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Five Best Shotguns for the Waterfowl Season

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 04:00

Difficult weather, retrieving dogs, ducks, and geese…we could only be discussing one thing in this article – waterfowl hunting. While it’s true that semi-automatic shotguns dominate the arsenals of most dedicated waterfowlers, there’s still plenty of room for those with love for pumps and Over/Unders. When the name of the game is durability under duress, these guns have you covered.

Browning Auto 5 Semi-Auto

The Browning A5 is a versatile series with plenty of options for burgeoning waterfowl hunters.

For over 100 years, John Browning’s Auto-5 or A5 semi-automatic shotgun platform 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.

Though older round-knob Belgian versions of the Auto-5 are most collectible, Browning still produces the gun to this day in several durable finishes and iterations with modern embellishments as well. The Wicked Wing camo, Cerakoted version with oversize controls is a waterfowler’s dream.

Plus, the 100,0000-round guarantee on the new A5 is hard to beat in the industry. Look for the A5, priced around $1,500, for waterfowling success.

Winchester SX3 and SX4 Semi-Autos

The Winchester SX series brings a durable, proven design to waterfowl hunting.

Though many quality waterfowl specific semi-autos exist on the market, few have proven as durable and user-friendly as Winchester’s SX3 and SX4 shotguns. These scatterguns accept all sizes of shells without adjustment – a definite perk. The action cycles so quickly, waterfowlers can pull from bird to bird, filling the bag limit in no time.

While we prefer the earlier SX3 made in Belgium, the newer Portuguese SX4’s sport some very hunter-friendly control upgrades. With models available in a compact size for smaller-frame shooters, finishes in all sorts of camouflage or wood, and many other options, the Winchester SX is a real hunter’s shotgun.

Hunters can find the SX series of shotguns from Winchester as low as $300 with certain models reaching well over $1,600.

CZ Swamp Magnum

CZ jumps into O/Us with the Swamp Magnum design.


Over/Under shotguns are seldom associated with waterfowl hunting, but only because they’re not usually built for such harsh conditions. (Not to mention they often won’t chamber the largest waterfowl rounds.) CZ, however, is looking to change the game with its Swamp Magnum.

Available in camouflage or black, Swamp Magnums are chambered for 3.5-inch full-power hunting rounds. The 30-inch vent rib barrels are topped with extended, interchangeable chokes. Recoil is stout, but knockdown power is even stronger, and the O/U action is a durable, time-proven design.

Though more non-traditional, Swamp Magnum doubles are claiming plenty of big geese and trophy ducks all with an MSRP of $952.

Mossberg 930 Snow Goose

The Snow Goose looks exactly as you’d expect given its name.

When firepower is at a premium with no limits, shotguns with extended magazine tubes excel and few are as purpose-driven as the Mossberg semi-auto Model 930 Snow Goose. With its Kryptek Yeti wintry camo, 28-inch barrel, and 12+1 magazine tube capacity, snow geese everywhere have been put on notice.

The front fiber optic sight is quick to acquire, while interchangeable chokes offer hunters plenty of pattern options. Plus, this gun turns heads with both its looks and bakers-dozen shell capacity. Of course, it’s not limited to snow geese and does equally as well on other waterfowl as well.

The Mossberg Model 930 Snow Goose retails for $1,022.

Benelli Super Black Eagle

The Super Black Eagle III brings a bevy of features to hunters.

Most hardcore waterfowlers will have a strong preference for the brand of semi-automatic shotguns, and the Super Black Eagle from Benelli is always in the top two of that conversation. Recently introducing the latest in the Super Black Eagle family, the Super Black Eagle III, the newest shotgun accepts all shells up to 3.5-inches and comes in a variety of finishes and options. Benelli also shows some love to southpaws with a lefty friendly model.

The brand new SBE3 is not a necessity for waterfowl though, as older models are every bit as good. The Super Black Eagle namesake is equipped with Benelli’s inertia-driven, semi-automatic actions. ComfortTech stocks help negate the stout recoil of heavy waterfowl rounds and extended Crio chokes are hard to beat for tight patterns on ducks and geese.

Nab the SBE3 for a cool $1,899 or save a few bucks on older models starting around $1,500.

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Categories: Gun News

HO HO HO: Heckler & Koch Announces New SP5 Pistol

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 03:16

Complete with a paddle-mag release and threaded, tri-lug barrel, the SP5 is the pistol HK MP5 fans have wanted for years. (Photos: HK)


Just in time for Christmas, Heckler & Koch announced they finally read the letters to Santa and are introducing as close as they can get to a consumer MP5.

Dubbed the SP5, the semi-auto 9mm pistol closely matches the look and feel of the legendary MP5 submachine gun. How closely? It has an 8.86-inch Navy type barrel with threaded tri-lug adaptor, paddle magazine release, fluted chamber, and a chrome-lined bore. Further, it uses the same roller-delayed blowback operating system that has been HK’s hallmark for generations.

Sure to make a lot of wish lists…

“The New SP5 will make all those generic MP5 copies out there look like nothing more than gun store consolation prizes,” says HK in their press release on the new gun, which is much closer to what the market wanted than the snubby and feature-poor SP5K series which was released in 2016.

The SP5 uses the delayed roller locked blowback operating system that made HK famous.

When it comes to specs, overall length is 17.8-inches with a 10.2-inch sight radius, while weight is 5.1-pounds without the mag. The chrome-lined hammer-forged 8.86-inch barrel uses a 6-groove right-hand twist. Width is 2.48-inches. Height is 8.66-inches.

The HK SP5 is the perfect option for those who want a genuine MP5 but don’t have genuine MP5 dollars.

Naturally, it uses MP5 mags. This, combined with the specs, puts it much handier and truer to the original than vintage HK 94 carbines or the kinda wonky SP 89 pistol.

The SP5 uses the same paddle magazine as the MP5.

Made on the same lines and with the same machinery that the company cranks out MP5s on, the SP5 is produced at HK’s Oberndorf factory in southwest Germany.

The pistol is equipped with an elastic kind of old-school “bungee” style sling that mates to hardware on the rear of the receiver. Those wanting a thing that goes up can opt for an aftermarket brace or users can just go ahead and put an MP5 stock on it and make it an SBR, NFA-rules apply.

The SP5 uses a rotating MP5K type diopter sight barrel and rear sling attachment, with the latter ready for those who dig the 1980s Navy SEAL, British SAS aesthetic. Mustache and balaclava not included.

MSRP, in classic German HK mensch ärgere dich nicht fashion, is $2,799 but comes with a soft case, lifetime warranty, and two mags with a choice between factory 30-rounders or 10s depending on state restrictions. Hey, that’s the same cost as the SP5K which falls a lot shorter in features. Meanwhile, it is a good bit more expensive than the domestically-made PTR9 clone, which has been updated with M-LOK and Picatinny. 

While HK explains that production is “currently limited as we still have large contracts to fulfill on other projects,” the new SP5 is said to be headed to distributors right now.

For more on the new splash, Ian McCollum with Forgotten Weapons– in a departure from historic gatts that have been out of production since before the microwave oven was invented– got to check one out in the below video.

For a second take, TFB TV goes long on the HK SP5 with James Reeves nerding out over internals. However, be sure to listen to how good the gun sounds during quiet time with a can attached.


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Categories: Gun News

Bargain CF Bolt-Action 22 Rifle: The Webley & Scott Xocet

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 01:26


The British firm of Webley & Scott dates back to 1790 and has recently been getting back into the rifle game– with the Xocet setting the pace.

Introduced in late 2016 in Europe, the bolt-action Xocet is branded by Webley and manufactured by GSG– making it English by way of Germany in a sense. A cool thing about the model is that they use a threaded 19.5-inch carbon/kevlar composite bull barrel with an option for a standard pencil barrel as well.

They also have a skeletonized trigger, 10-shot detachable box mag, top Picatinny rail, and sling swivel studs standard.

The Xocets we have in the Vault all carry a German CIP Proof mark while the threaded carbon fiber barrel has a 1-in-16 twist rate on the .22LR models in stock.

With a lightweight ambidextrous synthetic stock with a 14-inch length-of-pull, these handy rimfire bolt guns run just 37.5-inches overall while hitting the scales at 7.5-pounds.

Produced in .17 HMR, .22LR and .22 WMR, we recently picked up a nice selection of .22LR guns with CF barrels. Note the Pic rail and threaded muzzle with a knurled cap.

While MSRP is a whopping $400+ on these, you wouldn’t believe our current price on the mint condition Xocets in stock.


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Categories: Gun News

Incredible Spinning Trick Shot with 60 Year-Old Classic 22 Pistol

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 00:51

Anyone trick shooter worth their salt can split a bullet with a knife, but then again, it is once you add some variables that you need a professional.

With that, 22 Plinkster clocks in to split some lead with a spinning knife while holding his pistol upside down. Further, it should be pointed out that, instead of a sweet Volquartsen match zapper, Plink is using a vintage Colt Challenger that he got from none other than GDC.


That’s a nice looking plinker

The Challenger, a no-frills variant of the 2nd Series Woodsman, was only made from 1950 to 1955, making Plink’s new (to him) gun over 60 years young.

Nonetheless, it looks like it still works well.

If you like interesting and often rare guns like the Challenger, be sure to check out our Collector’s Corner or look through our entire catalog of more than 3,000 new and used guns of all sorts.


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Categories: Gun News

NICS Black Friday Numbers Hit Near-Record High

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 04:17

Last week’s Black Friday NICS figures were 11 percent higher than last year’s (Photo: Chris Eger/

Figures released by federal regulators this weekend hinted at a continued near-record rise in national gun sale numbers.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said their National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 202,465 checks on Friday, as reported by USA Today. This is an 11 percent bump from last year’s figures of 185,713 and fell just 622 checks shy of an all-time daily record.

According to FBI figures, the top four highest single-day NICS checks logged since 1998 have been on the Friday following Thanksgiving from 2015 through this year, with 2017 being the highest.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade organization for the U.S. gun industry, last month advised that October 2019 is the sixth month in a row that the number of adjusted NICS checks was higher than the previous year’s data. The surge coincides with steady promises from political candidates to strive for increased gun restrictions should they carry the day in the 2020 election cycle.

“Initial reports of the total Black Friday NICS checks indicate Americans are voting with their wallets when it comes to their ability to exercise Second Amendment rights,” said Mark Oliva, NSSF’s Director of Public Affairs. “Black Friday sales have always been strong and this year appears to have been no different. In fact, our totals for the entire year show a strong desire to buy firearms for recreational target shooting, hunting, and self-defense.”

Oliva stressed that purchasing a firearm is a significant investment and one that isn’t made lightly.

“These numbers demonstrate that in light of the threats to Second Amendment rights by gun control politicians, Americans are choosing their rights and the ability to purchase the firearms that best suits their needs before that option is regulated away,” said Oliva.

Notably, 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. Over 20 states accept personal concealed carry permits or licenses as Brady exemptions.

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Categories: Gun News

Woman Bags Her 1st Buck at age 104, Dubbed ‘Sure Shot Florence’

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 03:37

Florence Teeters stands with her first buck on her first hunt at age 104. (Photo: Bill Ball via Wisc DNR)

Conservation officials in Wisconsin last week advised that beginner’s luck was running strong with a 104-year-old first-time hunter.

Florence Teeters reportedly bagged her first buck this season on her land in Price County on the opening day of the state’s nine-day season, reported the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. She got the bit by the hunting bug after accompanying her son, Bill, last season as a non-hunter.

Bill switched places this year, with Florence behind the sights in the blind and two hours into her first hunt, she was greeted with a spike buck to harvest.

“She was so excited and saying, ‘I got a buck! I got a buck!'” Bill said.

According to state records, she is the oldest first-time hunter in DNR’s database.

“This speaks to the adage that you should never underestimate the power of our senior citizens,” said DNR Secretary-designee Preston D. Cole. “After raising a family of hunters, this young lady chose this opportunity to partake in Wisconsin’s long-established tradition of deer hunting.”

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Categories: Gun News

Are Affordable Collectible Guns Still out There?

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 01:34


With good deals on collectible guns seemingly dried up,  we look into what, if anything, is out there that is still obtainable for the average collector.

To get some insight into that, we spoke with our own Mark Sims, our senior firearms buyer who spends time crisscrossing the country to find gems in the raw in the above video. While the days of $39 Mosins, $99 SKS rifles and $250 Colt Pythons are long gone, there are still deals to be had if you know where to look.

Below is more detail into what is still around at prices that you won’t have to get a second mortgage to obtain.

WWII-era Combat Handgun Designs

With Civil War-era revolvers and Great War period handguns taking up the top shelf in many collections, increasingly the focus is turning to the pistols of World War II. In the 1950s, surplus Lugers and Nambus were sold via mail-order in shootable condition for as little as $49. Today, while Lugers are still out there, by all means, they start well north of $1K.

However, without having to spend Luger money, budding collectors can still bring home a wartime Walther P-38 for a good deal less.

A staple of the World War II German Army, the P-38 was designed and produced by Walther but the 9mm pistol was also produced by Mauser and Spreewerk with the latter making P-38s at their facility in Grottau, Czechoslovakia under the “cyq” and “cvq” manufacturer’s code. This pistol’s “cyq” code, “WaA88” Waffenamt inspector’s marks and 7897e serial number puts its manufacture about July 1943. To put this into historical perspective, this is the same month that the Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, kicked off. The pistol also has distinctive 1W-marked Posselt grips, which were made of a combination of phenolic resin mixed with sawdust, correct for Spreewerk P38s made from 1943 to the end of the war.

Alternatively, guns pressed into service like the Astra 300, FN 1922 and CZ E7 39 can be had for much less. Although older designs, martial revolvers like the M1895 Nagant are still often priced below $500.

Military bolt-actions

The days of barrels and crates full of Mausers, Enfields and Springfield 1903s taking up floorspace at your LGS have faded away alongside the likes of black & white television and conservative Democrats. However, don’t let that scare you off such guns even at today’s prices alongside the more humble Mosin M91 variants as there are still some exceedingly good models out there that haven’t met with bubba’s Dremel tool and rattle can.

This Swedish K m/94 (Model 1894) carbine Cavalry Carbine made circa 1916 by Carl Gustaf GF, a company that is still making military products today. Only about 11,500 of these carbines were made by GF, with only the ones produced after 1914 having the bayonet lug. The brass information disk, which was used to store both ballistic information and unit rack numbers, is missing but a yellow “dope card” is pasted on the stock. Installed upside down, so the user can read it while in a shooting position, the card is titled “Sikte for trubbkula” (Swedish: Aim for the bullet) and has the holdover out to 600 meters listed in centimeters.

Wheelgun possibilities

With prices on Colt Pythons and Single Action Army models reaching all-time highs, many collectors are seeking out vintage wheelguns from Misters Smith & Wesson for a comparative bargain.

Old Smith & Wesson wheelguns made in the classic mid-20th Century format with pinned-and-recessed barrels and cylinders as well as deep bluing are readily available for those who are seeking them out. However, as the supply of these old roscoes grows shorter than the crowd of eager shoppers haunting gun shops looking for them, prices have been rising.

These include .38 Special Model 10s, .357 Magnum-chambered Model 19s and 27s, and .44 Magnum Model 29s. 

This great S&W 29-2 is a serious .44 Magnum that runs an 8-inch barrel at a fraction of the cost of a Colt Anaconda of the same vintage.

Space-Age Guns

An often-overlooked area of gun collecting is in the first generation of firearms that incorporated polymer and synthetics in place of wood and steel along with futuristic styling to create what today are now classic designs. These “space-age” or “atomic” era guns were unlike any other firearm in the local sporting goods or hardware store at the time they hit the market and were often snapped up and given hard service.

This means that nice examples of guns like the supersonic-looking Whitney Wolverine, or polymer-stocked Remington Nylon 66 are sometimes hard to come by today– but when you do find those cherry examples, they are a solid bet for future collectibility.

Produced largely with Dupont’s patented Zytel compound, the Remington Nylon 66 was first introduced in 1959 and, now discontinued for over 30 years, are increasingly popular with collectors. This one still has the factory box and display stickers

These guns and nearly a hundred other hand-picked specimens are showcased in our Collector’s Corner, a dedicated space where we gather the most curious, interesting and rarest firearms in the Vault for those looking for something special. 


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Categories: Gun News

Asfaleia Creates Designer Concealed Carry, Bulletproof Tote

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 04:30

The Asfaleia Tote is primed to help carriers interested in a more fashionable approach to off-body carry. (Photo: Jacki Billings/


A new concealed carry bag company has arrived, introducing a more stylish approach to the concealed carry conundrum. Asfaleia (pronounced as-fall-ya) is Greek for “safety” and the company looks to bring just that with its new line of totes, purses, bags and backpacks. With an array of products to choose, I jumped at the opportunity to check out one of Asfaleia’s tote bag options, the aptly named Concealed Carry Tote.

Tell Me More: The Basics

The bag is fairly roomy. The author was able to fit her must-have purse items as well as the Shadow Systems MR918 in Crossbreed holster. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Life as a mom entails a whole lot of extras – extra Kleenex, extra snacks, extra bandaids. For that reason, you’ll usually find me with a midsized bag capable of tackling all the accouterments without bogging me down. When deciding which Asfaleia bag was best suited for me, I opted for the Concealed Carry Tote in size small. The Large, which measures 13.5-inches by 10-inches by 5.5-inches seemed just a tad too big for everyday toting; but the small, measuring 11-inches by 9-inches by 4.5-inches, appeared just right. Available in black, brown, navy, pink and dust pink, I ordered the brown.

Upon unboxing, I was immediately impressed by the craftsmanship and quality of the bag. Let’s be real, most concealed carry bags look like they waltzed out of a 1980s flea market; but the Asfaleia design was well made and, dare I say, fashionable. Constructed from genuine leather and equipped with gold hardware, the bag looks more like what you’d see on the shelf of Coach. The plaid accent on the front offers a subtle pop of color that pairs nicely with the brown and gold coloring.

The bag is made from quality leather and sports gold accents for a classy look. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Inside, the bag is decked out in black fabric – a nice bonus for us that don’t like to clean the inside of our bags frequently or have a tendency to leave cap-less pens wandering recklessly. The company’s name is emblazoned in white on the inside, in case you missed it in gold lettering on the outside. This was one factor I wasn’t so keen on and I would have preferred a logo-free interior. It’s a minor squabble, but worth stating.

The bag’s organizational skills are on point, so the logo is easily forgiven. Offering multiple small pockets, users can easily stash keys, cellphone, chapstick, headphones, etc. in the small pockets lining the interior. As someone constantly losing items to the depths of my purse, this minor detail was a huge bonus and alleviated the pressure of digging for needed items.

It’s Cute, But What’s So Special?

Asfaleia’s tote also comes with the option of a Type IIIA Soft Armor Panel that slips in a dedicated pocket for added protection on the go. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

In addition to organizational pockets for essentials, the bag also features two hidden pockets – one for weaponry concealment (more on that in a minute) and the other for a ballistic armor panel. Yeah, this bag rolls deep with the protection. The ballistic panel itself is sold separately, retailing for around $80, and is Type IIIA rated. What does this mean exactly? It’ll stop most of your handgun rounds to include .44 Mag, 5.7x28mm, .357 SIG, .357 Mag, and 9mm. Rifle rounds will most likely slip through as will knives; but if you run into a shady situation with handguns involved, you have a better chance of coming through unscathed.

The ballistic armor adds a little more weight to the bag. It’s not noticeable during the regular course of the day, picking up and putting the purse down, but it will wear on you after long periods on the shoulder. Now you may be asking why it’s advantageous to sport armor in your bag, especially if it might weigh you down on the go? For me, I found it very useful in non-permissive environments – that is, locations that don’t allow me to carry. It’s one more layer to add to my overall self-defense plan in places like schools and the post office where I am reliant on everything but my firearm. It’s also worth considering if you have a school-aged child as it might offer some protection should an unfortunate event unfold on campus.

But Wait, There’s More: Concealed Carry

The gun rests in a dedicated pocket equipped with hook-and-loop to allow a holster to attach. The author opted for a Crossbreed shell for her Shadow Systems MR918. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

If you’re out on the town and non-permissive locales aren’t an issue, then the concealed carry pocket can be utilized to tote your preferred firearm. Just to be clear, most reputable instructors and experts, myself included, do not promote off-body carry as there are too many factors introduced into the carry situation that can lead to accidents or produce more problems for the carrier; but there are those who are committed to off-body. For those that are determined to carry in this manner, this purse does deliver a dedicated concealed carry pocket. Lined with hook-and-loop (aka Velcro), the interior is outfitted with loops and pairs with a holster sporting hooks.

For this review, I pulled out my trusty Crossbreed Holster shell that normally pairs with the Modular Belly Band. The shell is cut for the Glock 19 which also means it fits the new Shadow Systems MR918. Since I prefer a larger carry gun, I wanted to really put the purse to the test and see if it could handle the sub-compact.

The bag’s unique, integrated body armor makes it a viable solution for non-permissive environments. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

The Crossbreed shell and Shadow Systems pistol nestled into the concealed carry area – which secures with a magnet. My gun was a bit too tall for the pocket to full close which would leave it visible should anyone peer into my purse. Despite its potential visibility, the height made it easier to access when drawing because I wasn’t fighting against another closure.

How Does It Stack Up?

The purse itself uses a magnetic closure so that carriers don’t have to fiddle with buttons, straps or zippers to access the pistol. This is a logical design and one that works well. Though my draw time was much slower coming out of the purse than in my usual Dark Star Gear AIWB holster, I was able to thrust my hand into the purse, breaking the magnetic seal, to get to my gun.

The author had to use one hand to draw the firearm and the other to hold the bag in place. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Drawing took some practice and I highly suggest those that regularly off-body carry put in the time to acclimate to the awkward reach. I had to really dig into the purse to get a good grip on the gun and then I had to make sure my left hand was holding onto it so it wouldn’t move on the draw. Standing perfectly still it wasn’t too tough. Moving, on the other hand, required more practice.

This isn’t a unique fault to the Asfaleia bag as nearly every concealed carry bag I’ve ever tried suffers from this issue. It’s why, frankly, I don’t prefer this mode of carry. That being said, the bag is sturdy, and the Velcro does keep the gun in place. Though I griped about the extra weight from the Ballistic Armor earlier, it ended up coming in handy when concealed carrying as it helped keep the bag in place on the draw.

All in all, the bag does what’s intended – it retains the gun while still allowing reasonable accessibility.

The Verdict: Is It Worth The Price?

The tote is inconspicuous and stylish — perfect for the concealed carrier who doesn’t want to look like their carrying. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Asfaleia has gone out of its way to craft a stylish bag that looks like it belongs on the shelf of a high-end boutique rather than on the shelf of a gun store. It’s shining accomplishment definitely goes to its ballistics panel which I think makes for an excellent Option B in non-permissive environments — a real winner for teachers who can’t carry as well as dads or moms looking to keep fashion-conscious teens safe at school. While it suffers the same pitfalls as all off-body options, Asfaleia’s other strengths make it a viable contender for those committed to carrying in a bag.

There’s only one real catch here – price. Like any designer bag, Asfaleia’s designs aren’t cheap. The small Concealed Carry Tote I reviewed comes in at $299 while it’s larger sibling retails for $329. That’s the tip of the iceberg. Some of the company’s other bag options reach as high as $350; but if you’re tired of ugly carry bags and want something modern and classy, consider Asfaleia an investment.

Check out’s inventory of new and used concealed carry pistols ready to pair with your favorite mode of carry. (Psst…don’t forget the ammo!)

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Categories: Gun News

1911 Pistols For Every Budget

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 04:15

Need a 1911? We got you, fam. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

As many gun owners are quick to remind, 1911s won two World Wars and the fascination with John Browning’s design hasn’t dwindled since Allies meet Axis. If you’re dying to own your own little piece of gun history or you just can’t get enough of that 1911 design, let us do the heavy lifting with some solid 1911 recommendations for every budget.

1. Affordable, Under $500

If you’re looking to add a 1911 to your gun cabinet but don’t want to spend all your dough in the process, foreign 1911 makers — like Rock Island Armory, Taurus and American Tactical Imports – are your best bets.

ATI is a good starting point for consumers strapped for cash.


If you’re really strapped for cash, the ATI Firepower Xtreme is the most budget-friendly model coming in around $350. Boasting 8+1 rounds of .45 ACP, the ATI 1911 weighs in at 37-ounces with a 5-inch barrel and mahogany grips. ATI doesn’t float your boat?

Rock Island Armory’s GI Standard comes in 9mm with a 10+1 capacity.


Try a Rock Island Armory GI Standard, with an MSRP just under $400. The GI Standard comes with a 9mm, 10+1 design. Using wood grips that offset a black, stainless steel frame, the GI Standard weighs in at 39.5-ounces with a 5-inch barrel.

The Taurus 1911 brings an affordable price to consumers.


The Taurus 1911 is also an option for cost conscious consumers, retailing for around $470. The Taurus brings an all back design and 8+1 rounds of .45 ACP. The 1911 boasts a 5-inch barrel and weight at 42-ounces.

2. Middle of the Road, From $500-$1,500

If you can spring a little more cash, there’s more to be had at the mid-range price point, including American made beauties, with Remington, Colt and Kimber leading the pack.

Auto Ordnance delivers a solid 1911 at a midrange price.


Coming in with an MSRP of $695 (and real-world prices closer to $530), Auto-Ordnance’s 1911 flaunts a 5-inch barrel and 8.5-inch overall length with weight sitting around 39-ounces. The .45 ACP chambered handgun ships a matte black finish, wood grips and a 7-round magazine.

Remington’s R1 offers both .45 ACP and 9mm models.


Remington’s R1 1911 brings a .45 ACP chambering wrapped in a stainless-steel package. Weighing in at 38.5-ounces with a 5-inch barrel, the R1 offers a capacity of 7+1. Looking for 9mm? Remington offers the R1 in various models, including the 9mm R1 Enhanced. MSRP on the standard R1 comes in at $774, though street prices place it closer to the mid-$550s.

The Ruger SR1911 offers several models to choose from.


Backed by the Ruger name, the SR1911 delivers options to 1911 fans. With several models skirting around the $800 price range, the SR1911 series offers chamberings in 9mm, 10mm and .45 ACP. The Standard, Commander, Officer and Target variants all slip in under $1,000 while the Competition series will push you closer to $2,000. Base models come with the classic 1911 fire control, wood grips and a stainless-steel frame.

Colt’s Competition 1911 offers a bevy of features.


You can’t mention old-school guns without Colt and the historic company enters the midrange fight with its Competition 1911 series. Boasting an MSRP just under $1,000, the Competition can be found closer to $870 with some digging around. The Competition 1911 offers custom G10 grips and upswept beavertail grip safety and undercut trigger guard along with shooter’s choice of chambering in .45 ACP, 9mm or .38 Super. Available in either black stainless steel or silver, the Colt is sure to turn heads with its sleek design, 8+1 capacity and 36-ounce weight.

Kimber’s Micro 380 comes chambered in .380 ACP but offers fun and stylish designs.


Rounding out the midrange models is a manufacturer known for its style – of course, we’re talking about Kimber. In particular, Kimber’s Micro series delivers a bevy of colorful, sexy .380 ACP 1911s to fashionable consumers looking to expand their collection past standard black or stainless steel. Available in Rose Gold, Sapphire and Amethyst, to name a few, the Kimber Micro 380 offers a compact pistol measuring a 5.63-inches in total length with a 2.75-inch barrel. Perfect for packing in a slim holster, the Kimber Micro weighs 13.4-ounces and provides a 7+1 capacity. Situated on the high end of the mid-range budget, the Micro series hovers around $1,000. If looks matter, then the Kimber has you covered.

The Desert Eagle is a classic design with a wide fanbase.


The Desert Eagle boasts an instantly recognizable name synonymous with power. Chambered in .357 Mag, .44 Mag or .50 AE, the Deagle offsets its power packing rounds with a heavy frame – weighing in around 4-to 5-pounds. The pop culture icon sports a 6-inch barrel and an overall length around 10.75-inches on standard models. Capacity depends on chambering but averages between 7+1 and 9+1. With a wide selection of models and stylings, prices range from $1,000 to $2,500.

The Colt Delta has been proving its design since the 80s and it’s still going strong.


Colt’s Delta Elite has given 10mm 1911 fans a fix since the late 1980s. A recent re-release of the iconic pistol saw the addition of a rail for gunners who prefer laser/light accessories. Opting for a 5-inch barrel on a stainless-steel frame, the Delta Elite serves up composite grips with Delta medallions for a little flair. With a capacity of 8+1, the Delta Elite retails for $1,200.

3. High-End, From $1,600 Up

If mid-range options aren’t doing it for you and you happen to have some cash stashed in a mattress, it’s time to move up to the higher end of the spectrum with some familiar names.

Dan Wesson’s 50th Anniversary 1911 is a limited edition piece but one snazzy looking pistol.


Yet another 10mm design slips onto the list, this time courtesy of Dan Wesson. The Dan Wesson Bruin packs 8+1 rounds of 10mm, opting for a 6.03-inch barrel on a 9.7-inch frame. The pistol provides that standard 1911 look but brings tritium fiber optic sights to the table. Tipping scales at 43.9-ounces, the Bruin was the company’s first long-slide 1911. The Bruin retails for $2,194 though actual prices are closer to $1,600. For a flashier Dan Wesson pistol with a more custom look, check out the .45 ACP chambered 50th Anniversary Series. You won’t be disappointed.

The Wilson Combat CQB is a reliable 1911 with the benefit of the Wilson Combat name.


What kind of 1911 list would this be if we didn’t give some love to one of the most iconic 1911 brands on the market – Wilson Combat. Known for its elevated features, sleek look and flawless performance, Wilson Combat has steadily churned out custom 1911s since 1971. With models like the CQB Carry, the Wilson Combat team brings both 9mm and .45 ACP options to consumers with a match-grade barrel, skeletonized hammer and trigger and G10 Starburst Grips. Though some Wilson Combat variants reach upwards of $4,900, if you’re lucky you can nab a used one for under $3,000.

Nighthawk Custom brings a hefty price tag with some models heading north of $4K.


Nighthawk Custom is known for its, well, custom 1911s. Offered in a swath of colors, decked out in a bevy of features and chambered in 9mm, .45 ACP or 10mm, Nighthawk Custom delivers just about anything you can imagine in the way of 1911s; but these beauts come at a price. With MSRPs starting at $3,099 and ending around $8,000, you might want to check your bank account before throwing down.

The Big Bang Set offers two 1911 pistols made from an actual meteorite. (Photo: Cabot)

Got $4.5 million to spare? If so, Cabot has got a deal for you – specifically, the Big Bang Set. Crafted from a pre-historic meteorite sourced from Gibeon, Namibia, the Big Bang Set offers a true, one-of-a-kind 1911. With serial numbers depicting the geographic coordinates where the meteorite landed on Earth, the Big Bang Set introduces two pistols with an “out-of-this-world” look. All components, including the barrel bushing and trigger, were made using the meteorite’s material. The Big Bang Set is expected to go up for auction, but a date hasn’t been specified.

After you grab yourself a nice, new or used 1911 head over to and nab some ammo to go with it. 

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Categories: Gun News

5 Lever Action Rifles That Will Fill Hearts with Joy

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 04:00

Lever action guns are commonplace as a first gun under the Christmas tree for many young adults across America, for good reason too. It’s uniquely American, easy to operate, and smooth shooting by design making them a popular choice for young or old. has a Vault full of new and used lever rifles that will be sure to make any Western fan or hunter in your family grin.

Henry H024 Side Gate Lever Action

Adding a side loading gate – a popular feature on Winchester and Marlin lever-action rifles – marks a first for the Henry design. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

New to the market in 2019 Henry released their first side loader to the delight of many. In a first for the industry, this gun featured both a side loading gate and a tubular magazine.

While the side gate may be new territory for Henry the aesthetics of the design are anything but. You’ll find the hardened brass on the receiver, butt plate, and barrel band much like other models offered by the company.

Chambered in .30-30 Win, .38-55 Win, and .338 Fed these guns will not only be lookers in the field but are poised to take down some big game too. If you haven’t checked out the full review on the Henry Side Gate here it is.


Savage 99

The hammerless, rotary magazine design of the Savage quickly won the hearts of American hunters and shooters, proven by the 99’s near-century-long production run. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

The original hammerless lever-action rifle, the Savage 99, hasn’t lost any appeal since it was introduced in 1899. The rotary magazine was innovative at the time and is still a big hit with hunters looking for a sense of nostalgia in the field.

These rifles were extremely popular when they were first produced and had a long production life of 98 years before being shuttered in 1997. Newer used models can be found for $300-400 wise investors and collectors are scooping up older models.

The rifle had over 15 different chamberings, including a chambering for .410 shotgun shells, so there is something for everyone with the Savage 99. If you want more info on the reputable Savage 99 check out our full feature on it right here.


Marlin 336

The Marlin Model 336 in .30-30 is one of the most affordable of all deer rifles to rest in used gun racks. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

The Marlin 336 has long been heralded as a reliable and accurate rifle to take into the deer woods. In fact, this rifle is as popular as it’s ever been more than 100 years after the initial design, as evidenced by it being the top-selling lever gun on

Marlin made over 6 million of these rifles, meaning they are everywhere in the wild. This is advantageous for the consumer as you can find high quality used 336 models under $400 all day.

Like many other popular lever gun models, the 336 is available in many commemorative models which vary in price. You’ll find many chambered in .30-30 Win but other calibers are also available if that’s not your cup of tea.


Winchester 94 Commemorative Editions

The detail on the Sheriff Bat Masterson is amazing. It is little wonder why these guns were immediately collectible when issued.

In 1964 Winchester started making commemorative editions of their famed model 1894 rifle. These were designed to appeal to niche audiences while giving something for collectors to look forward to year in and year out.

The run of commemorative rifles ended in 2005 but not before the company pushed out over 100 variants from their North Haven facility. Some of these saw a boom in production, like the Centennial ’66 with over 100,000 being made. Others were produced on a more limited run, like the Sheriff Bat Masterson edition which only yielded around 8,000 total units.

This leads to a wide variety of pricing as some limited-run models are more collectible. If you want to know more about classic 94 Commemorative’s check out our full feature here.


Browning BLR


The first gun on this list to don a 5-round box magazine is the Browning BLR. The ability to pack a box magazine means the gun can take pointed bullets, earning it the right to fire the more deadly magnum loads.

Production on the BLR originally started in the 1960s and continues today. Available in 18 chamberings there is a model that will fit you and do well on any number of hunts.

The Browning BLR has expanded its lineup over the years offering many models including a takedown and a more tactical version in the Black Label Edition. It’s a proven platform and a trusted advisory no matter the conditions.


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Categories: Gun News

With the Troops on Thanksgiving Over the Years

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 11:00

Servicemembers unable to return home for the holiday have for centuries found a way to keep the tradition alive while deployed.

Thanksgiving dates back to the 1620s and President George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide celebration in 1789. The event has a special place in the hearts of those in uniform missing their family and has been documented extensively over the years.

“Thanksgiving in camp” sketched Thursday 28th November 1861 by Alfred Waud (Photo: Library of Congress)

Drawing by combat artist Winslow Homer, showing happy Union soldiers of the 16th Maine Infantry celebrating the Thanksgiving of 1862 during the Civil War. (Photo: Library of Congress)

USS Charleston: Thanksgiving Day celebrations on board in November 1893, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

USS Hartford Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 1903 (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Joseph Christian Leyendecker’s Saturday Evening Post cover for Thanksgiving 1918, complete with a Doughboy, turkey, M1903 and Brodie helmet

“American soldier in the ward of American Military Hospital No. 1 at Neuilly, supported by the American Red Cross, enjoying his Thanksgiving turkey” November 1918 (Photo: Library of Congress)

Soldiers stop for a photo at then-Camp McCoy before a Thanksgiving dinner at the installation in November 1937. (Photo: Department of Defense)

“After receiving permission from the farm owner, these men, attached to an airbase at Norfolk, England, invade a turkey pen to choose their annual turkey day repast. The turkeys were given to the men for their Thanksgiving dinners”, November 6, 1943 (Photo: National Archives)

Thanksgiving Dinner, November 1943, Somewhere in the Pacific USMC Archives

USS Santa Fe (CL-60) crewmembers attend Thanksgiving Day services on the ship’s after deck under a 6″ gun turret, probably during the Gilberts campaign in November 1943 (Photo: National Archives)

Roster and Dinner Menu, Company B, 265th Engineer Combat Battalion, 65th Infantry, Camp Shelby, Mississippi 1944

1944 Thanksgiving Dinner menu, Amphibious Training Center – Tulagi, Solomon Islands – November 1944 (Photo: U.S. Navy)

“Photograph. ’22 Nov 44. 5/MM-44-30207. Fifth Army, San Marcello Pistoiese Area, Italy. Thanksgiving chow went as far forward as there were troops. Sgt. Frank Shiborski, 107 AAA Group, from 5007 Central Ave, Detroit, Mich.[Michigan] A 50 Cal. Machine gunner takes time out from looking for Germans to do a little special duty on a ‘drum stick.’ Photo by Edwards. 3131 Signal Service Co.’ San Marcello Pistoiese Area, Italy. 22 November 1944” (Photo: National WWII Museum)

“Photograph. ’22 Nov 44. 5/MM-44-30206. Fifth Army, San Marcello Pistoiese Area, Italy. Pvt. Frederick A. Adcock, 107 AAA Group, from 2063 Hatch St., Benton Harbor, Mich. [Michigan], a Fifth Army infantryman, seems to enjoy his task as he goes to work on a mess kit of thanksgiving chow of which turkey was the main course. Photo by Edwards. 3131 Signal Service Co.’ San Marcello Pistoiese Area, Italy. 22 November 1944” (Photo: National WWII Museum)

“Photograph. ’17 Nov 44. 5/MM-44-6887. Fifth Army, San Benedetto Area, Italy. T/5 Wm. [William] Fleming, Austin, Minn. [Minnesota], eating a turkey leg. Photo by Schmidt. 3131 Signal Service Co.’ San Benedetto Area, Italy. 17 November 1944” (Photo: National WWII Museum)

Firing up the trusty M1937 field kitchen, the Army way

Admiral William F. Halsey, Commander, Third Fleet (left center) eats Thanksgiving dinner with the crew of his flagship, USS New Jersey (BB-62), 30 November 1944. (Photo: National Archives)

Thanksgiving in Korea

“Marine Lance Corporal Douglas E. Parker (Portland, Oregon), of F Company, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, tears into a hefty drumstick while enjoying a real home-style Thanksgiving dinner. Marines throughout Vietnam were served a full course turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day”, November 25, 1965 (Photo: National Archives)

“Marines of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion hold up a tiger skin that belonged to a tiger they killed on Thanksgiving Day during a five-day patrol. From left to right: Lance Corporal James Ortega, Lance Corporal Thomas L. Little, and Sergeant James L. Griffith.” November 1967 (Photo: USMC)

“The hood of a jeep serves as a makeshift altar as Commander Martin J. Doermann (North Kingston, R.I.) Twelfth Marine Regimental Chaplain, holds Thanksgiving Day services at Gio Linh, south of the Demilitarized Zone. The chaplain was one of a score of 3d Marine Division chaplains that visited Marine units in the field as Marines observed Thanksgiving Day in Vietnam.” November 1968 (Photo: USMC)

“South Vietnam, November 1967 SSG Raymond Scherz of Addison, Ill., C Company, 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division’s Thanksgiving dinner at the nearby Bear Cat base camp”

The Thanksgiving Day Parade at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, 2009 (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

More from Bagram

A turkey gets carved for USS Nimitz’ (CVN 68) Thanksgiving meal, Nov. 2015 (Photo: Department of Defense)

“U.S. Army leadership assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division serve their Soldiers a Thanksgiving meal at Tactical Assembly Area Shaquli in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Iraq, Nov. 24, 2016” (Photo: Department of Defense)

Wherever you are and however you celebrate this week, remember those deployed.

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Categories: Gun News

The Best-Selling New Guns of 2019

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 05:24

We crunched our numbers for the first 11 months of the year so far and came up with a list of the most popular new guns in 2019.

By “new,” we mean they were sold new in the box as they came from distributors, not that they were introduced this year. Likewise, the numbers are just our internal ones for sales through, not national sales figures from the gun makers themselves or federal regulators.

As handguns proved more popular with buyers overall, we will start with pistols and revolvers:

Most Popular Rimfire Pistol: ATI GSG 1911

With a 10-round magazine and M1911 styling for around $230, the ATI GSG 1911 has been in demand.

ATI GSG 1911 NEW FROM $230

Imported by ATI in South Carolina, the GSG 1911 is made in Germany and is a .22LR styled after the iconic GI M1911A1 with a 10-round magazine. Of note, the runner-up in this category to the ATI GSG 1911 was ATI’s Firefly model, a German-made .22LR lookalike of the Sig P226, followed by the Ruger MK IV and Walther P22.

Most Popular Semi-Auto Pistol, Duty-Sized: SIG P320 M17

If it’s good enough for Uncle…

SIG P320 M17 NEW FROM $599

With news of the U.S. Military choosing the Sig Sauer-produced M17, a variant of their P320, to replace the Pentagon’s handgun stocks, the public has been reaching for the consumer variant of the pistol for their own needs. Ironically, the Beretta 92FS came in just a few pistols behind the M17/P320 in our rankings.

Most Popular Semi-Auto Pistol, Mid-Sized, Glock G19

We heard you liked Glock G19s? The Gen 5 Model was the People’s Champ


The power of Glock Perfection was strong with those who clicked through for handguns, with the brand proving among the strongest contenders in most categories. They walked away hands-down when it came to mid-sized pistols when it came to the G19, however. Sales of that model were far above those for the collective runners up, which included popular models like the CZ P-10C, S&W M&P Compact, HK VP9, Ruger Security 9, XD Defender, Walther PPQ, and Canik TP9.

Most Popular Semi-Auto Pistol, Sub-Compact: Ruger LCP

About the size of the palm of your hand, the Ruger LCP has found a lot of support when it comes to “add to cart.”


Ruger’s LCP in .380 is an affordable ($220 ish) and easy to conceal little single stack that people just love. While the only slightly bigger Sig P365 and Glock G43 offer a larger 9mm chambering, their sales didn’t even come close to the numbers put on the board by the tiny Ruger.

Most Popular Full-Sized Revolver: GP100

The Ruger GP100 is king of the wheel guns for 2019, at least this far


For those with about $600 to spend and are looking for a strong and modern take on the DA/SA revolver, Ruger’s GP100 has been a no-brainer, especially when you consider its multitude of variants. Interestingly, the Ruger Redhawk was the runner-up in this category while the company’s Vaquero was the best-selling single-action revolver.

Most Popular AR Pistol: AR556 Ruger

Seeing a lot of Ruger handguns here…


A category that wasn’t even a thing a decade ago, new AR-style pistols are coming out every day. The company that seems to have a lock on the category, for now, is Ruger, who ran away with it with their AR556 series which come in both .300BLK and 5.56mm NATO.

Most Popular M1911 .45: Colt M1991

Two World Wars!

COLT M1991 NEW FROM $721

There are tons of M1911s made for one reason: they are a gun culture staple. A common denominator of sorts in a gun collection. With Colt being the traditional maker, their modern M1991 series longslide is still popular and in demand, even though imported M1911 clones from the likes of Rock Island and others are about half the price. Although we can’t give you exact figures or the accounting people would plotz, we sold as many M1991s this year as we did Glock G19s.

Most Popular Small-Frame Revolver: S&W 442

Although Ruger beat out the Big Blue when it came to sales of full-sized revolvers, Smith was the heavyweight when it came to snubs.


The J-framed Smith & Wesson Model 442 is a competitor to be reckoned with when it comes to small revolver sales. What’s not to like about a reliable 5-shot .38 SPL+P that can pull pocket duty? Of note, the next closest sales figures to the top were for the 642, the stainless version of the same roscoe, followed by the Ruger LCR and EAA Windicator.

Rifles and Shotguns Most Popular AR: Bushmaster XM-15 QRC

In a market where everyone makes an AR-15 style rifle, this one surprised us a bit, too.


Dubbed their Quick Response Carbine (QRC), Bushmaster includes a quick detach mini red dot optic with their standard XM-15 platform to produce a lightweight, maneuverable AR that runs about $600. As such, it has beat out many rivals in the black rifle field and tops our sales charts.

Most Popular 22 Rifle: S&W M&P-15-22 Sport

Nope, not a 10/22 or Marlin Model 60 here, people want a plinker they can train with as well.

S&W M&P 15-22 NEW FROM $364

While we fully expected the Ruger 10/22 or some other traditional rimfire zapper to be the king of the hill in this category, it turns out the S&W M&P 15-22 proved a better bet– and by a large margin. For $360~ you get an AR-style .22LR with M-LOK accessory rails, Magpul MBUS, and a top Pic rail, so it makes sense.

Most Popular Lever-Action Rifle: Marlin 336

New lever-action rifles are still popular with the market, and of these, Marlin’s Model 336 in .30-30 topped the charts.

MARLIN 336 FROM $435

The Model 336 has been a regular in Marlin’s catalog for generations and the venerable “thuddy-thuddy” is still sought-after in its category.

Most Popular Bolt-Action Rifle: Mossberg Patriot

With synthetic-stocked rifles starting around $300 and walnut-stocked variants at $400, Mossberg’s Patriot series platforms have been very popular with buyers.


Mossberg only introduced the Patriot line in 2015 but they have been selling extremely well with buyers looking for a no-frills but well-made hunting rifle. Beating out both the Savage Axis and iconic Remington 700 rifles in our spreadsheets, the Patriot is likely to be voted “most-seen” in the hunting camp if this keeps up. With standard features like a user-adjustable trigger and button-rifled fluted barrels that are free-floated and have a recessed crown, we can see why.

Most Popular Shotgun: Mossberg 500

Looking for a nice Mossy 500? You aren’t alone.


Beating out the next nearest competitor– the Remington Model 870— by a factor of more than 2-to-1, the Mossberg 500 series shotguns are a universal adapter. With a wide array of choices inside the series, the basic Hunting All-Purpose Field model in 12 gauge with a 6-shot magazine is the most popular.

And there you have it, our best-selling new rifles, handguns, and shotguns. The people have spoken,

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Categories: Gun News Unboxing Studio Presents: Colt 70-Series 1911

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 04:00

The Colt M1911 is a ubiquitous service pistol that needs little introduction. The official service pistol of the US Armed Forces for 75 years, it’s the only gun that can proudly claim victor of “two World Wars, baby.”

Colt is the original manufacturer of the M1911 and they’ve been at it a long, long time; though, through the years there have been slight modifications to the original design.

The M1911 morphed over the years from the standard model to the M1911A1 and then into a myriad of later changes. One of these changes — for the better, according to most 1911 fans— came in 1970 with the so-called Series 70 Colts, which used an upgraded barrel bushing to provide a more accurate platform over often sloppy and rattle-trap GI .45s.

The MK IV Series 70 Government model is an M1911A1 style Colt longslide, with a few tweaks and without the trigger mush of a Series 80 gun. (Photo: Don Summers/

Starting in 1983, Colt added a drop safety enhancement to the M1911 known as the Series 80 that carried the downside of leaving the trigger a bit more mushy than the nice, crisp one found on Series 70 guns.

To confirm if an M1911 is a 70 or 80 series gun, as far as the firing pin block on the improved drop safety goes, look under the back of the slide. (Photo: Chris Eger/

If you’re curious about the evolutionary history of the M1911, check out our feature here.

An M1911 is always an attractive pistol (Photo: Don Summers/

The 70-series MK IV Colt M1911 shown above is in pristine condition and ready to go home to a worthy owner.

Luckily, Colt still makes a Classic GI-style Series 70 today, as well as a few other models.


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Categories: Gun News

The Sig P365 SAS – First 100 Rounds and Initial Thoughts

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 04:00

The SAS arrived at the range ready to do work, it finds a nice home with the Sig  (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

When Sig announced the latest iteration to their P365 lineup, the 365 SAS, I was excited, to say the least. At first look, the Sig Anti Snag (SAS) model has many exciting features; the sights, the capacity, the concealability, and the sights… the sights! Yes, I was excited to try the new sights which ditched the traditional three-dot design found on nearly all modern striker-fired handguns. As someone with severe astigmatism was curious if the Sig SAS’s sighting system could get me on target quicker.


Initial Thoughts on Design

Sights aside, the first feature that grabbed my attention was the lightening cuts in the slide. This feature aided in keeping the muzzle down, providing tighter follow up shots. The slide cuts also offer a nice look and while we’re talking aesthetics it’s worth noting the rounded build. Of course, this rounder front helps that snag-free design, allowing concealers to draw and reholster with ease.

The new SAS design is sleek and innovative (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

The SAS also boasts other changes setting it apart from its predecessors. Some of those revised features include a slimmed-down slide lock and a revamped takedown system. Admittedly, the slide lock is an area that caught most flack among consumers. To achieve a snag-free moniker, Sig Sauer has created a tiny slide lock recessed into the frame, so it lays flush. While, yes, snag-free the flush fit makes it nearly impossible to use — especially with the meaty sausage fingers I have.

The takedown lever is another sore spot among consumers, as Sig has removed the level entirely in favor of a screw. For most, this seems counterintuitive; but if you were worried about your original P365 snagging on the takedown lever, you can now rest easy knowing that potential problem has been eliminated. Unfortunately, this now means the new SAS requires a tool to take-down.

The SuperTuck holster proves to be comfortable and the 365 disappears under a garment (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

Besides these inconveniences, the gun delivers on “anti-snag” as promised. Running dry-fire holster drills has been effortless, with the gun coming out of the holster with no qualms. Additionally, the gun’s compact design paired with the Crossbreed Reckoning System means the gun disappears under a cover garment.

Initial Thoughts from the Range

Eager to start putting lead downrange I loaded my Sig mags with Fiocchi Range Dynamics. Like the original P365 mags, these first few proved tougher to load with fresh springs. Over time, though, they should ease up.

Shooting the gun proved easy and comfortable. Despite its small stature, it never jumped out of my hands – a positive that not all pocket pistols can tout. The trigger has some take up to work through, but ultimately it breaks cleanly. About a half-inch of travel rearward and you get a nice audible and felt reset. The SAS’ trigger won’t win any awards but for a carry gun, it gets the job done.

A good first round of lead down range with the 365 SAS (Seth Rodgers/

Finally, let’s talk about the FT Bullseye Sights. Besides the obvious cool factor, the real assessment centers around their functionality. Do they actually work? While I’ve only put 100-rounds down range, I can say that sight acquisition is quick and painless. These are possibly the easiest sights to pick up. If you have an astigmatism, as I do, then you may want to check out the SAS for this reason alone.

With no traditional front sight post, there is one less thing to snag on while the possibility of front sight fouling likewise vanishes. The innovative design of the FT Bullseye sight still allows the user to have fiber optics during the day and tritium in low light. (Photo: Sig)

While sight acquisition is effortless, target acquisition was a bit of a struggle. Unlike your traditional three-dot sights which ride above the barrel these sights feel like they are almost too close to the slide. It’s an adjustment, especially if you’re used to traditional sights on other models.

This, however, all points to training. More time on the range with the SAS to familiarize myself with its quirks will, no doubt, yield better shot placement over time.

Next Steps

The Sig P365 SAS is going to serve as my companion for a little longer as I carry it and put more rounds downrange. Will it become my dedicated EDC? Time will tell. In the meantime, it will ride safely in my Crossbreed holster.

Keep it tuned to as I go on this carry journey with the P365 SAS and report back.


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Categories: Gun News

Plastic Fantastic: A Look at the Heckler & Koch VP70

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 01:16


Designed as a forward-looking firearm, Heckler & Koch’s circa 1970 entry into the polymer handgun market had a lot going on.

The VP70 was the German company’s polymer-framed, striker-fired 9mm handgun of the Disco era. An 18-shot select-fire gun, it had a theoretical rate of fire of a very spicy 2,200 rounds per minute and the ability to use a detachable stock that, like the old C96 Mauser, doubled as a bulky holster.

The VP70 patent drawing, showing the stock/holster.

One of the lead firearms engineers behind the VP70 was Alex Seidel, who before WWII worked for Mauser and helped create the HSc pistol. The VP70, which had only four moving operating parts, was billed as reliable and simple with the select-fire sear itself contained in the buttstock. The main body was a synthetic resin material, a concept pretty forward-looking for 1968 when it was on the drawing board outside of the Remington Nylon 66.

First marketed in 1970, the VP70 beat Gaston Glock’s G17 to the “plastic pistol” market by a generation. However, it never really caught on and was something of, well, a duck in a market full of eagles. It plodded along until it was quietly discontinued in 1989, only garnering a few sales to third world military forces and limited export to the U.S. as the semi-auto and stockless VP70Z.

Speaking of which…

The VP70Z

Behold the VP70Z! (Photo: Richard Taylor/

While the military model of the VP70 sported an “M” suffix, the neutered model intended for the consumer or civil market swapped that out for a “Z” suffix.

A single-action-only 19-shot 9mm pistol with a polymer frame, downright odd ergonomics, and a creepy boomerang-shaped trigger, the VP70Z was not popular in the era of Smith & Wesson “Wondernines” and once the Glock came on the scene, the writing was on the wall for continued commercial sales.

The VP70 used sights based on what HK referred to as using a “light and shadow” principal. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

The very industrial-looking DAO trigger was described in HK advertisements as being a “parallel type revolver trigger.” Note the push-button safety (Photo: Richard Taylor/

The “VP” designation has some debate, with many saying it stands for “Volks-Pistole” or People’s Pistol, much like the Volkswagen. Others argue it is for “Vollautomatische Pistole” (fully automatic pistol) or “Versuchspistole” (test pistol). Either way, it’s still a VP70. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

The VP70 uses a heel-mounted mag release, popular in European handguns (Photo: Richard Taylor/

By 1984, it was over for VP70Z imports.

Nonetheless, its futuristic styling made it a hit in Hollywood and the VP70 was seen in the Resident Evil video game series, was the preferred sidearm of Colonial Marines in Aliens, and even guest-starred in episodes of MacGyver and The A-Team.

The VP70Z was only imported through HK’s Arlington, Virginia operation in the early 1980s, from then-West Germany. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

Our VP70Z up for grabs in the Guns.Com Vault of Certified Used Guns includes the original box, circa 1981 test target, manual and two magazines. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

HK went back to the drawing board and came up with the USP and P2000 in the early 2000s which were much more popular. Then came the VP9 and VP40. That later polymer-framed volkspistole line was introduced in 2014– 44 years after the VP70’s debut– and has been a lot better received.


Like interesting and unusual firearms like the HK VP70Z? Then you will love Collector’s Corner, where curates the cream of the crop when it comes to rare gems like this. Check it out here.

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Categories: Gun News

S&W and Colt Revolvers That Deliver Happiness at Any Price

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 04:00

Revolvers evoke a certain sense of nostalgia, longing for simpler times. Many gun owners can recount their first time shooting a wheelgun alongside a parent or grandparent – a warm and fuzzy memory to most.

At, we like to help you don those rose-colored glasses for a stroll down memory lane with a vault full of revolvers. Though prices range from expensive to modestly priced and features vary, the following guns are sure to have one thing in common – the ability to bring a smile to any revolver enthusiast’s face.

Colt Python

You can’t mistake a Python for anything else. (Photos: Richard Taylor/

The granddaddy of them all, the Colt Python is the revolver that all other revolvers strive to be. A highly sought-after collectible, the Python easily slips into target practice at the range and is equally at home as a nice BBQ gun to show off to friends.

With barrels offered in 4-, 6- and 8-inches, these guns won’t decline in value anytime soon. For a full feature on the Colt Python and why other revolvers tremble before it, check out our assessment HERE.


Smith & Wesson 627 Performance

This 627 has been given the Performance Center treatment resulting in a good looking gun

The Smith & Wesson 627 brings eight shots of .357 Mag, meaning it’s equally comfortable on the range as it is in a home defense setup. The 627 Performance brings the famed quality of Smith & Wesson with a Performance Center touch turning it into a thing of beauty.

This particular model features a stainless-steel finish, gold bead front sight and rear adjustable sights. It has a tuned action along with a chrome trigger and trigger stop.

The final brushstroke of beauty on this gun is the wooden handles offer a look that is both classy and timeless. Don’t let this one walk out of your life – grab her before she’s gone!


Colt Single Action Army

Call it the Single Action Army, Colt 1873, or Peacemaker, the iconic Colt .45 has been a crowd-pleaser for over 140 years. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

The Colt Single Action Army may have 146 years under its belt, but it’s still going strong. These revolvers have garnered praise from SASS shooters looking for an authentic cowboy shooting experience.

These days, the Colt SA Army revolvers fetch a high price, especially first- and second-generation models, which make them valuable in the collector’s world. In short, you’ll be spending upwards of a thousand dollars to get your hands on one. Looking for something a little more competitive in price? You can always opt for a replica.

Want to learn more about the Colt SA Army and its history – check out’s feature on this famed wheelgun.


Colt Detective Special

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

Those of you longing for the days of film noir will solace in the Colt Detective Special. These snub-nosed revolvers saw extensive use in both real police departments as well as their fictional Hollywood counterparts.

Chambered in .38 Special these wheelguns are classics with many concealed carriers still sporting this proven model. An especially popular backup gun, many law enforcement and old school carriers slap the Colt Detective Special in an ankle holster for low-key concealment.

Whether you’re looking for your next BUG or want to play the part of Humphrey Bogart, the Colt Detective Special won’t let you down.


Smith & Wesson 624

This sleeping beauty is a Smith & Wesson Model 624, a fine target revolver with a 6-inch barrel made for a short run in the 1980s by Big Blue, chambered in curious but commanding .44 Special. You don’t run across these every day, making this a BBQ gun with presence and an interesting back story to boot.

Smith & Wesson’s revolvers are so nice, we just had to bring them out twice. This time, the famed gun maker brings us the S&W 624. Chambered in .44 Special, this model is a timeless wheelgun with a beautiful stainless-steel frame and checkered grips.

Show her off at the range or let her rest at your bedside, this revolver is worth putting on display. Not to mention, the .44 Special offers a more manageable experience than its magnum counterpart.

The .44 Special S&W 624 weren’t produced in mass quantity like some of Smith & Wesson’s other models, meaning it’s worth scooping up when you find one.


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Categories: Gun News

SAAMI Accepts New Cartridges: 12 Ga 1.75-inch, 6.5-284 Norma

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 03:00

In are the 12 Ga 1.75-inch “Shorty” or “mini” shells along with the extended range, 6.5-284 Norma

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) announced this month they have accepted two new cartridges for standardization.

SAAMI, founded in 1926, promotes gun safety by creating and maintaining standards for reliability and interchangeability of firearms, ammunition, and components. The two latest cartridges to get the nod from the Connecticut-based group institute are the 12 Ga 1.75-inch shotgun shell and the 6.5-284 Norma rifle cartridge.

The 1.75-inch shell, which falls between a good bit shorter than the standard 2.75- and 3-inch 12 gauge shells, has gotten a boost in the arm in recent months with the introduction by Federal  of their Shorty series of shells. Federal says these new shells offer similar patterns energy and accuracy as their full-size counterparts while taking up less space in a mag tube.

The company is producing the shells in No. 8 shot, 4 buck, and rifled 1-ounce slug loads. 

Notably, the 1.75-inch shell has been marketed by Aguila in their Minishell series in No.7.5 shot as well as 7/8-ounce rifled slug loads  among others.

6.5-284 Norma

As for the 6.5-284 Norma, it was developed by Nosler after a long history as a wildcat round. Capable of harvesting deer-sized game at often extended ranges, Nosler has been producing the cartridge in a variety of loads between 120 and 140 grain including Match  and Trophy grade  lines.

In addition to Nosler, HSM has also jumped on the factory 6.5-284 Norma train and is producing the cartridge with a 140-grain Sierra Game King  and another 140-grain load with the latter incorporating Berger Match Hunting Very Low Drag (VLD) bullets.

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Categories: Gun News

SCCY Announces Sub-$350 Red Dot-Equipped CPX Pistols

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 00:00

Pitched as ideal for EDC, the new SCCY CPX Red Dot series all come with a 3.5MOA red dot with a built-in backup site. (Photos: SCCY)


Florida-based SCCY Firearms this week debuted an update to their CPX handgun platform that includes a Crimson Trace red dot.

The new SCCY pistol series features a Crimson Trace CTS-1500, a 3.5MOA auto-dimming red dot with over 20,000 hours of battery life and a three-year warranty. These will be mounted to the pistol maker’s 9mm CPX-1/CPX-2, and .380 ACP-caliber CPX-3/CPX-4 series handguns.

“The CPX Series retains backup iron sights but allows the user to focus on the target by utilizing the parallax free Red Dot from Crimson Trace,” said SCCY. “These small concealable pistols offer value and features to the user that has never been seen before.”

SCCY CPX Red Dot series all use a CTS-1500 dot which carries its own 3-year warranty and has 20,000-hr battery life.

The MSRP on these red dot-equipped pistols? SCCY tells us it will range from $339 for the CPX-2 and CPX-3 to $349 for the CPX-1 and CPX-4, prices you can expect to be a touch lower through retailers.

The CPX series pistols all use a receiver made of 7075‐T6 aircraft grade heat treated billet aluminum alloy, coupled with a stainless steel slide. The grip frame is made from Zytel polymer with finger grooves and an integrated recoil cushion on the backstrap.

The CPX Red Dot Series is shipping now and should be available in the coming days, with all models priced below $350– WITH the CTS-1500 included.

The trigger is DAO with a full-time 9-pound pull while the pistol uses an internal hammer firing system with an inertial firing pin to prevent accidental discharge if dropped. Magazine capacity is 10+1 on both .380 and 9mm models.

Founded in 2003 by Joe Roebuck, American-owned SCCY has spent the past two decades carving away market share in the consumer handgun market with CPX series guns in 9mm and .380. According to ATF statistics for the most current year available, SCCY produced 150,647 pistols in 2017, making the company one of the top six domestic makers of handguns in the country by volume– not counting firearms that were imported from overseas. This is compared to Smith & Wesson (1,032,450), Ruger (774,211), Sig Sauer (536,636), Kimber (183,858) and Glock (175,696).


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Categories: Gun News

Sig Sauer Delivers 100,000th M17 Series Pistol to U.S. Military

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 00:00

Sig won the Army’s MHS contract in early 2017 and has since gone on to supply the gun to every branch of the military. (Photo: Sig Sauer)


New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer announced last week that they have reached a milestone in delivering new pistols to the U.S. Armed Forces.

Since winning the contentious Modular Handgun System contract in 2017, beating out big-name pistol makers from around the globe to replace the M9 Beretta, Sig has exceeded performance standards and recently delivered the 100,000th MHS series gun to the military.

“In the month of October, Sig Sauer exceeded our manufacturing requirements by 30 percent and delivered a record-setting 12,100 handguns to the U.S. Military to achieve this historic milestone for Sig Sauer and the MHS program,” said Ron Cohen, the company’s President & CEO.

The MHS system consists of the compact-sized M18 pistol, foreground, as well as the more common full-sized M17, and a raft of Winchester-supplied companion ammo loadings. (Photo: Sig Sauer)

The MHS system comprises the Sig Sauer M17 full-size, and M18 compact handguns, each based on the company’s P320 series pistols, as well as Winchester Ammunition’s 9x19mm M1152 Ball, M1153 Special Purpose, and M1156 Drilled Dummy Inert cartridges. Over the coming five to seven years, upwards of 350,000 handguns and 100 million rounds of ammunition are scheduled for delivery to the Pentagon.

Adopted by Every Branch

While the Army is the primary user, with a reported 231,586 MHS pistols — mostly M17s — ordered over the past three years, the platform is also being acquired by the rest of the U.S. military as well. As noted in the Navy’s FY 2019 procurement budget justification for the Marine Corps, 35,000 M18s will not only replace aging M9 Berettas but also the Colt M45A1 CQB .45ACP railgun and the newly-acquired M007 Glock.

Likewise, the Navy is set to purchase 60,000 M18s to replace its current M9s.

The Air Force is also going all-M18, using the compact 9mm to phase out their M9s and M11s, the latter a version of the Sig Sauer P228 used by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Further, the M18s ability to use blank firing kits and Simunitions will allow it to replace the venerable .38-caliber Smith & Wesson M15 revolver, which is still used to train military working dog teams.

In addition, the Coast Guard reportedly has contracts for the MHS system as well.

“With the strict accuracy and acceptance specifications that the M17 and M18 are continuously exceeding, it’s clear that the success of this program can be directly attributed to the reliability, durability, and accuracy of the handgun, which has resulted in the high demand for both the M17 and M18 from every branch of the U.S. Military,” said Cohen this week.

Check out the feedback from fielding the M17 MHS system with Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, at Fort Bliss, Texas, last month.


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Categories: Gun News

Gun Control Godfather Michael Bloomberg Enters Presidential Race

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 23:30

Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2013 (Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit CC BY 2.0)

Former New York Mayor and billionaire anti-gun advocate Michael Bloomberg is now officially running for the White House.

Bloomberg announced his campaign Sunday with a planned $34 million media blitz to garner the Democrat nomination for President next year. At least the 19th person to declare for that spot, several of which have already shuttered their campaigns, Bloomberg stated this weekend, “I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America.”

The 77-year-old media and financial services mogul spent 12 years as New York City’s mayor in the early 2000s, sandwiched between Rudy Giuliani and Bill de Blasio, and is currently estimated by Forbes to be worth over $50 billion.

While mayor, the City established the first gun offender registry, similar to a sex offender registry but for former gun owners. His administration also mandated that licensed gun dealers in the City conduct and certify their inventory every six months with the NYPD, installed a one-gun-a-month rationing scheme, and used public funds to “buy back” more than 8,000 firearms from residents.

While in office in 2006, he co-founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns along with then-Boston mayor Thomas Menino. In 2014, that organization, funded largely through donations from Bloomberg, morphed into Everytown, which bills itself as the largest “gun safety” group in the country although it does not run any firearm training or safety programs and largely concentrates on advocating for increased gun control at all levels.

Over the past several years, numerous MAIG/Everytown-endorsed political candidates have seen their campaigns benefit extensively from Bloomberg PAC dollars. Last year, the former Mayor personally spent “$110 million to elect candidates strong on gun safety in the 2018 midterm elections” according to his campaign website.

The news of Bloomberg’s entry into the race to unseat President Trump next November has been prefaced by signs the move was coming for the past several weeks as the former Mayor’s campaign has filed paperwork to put him on Democratic primary ballots in several states. Two weeks ago, President Trump downplayed the prospect of Bloomberg of being a formidable future opponent, calling him “Little Michael,” and saying, “he just doesn’t have the magic.”

Gun industry reaction

Firearm industry groups are not impressed with Bloomberg’s late entry into the 2020 race.

“Michael Bloomberg’s announcement to buy his way into this presidential election and force his radical gun control agenda on America surprises no one,” Mark Oliva, the Director of Public Affairs at the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told Sunday.

“The anti-gun billionaire showed his hand in February when he pledged to spend a half-billion dollars to force his gun control nanny-state agenda on the rest of America,” said Oliva. “Michael Bloomberg doesn’t trust the rest of the Democratic field to deliver the White House for gun control just as he doesn’t trust Americans to exercise their God-given rights. The biggest surprise regarding the former New York City mayor’s late entrance into the presidential race is how he ignores the signs that he’s the candidate no one wants. His polling numbers hover at just two percent.”

Jason Ouimet, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, previously this month said that “if Michael Bloomberg wins the White House, it will be the biggest Second Amendment disaster in American history.”

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Categories: Gun News