models as the best choice for home defense handguns. These include the Glock 17, Glock 22, Sig P320, Sig P229, Smith & Wesson M&P, and Springfield XD.Glock 17
Glock is the pound-for-pound champion when it comes to service pistols. The Glock 17 is not only the Austrian-gun makers first design, but also number one contender. A variation of the fifth generation Glock 17 is the service weapon for agents in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the premier law enforcement department in the U.S. In terms of firearms, what the FBI selects sets the bar for other federal, state and local agencies.
In 2016, the FBI awarded Glock a contract valued up to $85 million over a 10-year period. While the price may seem excessive, the price covers service weapons for thousands of agents in other federal law enforcement agencies. Yet, the news here wasn’t that the FBI went with Glock — the company had been servicing the FBI for decades prior — but rather the agency return to 9mm after 20 years of carrying .40-caliber pistols.
Among shooters, the FBI made a clear statement about cartridge choice. The agency argued that 9mm offered greater benefits than .40 S&W. Their testing revealed that agency-approved self-defense 9mm ammo outperformed most .40- and .45-caliber ammo while offering more control. In other words, agents with a Glock 17 could make more accurate and effective shots.Sig P320
Sig Sauer is the current heavyweight champ of service pistols. In 2017, the U.S. Army selected the Sig P320 as their official handgun. The $580 million contract would replace a 30-year supply of the Army’s Beretta M9 pistols. Much like the FBI, the Army sets the bar for other branches of the military. However, Sig’s design is also becoming popular among local police departments across the country.
The P320 design made for the military, the M17 and M18, are equipped with a polymer frame and manual safety. However, unlike Glock pistols, which are equipped with standardized controls and features, the Sig P320 is available with a variety of features and calibers. Still, no matter the variant you select, the performance will match across the board.Glock 22
You shouldn’t pooh-pooh .40-caliber Glocks. The FBI trusted the Glock 22 for nearly 20 years and only switched back after newer and better 9mm ammo became available. Federal agencies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and many large departments across the country like Los Angeles Police and Illinois State Police still carry the Glock 22. A Glock in any caliber will perform like a Glock.
Compared to the Glock 17, the Glock 22 uses a 15-round magazine instead a 17-round magazine. That’s because .40 S&W is slightly bigger in diameter than 9mm. But also the Glock 22 is not yet available as a Gen 5 model. The most noticeable difference between Gen 4 and Gen 5 is that the Gen 4 still has finger grooves on the grip.Sig P229
Like the Glock 22, the Sig P229 is a strong contender. Several agencies within the Department of Homeland Security — like the Secret Service, Air Marshals, Coast Guard — use the Sig P229. The chambering varies by agency, but it’s offered in the civilian market in 9mm, .357 SIG, and .40 S&W. Unlike the polymer frame and striker-fire system found in most duty guns, the P229 is a hammer-fired pistol with a double- and single-action trigger and an all-metal construction.Smith & Wesson M&P
With more than a century in business as a gun maker, Smith & Wesson offers some of the best handguns around. But it’s their Military & Police pistols that fit the bill for this list. Some of the country’s biggest police departments — Detroit, Los Angels Sheriff’s Department, and Colorado State Police come to mind — list M&P handguns as an approved carry pistol.
If you’re accustomed to the workings of a Glock pistol, using a Smith & Wesson M&P should be a cinch. In many cases, some fans prefer the design over Glocks and will accept nothing less. The polymer-frame design is available in a variety of calibers, and with or without a manual safety.Springfield XD
Police departments in big cities like Chicago and Houston approved the Springfield XD design to be carried by their officers. The XD is another design that some say has improved upon the striker-fired design popularized by Glock. The standard XD comes with a host of calibers and features, such as an optional thumb safety. Outside of service, the XD series has become so popular among civilian shooters that Springfield released lines of pistols ranging from duty to concealed carry to competition.The Best Home Defense Handgun
The handguns in this list are battle tested options proven by dependable sources. However, if you pose the question to others, answers will certainly vary. In many cases, the basis for such an answer comes down to personal preference. While these are reliable options, no doubt, use this list as a guide for your purchase. Most, if not all, of these options are available for rent at ranges across the country. During a visit, try these pistols out and get a feel for what you like and don’t like.
Democrats on Capitol Hill this week unveiled a program to use taxpayer dollars to help bring Massachusetts-style gun control laws to the rest of the country.
Massachusetts lawmakers U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, along with U.S. Reps. Joe Kennedy III and Ayanna Pressley on Monday introduced their Making America Safe and Secure (MASS) Act. The move would use federal grants to incentivize states to adopt the same gun-licensing standards used by the Commonwealth, which are some of the most restrictive firearm laws in the nation.
“By creating stricter guardrails around firearm purchasing and enforcing stronger gun safety laws, the MASS Act actively curbs the public health crisis that is gun violence,” said Pressley, a Boston-area progressive who won her seat last year with the help of national gun control groups. “Here in Massachusetts, we regularly put forward bold, activist legislation and I am proud to join in partnership with my fellow Bay Staters to say enough is enough.”
Filed in the Senate as S.2014, the bill would establish a U.S. Justice Department grant program open to eligible states that adopt and maintain licensing standards for gun owners. The guidelines would include that gun owners maintain a license, issued by their local chief of police or sheriff, for the entire time they legally possess a firearm. Licensing would include a thorough background check that could include an in-person interview and character references. First-time applicants would have to show proof of firearms training and the agency would have the ability to deny, suspend or revoke a license if they deem the applicant unsuitable.
The MASS Act was introduced with the approval of national gun control organizations to include the Brady Campaign.
Only 14 states have some sort of licensing or pre-certification requirement for the purchase or possession of firearms. The laws themselves are often controversial.
The first state to adopt mandatory gun licensing, New York, did so under the Sullivan Act, a 1911 law that requires anyone desiring a firearm small enough to be concealed to obtain a license. Even a century later, the law has been subject to legal challenges from those who hold licenses can be elusive, with applicants often waiting years or denied outright. In New Jersey in 2015, the case of a woman killed in her front yard by her ex-boyfriend while she was still waiting for her application for a firearm permit to be granted made national headlines. Meanwhile, critics of North Carolina’s Pistol Purchase Permit argue the practice was adopted in that state in 1919 as part of Jim Crow laws to strip minorities of their Second Amendment rights.
The MASS Act had been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Meanwhile, Kennedy and Pressley intended to introduce a House version in their chamber later this week.
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The new exclusive Legion Series pistol features what Sig bills as the first-of-its-kind TXG tungsten/polymer XGrip module which helps translate to an unloaded weight of 43.5-ounces. The heavier grip module with a removable magwell translates to what the New Hampshire-based company says is a substantially reduced felt recoil and muzzle flip, cutting them in half.
Other upgrades include a Legion Gray PVD slide with lightening cuts, 5-inch match grade bull barrel, and a lightened and skeletonized trigger– the latter of which reduces pull weight by up to 30 percent. To beef up the internals, the P320 XFive Legion has a one-piece stainless-steel guide rod and a 14-pound 1911-style spring. Optic-ready right out of the box, the pistol is compatible with a ROMEO1PRO or a standard DeltaPoint Pro and features Dawson Precision fiber optic front and adjustable rear sights.
“We are really excited about the introduction of the Sig Sauer P320 XFive Legion to the market because it embodies the forward-thinking Sig Sauer mindset when it comes to product development,” said Tom Taylor, the company’s chief marketing officer, going on to describe the newest gun in Sig’s stable as “changing the game for competition pistols.”
The pistol, which has an overall length of 8.5-inches with a roomy 6.8-inch sight radius, comes with three 17-round magazines with anodized aluminum Henning Group base pads. Like other Legion series firearms, upon registering their gun with Sig, owners receive a complimentary case, a challenge coin matched to the firearm, exclusive access to Legion gear and merchandise, and receive exclusive communications from both the company and the Legion. MSRP is $899.
For those who would like the full-sized XFive P320 but without the Legion add-ons, those models are also available in both black and coyote finishes with an MSRP of $850– although we beat that significantly in the Guns.com Vault.
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When GunBlast started in 2000, Jeff Quinn and his brother Boge Quinn didn’t realize the success they would have, much less that they’d influence the gun industry.
It all started with a sincere interest and identifying a growing demand. In 1999, Jeff decided to pursue gun writing as a hobby because he found gun magazines to be too contrived.
“Some of them are good (and) some are just fluff. It’d be an article on a piece of crap gun and across the page is a full-page ad for the same gun,” said Jeff.
So, he pitched to his more tech-savvy brother Boge: “If I could write about the gun, can you put it on the internet thing?” Boge agreed and GunBlast was born.
At first, their reviews focused on the guns they owned. But then they attended their first SHOT Show, the gun industry’s biggest annual event.
Jeff’s braided beard and leather biker cut were a stark contrast to the suits and polo shirts normally worn by attendants at SHOT.
“They looked at us like we just crawled up out of the woods or something and they never heard of this Internet thing,” Boge said of the exhibitors at the show.
“They were the first ones to figure out that the internet wasn’t just an overnight sensation,” Boge said. That got the ball rolling. Over time more gun companies contacted GunBlast for reviews.
“When we first started, I didn’t know how big the internet was, but Boge told me one day that we hit 8,000 hits that day and I thought ‘can’t get any bigger than this,’” Jeff said.
Boge added: “It’s funny to think about it now but it was a big deal back then because we’re up into the millions everyday now.”
After nearly two decades of publishing gun reviews, the GunBlast channel has garnered more than 64 million views. With the ad revenue coming in from the steady flow of traffic, both Jeff and Boge can work on GunBlast full time.
“I started GunBlast as a hobby, just because I was interested in guns and wanted to do it,” Jeff said. “I never imagined at first that it was going to make us any money.”
Despite their success, they said they try to remain humble. “GunBlast worked well for us for the last 18 years. I plan to keep doing this as long as I can.” Jeff said. “As long as my eyesight holds up and I can keep pulling triggers, I’m going to keep going.”
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Just in time to celebrate Independence Day, Connecticut-based Ruger has announced the first entries in their Flag Series, which come complete with patriotic finishes.
“We are very excited about the introduction of the Flag Series,” said Shawn Leska, Ruger’s VP of Sales. “This new lineup of firearms is our most patriotic yet and we hope our customers will feel a sense of pride owning a pistol or rifle from this American-made series.”
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Ed Brown Products continues its custom handgun EVO lineup, debuting a new model into the series with the EVO-KC9-LW. The KC9-LW features a lightweight aluminum construction weighing in at just 27-ounces. Chambered in 9mm, the gun utilizes a 4-inch barrel on an overall 7.5-inch length frame.
The handgun boasts a Bobtail housing with Snakeskin treatment for “just the right amount of grip” while also providing a snag-free design. The pistol is also decked out with a seven-top custom slide cut and special front and rear serrations. The KC9-LW is topped off with a Tactical Edge rear sight, easy to change front sight and flat wire recoil system. Slim grips round out the total package.
“What a great team we have here, to be able to envision and execute so quickly – it’s just another example of Brown Family’s commitment to excellence, and that commitment is how we can offer our customers such value and quality at the same time. We continue leading the way! If you have not looked at Ed Brown in a while, it is time to look again,” Sales and Marketing Director John May said about the latest EVO addition.
The EVO series aims to bring consumers a more custom feel with modern designs and small custom batch processing that brings a more reasonable price to the concealed carry table. The KC9-LW is available with an MSRP of $2,295.
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A bill that does away with a historic ban on Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania and opens at least some days to sportsmen has passed the state Senate.
The legislation, SB 147, was approved 36-14 last week and now heads to the Pennsylvania House for further consideration. The move would legalize hunting on at least three Sundays throughout the year — which is three more than what the Commonwealth has currently.
The bill, supported by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, stipulates the three Sundays would include one day during deer rifle season, one day during deer archery season and another day designated by the Commission. Anti-trespassing provisions coupled with the proposal increase penalties for a hunter who has entered and remained on posted lands or has been personally contacted by the landowner to either not enter or leave.
Pennsylvania is one of just three states, along with Maine and Massachusetts, that continue to have a total prohibition on Sunday hunting, an enduring remnant of old puritanical “blue laws.” A state legislative report concluded that allowing hunting to occur on Sunday would positively contribute to the Commonwealth’s gross state product through increased game license sale and an uptick in sporting goods purchases and hotel lodging.
Endorsed by Keystone State game clubs as well as Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association, pro-sporting groups argue that the expansion, if successful, will help turn around flagging hunter numbers. According to the Game Commission, Pennsylvania saw 885,632 licensed hunters in 2017, the lowest number in a decade that began with 924,448 hunters in 2007.
“Many hunters are prevented from introducing their children or friends to hunting because it is difficult to find the time and opportunities to hunt outside of the work or school week,” said the NRA in a statement. “Countless hunters stop hunting because of this lack of opportunity. Senate Bill 147 seeks to increase Pennsylvania hunters’ ability to enjoy our hunting heritage and will improve hunter recruitment and retention efforts.”
As noted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sunday Hunting Coalition, at least five states have moved away from colonial-era hunting bans since 2014. In 1970, according to NSSF, half the country still had such laws on the books.
Pennsylvania SB 147 has been referred to the House Game & Fisheries committee.
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Winchester Ammunition adds 10mm to its lineup of full metal jacket and Defender loads, bringing more variety to 10mm pistol fans.
The FMJ load ships in the all too familiar white box with 180-grain flat nose full metal jacket 10mm loads nestled inside. Winchester says this load was designed for target practice and competition bringing both “superb performance and a great value” to the table.
Following the FMJ, Winchester also announced the 10mm will also appear on the Defender self-defense and hunting line. The 180-grain bonded ammunition sees the jacket welded to the lead core bringing consistency in penetration as well as increased weight retention. Winchester says the bullet design, originally created for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was developed to introduce both consistency and reliability to pistol shooting.
Robert “Bob” Reese, the founder of today’s Illinois-based Springfield Armory, Inc, passed away last week at age 87.
Reese, who was born in 1931 in Moline, Illinois, became junior North American trap shooting champion at age 17 and went on to serve in the U.S. Army National Guard in the 1950s. After leaving the military, he settled down and becoming a farmer, agriculture equipment salesman and dealer of Army surplus with a store in Geneseo.
In 1974, Reese acquired the Springfield Armory name from Texas gun maker Elmer C. Ballance and shifted operations to the Land of Lincoln where they greatly expanded and continue today.
The iconic brand stems from the federal Springfield Armory arsenal established in Massachusetts in 1794. That facility, which designed and produced legendary rifles including the M1903, M1 Garand and M14, was shuttered by the military in 1968 due to budget cuts.
Robert, his wife, Carol, and their son, Dennis were the first employees of the “new” Springfield Armory. Reese’s M1A, a semi-automatic rifle patterned after the U.S. M14, put the company on the map and is still in steady production 45 years later. SA’s commercial line spread to include, at various times, M1 Garands, M6 Scout rifles and M1 Carbines as well as imported Mauser 98, HK91 and semi-auto FAL variants.
Breaking into handguns, Springfield Armory has long been a household name in the 1911 world and has imported increasingly popular XD series pistols from Croatia. In the past, the company also imported CZ-75s from the Czech Republic, which were dubbed the Springfield Armory P9, as well as German-made Omega 1911s.
Reese is survived by his wife, three sons and daughters-in-law, seven grandchildren and their spouses, and two great-grandchildren.
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Ohio-based Hi-Point firearms have announced their new 2nd generation 9mm handgun will be dubbed the YC9, after an online public poll.
The company, known for budget handguns and carbines over their 25-year history, has this year moved to bring a modernized handgun series to market. The new gun, a seriously updated version of Hi-Point’s staple C9 series blowback action pistol, was the subject of a “Name the Nine” contest which soon saw “Yeet Cannon” proposed and quickly surge to the top of the list of suggestions.
Abbreviated as YC9, Hi-Point said nearly 96 percent of the 326,722 votes cast in the poll went for the Yeet.
“YC9 is the winner!” said HI-Point on social media over the weekend. “Not that anyone here is really surprised. What is surprising was that almost half a million votes for YC9. Way cool. The Yeet is strong!”
In addition to the new pistol series, which has a threaded barrel and updated ergonomics, Hi-Point says they have a C9 “Yeet Cannon G1” edition underway, with the legacy gun now available with the moniker laser engraved.
As for the YC9, the new pistol is set for a late 2019 delivery date.
“This has been an awesome ride, and pretty sure this is the first time EVER that a gun company has let the internet name a firearm,” said Hi-Point on social media. “Thank you, everyone.”
For a closer look at what Hi-Point has been showing off on the YC9, check out the below where we caught up with company reps in Las Vegas in January.
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For adventurers who don’t want to trek miles into the woods but enjoy smaller, minimalist-style day trips into the wilderness, carrying a gun can sometimes prove challenging as day hikers often must turn to alternatives in order to successful pack a gun. Ukoala, a holster maker with an unconventional approach to concealed carry, has just the option for minimalistic hikers and even urbanites searching for a more discreet mode of off-body carry.What is Ukoala?
Ukoala, pronounced you-koala, brings an innovative approach to the concealed carry conundrum, offering an off-body carry mode… of sorts. A compact bag meets thigh rig, the Ukoala hooks around the hips of the carriers as well as the thigh, securing to the wearer. The bag features a compartment specifically meant for firearms with Velcro lining allowing a Crossbreed Holsters Kydex shell to rest inside. The firearm slips into the holster, riding securely.
The bag also benefits from converting from a thigh style into normal bag. Slipping around the body, cross-body style, this option opens the door for gun owners not keen on the thigh rig setup. In addition to a firearm pocket, the Ukoala offers multiple pockets for storing other accessories and necessities like a wallet, keys, spare mags and a tourniquet.
The bag itself comes in different styles and colors, giving concealed carriers plenty of options when it comes to the “look” of the Ukoala. The bags also come in standard sizing or compact, depending on how much room you need to stow carry guns and gear. The standard measures 10-inches by 12-inches while the compact comes in at 9-inches by 11-inches. For this review I checked out the Yukon style.Carrying with Ukoala
I’ll admit, I didn’t quite know what to make of the Ukoala when I first encountered the brand. Suffering from what sounded like an identity crisis, the Ukoala blends off-body with on-body using a bag-like design that attaches to wearers. Realistically, how well would this wannabe thigh rig work in real life?
Surprisingly, well, as I found out. As usual, I paired the Ukoala with my Glock 19 – a hefty midsize gun that isn’t always the easiest to conceal due to its larger size. Equipped with a Crossbreed Holsters Kydex Shell, the holster attached to hook-and-loop on an interior pocket of the Ukoala. The hook-and-loop offered a sturdy enough platform that the gun did not flop around and paired with the Kydex shell, I felt the semi-automatic handgun was both well retained and protected inside the bag.
Perfect for short jaunts into the woods or even adventures in urban areas, the Ukoala’s unique blend of off-body carry meets thigh rig is its greatest advantage. Attaching the bag to the gun owners ensures the bag does not leave the owner’s sight and wards off potential accidents due to carelessness or forgetfulness. It does some getting used to as I, personally, am not accustomed to carrying bags or really anything around my thigh; but the design is comfortable and doesn’t rub or irritiate the thighs.
The Ukoala’s design also lends itself to function offering multiple pockets, on top of the firearm pocket, to stow other accessories. It also has spots to place IDs and cash, turning it into a full-blown purse for those that need it – all the while keeping the gun securely and safely stowed.
With any off-body solution the trade-off is access and the Ukoala is no different in this department. To get to the gun, the exterior flap must be raised, and zippers undone before the grip is exposed. Of course, if you feel a need you can stage the bag with zippers already opened so that the exterior flap is the only barrier. With this setup, as with any, it’s important to practice and train so you know how to efficiently use it.Final Thoughts
The Ukoala benefits from its versatile design and non-gender specific looks. Capable of packing nearly any sized handgun, the Ukoala brings a unique means of concealed carry to day hikers that can’t always pack a gun IWB. With its ability to effortlessly flow into any other concealed carry activity, the Ukoala is a must have for gun owners in frequent need of non-belted carry options. Well worth its price tag, the Ukoala starts at $128.
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