Category Archives: Pistols and Revolvers

One Gun’s Creation Story

These days, and for most of the last century, most of the guns we know and love are the creation of a team, even when they’re generally shaped by the eye and hand of one designer. And the designer usually works for somebody — the concept is often given to the designer by non-design, non-engineer business people or representatives of end users.

Recently, we came across the Creation Story of the relatively common (about 650,000 made) CZ-27 pistol. We have known for a long time that it was a simplified version of the Josef Nickl-designed CZ-22/24 (again, fingering one designer is a simplification: remember, teams). And we knew that the main designer responsible for the changes to the firearm was František Myška (FRON-ti-shek MISH-ka). We believed the gun to be created to be a simpler, blowback pistol in 7.65mm (.32 ACP) for police use.

The story is told various ways by various credible writers. Here’s Max Popenker’s world.guns.ru:

The CZ-27 pistol was developed in around 1926 by Czech arms designer Frantisek Myska in an attempt to produce simplified version of the CZ Vz.24 pistol, chambered for less powerful 7.65×17 SR Browning ammunition (also known as .32 ACP) and suited for police and security use. It was put into production in 1927, at arms factory in Praha.

Max is generally correct there. (The pistol was made in Strakonice, not Praga (Prague), but the prewar ones are marked Praha and wartime ones, in German, Prag; that’s where corporate HQ was, even though the production line was in Strakonice, even though that wasn’t ever marked on a CZ-27 until after the war! Like in the example above. That is our one quibble with Max’s description, that, and the understated production figures. OK, two quibbles).

But Czech gunwriter Jiří Fencl, in a new-ish book on Great Czechoslovak Gun Designers, broke it down with much greater precision. Here’s a rough, on-the-fly translation of the story of the creation of the CZ-27 — as told by the designer himself!

František Myška later remembered, “In the course of the manufacture of the pistol vz. 24, one of the then-directors of the company names Beneš came to me (he was known for often happily engaging with the designers) and requested: ‘Mr. Myška, you’re a gunsmith. Could our ‘twenty-four’ be converted to the 7.65 mm cartridge?'”

“I immediately took paper and pencil, and began to draw. In recognition and consideration of the low-powered cartridge, the locking mechanism was not needed, and instead the barrel fixed in place with a pin below. The barrel chambered for 7.65mm. That also led to a smaller grip (smaller magazine). And the Pistol vzor 27 came into the world,” he concluded his tale.

Very well done.  And the workshops were able to produce the Pistol CZ model 17 continuously from the year 1927 until the year 1950.

Less well-known are the variants of this pistol adapted for a sound suppressor, and a small-caliber training version for the .22 LR cartridge.

Indeed they are less well-known! We saw a silencer version (without its original silencer) cross the auction block last year, the only one in memory; and we’ve only even seen one .22 version.

Of the major variants, the most common are the German occupation guns, which are marked in the German language (naturally), and the least common the prewar pistol. The postwar pistol is also rare, but not so rare as the 1927-37 original. The postwar pistol seen here bears different markings from prewar guns; instead of CZ being “A.S.” (roughly, “incorporated”), it’s a “Narodní Podník” (“National Enterprise,” the Communist-era organization).

One collector’s website offers photos of some examples of this firearm from throughout its history: there are prewar and postwar Czechoslovak variants, and two different wartime German variants, all of which differ only in small details, finish, and especially markings. The example shown here is from our collection and is a postwar pistol, dated 1947 (by the “47” in front of the takedown catch above); it was replaced in 1950-51 by the vz. 50 pistol, which continued to be numbered in the same series.

Update on the FK Brno 7.5

We have written about this pistol before, but it’s had a long and arduous trip to market, and it’s still not really here. It may finally be coming (and here’s another allegation of imminence from four months ago). In any event, we haven’t got hands on one yet — hell, we haven’t seen one for sale, but we’ve found a couple of articles by people who have handled the gun, not just the press releases. And of course, there’s the manufacturer’s website.

Despite the inventors’ denials, and the gun and ammo’s own unique technology, it clearly owes a great deal to the CZ 75 and its descendants. (That’s not a bad thing, necessarily. After all, everybody owes a great deal to the M1911 and its descendants, too). The lockwork seems similar to the precision-oriented CZ single-actions.

The pistol is manufactured conventionally, for a Czech firearm. That is to say its components are CNC milled from billet or from investment castings (possibly by Poldi, which has cast for ZB and CZ since CZ-Strakonice days, before CZ built the UB factory  in 1936).

Unique ghost ring FK sight.

But the FK Brno 7.5  offers a unique high-velocity round, a unique buffer system, and unique sights. The FK 7.5 pushes .30 caliber copper bullet at 2000 feet per second, not quite rifle speed, but better than such remarkable rounds as the long-defunct .357 Auto Mag. Its numbers make the .357 SIG look like it has the parking brake on.

 

It’s otherworldly enough to generate considerable skepticism. When the FK 7.5 first came up on the radar last year, John Zent of American Rifleman noted its sudden appearance on the market had a certain “out-of-nowhere” quality. John Roberts a Guns, Holsters, and Gear also was unimpressed by the claimed velocity, because it can be matched by a 9mm firing an ultralight 50 grain round — delivering half the FK 7.5s energy.

An FK 7.5 shortslide prototype photographed by Rob Pincus at the factory.

Here is celebrity trainer Rob Pincus, with what he promises is Part I of a multipart article. Rob was invited to the Czech Republic to try the gun during its long period in ATF purgatorio, and has some interesting comments.

A High Capacity Handgun that fires a propriety [sic] 100 grain round at over 2000fps and costs over $5000. The round, by the way, is still moving at 1500fps at 100 meters… which is the distance at which the pistol is zeroed with a unique set of sights when it comes from the factory. As others in the above links note, the gun is relatively large, fires a very powerful round and isn’t going to be cheap. FK BRNO also claims that the gun is very controllable and capable of high levels of precision. And, the only guns currently in the USA are there for government evaluation so that importation could be approved.

Per Pincus, the company considers itself primarily an ammunition research company, which builds the pistol as a way to get its ammo concept into shooters’ hands. He hits these takeaways — and elaborates on each, so you’ll want to Read The Whole Thing™:

  1. FK BRNO says that they are an Ammunition Company that also makes a handgun.
  2. FK BRNO set out to develop a handgun that delivered AK-47 performance in regard to Terminal Ballistics at ranges between 50 and 150 meters.
  3. The 7.5 round delivers high levels [of] precision.
  4. The Terminal Ballistics are even more impressive than the precision capability.

He concludes: “FK Brno have done what they set out to do.” We’ll say again, Read The Whole Thing™, and we’re looking forward to the next part.

The tactical niche this pistol fills is unclear, although it seems to overdo what the Secret Service and Federal Air Marshals Service selected the .357 SIG to do. It is, without doubt, a magnificent engineering accomplishment, and the prototypes seen so far are beautifully finished. One clue is that, in its native country, it is available in a folding shoulder-stocked version, making it a near-peer of PDWs like the HK MP7 and FN P90 / FiveSeVen combination. It also appeals to people who love that kind of engineering for its own sake.

If it’s a success, it will seem less strange in due course. If it’s not a success, it will be a footnote to firearms history of near-GyroJet proportions. Either way, we want one!

Five Reasons to Own Sixguns

Revolvers have been declining in market share for three decades, a decline which really only got going 30 years after the last major military revolver user (the UK), crawled into the 20th Century. (Actually the last major military revolver user was probably the US, which issued revolvers to aviators, and to military police men and women who had difficulty with the 1911A1, up until the adoption of the Beretta M9 — but it was always a secondary weapon). They’re now rare as police firearms, and much less common than they once were as defensive firearms.

As revolvers’ presence in the police and civilian market has declined, their presence in crime has also declined. This is logical, as most criminals arm themselves with weapons diverted from lawful uses, generally by theft or straw purchase with many cut-outs and intermediaries. This increased use of automatic pistols in crime has actually been a boon for homicide and assault investigators, as toolmark evidence matching firearms to cases (cartridge type) or cases (cartridge) from one crime scene to another, has helped close more than a few cases (investigative type). Sumdood doesn’t police his brass when he rips his dope dealer, oddly enough; and he can’t police his brass when he does a drive-by, holding his Hi-Point sideways out the window.

Logisticians might dream of caseless ammo, but homicide cops don’t.

Revolvers’ mindshare has declined. They are seldom seen in TV or movies, except in period pieces or to mark a character as kind of old-fashioned (Rick in The Walking Dead with his long-discontinued Python).

Is the declining mindshare of revolvers a cause or an effect of declining market share? Both may be the right answer; market and mind share may be wrapped in a vicious circle, or spiral.

But there are a number of reasons for the classic, 1890s-style double-action revolver’s remaining children to still be used. Consider these five reasons to shoot sixguns:

  1. They are simple and, if quality products in good condition, reliable.
  2. They are indifferent to variations in ammunition.
  3. Misfire drill? Just fire again.
  4. Time spent loading can enforce a certain pace on a shooting session, improving performance.
  5. They can be enjoyable and educational to shoot; there’s a great variety of them.

Simple and Reliable

While a revolver’s mechanism seems fiendishly complex to those not mechanically inclined, it’s a simple mechanical mechanism. Compared to a typewriter or sewing machine there’s a lot less to go on — and compared to an automatic pistol, the same is true. Some of them are better than others, especially on durability. (An old, worn Smith is less likely to have lost time or need a gunsmith than a Colt of similar vintage. Or an NIB Taurus). It’s also intuitive and easy to learn. There’s a t-shirt with a Colt SAA on it: “the original point-and-click interface.” Steve Jobs (who lifted it all from Xerox PARC anyway), eat your heart out.

Indifferent to Ammo Variations

What ammo works with your carry gun? Sure, with modern autos the days of hollow-points not feeding are mostly over, but everyone has experience with ammo their gun does not like. Doesn’t happen with a sixgun. If the gun’s right, anything that chambers goes bang. Bang-on-demand is good.

What Misfire Drill?

As we mentioned, with a revolver you just point and click. If you do get a point and click and not point and bang, your follow-up shot is a trigger pull away (a hammer cock and trigger pull, if you’re really OG and toting an SAA or something like that). No auto pistol is that quickly back in the fight (or, for hunters, on the game).

Enforces Pace

OK, here we’re making a virtue of necessity. But anyone who spends any time on ranges has seen the shooter with more ammo than sense, blowing through 200 rounds without making a great deal of effort to hit anything. Hey, it’s a free country, and if that’s how they want to make fun let ’em knock themselves out, but… there’s a lot to be said for taking that same amount of time and firing 50 rounds with care. The mechanical, muscle-memory drill of dumping cases and loading rounds can be a great time for considering what went wrong with your last six shots, and what you can do better with the next six.

After all, only the hits count, and even 3 out of 6 into the target at 7 meters is better than the NYPD does out of a 17-round Glock mag.

Enjoyable Variety

The different revolver mechanisms are a blast. Everybody who has never shot a Single-Action Army before gets a thrill out of it, the first time. Ejecting the cases and loading them is fun, and they you can tell the guy or gal, “And… they were expected to do this on a horse.” Instant connection to distant times and places. Likewise, tip-up revolves.

A favorite uncle had a Harrington and Richardson 9-shot .22; it looked like a baby Webley, and was great fun to pop it open and fountain .22 brass around.

Colt 1917

And then, there are the revolvers of 1,000 detective shows, and plenty of revolvers with interesting military history. (Colt and Smith M1917s are nice, beefy guns with a great back story and some weird engineering to let them shoot rimless .45 ACP). Early police double-action .32 pistols are fun and easy to shoot, built like jewels, and dirt cheap right now. There’s always some bragging rights in a Smith & Wesson Model 29. (Or a .500 if you’re diffident about carrying Dirty Harry’s gun, or concerned about the low power of the .44 Mag).

Everybody ought to have a revolver.

But then, the question becomes, which revolver?

Name That Round!

Hey, don’t be surprised if it throws you. It sure threw us, and we thought we knew guns and ammo!

Need a hint? It’s .30 caliber, and a bit of a Frankenstein monster with a rebated rim and a sharp shoulder.

Need another? It was created as a deer-taking round, gerrymandered to fit a unique state law.

Give up? Explanation after the jump.

Continue reading

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.

In Which We Fisk the Worst Article on the M17 Selection

Somebody had to write the worst article on the M17 Modular Handgun System program. And this guy did it, at Strategy Page. He knew just enough not to sign it, whoever he was, so he may not be a complete dullard. But almost every fact that’s in the story is wrong, demonstrably wrong, I-was-too-lazy-to-Google wrong, I-was-too-dumb-to-ask-anybody wrong.

We used to say in the Army “as wrong as two boys kissin’,” or maybe a slightly stronger version of that, but we can’t say that any more. But that’s how wrong this article is.

Let’s hit some of the high points:

First, the title: “The Low Bidder And The M9 Tragedy.” Er, what tragedy?

The U.S. Department of Defense has finally, after a ten year search, decided on a new standard pistol, to replace the much hated Beretta M9.

“Much hated”? Meh. Lots of guys prefer another pistol. We could always work with the M9. A pistol is too inconsequential to waste hatred on, and any professional just takes the pistol he is issued and works with it. That’s how the game is played, by the people for whom “game” is only a metaphor, not something executed on a colorful board, with cardboard counters and a polyhedral die.

The new pistol is a variant of the SIG Sauer P320, which lost out to the Baretta in 1985 because the Baretta 9mm was a little cheaper.

One brief declarative sentence, multiple factual errors:

  1. It is a P320, not a “variant” except in that it has the safety and anti-tampering options SIG has offered to “fleet buyers” all along.
  2. The P320 did not lose out to anything in 1985 as it was decades from being designed. Indeed, its forerunner the P230 P250 (which has little in common with the P226) was decades from being designed, and the 230 250 was on the market for a long time before the 320 design began.
  3. Beretta is not spelled Baretta. They’ve been spelling it with that first “e” since fourteen-hundred-and-something. Repeating the misspelling doesn’t make it correct. (But wait, he’ll misspell it twice more, but misspell it differently, down the page).
  4. The trials in which SIG and Beretta were both judged as suitable took place in 1984. And yes, the Beretta was less expensive. (Significantly, not “a little.” Especially when you’re buying hundreds of thousands of the things). Beretta won a previous trial outright (JSSAP), but SIG did not participate. Cost is a real-world part of every weapons buy, whether it’s a billion-dollar ship or a buck-fifty bayonet sheath.
  5. Some units had been using Berettas earlier than official adoption, and that may have given Beretta an edge, back then.
  6. The pistol that SIG entered was a P226. This is exactly like a P320, except that its frame is made of different material and designed differently, it was designed from the bones out for modularity, it has a completely different trigger system and controls and manual of arms that the 226, and has exactly zero parts that interchange with its SIG stablemate.
  7. For the innumerate, study this arithmetic: 226 ≠ 320. There will be a test.

We note that most of the errors this guy made seem to come from the Wikipedia page on the M9, which is almost as messed up as the Strategy Page article… but not as messed up, because copying guy didn’t understand what he was copying. One of Strategy Page’s 400-lb aspie wargamers?

Whew, that was the first sentence. Hey, are you guys ready to move on and try another? Because this whole fisking is around 4,400 words  (Holy Wall O Text Batman!), we’ll continue it after the jump.

Continue reading

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.

US M17 Pistol Comes with Ball and Hollow-Point Ammo

From Mark Miller we learn the following:

According to Jane’s “The US Army has confirmed that its new XM17 handgun is to be a 9 mm Sig Sauer model P320 and the contract allows the government to buy Sig Sauer’s proposed XM1152 Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) and XM1153 Special Purpose (SP) ammunition and training rounds.”

The secret to making (new) 9mm outperform (existing) 9mm, which the RFP required, was, per Mark, “hollowpoints.” Presumably, the XM1153 is the holllow-point, and the 1152 an improved ball round. The actual RFP also requires numerous oddball rounds like blank and dummy.

It’s interesting that SIG introduced new hollow-points last year, and new ball ammo in 125 and 147 grain at this year’s SHOT Show.

Mark’s conclusion:

While the P-320 is a great choice for the M-17, we may find that hallow point ammunition makes a much more significant contribution to U.S. defense than their gun.

He’s probably correct there.

Mark’s site, The Arms Guide, is becoming a regular stop on the net. Check it out.

 

Seecamp Pocket Pistols

Lee Williams was delighted to find a manufacturer at SHOT whose products he knew well, but one that he’d thought was pining for the fjords: L.W. Seecamp, a maker of high-quality pocket pistols in .32 and .380.

[T]he L.W. Seecamp Co. is back, and according to Christopher Garvey, their program manager, they’re increasing production.

Chris had three models at SHOT Show 2017, in .25, .32 and .380.

They’re everything you want in a back-up handgun.

The fit and finish is incredible — there’s not a sharp edge on the gun. The slide to frame fit is fantastic. It feels like the slide is moving across oiled glass. The trigger is stiff — eleven pounds — but it’s clean.

Thing is, family-owned manufacturer L.W. Seecamp has not been dead, but they haven’t been promoting their guns much because, as one of the first little DAO pistols, with a following that approaches fanaticism, they sell sufficiently well without further promotion. Lee references that when he says:

[T]he small, precisely-machined pocket autos made by the L.W. Seecamp Co. have always been something of a legend — a cult following.

First, they were difficult to obtain. The had waiting periods that sometimes stretched for years.

Second, they were expensive — very expensive compared to other pocket autos.

But more importantly, they were reliable as hell

Lee’s going to test a couple of the pistols, and we’re looking forward to seeing his report.

In fact, despite the company having been in business for many, many, years, and having produced the pocket pistol line since 1981, this was Seecamp’s first trip from their western Massachusetts plant to SHOT — ever.

Call the flip-phone old-fashioned? The Seecamp LWS has been in production since a cell phone filled half our trunk.

Unlike a lot of small pocket pistols, the Seecamps are beautifully made and highly reliable. Parts primarily are made of machined stainless steel castings, and the gun comes from the factory well “melted” for pocket carry. It has no sights. As Seecamp says in their entertaining and informative FAQ:

If shot placement is so important, why no sights?

An exhaustive NYPD report (NYPD SOP 9) revealed that in 70% of recorded police shootings (the majority under poor lighting conditions) officers did not use sights while 10% of the time officers didn’t remember whether sights were used. In the remaining 20% of the cases, officers recollected using some form of visual aid to line up the target ~ which could be the sights themselves or just the barrel.

The NYPD statistics showed no correlation between an officer’s range scores and his ability to hit a suspect at close range. The mean score for NYPD police officers (1990-2000) for all shootings is fifteen hits per 100 shots fired, which is almost the identical hit ratio seen among Miami officers ~ who in the years 1990-2001 fired some 1300 rounds at suspects while recording fewer than 200 hits. Almost unbelievably, some NYPD figures show 62% of shots fired at a distance of less than six feet were complete misses.

The 1988 US Army training manual for pistols and revolvers [FM 23-35], in apparent recognition of the disconnect between sighted shooting at the range and the ability to score hits in short distance combat, wisely calls for point shoot training at distances of less than fifteen feet. The ability to shoot targets at 25 yards using sights sadly seems to provide little or no advantage in close combat. Nor are there recorded instances where an officer required a reload in close combat. When reloads do occur, there is no immediate threat to the officer’s safety and the perpetrator has usually barricaded himself in a defensive posture. A study by Etten and Petee (l995) showed that neither large capacity magazines nor the ability to reload quickly was a factor in shootings.

Speed reloads at short ranges just don’t happen, and practicing paper punching at long ranges using sights appears to prepare one for short range conflict to the same degree it prepares one for using flying insect spray. (Hitting an annoying yellow jacket buzzing a picnic table without spraying the guests or the food might be better practice for combat than long range paper punching. So might a plain old-fashioned water pistol fight.)

In the FWIW department, of 250 NYPD police officers killed in the line of duty in the years 1854-1979 there was only one instance where it could be determined an officer was slain at a distance of over 25 feet ~ by a sniper 125 feet away. Of the 250 fatal encounters, 92% took place under fifteen feet and 96.4% under 25 feet. In the remaining eight instances the distance was unknown.

But how do I qualify at 75 feet without sights?

If you hold the LWS pistol at a 45-degree angle semi-gangsta style there is a groove formed that can be used as a sighting toolThe 25 yard shooting proficiency test for carry qualification required by many issuing authorities is absurd. It’s a request to perform a feat that would land you in jail if you ever tried to perform it “in self-defense.”It’s like passing a driver’s test that requires you to slalom between traffic cones at 120 miles an hour. Seventy-five feet shooting proficiency is not too much to ask from a police officer who may be firing at a barricaded target, as the ability to drive at high speeds is not too much to ask from a Trooper pursuing a fleeing vehicle, but it’s ridiculous to ask it of civilians. Shoot an “assailant” at 75 feet. Then try to find a lawyer good enough to keep you out of prison.On the one hand the law demands that you use deadly force only when you are in danger of serious bodily injury or your life is threatened. On the other hand they demand that you have the ability to commit a long-range homicide with a firearm before they give you that right.

Using sights at shorter ranges invites problems

In order to use sights a shooter has to put at least one hand in front of their face. This obstructs the view behind the hand they have placed there. When the focus is on the upper torso of the threatening individual, the lower portion of that person is partially or completely hidden from view by this deliberately chosen visual obstruction. The closer the target, the greater is the degree of visual impairment that may cause the shooter to fail to recognize potentially important information below the sight picture.

Statistics show pistol sights generally go out the window once shooting starts; however, this does not mean sights are not used prior to the commencement of hostilities. We can see on reality TV police programs numerous instances where officers in a Weaver stance point guns at suspects who are in absurdly close proximity to them.

With both hands in front of one’s face, one is less able to recognize whether a possible threat is reaching for a gun or a wallet when the landscape below the target area is blocked from view. One might perceive movement but one cannot see what is being moved. There is no doubt in my mind accidental shootings of unarmed individuals have in many instances been caused by sight shoot training, in which a trained focus on a clear sight picture leaves one necessarily with an incomplete view of the important overall scenario.

The potential hazard of losing perspective of the complete picture of the environment is well illustrated by American Matthew Emmons. He lost what appeared to be a safe Gold medal in the 2004 Olympics by shooting, with great accuracy, holes in his neighbor’s target. Overmuch concentration on the bull’s eye, which can be achieved with sights that exclude distracting but possibly important stimuli, may assist in hitting what one is aiming to hit but it can do so at the great cost of making an improper choice of target.

Suggestions for achieving proficiency

Other than range practice of point shooting at realistic combat distances (under fifteen feet), here’s what you can do to achieve proficiency, making sure you are using an unloaded pistol:

  1. Dry fire the pistol to get acquainted with the trigger pull. Dryfiring will not hurt the LWS. Slow deliberate dry firing will helpyou get acquainted with the pull, but make it a snappy pull once youget the feel because you’ll never use the slow pull to defendyourself. (Please keep in mind ‘unloaded’ guns are probablyresponsible for most accidental shootings, so never under anycircumstances point the pistol at any living thing or something youare not prepared to suffer the consequences of shooting.)
  2. Repeatedly pick up the pistol and point it towards a targetwithout looking at the gun. Holding the gun in that position, bringyour eyes down to examine whether the position of the gun lines upwith the target. As much as you can, keep your arm straight withoutallowing it to interfere with your vision. A straight arm makes formore accurate pointing. (The pocket slipper laser aimer is also agood training tool for getting you on target. If a threat arises youshould not be thinking of the pistol, which should become anextension of yourself, but on the threat that faces you.)

Most of those who buy pistols for self defense shoot infrequently. At the distance at which handguns are likely to be used for self-defense this doesn’t bother me as much as it perhaps should. Who doesn’t have a shotgun or some other weapon stashed away, seldom or never used, that they wouldn’t hesitate to bring center stage if there was a forced house entry. People who buy pepper spray and Mace don’t normally feel the need to practice a thousand squirts to feel comfortable they can hit an assailant. And, as mentioned, the studies seem to show little practical benefit from long distance range practice. I’d rather go up against a target shooter than an individual who plays occasional paintball.

Sorry for the long excerpt, but you needed it all. (To their recommendations for proficiency, we’d add that practicing with a laser round has absolutely helped us with first round snap shots from our DA CZ P-01). In fact, the FAQ is a perfect illustration of how a small company that lets its character shine through can thrive in a forest of huge competitors: go Read The Whole Thing™. WeaponsMan.com will still be here when you’re done chuckling, and learning, and calling your dealer to order a Seecamp. (Bear in mind, it’s a bunch more money than a Kel-Tec or Ruger LCP. Think of it as self-defense jewelry).

Seecamp also links to this comparison size chart (.pdf) of in-production small-caliber defensive guns, and to some other comparative-sizing tools (linked below).

The first Seecamps were not original guns, but were double-action .45 conversions made in the 1970s. They were unique in that they were a DA conversion of the 1911 that looked good and worked well. As custom guns, they were premium priced for the day. About 2000 of these were made, and they all are now, along with a few hundred limited early “Restricted” and “Special” editions, the holy grail of Seecamp collectors. Yes, we said Seecamp collectors. Can you spot the .45 in this photo by Seecamp collector and expert John Dommer?

The first original Seecamp was the LWS-25, which has been out of production but was reintroduced at SHOT, to the delight of all of us fans of the tiny but admittedly weak caliber. Building on the mechanism of the rare (in the US) CZ-36 and CZ-45 pocket pistol, Larry Seecamp produced a small, reliable, high-quality pocket pistol.

The major parts of the Seecamp pistols are machined investment castings of 404 stainless; there are some stainless stampings and turnings, and the magazines are made, also of 404 but of sheet in this case, by a trusted subcontractor (complete details are on Seecamp’s website). The website says this about the pistol’s design:

We have been making the basic design essentially unchanged except for caliber upgrades since about 1981. The pistol is a traditional CZ 45 type double action only design with one notable feature. The pistol’s magazine safety is unusual in that when the magazine is removed, not only is the trigger blocked but also the slide cannot be pulled to the rear far enough to allow the hand loading of a round. As with other designs, applying pressure to the trigger while removing the magazine can deactivate the magazine safety function and so the finger should always be away from the trigger when this is done.

The .32 and .380 have some different internals from each other and the .25, but all three are the same size. Almost 40 years later, the late Larry Seecamp’s original design continues to be size- and feature-competitive with modern pocket pistols. When initially introduced, the Seecamps were smaller and lighter than other .32s and .380s, but the advent of new products, like the North American Arms’ Guardians and the Kel-Tec P-32, means Seecamp is now playing in a crowded market. Seecamp helpfully provides a comparison chart (.pdf) of several small DA pocket pistols’s dimensions, and a set of overlay photos that show a solid LWS pistol and various shadowed competitors. It also links an independent chart / poster of practically every current production .32 or .380 with dimensions.

Of course, the downside of a powerful pistol in a very small form factor is that it’s not a joy to shoot, with prodigious noise and blast, but that’s true for the whole class of guns, not just the Seecamp or any one of them.

There’s even a California edition which has passed CA and MA testing in .32, and is hoped will pass soon in .380. It adds a trigger-block safety, which gun designers Kamala Harris and Maura Healey demanded. (Can we get a, “Heil Healey!” from the serried ranks?)

In addition to the website, a far more informative website than one usually encounters in pocket-pistol world, Seecamp also supports an engaging forum well stocked with enthusiasts and experts in this small American pocket pistol. The website hasn’t been updated to show the reintroduction of the .25 yet, but they’re already showing up at dealers.

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.