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HOLSTERS: GET MAXIMUM SPEED, EFFICIENCY

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NOVEMBER 2013 VOLUME 54, NO.11
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GW_1311-COVER 9/3/13 2:35 AM Page US_C1
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GW_1311_C2 9/2/13 11:07 PM Page C2
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GW_1311_3 9/2/13 11:04 PM Page 3
4 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
NOVEMBER 2013
CONTENTS
18
COVER STORY: POCKET POWERHOUSE
If you are in the conceal and carry market, SIG
Sauers family of single-action P938s offer good accu-
racy, controllability and stopping power in a 16-ounce
package.
By Dr. Martin D. Topper
36
A SMOOTHBORE TRANSITION
From the blunderbuss to todays tactical
weaponry, the combat shotgun fights on. Fourth and
final article in our series on the worlds fighting guns.
By Leroy Thompson
44
COUNTER SERVICE
CZ-USAs 550 Urban Counter Sniper rifle from is
a purpose-built weapon designed for a specific task.
Find out if it measures up.
By Brad Fitzpatrick
64
PRACTICALLY PERFECT
Benellimaker of many a high-end shotgun
has a darker side, and we love it. Their black polymer
M4 with a patented A.R.G.O. system is a top tactical
weapon solution.
By D. K. Pridgen
GUN WORLD (ISSN 0017-5641) Volume 54,
Number 11 is published monthly, 12 times
a year by Beckett Media, LLC, 22840 Savi
Ranch Parkway, #200, Yorba Linda, CA 92887.
Periodical postage paid at Anaheim, CA, and
additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send
address changes to Gun World c/o Beckett
Media, 5430 LBJ Freeway, Ste. 1200 Dallas,
TX 75240. Return undelivered Canadian
addresses to: Gun World c/o Pitney Bowes, Inc.
PO Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B
GST#855050365RT001
F
E
A
T
U
R
E
S
18
76
MINI ME
Rugers new and improved
Mini-14 deserves more than a little
respect, and our man is out to
spread the word.
By Jerry Catania
82
DRAWING ON
EXPERIENCE
No matter what gun you select,
choosing the right holster will
enable you to bring it into action
quickly, efficiently and effectively.
By Chuck Taylor
26
FORGING A REPUTATION
A private tour of Smith & Wessons man-
ufacturing facility in Springfield, Massachusetts
reveals one of the worst-kept secrets in the
industry...S&W makes some top quality guns.
By Thomas C. Tabor
SPECIAL SECTION
S
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G

S
A
U
E
R
/
R
O
N

E
L
D
R
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G
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GW_1311-TOC 9/2/13 11:05 PM Page 4
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GW_1311_5 9/2/13 11:05 PM Page 5
6 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
CONTENTS
C
O
L
U
M
N
S
8 UP FRONT
Craig Hodgkins
10 NEW PRODUCTS
Breanna Armstrong
12 ASK THE EXPERTS
Gun World Contributors
52 RELOAD
James E. House
56 TODAYS HUNTER
Thomas C. Tabor
72 GREAT GLASS
Brad Fitzpatrick
92 QUESTIONS &
ANSWERS
Craig Hodgkins
96 BACK PAGES
Craig Hodgkins
ON THE COVER:
Photographs provided
by SIG Sauer/Ron Eldridge,
Terrill Hoffman
Cover design by Jesse Cao
B
R
A
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F
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Z
P
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44
GW_1311-TOC-CX 9/6/13 12:10 AM Page 6
S
a
fe
r
, M
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A
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te
, A
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s
ie
r
To
U
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e
m
an
ual safety un
load
w
ithout p
ullin
g trigger
ad
justable peep

sights ad
justable accutrigger
feed
ram
p
Cocks by liftin
g bolt
savagearms.com
GW_1311_7 9/2/13 11:06 PM Page 7
I
love a good page-turner.
And by page-turner, I
mean you.
Lets be honest. Im a magazine editor,
so if you pick up the latest issue of Gun
World and flip through it at your favorite
retailer orbetter yetbuy a copy or
subscribe on an annual basis, you are al-
ready halfway to making my Christmas
card list.
I also value the emails and letters you
send us, even if you havent found any-
thing right with the world since the
Johnson administrationthe ANDREW
Johnson administration.
As I often write in my sincere (yet fre-
quently tardy) emails and letters in re-
turn, thanks for reading our magazine so
thoroughly. We also pass along your
more topical questions to our writers for
use in our Ask the Experts column. Ei-
ther way, the moment I stop listening to
and learning from our engaged, passion-
ate readers is the moment I need to aim
my bass boat out to sea.
But print-o-phile that I am, Id be re-
miss if I didnt mention the several pa-
perless ways you can keep connected to
Gun World, and that those online av-
enues fall under the energetic social
media supervision of Managing Editor
Breanna Armstrong.
First off, theres our website, cleverly
titled www.gunworld.com. There youll
find our blog, as well as a good deal of
content that has recently left the news-
stand.
Our Gun World Facebook page is a
great way to engage in an ongoing con-
versation on the latest industry-related
topics, and to get up-to-date news via
video and other online links. As much as
I value print, the timing of a monthly
magazine cycle always has us running
about two months behind, so make sure
to stop by and like us.
Wed also love for you to download
our phone and tablet app. Currently, its
a handy way to purchase recent back
issues, but we have bigger plans for it
in 2014.
Finally, even if youre a born leader,
you can still follow us on Twitter and
especially if youre more visually in-
clinedon Instagram. Twitter is a great
way to discover and share links to timely
information such as upcoming articles,
as well as to report breaking info. And
Instagram is one more opportunity for
us to deliver the latest and greatest im-
ages from our gun reviews.
So whether you prefer to flip through
printed pages or virtual ones, I hope
youll continue to turn to Gun World. GW
8 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
UP FRONT
NOVEMBER 2013
VOluME 54 NuMBER 11
EDITORIAl
Editorial Director: Doug Jeffrey
Editor: Craig Hodgkins
Managing Editor: Breanna Armstrong
Art Director: Thomas Kimball
cONTRIBuTORs
Dave Emanuel, Lee Boyt, Todd Burgreen, Jerry Catania, Mike Dicker-
son, Tara Dixon Engel, Jim Dickson, Abe Elias, Brad Fitzpatrick,
Richard Folsland, Paul Hantke, James House, Dave Norman, Jame-
son Parker, Buck Pope, D.K. Pridgen, Denis Prisbrey, John Raguso,
Dave Spaulding, Tom Tabor, Chuck Taylor, Leroy Thompson, Martin
Topper, Dave Workman
ADVERTIsING
Gabe Frimmel: Ad sales Director
(714) 200-1930 GFrimmel@Beckett.com
David Beckler: Outdoor Group Director
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casey clifford: senior Account Executive
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DIREcT MARKETING GROuP
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GUN WORLD (ISSN 0017-5641) Volume 54, Number 11 is published
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paid at Anaheim, CA, and additional mailing offces. POsTMAsTER:
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London, ON N6C 6B GST#855050365RT001 2013 by Beckett
Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from
this issue in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.
cusTOMER sERVIcE
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SITE SEEING
By Craig Hodgkins
Our Gun World
Facebook page
is a great way to
engage in an ongoing
conversation
GUN WORLD
IN SOCIAL MEDIA:
Website: www.gunworld.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/
gunworldmagazine
Twitter: @gunworldmag
Instagram: @gunworldmag
GW_1311-upfront.BAA.CX 9/6/13 12:11 AM Page 8
GW_1311_9 9/2/13 11:07 PM Page 9
NEW
PRODUCTS
10 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
GALCO
PRODUCTS:
HOLSTERS
WEBSITE:
www.usgalco.com
Founded in 1969, Galco Interna-
tional, originally known as The Fa-
mous Jackass Leather Company,
has specialized in holsters for over
four decades. This company started
as a small-family business and has
grown into the thriving company that
it is today. With holsters for every
practical carry position, Galco prod-
ucts are used around the world by
law enforcement, military, and of
course, lawfully armed citizens.
Compiled by Breanna Armstrong
SSS SIDE SNAP SCABBARD (GEN 2)
The popular snap scabbard is made of premium steerhide, and fits
belts up to 1 inches in width. Its unique design provides a conven-
ient and concealable draw. The SSS is easy and fast to attach toand
remove fromthe belt, and combat grip accessibility and detailed
molding make it quick and secure. A tension unit allows for micro-ad-
justment of the feel of the draw and precision fit to the pistol.
MSRP: $119.95
HOLSTER CARE KIT
This kit has everything you need to give your hol-
ster the proper care, including: a bottle of Galco
Leather Lotion, a bottle of Galco Draw-EZ, an appli-
cation dauber, a synthetic wool buffing pad, and a
combination application synthetic wool and foam
scrub pad (Holster not included). MSRP: $19.95
KINGTUK
The KingTuk has a comfortable back-
ing plate made of lined saddle
leather, and the Napa leather front
combines with a rigid Kydex hol-
ster pocket for a fast draw and
easy holstering. Worn inside the
waistband, the KingTuks remov-
able metal belt clips can be
moved up or down in the corre-
sponding holes in the leather, en-
abling the user to set the carry
height and angle to suit their
unique preferences. Available in
black with standard metal clips that fit
belts up to 1 inches.
MSRP $69.95
GW_1311-NewProd 9/2/13 11:13 PM Page 10
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 11
HOT-JOX
For more than 20 years,
this holster system has been
dependable, and fits medium
semi-automatic and large auto-
matic firearms. Made to be car-
ried below the waistline in the
center, its perfect to wear under
casual clothing. MSRP: $49.99
SOF-TUCK #106
Built from soft, no-slip suede and reinforced at the top
with premium saddle leather to aid in re-holstering, this
new IWB/Tuck-able holster has an adjustable cant. It can
be worn strong side, cross draw or on the small of the
back, and is available for most concealable handguns in
right and left hand. MSRP: $28.99
DESANTIS
PRODUCTS:
HOLSTERS & WEAPON
ACCESSORIES
WEBSITE
www.desantisholster.com
DeSantis was founded in 1972, by
Gene DeSantis, and has become
leader in holster and weapon acces-
sory production. DeSantis Gunhide
produces innovative designs, high
standards of craftsmanship and de-
pendability. From the streets of
Amman, to the bridges of London
and the jungles of the Amazon, De-
Santis products can be found all
over the world. DeSantis Gunhide is
still run by Gene and his sons out of
their newest facility on Long Island,
NY.
RAIL RYDER
As the name implies, the Rail
Ryder was designed to carry a rail-
equipped autoloader. It slides onto any
Picatinny rail-equipped auto, which al-
lows for total concealed carry with the
ability to tuck your shirt over the con-
cealed pistol, and to be drawn and fired
very rapidly. Attaches to pistol and does
not interfere with performance of the
firearm. MSRP: $19.99
GW_1311-NewProd 9/2/13 11:13 PM Page 11
ASK the
EXPERTS
12 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
We do the research so you dont have to.
THE M249 AND
THE MINIMI
QUESTION: Ive really been enjoying your series on fighting
weapons, but missed seeing anything on the U.S. M249 or
the FN Minimi. What is the difference between the two?
Alex S., Sarasota, Florida
LEROY THOMPSON ANSWERS: The M249 is basically the
Minimi as produced for the U.S. Armed Forces at FN Manu-
afacturing LLC in South Carolina. Providing a combination of
firepower and portability, the M249 has performed well as a
squad automatic weapon (SAW) with U.S. infantry units. In
Afghanistan, two M249s have normally been deployed per
squad. As I write this, the M249 has been in service for almost
thirty years, and has seen a lot of combat. Special ops units
normally use the Para version, which has a collapsible stock
and shorter barrel. In Iraq, especially, the Special Purpose
Weapon (SPW) version of the M249 has proven effective in
urban combat. Designed initially for SOCOM, this version has
had the carry handle, magazine insertion well (to allow use of
M016 magazines), and vehicle-mounting lug removed to re-
duce weight. It also has Picatinny rails added and a detachable
bipod. Latest generation M249s have a front pistol grip and an
optical sight. Because many M249s have seen such extensive
service that they are worn out, there has been consideration of
replacing it with a new weapon, but so far, no new weapon has
been adopted.
The M249 has been
in service for almost
thirty years, and has seen
a lot of combat.
Thompson fring the M249 Para Model
GW_1311-Experts 9/2/13 11:34 PM Page 12
Get Your Instant Quote at www.galleryofguns.com
All rearms purchased from GalleryofGuns.com are covered by the Davidsons GuaranteeD Lifetime Replacement Warranty.
Search. Find. Buy.
Capacity: 6+1
BBL: 20
Capacity: 5+1
BBL: 28 Ported
Capacity: 4+1
BBL: 18.5
Capacity: 1
BBL: 28
Capacity: 2
BBL: 28
Capacity: 2
BBL: 26
Capacity: 5+1
BBL: 24
Capacity: 4+1
BBL: 20
Capacity: 4+1
BBL: 22
Capacity: 4+1
BBL: 22
Sights: Front: Ramp w/ Bead
Rear: Semi-Buckhorn Folding
Sights: Bead
Sights: Front: Blade
Rear: Adjustable
Sights: Front: Fiber Optic
Rear: Adjustable Fiber Optic
Sights: Bead
Sights: Bead
Sights: Bead
Sights: No Sights
Sights: No Sights
Sights: No Sights
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2013 DAVIDSONS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
336W-W/S
Model 500
All Purpose Field
77/44 Rotary Magazine
Triumph
MP310
MP220
SA-08 Youth
AXIS XP Youth Camo
770 Sportsman
ATR
|tem r. 336W-W/S
t+|||er. 30-30
|tem r. 56420
t+|||er. 12 Gauge
|tem r. 7402
t+|||er. 44M
|tem r. 8504
t+|||er. 50 Blkpwdr
|tem r. 489560
t+|||er. 12 Gauge
|tem r. 489690
t+|||er. 20 Gauge
|tem r. SA08SY2024PGM
t+|||er. 20 Gauge
|tem r. 19972
t+|||er. 223
|tem r. 85633
t+|||er. 30-06
|tem r. 27231
t+|||er. 308
USSG
USSG
GW_1311_13 9/2/13 11:10 PM Page 13
QUESTION: I dont understand how the gauge of a shotgun
is determined. With rifles and pistols the caliber designation
is frequently based on the diameter of the bore with the
larger the number, the larger the caliber. But with shotguns,
the reverse seems to be the case with the larger the number
of the gauge, the smaller the bore diameter. What does the
gauge designation mean and how is it determined?
Ralph F., Bend, Oregon
TOM TABOR ANSWERS: You are rightmetallic cartridges
are commonly named based on the diameter of the bullet they
shoot. For example, a 6mm Remington rifle cartridge contains a
bullet measuring 6mm in diameter and a .30-06 contains a bullet
reflective of the first number in its name (.30 inches, or more pre-
cisely, .308 inches). Of course, not all cartridges possess a hy-
phenated name as in the .30-06, but in this case 06 relates to the
year that that cartridge was developed (1906) and the .30 to the
diameter of the bore.
Determining the gauge of a shotgun is not nearly so straight
forward, but still is based somewhat loosely on the bore diame-
ter. But rather than simply taking a measurement across the bore,
an archaic method dating back to long before the introduction of
smokeless powders, or even before self-contained ammunition
entered the scene, is used. In this case, the gauge determination
is based on how many round lead balls it would take of the same
diameter to make up a pound in weight. In other words, it would
take 20 of those lead balls matching the diameter of a 20 gauge
shotgun bore to make up a weight of 1-pound and it would take
12 lead balls the diameter of a 12-gauge bore to equal one pound.
There is one major exception to this form of classification,
and that is the .410 shotgun. In this case, the name actually
does reflect the bore diameter in inches, that being .410. Be-
ASK the
EXPERTS
14 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
GAUGING
SHOTGUNS
Shotgun gauge is not based directly on a straightforward measurement across the bore, but rather on hold many lead balls measuring the diameter of
the bore makes up 1-pound in weight.
GW_1311-Experts 9/2/13 11:34 PM Page 14
cause of this, anyone referring to a shotgun as being a 410
bore would be in error. Properly speaking, a 410 should only
be referred to as that, a 410 or a 410 shotgun. I know this
all seems unnecessarily complicated and confusing, but it is no
less perplexing than how muzzle velocities of shotshells are
sometimes presented. Again, holding onto a primitive method
of classification, some ammo manufacturers continue to stick
to the age-old rating of dram equivalent (Dr. Eq.). This again
dates back to when the muzzleloading shotguns were loaded
with black powder and the powder charges were measured in
drams. When smokeless powder entered the scene, ammo
manufacturers must have thought that shooters would relate
better to the shells performance if they kept the designation in
the same basic vernacular as the black powder loads. So, the
term dram equivalent was born, meaning for example, that a
modern day smokeless powder shotshell rated at 3 Dr. Eq.
would produce a muzzle velocity equal to that of a shotshell
previously loaded with 3 drams of black powder. Ever so
slowly, shotshell manufacturers are beginning to move away
from the Dr. Eq. rating system in favor of the actual muzzle ve-
locity. Nevertheless, even in the 21st century this age-old rat-
ing system persists to some degree.
ASK the
EXPERTS
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 15
The gauge determination
is based on how many
round lead balls
it would take
of the same diameter
to make up
a pound in weight.
Shown here are todays most common shotshells (L-R): 10 gauge, 12 gauge, 16 gauge, 20 gauge, 28 gauge and a .410.
The velocity of some shotshells are still conveyed as dram equivalent
(Dr. Eq.) rather than in actual muzzle velocity.
GW_1311-Experts 9/2/13 11:34 PM Page 15
GW_1311_16 9/2/13 11:10 PM Page 16
ASK the
EXPERTS
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 17
QUESTION: I know you have had quite
a bit of experience with weapons of the
old Warsaw Pact, so I would like to
know which of the pistols firing the
9mm Makarov cartridge is your favorite?
Frank T., Hagerstown, Maryland
LEROY THOMPSON ANSWERS: I
think I have fired every pistol that was
produced for the Makarov roundin-
cluding the Russian Stechkin and Polish
PM63 Machine Pistolsso I do have
some basis of comparison. Ill have to
answer in some detail, though, with
some qualifications. My favorite pistol in
9x18MM caliber is the rarely seen Hun-
garian RK59. This is a PPK-sized pistol
with an alloy frame yet chambered for
the 9x18mm round. It is compact yet
powerful, but, unfortunately, the alu-
minum alloy used in the frame was not
correct and the pistol wears very quickly
making it impractical for normal usage.
Other than that, my favorite 9x18mm
pistol is a Russian Makarov Ive had for
many years. I like the size of the Polish
P-64, but it has an atrocious double ac-
tion pull, which requires strong hands.
The Czech Vz82 is a well-designed pis-
tol, which has double action first round
capability and a 12-round magazine ca-
pacity in 9x18mm caliber. For one pro-
tective team I advised, the larger mag-
azine capacity gave them more capa-
bility to fight multiple attackers or to
break ambush, a distinct possibility in
their country. For those in the USA
who like 9mm Makarov pistols, high
performance ammunition is available
from CorBon and other manufacturers.
GW
PACT
PISTOL
I have red every pistol
that was produced
for the Makarov round
Thomas C. Tabor is Gun Worlds
resident hunting columnist, and rou-
tinely goes afield in pursuit of small
birds, large game and good stories.
His Todays Hunter column may be
found on Page 56.
Leroy Thompson is an internation-
ally recognized authority on weapons
and tactics, and is the author of 50
books. His most recent feature, on the
history of the combat shotgun, may
be found on Page 36.
OUR NOVEMBER EXPERTS
When he was in Russia, some former Spetsnaz
put Thompson through some of their training
drills using the Makaraov, including engaging a
target from his back while rolling. Here is the
target shot at 7 meters while fring from his
back with the Makarov.
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GW_1311-Experts 9/2/13 11:35 PM Page 17
18 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
The 938 functioned very well with every load.
The author pies a window and uses a Crimson Trace Laser Guard to get his SIG semi-auto on a target at close range. Lasers are faster than fxed
sights for close range rapid fre.
GW_1311-Sig.BA 9/2/13 11:40 PM Page 18
I
f you choose to carry a concealed handgun, make
sure you can conceal and carry it.
Youd be surprised how many people purchase a pistol for home de-
fense, only to find out that carrying a full-size handgun all day just plain
wears them out. Given this, its understandable that SIGs 9mm. P938 is
selling so well.
The single-action 938 is very similar to SIGs popular .380 cal. P238, but
the 938 is a bit beefier to handle the higher-pressure 9mm. cartridge. Even
so, it still weighs only 16 ounces, which makes it one of the lightest 9mms
on the market. Its only about an ounce heavier than many lightweight five-
shot .38 and .357 magnum snubnose revolvers, but the 938 holds two or
three more rounds than a five-shot snubbie, depending upon whether the
938 is loaded with a six or seven round magazine.
Thats not a bad trade-off for a one-ounce difference in weight!
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 19
SIGs P938 Combines
Reliability, 9mm. Power
and Deep Concealability
POCKET
POWERHOUSE
Story & Photos by
Dr. Martin D. Topper
Checkering on the front strap and grips of the SIG P938 help the
shooter keep a frm grip when powerful 9mm. +P loads are fred.
GW_1311-Sig.BA 9/2/13 11:40 PM Page 19
FIT AND FUNCTION
The single-action P938 comes in
eight models, but the primary
differences among them are
in the finish and factory-in-
stalled grips. The one I re-
ceived at the Florida Gun
Exchange is the Night-
mare model, and it is well
suited for nighttime carry in
a belt holster or pocket. The
P938 Nightmare has excellent
SIGLITE white-outline tritium night
sights and a dark matte finish. The
only silver-colored parts are the recoil
spring guide, magazine and small oper-
ating controls. The slide is finished with
SIGs Nitron finish, which is particularly
good for a gun thats carried in areas
where the humidity is high most of the
year. Checkering on the Blackwood
grips, front strap and mainspring hous-
ing give the shooter a secure hold on the
pistols short grip.
The 938 was examined for defects, fit
and function before I accepted transfer.
There were no defects in workmanship
and the slide stop, magazine catch and
manual safety all worked perfectly. The
hammer-sear engagement was very
good, and the pistol would not push off
either the half or full-cock notches. The
20 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
The 938s large tang at the
top rear of the frame cups
the hammer and prevents it
from pinching the web
of the shooting
hand.
GW_1311-Sig.BA 9/2/13 11:40 PM Page 20
trigger pull was firm with minimal take-
up and a clean break.
Before shooting the 938, I disassem-
bled it at home and examined its internal
workmanship. There were no tool
marks, uneven surfaces, burrs or any
other signs of poor finish or manufactur-
ing. There is no barrel bushing, so disas-
sembly is very straightforward. Line up
the slide stop with the disassembly
notch and push it out from the right side
of the frame. It does take some effort to
hold the slide in the proper position due
to the rather powerful recoil spring nec-
essary to control the velocity of this sub-
compact pistols short slide. The spring
employs flattened coils, and Ive found
this type of spring to be quite reliable
and durable in other semi-autos.
Re-assembly takes some care be-
cause the flat recoil spring is not cap-
tured on the recoil spring guide, and
because the 938 employs a plunger-type
firing pin block safety. When fitting the
spring and guide back into the slide, take
care to prevent the open end of the
spring from protruding through the
guide rod opening in the face of the
slide. Once the barrel and recoil system
are in place in the slide, further care
must be taken when fitting the slide to
the frame. Be sure to press down and
forward on the lever that activates the
firing pin plunger safety so that the slide
will move over it. I prefer plunger-type
firing pin safeties because they lock the
firing pin in place except when the trig-
ger is fully depressed to the rear. If Im
ever involved in a shooting and the po-
lice order me to drop my gun, the last
thing I want to happen when the gun hits
the ground is for the firing pin to move
forward and fire a round! The same
thing goes for a car accident. I dont
want the force of a collision to set off a
round in the chamber.
While the gun was on the workbench,
I also checked extractor tension, car-
tridge fit and trigger pull. The 938s ex-
ternal extractor holds a fired case tightly,
which promotes good ejection and ex-
traction. Cartridges fit snugly in the
chamber and headspace firmly on the
cartridge mouth. This is important for
The SIG P938 has a matte
black fnish except for the operating
controls, the magazine and the mainspring pin, which
are fnished in stainless steel. This allows the operator to
identify the controls quickly without signifcantly affecting
the overall non-refective appearance of the pistol.
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 21
Dr. Topper used this Rusty Sherrick holster to run tacti-
cal drills with the SIG P938. Sherricks holsters are
made of light, durable horsehide.
The single-action P938
comes in eight models
Dr. Topper bench tested the SIG
P938 at 15 yards Average group
size was more than acceptable for
self-defense at that distance.
GW_1311-Sig.BA 9/2/13 11:40 PM Page 21
IN
t
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E, EX
PECt

Q
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LIt
Y
, R
ELIA
BILIt
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,
DU
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A
BILIt
Y
IN
t
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E W
O
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BILIt
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GW_1311_22 9/2/13 11:11 PM Page 22
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 23
good accuracy and also helps prevent
misfires. The trigger pull averaged 6.5
pounds, which is about a pound lighter
than factory spec. I prefer 4.5-7-pound
trigger pulls in tactical single-action pis-
tols because this level of pull is heavy
enough to provide a good margin of
safety but light enough to help prevent
pulling the front sight off target when fir-
ing rapidly at relatively close range.
While at the bench, I made two modifi-
cations to the P938 before I fired it. The
first involved the installation of a Crimson
Trace Laser Guard. The Crimson Trace
product that fits the P238 also fits snugly
on the P938. After I mounted the laser, I
trimmed a Hogue Handall Jr. grip sleeve
to fit around the lasers activation button,
and trimmed the bottom of the Handall to
match the length of the grip. This added
just enough girth to the grip to make it fit
well in my extra-large hands.
SHOTS FIRED
I tested the P938 for accuracy and ve-
locity at the Volusia County Gun and
Hunt Club. Their manufacturers gener-
ously provided six loads with bullets
weighing between 115-147 grains. The
loads were Black Hills 124-grain +P XTP
HP, COR-BONs 124-grain JHP, Hor-
nadys 115-grains Critical Defense, HPRs
124-grain XTP HP, Speers 124-grain
Gold Dot HP and Winchesters 147-grain
Ranger-T LE load. In addition, I also ran
tactical drills using Black Hills 115-grain
JRN load. The 938 functioned very well
with every load.
Accuracy tests were conducted at 15
yards using an MTM Front Sight rifle rest
to support the gun, and a Leupold Kenai
spotting scope to score the hits. The at-
tached table lists the average for three
five-shot strings and the best overall
group for each cartridge. The averages
ranged from 2.54-4.5 inches with the
majority of cartridges averaging be-
tween 3.1-3.73 inches. These results are
fully adequate for personal defense at
the distances at which this pistol was de-
signed to be used. As for the smallest
groups, three were less than 2.76 inches.
This clearly indicated a potential for very
good accuracy with certain loads.
Velocity was measured with a PACT
1XP chronograph. Velocity and energy
levels from the 3-inch barrel were gener-
ally about 50-100 fps. slower than one
would expect from a 9mm. pistol with a

The author added a Hogue Handall Jr. grip sleeve and a
Crimson Trace Laser Guard. The grip adapts the pistol ft
his hand and the laser is useful for close-range shooting
day or night.
SPECIFICATIONS
SIG SAUER P938
Caliber: 9mm. Parabellum
Barrel: 3 inches
Frame: Black Anodized
Aluminum
Slide: Black Nitron Finished
Steel
Length: 5.9 inches
Width: 1.1 inches
Weight: 16 ounces with
Magazine
Action: Single Action
Semi-Automatic
Capacity: 7 rounds with loaded
chamber, 8 rounds with 7-round
Magazine
Sights: White Outline Three-Dot
SIGLITE Night Sights
MSRP: $823
GW_1311-Sig.BA 9/2/13 11:40 PM Page 23
24 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
TEST PERFORMANCE
Load Name Projectile Velocity Muzzle Best Average
Weight Energy Group Group
Black Hills 124 gr. 1132 fps. 53 ft.pds. 2.17 3.17
124 gr. +P XTP HP
COR-BON 125 gr. 1183 fps. 390 ft. pds. 3.28 4.5
125 gr. +P JHP
HPR 124 gr. 124 gr. 965 fps. 256 ft. pds. 1.61 2.53
XTP HP
Hornady Critical 115 gr. 1127 fps. 324 ft. pds. 2.76 3.35
Defense 115 gr.
Speer 124 gr. 124 gr. 1127 fps. 350 ft. pds. 1.49 3.1
Winchester 147 gr. 147 gr. 911 fps. 270 ft. pds. 3.14 3.73
Ranger-T LE
Average groups represent three 5-shot strings at 25 yards Groups were fired using an MTM Rifle Front Sight
rest and a Leupold Kenai spotting scope. Velocity was measured with a PACT 1 XP chronograph. Results are
an average of 5 shots.
This target was engaged at 20
yards using the SIG 938. Body
shots at that distance with
this small 9mm. sub-compact
are easy to make, while head-
shots are a bit more of a chal-
lenge.
This target was engaged with
two and three-shot rapid fre
strings at a distance of 4
yards while the author was
pieing a window. Even though
he was fring as fast as he
could, all of the hits would
have had a high probability of
immediately ending an armed
confrontation.
GW_1311-Sig.BA 9/2/13 11:40 PM Page 24
4-inch barrel. The HPR 124-grain load
was a bit slower, but it functioned the
pistol reliably and was the most accurate
load tested. Overall, the velocity results
indicated that the power of most 9mm.
cartridges fired from the P938 was
slightly more than twice that of similar
size pistols chambered in .380 ACP. The
+P 124-grain ammo fired from the 9mm.
938 generated about three-fourths of the
power of a 125-grain full-house load
fired from a lightweight .357 magnum
snubnose, but the recoil of the .357 is al-
most twice that of the 938 firing a +P
load. Overall, the 938 appears to strike a
good balance between sheer power and
controllability. For such a small and
powerful gun, it was clearly comfortable
to shoot.
I determined practical accuracy by
shooting a Bullseye match at the Flagler
Gun and Archery Club, and running tac-
tical drills at the Volusia County Gun and
Hunt Club. At fifteen and 25 yards, my
groups were a bit low, but they were
well centered, and all hits were on the
paper. This indicated the 938s ability to
quickly fire multiple accurate rounds at
what is considered to be maximum
range for many pocket pistols.
The tactical drills at the Volusia Club
involved an active shooter drill simulat-
ing a building entry. One target was en-
gaged at 4 yards and two more were
engaged at 20 yards. The two at 20
yards were overlapped, and the only di-
rect shot that could be made at the par-
tially hidden target was to the head. Due
to the brightness of the summer sun-
shine, the red Crimson Trace laser was
most visible on the 4-yard target. That
target was shot through a window using
rapid-fire strings of multiple shots. There
were no misses and all of the hits would
likely produced rapid incapacitation. The
two targets at 20 yards were engaged
using the three-dot SIGLITE Sights. All
of the shots fired at these two targets
would have done significant damage.
SIG Sauers P938 Nightmare is a well-
made firearm that produces good accu-
racy, controllability and stopping power
in a very small and lightweight package.
The 938 is not the least expensive sub-
compact 9mm., but this well-designed,
high quality pistol serves its intended
purpose very well. GW
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 25
Black Hills Ammunition
P.O. Box 3090
Rapid City, SD 57709
(605) 348-5150
www.black-hills.com
COR-BON Ammunition
1311 Industry Rd.
Sturgis, SD 57785
(800) 626-7266
www.shopcorbon.com
Flagler Gun and
Archery Club
P.O. Box 156
Bunnell, FL 32110
(888) 823-4251
www.flaglergunclub.com
Florida Gun Exchange
1050 S. Nova Rd.
Ormond Beach, FL 32174
(386) 304-9499
www.floridagunexchange.com
Hornady Ammunition
3625 West Old Potash Hwy
Grand Island, NE 68803
800-338-3220
www.hornady.com
HPR Ammunition
P.O.Box 2086
Prescott, AZ 85547
(928) 468 0380
www.hprammo.com
Leupold Optics
14400 NW Greenbrier Parkway
Beaverton, OR 97006-5790
(800) 538-7653
www.leupold.com
MTM Case-Gard Products
3370 Obco Ct.
Dayton, OH 45414
(937) 890-7461
www.mtmcase-gard.com
PACT Chronographs
P.O. Box 535025
Grand Prairie, TX
75053
(800) 722-8462
www.pact.com
Speer Gold Dot Ammunition
2299 Snake River Ave.
Lewiston, ID 83501
(800) 256-8685
www.speer-ammo.com
Volusia County Gun and Hunt
Club
4845 E. SR 44
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
(386) 717-1394
www.volusiagunandhuntclub.com
Winchester Ammunition
600 Powder Mill Rd.
East Alton, IL 62024
(800) 356-2666
www.winchester.com
CONTACTS
The SIG 938 was tested with six different high-performance loads.
It fed, fred and extracted all of them without any problems.
GW_1311-Sig.BA 9/2/13 11:40 PM Page 25
26 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
The Smith & Wesson headquarters in Springfeld, Massachusetts,
which opened in 1950. The fags were fying at half-mast due to
the Boston Marathon terrorist attack, which occurred around the
time of the authors visit.
GW_1311-Tour 9/2/13 11:52 PM Page 26
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 27
Story & Photos by Thomas C. Tabor
Todays Smith & Wesson Offers an
Impressive Array of Firearms Excellence
W
hile the name Smith & Wesson is most often
equated with revolvers and semi-automatics hand-
guns, today the company has much more to offer
the shooting public than short guns. In 2007, S&W pur-
chased Thompson/Center Arms, and those operations were
quickly interwoven throughout the Springfield plant.
GW_1311-Tour 9/2/13 11:53 PM Page 27
28 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
Not only did this add some great new
rifle manufacturing capabilitieswhich
includes both modern smokeless pow-
der firearms and a few black powder
modelsit also gave S&W the ability to
manufacture their own rifle and pistol
barrels in-house, which provides a major
enhancement to the entire operation. But
barrel making isnt necessarily a slam-
dunk, easy to perform operation. For ex-
ample, the production of a handgun
barrel that might only be a couple of
inches long involves 72 individual ma-
chining and manufacturing operations.
But having the capability of manufactur-
ing their own barrels provides better
overall control of the quality and produc-
tion of those items.
TOURING THE PLANT
I recently had the pleasure of touring
the modern day Smith & Wesson plant,
located in Springfield, Massachusetts,
not far from the historic Springfield Ar-
mory where co-founder Horace Smith
got his start in the firearms business.
Smith & Wesson manufactures, repairs and maintains many of their own tools in-house.
The frst stage of the handgun manufacturing process involves forging of the frames. From here
these S&W revolver frames will be punched out in a somewhat similar manner that a baker might
cut out a batch of cookies.
GW_1311-Tour 9/2/13 11:53 PM Page 28
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 29
D
aniel Wesson was the son of a plow manu-
facturer who longed to be a gunsmith like
his brothers. He served an apprenticeship
under his older brother, Edwin, and when he died
seven years later, Daniel worked with various part-
ners, including another brother, and at Leonard Pis-
tol Manufacturing.
Horace Smiths father was a carpenter who
began working at the Springfield Armory during
the War of 1812. Horace worked at the Armory for
eighteen years, moving from apprentice to mas-
ter gun maker there. Smith and Wesson met in
1851 while both were employed at Allen and
Luther in Worchester.
One important pre-S&W effort was their devel-
opment of the Volcanic pistol in 1854, the action of
which directly or indirectly inspired several firearms,
including the Henry and Winchester repeating rifles.
Although a technical breakthrough, the pistol was
not a commercial success, and it wasnt until 1858
that the two combined forces again to form the
new Smith & Wesson.
WESSON AND SMITH, BEFORE
SMITH & WESSON
The Smith & Wesson manufacturing plant on
Stockbridge Street in Springfeld, which opened
just prior to the start of the Civil War in 1860.
GW_1311-Tour 9/2/13 11:53 PM Page 29
30 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
Each tour starts at the guard shack.
There, you receive a pass with a photo
copied from your drivers license or
other ID, as well as the tour guides
name and other specifics pertaining to
the visit. You are then permitted to enter
the plant, but everyone must periodically
pass the approval of the sometimes very
large and serious security personnel be-
fore proceeding through various metal
detectors and moving on to the other
areas of the plant. Im not sure how
many scanners I went through in my
day-long tour, but it was upwards of at
least a half a dozen.
S&W understandably takes a great
deal of pride in how their handgun
frames are produced. Rather than using
investment casting to produce those crit-
ically important parts as some other
manufacturers do, S&W produces their
handgun frames by forging them. The
difference between these two processes
is crucially important to the quality of the
parts. In the casting process the metal is
heated to a molten state, whereupon it is
then poured into molds and allowed to
cure. The downside to casting is that
there is a higher possibility of imperfec-
tions finding their way into the parts due
to contamination, or the result of
trapped air within the pour. Anyone that
has attempted to make their own lead
fishing sinkers from molten lead proba-
bly can understand the difficulties of
achieving absolute perfect results in a
casting type process.
With forging, however, the metal
never reaches the molten state. The
ingot of metal is only super-heated until
it turns cherry red in color, then under
extreme hydraulic pressure it is forced
into a series of molds that eventually re-
sults in the formation of the product. In
the S&W process, heating the metal to
its desired red hot status takes a mere
minute and half, at which time it is
moved to the hydraulic equipment to be
forged, or in other words, mechanically
pounded into shape. The result is gener-
ally an overall better and a highly more
uniformly consistent part than if it had
been cast.
In order to forge the hot metal, S&W
employs a massive piece of equipment
that appeared to be right out of the In-
dustrial Revolution. Reaching skyward The various stages of the forging process only take a few moments to complete.
S&W produces their
handgun frames by
forging them.
GW_1311-Tour 9/2/13 11:54 PM Page 30
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 31
for a couple of stories, it repeatedly
pounds the red-hot metal until it con-
forms perfectly to the desired shape.
The force produced by this equipment is
so great that the offices located upstairs
are frequently jarred in the process. Im
not sure how old this forging equipment
is, but when I jokingly asked Paul Pluff
(S&Ws Director of Marketing Communi-
cations) where they would go to buy a
replacement machine, he only looked at
me and smiled.
Clearly, while weve made great in-
roads into extremely sophisticated high-
tech operations in many areas of
firearms production, this seemingly
primitive equipment and process re-
mains one of the best ways to produce
the highest quality handgun frames.
To ensure that every nook and cranny
of the mold is adequately filled, excess
slag is allowed to escape around the
edges of its mold, much like the over-
S&W
COVER-AGE
As a major manufacturer offering a wide variety
of popular firearms, Smith & Wesson products
have been featured on the cover of Gun World
dozens of times in the past 50 years, including their
.41 Magnum in June of 1964 and the .44 Magnum
Snubbie in November of 1988.
Shown here is an example of a couple of freshly forged semi-auto frame that has been punched
out of the casting much as a baker would cut out a cookie from the dough.
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32 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
Here a full dozen forged revolver
frames are awaiting the machining
necessary to turn them into a vi-
able and effective handgun part.
GW_1311-Tour 9/2/13 11:55 PM Page 32
NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 33
flow batter you get when you make a
waffle. Once the operator is confident
that the part is properly formedsome-
times even while the forging is still
cherry red in colorthe new parts are
moved to another machine where they
are punched out hydraulically. At this
stage the frames possess little precise
detail, and must eventually move on to
the many other production processes,
some of which are performed by expen-
sive and sophisticated CNC machines
and other mechanical and hand opera-
tions, before the frame comes close to
resembling a real gun part.
PEOPLE AND PROCESSES
Many manufacturers heat treat metal
by simply heating the part up to a pre-
scribed temperature using a torch or
other heating source. For firearm parts,
this is most often done to harden the
metal, making it more resistant to wear-
ing and to strengthen it. Quite frequently
this process is done using a dry method
to bring the part up to the desired tem-
perature, either using an open flame or
sometimes a oven or furnace. This re-
sults in a hardening of the surface of the
metal. Smith & Wesson, however, uti-
lizes a different approach. Rather than
heating the metal in a dry manner, they
use a heated wet bath method, which re-
Appearing almost like childs toy guns that may have been cut out of a piece of plywood then
painted gray, these semi-auto handgun frames have left the forging department and are headed to
the CNC machines for further processing.
GW_1311-Tour 9/6/13 12:41 AM Page 33
34 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
sults in heat-treating the metal all the
way to its core rather than only on the
surface.
At one time, the usual method of
firearms assembly involved a single indi-
vidual or a small group of individuals
completing the entire assembly process,
but today it is done in more of an assem-
bly line fashion. This makes the process
much more efficient and it encourages
the workers to check the previous indi-
viduals work over before the part is al-
lowed to continue on in the process.
Because the parts must be perfect in
every aspect, as well as the way the
parts are assembled, this procedure
helps to ensure better overall quality and
efficiency. But even after the assembly
has been completely and everyone is
satisfied with the result, before any
firearm moves on to the packaging de-
partment, it is test fired to ensure that it
is functionally perfect in every aspect.
The revolver frame on the left was recently
forged and punched out hydraulically, while
the one on the right shows the initial stages
of CNC machining.
The CNC (Computer Numerical Control) ma-
chines and other production equipment are
constantly being upgraded and replaced with
the latest possible technology.
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Another thing that became blatantly
obvious to me is the commitment and
dedication of Smith & Wesson employ-
ees. Amazingly, the average employee
tenure at the S&W plant is 28 years.
Clearly that is a testament to the loyalty
of plant workers, management person-
nel and the company practices. It was
obvious that the employees took a great
deal of pride in their work, and it was
clear that the company appreciated that
diligence and dedication. On several oc-
casions when talking with the plant
workers they would proudly volunteer
how many years theyd worked at S&W.
One individual even pointed out that she
was a fifth generation resident and a
fourth generation Smith & Wesson em-
ployee.
The plant is continuously open, 24
hours a day, 7 days a week, to satisfy the
demands for their products. Neverthe-
less, at the current level of customer de-
mand its a constant struggle for the
company to keep pace with those de-
mands. While there was some inventory
of firearm stock on hand when I toured
the plant, it was essentially minor in rela-
tion to their levels of production. Unlike
some manufacturing facilities that main-
tain huge warehouses, S&W has little or
none. Essentially, when the product is
made, it is moved out to marketplace
within a week or two of completion.
The quality and diversity of firearm
choices produced by Smith & Wesson is
nothing short of mind-boggling. Cer-
tainly there are far more firearms pro-
duced under the S&W and T/C logo than
I could ever adequately cover in these
few pages, but if you are looking for a
switch-barrel Thompson/Center Dimen-
sion rifle, a Venture, Icon, Encore, or one
of the many other T/C models, you can
be assured that it came from the Spring-
field operation and it will be of top qual-
ity. Perhaps you might have your mind
set on a Smith & Wesson AR Model 10,
or one of the many fine semi-auto pistols
or revolvers that the company builds.
In any case, I can guarantee you one
thingwhen you open that box and lay
your eyes on your new firearm carrying
the S&W or T/C logo, you will surely be
impressed with the quality. A lot of dedi-
cation went into the making of it by a
great deal of very devoted employees,
each of which takes a great deal of pride
in the products they make and it shows
in those products. GW
Automated equipment is used to check on the tolerances of the products using a tenth of a thousandth on an inch standard. In this case the toler-
ances of a semi-auto handgun slide are being checked.
Before any rearm moves on
to the packaging department,
it is test red to ensure that
it is functionally perfect
in every aspect
GW_1311-Tour 9/2/13 11:56 PM Page 35
36 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
Fourth in a series on the development and
deployment of the worlds fighting guns.
GW_1311-Combat.BA 9/3/13 12:03 AM Page 36
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 37
From the Blunderbuss to Todays Tactical Weaponry,
the Combat Shotgun Fights On
Story & Photos by Leroy Thompson
A
lthough military use of the shotgun goes back cen-
turies, it has not always been thought of specifically
as a combat weapon.
The reason is simple. Many early
North American settlers had only one
weapona smoothbore musket or fowl-
ing piecethat could fire multiple pro-
jectiles, and they used it both for hunting
and self-defense. Some early smooth-
bores, such as the blunderbuss, were in-
tended specifically for use against an
enemy. Designed to be loaded quickly
via its bell mouth with an array of metal-
lic projectiles including old nails or scrap
iron, the blunderbuss was a fearful
weapon for the coach guard or the ships
captain facing possible mutiny. George
Washington understood the devastating
effect multiple projectiles could have on
an enemy and ordered the muskets of
American troops loaded with buck and
ball, a combination of a musket ball and
buckshot. Cavalrymen in the U.S. Civil
War also used buck and ball loads.
Once the double-barreled shotgun
was developed, some users shortened
the barrels (to make them handier in
close quarters) and loaded both barrels
with buckshot. Originally, these double-
barreled shotguns were percussion, but
once the self-contained shotgun shell
was developed, break open shotguns
were quickly adapted for combat. In the
American West, short-barreled shot-
gunsor sometimes longer barreled
oneswere equalizers on both sides of
the law. During the Indian Wars, some
U.S. cavalrymen carried the double-bar-
reled shotgun for close-range fighting,
though they most likely retained their
carbines for longer-range engagement.
U
S

D
O
D
The U.S. M26 Modular Accessory Shot-
gun System allows a shotgun to be
mounted to the M4 carbine so that the
soldier does not have to carry a separate
shotgun or special applications.
GW_1311-Combat.BA 9/3/13 12:03 AM Page 37
38 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
SELF-LOADERS
IN COMBAT
Self-loading shotguns have
proven themselves reliable for
combat usage and are now
used in the U.S. armed forces
and among many police depart-
ments. Remington Model 11 riot
guns were used during World
War II to supplement the pump
action trench and riot guns. Cur-
rently, the U.S. Marines use the
M1014, their version of the
Benelli M4. The M1014 is also
used by some U.S. law enforce-
ment agencies, especially tacti-
cal units, as are some Benelli
shotguns. However, the most
common self-loading shotgun in
use with US law enforcement is
the Remington 11-87P.
One other self-loading shot-
gun, which did not achieve wide
use, but which is noteworthy is
the Mossberg Model 9200A1
Jungle Gun. Reportedly devel-
oped for DEA agents operating
against drug cartels in Latin
America, the Model 9200A1 is
very reliable and is designed to
be very tough. It was also evalu-
ated by the U.S. armed forces
but was not adopted. A few po-
lice departments adopted it, but
it was out of production within a
few years.
Although the Mossberg 9200A1 was not in production for long, it was a very reliable
and sturdy combat shotgun designed for use in the South American jungle
MODEL 97 INFLUENCE
The modern fighting shotgun owes a
major debt to the Winchester Model 97
slide action or pump shotgun.
With a 20-inch barrel in riot gun con-
figuration, the Model 97 was a standby
for law enforcement agencies and ex-
press companies during the early 20th
Century, and also proved a formidable
manstopper in use by U.S. troops in the
Philippines against Moro fanatics. Gen-
eral John Black Jack Pershingwho
had seen the Model 97 in action there
felt it would make an excellent weapon
for trench warfare, and arranged for
American troops to be armed with the 97
Trench Gun, which was basically the riot
gun with a heat shield and bayonet lug.
The Model 97 Trench Gun was espe-
cially formidable in close combat be-
cause it lacked a trigger disconnect. This
allowed its user to hold the trigger back
and simply pump the action to keep
sending waves of 00 buckshot towards
the enemy.
From World War I until today, the
combat shotgun has been an important
weapon in U.S. military arsenals. In
World War II, the Marines found it espe-
cially useful in the jungle fighting of the
Pacific as did U.S. troops in Vietnam.
The Model 97 Trench and Riot guns con-
tinued to serve in World War II, Korea,
and into Vietnam, but were joined by the
Winchester Model 12, the Ithaca Model
37, the Stevens Models 520-30 and
620A, as well as the Stevens 77E. All of
these shotguns were pump actions, with
the Winchester Model 12 and Ithaca
Model 37 lacking a trigger disconnect,
thus allowing them to function much as
the Model 97. Many shotguns adopted
from Vietnam onward were of riot gun
configuration, as well as many acquired
in World War II, with short barrels and,
possibly, extended magazines but with-
out the ventilated handguard and bayo-
net lug.
U.S. police departments have made
extensive use of the riot shotgun in pa-
trol cars and stored in armories. For
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www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 39
decades, the Remington Model 870 has
been the most popular police shotgun,
but the Ithaca Model 37, Winchester
Model 1200, and Mossberg 500 or 590
have also seen extensive use. The 870
has also seen U.S. military usage, espe-
cially among the U.S Marine Corps,
though the most common U.S. military
shotguns in use over the last 30 years
have been Mossberg 500/590s.
PERSONAL FAVORITES
The Remington 870 has remained the
most popular combat shotgun in the
USA for a half century, and it has earned
its reputation. I have three 870s. One is a
former police department Express model
with a synthetic speed feed stock that
holds an additional four rounds of
ammo, plus a sidesaddle shell holder
that holds an additional six rounds. It has
a handy 18-inch barrel with a bead and a
tubular magazine that holds six rounds. I
dont keep it with a round in the cham-
ber, but I do keep the magazine full plus
spare buckshot and slugs in the stock
and sidesaddle. I would have preferred a
ghost ring sight, but the shotgun was
such a good deal I couldnt pass it up.
The second is a Model 870P with a pistol
grip, Wilson Combat XS Sight System,
and a SureFire tactical fore-end flash-
light. The current version is the Model
870P MAX. Many combat shotguns are
cylinder bore, which means there is no
constriction of the shot pattern as it
leaves the barrel. This Remington is of
Improved Cylinder bore, which means
there a construction of .010 inches.
My third 870 shotgun was worked
over by Wilson Combats Scattergun
Technologies Department for reliability
and given a TRAK-LOK Ghost Ring Sight,
jumbo head safety, high-performance
magazine spring, and high-visibility fol-
lower as well as an extended magazine.
I also like Mossberg combat shotguns.
My current favorite is the 590A1 SPX
with bayonet lug. This shotgun incorpo-
rates all of the mil-spec features speci-
Thompson fring the Model 97 Trench Shotgun, the trench sweeper of World War I
A Remington 870 with a sidesaddle shell holder; Thompson prefers to insert the shells with a head
down so that they can be withdrawn and inserted into the magazine; however, in this case, he puts
some shells with the head up to differentiate their type.
George Washington understood
the devastating eect multiple
projectiles could have on an enemy
GW_1311-Combat.BA 9/3/13 12:04 AM Page 39
fied in U.S. military contracts and comes
with an M9 bayonet. I believe this combo
makes an excellent preparedness shot-
gun for an array of emergencies. During
the period after a disaster when law and
order may break down, a shotgun makes
an excellent intimidation weapon to dis-
courage looters or home invaders, gen-
erally without even having to shoot. And,
if it is necessary to shoot, buckshot will
end the situation quickly and with less
danger to surrounding neighbors. I be-
lieve the ability to mount a bayonet
makes the 590A1 an even better discour-
ager of folks who might take advantage
of a breakdown in order. Asking some-
one to leave your property while advanc-
ing with a shotgun mounting a bayonet
makes a very convincing argument! By
the way, the 590A1 SPX also has ghost
ring sights, which allows it to be used
with slugs at longer range. Overall, it is a
great preparedness shotgun.
At least partially from nostalgia, I ob-
tained the current version of the Ithaca
Model 37 Defense Gun. Although it no
longer lacks the trigger disconnect
(which means the current version re-
quires the trigger to be released after
each round is fired), it still makes an ex-
cellent home defense or law enforce-
The most innovative self-loading shotgun Ive
seen in years is the SRM 1216. I am very enthusias-
tic about this shotgun, to the extent that I have rec-
ommended it to various military and law
enforcement units with which I have contacts. The
1216 employs a detachable forearm which also is
the shotguns magazine, and it holds four car-
tridges in each of four chambers, giving it a capac-
ity of 16 rounds. When one chamber is empty, the
bolt locks back and the shooter rotates the forearm
to the next chamber, which when locked in place
allows the bolt to run forward chambering a round.
Once all 16 rounds are fired, the magazine may be
quickly removed and replaced with another. Its
semi-bullpup design also keeps overall length to
32.5 inches with an 18-inch barrel. This is 6 inches
less than an 18-inch barreled Remington 870 that
holds 7 rounds.
THE SRM 1216
The SRM 1216 carries 16 rounds in its forearm/magazine and allows fast and
continuous engagement. Here Thompson prepares to switch magazines.
The Remington 870 has remained
the most popular combat shotgun
in the USA
40 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
GW_1311-Combat.BA 9/3/13 12:04 AM Page 40
ment weapon. Its 20-inch cylinder bore
barrel mounts a bead. The full-length
magazine tube holds 7 rounds. One ad-
vantage of the Ithaca is that it loads from
the bottom and ejects to the bottom, al-
lowing it to be fired from either shoulder
quite readily. It is available with either a
polymer or wood stock. I chose the
wood stock because the Ithaca 37s I
used in the past had one, but I would
normally recommend the polymer stock
for a defense shotgun.
TOP SHELF SELF-LOADERS
I have a couple of favorites among
current self-loading combat shotguns.
For my house shotgun (the one I keep
loaded near my bed) I use a Remington
11-87P, P for police. Once again this
one was a police trade-in I picked up at a
local gun shop that specializes in police
business. With the exception of the
sights (it has rifle sights, and I prefer
ghost rings), it is exactly the 11-87P I
would have ordered. It has a SureFire
forearm with a light controlled by a pres-
sure switch, an extended magazine, and
polymer stock with Parkerized finish on
the gun. Im used to the crossbolt safety
on the 870 and 11-87P and have learned
to push it off as my finger moves to the
trigger. I have also found this and other
11-87Ps Ive tried to be absolutely reli-
able. The thick recoil pad and cushioning
of the self-loading action make firing
even 3-inch magnum shells seem tame.
Among the tactical advantages of the
self-loading shotgun are fast repeat
shots without having to operate a pump
action, the ability to keep fighting one-
handed if injured or encumbered, and
the ability to use low cover since it is not
necessary to have room to operate the
slide action. I have often demonstrated
these features when doing counter-am-
bush training by crawling under a vehi-
cle and engaging with the 11-87P.
Note, by the way, that the 870 and 11-
87P as well as many of the other shot-
guns I will discuss are available with a
14-inch barrel to allow faster deploy-
ment from within a vehicle or in con-
structed places. However, this barrel
length will require NFA registration as an
SBS (Short Barreled Shotgun). The short
barrel is advantageous in certain law en-
forcement applications.
The ring in front of the Benelli M3Ts forearm which allows it to be converted from self-loading to pump action or back.
Thompson operates the pump action of a Mossberg 590A1. Note that this Mossberg takes a bayo-
net, a feature Thompson considers valuable for use in times of civil unrest.
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I use other self-loading combat shot-
guns including the Mossberg 930 Tacti-
cal, whichas with other Mossberg
tactical shotgunsis of high quality and
is reasonably priced. The sliding safety
located on the upper rear portion of the
receiver is very fast if one practices with
it, though I believe that one should use
either shotguns with crossbolt safeties
or with the Mossberg type so that opera-
tion is instinctive. Since I do a lot of writ-
ing about shotguns, I need to use both
types for familiarity, but for most users I
recommend choosing shotguns with
one type of safety and sticking to them.
I also count myself among the group
who are big fans of the Russian Saiga
shotgun for combat. This self-loader has
the advantage of detachable box maga-
zines, which allow a fast reload. Gener-
ally, however, to maximize the Saiga as
a combat weapon in the USA (they are
not importable with folding stocks or
shorter barrels), it will be necessary to
have them customized after purchase.
However, there are higher capacity mag-
azines available in the USA and custom
makers to shorten the barrels to 18-20
inches.
The other self-loading shotguns I use
quite a bit are Benellis. I have seen the
Benelli termed the Mercedes Benz of
combat shotguns, and there is some jus-
tification for that title. The most widely
used police Benelli is the M2 Tactical,
which is recoil operated, thus allowing
very fast cycling. It is available with ei-
ther ghost ring or rifle sights and inter-
changeable Crio chokes, which allow the
pattern to be better tailored to the mis-
sion. When used by a tactical unit with
the hostage rescue mission, for exam-
ple, a tighter pattern might be desirable.
Standard barrel length for the M2 is 18.5
inches, though shorter 14-inch barreled
NFA guns are available for military or
law enforcement usage. The stock sys-
tem is modular so that the M2 may be
configured with a pistol grip or without.
Different thicknesses of recoil pad are
also available to adjust length of pull to
size or when wearing body armor.
My own favorite Benelli is the M3 Tac-
tical. Available with the same features as
the M2, the M3 is a dual action, which
normally functions as a self-loader, but
by twisting a selector ring may be
quickly converted to operate as a pump
action. This feature is quite desirable for
law enforcement and military usage as it
allows the weapon to use the pump ac-
tion when firing less lethal or other spe-
cialized rounds that would not normally
function the semi-auto action. The M3
used to be supplied with a top folding
stock that made it quite compact as well.
In addition to Benelli, Franchi,
Bernardelli, and Beretta have also exper-
imented with dual action shotguns be-
cause of a bid spec put out by the Italian
Thompson fring the top folding stock version of the Benelli M3T convertible shotgun.
Franchis SPAS-15 was developed for the Italian Army to
use in counterinsurgency or peacekeeping operations.
It is dual action and uses a detachable box magazine.
GW_1311-Combat.BA 9/3/13 12:04 AM Page 42
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 43
Army for use on peace keeping opera-
tions. The best known of these is proba-
bly the Franchi SPAS-12, which because
of its distinctive look and hooked stock
has been used a lot in films. However,
the Franchi SPAS-15 is a much better
shotgun as it takes a detachable 6 or 8
round magazine, which allows fast re-
loads or carrying of lethal or less lethal
ammo in separate magazines. I would
note, though, that unless the less lethal
magazine is clearly marked by painting it
a bright color there will be a possibility
of getting the two types of ammunition
confused. In addition to the Italian Army,
the SPAS-15 has been acquired by a few
other military or police units.
One other combat shotgun I should
mention briefly is the M26 MASS in use
with the U.S. Army. Designed to offer a
shotgun, which may be affixed to the
M4 carbine much as a grenade launcher
might be, the Modular Accessory Shot-
gun System takes a 3- or 5-round de-
tachable magazine. Rounds are
chambered using a straight pull bolt ac-
tion. A soldier armed with the M26 pre-
cludes the need to carry a separate
shotgun for door breaching or use of
less lethal ammunition.
Im a great believer in the combat
shotgun on the battlefield, in a patrol car
cruising dark city streets, or next to the
bed for home security. When it has to be
used, the shotgun can end a fight imme-
diately, without endangering those
down range as much as rifle. Often,
though, its intimidation effect can pre-
clude the need to fire it. Whether in use
by police or military to control a rioting
crowd or by a homeowner to deter a
home invader, few will want to chal-
lenge a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with
00 buck! GW


The Ithaca
Model 37
Defense Gun
still makes an
excellent home
defense or
law enforcement
weapon.
GW_1311-Combat.BA 9/3/13 12:09 AM Page 43
44 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
With bipod in place, the CZ Urban Counter
Sniper is ready for action. This is a gun for
dedicated long-range shooters who demand
superb accuracy and total reliability. Those
are very high expectations of any rife, but
the CZ has the goods to meet the needs of
even the most demanding of shooters in a
portable, maneuverable package.
GW_1311-CZUCS 9/3/13 12:27 AM Page 44
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 45
Story & Photos by
Brad Fitzpatrick
CZs Urban Counter Sniper Rifle Combines
Outstanding Accuracy with Compact Size.
C
eska Zbrojovka.
The latest winner of
Americas Top Model?
Not quite. If youre a firearms afi-
cionado, the name represents
beauty of a different sort, al-
though you probably use the
more familiar (and spell check-
friendly) initials CZ.
COUNTER
SERVICE
GW_1311-CZUCS 9/3/13 12:28 AM Page 45
46 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
The company has been making guns
for a long time (since 1936, to be exact),
but only relatively recently has the name
become commonplace among U.S.
shooters, thanks in no small part to the
establishment of their CZ-USA facility in
Kansas City, Kansas. In the past decade
and a half, CZ has won over a number of
American fans, and with good reason.
They make quality, serviceable guns at
an attractive price, andperhaps more
than any other company over the last
decadecontinue to offer shooters new
and different firearms that make sense.
In an era when bolt-action .22s were
appearing less and less frequently in
company catalogs, CZ introduced a
lineup of extremely accurate, robustly
built rimfires, and American shooters
took note. Today, the companys 455
model is well respected in benchrest cir-
cles, and more and more new shooters
are cutting their teeth on CZ .22s. The
company has produced big bore, dan-
gerous game rifles since the 1980s,
when the Brno 602 challenged the Win-
chester Model 70 as the go-to bolt gun
for dangerous African game. Today, CZs
big bore line-up is the most extensive of
any manufacturer in the United States.
Their elegant side-by-side and
over/under shotguns feature nice stocks,
solid actions with color case finishing
and a classy look at a reasonable price.
As I saidbeauty of a different sort.
UCS IN THE USA
The CZ story didnt begin with the
production of quality sporting and target
guns, however. It began with the pro-
duction of military and law enforcement
weapons, and the company still pro-
duces guns used the world over. Most of
these military weapons are semiauto-
matic rifles and pistolssuch as the 805
Bren and the new P-09 (Editors note:
See our October issue for our P-09 test
drive)but the CZ brass hasnt forgotten
At eight and a quarter pounds and just 37 inches, the Urban Counter Sniper is a highly accurate long-range bolt-action rife built on a platform that is
easy to carry and maneuver.
The Bell and Carlson Stock on the Urban Counter
Sniper has a spiderweb pattern that looks good
with the OD green Tefon coating. The Trijicon
Accupoint scope was perfect for this lightweight
(for a sniper rife) rig. Together, the scope and
rife proved a deadly combination.
GW_1311-CZUCS 9/3/13 12:28 AM Page 46
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 47
how to build a rifle around their solid
550 bolt action. CZ has offered a number
of tactical and semi-tactical rifles based
on the 550 over the years, and by and
large these have been a success.
This year, CZ added another tactical
horse to their growing stable with the
550 Urban Counter Sniper (UCS), a gun
that exemplifies many of the things that
CZ does well. First of all, this is a com-
pany that does an excellent job zeroing
in on areas of consumer interest and
creating unique products that not only fit
the market but oftentimes create a new
buzz. Such was the case with the intro-
duction of CZs Bobwhite and Ringneck
side-by-sides. These guns were attrac-
tive and attractively priced, and soon
bird hunters began falling in love with
them. Another of CZs talents is seeing
new markets for existing products; the
550 action was already available; the
company just needed a new platform.
Enter the 550 UCS. I clearly remember
testing the companys little Bobwhite
side-by-side shotgun. Everyone at the
range wanted to look it over, and the
bolder ones would ask if they could
shoot it. The reaction to the UCS has
been the same. With its short Teflon-
The Urban Counter Sniper is based upon CZs
durable controlled-round feed 550 action, and
the bolt runs smoothly. Notice the oversized
bolt handle, perfect for rapid cycling.
The Surefre muzzle brake and suppressor adaptor is mounted at the end
of the short, stiff, 16 inch barrel. The brake worked extremely well, and
despite a short overall length the rife proved to be extremely accurate.
The UCS is one eye-catching rie.
GW_1311-CZUCS 9/3/13 12:28 AM Page 47
48 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
coated barrel, hefty Bell and Carlson
fiberglass stock with spider web design,
and a radical looking Surefire muzzle
brake that is QD suppressor compatible,
the UCS is an eye-catching rifle.
Make no mistake. The CZ is not a
dressed-up 550 rifle with costume com-
bat paint. Unlike other companies that
slap a heavy barrel and a fat stock on
their standard bolt gun and market it to
the tactical crowd, the UCS is a purpose-
built weapon designed for a very specific
task. The UCS does incorporate the reg-
ular CZ 50 action, but the 550 is well-re-
spected in shooting circles for its
dependability. Its a controlled-round ac-
tion with a full-length claw extractor for a
strong bite and secure feeding. The ac-
tion is polished to a glassy smoothness,
and the bolt runs in the action like its
been freshly greased. The bolt handle
has an oversized knob and the outside of
the action has a non-glare matte finish.
The Bell and Carlson stock is Kevlar
and has a wide beavertail fore end with
twin sling studs and a palm swell that
helps provide a solid platform. The stock
has a full-length aluminum bedding
block to help increase the rigidity of the
action and provide consistent groups.
Aluminum bedding blocks provide a
rock-solid platform and aid in accuracy,
but they are expensive and are typically
only found in high-end rifles like the
UCS. The short (16-inch) barrel is free-
floated and coated in Teflon to give a
dull, dark olive green and protect the
rifle from the elements. The barrel is free
floated, and one of the things that CZ
prides itself on is excellent barrel har-
monics, or the imperceptible (to hu-
mans, at least) movement of the barrel
after firing. For a rifle to be really, really
accurate, it must be properly bedded
and have good barrel harmonics. As
youll see in the range portion of this
test, the UCS gets high grades in both.
At the end of the barrel youll find the
unconventional looking Surefire muzzle
brake/suppressor adaptor, yet another
sign that CZ was serious when they set
out to build a top-of-the line sniper rifle.
All those angled notches and cuts in the
Surefire brake arent just for
lookstheyre part of a patented system
called Impulse Diffusion that is designed
to minimize the effects of muzzle blast
and rearward concussive effects. Be-
tween the heft of the rifle and the out-
standing performance of the Surefire
brake, it was possible to shoot the UCS
and remain on-target in the Trijicon
scope, work the bolt, and fire a rapid
second shot. The Surefire brake also
serves as a mounting device for the
companys Fast-Attach suppressors. CZ
made a smart move by bringing Surefire
into the equation. These brakes/suppres-
sors arent cheap, but they are highly ef-
fective and of the type and quality youd
CZ uses their set trigger in the Urban Counter Sniper model. Pressing the trigger forward
places it in the set position, and barely two pounds of pressure is required to release the
sear. Its scary light, but it breaks clean and is a great aid in overall accuracy.
CONTACTS
CZ-USA
www.cz-usa.com
Hornady Manufacturing Co.
www.hornady.com
This ranks the UCS
as one of the most accurate
factory ries Ive ever shot.
GW_1311-CZUCS 9/3/13 12:28 AM Page 48
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 49
expect to find in a rifle of this class.
The UCS incorporates CZs single
stage set trigger. To place the trigger in
the set position, press it forward until it
clicks into position. Once it does, dont
breathe too hard on that trigger, be-
cause when you imagine what an ultra-
light, break-like-glass trigger feels like,
its probably something like the feel of
the CZs trigger in the set position. From
the unset position, trigger pull hovers
around four and a half pounds, which
isnt terrible, but when that trigger is set
it requires just less than two pounds of
pressure to fire the rifle. The good news
is that if you have time to set that trigger
between shots it isnt going to take
much more than a pulse of your finger
to send the bullet downrange.
The receiver of the UCS is machined
so that CZ one-piece rings mount di-
rectly to the receiver, and the correspon-
ding notch in the receiver matches a
post on the scope rings so that you cant
screw up the mounting process. When
the scope is locked down, its a solid
mounting system that doesnt shake
loose, and the UCS comes with either
30mm or one-inch rings, depending
upon your preference. In addition, the
rifle is supplied with two detachable box
magazines, one that has a five round ca-
pacity and one that holds ten. The over-
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Notice the large palm swell on the wrist of the
Bell and Carlson stock. Its easy to grip and
flls the hand to make steadying the rife that
much easier.
GW_1311-CZUCS 9/3/13 12:29 AM Page 49
50 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
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The CZ comes with integral scope bases machined
into the receiver, providing a solid platform for
mounting CZs one-inch or 30mm rings.
GW_1311-CZUCS 9/3/13 12:29 AM Page 50
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 51
all length of the rifle is just 37 inches,
and the weight is about eight and a quar-
ter pounds, making the Urban Counter
Sniper ideal for tight spaces.
RANGE FINDINGS
As impressive as the UCS is mechani-
cally, the real fun came at the shooting
range.
I mounted a Trijicon AccuPoint 3-9x40
scope on the UCS, and the AccuPoints
illuminated green dot made it easy to
sight on the target in any light (Editors
note: see Brads Trijicon review on Page
86 of this issue). I used factory ammo,
and for this test I chose Hornadys 155-
grain A-Max Match ammo. With the rifle
bore sighted I began the test, firing
three-shot groups at 100 yards. Since CZ
claims that this is a rifle capable of su-
perb accuracy I tested the rifle with and
without letting the barrel cool between
shots. The results were superb, and the
resulting accuracy numbers were just
what youd hope for with a rifle that
promised so much and that had such an
impressive resume.
The first group was right at .6-inches
at 100 yards, and the average of 5 three-
shot groups with a cold barrel was .73-
inches. At one point I fired all ten rounds
of the A-Max ammo in the larger maga-
zine into a single group at 100 yards and
the resulting cluster measured 1.3-
inches. By most standards, a 1.3-inch
three-shot group is good, but a 10-shot
group is superb, especially with factory
ammo. This ranks the UCS as one of the
most accurate factory rifles Ive ever
shot, which it should be based on CZs
claims. However, the company delivered
in this case, and the UCS is a purpose-
built rifle that serves its purpose well.
The Surefire brake helped control muz-
zle rise and felt recoil, and the hefty UCS
provided a secure platform for shooting
with a short overall length that made it
great to carry.
The UCS is not inexpensive, but its
very good, and like so many of its rela-
tives in the CZ lineup, it turns heads with
its looks and impresses with its capabili-
ties. If youre looking for a compact rifle
that spares nothing in the way of accu-
racy for short overall length, the Urban
Counter Sniper needs to be on your
short list. GW

SPECIFICATIONS
CZ 550 URBAN COUNTER SNIPER
Action Type: Bolt Action
Barrel: 16 free-floated, Teflon coated
Stocks: Bell and Carlson target
Sights: None, receiver machined to accept CZ rings
Capacity: 5/10, detachable box magazines
Trigger: Single set
Overall Length: 37 inches
Weight: 8.3 Pounds
MSRP: $2,530
GW_1311-CZUCS 9/3/13 12:29 AM Page 51
Feeding the Versatile .357 Magnum
is an Exercise in Moderation
52 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
RELOAD
UPLOADS &
DOWNLOADS
With its compact size, the Leupold
2X scope is a good choice for a
small revolver.
GW_1311-Reload 9/3/13 12:43 AM Page 52
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 53
A
shooting buddy of mine used to
say, You can always load a big one
down, but you cant always load a
little one up. Of course, he had a .450 Ack-
ley Magnum custom rifle built on an Enfield
action, so he didnt have much up left.
We may not think of the .357 magnum as a big one any-
more, but it gave the highest kinetic energy of any factory
handgun load from 1935 (when it was introduced) until the .44
magnum was announced in 1955. These days, a few calibers
exceed the power of the .357 magnum, but it is still potent, and
legal for hunting medium game in many states.
Handgun ammunition has changed enormously over the last
few decades. The lead bullets that caused severe leading of
barrels when driven at magnum velocities have now largely
been replaced by jacketed projectiles, especially for use in full
power loads. Moreover, the expansion and energy transfer of
these jacketed bullets is outstanding. In .357 caliber, they
range in weight from 110 grains up to 180 grains. The lighter
versions give dramatic expansion and
work well on varmints and predators. The
heavier bullets give deep penetration,
which makes them suitable for use on
medium game such as deer or hogs.
Frankly, the range of factory ammuni-
tion in .357 magnum is so extensive and the quality so high
that there is little performance to be gained by hand loading.
But handloading for the .357 remains very popular for two rea-
sons. The first, not surprisingly, is cost. A hand loader can pro-
duce high performance .357 loads at much lower cost than
that of factory ammunition, and numerous types of premium
bullets are available for that purpose. I confess to engaging in
that activity.
The second reason is versatility. You can produce ammuni-
tion at any power level from the lowest energy .38 Special up to
loads that equal the potency of factory ammunition. Of course,
for low power loads, the .357 can also be used with any .38
Special ammunition, but there is a rather large gap between a
.38 Special load that generates a pressure of approximately
16,000 psi and a .357 load that generates over twice that figure.
That means that a lot of rather powerful and useful loads can be
produced for the .357 magnum that are less powerful than fac-
tory ammunition but well beyond safe .38 Special loads.
This versatility is the primary this reason that I (and many
others) load a lot of .357 magnum cartridges. To get that inter-
mediate level of power, you can load a .357 down, but you
Story & Photos by James E. House
RESULTS OBTAINED WITH .357 MAGNUM LOADS
TESTED IN A S&W 66 WITH FOUR-INCH BARREL.
Bullet wt. (gr.) Case Primer Overall Powder Vel., Average
and type Length, in. wt/type ft/s grp., in.
a
110 Hornady XTP Blazer CCI 500 1.587 7.2 Unique 1132 0.70
110 Hornady XTP Blazer CCI 500 1.587 9.8 Accurate 5 1170 1.58
125 Win. JHP Rem. CCI 500 1.580 8.4 Power Pstl. 1157 2.07
125 Win. JHP Rem. CCI 500 1.580 10.2 Blue Dot 1164 1.49
125 HSM HP plated Fed. Win. WSP 1.584 5.6 Unique 861 0.90
125 HSM HP plated Rem. CCI 500 1.584 7.5 Power Pstl. 1011 1.96
135 Speer GDHP Rem. CCI 500 1.586 7.4 Power Pstl. 1032 1.52
135 Speer GDHP Rem. CCI 500 1.586 8.0 Accurate 5 974 2.36
158 Win. JHP Win. Win. WSP 1.580 8.8 Blue Dot 1037 1.02
158 Win. JHP Win. Win. WSP 1.580 12.0 2400 1044 1.06
158 HSM HP plated Win. Win. WSP 1.588 5.8 Unique 922 1.16
158 HSM HP plated Win. Win. WSP 1.588 7.0 Accurate 5 830 1.26
a
Accuracy is the average size of three 3-shot groups at 25 yards.
These loads were safe and reliable in the authors handgun, but neither the author nor the publisher accepts
any responsibility for their preparation and use by others.
The choice of bullets in .357 caliber is enormous.
Chosen for this project were (left to right) 110-
grain Hornady XTP, 125-grain Winchester JHP,
125-grain HSM HP, 135-grain Speer Gold Dot,
158-grain Winchester JHP, 158-grain HSM HP.
GW_1311-Reload 9/3/13 12:44 AM Page 53
cant load a .38 Special up, and this col-
umn is concerned specifically with load-
ing the .357 magnum to demonstrate its
versatility. The lower levels of blast and
recoil make such .357 loads more pleas-
ant to shoot than full power factory
loads. I still use full power .357 loads, of
course, but not many, and not often.
TOP MAGNUM LOADS
Top loads in the .357 are normally
prepared using a relatively slow hand-
gun powder such as H110, W296, Alliant
2400, or Hodgdons Lil Gun, especially
those utilizing relatively heavy bullets. In-
termediate loads that fall between hot
.38 Special and full-power .357 loads are
best assembled using pistol powders of
a medium burn rate. Such powders in-
clude Alliant Unique, Power Pistol, or
Blue Dot, Accurate No. 5 or No. 7, IMR
4756, or Hodgdon HS-6, among others.
In fact, there are numerous powders that
are suitable for loading .357 magnum
ammunition with moderation.
My goal in this project was to de-
velop a variety of loads that would not
only be accurate but also have sufficient
power for general useespecially for
dispatching varmints and predators.
With that in mind, I selected several
types of bullets in the range of 110-158
grains. The list includes jacketed hollow
points from Winchester, Hornady, and
Speer as well as plated bullets from
Hunting Shack Munitions (HSM). Pow-
ders used included Unique, Power Pis-
tol, Blue Dot and 2400 from Alliant and
Accurate No. 5. Nine cartridges were
assembled with each of the loads tested
in order to be able to obtain three 3-
shot groups, and details are shown in
the accompanying table. Velocities
RELOAD
With a 2X Leupold scope attached, this S&W
66 delivers outstanding accuracy.
To add to the versatility, a scope can easily be mounted on many re-
volvers of recent manufacture by simply removing the rear sight.
A scope base is attached by means of three screws along the top strap.
Top loads in the .357 are normally
prepared using a relatively
slow handgun powder
54 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
GW_1311-Reload 9/3/13 12:44 AM Page 54
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 55
were measured at 10 feet from the muz-
zle using a Competition Electronics
ProChrono chronograph.
As I mentioned above, one of my
major project goals was to obtain a vari-
ety of loads utilizing a range of bullet
weights and types. This was so that I
could pick up my .357 and know that I
had an accurate load for various
varmints. Consequently, I mounted a 2X
Leupold scope on my four-inch barreled
S&W 66 so I could more adequately de-
termine the accuracy potential of each
load. Shooting was conducted over a
couple of sandbags, but a proper rest
was not available. It was clear from the
beginning that even though I could call
an occasional errant shot, some loads
were more accurate than others.
Even with a rather makeshift rest, I
was able to get several three-shot
groups that measured less than one inch
at 25 yards. Particularly impressive were
the groups obtained with 110-grain Hor-
nady XTP with 7.2 grains of Unique, the
125-grain HSM with 5.6 grains of
Unique, and the 158-grain Winchester
with either 8.8 grains of Blue Dot or 12.0
grains of 2400. The 110-grain Hornady at
a velocity of around 1100 ft/sec is a dev-
astating varmint load.
Even compared to more recent devel-
opments, the .357 magnum is still quite
a handgun. If I could have only one cen-
terfire handgun, it would be a .357 wheel
gun. GW
PATTERN 31
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Although it has been replaced by the S&W 686, the
S&W M66 is an extremely versatile handgun that is
suitable for many uses.
You can always load
a big one down, but you cant always
load a little one up.
This 0.51-inch group was produced with the 110-grain Hornady XTP pushed by a charge of 7.2
grains of Alliant Unique.
GW_1311-Reload 9/5/13 8:24 AM Page 55
56 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
A signifcant portion of the
high country hunting was
done watching clear-cut
areas for animals.
GW_1311-Hunter.BA 9/3/13 12:51 AM Page 56
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 57
TODAYS
HUNTER
Surviving Wild Weather, Painful Injury and
a Charging Grizzly in British Columbia
I
ts tough to return from a hunt with nothing for the freezer.
Its even worse when you come home empty handed and
limping.
However, as any experienced hunter knows, the act of squeezing the trigger often pales
in comparison to the other aspects of a hunt. In my case, I could easily have done without
the ankle injury, but without it, I wouldnt have been charged by a grizzly.
But perhaps I should start at the beginning.
Story & Photos by Thomas C. Tabor
GW_1311-Hunter.BA 9/3/13 12:51 AM Page 57
When my friend Tim Brandt asked if
Id like to accompany him and a few oth-
ers on a moose hunt to British Columbia,
I had to think long and hard before ac-
cepting the offerNOT! Id hunted
moose in several other Northern Ameri-
can locales, but never in B.C., and I was
anxious to give it a whirl. Tim works for
ATK, which owns a long and impressive
list of great companies like Federal Am-
munition, Weaver Optics, Speer Bullets,
CCI, Alliant Powder and many others
who help make hunting more enjoyable
and successful. Tim and I have known
each other for years and have been on
many noteworthy adventures together.
He is a first-rate gentleman and excep-
tionally fine hunting companion. Joining
us on the hunt were several other writers
and editors as well as one of Tims ATK
colleagues, Product Development Man-
ager Jared Kutney.
The plan involved meeting up at the
Opatcho Lake Guide Outfitters Lodge, lo-
cated a few miles outside of Prince
George. The lodge is owned and oper-
ated by Ken and Crystal Watson, and
they employ a wide variety of hunting
techniques for moose and other game
animals. They frequently use ATVs to get
their hunters into the immediate area so
they can proceed on foot, but they also
occasionally use a jet sled to provide ac-
cess to the Bowron River bottom area.
SNOW DRIFTS, ADVIL AND
BEARS... OH, MY!
This late October/early November hunt
involved periodic bouts of snow and fre-
quent drifts sometimes reaching up to
our knees. This was complicated by
blow-down brush and trees, which made
moving around in the higher country a
bit more challenging. All that normally
wouldnt have posed a significant prob-
lem for me, but Id been nursing a prob-
lem ankle for several months prior to the
hunt. Id simply written it off as age and
the aches and pains of past injuries com-
ing back to haunt me, and had resolved
myself to consider it only a minor distrac-
tion. But just in caseId brought along a
good sized bottle of Advil.
And the Advil worked its charmuntil
about day five. While forging through
deep snow, I caught the toe of my al-
ready injured foot on a hidden log and
went down, wrenching my ankle. The
worst part was that we had just closed in
TODAYS
HUNTER
58 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
CONTACTS
Opatcho Lake Outfitters
Ken & Crystal Watson
12105 Wilan Road
Prince George, British Columbia
Canada V2N SA6
(250) 964-6543
www.bearhug@telus.net
In addition to moose hunting,
Opatcho Lake Outfitters guides
for wolves, black bear, grizzlies,
mule deer, whitetail deer and
runs predator hunts for cougar
and lynx.
We used ATVs to obtain access into the backcountry.
Id hunted moose in several
other Northern American locales,
but never in B.C.
GW_1311-Hunter.BA 9/3/13 12:51 AM Page 58
GW_1311_59 9/2/13 11:12 PM Page 59
on a couple of big bulls we had trailed
for a couple of hours. Wed got a
glimpse of great shooter bull, but it
spooked before I could get a shot off.
So, with my ankle swelling and the pain
intensifying more each minute, I was
forced to abandon the stalk.
Eventually, we reached our ATVs
without the need of guide Jason Hooft
quartering me and packing me out on
his back. But that night my ankle started
looking more like an oversized grapefruit
than a normal part of the human
anatomy. Clearly, I wouldnt see the high
country again on this hunt, so Ken sug-
gested that we take his jet sled out along
the river to look for a bull. Hed been
more successful earlier in the season lo-
cating moose in this way then making
the stalk by foot. At the time that
sounded a lot better to me than trudging
though miles of deep snow again, so the
following morning, Ken, Jason and I
headed to the Bowron River.
Ken had chosen a course taking us
very close to the river edge, and was
running in no more than a foot and a half
of water. As we came around a bend in
the river, I was the first to spot the huge
grizzly along the river edge. Instantly, the
bear retreated up the bank to the sanctu-
ary of the timber. In the brief seconds
that followed, I suppose we all must
have thought that would be the last we
would see of the big bruin, but that
turned out to not be the case.
The moment the grizzly reached the
timberline, he whirled around and
charged straight for us. Fully erect on his
hind legs, furred-up and as angry as Ive
ever seen a bear to be, he was coming
and coming hard. In the heat of the mo-
ment, Ken demanded a rifle. The closest
one to him was my .300 Win. mag., and
Jason grabbed it. Pulling a single car-
tridge from its butt mounted cartridge
carrier he handed the rifle and cartridge
to Ken. Looking back on it now, I thought
Id detected a bit of a puzzled look on
Kens face as he shoved the single car-
tridge into the chamber and slammed
the bolt shut.
We will never know why the bear
stopped short of climbing in our boat
TODAYS
HUNTER
60 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
After utilizing the ATVs and UTVs to get deep into the country, the hunting was done on foot.
T
I
M

B
R
A
N
D
T
T
I
M

B
R
A
N
D
T
ATKs Tim Brandt (left) is a great hunting partner and a close friend of the author (right).
The moment
the grizzly
reached the
timberline,
he whirled
around and
charged
straight
for us.
GW_1311-Hunter.BA 9/3/13 12:51 AM Page 60
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GW_1311_61 9/2/13 11:20 PM Page 61
with us, but he did. Kenhaving much
more experience with nasty grizzlies
than I dotold us later that grizzlies on a
charge like that one would just as likely
come clear out into the center of the
river to reach their intended adversaries.
Nevertheless, in this case the bear
stopped abruptly at the edge of the
water, and for a short time continued to
emit his nastiness before retreating up
the bank to disappear from sight. We
couldnt figure out why hed showed so
much aggressionuntil we noticed its
moose kill lying a short distance away.
Apparently, in the grizzlys mind, he
was defending that kill. Without a doubt,
at the last minute of the charge, the bear
must have recognized that discretion
was the better part of valor and chose to
escape rather than fight. Otherwise, it
would have come down to either Ken
killing the bear with the one cartridge he
had in my rifle, or the bear would have
added us to his menu.
MY LOSS, JAREDS GAIN
After wed all settled down and our
blood pressure had dropped back a bit,
Ken took issue with the fact that he had
faced a charging nasty griz, (one hed es-
timated would top about 7 feet) with a
strange rifle and only one cartridge in
the gun. The only defense we had was
to ask him if he wasnt confident in his
shooting abilities.
Before heading back to the river with
Ken the next day, I pulled Jason aside
and told him he should take someone
else up the mountain where we were. I
could tell that the area held great poten-
tial to take a really good trophy bull, and
just because I could no longer make the
trip that shouldnt stop someone else. A
little later Jason and Jared headed out,
TODAYS
HUNTER
62 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
Jareds big bull moose had impressive
antlers measuring 47-inches across.
J
A
R
E
D

K
U
T
N
E
Y
The spectacular views of the river area from Ken Watsons jet sled provided for a memorable ex-
perience.
GW_1311-Hunter.BA 9/3/13 12:51 AM Page 62
and before they left I assured Jared that
this would be his day. I wasnt wrong,
because late that evening Jason and
Jared came dragging back into camp
loaded down with meat and a fine rack
of red colored antlers measuring 47
inches across.
Just as I had anticipated, Jared and
Jason had picked up the trail of one of
the moose we were after earlier, and
Jareds Kimber Model 84L 30-06 rifle
loaded with Federal Premium cartridges
and 180-grain Trophy copper bullets
made short work of the big bull. I was
elated! If I couldnt take advantage of the
situation, I was happy that Jared could.
And as the days progressed, two more
exceptionally nice bulls were added to
the meat house, a 45-incher and a huge
57-inch trophy. Only Tim and I left camp
empty handed.
In addition to my first-everand
hopefully, my lastfull out bear charge,
we were constantly in the company of
wolves. Even though I didnt experience
any one-on-one wolf encounters, they
were constantly around us. The tracks
made that obvious. Sometimes we even
found their tracks over the top of the
ones wed made earlier in the same day.
Our ATVs also forged their way
through beaver ponds with the water
cascading over the hoods, and even
though wed positioned our legs on top
of the fenders were still got wet in the
process; we plowed our way through
sometimes snowdrifts of a foot and a
half deep. We fought near whiteout
snow conditions and bone-chilling bliz-
zards on occasion, and other times we
watched while the fog drifted in and out
of hunting area making our hunting a bit
more of a challenge. On one occasion a
fisher run across in front of us carrying a
snowshoe rabbit that was still alive in his
mouth; we shot numerous ruffed
grouse; and saw many different types of
wildlife and spectacular vistas.
Even though I didnt get a moose this
time around, the trip was more than
memorable, so I didnt come home
empty-handed. GW
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 63
The bull moose, often referred to as the
monarch of the north, is an impressive and re-
spected game animal wherever it is found.
GW_1311-Hunter.BA 9/9/13 2:50 AM Page 63
64 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
PRACTICALLY
Benellis M4 is a Semi-Auto Powerhouse,
Outfitted for Self-Defense and More!
The Benelli M4 was quick and handy,
and also proved comfortable to shoot.
GW_1311-M4 9/3/13 1:03 AM Page 64
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 65
Story & Photos by D. K. Pridgen
T
he shotgun, smoothbore, alley or trench sweepercall it what you
likehas long been a popular choice for self-defense. Having it on
hand for hunting and feeding a family, it was only natural for early
settlers to use it to defeat attacks. Its hard to denigrate the importance of
the shotguns versatility as a defensive weapon choice. Because hunters
were very familiar with their hunting gear, they could deploy them better
than a less-familiar weapon when attacks came.
GW_1311-M4 9/3/13 1:03 AM Page 65
The same is true today, no doubt, as
many hunting shotguns stand duty in a
room corner should something unpleas-
ant occur. It does seem, though, that
specialization is the watchword for
many. They want a shotgun not for the
field or clay pigeon range but specifically
outfitted for defensive worka fighting
shotgun!
For decades, Americans seemed to
have a predilection for pump action
shotguns, whether for defensive or hunt-
ing use. A few semi-auto guns were ac-
cepted, but never enough to make a
dent in pump sales. There seems to be a
trend toward quality semi-autos today,
no doubt somewhat spurred on by the
choices of the military and law enforce-
ment areas, with some competition influ-
ence as well. With the growing
popularity of military semi-auto rifles, es-
pecially the M16/M4, many of those ex-
posed to their operating system may
have naturally gravitated to semi-auto
shotguns.
There are some nice modern semi-
auto shotguns currently available, and
many are specifically designed for tacti-
cal/defensive roles. The durability of any
defensive weapon always has to be con-
sidered when choosing one. Examining
weapons chosen by the military might
be a good course of action because
todays military weapons undergo exten-
sive torture testing. This testing deter-
mines whether the weapon will last
through all the abuse military personnel
and the battlefield can dish out.
MILITARY READY
Benelli, a maker of beautiful, wooden
stocked, high-end shotguns, has another
66 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
SPECIFICATIONS
Benelli M4
CALIBER: 12-gauge
BARREL: 18.5 inches, Modified choke
OA LENGTH: 40.0 inches
WEIGHT: 7.8 pounds
CAPACITY: 5+1 (2 inches)
STOCK/FOREARM: Black polymer pistol grip stock,
Black polymer forearm
SIGHTS: LPA Adjustable Ghost ring, fixed front blade
ACTION: Semi-auto, A.R.G.O. Gas system
FINISH: Phosphated steel, anodized aluminum alloy
PRICE: $1,899
The author found the Benelli M4 semiautomatic shotgun
to be an excellent personal interaction weapon.
the M4 is in use by the militaries
of more than ten countries.
Arriving with a 1913/Picatinny rail mounted to the
receiver, the M4 is ready for the addition of a com-
pact optical sight such as the Aimpoint H-1.
GW1311-M4.CX 9/6/13 12:21 AM Page 66
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 67
sidea darker side, if you will. Along
with all the detailed engraving, well-fig-
ured wood, and highly polished and bril-
liantly blued steel, there are a number of
more pedestrian models. Hunting and
sporting shotguns and rifles abound
wearing matte finishes with black or
camo polymer furniture.
But Benelli does not stop there. They
offer long guns directed
toward defensive, mili-
tary or law en-
forcement use:
the MR1 rifle and
the M2, M4, and
Nova shotguns.
Their military and LE
shotguns are top
notch, to the point that
in 1999 their M4 was accepted byand
remains in service withthe U.S. Mili-
tary as the M1014. In fact, my research
indicated the M4 is in use by the mili-
taries of more than 10 countries.
When I picked up the M4 for this test, I
was immediately struck by the heft and
solid feel. When I mounted the Benelli
M4 (which sports a black polymer, pistol
grip stock, and matching grooved black

Blessed with excellent ergonomics, the Benelli M4 is a fne example of a fghting shotgun.
GW_1311-M4 9/3/13 1:03 AM Page 67
68 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
polymer forearm) and looked through
the LPA steel adjustable ghost ring rear
sight at the LPA fixed front blade, I knew
this was a fighting shotgun.
To enter the M4 in the Marine Corps
competition, Benelli needed a shotgun
that would withstand the rigors of com-
bat in harsh, dirty and dusty environs.
Their patented Auto-Regulating Gas-Op-
erated (A.R.G.O.) system was just the
ticket.
Ahead of its three-inch chamber, the
M4s A.R.G.O. system has a single port
that bleeds off the gases where they are
hotter and cleaner. Cleaner gases pro-
duce more reliable cycling. Added to
that is a short-stroke, self-cleaning piston
and two tappet pistons, which only
move .5-inch during cycling. Eliminating
connecting linkages, they push directly
against the M4s bolt body, with a mini-
mum of vibration because of the short
stroke. Less vibration and quick cycling
means rapid follow-up shots.
The aluminum alloy receiver is an-
odized and wears a short piece of Pi-
catinny rail in front of the rear sight,
while the 18.5-inch barrel has a phos-
phate exterior and chrome lining. The
pistol grip has tacky rubber inserts and
the effective stock butt-pad is of cush-
iony rubber. At the end of the barrel is a
PERFORMANCE
BENELLI M4
Load Accuracy
Winchester LE Low Recoil 8-Pellet 8.5
Remington 8-pellet 00 Managed Recoil 6.20
Hornady 8-pellet Custom Reduced Recoil Pump 5.25
Winchester Ranger LE Low Recoil 1-ounce Slug 1.5
Federal 1 ounce Tactical LE Truball Rifled Slug HP 1.38
Buckshot pattern in inches at 15 yards. Slug accuracy for 3-shot group
in inches at 25 yards
The over-sized cross-bolt safety at the rear of the trigger guard is
reversible. Protective wings keep the ghost ring rear sight safe.
There was not a single stumble, and the M4
remained a surprisingly smooth shooter.
To close the bolt, the carrier control button (or bolt release) on the
forward right side of the receiver must be pressed.
GW_1311-M4 9/3/13 1:04 AM Page 68
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 69
Benelli screw-in choke system, which
was filled with a choke tube marked
Modified.
In keeping with the M4s military her-
itage, ambidextrousness is visible in
several areas. The over-sized cross-bolt
safety at the rear of the trigger guard is
reversible and both the front and rear
sling points can be used from either side
(The rear sling attachment point is inlet
in the stock on both sides).
TRIPLE TESTED
I made three trips to the range with
the Benelli M4, one more than normal to
evaluate a shotgun. I wanted to put as
many rounds through it as possible, and
since the experience was not painful, I
didnt mind. Over 200 rounds of mixed
brand, low brass (and low aluminum)
and low power, 2.75-inch birdshot cy-
cled perfectly, as did 25+ rounds of
buckshot and slugs. There was not a sin-
gle stumble, and the M4 remained a sur-
prisingly smooth, practical shooter. I
even tried holding the shotgun loosely,
with no effect on its reliability.
At 15 yards, the best buckshot pattern
from the M4 was 5.25 inches, from Hor-
nadys load with the worst rising to 8.5


GW_1311-M4 9/3/13 1:04 AM Page 69
inches from
Winchester LE Low Recoil 8-Pellet load.
The two slug groups, fired with an Aim-
point H-1 red-dot sight in place, were
1.38 (Federal 1-ounce Tactical LE Truball
Rifled Slug HP) and 1.50 inches (Win-
chester Ranger LE Low Recoil 1-ounce
Slug) at 25 yards. An excellent fighting
smoothbore!
There are a few tricks to shooting
Benellis M4. The shotgun locks open
after its last round is fired. To close the
bolt on a shell dropped into the chamber
through the ejection port, or to load one
from the magazine tube, the carrier con-
trol button, or bolt release, located on
the for-
ward right side of the receiver must be
pressed in. (Warning: if the user reaches
over the receiver with their left hand to
press the button, I can almost guarantee
the bolt handle will strike the hand
painfully).
Because of the design of the M4s
shell carrier, it is possible to Ghost
Load or Carrier Load an extra round in
the M4. With the muzzle pointed in a
safe direction and the safety engaged,
load the magazine and chamber as
usual, then ease the bolt back far
enough to almost eject the chambered
round. Press the round down, free from
the bolt
and onto the carrier, then insert another
round into the chamber and drop the
bolt. This quick and neat trick increases
the capacity.
If I had any quibbles with the design
or performance of the Benelli M4, it was
as a result of Uncle Sams import laws as
related to civilian sales. Under the guide-
lines of 922 (r), the Benelli M4 cannot be
imported with a magazine tube holding
more than four rounds or five rounds (3-
inch shells or 2.75-inch shells, respec-
tively). This is, of course, ridiculous.
Benelli complies by adding a dummy ex-
tension to the magazine tube giving the
appearance of a much longer magazine.
There are sources for aftermarket
American-made
magazine ex-
tensions and
replace-
70 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com


g
o



i













C




|

S


CONTACTS
Benelli USA
(800) 264-4962
http://www.benelliusa.com
Aimpoint Inc.
877-246-7646
www.aimpoint.com/us
Federal Cartridge Company
800-322-2342
www.federalpremium.com
Hornady Manufacturing
800-338-3220
www.hornady.com
Remington Arms Company
800-243-9700
www.remington.com
Winchester Ammunition
800-356-2666
www.winchester.com
I could not nd a single thing
to change or improve on the
Benelli M4 semi-auto.
The windage adjustment screw is large and sturdy,
and worked smoothly. The cross-bolt safety behind
the trigger guard is enlarged and can be reversed.
GW_1311-M4 9/3/13 1:04 AM Page 70
ment extended magazine tubes.
The replacement magazine tube cannot
be added without adding two more
American made parts to meet with 922
(r) compliance. The magazine extension
does not count as an American made
part because the Italian tube is still used
(The magazine follower and the forearm
would seem to be the simplest).
If the shotgun arrives with a pistol grip
stock, it must be replaced with an Ameri-
can-made stock of any configuration, or
another imported part replaced. The
magazine tube capacity for 2.75-inch
shells can then legally be raised to 7
rounds. Again, none of this is the fault of
Benelli.
If you
prefer not to go
to the trouble or
expense to
compliantly
add two more
shells, consider the previously described
Ghost or Carrier loading. It adds 50%
as many shells, at no extra cost!
LAST SHOT
My dislike of the governments import
laws aside, I could not find a single thing
to change or improve on the Benelli M4
semi-auto. This self-shucker did an ad-
mirable job in reliably shooting any low
quality shell I fed it, which should be a
good indication of its reliability when it is
fed good shells.
Well-built, good ergonomics, soft
shooting, and reliable. For practical, de-
fensive use in your home or in the dust
of Iraq, I think anyone would be hard
pressed to find a more perfect choice
than the Benelli M4! GW
MSRP
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The LPA ghost ring sight has its elevation
adjustment screw between the protective wings. Five
screws securely hold the 1913/Picatinny rail on the receiver.
GW_1311-M4 9/3/13 1:04 AM Page 71
72 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
The Accupoint is shown mounted here on a Montana Rife
Company XWR. The Accupoint served as test scope is several
trials and was subjected to many rounds of ammunition. On
each gun the scope proved to be accurate and reliable, and it
gathers a great deal of light. The build quality is excellent and it
is a robust scope that will last for years and years.
GW_1311-Triji.BA 9/3/13 1:11 AM Page 72
O
ver the course of two months, I had the
chance to test Trijicons AccuPoint scope,
and I mean test in the truest sense of the
word.
The scope debuted atop a Winchester Model 70 .264 Winchester Mag-
num, and then did a stint as the optic used to put the new CZ Urban
Counter Sniper Rifle through its paces (see Page 44 in this issue). Fi-
nally, I mounted it on a Montana Rifle Company XWR in .270 Winches-
ter. When the muzzle blast finally settled down, the AccuPoint had
endured more than 200 test rounds from three different rifles. A test
like that is bound to reveal a scopes shortcomings.
The thing is, nothing bad happened, so for anyone who thinks that
the only good glass comes from overseas, let me introduce you to the Ac-
cuPoint. It has a battery-free illuminated reticle, and the model I tested had
the triangle post, which means a bottom post with a green (red and amber
Story & Photos by Brad Fitzpatrick
Trijicons AccuPoint
Scope Endures a Two
Month, Three-Rifle Test Ride
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 73
GW_1311-Triji.BA 9/3/13 1:11 AM Page 73
also available) trian-
gle in the center of the scope.
Thanks to the tritium phosphor lamp in-
side the scope the green triangle stays
bright until well past sundown. The fact
that the AccuPoint doesnt require batter-
ies is a huge bonus, especially when
hunting in remote areas. The AccuPoint is
also available with a standard crosshair
reticle with an illuminated center dot.
BUILT TO LAST
Trijicon built the AccuPoint with an
aircraft aluminum housing, and its a
good thing. All scopes that are tested for
as many rounds on as many rifles as the
AccuPoint was strapped on is going to
be tested for durability, and thanks to my
carelessness one of the rifles fell out of
the vise and hit the ground scope first. I
picked it up, cursing myself and hoping
that the Trijicon held up. Other than a lit-
tle dust, it was fine.
Other features include multi-coated
lenses that grab light and a nitrogen-
filled tube that prevents fogging. The
lenses are clear and bright, and thanks to
Trijicons second focal plane reticle the
actual size of the reticle changes with the
scopes magnification, allowing for pre-
cise shooting at higher magnification.
There was plenty of eye relief, and al-
though the calibers tested (.308 Win-
chester, .270 Winchester and .264
Winchester Magnum) arent known for
producing tons of recoil, nobody wants
to take a lick from a scope. On my last
African hunt, another client in camp was
hunting elephant
and buffalo with a scope-
sighted Ruger .416 rifle, and he
had an AccuPoint mounted atop his
rifle. I found it to be the perfect optic for
such a rifle. The 1-4x magnification of
that AccuPoint model was ideal for hunt-
ing large game at close range, and the
eye relief was sufficient for the hard-kick-
ing little Ruger. After I left, word came
back to me from professional hunter
Cornie Coetzee that the client had been
successful and that the Trijicon had fared
well in the dust and moisture of
Namibias Caprivi Strip.
PASSING JUDGMENT
For my own test, I judged the scope
on two major considerations beside its
ability to hold zero, and those were light
transmission and accuracy of adjust-
ment. For light transmission, I measured
the time past legal shooting
light that the scope still gath-
ers enough light to discern the
rings of a standard 100-yard
rifle target. This is not a test to
see how long after legal shooting light
you can still hunt, which is illegal and
unsporting, but it provides a baseline
evaluation upon which test scopes can
be judged. The AccuPoint fared very
well in this test, thanks to high-quality
multi-coated lenses. Even in dim light,
the Trijicon presented a clear field, and
the illuminated triangle post reticle was
easy to see. This is a great help when
hunting dark animals such as black bear
in low light, where non-illuminated reti-
cles can be lost against a dark hide. In
addition, there is no forward light emis-
sion, meaning that there isnt any light
projected forward through the objective
lens of the scope.
The adjustments for windage and ele-
vation are standardized at inch at 100
yards, so to test this the rifle was set in a
Caldwell Lead Sled and centered on the
center dot of the target at that distance.
After each shot, windage was adjusted
one detent, which should equate to
inch difference in point of impact on the
Even in dim light, the Trijicon
presented a clear eld
CONTACTS
Trijicon
www.trijicon.com
1 (800) 338-0563
Trijicons Accupoint has a durable aircraft-
grade aluminum housing and top-quality multi-
coated lenses. In addition, these scopes offer
battery-free illumination, providing quick tar-
get acquisition even in low light.
The AccuPoint has easy-to-grip magnifcation adjustments and it is simple to adjust the bright-
ness of the illuminated reticle, allowing you to manipulate the reticle to the time of day and your
own vision.
74 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
GW1311-Triji.BA.CX 9/6/13 12:23 AM Page 74
target. The Trijicon did well, averaging
about 3/10s of an inch variation with
each click of windage and very close to
inch for elevation. In short, the adjust-
ment knobs are accurate.
Overall the Trijicon AccuPoint per-
formed extremely well on the test, and
for the hunter or long-range shooter
thats in the market for a quality optic
below $1,000 the AccuPoint has a lot to
offer. It isnt cheap, but this is a very
good piece of glass that will survive the
bumps and bangs that all hunting
scopes eventually endure. The control
knobs are easy to adjust, the AccuPoint
has adjusters that can be floated back to
zero without special tools, a feature that
long-range shooters will appreciate. For
the level of quality Trijicon offers, this is
a good value in riflescopes. GW
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 75
SPECIFICATIONS
TRIJICON ACCUPOINT 3-9X40
Tube Diameter: 1 inch
Reticle: Illuminated Triangle Post (Also Available with Standard Duplex
with Illuminated Center Dot and Mil-Dot with Illuminated Center Dot)
Finish: Matte
Length: 12.4 inches
Weight: 13.4 Ounces
Field of View (100 Yards): 11.5 feet to 34 feet
Other Models: 1-4x24, 2.5-10x56, 5-20x50
MSRP: $927.00
Adjustments on the AccuPoint are easy and
precise, which is just what youd hope for in a
quality hunting rife scope. Like everything else
about the scope, adjustment is simple and pre-
cise, and it doesnt require any tools or special
instruments.
GW1311-Triji.BA.CX 9/6/13 12:41 AM Page 75
76 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
The authors son, Gabe, with the Mini-14.
GW_1311-Mini 9/3/13 1:17 AM Page 76
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 77
Story & Photos by Jerry Catania
The Mini-14 seems content to fly
under the radar, however, letting its
black gun brethren monopolize the at-
tention while it quietly continues to rack
up sales for Ruger. Looking more like a
conventional hunting rifle than a mili-
tary firearm, the Mini-14 has been over-
looked by everyone from wannabe
commandos to anti-gun legislators.
And for now, its even legal in Cali-
fornia!
The rifle employs an investment
cast, heat-treated receiver and a ver-
sion of the M1 rifle-locking mecha-
nism with a self-cleaning, fixed-piston
gas system. It first went into produc-
tion in 1973, and has been produced
in many different versions. Some
models have not survived, while oth-
ers have been constantly upgraded.
Mini-14s have been chambered in
.222 Rem., .223 Rem., 5.56x45mm, 6.8
Rem. SPC, and 7.62x39 (Mini-30). The
6.8 SPC and .222 Rem are no longer
manufactured. The Ranch Rifle fea-
tured in this test (the Mini-14 also
comes in Tactical, Target and Mini-
Thirty models) is a continuously prod-
uct-improved version of the original
Mini-14.
My test model, known as the Mini-
14/20, featured a traditional hardwood
stock (I love wood stocks). Happily,
the original slippery, curved plastic
butt plate has been canned in favor of
a nice flat rubber recoil pad that
keeps the gun stuck to the shoulder
while shooting, but is not too sticky to
keep the rifle from being quick to aim
in off-hand shooting.
T
he Ruger Mini-14 may be the Rodney Dangerfield
of rifles.
Despite its pedigree (L. James Sullivan and
William B. Ruger designed it in 1967), it simply gets no
respect.
Rugers New and Improved Mini-14
Deserves More than a Little Respect
GW_1311-Mini 9/3/13 1:18 AM Page 77
78 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
When the Ranch Rifle was introduced
in 2003, it featured Rugers medium rings,
fitted to appropriate slots cut into the top
of the receiver. While this is a good sys-
tem for conventional scopes, it limited the
number and types of optics that could be
mounted. Ruger has changed all that.
Now, in addition to the standard medium
ring cutouts, the Minis receiver has been
drilled and tapped for a Weaver/Picatinny
rail, allowing many more optic choices,
such as ACOG sights, Reflex sights, and
Red Dot sights.
Other current features confirm Rugers
attention to detail and commitment to
continuous improvement. In 2005, the
gas system was modified to reduce vi-
bration (buffered) and in 2007-2008, a
new heavier tapered barrel was intro-
duced. Sometime in between, the Mini-
14 front sight was changed from the
rather thick ramp front to an M1 Carbine-
style. The rear sights were in two styles,
one for the Ranch Rifle and one for the
regular Mini-14. Both were upgraded to
the new protected rear Ghost ring type
sight, adjustable for windage as well as
elevation.
The end result of all these improve-
ments is a rifle that is light, handy, and
powerful; capable of accurate shooting
with its iron sights or any of a hundred
or more optics platforms. The Mini-14/20
is chambered in 5.56 NATO and .223
Remington (they are not the samesee
5.56X45 NATO VS .223 REMINGTON
The 5.56 mm NATO and .223 Remington cartridges and chamberings are
similar but not identical. While the cartridges are identical, the chamber leade
(i.e. the area where the rifling begins) is cut to a sharper angle on some .223
commercial chambers. Because of this, a cartridge loaded to generate 5.56mm
pressures in a 5.56mm chamber may develop pressures that exceed SAAMI
limits when fired from a short-leade .223 Remington chamber. The dimensional
specifications of 5.56 NATO and .223 commercial brass casings are identical.
The cases tend to have similar case capacity when measured, with variations
chiefly due to brand, not 5.56 vs .223 designation. The result of this is that there
is no such thing as 5.56 brass or .223 brass, the differences in the cartridges
lie in pressure ratings and in chamber leade length, not in the shape or thick-
ness of the brass. However, Military grade 5.56 brass possesses annealed and
hardened shoulders and necks, making them more suitable for open-bolt ma-
chine guns like the SAW M249. Currently, ALL Mini-14 rifles shoot both rounds
except the Target models, which are chambered in .223 only.
Factory drilled and tapped holes inside regular scope bases.
Top view of the Picatinny base mounted.
GW_1311-Mini 9/3/13 1:18 AM Page 78
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ln-depth inforuation on conteuporary
and couuercially available hrearus
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useful how-to's and tips on gun
uaintenance
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GW_1311_79 9/4/13 10:06 PM Page 79
sidebar). It comes with two 20-round
magazines, Ruger medium rings (and
mounting tools), the new Ruger Pi-
catinny scope base (and all the tools to
mount it), and iron sight adjustment
tools. Ruger factory magazines are
available online in 5-, 10-, 20-, and 30-
round capacities.
By the way, as of July 1, 2013, Ari-
zona (where I hunt coyotes) no longer
has a magazine capacity limit of five
rounds for semi-automatic hunting ri-
fles, making a 20-round job perfect for
my needscarrying extra ammo silently
and conveniently while being easier to
manipulate than the flush-fitting five
round mag. Its also short enough for
bench and prone shooting. Personally, I
find the Mini-14 to be handier and faster
handling than any of the AR-type rifles
Ive tested.
THE MINI-14 IN ACTION
Using the fully functional factory
sights, I ran a variety of ammunition
through the Mini-14 plinking at rocks and
bottles at various ranges. The iron sights
were nicely regulated, and the function-
ing of the Mini-14 was 100-percent. The
rifles steel magazines were very easy to
load (and un-load) and no hiccups, jams,
failures to feed, extract, or eject were ex-
perienced, whether shooting slow or
fast. Recoil was virtually non-existent.
Utilizing the factory hardware (includ-
ing loc-tite) and tools, I mounted the
Ruger Picatinny base and subsequently
a Hawke Sport HD IR 2-7x32mm scope
in Weaver Medium (they are actually
very low) Rings (from WalMart). The
Hawke scope is lightweight at 11
ounces, and features a glass-etched
floating crosshair that is dual-illuminated
(red and green) with various intensity
50 Yards
Hornady 55 GMX-SPF
Third
Second two
First three sighters
80 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
SPECIFICATIONS
Ruger Mini-14/20 (5816)
Caliber: 5.56 NATO
and/or .223 Rem.
Weight: 7.0 pounds
OAL: 38 inches
Barrel Length: 18.5 inches
Length of Pull: 13.5 inches
Twist: 1:9 RH
Stock: Hardwood
Extras: Picatinny base, Ruger
medium rings, Two 20-round
magazines, iron sights and tools
MSRP: $959.00
Left side view of the Picatinny base mounted.
With Hornady ammo and a Hawke scope, sighting
in was easy; only seven shots needed.
GW_1311-Mini 9/3/13 1:18 AM Page 80
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 81
settings for different crepuscular hunting
needs. Fully coated lenses and finger ad-
justable MOA turrets, combined with
a clear, bright, flat view and a MSRP of
under $110 makes the Hawke Scope a
fantastic bargain.
When sighting in, adjustments were
positive and moved the bullet impact the
intended amount in the direction
wanted. I could still use the iron sights
with the scope base in placeHoo-rah!
What more could you want? Oh yeah,
the 2-7x32 IR looked just right on the
Mini-14 to boot.
I only used one load for accuracy
testing: Hornadys 5.56 NATO GMX
Super Performance. Aptly named, this
load matched my Mini like peanut butter
does jelly. While I have shot sub-MOA
groups with Mini-14s modified by Chief
AJs White Barn Workshop, this is the
first time I ever shot one with an out-of-
the-box Mini. The non-lead 55-grain hol-
low point would be my go-to load but
for the lamentable fact that Hornady has
discontinued it in order to try and keep
up with demand for their more well
known loads. At any rate, I have never
had any Hornady load that would not
shoot well, leaving lots of great choices.
If hunting conditions demand it, Ill
mount an Aimpoint Micro H-1 Sight.
The Aimpoint Micro H-1 with 2 MOA
dot is a super small, lightweight, mili-
tary grade red dot sight. Rugged be-
yond belief, with no magnification and
being parallex free, the Aimpoint is sim-
ply the fastest, most reliable red dot
sight on the market; and is far faster
than any scope or iron sights. The Aim-
points (all of them that I have tried) with
their 13 or so levels of dot intensity, are
the only red dot sights that I have
tested that are visible in the bright
Noonday Sun of Central Arizona. If acci-
dentally left on, the single battery on
the Micro lasts for five years at bright-
ness level No. 8, yet the tiny unit
weighs only 3.7 ounces with its mount!
To sum it all upthis is my new coy-
ote go-to gun. It does everything I need
in the brush country of Arizona. Shot-
gun fast, with plenty of MOC (Minute of
Coyote) accuracy, the Mini beats a bolt
gun hands down, and can do double-
duty as a self-defense weapon as well.
With a cost well below a typical AR, the
Ruger Mini-14 is a real value in a 5.56
rifle, and a very capable firearm. GW


100 Yards
Hornady 55 GMX-SPF
CONTACTS
Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
(603) 865-2442
www.ruger.com
Hornady Manufacturing Co.
(308) 382-1390
www.hornady.com
Hawke Sport Optics
(877) 429-5347
www.hawkeoptics.com
Aimpoint, Inc.
(877) 246-7646
www.aimpoint.com
Proof the Ruger Mini-14 can shoot. Thats a
Nickel, not a Quarter.
GW_1311-Mini 9/3/13 1:18 AM Page 81
82 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
The Holster, Though Often
Overlooked, is Critically Important
for Speed and Security
Story & Photos by Chuck Taylor
I
n the world of tactical handgunning,
there is no shortage of opinions.
Gun type and size, caliber, design, ac-
cessory configuration, to name but a few,
fuel endless discussionsand more than a
few argumentsin gunshops, chat rooms
and on shooting ranges.
High-speed presentations are critically
dependent upon the frer frst getting a
proper fring grip and locked fring wrist.
It must also provide a reasonable balance
between security and acquisition speed.
GW_1311-HolstersREV.BA.CX 9/4/13 12:21 AM Page 82
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 83
Regardless of whether the gun is presented from open or
concealed carry, strong or weak side, holster must allow the
shooter to obtain a locked fring wrist while the gun is still
in the holster. Otherwise, fumbling and lack of control will
result, causing poor performance or even a lost weapon.
GW_1311-HolstersREV.BA.CX 9/4/13 12:21 AM Page 83
84 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
And yet, only rarely does the subject
of holsters enter the debate, and when it
does, its even more rare that actual de-
sign is discussed. But holsters are far
more critical than most tactical shooters
realize. It doesnt matter much what kind
of gun you use when your holster wont
let you bring it into action quickly, effi-
ciently and effectively.
Lets reiterate the handguns primary
mission; regardless of its design, caliber
or configuration, its a close-range, de-
fensive weapon, intended to allow its
wearer to regain control of his immedi-
ate environment when unexpectedly at-
tacked with as few shots fired and in the
shortest possible time-frame. In order
for it to be used for this purpose, the
wearer must be able to get control of the
weapon and present it to the target
quickly and safely.
Therefore, two basic design criteria
must be met. First, the holster must
cover enough of the weapons trigger
guard area to prevent inadvertent entry
by the trigger finger or foreign object.
Second, it must allow the wearer to ob-
tain a proper firing grip on the gun while
its immobilized in the holster. A fast, ef-
ficient weapon presentation demands
Even belt-slide holsters must allow a fring grip and prevent trigger fnger into the trigger guard. Several makerssuch as DeSantis, Galco, Kramer,
Cleveland, Old Faithful and othersoffer friction retention and thumb-break designs.
GW_1311-HolstersREV.BA.CX 9/4/13 12:21 AM Page 84
GW_1311_85 9/2/13 11:14 PM Page 85
86 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
If you prefer a tension or form-ft hol-
ster, make certain that it provides suff-
cient security with reasonable physical
movement. If a thumb break is se-
lected, make sure its thumb tab is rein-
forced and breaks towards the body.
Otherwise it will often bind instead of
releasing the snap.
GW_1311-HolstersREV.BA.CX 9/4/13 12:21 AM Page 86
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 87
that this is accomplished before any-
thing else happens. If it is not, the
shooter will fumble to achieve a firing
grip throughout the entire presentation
and end up with poorly placed hits or
misses as a result because from the out-
set, he never had it under complete con-
trol.
Once these two criteria are satisfied,
thenand only thenmay we address
other concerns such as safety, speed
and security. For example, a uniformed
police officer often grapples with sus-
pects, so his weapon security concerns
are acute. On the other hand, a plain-
clothes officer does so far less often and
typically under less chaotic circum-
stances, so his weapon security needs
are less severe. A civilian only rarely
gets physically involved with an adver-
sary, so his security concerns are con-
siderably less critical.
LEATHER VS. KYDEX
Generally speaking, form-fit holsters
are thought of as being the least secure,
but this isnt necessarily true. Because of
their susceptibility to moisture and their
tendency to loosen with wear, leather
form-fit rigs are less secure. On the
other hand, Kydex (if properly fitted to
the weapon) form-fit holsters maintain
their rigidity and offer an excellent bal-
ance of weapon security and acquisition
speed.
Adjustable form-fitted holsters that
utilize a tension screw offer a good bal-
ance of acquisition speed and security
as long as the wearer sets them prop-
erly. However, its been my experience
both as a competitive shooter and tacti-
cal shooting instructor that this particu-
lar requirement isnt always met and
must therefore be constantly monitored
(See sidebar on page 90).
For a majority of applications, the
thumb-break is perhaps the most popu-
lar, and rightly so. It offers a reasonable
balance of gun acquisition speed and se-
curity and is simple to operate. How-
ever, for it to be truly worthwhile, there
are two criteria that a thumb-break must
satisfy. One, it must break toward, rather
than away from, the body. And two, the
tab itself must be reinforced to prevent it
from simply bending under thumb pres-
sure, which prevents the snap itself from
releasing. Even if it meets the primary
criteria of allowing a proper firing grip
and preventing finger entry into the trig-
ger guard while the gun is holstered, if
Even the best weapon/holster
combination isnt much good unless
you know how to present that gun
quickly and safely.

GW_1311-HolstersREV.BA.CX 9/4/13 12:22 AM Page 87
GW_1311_88 9/2/13 11:14 PM Page 88
the two thumb-break criteria are not
met, that particular holster should be
avoided.
For uniformed police officers who re-
quire a high level of weapon security,
there are many holsters featuring multi-
ple security devices. While theoretically
appealing, holsters that force their
wearer to rock the gun forward or back-
ward and simultaneously press various
buttons with the trigger finger are far less
than optimum. As a result, if they have a
choice, most officers opt for a good
thumb-break rig with a rigid shank to
hold the holster in place on the duty belt.
SHOULDERS, ANKLES,
AND DROPS
Shoulder holsters are nice for hunting
because they evenly distribute the
weight of the gun between both shoul-
ders, but for defensive use, they leave
much to be desired. The biggest criti-
cisms are that they arent especially con-
cealable and because their multi-strap
harness prevents airflow through the
clothing, are uncomfortable in warm
temperatures. In my experience, these
criticisms are valid and as a result I cant
recommend them for anything but
sporting use where theyre worn exter-
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 89
FIVE STEPS TO A BETTER HOLSTER
To achieve maximize holster efficiency and safety:
Clearly define your specific needs.
Consider the two must-have criteria of a covered trigger guard and
sufficient clearance to allow a proper firing grip.
Decide whether leather or Kydex is the most efficiency material for
the natural environment in which you live.
Choose the holster with the best balance of weapon acquisition
speed and security, whether a form-fit, tension-screw adjustable form-
fit, thumb-break or multiple security device.
Get some proper training!
Thigh-mounted Drop holsters are to be used
when the handgun is the operators secondary
weapon and must thus be kept out of the way
of his primary arm. Though relatively fast, they
tend to fap during rapid physical action, ex-
posing the gun to potentially serious damage.
Fanny packs designed to carry a handgun
quite popular in the 1980s and 90shave
fallen out of favor because fanny packs are no
longer fashionable, making these rigs too con-
spicuous.
Most ocers opt
for a good thumb-break rig
with a rigid shank to hold
the holster in place
on the duty belt.
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GW_1311-HolstersREV.BA.CX 9/4/13 12:22 AM Page 89
90 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
W
hen Kydex first surfaced as a holster mate-
rial, there was a rig known as the Snick that
kept the gun in the holster by means of an
indentation that snapped over the guns trigger
guard, thus preventing withdrawal. The problem was
that the design of the holster itself hinged on quite lit-
erally pushing the gun forward through the open front
jaws of the holster, which then snapped back into
place, not withdrawing it upward.
The Snick was super-fast, and it quickly became a
status symbol among combat shooters, who loved
to hear the snick it made as the weapon cleared the
holster.
I, too, fell prey to the goddess of speed, wrangled
myself a Snick, and replaced my more traditional
carry rig with it. Having always carried my gun con-
cealed beneath an open front garment such as a
suit/sport coat or vest, I figured that the lightning-fast
presentation the Snick offered was just the ticket.
After all, it was helping me regularly win IPSC
matches, so it must be good.
One day, I was walking across a heavily congested
four-way pedestrian crosswalk when I heard two
faint, but unidentifiable, sounds. Since neither ap-
peared to be cause for concern, I continued walking.
Within a few steps, a grandmotherly lady approached
me from the opposite direction. We exchanged
smiles, but as she passed, she stopped, tugged at my
sleeve and said sweetly, Excuse me, sonnydid you
know you dropped your gun back there? Startled, I
quickly turned, and there was my Condition-One Colt
LW Commander .45 ACP lying on the pavement!
Only then did I realize that the two sounds Id heard
were the thump of my right elbow striking the butt
of the holstered Commander, and the clunk of it hit-
ting the pavement! Thanking the woman, I sheepishly
retraced my steps, bent over and carefully recovered
and re-holstered it, realizing that even for a civilian,
acquisition/presentation speed had to be balanced by
at least reasonable weapon security. And though its
was suitable for the combat matches in which Id
regularly been competing, the Snick clearly wasnt
suitable for my real-world needs.
The event was amusing, if highly embarrassing, but
it isnt difficult to see how deadly the matter could
have become if the situation had been different. If Id
been in a confrontation and had to engage in any kind
of abrupt physical movement, the gun would have
been lost and no use to me whatsoeverwhich prob-
ably would have gotten me killed. And so the Snick
immediately went into the holster bin, never to be
used again.
Life lesson learned: Speed is important, but so is
weapon security.
SPEED, SECURITYAND THE SNICK
nally, rather than beneath clothing.
Ankle holsters, too, should be avoided
unless your needs are highly specialized.
Even if the holster itself is of a satisfac-
tory design, locating the gun in such a
remote place makes it so slow to access
and present that its just not worth both-
ering with. The vast majority of its users
utilize it for a second or back-up, rather
than primary, gun, but its my opinion
that there are better ways and
places to carry it.
Though not widely popular, there are
those who prefer their holster to be
placed in the small of their back. If a
large enough garment is worn, such a
rig is without a doubt concealable, but it
is uncomfortable whenever the wearer
sits down and, though not as slow as a
shoulder or ankle rig, its much slower
than a strong-side or cross-draw.
Inside the waistband holsters have a
definite place and are preferred by many
because theyre highly concealable. As
Unless you are willing to practice your presentation technique utiliz-
ing one, ankle holsters can be slow and clumsy, so except for highly
specialized functions, they should be avoided. For most backup gun
situations, there are better places to carry an alternate gun.
Life lesson learned:
Speed is important,
but so is weapon security.
GW_1311-HolstersREV.BA.CX 9/4/13 12:22 AM Page 90
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 91
well, if the holster itself is properly designed, they also
offer a good balance of speed and security. However,
watch out for those that utilize a belt-clip,
rather than a full belt loop, because with
them there is a definite potential for draw-
ing the holster with the gun! Obviously,
the holster must stay on the person, so
the loop is a must-have.
If you spend considerable time sitting
down, a cross-draw is a good choice.
Highly accessible, very concealable, fast
and minimally inconvenient, they enjoy
considerable popularity, especially with plain-clothes LE
personnel.
So-called drop holsters, meaning those mounted on the
thigh, are essentially SpecOps, rather than general-purpose,
oriented. SpecOps personnel almost always utilize a SMG or
assault rifle as their primary weapon, thus relegating the
handgun to a secondary role. The drop-rig is intended to keep
the handgun out of the way of the wearers primary arm,
hence its location on the thigh. Realistically, although theyre
relatively fast, they tend to flap a lot during physical move-
ment and therefore subject the holstered gun to more abuse
and potential damage. As an example, during SWAT training
courses Ive taught, I have on many occasions noticed pistols
in drop-rigs banging into doorframes during dynamic entries.
The belt-slide (or Yaqui Slide) holster continues to ride a
wave of popularity that began forty years ago, mostly because
when there is no gun in it, few would recognize it as a holster.
Most examples these days utilize simple friction retention or a
thumb-break and many companies offer excellent versions.
However, they dont protect the weapon very well, so except
for the most casual carry situations, theyre less than ideal.
Remembereven the best weapon/holster combination
isnt much good unless you know how to present that gun
quickly and safely. There are many sources of training avail-
able, but be carefulonly those whose programs are real
world, rather than competition-oriented, should be consid-
ered, and that narrows the field considerably. Competition
shooting is certainly a valid endeavor, but tactical shooting is
as different from it as night is from day, particularly in mental
process. As a former world-class IPSC shooter, and one who
has also experienced multiple handgun encounters, I found
the difference to be potentially deadly. GW
Blade-Tech has created a useful set of adapters to convert any of their
Eclipse models into a stable and comfortable IWB holster. The ex-
tended spread of the belt loop attachments, gives the holster an in-
creased level of security and stability by diffusing the weapon's
weight over a larger area, and all adapters attach easily, utilizing the
existing hardware.
Excuse me Sonny,
did you know you dropped
your gun back there?
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GW_1311-HolstersREV.BA.CX 9/4/13 12:22 AM Page 91
92 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
QUESTIONS
and ANSWERS
PREMIUM
VALUE
Federal Premium Products Remain a Top Choice
for Every Shooting Discipline
The Federal Premium plant covers more than
500,000 square feet in Anoka, Minnesota.
GW_1311-QA 9/3/13 1:32 AM Page 92
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 93
We recently had the opportunity to fire some scattershot
questions out to Federal Premium Brand Director Rick Stoekel,
and heres what came back.
GUN WORLD: How and when did Federal get started?
RICK STOEKEL: On April 27, 1922, Charles L. Horn took over
management of a small plant in Anoka and refounded the Fed-
eral Cartridge Corporation. He soon launched an innovative
distribution plan that involved merchandising Federal products
in grocery stores, barbershops and filling stations. The plan
helped Federal achieve local and national recognition in an in-
dustry entrenched with older and larger ammunition compa-
nies, and it set the stage for further innovations in the
commercial ammunition business. In 1977, we introduced the
Premium line of centerfire rifle and shotshell ammunition. The
Premium name created a new category of ammunition in the
market and remains the heart of the
company. Today, our plant operates
with more than 500,000 square feet,
and produces more than 1,000 op-
tions for every discipline: rimfire, rifle,
shotgun, handgun and muzzleloader.
GW: What helps your company
stand apart in the industry?
RS: From the beginning, it hasnt just
been about trying to sell more ammo.
Federal has long been a staunch sup-
porter of the shooting sports and con-
servation. We helped create a
self-imposed excise tax to preserve
habitat (now known as the Pittman-
Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act)
and provided leadership in the advent
of steel and non-toxic shot for waterfowl. Our devotion to con-
servation, wildlife management and the shooting sports dates
back to the 1930s, when we published numerous conservation
cartoons encouraging people to protect and preserve wildlife.
Today, by partnering with conservation organizations such as
National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever and the
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Federal continues to help pre-
serve and promote the opportunity to hunt.
GW: What are your current day-to-day operations like?
RS: Federal continues to manufacture above historic levels of
quality, even though our production has grown significantly.
The plant is producing ammunition 24 hours a day, seven days
a week. Stringent quality control procedures and technological
advancements have earned worldwide recognition. Our track
record of results and success is due to its investment in peo-
By Craig Hodgkins.
Photos by Federal Premium
F
rom modest beginnings more than 90 years
ago, Federal Premium Ammunition has
evolved into one of the worlds major pro-
ducers of sporting ammunition. Still headquartered
in Anoka, Minnesota, the production facility now
covers 175 acres, spanning the border of two cities
(Coon Rapids is the other) with half a million
square feet of manufacturing space.
Federal continues to produce ammunition
for all shooting disciplines, 24 hours a day,
seven days a week.
Federals FLITECONTROL wad
achieves optimum perform-
ance by combining unique
shots types tailored to the
target game species.
GW1311-QA.BA.CXqxp 9/6/13 12:31 AM Page 93
94 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
ple, processes and technology. We rigorously test and inspect
our ammunition to ensure that our customers get what they
expect, and deserve.
GW: You mentioned investing in technology. Whats a recent
example?
RS: A good example is our Black Cloud series of shells, with
our Flitecontrol wad and cutting edge Flitestopper pellets. We
think its the most lethal steel pellet product ever
made. You get cutting power with no loss of penetra-
tion. There are four varieties tailored for specific ap-
plications, such as close range ducks to high-flying
snow geese and everything in between. Another is our Trophy
Copper Sabot Slug, which offers unparalleled accuracy in rifled
barrels.
GW: How has the current national dialogue about guns im-
pacted your business?
RS: The current market and environment is causing stronger
than usual demand for products in our industry. We remain
QUESTIONS
and ANSWERS







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Federal has long been
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COMPANY OVERVIEW
Federal Premium Ammunition
Company Established: 1922
Owner: ATK Sporting Group
Web: www.federalpremium.com
Employees: Nearly 1,400 at the
Anoka, Minnesota facility
GW_1311-QA 9/3/13 1:32 AM Page 94
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We carry products for hundreds of
manufacturers including:
Heckler & Koch Colt High Standard Ruger Marlin
Mauser Mossberg Remington
Savage SigArms Glock
Uberti AMT Benelli
U.S. Orders: Shipped bulk mail. Shipping charges included. Foreign Orders:
Shipped air mail (30 day delivery) or surface (90 day delivery). Shipping charges additional.

committed to serving all channels of our
business, and the majority of our prod-
uct serves the commercial market. Our
facilities operate 24-hours a day. We are
continually making process improve-
ments to increase our efficiency and in-
vesting in capital and personnel where
we have sustained demand. We are
bringing additional capacity online again
this year.
GW: Where do you see Federal headed
in the next five years?
RS: As we look to the future, we expect
more people to become interested in
hunting and shooting. Well be here,
bringing hunters and shooters what they
want. And along the way well continue
to support the industry, conservation
and passing on our shooting and hunt-
ing heritage. GW
Advertiser Index
ADVERTISER PAGE
A.G. Russell Knives....................50
American Tactical Imports ........59
Barnes Bullets Inc......................87
Black Hills Ammunition.............67
CZ-USA ....................................23
Davidson's .................................13
Del-Ton......................................22
Double Tap Defense, LLC ........51
DoubleTap Ammunition......98, 99
GTUL ........................................43
Guncrafter
Industries, LLC....................16, 98
Jantz Supply...............3, 17, 53, 89
JDA & Associates, LLC..............91
Kahr Arms .................................75
Kodabow...................................49
Les Baer Custom,Inc...................5
Mec-Gar....................................69
MIL-TAC....................................63
Numrich Gun Parts
Corporation ..............................95
Pro Tool Industries ....................49
Redding Reloading
Equipment.................................69
Rio Grande Custom Grips.........63
Rock River Arms .......................43
S&K Scope Mounts....................98
Savage Arms, Inc. ........................7
SCCY Industries ........................71
Silencer Shop.......................85, 98
Smith & Wesson..........................2
Springfield Armory......................9
SSK Industries............................81
STI International ........................33
Sturm, Ruger
& Company, Inc.......................100
Tormach LLC ............................75
ULTIMAK..................................81
Umarex USA, Inc. .....................88
GW_1311-QA 9/3/13 1:32 AM Page 95
BACK
PAGES
96 GUN WORLD | NOVEMBER 2013 www.gunworld.com
50
Years Ago
(November
1963) A half-
century ago, our Gun World
cover model was Smith &
Wessons venerable .38 au-
tomatic, sitting locked and
loaded atop a custom ma-
chine rest built to the maga-
zine testing crews design
specifications. In the ac-
companying article, author
Dan Cotterman, who pulled
double duty as editor of
the highly-regarded Ameri-
can Reloaders Association
Bulletin, offered a history
lesson on Brownings
Hottest Handgun Cartridge, the .38 ACP,
and its direct descendent, the .38 Super.
45 YEARS AGO (NOVEMBER 1968) Through multiple mili-
tary and law enforcement connections, the editors of Gun
World obtained an early S&W Model B test rifle (see inset on
pg. 97), and revealed their findings in Smith & Wesson Thinks
Rifle. Originally, the new rifle was offered in five models, A
through E, and all were advertised as available in four calibers:
.308, .30-06, .270 and .243. What did the test reveal? We
found the Model B long on accuracy and short on weight, the
reviewers wrote, which is just the way a deer hunter likes it.
Today, Smith & Wesson produces traditional hunting rifles
primarily through Thompson/Center Arms, which it purchased
in 2007.
30 YEARS AGO (NOVEMBER 1983) In The Gray Ghosts of
Oberndorf, Bob Zwirz (GWs Eastern Editorial Director) wrote
of a cache of long-forgotten P-38s discovered in a huge WWII
German U-Boat pen in Bordeaux, France. After determining
that they were indeed issued to Frances Ministry of the Interior
and NOT the French militarywhich would have made them il-
legal for resale in the United StatesInterarms obtained sev-
eral thousand of the pistols for sale to collectors. It is
believed, Zwirz continued, they were used by an elite French
unit, the famous Compagnie Republicaine de Securite, which
ceased using the P-38s when they ran out of German-manufac-
tured ammo and quickly found out that the pistols would not
function reliably with anything produced in their own facilities.
By Craig Hodgkins
If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never
be forgotten. - Rudyard Kipling
A S&W .38 Semi-Auto pistol graced our November 1963 cover.
The .458 Lott cartridge
was developed by Jack Lott
for use on Cape Bualo,
elephants, and other
big game animals.
GW_1311-BackPgs.BA 9/10/13 11:54 PM Page 96
15 YEARS AGO (NOVEMBER 1998) Benelli is certainly
no stranger to these pages, today or historically. In his ar-
ticle on the Italian manufacturers new Sport semi-auto
shotgun, GWeditor Steve Comus wrote glowingly,
The fit and finish of the internal steel parts tran-
scends what one often encounters in full-custom
rigs. There simply is not a crude point or part in or
on the gun.
Recently, Benelli has followed up the Sport with
the Sport II and the Super Sport.
10 YEARS AGO (NOVEMBER 2003) Our Spe-
cial Magnum Bonanza issue served up a caliber-
appropriate proportion of articles on the .458 Lott
(Rugers Mightiest Magnum), the long-barreled .44
Magnum Silhoutte Model revolver from Taurus, Ar-
malites .338 Lapua Magnumeven a Rimfire Magnum
Shootout between rifles chambered in .17 and .22.
The .458 Lott cartridge was developed by Jack Lott for use
on Cape Buffalo, elephants, and other big game animals. It is
currently in production by several manufacturers, and several
firearms makers continue to chamber rifles for it. GW
www.gunworld.com NOVEMBER 2013 | GUN WORLD 97
Our November 1983 issue focused on autoloaders, and featured a story
on a cache of Walther P-38s discovered in France.
In his cover review and test of SIG Sauers P250 in
November of 2008, author Stan Trzoniec called it A
pistol for all seasons.
This cover blurb from November 1968 touted
our super scoop on the S&W bolt-action rife.
GW_1311-BackPgs.BA 9/3/13 1:35 AM Page 97
BUSI NESS
DIRECTORY
David Beckler
972-448-9173
dbeckler@beckett.com
Si lencer Ownershi p Si mpli fi ed.
www. si lencershop. com

GW_1311_98 9/2/13 11:15 PM Page 98
GW_1311_C3 9/2/13 11:08 PM Page C3
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GW_1311_C4 9/4/13 4:34 PM Page C4