Category Archives: Consumer Alert!

Monster Firearms Auction Thurs-Sunday at Rock Island

Rock Island Auctions is holding their largest-ever auction this weekend (although the action starts Thursday). Over 10,000 firearms are included in many thousands of lots (some lots include up to six arms) in this Regional auction, and there’s something there for everyone. Unlike a Premier auction, which has predominantly high and very-high-end collectibles, this auction has pieces for the beginner as well as the advanced collector, and some guns for the practical shooter or gun retailer.

Ian at ForgottenWeapons.com often does videos on some of the exotica for sale at these auctions.

The Rock Island auction catalog is here online. It’s not at all hard to set up an account and bid online, but make sure you understand the payment terms, particularly the nasty little auctioneers’ convention, the Buyers’ Premium.

The Rock Island blog promotes some of the more interesting pieces. This report on a particular Japanese Type 99, tied to the Battle of Saipan by a plaque on the right side of its butt, is a tour de force. Despite the non-guarantee-able provenance of the gun, the plaque does align (as the long post proves) perfectly with the history of the invasion, and the author tracks it to a probable capture by some member of the New York Army National Guard  27th Division.

The Rifle – Japanese Type 99

By now, you may be wondering how this Japanese Type 99 is tied to the Battle of Saipan. Attached to the right side of the butt is a small brass plaque that reads,

“At 0440 on the morning of 16 June 1944, an American infantryman just landing on the shores of Charan-Kanoa Beach, Saipan, threw a hand grenade at a Japanese sniper killing him instantly. The forward stock of the rifle was damaged by the explosion. Presented by Commander Walter Bantau. USNR.”

Besides giving us a really cool story, and perhaps the ultimate tangible connection to it, the plaque also provides some very helpful information that pinpoints its place in history – where it was and what it was doing.

Of course, the dates and location are provided on the plaque, but what other clues can we obtain? For starters, based on the landing time we know that the man who threw the grenade must have been on of the soldiers of the 27th Infantry Division of the National Guard that arrived long before dawn broke on D+2, June 17. The plaque does indicate a landing on June 16, and many sources are conflicted on this information. In the research for this article, it was found that at 0330 on June 16, Marines were busy holding off a desperate second Japanese counterattack attempting to retake the beach and “push the Americans into the sea.”

We also know that in the 27th, there were only three infantry regiments: the 105th (formerly the 2nd New York), the 106th, and the 165th (formerly the 69th, a.k.a. “The Fighting 69th” and “The Fighting Irish”), so the fortunate grenadier must have been in one of those regimentss. Each of those regiments is comprised of men from the New York Army National Guard so we can say with some certainty that it was likely a New Yorker who killed the sniper on the beach that day.

via Antique & Collectors Firearms Auction – Sell Your Guns :: The Japanese Type 99 from The Battle of Saipan.

The Type 99 not only has that interesting plaque (and the potted history of the Saipan campaign that Rock Island has assembled for its next owner), but it is also one of the finest examples of a bringback Type 99 we’ve seen in a long time. It’s not the usual ground-mum beater!

Good luck and happy bidding. It’s a safe bet that you’ll be bidding against us if you’re bidding on anything both rare and Czech or Czechoslovak.

Can You Help These Guns Find a Forever Home?

And can you have too many guns? Brownells says yes, you can. Well, they can, being a dealer… and they’ve got a clearance running on firearms. (Sorry, overseas readers. Your bad fortune today).

Follow this link to go there:  Brownells Firearms Overstock Sale.

All the guns in question are new overstock. The pipeline is jammed with ARs in particular, that were produced in anticipation of an Omigawd-Hillary!-Won run on gun dealers nationwide. That backed-up inventory (and the costs of storage and carrying, especially with manufacturers, jobbers, and dealers who are leveraged and making payments on this inventory) is putting a hell of a downward price pressure on the AR market. For the premium brands, it’s showing up as a sales slowdown or a change from backlog to inventory. For the bargain brands? It’s race to the bottom, pricewise.

What you’ll find are 20 models of overstock firearms, including:

  1. Quite a few ARs from many vendors’;
  2. Some under $500, an unheard-of price a couple of years ago;
  3. One AK;
  4. Quite a few inexpensive handguns, including S&W (which has a good reputation) and Taurus (which only has reputation);
  5. A few expensive handguns, including an H&K VP9, for those who seek a BDSM relationship with their pistol manufacturer.

All at good prices.

It is a very good idea to line up your transfer dealer first. A lot of dealers get very cheesed off when you use them to transfer a gun you bought on a deal like this (or from a cutthroat discounter like Bud’s or KY) and you bought it at a price that they can’t get wholesale. Some dealers don’t mind, and actually pursue transfer business. You want to be doing your transfers with the second guy.

If you’re a dealer, and you’re the first guy, our advice is don’t badmouth Bud’s or KY (or a clearance at Brownells). Just treat the customer right, price transfers reasonably and do ’em quickly enough that you’re not losing on him, and try to take the opportunity to (1) sell accessories, which have a way better margin, and (2) build a relationship with the customer.

Sure, some customers are bottom feeders who will put themselves through anything to save $5 and think customer loyalty is for chumps. But for every one of those, and every one of the guys who wants to spread his business around all the local shops, there’s a whole bunch of people who like to settle in with one gun dealer. In almost every business, your best business is repeat business, and your next best is referral business. That’s 100% certain-sure true for gunshops.

Year of the Pistol-Caliber Carbine? Really?

We’re told that “2017 is The Year of the Pistol-Caliber Carbine” was one of the themes at SHOT this year. Online, it’s probably best developed by Michael Bane in this article.

This was, as I predicted, the Year of the Pistol Caliber Carbine. They were all over the place on the SHOT floor, and I don’t think we were able to even scratch the surface. While there were a lot of “Me toos!,” with many AR manufacturers rushing to get a pistol caliber product out the door, there were some interesting new products as well as substantial evolution from dedicated pistol caliber companies.

Do Read The Whole Thing™, because Michael does a fairly thorough run-down of available pistol-caliber rifles, leaving out only a few, like the Kriss and the Kahr Arms Thompsons. (The semi Thompsons, available as 16″ carbine or as SBR, date to Numrich Arms and the West Hurley, NY iteration of Auto-Ordnance, so they’re often forgotten out of sheer senescence. “New” is one of the most powerful words in the English language, and these are absolutely “not new”).

Now some people certainly think 2017 is the year of the semi subgun. Maybe SIG-Sauer is one of them, because, as we reported yesterday, they’ve raised the prices of their MPX pistol-caliber carbine from $61 to almost $300, depending on model. Bane likes that one, too. His conclusion (from the same post linked above):

Some things haven’t changed — the Sig MPX absolutely rules the roost. The venerable Kel-Tec SUB-2000, available in 9mm or .40 S&W with magazines for multiple platforms and a low-ball price of $500, remains the first choice for a first pistol caliber carbine — if you can find one! GunBroker is your best bet. MP-5 clones are coming on hard…I did an earlier post that covered MP-5 clones, including the HK SP5K. I’ll cover the RONI instant-SBR concepts in a different post (and I’ve talked about them on the podcast).

Here’s the link on my parts list for my QC-10 build.

Here’s my post on the advantages of a pistol caliber carbine for self-defense.

In our opinion, these are plinking curiosities, like .22LR clones of service weapons; for practical defensive use, the rifle-caliber carbine or SBR is generally superior, which is why militaries and cops have dumped most of their smorgasbord Stens, Stirlings, M3s, MP5s, and Uzis for a boring oatmeal of AR and AK.

One thing could change this calculation: if Congress were to lift the assignment of short-barreled weapons to the National Firearms Act, and make them Title 1 weapons instead. We don’t consider that likely this year, which is unfortunate because the People of the Gun might not have such a strong political alignment for a while. But if it were to squeak through the legislature and into reality, subgun clones would really take off.

A Deal on Cases

Funny that this should come up right the same day we run a thing on flying with one’s hardware: a clearance on two models, rifle and pistol, Plano cases at Midway.

 
  1. Plano Military Spec Field Locker Double Rifle Case with Wheels 56-1/4" x 18" x 7-1/4" Polymer Black

    Plano Military Spec Field Locker Double Rifle Case with Wheels 56-1/4″ x 18″ x 7-1/4″ Polymer Black

    Clearance

    $137.52

    Regular Price: $199.99Save $62.47 (31%)

    Available

  2. Plano Military Spec Field Locker Large Pistol Case 17.90" Black

    Plano Military Spec Field Locker Large Pistol Case 17.90″ Black

    Clearance

    $46.69

    Regular Price: $79.99Save $33.30 (41%)

    Available

We don’t like Plano cases as much as Pelican or Hardigg, but they’re okay, and these two are reasonably priced.

We’re not sure that the buttons will work from this page. If not, go to this link and they’ll definitely work from there.

(And no, we’re not getting anything from this).

For the WWII Collector Who Has Everything

Looking for a good way to display your MG-34? Look no further, but click on over to eBay where this 1944 Schwimmwagen can be yours. A Schwimmwagen (literally “swim car”) was an amphibious version of the VW Kubelwagen utility vehicle. Both were used by the Wehrmacht in WWII, the Schwimmwagen from about 1942 to 1945. Tens of thousands were made, but few survive.

Here’s what the seller says about this vehicle:

1944 Volkswagen Schwimmwagen type 166 for sale by owner. Less than 100 miles since restoration. Needs freshening up. Ran great when I parked it in the warehouse a year ago. Needs fluids changed and a 6 volt battery to run. Comes with some spare parts and trim including a spare transmission and propeller out drive. Photos and documents of restoration done in Germany.

CA license plate    44 VW   Registration status – non – op.   No delinquent DMV fees due.
Contact: sgv57@live.com

These don’t come o the market often, and this one’s on eBay through Monday… that’s the good news.

The bad news? The asking price is $180,000.

The VW logo inside a gear? That was the logo of VW in WWII, when it was a unit of the labor-recreation entity Kraft durch Freude (Strength through Joy) of the Reich Labor Ministry. Yes, someone went to extremes over the small details on this restoration.

Yeah, but $180,000, though.

Regardless, we still want it. Hmmm… what can we get for Small Dog MkII? And a couple safes full of guns?

But wait… then we’d need to get the MG-34, wouldn’t we?

MagPul Mag and Stock Clearance at Midway

There’s some good prices here on some presumably overstocked or about-to-sunset MagPul gear, including $10 AK mags (older model, sand color only)…

…and $16.41 25-round G2 window mags for DPMS/KAC type 7.62mm ARs. This includes the S&W M&P10 and the Colt LE901, but does not include the DPMS GII. The mags work in the second-gen DMPS gun, but won’t actuate the bolt hold-open. On the plus side, these mags will hold M188LR ammunition, which the first-gen Magpul .308 mags wouldn’t.

There are also clearance prices on 10-round mags for 7.62 mm and 20-round 5.56 ones in certain colors.

The Sand colored mags take dye very well. Go ahead and search for “Magpul sand dye” and you should find plenty of posts and videos showing how to do it.

Along with the mags there are several different models of stock, some of them available in multiple colors.

Expect the stock of these items to dwindle down and then wink out… that’s what “closeout” means!

SIG Wins Army MHS Contract – Up to $580 Million

A version of the SIG P320 modular pistol has won the Army’s Modular Handgun System contract, and has been tasked to provide pistols, accessories such as holsters and suppressors, and ammunition.

The pistol will replace the M9 and M11 pistols over the next ten years; then those firearms will join the M1911 and M1873 in honored retirement.

Is this what they want? The SIG P320 family. The compact is the “Goldilocks” midsize — about the same size as a G19.

The DOD slipped the contract out on the last day of the outgoing Administration, perhaps because of noises from the Senate that were encouraging incoming Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis to cancel the program, the initial phase of which has already cost $350 million. Alternatively, it could simply be that the Army’s bureaucracy at Picatinny just got done shuffling the papers today.  Complete text of the DOD contract announcement:

Sig Sauer Inc., Newington, New Hampshire, was awarded a $580,217,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the Modular Handgun System including handgun, accessories and ammunition to replace the current M9 handgun.  Bids were solicited via the Internet with nine received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 19, 2027.  Army Contracting Command, Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (W15QKN-17-D-0016).

OTR notified us from his sources at around the same time that one of our readers flagged us to Soldier Systems Daily in the comments to another post.  Soldier Systems Daily was, as far as we know, the first publication online with the story. CWCID.

The P320 has been well received, more so than the hammer-fired P250 that had teething problems that cost it the Federal Air Marshals Service contract some years ago. Tam Keel put a thousand or two rounds downrange from one last year; the NRA awarded it the Golden Bullseye for Handgun of the Year in June.

Stand by for an announcement from SIG (their PR shop works slowly and indirectly at the best of times). This is where their press release would be, if they had one.

This may fill in some of the blanks that we don’t know from the one-paragraph DOD contract announcement:

  • What color? The contract suggested the military preferred a brown or FDE shade of weapon, like the P320 Compact shown dismantled above.
  • What caliber? SIG submitted both 9mm and .40 S&W firearms.
  • Pure striker-fired, or with safety?

If the news hits before our post goes live in about 11 hours, we’ll add an update below.

Congratulations to the hard-working team at SIG, and condolences to the eight other teams that competed for this contract. The problem with any such competition is that choosing a “best” from a field of very good firearms (or anything else) is inherently subjective and difficult. If you recall the JSSAP trials that yielded the M9, runners-up included SIG’s then-flagship P-series DA/SA pistols, Smith & Wesson’s generation of DA/SAs, and several others that, like the SIG and Smith, found markets elsewhere, just as the rejects, this time including Smith and Glock among others, will this time.

Updates

The Firearm Blog has some details from SHOT, still sketchy, and this photo of what is the winning firearm, the P320 Compact, presumably in 9mm, with ambi manual safety. Nathaniel promises to keep that page updated, if and when the SIG bigs issue a statement.

TFB says this is the M17, or as close as SIG has at the show.

Here are some pictures of the P320 MHS manual safety firearm as submitted. These are all originally from SIG sources, although we ganked them from here and there over the last two years of the MHS program. The full size and compact submissions:

There’s a great deal of interchangeability. Eli Whitney, eat your heart out.

Here’s a close-up of the manual safety. It seems well-designed both to avoid snags and to be positive in operation. 

This does put the SOF Glock contracts at risk, for budgetary reasons. It would be very hard to quantify the superiority of the G19 over this pistol. Meanwhile, the SOF pistols come out of SOF specific money, Major Force Program (MFP) 11. MFP-11 is a finite amount; if SOF were to specify pistols that were a standard Big Green (Blue, Haze Gray, etc) NSN, the service would buy the pistols out of its general-purpose forces money, and that would leave the MFP-11 money for other SOF uses (other SOF-peculiar weapons, communications equipment, engineeer equipment, etc.).

This contract is big news in Gun Universe but back on Soldier Planet it’s not that big a deal. A pistol is almost always a secondary weapon, and the dirty little secret is that just about any service pistol will do — the SIG, the Glock, the SEALs’ P226, the Beretta, hell, the 1911. In combat, your big killers are your air and artillery, and then, your machine guns, and then, your rifles. The pistol is there for the same reason that there is a reserve canopy in your parachute rig — a backup, and a confidence builder.

Where to Find SHOT News

The SHOT Show is on, and we’re not there, but there’s some interesting releases being made, and there’s a lot of media covering it, mostly, well. Here are the ones we’re reading:

  • The Firearm Blog. They’ve got quite a team on site gathering information.
  • Shooting Illustrated (an NRA publication). All their SHOT 2017 news should be on their SHOT Show page.
  • The Gun Feed. Always the best for daily gun links. More gun news than you can read! And they’ve been posting SHOT roundups.
  • AR-15.com. A single thread that has the declining-with-thread-length quality that ARFCOM is famous (or infamous) for.

It’s hard to cherry pick stuff from everything there, but we’ll pull out two posts we liked.

There’s some great news for anyone using the AR platform for hunting varmints (4-legged type): the .22 Nosler. Read down into the comments on that post to see Daniel E. Watters compare it to some forgotten (except, by him!) experimental and wildcat cartridges of many years ago.

And at TFB, Nathaniel F has an update with photos of a display mockup of the M110A1, an HK product that won a Compact Semi-Auto Sniper System bid to replace the existing M110s, which were made by Knight’s Armament Company.

What’s an Original 1911 Worth?

Well, this one didn’t draw a bid… even for a penny.

And a penny bid would have taken it… it was a no reserve auction.

Obviously, you didn’t see it, and we didn’t see it. And no, they didn’t relist it that way.

We’re guessing that this was an error by the seller, a pretty high-volume FFL.

(The link to the auction is still live at press time. At some point it will go stale).

Had someone bid the cent, he’d either have gotten a gun valued between $1k-2k for $35.01 plus his transfer fee (there was a $35 shipping charge, which is fairly standard), or the seller would have had to plead error, welsh on the sale, and risk getting toxic feedback.

The pistol was a relatively uncommon M1911 (not A1) pistol. The 1911A1 was introduced in 1927, and all the vast quantities of pistols that were made from then to 1945 were A1s. But the original 1911 was the World War I pistol, and some original 1911s — rebuilt several times –served right up to the last days of the .45.

We’re kind of glad this sale didn’t happen… we all like to get a bargain, but who likes to see a seller get ripped off, even due to his own error? We all benefit from a healthy gun-industry economy, including manufacturers, importers, and retailers.

Of course, if someone had snagged the 1911 for very short money, the seller would have had one positive result from it: he’d never, ever make that mistake again.

Hudson H9: Striker Fired 1911

Somewhere, the acolytes of the Order of the Browningian Brothers are digging through the corners of their monastic cells, finding and gathering sword and sandals, and embarking on a quest to lop off a head.

For at 0900 today, the latest profanation of the 1911 As JMB Wrought It hits the market, or at least, SHOT Show. The Hudson H9 has been teased a bit on the company website and at Recoil magazine that we can make some statements about what it is and what it isn’t.

It is, basically, a 1911 form factor frame, widened to accept a double-column, single-feed magazine, that may hold 20 rounds; the frame houses a trigger that moves straight back — As JMB Wrought It. Some of the pictures show a Glock-like trigger safety, albeit hinged at the bottom of the trigger…

….but the patent drawings show a very conventional 1911 style trigger and trigger bow. Likewise, the patents show an ambidextrous manual safety, ambi slide release, and a coventional 1911 grip safety. The prototypes show a manual safety on the left side only but an ambi slide release.

The weapon is easily taken down by a takedown catch that moves 90º. Prototypes are made of billet steel (slide) and CNC milled billet aluminum (frame). Production slides are machined from drop-forged blanks. Teaser images shown by Hudson show a 3D printed development dummy gun…

… and half-machined billet prototype frames.

Other teaser images were posted, challenging viewers to choose beauty or function… or both.

The pistol does indeed look like a kitbash of a Glock and a 1911. The slide looks like it escaped from one of Gaston’s sweatshops… apart from the “long face”:

And indeed, its most unconventional feature visually is its long face or deep chin, containing a patented recoil mechanism. The patent application for this feature is dense lawyerese, prolix and vague, and runs to 42 pages (an additional design patent is just a couple of pages), so it’s rather difficult to discern just what exactly they’re claiming (lawyers love this… it guarantees their guild lots of chances to run the meter).

The objective of the new recoil system, in which a groove in the barrel acts as a pivot point around a steel crossbar that is also the take-down latch, is apparently to reduce muzzle flip and allow the barrel to be seated lower in the firing hand than is possible with a conventional 1911 where the recoil mechanism is over the trigger rather than in front of it as in the H9. With that, and the weight of a fullsize pistol loaded with lots of rounds, the H9 could be just the ticket for speed shooters, guaranteeing fast follow up shots.

Hudson claims that test-firing validated this:

The first round left the chamber and with it all concern vanished. Thanks to the extremely low bore axis, the felt recoil and muzzle rise were virtually imperceptible. All the pieces had finally fallen into place.

That is a predictable result from a lowered bore axis, and it gibes with what users of other lowered-bore pistols like the Steyr and the Caracal (which is to be reintroduced at SHOT) have experienced.

We do note that the H9 exploded view from the patent…

… doesn’t match the disassembled shot Recoil posted, the more conventional barrel lugs of which suggest a more conventional locking arrangement.

In any event, the low bore axis of the H9 appears to be a reality.

We hope to update this post (and we hope we don’t have to correct it) once the reveal is made.

For more information:

Finally, Hudson’s Director of Training is well-known Ohio instructor Chris Cerino, a former cop and Air Marshal and a top competitor. Chris is facing a pretty tough challenge right now – cancer. And chemo’s kicking his ass. If you’re a former student, worked with him here or there, or want to drop him a word of support or encouragement, his family set up a Facebook page. Don’t expect an answer, because 100% of his energy has to go into beating the big C so that he can get back to a new normal. If you’re a praying man or woman, you know what to do.

Update

After the reveal, there’s more information on the Hudson Manufacturing website. We did have one error above, the basic mag holds 15 rounds (we thought the 20 rounds in the ammo box in one of the photos was A Clue®. Nope, it was A Prop®). Also, the manual safety is optional, and there’s no mention of a grip safety, even though the prototype and patent illustrations showed one.  Some excellent “upgrades” are standard on this gun including a Trijicon night front sight, G10 VZ grips and Hogue lower backstrap. Alas, no threaded barrel?

The list price is $1,147 and the H9 will be sold only through channels (jobbers, distributors). Here’s a quick table of specs (metric are our calculations from Hudson’s figures, rounded).

Specifications
MSRP:  $1,147.00
imperial metric
Overall Length (in/mm)
7.625 194
Overall Height (in/mm)
5.225 133
Overall Width (in/mm)
1.24 31
Barrel Length (in/mm)
4.28 109
Empty Weight oz/g
34 966
Trigger pull (lb/kg)
4.5 – 5 2.05 – 2.72
Trigger travel (in/mm)
0.115 3
Sight Radius
6.26 159