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How to Speak 1911: Holding Class on the Evolutionary Differences

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 07:22


In the past 118 years, there has been lots of development in the basic concept of an M1911 pistol. With that in mind, we are here to help break it down.

John Moses Browning’s original Colt pistol, which was adopted in 1911 by the U.S. Army after extensive testing, was a single-action .45ACP with a 5-inch barrel, 8.5-inch overall length and a weight of about 2.5-pounds. The semi-auto used a 7-shot magazine, had negligible sights, and two frame-mounted safeties. A lanyard ring was standard to help keep the pistol attached to the user should it bounce out of the hand, say while on horseback in a cavalry charge.

In short, the first production type of these M1911 pistols looked much like this:

This Colt 1911 100th Anniversary was a limited production run marking “a century of excellence” in the model. It includes checkered double-diamond walnut grips and the early profile that included a flat mainspring housing. This example, in the Vault, has its original centenary box and comes with two seven round-magazines.

The guns proved a hit with the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marines who adopted it to replace older revolver models. Starting in 1912, Colt soon offered it on the commercial market as well as to foreign militaries. By 1914, the Royal Norwegian Army had adopted the pistol while British and Canadian military contracts, with the former chambered in .455, signed around the same time. Argentina and Tsarist Russia soon followed suit with their own orders.

Colt soon marketed the M1911 both to military and commercial markets. Early ads included references to how easy the gun could be used by horse-mounted cavalrymen.

While the first combat use of the Colt GI may have actually been in the hands of Canadians fighting in France in early 1915, U.S. Marines carried the gun with them into battle at Fort Riviere in Haiti the same year while American soldiers had them in 1916 on the Punitive Expedition into Mexico, chasing bandit king Pancho Villa.

This early 1913-made Colt M1911 Government Model was carried in Mexico in 1916 by Mississippi soldier EN Coffey Jr and is currently a museum piece. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The M1911 and its later M1911A1 descendants would continue to see action in the hands of American service members in the Great War, the Banana Wars, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War, only being (mostly) retired in the late 1980s. During the same time, the standard rifle morphed from the M1903 Springfield to the M1 Garand and later M14 and M16 series.

From 1916 through the late 1980s, the uniforms changed but the M1911 remained a common denominator. (Photos: Library of Congress)

After Great War production by not only Colt but UMC and Springfield Armory, by 1924, the now-veteran M1911 was updated to a new standard, the M1911A1. This included a relief cut to the frame at the trigger to allow a better grip by those with smaller hands/shorter fingers, better sights, an arched mainspring housing, shorter trigger, and extended safety tang.

The new M1911A1 looked more like this:

This GI-style repro, Auto Ordnance’s 1911BKO, closely replicates the look and feel of a WWII-era U.S. military M1911A1. Note the clearance cut to the rear of the trigger as well as the shorter trigger itself. Also, note the curved mainspring housing and extended beavertail grip.

The U.S. military ordered so many M1911A1s during WWII from Colt, USS&S, Remington-Rand, and Singer that the models produced by 1945 were enough to meet the Pentagon’s needs until the Beretta M9 was adopted in 1985. In fact, at least some 90,000 of these vintage pistols are still in arsenal storage at Anniston Army Depot.

Commercially, Colt branched out and produced National Match guns for competition shooters– following in the wake of standard military M1911s which had been customized by Army gunsmiths– and in 1950 began producing what they termed “Commander” series guns. These pistols were shorter, running a 4.25-inch barrel, and lighter by nature of an alloy frame. Similarly, these guns were offered in calibers other than .45ACP, to include .38 Super (which Colt first started chambering commercial 1911s in as early as 1928) and 9mm Luger. Also gone was the lanyard ring.

This circa 1991-made Colt Combat Commander MK IV in our Vault is chambered in 38 Super and has aftermarket Houge wraparound grips. Using a shorter barrel and yielding a lower weight, Commander-style guns chopped the longslide to a more manageable length.

Going shorter than the Commander, “Officer” series Colt 1911s hit the market in 1985. The gun was styled after the short run of M15 General Officer pistols produced at the U.S. Army’s Rock Island Arsenal in the 1970s which were made from chopped-down GI .45s already on hand. Colt ran with the concept and released their own Officer models using 3.5-inch barrels and shorter grips, typically with a 6+1 capacity in .45ACP.

This 1989-production Colt Lightweight Officer model in our Vault sports Pachmayr rubber grips and is chambered in .45ACP.

Internally, 1911 models saw a big change in the 1970s when a collet bushing, which better centered the pistol’s barrel, replaced with the original bushing design, sparking an era of “70 Series” guns. It’s a major difference to 1911 fans, with many preferring the older 70 Series for competition guns.

The “80 Series,” so-called because it was introduced by Colt in 1983, is a more modern development, aimed at increasing drop safety for carry guns through tacking on additional features such as a safety plunger, with the caveat that it adds some extra trigger smush. Many of these guns, if made by Colt, also had a flat mainspring housing like the early pre-1924 M1911 as well as a solid barrel bushing. Likewise, the small ejection port, common on the pistol since it was first adopted in the age of the Model T Ford, was lowered.

To further explain the internal variance between the 70s and 80s, Justin Baldini, product director for Colt, covers the evolutionary process between the two in the below video.

Moving past the Pony, in more recent generations it seems like almost every big semi-auto pistol maker has made inroads to the popular 1911 market. Today, Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, Ruger, Springfield Armory, Kimber and Remington all make assorted 1911s domestically while overseas pistol makers like Taurus, Rock Island, and Tisas make no-frills models for import. One sure bet at SHOT Show every year is that a new maker will cannonball into the 1911 pool.

Today may likely be remembered as the golden era of 1911 production, with the guns still bought, sold, carried, and used extensively even though few are used in military or law enforcement currently. These include competition guns, plinkers, carry guns and just plain old collectibles ranging from .22LR models on up.

As far as prices, you can go from a used Rock Island GI Standard for as low as $338 to a Cabot Vintage Classic or Wilson Combat Supergrade that will set you back closer to $4K

Speaking of which, check out this Nighthawk Custom crafted by legendary gunsmith Bob Marvel:

It just doesn’t get any cooler than this when it comes to 1911 carry guns.


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Categories: Gun News

What Are My Options For Handgun Optics?

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 05:00

Iron sights mounted on the Sig Sauer P320 X. (Photo: Ben Brown/


Though standard iron sights haven’t changed much over the last several hundred years, technological advances in optics have pushed the envelope for handguns. With an array of options from glow-in-the-dark to electronic, is here to break down the various handgun optic styles so you can make the best decision for your shooting style.


Fiber Optic sights on the Springfield XD-S. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

What many consider “old faithful,” iron sights are a staple on most handguns. While they come in a variety of styles – traditional 3-dot and u-style, for example – there have been some innovations since their inception.

The first major development began with the tritium sight. Allowing shooters to visualize the sights in low light, tritium made engaging targets in dim scenarios easier. In the late 1990s and into the 2000s, tritium was the go-to style for law enforcement and concealed carriers.

The next evolution came by way of fiber optic. Fiber optic sights glow bright — even in normal light. They come in numerous colors and can be installed on narrower sights since they are not radioactive. Today, fiber optic sights dominate the world of upland hunting and competitive shooting.

Iron sight proficiency should be the first step in optics. Long before you toss on a targeting aid or red dot, every gun owner should master the art of shooting with iron sights.


The Trijicon RMR on the FN 509 Midsize MRD. (Photo: Jacki Billings/


Used in competition shooting for many years, red dot sights have decreased in size over the years allowing more gun owners to concealed carry with these optics. Red dots like the Trijicon RMR and Burris Fastfire make target acquisition faster, affording accurate shots at much further distances.

Red dots also offer an advantage at night, making low light shooting easier. Several red dots on the market even feature light sensors that automatically adjust to the optimal brightness.

The downside to a red dot is two-fold. The first is that most standard holsters don’t accommodate them meaning gun owners will need to opt for a customized rig or one specific to red dot carry.

The second pitfall of the design is that most red dots are battery-driven, meaning gun owners have to remember to change them regularly. Generally speaking, most batteries last two years. A good rule of thumb is to change out batteries on your birthday or anniversary each year, so you know they won’t fail you.

For those opposed to battery-powered red dots, there is an alternative – a Dual Illuminated RMR from Trijicon. Using fiber optics and tritium, the Dual Illuminated RMR collects ambient light to automatically adjust the reticle’s brightness. In no/low light, the tritium does the heavy lifting, illuminating the reticle. Keep in mind that this construction tends is a dimmer solution and more difficult to see when drawing.

Honorable Mention: Laser Accessories

The Beretta BU9 outfitted with a Crimson Trace laser. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Though not an optic in the true sense of the word, lasers do deserve some attention as an aiming aid for novice shooters. These tools help shooters produce the gun on target and improve aiming in life-threatening, high-stress situations. It also acts as a heck of a deterrent against predators. Nothing says, “No thanks” like a red or green dot.

Undermounted lasers, like the LaserLyte Sight Center Mass, slide onto the accessory rail of full-size and most compact pistols. Typically, these are integrated with a flashlight like the Streamlight TLR series.

For subcompact pistols without an accessory rail, grip lasers and trigger guard lasers mount to other areas of the gun. Grip lasers, in particular, offer laser activation with a natural grip of the firearm. Made famous by Crimson Trace, these are said to have a dedicated run time of two hours and are a decent option for those running a full-sized 1911.

Final Thoughts

Whether you adopt fancy new iron sights, a laser aiming accessory or red dot on your pistol, the most important advice to follow is to train. Each device comes with its own limitations and adjustments, so it’s wise to take some time to familiarize yourself with each platform.

Ready to pick up your next pistol optic? Check out’s bevy of handgun optic options now!

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Categories: Gun News

Smith & Wesson to Split off into its Own Firearm Company

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 04:25

Smith & Wesson, a name which officially vanished as a company in 2016, is going to stand on its own feet again (Photo: Chris Eger/

American Outdoor Brands Corporation announced Wednesday that they intend to split their operation and let S&W stand on its own again.

The historic firearms company, originally founded by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson in 1852, changed its name to AOBC in 2016 after a suggestion from board members that was approved by stockholders. Now, as noted by the company in a press release this week, the current Board of Directors has unanimously approved splitting the company into separate AOBC and S&W entities with the latter focused on firearms. This will allow AOBC to focus on outdoor products and accessories.

Brands under AOBC will include Caldwell, Crimson Trace, Wheeler, Tipton, Frankford Arsenal, Lockdown, BOG, Hooyman, Schrade, Old Timer, Uncle Henry, Imperial, BUBBA, UST, and LaserLyte. Meanwhile, S&W will license brand their accessories through the company as well. James Debney, current President, and CEO of AOBC, will continue in that role.

As for the rebooted S&W, they will include the iconic 167-year old Smith & Wesson and its associated M&P and Performance Center brands as well as Thompson/Center Arms, and Gemtech. Mark Smith, currently the President of the Manufacturing Services Division of AOBC, will become CEO of the newly independent Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc.

According to statistics from federal regulators, S&W produced 1,032,450 pistols, 207,384 revolvers, and 265,356 rifles at their Springfield, Massachusetts facility in 2017, the most current data available. This puts Big Blue as one of the largest gun makers in the world.

The split is expected to be completed in the second half of the calendar 2020, subject to final approval by AOBC’s Board of Directors as well as customer regulatory and legal review.

The move is intended to allow each company to have a distinct focus and open up investment opportunities based on a wider investor type.

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Categories: Gun News

Ruger Adds New 300 Blackout AR556 Rifle Model to Catalog

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 00:38

The new .300BLK Ruger uses an 11-inch free-floated aluminum with M-LOK slots slathered on at the 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 positions with additional slots on the angled faces near the muzzle (Photos: Ruger)


Connecticut-based Ruger is adding to their AR556 series rifles with the introduction this week of a model chambered for the popular .300 AAC Blackout cartridge.

While Ruger’s AR556 rifle has only previously been offered in .223/5.56-caliber models, and in the AR556 MPR line in .350 Legend and .450 Bushmaster, the Blackout variant is new. Featuring a 16.10-inch cold hammer-forged barrel with a 1-in-7 twist, the new offering has a pistol-length gas system “to reliably function with both the lightest supersonic hunting rounds and heavy, subsonic rounds.”

The rifle also comes standard with an 11-inch aluminum free-float handguard with Magpul M-LOK accessory slots. Suppressor ready, the rifle has 5/8-24TPI muzzle threads capped with a thread protector. In the interest of keeping the user in the right ammo state of mind, both the dustcover and the magazine are marked with the caliber.

The overall length is 33-inches with the six-position M4 style stock fully collapsed and 36.25 with it fully extended. Weight is 6.4-pounds.

For those curious about materials, the barrel is 4140 chrome-moly steel while the receivers are made from 7075-T6 hard-coat anodized aluminum forgings. The 9310 steel bolt is shot-peened and proof-tested inside of an 8620 steel bolt carrier. The inside diameter of the carrier and gas key are chrome plated and the key is staked.

MSRP is $819 but you can expect lower than that when in stock.

For those wanting a bolt-action .300BLK for less scratch, Ruger also markets the American Ranch model in that popular chambering in no less than two models for around $400 smackers.

But What About a Pistol Version?

Looking for something more compact?

The company earlier this year introduced a .300BLK-chambered AR556 pistol. Using an adjustable SB Tactical SBA3 pistol stabilizing brace and a 10.5-inch barrel, the overall length on the 5.8-pound handgun is 27.6-inches. Equipped with a 9-inch aluminum free-float handguard complete with Magpul M-LOK slots, users can install accessories at the 3-, 6-, and 9-o’clock positions. With an MSRP of $949, we currently price it out at closer to $715, in stock. 


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Categories: Gun News

East v. West During the Cold War: Guns of the Berlin Wall

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 05:41

A West German border guard standing just over the line from an East German border guard, the latter armed with a PPsh-41 and a desire to enforce the rules of the People’s Republic. (Photo: Library of Congress)

With the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall this week, we look at some of the guns that held the line between East and West.

In the last days of World War II, the victorious American, British, French and Soviet allies occupied Germany in 1945 and separated the country into four zones. By 1949, with the Cold War setting in, the western part of the country occupied by the U.S., Britain and France became the Federal Republic of Germany, better known as West Germany, while the Russians reciprocated by forming the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, the latter a Communist puppet state of Moscow. This division included the historical German capital city of Berlin, with the NATO allies keeping the Western part supplied initially via an airlift, resulting in an isolated enclave inside East Germany that endured for more than 40 years.

As the “Iron Curtain” descended across Europe, the tensions along the border between the two new Germanys escalated until 1961 when construction began on a wall surrounding West Berlin from East Berlin. Dubbed a means to keep fascism out of the People’s Republic (antifaschistischer), the wall was more of a mechanism to keep East Germans from escaping the soul-crushing misery that was Communism by fleeing to the West. It is estimated that more than 3 million Germans fled from East to West between 1949 and 1961. If they weren’t stopped, eventually all the workers would have fled the worker’s paradise and the country would be empty!

An East German border patrol officer looking out over one of the bridges linking East and West Berlin in 1961 (Photo: Library of Congress)

The new wall was guarded by the Grenztruppen, a quasi-military border police force. It was organized with a mix of old WWII German Army and surplus Soviet gear, with the 1940s-era PPSh-41 sub gun being the primary weapon. These gray-uniformed East German border troops were under the Army’s control rather than a police or customs unit and much of their training was in the form of political indoctrination. To keep these guards in line, East German secret police, or Stasi, were a regular facet of life along the wall. Still, there were several high-profile incidents of defections.

East German border troops signing a declaration to “assure their unwavering loyalty to the working-class party and the government of German workers and peasants,” in August 1961. Note the PPsh-41s (Photo: German Archives)

The force would also be later armed with MPi-K AKM variants and Makarov PMs, with German-made Karabiner S SKS models used as well. (Photo: German Archives)

To police more remote border areas such as forests along the national border, the East German regime installed more than 60,000 Selbstschussautomat SM70 directional mines. Trying to leave the country unannounced could be downright hazardous to your health.

While NATO-allied military forces would hold the line, armed with a mix of M1 Garands (later replaced by M14s and M16s), FAL variants, HK G3s and the like, the West German border troops were a little less well-equipped. The Bundesgrenzschutz (Border Troops) and Zoll (Customs) organizations were formed in 1951, notably several years before the West German military. At first, these police-controlled units were armed with Mauser bolt-action rifles, Walther P-38 9mm pistols, and a few leftover StG44 Sturmgewehrs.

The German Kar.98k was the standard infantry rifle of the country in World War II and remained in service in the 1950s and 60s with West German border troops. These guns, popular as collectibles and sporting rifles, are a staple in the Vault of Certified Used Guns. This example, for reference, is a “Byf” coded 1943 Mauser– a real piece of history.

Adopted in 1938 to replace the Luger in German military service, the P-38 was an extremely popular combat pistol, seeing service in WWII. Post-war, they were retained by the reinvigorated West German police and eventually replaced by later models, although the guns still popped up around the globe during the Cold War from Angola to Vietnam. This pistol’s “byf 44” code, “WaA145” Waffenamt inspector’s marks and 7168w serial number puts its manufacture about July 1944, and it is in our vault looking for a home.

Over time, the Mausers were replaced by the more contemporary Karabiny G1, a variant of the 7.62 NATO FN-made FAL. The below film from 1969 shows BGS troops with FALs and Walthers, among other groovy period gear.

Meanwhile, the Walthers got an update.

By the late 1950s the Walther P1, an upgraded P38, was adopted by West Germany for police and military use. The company had relocated to a new factory in West Germany as their old one was occupied by the Russians and was busy cranking out new equipment for both domestic consumption and overseas commercial sales.

The Walther P1 is slightly different from the legacy wartime P38 pistols as it has several changes, most notably the alloy frame and pebbled black plastic grips. Today these guns are pure Cold War history.

In 1975-76, Walther produced a limited run of 5,200 P38 P4 pistols, a shortened version of the P1, specifically for use by the West German Border Patrol and Customs. The above, in the author’s personal collection, is one of those former BMI guns. (Photo: Chris Eger/

While the Cold War never went all the way hot, at least in Europe, the border between East and West Germany, and in particular the wall around West Berlin, was by no means safe. In Berlin alone, at least 140 people are believed to have been killed while simply trying to escape to the West between 1961 and 1989. There were also pointed incidents and casualties between the respective border guards on both sides as well as with NATO and Soviet troops. In 1985, a U.S. Army officer, Major Arthur D. Nicholson, was killed by a Red Army sentry in East Germany. At least three British, American and West German military aircraft were shot down over East Germany between 1953 and 1969.

Finally, on November 10, 1989, the security at the wall was dropped by the East German government, who had decided to throw in the towel on the whole Communism bit. The resulting Nacht des Mauerfalls (Night of the fall of the Wall), was the effective end of the Berlin Wall and by 1990 the two Germanys were on the path to reunification as the Soviets withdrew.

East Berliners walking through Checkpoint Charlie, the famed U.S. Army post along the Berlin Wall, 30 years ago this week. (Photo: German Archives)

As a personal note, that was a big deal in the Eger household. My grandmother had fled her birthplace in then-East Germany, refusing to live under Communist oppression. She became a West German citizen in 1962, just after the Wall went up. She then legally emigrated to the U.S. in 1963 and had an American flag in front of her house until the day she died.

(Photo: Chris Eger/

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Categories: Gun News

Blazer Ammunition Brings Bulk .22 LR Ammo to Range Day

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 05:15

Blazer now offers bulk packs of .22 LR. (Photo: Blazer)


Blazer Ammunition serves up more rounds for plinking practice, expanding its inventory to include a new .22 LR bulk pack.

Ideal for shooters who throw volleys of rounds downrange, or those that just want to stock up, the bulk pack serves up 525-rounds of .22 LR. The 38-grain round nose offers a muzzle velocity of 1,235 feet-per-second with reliable cycling in most semi-automatic rifles. Blazer Ammunition says the rounds opt for “clean, reliable CCI primer” and work well for those that enjoy long days of training at the range.

“Keep range day going longer with the new Blazer .22 LR Bulk Pack. It’s topped off with 525-rounds of accurate, reliable Blazer loads with 38-grain round nose bullets perfect for plinking,” Blazer said in a press release.

MSRP on the new bulk pack sits just under $30.

Itching for some affordable Blazer ammo? Head over to to see our array of Blazer ammo up for grabs.


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Categories: Gun News

Sig Sauer To Host Third Annual Sig Relentless Warrior Championship

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 05:00

Competitors from the 2019 Sig Sauer Relentless Warrior Championship in Epping, New Hampshire. (Photo: Sig Sauer)

Sig Sauer is set to host its third iteration of the Sig Relentless Warrior Championship in 2020 for military academy cadets.

Scheduled for March 28, 2020 in Epping, New Hampshire at the Sig Sauer Academy, the Relentless Warrior Championship hosts 100 cadets from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, United States Air Force Academy, United States Naval Academy, United States Coast Guard Academy, Virginia Military Institute, Texas A&M and the Merchant Marine Academy endure an intense course of fire that tests training, marksmanship and leadership skills. The result? The opportunity to be named the “Ultimate Warrior.”

The 2020 match will see Team Sig members Max Michel, Lena Miculek and Daniel Horner serve as honorary match safety officers. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to attend shooting clinics and demos by Team Sig members.

Sig says finding unique ways to support our nation’s military is important to the company.

“Supporting our military is the foundation that Sig Sauer is built upon, and we feel a deep sense of responsibility to the future of our nation’s military leaders,” Sig’s Chief Marketing Officer Tom Taylor said. “It’s an honor for everyone at Sig to host this elite competition and actively participate in the development of these cadets in their training to serve our country.”

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point took the title of Ultimate Warrior in 2019 and will attend 2020’s match to defend the title.

Looking to gear up in the best Sig Sauer has to offer so you can operate like pros? Head to to check out our inventory of all things Sig.

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Categories: Gun News Unboxing Studio Presents: CZ 75 SP-01

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 09:00


The CZ 75 SP-01 is a tactical pistol used by military and competitive shooters alike, known for its reliability. The hammer-fired CZ 75 has been around the block, first introduced in 1975, and over the years CZ has innovated the lineup to include many variations aimed at specific niche audiences. The version we took into the unboxing studio was the SP-01 Tactical.

This “tacticool” pistol has an all-steel construction, weighing in a bit heavy at over 38-ounces. Because this features some heft, you’ll likely see it relegated to duty work, competition shooting and home defense. The added weight does come with some benefits, though, namely in that it helps produce smooth and manageable recoil. Many shooters claim that this is among the lightest recoil pistol they own.

The ergonomics of the CZ 75 makes the gun very comfortable to shoot (Photo: Don Summers/

Ergonomically, this gun has it going on. The rubber factory grips are textured without being overly aggressive. The beavertail provides a nice, firm grasp on the gun. This might be the skinniest double-stack I’ve ever held, transitioning to concealed carry without a hiccup. The over-sized magazine release is easily actuated and should be easy to reach for nearly any shooter. The large ambidextrous de-cocker is a nice added touch for those looking for that additional safety feature.

This is a used model from the GDC vault, adorned with aftermarket sights (Photo: Don Summers/

Our CZ 75 SP-01 is 9mm but it’s also available in .40 S&W if that’s more your flavor. Regardless of caliber choice this handgun sports a 16-or 18-round capacity depending on the magazine. The double-action trigger isn’t too heavy and breaks cleanly with a nice audible reset. The gun features an accessory rail allowing the end-user to mount a light or laser, offering another big benefit for those looking to put this in the nightstand for home defense.

This is a reliable and well-built gun ready primed to tackle duty style escapades or home defense scenarios. It’s smooth, accurate and, most importantly, reliable — something every gun should strive for. The CZ 75 SP-01 is a true winner coming out of the unboxing studio.


The SP-01 variation shines brightly in any condition (Photo: Don Summers/

The CZ 75 SP-01 is at home in any situation (Photo: Don Summers/

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Categories: Gun News

Long Lost Revolutionary War Flintlock Displayed at Museum

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 05:14

The 1775-dated Oerter rifle, recently returned to public display for the first time since it was stolen in 1971. (Photo: Museum of the American Revolution)

A historically significant flintlock rifle was recently returned to its owners and put on display at the Museum of the American Revolution.

The flintlock, crafted by Pennsylvania master gunsmith Johann Christian Oerter, is dated 1775– the year the colony joined with others in the War of Independence against British rule. Acquired by the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution in the 1960s, it had previously been displayed at Valley Forge, the famous site where Gen. Washington sheltered his Colonial Army through the hardships of the winter of 1777 to 1778.

Sadly, the rifle was stolen from its “unbreakable case” at Valley Forge in 1971 and remained missing until recently when it was purchased by prominent Pennsylvania antique dealer Kelly Kinzle at a barn sale.

“I bought it on a house call with a group of things,” Kelly told Antiques and The Arts Weekly. “This was the last thing the owner pulled out, and I told him that it was a copy of a famous gun, it couldn’t be the real thing. Collections are usually consistent and everything else in this place was mediocre quality. So I dismissed it, brought it home, took it apart and realized it was real.”

Kelly, through his attorneys, contacted the FBI and the gun was eventually returned to the PSSR, who loaned it to the Museum of the American Revolution this month.

“It is deeply gratifying to be able to return to this rare artifact to public view after nearly fifty years,” said Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, the Museum’s President & CEO, in a statement. “The Christian Oerter rifle exhibits exemplary early American artistry and is a reminder that courage and sacrifice were necessary to secure American Independence.”

“The Continental Army riflemen often carried rifles like this one when going head-to-head against the British light infantry,” said the Museum of the American Revolution.

Oerter, whose shop was only active for about a decade, produced about 150 rifles. His handcrafted guns have been highly sought after and the only other signed example belongs to the Royal Collection in England, where it has been since 1805.

The 1775-dated rifle will be on view at the Museum of the American Revolution through March 17, 2020

The FBI Art Crime Team & Upper Merion PD recovered a 1775 Oerter rifle after 48 years. Thanks to Kelly Kinzle (center) who helped recover a priceless piece of American history. Be like Kelly: Help find stolen art by visiting the National Stolen Art File at

— FBI Philadelphia (@FBIPhiladelphia) November 1, 2019

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Categories: Gun News

What Are the Different Shooting Positions?

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 05:00

For those of us who enjoy recreational and competitive shooting, positional shooting is part of everyday life; but for some newcomers to the sport, positional shooting may seem daunting or intimidating. Instead of avoiding these seemingly complicated shooting positions, you’d do far better to embrace them with open arms.

Let’s explore some positions you might find yourself in while slinging lead downrange and find out why some are more efficient than others.


Standing can be the most difficult position to shoot. (Photo: Jeff Wood/

Out of all the positions, standing is probably the most difficult as it requires constant use of muscles to balance – not to mention wind which can push rifles and shooters off target. For this reason, standing is the least desirable for rifle shooting; however, there are a few things gun owners can do to solidify this position.

One of the easiest means to stabilize shooting while standing is to simply add a sling. A sling allows shooters to create a rigid structure out of the upper body by tightening arms and shoulders against the sling. This rigid, arch-like structure makes a solid launch-pad for shots.

Another way to improve the standing position is to give up on the notion that you can remain utterly still. While some folks can manage this, most of us cannot. Instead of trying to remain completely still, shooters might be better off to embrace their movement. Many competition shooters use a pattern of movement, shifting their rifle on purpose either in a circle or figure-eight pattern while aiming. By purposefully moving their rifle they absorb the unwanted movement caused by shudders and other influences. As a result, the pattern of movement is, at the very least, predictable – and predictability breeds accuracy.


Prone shooting is, by far, the most stable position. (Photo: Jeff Wood/

If standing is the most unstable position, then the prone position — or lying stomach-down on the ground — proves to be the steadiest. Prone shooting requires no muscle movement, allowing those behind the gun to relax completely. Shooters can, in turn, truly focus on other fundamentals such as aiming, trigger control and breathing.

Though prone shooting offers the most stability, it doesn’t come without its challenges – namely, breathing. Due to the position on the ground, bellies flat against the Earth, the rise and fall of the chest can impact shooting. Breathing and sometimes even the beat of your heart can register in the scope affecting point of aim. This can be mitigated by rolling slightly to one side or the other.

Prone shooting is also favored among shooters due to its ability to easily integrate support aids like a backpack or bipod. These kinds of accessories enhance aim and produce better shots.


Sitting while using a shooting aid steadies the gun. (Photo: Jeff Wood/

Sitting is a common way to shoot if too much ground interference (bushes, rocks, etc.) prevents the prone position. Sitting adds stability by bringing your center of gravity closer to the ground, requiring fewer muscles to maintain a steady position.

Crossing one leg also helps improve sitting shots, using bone structure to support the firearm. Triangles are sound structures, so if we can build similar structures with our arms and legs, and then further fortify them with aides like slings we can achieve a stable platform for better shots.


Resting the rifle on the knee in the kneeling position creates a triangular position that is more stable. (Photo: Jeff Wood/

Like sitting, the kneeling position brings us closer to the ground requiring less muscle movement; however, kneeling does require a fair amount of balance. As with other shooting positions, the most stable kneeling position is achieved when you create a rigid structure of bone. If you can, dig one knee in the dirt while the other remains upright and bent. This grants additional support for the rifle.

Kneeling is typically employed when a sitting position is either too low or when a shot needs to be made quickly. Keep in mind that terrain may dictate which knee remains off the ground, so practice the kneeling stance with each knee.


There are countless devices available to help support shots. Shooting sticks, bipods, tripods, and support bags all increase stability when shooting. A tripod proves useful when stabilizing a difficult shot from a sitting or kneeling position — use your backpack for rear support and your steadiness increases ten-fold. Bipods and rear support bags can also make prone shooting more comfortable and easier on the shooter.

The standing position is immensely improved by adding the right height shooting sticks to help create a triangle. Depending on the shot scenario, even a rigid stick or tree branch can be used to stabilize your rifle before the shot.
Try your hand at several support accessories while practicing to fine-tune the best gear for you.

You can’t test out shooting positions if you don’t have a gun. Head over to to scope out the latest and greatest in new and used rifles perfect for practice.

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Categories: Gun News

Ammo Review: Winchester M1152 Active Duty 9mm

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 04:09

Winchester’s M1152 Active Duty 9mm load was adopted by the Army for the new MHS handgun program and in now available for commercial sale. (Photos: Chris Eger/


Winchester was selected in 2016 as the ammunition supplier for the U.S. Army Modular Handgun System (MHS) program, where the M1152 serves. As the round was recently made available to the public, we had to check it out.

Using a 115-grain flat nose full metal jacketed bullet, the 9x19mm Luger round has a distinctive shape. With a brass case and military primer, it has an advertised velocity of 1,320 fps at the muzzle which translates to 445 ft/lbs of energy. Downrange this shifts to 1,301/432 at 5 yards and 132/387 at 25 yards, according to the tables provided by the company.

“Winchester proudly developed M1152 to serve alongside the U.S. Warfighter and was selected as the sole source ammunition supplier for the United States Army Modular Handgun System (MHS) Program,” Winchester said in a news release earlier this year. “Consumers can now use the same product selected by the US Military for their training needs.”

The company has long been in the 9mm biz for the U.S. military. Going back to 1942, the War Department adopted a 116-grain FMJ with a 1,400 fps velo as the “Cartridge, Ball, 9mm, M1” with Winchester picking up the contract to produce millions of these literal parabellum rounds for use in Allied pistols and SMGs such as the STEN gun and others during World War II. Further, Winchester for a generation has been a prime contractor of the military’s M882 9mm cartridge, adopted in 1985 for use with the M9 Beretta.

The M1152 ammo sent for testing has a “WMA 19” headstamp, which is typical for ammunition made at the company’s Oxford, Mississippi plant. Unlike the 124-grain NATO made by the company, it does not have the NATO “cross” stamp.

The current 124-grain Winchester NATO load runs usually about 100 fps or so faster than typical FMJ loads in the same weight. In chronographic testing, we found the M1152 Active Duty sample sent to us clocked in at a mean average of 1310, within 10 fps or so of the advertised range.

As the Pentagon is also buying the Winchester-produced companion M1153 9mm round in quantity– which uses a 147-grain jacketed-hollow-point bullet– for use in the MHS series of pistols, the M1152 is more of a training round– at least on the commercial market. The box is even marked as such. With that in mind, we did not run penetration or expansion ballistics testing on these flat nose full metal jacketed rounds. For personal defense, a load such as Winchester’s PDX1 Defender bonded JHP, which is available in both 147- and 124-grain would be a better choice.

Winchester advises to only use the M1152 in modern 9mm firearms in good condition as they run a pressure that is 10 to 15 percent higher than standard industry pressure for 9mm Luger.

In testing for reliability, we ran the M1152 through an array of pistols including a Sig P320, Sig P229, Beretta 92, Diamondback DB9 G4, Glock G19X, and S&W M&P M2.0. The number of jam sammiches observed across 290 rounds and six very different 9mm handguns= zero. Similarly, no squibs or hangfires were encountered, which is always a good thing.

We ran the Active Duty through not only a P320 but also a bunch of other 9mm handguns we had around

In something of a test for the military-grade primer, we submerged 10 rounds of M1152 in distilled water for 24-hours. Such a requirement is often seen in government contracts for testing duty rounds. The cartridges measured to spec after said dunking and showed no signs of swelling. All fired successfully from a fixture under controlled conditions with no issues to report.

Don’t try this at home, kids

When it comes to practical accuracy, we consistently were able to eat out the center of a silhouette target at ranges to 25 yards, unsupported.

Close enough for government work.

The current MSRP on the M1152 is $29.99 for a 100-round double-decker pack with a 500-round box on the way as well. It is not known if the company will sell the M1152 rounds to the public in 1,000-round green ammo cans like it currently does with the 124-grain NATO loads but hey, anything is possible. For a cheaper take on 9mm range ammo, Winchester also sells a 115-grain Service Grade in a plain brown box for around $10 bucks. 


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Categories: Gun News

Which Would You Prefer: The PKM or UKM Machine Gun?

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 01:24

If you had to pick between the PKM or UKM general-purpose machine gun, which one would you choose?

Former Marine, Andrew Bryant, who currently works as a range safety officer at Battlefield Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada, has a lot of experience firing and working on both weapons at the range.

He compared the two side by side and told us which one he liked best.

The PKM general-purpose machine gun. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

The PKM, or the “People Killing Machine” as Bryant jokingly refers to it, is a popular Russian general-purpose machine gun. It entered service in 1961 and in all seriousness actually stands for, Pulemyot Kalashnikova, Modernizirovannyy or “Machine Gun, Kalashnikov’s, Modified.” Variants are still produced and fielded around the world today.

It is a gas-operated, air-cooled weapon that fires the old-school Russian 7.62x54mm round from an open bolt. The rate of fire is between 600 and 750 rounds per minute. It is fed from a non-disintegrating metal belt unlike comparable Western GPMGs like the M60 and M240/FN MAG 58.

It is renowned for its reliability and is one of the most abundant belt-fed weapons in the world. What do you expect? Famous AK designer Mikhail Kalashnikov designed it.

The UKM general-purpose machine gun. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

The UKM-2000 is the Polish general-purpose machine gun. When Poland joined NATO in 1999, it had to adopt NATO-standard arms and ammunition. They decided to base a new weapon on the proven PKM platform.

The UKM is a gas-operated, air-cooled weapon that fires the 7.62×51mm NATO round. It still fires from an open-bolt but is fed by a more modern disintegrating belt. The rate of fire was increased to 700 to 850 rounds per minute. It entered service in 2007.

If Bryant had to choose between the two, he’d go with the PKM. “It’s an awesome weapon system. It shoots great on automatic. It’s controllable. It’s accurate for the most part. It’s pretty much a smooth shooter,” he said.

Because of the higher rate of fire on the UKM, Bryant finds the weapon harder to control. “It has a lot more muzzle rise,” he said. “So, I feel like I have to shorten my bursts a little bit.”

Which weapon do you prefer and why? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Categories: Gun News

Modular Rifle Champ: What Makes the FN SCAR So Special?

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 04:18


With 21st Century styling, the modular and innovative SCAR series of rifles by FN has proved to be the people’s champ when it comes to modern small arms platforms.

Sprouting from requirements posted in the 2004 Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifles program and the later 2011 U.S. Army Individual Carbine competition, the latter intended to find a successor to the M4 carbine, FN’s SCAR (Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle) system beat out a field of no less than a dozen rivals. Using a short-stroke gas piston system that has proven clean and reliable in use, the series has low recoil, are easy to maintain, and feature increased reliability when compared to traditional AR platforms. As they did not rely on the same buffer-tube required by the AR-pattern rifle, the SCAR can use folding buttstocks

Further, they are adaptive, with users able to change barrels among various lengths in the field.

A SCAR downrange at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan (Photo: U.S. Army)

“They were looking for a modular set of rifles that would share common operating features between a light version, which would be a 5.56, and a heavy version which would be a 7.62,” Ben Voss, product manager for FN’s SCAR line, told “So they had to have the same operating features so their operators wouldn’t have to train on different styles of rifles– but also had to have a lot of parts commonality between the two so the rifle is easier to maintain in the battlefield logistically.”

Built in the U.S. at FN’s Columbia, South Carolina, plant since 2008, the SCAR series has been deployed downrange with any number of SOCOM units from the U.S. Army Rangers, Special Forces and U.S. Navy SEALs to Air Force Special Operations and Marine Raiders, not to mention overseas with allied military and counter-terror units in more than 20 countries. These select-fire versions included the 5.56mm NATO Mk 16 (SCAR-L), 7.62mm NATO Mk 17 (SCAR-H), and Mk 20 (Sniper Support Rifle).

The rifles share in some cases as much as 85 percent of the same parts between models, making them easier to maintain across the family. Here we see, from top to bottom, the subcompact 7.5-inch barreled SCAR SC, SCAR 16 (SCAR-L) in 5.56 NATO, SCAR 17 (SCAR-H) in 7.62 NATO and SCAR 20 (SSR). (Photo: Chris Eger/

Now, with production in the U.S., FN has been marketing the SCAR series in both select-fire and commercial semi-auto variants, and have proved to be a hit with those looking to upgrade from ARs, in a choice of FDE or black.

The 5.56 NATO SCAR 16S is a semi-automatic version of the modular rifle used in combat by the U.S. military since 2009. The SCAR 16S features a rotating and locking bolt, short-stroke gas piston, free-floating cold hammer-forged MIL-SPEC 16.25 barrel with compensator and chrome-lined bore, telescoping polymer stock with adjustable cheekpiece, and ambi safety and magazine release. This rifle’s hard-anodized monolithic aluminum receiver has an integrated Picatinny rail and three additional accessory rails.

The SCAR 17S has much the same features and layout as the smaller SCAR 16S but comes in 7.62 NATO.

With a longer 20-inch barrel, the SCAR 20S is the semi-auto version of the FN SCAR Mk 20 SSR precision rifle. It includes a match-grade two-stage trigger that breaks crisply at 3.5-4.5 pounds, full-length MIL-STD 1913 rail at 12 o’clock position, and fixed buttstock providing adaptability to fit each user’s needs through the adjustable length of pull and cheek rest height.

As for a commercial version of the super cute and compact SCAR SC, perhaps with a pistol brace, FN tells us they can’t comment on such an animal at this time. One can wish, anyway.

Dear Santa, please send a SCAR SC…(Photo: Chris Eger/


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Categories: Gun News

Syntech Range Ammo Now Comes in Buckets O’Fun

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 04:00

Syntech ammo now ships in bulk. (Photo: Federal)

Federal’s Syntech range ammo is now available in bulk buckets, filled to the brim with 250 to 500 rounds of pure range fun.

The rugged, plastic buckets are stackable and easy to store and transport to and from the range. Sporting the company’s award-winning Syntech ammo, the buckets offer bulk ammo to those that prefer to sling a lot of lead downrange. Federal released its Syntech line in 2017, offering shooters a “one-of-a-kind” TSJ projectile” utilizing a polymer jacket. This construction reduces fouling as well as helping to prevent barrel damage due to heat and friction.

“Conventional ammunition causes metal-on-metal contact between the bullet and bore, which can shorten barrel life and rob accuracy. The polymer-encapsulated Syntech bullet prevents this while eliminating copper and lead fouling,” Federal Handgun Ammunition Product Manager Chris Laack said in a news release. “Combined with specialized clean-burning powders, your gun will stay cleaner, longer, so you can shoot more and shoot better. The exclusive Catalyst primer provides the cleanest most consistent ignition possible. That’s why it received the 2017 NRA Golden Bullseye Award. And now, we sell it by the bucket full.”

Federal Syntech ammo’s Total Synthetic Jacket (TSJ) is billed as eliminating copper and lead fouling as well as reducing damaging heat and friction. We tested a case of it previously on a Glock 19X with no issues. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The Syntech bulk buckets ship in either 250 and 500-rounds of 9mm, 350 rounds of .40 S&W or 300 rounds of .45 ACP. Prices range from $96.95 to $193.95, depending on the bucket.

Not ready to commit to 500 rounds just yet? Take Syntech for a ride with a 20-round box from


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Categories: Gun News

Great Looking U.S. Made GI 45: Auto-Ordnance M1911A1

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 01:52

Auto-Ordnance’s 1911BKO has been on the market for a couple of years and is among the best choices for those looking for a well-made “GI 45” that is produced in America and doesn’t break the bank. (Photo: Chris Eger/


Those searching for a good deal on a standard GI-style 1911 should look at Auto-Ordnance’s American-made offering.

What is a true M1911A1, anyway?

Adopted as “Pistol, Automatic, Caliber .45, M1911,” in 1911 after an extended period of trials and competition that saw handguns submitted not only Bergman, Luger, Savage, Webley-Fosbery and others, John Moses Browning’s semi-automatic .45ACP handgun was the U.S. military’s “Government Issue” pistol for 75 years.

The M1911A1 series, a standard introduced in 1924, utilized several modifications over Browning’s original GI long slide of the Great War-era. These included a shorter trigger with a relief cut to the rear of the guard, a longer grip safety spur, thicker front sights, and an arched mainspring housing rather than the M1911’s initial flat housing. While legacy models were subsequently reworked in Army arsenals at Springfield, Rock Island, Anniston and Augusta, a process that typically included picking up a parkerized finish over the original blue-to-black finishes, new guns ordered after 1925 would be delivered from the factory to the “A1” standard. This included pistols not only made by Colt, but also World War II-era guns cranked out by Remington-Rand, Ithaca, US&S, and Singer through 1945.

The standard GI .45, as seen in this 1950s-era archival photo of an M1911A1 from the Springfield Armory National Historic Site.

It is this latter model– which was carried by GIs, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and Coasties through WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War– that Auto-Ordnance’s 1911 BKO means to faithfully replicate. The Auto-Ordnance incorporates GI specs, with a standard 5-inch barrel and an 8.5-inch overall length. The “BKO” means a black oxide finish on the frame, barrel, and slide.

Auto-Ordnance tells us this gun was pulled randomly from their production line this month (Photo: Chris Eger/

When it comes to materials, AO machines the slide, sear, and disconnector from solid carbon bar stock, then heat treats them “to assure durability and long life over many thousands of rounds.” As with the old-school GI guns, the 1911 BKO has a low-profile blade front sight and a rear sight, with the latter being drift adjustable for windage. The grip is brown checkered plastic on the review gun, a veritable clone of the WWII-era 1911 grips that were adopted after the earlier “double-diamond” walnut grips were discontinued before WWII. For those who want “US” stamped wood DDs, AO also markets a version of the BKO with such panels which runs about $30 more.

How does it compare externally to a WWII GI 1911? Check out this comparison:

On the left, we have images of a beautiful correct Remington-Rand M1911A1 that was produced in 1943. On the right is a new Auto-Ordnance 1911BKO that came from the company’s Worcester, Massachusetts much more recently (Photo: Richard Taylor & Chris Eger/

Internally, you have much as you would expect on a modern M1911. Of note, the gun is an 80-series and uses a firing pin block.

Who is Auto-Ordnance?

The original Auto-Ordnance Corporation, famous for being the company created by Army Ordnance Col. John Taliaferro Thompson in August 1916, would market the Colonel’s namesake “trench broom” submachine gun starting in 1921. Going on to gain fame during Prohibition and the 1930s as makers of the “Tommy Gun,” AO contracted with Colt to craft early models until WWII prompted the company to open its first in-house production facility, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1941. The war led to more than a half-million M1928 and M1/M1A1s produced by Auto-Ordnance for immediate military service with other models made under contract by Savage. However, after the conflict ended and demand dried up, the Connecticut factory closed its doors.

In the intervening years, Gun Parts Corp acquired the assets of the defunct historical AO in 1950 and spent the next four decades assembling small lots of Tommy guns, a practice that ended with the Hughes Amendment in 1986. By 1991, Auto-Ordnance was located in West Hurley, New York, and was producing an array of M1911-style pistols to mixed reviews.

In 1999, the Kahr Firearms Group acquired the name and, moving production to its current Worcester, Mass facility, has been going strong with a variety of Thompson-branded M1927 style semi-auto carbines and pistols, M1 Carbines, as well as a rebooted M1911A1 line.

Kahr’s founder and CEO Justin Moon said that his good fortune to steer a reinvigorated Auto-Ordnance into the 21st Century was, “a chance to become involved in preserving an essential part of American heritage.” Moon, who has a passion for American history, explained that “Our nation was founded by brave patriots who were willing to take risks, face dangers, and use their inventiveness to overcome all obstacles. Among those many tools used to found our country were the firearms that secured our freedom.”

Currently headquartered in Greely, Pennsylvania, all Kahr Arms, and Auto-Ordnance guns are proudly made in the United States. The company also owns Magnum Research, which recently moved production of the famed Desert Eagle back to the U.S. after a 10-year effort.

Now Back to Our Gun

While AO introduced a 9mm version of the 1911BKO a few years back, our test gun is a more standard .45ACP variety, complete with a 1911-pattern 7-round single stack GI-style magazine produced by Checkmate Industries. Ejection is positive with the left-side mounted magazine release and should be considered a drop-free mag. We tried the gun with several Vietnam-era Assy-marked GI mags as well as aftermarket 7- and 8-shot mags from the likes of Novak, Chip McCormick, Wilson Tactical and others and had no reportable issue.

Check-Mate has long been in the mag biz. The 1911BKO shipped with one.  (Photo: Chris Eger/

The mainspring housing includes a lanyard ring oriented to the bottom of the grip, but we found it did not interfere with magazines, even those with extended base pads. We would have liked it to ship with more mags, but if you can’t find good new M1911 mags for about $20, you just aren’t looking.

A “no-frills” design, the test pistol includes the familiar Browning-designed frame-mounted thumb safety, and grip safety. It also has a later 80-series firing pin block for added drop safety, a feature sure to draw grumbles from those who prefer 70-series guns. Of note, the 1911BKO is Massachusetts-compliant.

The Auto-Ordnance 1911BKO field strips like any other standard GI, and uses an old-school recoil spring/guide/plug assembly. We managed disassembly without the application of a “dummy mark.” (Photo: Chris Eger/

Weight is 39-ounces, unloaded. For those interested in the 9mm 1911BKO9 series gun for the sake of cheaper ammo, it uses a 9+1 round single stack mag and runs about a half-ounce lighter.

Unlike some producers of guns marketed as GI 1911s, the roll marks on the Auto-Ordnance gun are refreshingly understated and subtle. The right-hand side of the slide is blank as is the left-hand side of the frame. The grips are unadorned. There are no faux military inspectors’ marks to confuse a later generation of collectors.

On the left side of the slide is a simple “Model 1911A1 U.S. Army” roll mark which is roughly centered across 1.5-inches of the 8.5-inch slide. (Photo: Chris Eger/

On the right side of the frame, sandwiched in the one-inch space between the takedown lever and leading edge of the grip is “Auto-Ordnance Corp” over a serial number that, like Col. Thompson’s WWII-era Tommy guns, begins with an “AO” prefix. The slab-sided slide is a welcome aesthetic compared to some contemporaries.

For those who want a GI .45 with more splash, AO also markets special commemorative 1911s such as The General and the Fly Girls.

True to form, the 1911BKO has vertical rear slide serrations, a “thick” front sight, and an M1911A1-style ejection port. The front of the trigger is knurled. There is no checkering or stippling on the inside of the grip. The dustcover is smooth and the frame, as would be expected, is non-railed.

The current AO offering ships in a black and white cardboard box with manual and warranty cards, a single Checkmate Industries magazine, lock, and misc. paperwork. The pistol carries a one-year warranty through Kahr.

AO did not waste much on the box, but then again, who wants to spend extra cash on a box anyway?

MSRP is $695 for the 1911BKO, a price that we currently come closer to $508 to, new in the box.

How does it shoot? Initial testing looks good but watch this space in the coming weeks for a full rundown after we finish a few more range sessions.

(Photo: Chris Eger/


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Categories: Gun News

Sig Sauer Adds 6mm Creedmoor to Elite Match Ammo Series

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 05:15

The 6mm Creedmoor joins Sig Sauer’s Match Elite ammo series. (Photo: Sig Sauer)


Sig Sauer expands its Elite Match series of ammunition, introducing a 6mm Creedmoor load for competition shooters.

Offering a 107-grain Sierra MatchKing bullet, the 6mm Creedmoor delivers a muzzle velocity of 2,950 feet-per-second with muzzle energy of 2,068 foot-pounds. The Elite Match ammo delivers a temperature-stable propellant and premium-quality primers, according to Sig.

“6mm Creedmoor is a popular long-range round that performs well in wind thanks to its high ballistic coefficient and flat trajectory,” Brad Criner, Senior Director, Brand Management and Business Development at Sig Sauer Ammunition said in a news release. “We are pleased to offer this highly accurate round for competition shooters along with 6.5 Creedmoor and numerous other match grade loads.”

The 6mm load joins Sig Sauer’s current Elite Match ammunition lineup featuring .223 Rem, .300BLK, .308 Win, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Win Mag, 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor. The new 6mm Elite Match ammo ships 20-rounds to a box with an MSRP of $30.95.

Need rifle ammo for your next match? Grab some from here.


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Categories: Gun News

First Time Hunter Wins Oregon Tag Lottery with Rocky Mountain Goat Tag

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 05:00

Alyssa Nitschelm poses with a Rocky Mountain Goat she harvested. (Photo: Nosler)

Standing in the kitchen beside her dad, Alyssa Nitschelm could barely process what lay before her — results for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife big game hunting draw.

Nitschelm had never hunted before but applied for various controlled hunts tags through the ODFW to spend some time in the woods with her dad, a bonding experience for father and daughter. As she flipped through the denied application requests for deer, elk and pronghorn she mostly resigned herself to the fact that she wouldn’t be heading out to harvest any special animals this season.

“I naturally asked my dad to help me apply to these controlled hunts. He helped me choose each hunt series to apply for,” Nitschelm said in a press release from Nosler. “The only expectation I had was to spend quality time with my dad, absorb new information and possibly get the chance to appreciate some beautiful animals and country.”

Continuing to scroll down the list, Nitschelm was met with the shock of a lifetime — she had been selected for the Rocky Mountain Goat tag. A rarity among Oregon hunters, thousands apply for the tag each year, but the odds of receiving the special tag are slim. Nitschelm, with her tag, was one of only 24 hunters in Oregon capable of claiming the Rocky Mountain Goat. Nitschelm says she was surprised to see the tag and her father was even more astounded.

“My dad whipped his head around and asked if I was kidding,” Nitschelm recounted. “‘You realize that is the hardest tag to draw in Oregon? Once-in-a-lifetime, he said.’”

Rocky Mountain Goats were reintroduced to Central Oregon in 2010 after an absence in the area for nearly 150-years. Since the reintroduction into the Mt. Jefferson area, the goats have expanded through high elevation areas across the Central Oregon Cascades. Though any licensed hunter may apply for the Rocky Mountain Goat Tag, the opportunity to actually harvest one is rare — even if you are the lucky recipient of the coveted tag. The difficult terrain and elevation require hunters to be physically fit in order to reach areas where the species roam.

Heading into the open air of Oregon, Nitschelm stalked and took a gorgeous Rocky Mountain Goat. Using a Browning A-Bolt rifle chambered in .280 Remington with Nosler’s Partition 150-grain ammo, she harvested the Billy with one shot safely and ethically alongside her dad. For Nitschelm, the dream became reality.

“Every night prior to this hunting trip, I dreamt vividly about this very moment. Some were dark, fearing that I would leave this trip empty-handed and disappointed. Other dreams were driven by the eagerness and excitement of tagging out,” Nitschelme recalled in a blog post on Nosler. “This feeling of success exceeded my expectations. The beauty of this animal up close was surreal.”


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Categories: Gun News

Iron Man Flying Suit Gets Visor Controlled Gun. What Could Go Wrong?

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 05:00

Richard Browning with his Daedalus Mark 1 flying suit with a shoulder-mounted airsoft gun. That muzzle orientation, though…yikes. (Photo: James Bruton / Youtube)

Gravity Industries’ jet-powered flying suit tested a select-fire airsoft rifle to demonstrate the potential of a weaponized flying soldier.

Richard Browning is the British inventor and former Royal Marine Reservist, behind the Daedalus Mark 1 flying suit. It uses several small jet engines to achieve flight, flying over 50 miles-per-hour for roughly 10 minutes. Browning demonstrated the suit’s flying capabilities many times, earning the nickname the “real-life Iron Man”.

Recently, he enlisted the help of DIY 3-D printing genius and engineer James Bruton to add a little spice to his getup. Bruton fabricated a shoulder-mounted airsoft rifle controlled by the pilot’s visor which can be fired in semi-auto or full-auto modes.

On October 7, 2019, Bruton posted a video showing Browning flying the jet suit and firing the rifle. Although Gravity Industries made it clear that the addition of the weapon is merely for entertainment reasons only, it does open the door to a weaponized flying suit in the future.

Frank Zapata hovering over Bastille Day in Paris, France on his Flyboard Air holding a fake rifle.

Browning is not the first to weaponize his suit, however. You may recall earlier this summer, French inventor Franky Zapata flying a jet suit called Flyboard Air above crowds during Bastille Day. In his hand, he held a fake rifle. In August, Zapata, dubbed the “Flying Frenchman,” flew across the English Channel donning his suit. It took 23 minutes including a pit stop halfway to refuel. He traveled at speeds up 87 mph approximately 49-feet above the water.

The most important question we have is can civilians get their hands on a flying suit? The answer is yes. Gravity Industries recently offered nine Daedalus Mark 1 flying suits for sale at Selfridges & Co. for a mere $443,000 each. Unfortunately, they sold out almost right away. Hopefully, more will be offered for those of you with deep pockets and aspirations of taking flight. 

If you could own a flying suit, what type of gun would you mount on it? Let us know in the comments below. And if you looking for a firearm to take to the skies with, check out’s selection of air-worthy guns. 

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Categories: Gun News

The Dream of Africa: on Safari

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 04:00’s Kristin Alberts spent two weeks on Safari in South Africa alongside hunting partner Stan Pate. There they harvested 16 animals between them — 13 different species from Springbok to Cape Buffalo and everything in between. Here are a few photos from the adventure.

Pate and Alberts found a welcome home at Waterval Safaris, near Kimberley in South Africa’s Northern Cape with PH’s Boetie and Mardene Cooper. (Photo: Boetie Cooper/Waterval Safaris)

Pate and Alberts brought Savage Arms rifles, Bushnell optics, Norma ammunition, Pelican cases, Carter Cutlery knives, 5.11 Tactical apparel and Dark Angel Medical IFAK kits for the expedition. (Photo: Stan Pate/

Beware the animals! (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Since reading Ruark, Hemingway and Capstick while growing up, Kristin Alberts dreamt of hunting the Kudu, the Grey Ghost of Africa. That dream became reality on this Safari, using a Savage High Country rifle in .300 Win Mag, Norma Oryx ammunition and a Bushnell Nitro scope. (Photo: Stan Pate/

Plenty of smiles even after walking through the hills over 9-miles. From left: Professional Hunter Boetie Cooper, Alberts, and Pate with Pate’s Warthog, harvested with the Savage High Country in 6.5 Creedmoor. (Photo: Waterval Safaris)

Pate poses alongside one of his trophies. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Pate’s Cape Buffalo taken with a Westley Richards rifle belonging to a late friend. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Any true hunter will be quick to tell you the hunt itself is only part of the experience. It’s the camaraderie, laughter, and friendships at any hunting camp that define the adventure. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

The Savage 110 Storm, topped with a Bushnell optic and a handmade leather ammo pouch filled with Norma ammunition. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

One of the rarer animals in South Africa, the Roan Antelope, was a dandy trophy and worthy adversary on the hunt. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Recognized as one of the most beautiful of the Plains Game animals, the Sable’s swooping horns and dark coat stir the heart of the hunter. Alberts harvested this nice Sable bull with a single shot from the Savage High Country in .300 Win Mag. (Photo: Stan Pate/

Both Pate and Alberts hunted with Savage High Country rifles, this one chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and topped with a high-end Bushnell Forge riflescope. Loaded with Norma ammunition and packing a Carter Cutlery Camp Knife, Safari life is grand. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Pate takes a break from the hunt to help the team skin his Cape Buffalo using his Carter Cutlery knives. Every bit of the animals is used, from the meat to the hides, with even the entrails utilized for food. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Taking advantage of last light to celebrate Pate’s Red Hartebeest. (Photo: Boetie Cooper/Waterval Safaris)

Norma ammunition on the plains of Africa. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Few places in the world could even come close to rivaling those South African sunsets. Safaris are about much more than hunting—the animals, wild cuisine, conservation, and of course, the scenery is second to none. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Toasting the end of a successful Safari with champagne. From left: Pate, Alberts, and Professional Hunters Mardene & Boetie Cooper of Waterval Safaris. A South African Safari is a truly memorable experience and the hunt itself is only part of the joy. (Photo: Boetie Cooper/Waterval Safaris)


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Categories: Gun News Unboxing Studios Presents: Remington R1 Hunter

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 05:00


We’ve headed back into the Vault to take a peek at another handgun worthy of attention — the Remington R1 Hunter.

The Remington R1 Hunter is intended for, you guessed it, the hunting crowd with its 10mm design. The 10mm round has garnered praise from devoted handgun hunters for its ability to easily harvest game in the field. No surprise then that Remington would spring into action, offering a handgun chambered around the popular cartridge.

The R1 Hunter comes chambered in 10mm. (Photo: Don Summers/

The R1 Hunter slips into Remington’s R1 series with ease, adopting the familiar 1911 aesthetic. Donning a long slide, the R1 Hunter opts for a 6-inch stainless match-grade barrel with an overall length measuring 9.5-inches. Tipping scales at 41-ounces, the R1 Hunter comes equipped with an accessory rail for all the lights and lasers you want. If you prefer to ride without fancy tech, the pistol sports LPA Fully Adjustable Match Sights.

The R1 Hunter offers a snazzy look. (Photo: Don Summers/

A real looker, the Remington R1 Hunter features wide rear and front serrations, and adjustable skeletonized trigger and Operator II VZ G10 grips. This is in addition to its stainless steel frame, coated with PVD DLC. The handgun is outfitted with an extended beavertail grip safety for a more positive grip while shooting.

The gun features an 8+1 capacity. (Photo: Don Summers/

The enhanced beavertail offers a better grip. (Photo: Don Summers/

Shipping with two mags, the R1 Hunter offers a capacity of 8+1. The Remington R1 Hunter is perfect for 1911 fans looking for a 10mm pistol to pack in the woods. Though it boasts a hefty MSRP of $1,310, street prices often fall under $1,000.

While you’re grabbing a REMINGTON R1 HUNTER from, make sure to nab SOME AMMO for it too.


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Categories: Gun News