Category Archives: Rifles and Carbines

President’s Day Sale on Precision Guided Rifles

Received from Tracking Point, and we thought we’d pass it on to all of you. The biggest single objection people have had to a Tracking Point Precision Guided Firearm has been cost — and that’s not going away; it’s the price of being an early adopter of future technology in any milieu. (People are still amazed to hear what a Mac IIcx cost us in 1987). Still, the cost has come down to much closer to the cost of a premium AR and a premium scope at these discounted prices… price-wise, they don’t bear comparison to a bottom-tier AR at $500 or less, but then, they offer a completely different capability you can’t just pluck off any LGS shelf.

Presidents Day Pricing on .300BLK, 5.56 and 7.62… Limited Time Only!

Call to Order: 512.354.2114

M400 XHDR

  • .300 BlackOut
  • 400-Yard Lock Range
  • 2-14x Zoom
  • 10 MPH Target Velocity
  • * Combat Tan + $495
  • * 50% off Ext. Warranty
  • Learn More Now

M600 SR

  • 5.56MM NATO
  • 600-Yard Lock Range
  • 2-14x Zoom
  • 15 MPH Target Velocity
  • * Combat Tan + $495
  • * 50% off Ext. Warranty
  • Learn More Now

M800 DMR

    • 7.62MM NATO
    • 800-Yard Lock Range
    • 3-21x Zoom
    • 20 MPH Target Velocity
    • * Combat Tan + $495
    • * 50% off Ext. Warranty
    • Learn More Now

Remember! Limited time offer  – Call Today!<
Line busy or want a call back at a later date?   Click Here

That’s TrackingPoint’s pitch, and as we said, we’re passing it on.

Obviously we’re fans of the technology and the company, so you might ask, why don’t we own one of these things? What, are we hypocrites?

We don’t think so, we have reasons for not buying, yet. First, it is a lot of money for a firearm. Second, you have to have a reason to shoot it to justify spending that money. (It also works best with Tracking Point;s own ammo, which is, to put it mildly, premium priced). Third, you have to have a place to shoot it.

If we were javelina assassins working the ranches and fields of Texas we would be all over this offer like ugly on a Womyn’s Studies convention. But as it is, we have a selection of 100-yard ranges to shoot at, and hunting around here tends to be a close-in sport, with a long shot being 200 yards, and most shots with a firearm taking place at a range where archery would do the job. However, there is a 1000-yard range complex fighting its way through zoning less than two hours away, in the southwestern corner of NH.

Let’s See Whitworths Shoot!

Last month we had a couple posts on the Sharpshooters of the Civil War, and on the Confederates’ unique Whitworth rifle.

Fred Ray, who’s written an excellent book on the Rebel Sharpshooters, sold us a copy of his book (highly recommended, and it’ll be in the next review roundup), and also linked us to a few videos of modern Whitworth shooters. Fred has forgotten more about this stuff than we’ve ever learned, so you can read what he writes with confidence.

Let’s take them in the inverse order from the way Fred posted them: hardest first. Here is a guy trying to hit a target at 1,300 yards with a Whitworth.

That kind of hit was credibly reported by both Rebel and Yankee observers of the Confederate marksmen. (The English Whitworth rifle was only used by the Confederates).

One of the real problems is seeing the target. While many of the wartime Whitworths were equipped with high-tech (for 1860!) Davidson telescopic sights… …this marksman is shooting over irons. One of the real problems at that range is seeing the target. Since more of you are familiar with more modern rifles, consider that the front sight post of an M16A1 rifle subtends just enough arc to match an E-type silhouette at 175 meters.

Another fact that should be evident is the sheer power of the Whitworth. Look at that thing kick! The recoil is visibly greater than that of an ordinary rifle-musket.

Reproduction Whitworths

The class of the repro field is the long-discontinued Parker-Hale, but they are few and far between. After Parker-Hale went the way of all flesh, there was a EurArms repro which used the Parker-Hale barrels with its own lock and stock. Here, Balázs Némeththe proprietor of CapAndBall.eu has gotten his hands on one of them, and not only fires it, but provides a good run down on its unique and remarkable technology.  “The Whitworth,” he notes, “pushed the limits of aimed fire out to 1½ miles.”

Pedersoli is making a new version of the Whitworth. It is available in Europe, but not exported to North America (yet, we hope). Here is his video rundown on the Pedersoli Whitworth. The Pedersoli has hexagonal rifling, but it’s cold hammer-forged. The rifle also has much simpler sights. He did not have a hex bullet mold, so used a .451″ cylindrical round, and still got quite good accuracy at 50 and 100 meters.

The finish on the Pedersoli rifle is, like many of their premium muzzle-loaders, very good.

His enthusiasm for these rifles, so far ahead of their peers that they seemed ahead of their time, is infectious.

Finally, here’s a special treat. It’s our friend from Cap and Ball again, but here he’s firing an original Civil War vintage American target rifle, of the sort that many sharpshooters mustered in with.

If you go to the Fred Ray post that we linked way, way up there, you’ll also see another one about the Civil War buck-and-ball cartridge — the only loading we’re aware of that has its own statue at Gettysburg. But that’s another story!

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.

Homebuilt Innovation: Ultra Light .22 Bolt Repeater

This is a remarkable home made survival-type .22 rifle that is chock full of ingenuity.

It may be amateur made, but its builder, who posts on YouTube as ECCO Machine, has professional equipment, and, more importantly, skills. Most parts of the rifle are machined from billets of aluminum, titanium, and ABS plastic. The barrel is a carbon-fiber-wrapped .22 barrel liner. The bolt is made of machined titanium alloy with a welded-on handle, and it has a rare feature in a rimfire rifle, forward locking lugs.

The resulting rifle is ultralight: less that 1 lb. 3 oz. The featherweight rifle stows itself into a package less than a foot and a half long.

Unlike most amateur’s adherence to the material or materials, and process or processes that they know best, ECCO Machine’s practical use of a range of materials and methods is something worthy of a major manufacturer. Plastic, carbon fiber, aluminum, and titanium are all used in places where they’re most suitable.

The only steel or stainless-steel parts are the sear, striker, spring, screws, the barrel liner only, and a modified Savage stainless mag (with a really clever and dead-simple retaining catch that is its own spring).

The bolt’s forward locking lugs lock into a barrel extension, as in an AR; the barrel extension is also made of titanium. The rifle is readily taken down without tools. Everywhere the solutions chosen show both imagination and a practical turn of mind. For one thing, he came up with a really clever way to manage the cartridge feed by making the ejector do double duty.

There’s a really neat surprise in the grip (which he doesn’t count against the gun’s 18.9 oz weight) and the carbon-fiber stock can hold up to 40 .22 long rifle cartridges. There is a nifty titanium front sight base modeled on the classic AR FSB, and a special threaded muzzle cap that’s part of the rifle folding/stowage mechanism. (An alternate threaded adapter can convert these fine threads to the threads needed to attach a suppressor).

This video shows many more details of this intriguing firearm.

One of these should be built into ever ejection seat on every combat jet. Heck, we should build one into the RV-12.

There are several other interesting amateur builds on ECCO Machine’s YouTube channel. Hat tip, Hrachya at TFB.

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.

HK433 and the German Competition, Part II

First, apologies to everyone who was expecting this post, as promised, 24 hours ago. We now return you to the weapons discussion formerly in progress! -Ed.

In our report Saturday on the new HK433 military rifle we only included a partial translation of HK’s press release. We stopped because our post was quite long enough, but in the comments many of you asked questions about the items that were not included.

So let’s translate some more HK!

To begin with, we’ve got some marketbrag that we left off last time:

Countless ideas, decades of know-how and mature solutions, tested in the toughest worldwide practice, form the foundation of the trailblazing weapons technologies of Heckler & Koch. In that, the German proportion of value added has remained 100%,since the founding of the traditional enterprise in the Swabian city of Oberndorf in 1949. High-Tech Made in Germany!

Joining with the rifle families G36, HK416 and HK417, combat-proven worldwide, the HK433 is now a fourth scalable assault rifle family in the product portfolio of the enterprise. With this entirely novel development, Heckler & Koch underlines anew its claim to built the best assault rifles in the world. With France (HK416AIF), Germany (G36), USA (US Marine Corps M27/HK416), Great Britain (SA80), Norway (HK416), Spain (G36) und Lithuania (G36) Heckler & Koch already provides the standard assault rifle to a comprehensive number of armies and service branches of NATO. Numerous Special Operations Forces of the western world — including for example the US Special Forces, the Kommando Spezialkräfte of the Bundeswehr (KSK) and civil authorities’ special elements (incl. GSG9) – rely on assault rifles from Oberndorf.

After that, our translation Friday picks up the ball. Until this point:

The Slim Line Handguard developed by Heckler & Koch is firmly attached to the upper receiver, with no play. It can be removed without tools and offers sling attachment points, modular HKey interfaces at 3 and 9 o’clock, as well as a full-length Picatinny rail to MIL-STD-1913 at 6 o’clock.

The interchangeable lower receiver defines the desired operating system and thereby reduces the training demands on the operator. Depending on prior firearms training, the operator can select the G36 or the HK416/AR-15 operating system. All control elements are bilaterally available, symmetrically ordered and can be configured as the customer desires.

“Drop-in” solutions for the lower receiver expand the functional envelope of the weapon with individually configurable match triggers or trigger-group assemblies. The magazine well in compliance with NATO STANAG 4179 (Draft) provides for secure interoperability with the G36 weapons system, the HK416 or the market-standard AR-15.

The grip interface is based on the HK416 weapons family. Through grips with interchangeable grip surfaces and grip backstraps analogous to those of the P30 and SFP/VP pistol series, the rifle can be optimally fitted to various hand sizes.

The ergonomically folding and length-adjustable shoulder stock with the height-adjustable cheekpiece mates with the receiver without any play. The length adjustment offers five detents and is dynamically adjustable for this and the personal combat equipment of the operator. Straight, convex and concave buttplates ensure the necessary comfort with the weapon at the ready position. The shoulder stock can be folded to the right at any length adjustment. Here the most extremely compact transport measurements are achieved. The trigger remains freely accessible. The ejection port is not covered, to ensure that in an emergency a functional capability is available even in “transport condition.”

H&K weapons are distinguished, along with the highest reliability, also by a standard-setting safety standard. So on the HK433 firing readiness, drop safety (NATO AC225/D14), the ability to safe the weapon in all loading conditions and a high cook-off safety are understood, along with a robust and non-delicate manner of construction, even in dirty, extreme cold and war temperature conditions, or lacking lubricants.

Camouflage colors and infrared-absorbing finishes are available, if desired by customers.

Special material combinations and surface treatments round out the whole concept of the HK433. They provide for a low-maintenance system under extreme conditions, with an above-average service life.

The empty weight of the HK433 with the 16.5″ long barrel is 3.5 kg.

Here’s the original .pdf in The Awful German Language:

20170203_Pressemitteilung_-HK433.pdf

Now you’re caught up on what HK has said. Tomorrow, assuming of course that the system continues working, we’ll have an update on who’s expected to be playing in the German rifle competition. HK, as the largest German firm participating and the only one offering a 100% German-designed, German-produced weapon from a factory ready to deliver immediately, is thought to have the inside track.

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.

Iran Deploying AK-103 Rifles

One of the benefits of the Iranian nuclear deal — for Iran, like the rest of the benefits — was the opportunity to recapitalize its military small arms, and not just its main priorities, worldwide Islamic terrorism abroad, and nuclear weapons at home.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, an independent armed service modeled on the Nazi SS, has benefited with new AK-103 rifles from Russia. The IRGC has been using the new rifles for some months now. This is an image of one of the IRGC AK-103s, presumably in 5.45 x 39 mm caliber, published by the Iranian Tasnim news agency.

In August, the same agency published this story (as translated by the AEI Critical Threats Project):

  • Iran purchases assault rifles from Russia. Tasnim News Agency reported that Iran has purchased AK-103 assault rifles from Russia. According to reports, “some units” in Iran’s armed forces will be equipped with the new rifle. (Tasnim News Agency)

The original link to Tasnim’s Persian-language story no longer works. More recently, a follow-up shows that the AK-103s have been issued and are being used in training (AEI translation again):

  • IRGC units use AK-103 assault rifles in “Imam Ali” exercise. Some IRGC units used “new AK-103” assault rifles during the IRGC Ground Forces’ “Imam Ali” exercises last week in western Iran. Iran purchased AK-103s from Russia in August 2016. Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Dehghan stated at the time of the purchase, “Production of light arms has been low in the last ten years due to the prioritization of air and naval projects. This purchase was made due to regional crises.” (Tasnim News Agency)

This link to Tasnim works at present, but may fail soon.

Most intriguing is the suggestion that the Iranian small arms production capacity is insufficient. It may be an indicator that Iran has been starving general purpose forces as it spends lavishly on nuclear armament and terrorism promotion. It may simply mean that the vast infusion of American cash from the pro-Iranian Obama Administration allowed Iran to modernize forces across the board. Or we may be reading far too much into a routine replacement of old rifles.

The 5.56 Timeline is Dead! Long live the 5.56 Timeline!

Use the links on the left of the page to navigate through the many html pages of the Timeline, organized by year.

One of the key resources for anyone interested in the long process of development of the small-caliber, high-velocity concept, leading up to the American adoption of the 5.56mm M16 and M16A1 rifles in 1963, and ultimately to every major army’s basic issue rifle today, has been Daniel E. Watters’s “5.56 Timeline,” developed over a lifetime of research and published until recently on Dean Speir’s site, The Gun Zone.

Five years ago, mentioning a resurce Daniel had turned us on to, we wrote, “For an overview of M16 development with lots of good links, you can’t really beat his page at The Gun Zone,” (adding a link that is now pining for the fjords).  A year later, we mentioned it again.

By 2015, we were calling Daniel’s 5.56 Timeline “indispensable” and it truly was, so it was pretty shocking when The Gun Zone closed down, and it went off the net… for a while.

Daniel explains it as follows:

This article was originally published at The Gun Zone — The Gunperson’s Authoritative Internet Information Resource. My friend and mentor Dean Speir has graciously hosted my articles at TGZ for nearly 16 years. These articles would likely have never appeared online without his constant encouragement and assistance.

With TGZ’s closure in early 2017, Dean encouraged me to find a new home for my scholarship so it wouldn’t be lost in the dustbin of the Internet. Loose Rounds has welcomed me with open arms. In the future, I intend to expand my legacy TGZ articles and add new contributions here at Loose Rounds.

While we regret the demise of TGZ, we’re thankful that this priceless Timeline was saved.

It’s now a permanent Page at Loose Rounds.

One thing that would make this Timeline really come alive is adapting it to an actual graphical timeline. Just thinking out loud, the 5.56 Timeline would make a great application for Scott ‘s internet startup, WhenHub.

Some More SIG Updates: MPX, M17 (P320) Pistol

MPX Price …Going Up!

Word at SHOT was that the MPX versions that are shipping — pistol, carbine, and SBR — are selling well, but that the company was planning to raise prices by $300 a unit, and to delete the accessories that used to come with one: QD sling, cleaning kit, etc. The backup iron sights are still included, as is one magazine. Source of that “word”? The staff at the SIG booth!

In 2015, when MPX pistols began to ship, Max Slowik wrote in Guns.com:

Along with the announcement SIG is publishing the official MSRPs. The base SIG MPX-P is listed at $1,576, the SIG MPX-P-PSB at $1,862 and the  SIG MPX SBR at $2,062. While guns often retail for less than suggested prices, we don’t expect that to be the case with the MPX for a while until demand drops off.

The numbers on the SIG website have already changed, although the price increases are less than $300 a unit. Here’s a table of what’s what.

SIG MPX Models List Price
SKU MPX Model 2015 2017 Δ Price 2017-15
MPX-P-9-KM MPX-P Pistol $1,576 $1,852 $276
MPX-P-9-KM-PSB MPX-P-PSB Pistol with SIG Brace $1,862 $2,084 $222
MPX-9-T-KM-SBR MPX SBR 8″ Short-Barrel Rifle $2,062 $2,123 $61
MPX-K-9-T-KM-SBR MPX-K SBR 4.5″ Short-Barrel Rifle $1,957 n/a
MPX-C-9-KM-T MPX-C 16″ Carbine $2,016 n/a
© 2017 Weaponsman.com

Friends asked a SIG rep, “Why?” The booth guy didn’t know, and called someone else over, who said, and we quote: “We’re not making enough profit at the present price.” So presumably they’re making some profit on an MPX, and the $200-300 price increase and the deletion of $50in accessories should drop right down to the bottom line. (They don’t expect many buyers to use the online accessory discount vouchers).

For comparison’s sake, the MSRP on the CZ Scorpion Evo 3 S1 pistol is $849 in black and $899 in FDE. The carbine version is $999 (muzzle brake) and $1049 (fake suppressor). There is no factory SBR.

Humility and a Sense of Honor

That’s what Lee Williams said he found at the SIG booth after the MHS M17 selection was announced. One of the SIG personnel told him the contract was “daunting,” and they’re going to be busy. Read The Whole Thing™ and the rest of Lee’s SHOT coverage.

Humility and a sense of honor today at the Sig Sauer booth

Andrew Branca on the SIG Buy: $207/each

Andrew had an interesting write-up at Legal Insurrection, the most interesting parts of which to us were (1) that he’s been carrying a 320 for a while, and really likes it, and (2) that according to sources of his (how come our sources didn’t have this?) the Army is paying for the SIGs (exclusive, we presume, of such accessories as suppressors) only $207 a pistol.

That might explain where the extra $300-400 per MPX is going.

Andrew is also a rare user of a manual-safety SIG, and that brings us to…

What a SIG P320 Safety Looks Like

Because most of you haven’t seen one in the flesh-and-blood (or steel-and-polymer), here’s an excerpt from the P320 Manual.

4.2 Manual Safety Equipped Pistols

The SIG P320 is offered with an optional ambidextrous manual safety. The manual safety mechanically blocks the movement of the trigger bar so the trigger cannot be pressed to the rear.

To engage the manual safety, rotate the safety lever upward with the thumb of the firing hand. The manual safety is ambidextrous. Pressing up on the lever from either side will rotate the opposite lever upward, engaging the manual safety. The slide can still be manipulated with the manual safety engaged.

And one of our commenters found this fascinating little detail in the manual:

If your P320 is fitted with a Tamper Resistant Takedown Lever, removing the grip module is not authorized. You must evacuate the pistol to the next authorized level of maintenance to have this performed.

This certainly seems like something put in place for police agencies and military services, to prevent the Incredible All Destroying Lance Corporal from monkeying with the pistol. The Tamper Resistant Lever needs a tamperproof spanner screwdriver or bit to be removed, marking it as an armorer job rather than operator maintenance. (It would be a rare gunsmith who doesn’t have a set of these screwdrivers, these days. Several manufacturers use them on non-user-maintenance parts). No idea if the military’s M17 pistols will be equipped with this feature, but it would not be surprising.