Category Archives: Pistols and Revolvers

Kyle Defoor’s Range Gun “Inventory”

For the last week-plus, top instructor Kyle Defoor has been posting his “inventory” on his Instagram account, one a day. Our Traveling Reporter, a Defoor trainee and admirer, if not outright fan, has been linking them to us, one a day, and we’ve been waiting to assemble them and give you a single overview. Here it is; this is what’s in a single top instructor’s battery these days.

His training battery comprises eight guns, some used frequently and some for special purposes. There are four ARs (all BCM, which he endorses), two Glocks, one bolt rifle (Remington 700), and one DA/SA pistol (SIG 229 Elite). For each one, he painstakingly records the details down to the scope mount and slings and holsters, and he answers some reader questions, so for any gun that interests you, go to the linked Instagram page.

The AR Rifles

They’re all from BCM, with whom Defoor is in a committed relationship, as they say. BCM also provides the iron sights for those rifles that have ’em, and Viking Tactics (VTAC) the slings. There are a selection of calibers and lengths for specific purposes.

The most-used AR is this 11.5″ 5.56 mm Short Barrel Rifle (SBR), which is used 18-20 weeks a year for both military and civilian contracts.

The accessories include interchangeable red-dot and scope optics in Bobro mounts (Aimpoint Micro T1 and US Optics SR4-C respectively), the Streamlight Protac Rail 1 with an Arisaka Defense light mount, and a Gemtech flashhider for use with the G5T. The US Optics scope is their short-range 1-4 variable, which is presently off the market as the company overhauls its short-range line; its nearest military issue equivalent is the Elcan Spectre DR, which is not continuously variable. The SR4-C is an ingenious design, with a mil reticle (several options) on the first focal plane, which keeps the mils accurate with magnification, and a 4-moa red dot on the second focal plane. (There is an excellent five-part review of this scope at the Austin Police Marksmanship Team blog. Begin with Part 2 if you’re in a hurry; Part 1 is the justification for using a scope on a patrol carbine. Then click the left arrow to read subsequent parts).

Used 18-20 weeks a year for military contractcs and for some civilian carbine classes. My scope and Aimpoint share the same mounting slot on my top rail for ease of switching depending on what the customer wants.

Note that this is the baseline AR of a pro, and it’s run on an XM177-length barrel, probably suppressed more often than not. That’s a reflection of what’s happening in special operations units, not just in the US military, but worldwide.

Here’s a longer-barreled 5.56 AR used about 6 weeks a year for military and civilian scoped rifle classes. The barrel is 16″ stainless steel with 1/8 twist rifling and a mid-length gas system. The scope is a US Optics variable 1.8-10 power in a Bobro mount.

The Gemtech suppressor he uses with this rifle is the G5T; the rest of the accessories are the same as his other ARs.

Here’s a baseline .300 Blackout gun.  It’s got a 9″ button-rifled barrel. This one is used a few times a year for “specialized military contracts,” and is set up with a Gemtech flash hider for The One silencer.

What seems to be “the usual” KD4 accessories: BCM flip-up sights; VTAC Sling;  Aimpoint Micro T1 on a Bobro Mount; Streamlight Protac Rail 1 with an Arisaka Defense light mount. One thing this carbine has got that the others haven’t is a cleaning rod secured to the rail with zip ties.

And finally, this one’s just for hunting. It’s a 16″ .300 Blackout rifle with a 1/8 button-rifled stainless barrel, and has similar accessories to the other ARs.

The scope is the US Optics variable 1-4 power Dual Focal Plane on (what else?) Bobro. Kyle says he uses it to take deer, coyote and wild boar.

The Precision Rifle

This rifle is a modified Remington 700 with a 7.62mm NATO 20″ 1/10 heavy barrel, threaded for use with the Gemtech Sandstorm suppressor.

The mods/accessories include: a KRG stock and bolt lift; VTAC Sling; US Optics 1.8-10 variable power scope, with the Horus H25 reticle, mounted in Badger rings; and the ubiquitous bipod from Harris Engineering. Defoor uses it for military contracts 4 weeks a year.

I can’t express how happy I am with the KRG stock. It makes a stock 700 about .5 MOA tighter throughout the spectrum of the caliber compared to an OEM buttstock and is LIGHT! The weight thing matters when I’m humping long distances for FTX’s and evals. Additionally, KRG has accessories that are smart, lightweight, easy to install, don’t cost an arm and a leg and work WELL! This is expected from KRG since their owner is a mil snipe with experience like myself. I have no affiliation with KRG but if you’re in the market for anything bolt gun you should give them a look before they take off and get super busy,

Listen up to that recommendation, precision shooters: Defoor has a pretty good track record at flagging the Next Cool Thing before it gets cool.

The Pistols

The fundamental pistol of Defoor’s battery is the G4 Glock 19.

His regular carry gun is used for almost all classes, and apart from his own sights and his (Raven Eidolon) or Safariland holster, the only thing not stock Glock is the barrel, a KKM.

I’ve been using match barrels in Glock pistols for over 10 years now. I started using KKM’s somewhere around 2010 or 11 — long before it become the popular barrel of choice it is now. I also used Wilson combat match barrels for Glocks back when you had to fit them. I prefer hand fitting a barrel because I can make it even more accurate.

But he recommends you be in no rush to replace the barrel:

I tell everyone my opinion is to shoot the Glock pistol stock and wait to get a match barrel when you notice groups starting to open up a bit. In my experience this happen somewhere between 80 and 100,000 rounds.

In case you were wondering why Tier 1 units that shoot obsessively day in and day out went to the Glock, a lot of the answer is packed into that paragraph above. He also points out that the match barrel is match, not magic:

A match barrel will not help you magically shoot better all of the sudden. All it does is hone good fundamentals a little more. The average difference that I have measured over tens of thousands of shooters between a stock barrel and a match barrel at 25 yards on an NRA B-8 bull is somewhere between 3-4 points or around an inch tighter- both of these metrics are with a 10 round group from the standing unsupported position.

For about four weeks a year, for certain military contracts, he uses this older G2 G19, set up with a very unusual sight: an Aimpoint Micro on a Raven Concealment Balor mount. This one has had fewer rounds through it and still has a Glock barrel.

Sometimes he’ll just mount this slide on a G19 frame that allows a weaponlight or weapon laser. Same holsters; but he has some interesting observations on the Aimpoint vs. the more common pistol red dot, the Trijicon RMR.

If you want to go the route of a red dot on a pistol using an Aimpoint Micro will give you faster results in performance than an RMR. This is due to the Aimpoint being a tube and an RMR being a flat plane red dot. I’ve had great success and starting people off with a set up like this and then transitioning them to an RMR later.

I’ve assembled dozens of guns like this one for people who are older and whose eyesight just does not allow them to shoot irons affectively anymore — it’s amazing to see the reaction of people when they can shoot and perform the way they did 40 or 50 years ago. The Micro is definitely harder to conceal and will require some adjustments of clothing and belt type, along with a quality holster like mine. Safari land 6000 series holsters can be easily modified with a Dremel to hold this set up and still maintain retention. There are multiple reasons for MIL/LE to use this setup, although I recommend to all of our clients to issue two slides; one setup like this and one with traditional sights.

Sounds like we need one of these, or a trip back to the eye surgeon. (May not be an option. Our guy, the brilliant Dr Jack Daubert of West Palm Beach, has unfortunately had to retire).

Finally, there’s the SIG 229 Elite, which is used with organizations that use SIGs, or other DA/SA guns rather than striker-fired, and that don’t have a loaner gun for Defoor to use himself while conducting training.

Nothing magical here, just a pistol. About the only unusual thing here is that he got Raven to make him a one-off holster for the gun.

I also will sometimes use this when I’m training units that shoot a Berretta 92 when they can’t supply me with one (I don’t own a 92).

And that wraps up one instructor’s training and defensive battery. Instead of having many guns (either in quantity or in battery) he has stuck to basic platforms, and plowed his efforts into training instead. There’s a lesson in that if we want to pick up on it.

Update

This post has been corrected. Kyle’s main go-to Glock 19 is a G4, not a G3 as we erroneously reported. We regret the error. -Ed.

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.

Consider the Double Action Auto

We’re adherents of the DA auto (by which we mean the DA/SA pistol), although we gave striker-fired (Glock) a shot. Over the last nearly 40 (wow) years, we’ve daily-carried Walther P.38, Beretta M9 and M92, and the CZ-75 (pre B) and CZ P-01, with some use of small-caliber Walther, Browning and CZ pistols for summer wear.

Ernest Langdon, a former Marine Scout Sniper instructor, is an adherent of DA/SA and particularly Beretta as well, at least partly because Beretta employs him! He can shoot better than most of us, and he makes a good case for the DA autopistol, in an interesting article at Recoil (which has come a long way from its antigun gun magazine days).

He also has a lot of advice about how to shoot it well. 

One of the first things to learn is trigger finger placement. The double action trigger pull often requires the shooter to put more trigger finger on or past the trigger than you would with a 1911-type single action. When learning to pull a double action trigger, try sticking more trigger finger in and past the trigger, providing more leverage for you to pull the trigger straight to the rear. Test this in dry fire, with the goal of the hammer falling with no movement of your sight picture at all.

The key is to pull through the double action trigger at a constant speed. It can be very fast, but it needs to be consistent. The trap that many DA Auto shooters fall into is trying to finish the DA pull by speeding up at the end. We start to pull the trigger smoothly and consistently, and then try to accelerate at the end of the pull to finish and get to the shot. For proper double-action trigger control, you want to focus on stroking the trigger. Keep a constant, consistent speed.

Real success with a DA gun comes from combining the presentation of the pistol, aiming the gun, and pulling the trigger at the same time.

It’s our own observation that, when you don’t have time to prepare your sidearm and must engage from the draw, you’re most often at contact range, and the DA trigger pull is the least of your problems. When you do have time it’s nice to be able to cock the hammer. We have pistols that allow that and some pistols that don’t because they’re DAO. But there are some pistols on the market that do, technically, allow you to cock the hammer by hand, but make it awkward to do. If you have time to set up for a shot, go ahead and set up for the shot.

That said, Langdon is right about DA trigger pull. Yes, it is longer and heavier, and it can make you miss — especially if you get frustrated that it’s not like the SA pull and jerk on it. But a well-designed DA trigger can be fast, steady and smooth and not disrupt your sight picture. And the SA pull on most DA/SA guns is better than the trigger on most striker-fireds, ceteris paribus.

This next consideration is one we hadn’t thought of.

One of the key features in a DA Auto is where the trigger pull breaks. The point at which the trigger breaks in double action mode and single action mode should be as close as possible. This allows you to train your trigger finger to go back to the same spot to release the trigger and cause the gun to fire, whether in double action or single action. Some DA autos release the hammer in double action mode at a much earlier point in the trigger pull than in single action mode. This causes an excessive amount of overtravel in double action and makes the shooter hunt for the trigger prep point in single action. I believe this makes it much harder to learn to shoot well with such a handgun.

Or as one of his photo captions tells it:

One reason Langdon favors the Beretta 92 is that the positions at which the trigger breaks in double action and single action modes are very close.

Hmmm. That makes us want to dig out the trigger gage and look at where the trigger breaks DA and SA on a cross-section of DA pistols.

One of the reasons I’ve chosen to run the Beretta 92 platform is that I feel it has the best double action pull and the closest release points for both double action and single action trigger pulls.

Well, yeah, and they pay him. There is that (grin).

In his new book, Gun Guy, Bill Wilson, president and owner of Wilson Combat says, “If you look where the trigger is when the hammer falls on a Beretta, the trigger is in basically the same place double- and single-action. When you come back to the trigger for the second shot, the trigger is in the same place. You don’t have to search for it. That’s why you can transition from double to single so easily with a Beretta.” There are also many other great DA Autos out there in many different sizes, shapes, and calibers.

Thought-provoking stuff — go Read The Whole Thing™.

Now, with both Wilson and Langdon praising the Beretta, we definitely have to A/B the 92/M9 and the CZs and whatever other odds and ends we have laying about.

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

Persistence of “Obsolete” Gun Designs: 5 Reasons

At a very well-stocked gun shop, the most expensive new firearm might be a Barrett .50 or a TrackingPoint precision guided weapon. But it might not. It might very well be a European trap or hunting shotgun, a well-decorated and supremely finished, but technologically simple double-barrel over-and-under, with lockwork a 19th Century gunsmith would have recognized.

A Luciano Bosis ‘Michelangelo’ 12-bore shotgun. From the Bosis website.

For about $600 a buyer can take home the latest high-tech defensive pistol, or for about the same price a basic clone of the high-tech defensive pistol of 1911. He’s well armed either way, but why has technology marched on in the pistol world, but stood still on the shotguns used by bird busters (of the meat and clay variety alike)?

Any rifle problem in the world from rimfire plinking to open-range elk hunting has a version of the AR that can conceivably be applied to it. But hunters still buy lots of bolt-action rifles, with bolts that owe their basic design to the 19th Century efforts of Mauser in Oberndorf.

Indeed, here in New England, the single-shot break-action firearm continues to hang on in the market; new production continues.

The firearms market, then, is unlike other markets. In 1960 only a few car models sold in the United States came with automatic transmission standard; by 1970, air conditioning was in that market position, by 1980 electronic fuel injection… but these technologies are nearly universal now. Why do “obsolete” firearms actions persist and thrive in a market that has seen centuries of innovation? Why does the innovative product take its place alongside the venerable one, and not replace it?

Here are some thoughts.

  1. In some cases, the innovative product does replace the venerable one. Consider the police revolver. 30 years ago, a mainstay of industry magazine publishers was “revolver vs. automatic for police.” Nowadays, if you brought that article to your editor, he or she would suggest you need your head examined. Many agencies don’t let a cop carry a revolver, any more, even off duty.

    One of Colt’s best loved guns isn’t even made anymore.

  2. The gun buyer is inherently conservative. It’s much easier to sell a driver on the benefits of fuel injection than it is to sell a hunter who’s perfectly happy with his .30-30 on the benefits of a funny-looking plastic and alloy semiauto. (This also hurts European makers who tend to make guns that “look funny” to Americans. Think HK’s hunting rifles of the 80s and 90s).
  3. There is a draw to history in old-fashioned firearms. We double-dog dare you to pick up a Colt SAA and not think about the Old West (even if the Old West of public memory was mostly the creation of dime novels and moviemakers). Ditto, a 1911 and World War II. For many in the shooting sports, the draw to history is personal and familial. If you were the unloved grandson who didn’t inherit Gramps’s Winchester 64, you pine for one; this seems especially true for bird hunters, almost all of whom were introduced to the sport by family.
  4. Sometimes you’re tied by rules. Nobody’s going to get to use a Saiga shotgun in a trapshoot this year. Some states’ hunting laws ban semiauto or detachable-mag-fed semi weapons, on the theory that they promote snap shooting and bad sportsmanship.
  5. Sometimes the older design is perfectly fit for the task. Evolution stops because it has reached a plateau or point of equilibrium (just as evolution of living things is currently thought to do, between incidences of salutary mutation). While many jurisdictions’ regulations restrict hunting weapon magazine capacity, there’s little impetus to change these laws because the game gets a vote, too, and it tends not to stick around when the guns open up. Hunting upland game birds, two shots is often one more than you can practically get off when the birds flush, and two is pretty much the limit. Same with bolts and hunting of ground game. Doesn’t matter if you’re belt-fed, one shot and Bambi is outa there. Likewise, if there is a better gun to teach a beginner the rudiments of safety and shooting than a break-action, exposed-hammer single shot, we surely can not think of what it is.

We’re “thinking out loud,” here, and there might be more than five reasons. We’re most partial to #5 of the explanations above. But you’re welcome to shoot holes in this theory. Are there other guns than the police revolver that have become eclipsed in living memory? The .25 Auto, perhaps… what else?

What Can You Do With Two Deringers?

Well, what can you do with them?

  1. Hang them on the wall;
  2. Lock them in a safe deposit box;
  3. Stage duels with your friends (?); or,
  4. Assassinate President Lincoln — twice.

OK, that was in pretty bad taste, but the gun the President was murdered with was a sibling to this set, from the same Philadelphia gunsmith, Henry Deringer. The Booth gun — which was probably also one of a pair, originally — was very similar to these, but more up-market, inlaid with silver.

This rare pair is for sale by Ancestry Guns, LLC, in Columbia Missouri, via GunBroker. One wonders what stories they could tell about their travels between Henry Deringer’s Philadelphia premises almost two centuries ago and their current way station in Columbia, but whatever travels they have had don’t seem to have done their appearance any harm.

They’re remarkably well-preserved, well-finished little guns. In the side views above, the octagonal profile of the barrels isn’t obvious, but you can see it below.

As Holt Bodnson wrote in Guns magazine, “The contours of Deringer’s barrels are complex and pleasing to the eye.” 

The very limited corrosion around the lock and the nipple suggests that the members of this pair were very seldom fired. Lock and barrel are both marked with Deringer’s name and city, over 100 years before this became a legal requirement. It was, instead, a mark of the maker’s pride.

That pride paid off as many smiths and shops copied the Deringer pocket pistol, but to avoid a trademark lawsuit misspelled the name, “derringer.” Thus Henry gave his name, with the insertion of an extra “r”, to be applied to any small pocket pistol with one or two barrels.

The Booth Deringer, abandoned in the theater box at Ford’s Theater by the assassin.

As it happens, the Booth Deringer in the possession of the National Park Service — a very similar pistol to this pair — was the subject of an FBI investigation in the 1990s, due to charges that sometime in the 1960s, a Boston burglar pilfered the pistol and placed a ringer Deringer in the place of the original.

One hundred and thirty-two years after the death of Lincoln, this pistol was again an item of interest in Washington, DC. In June 1997, the U. S. Park Police and the National Park Service contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation with a request for assistance in examining the Deringer pistol used by John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The authenticity of the pistol, which is displayed at the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site in Washington, DC, was drawn into question during the adjudication of a New England estate belonging to a member of a burglary ring that operated throughout the northeastern United States between the late 1960s and the early 1980s. Members of this ring had allegedly replaced the original Booth pistol with a replica pistol in the late 1960s, at which time the security system at Ford’s Theatre was much less sophisticated than that in place today. Curatorial records of the Booth pistol were unable to resolve the issue of authenticity, and the FBI Laboratory was subsequently assigned to determine beyond a reasonable doubt whether the Deringer pistol displayed at Ford’s Theatre is the same pistol pictured in historical photographs pre-dating the 1960s.

The FBI’s forensic experts ultimately concluded that the pistol in the hands of the Park Service in 1997 was the exact same pistol as the one photographed circa 1930, and the burglar had been lying. (It may be that the burglary ring was really a fraud ring, and sold some unscrupulous collector a faked Booth Deringer. You can’t con an honest man, they say). Do Read The Whole Thing™ at the FBI Archives, because you’ll also get a refresher in the Lincoln assassination, and a capsule history of Henry Deringer’s guns, of which this is an excerpt:

The Deringer pocket pistol achieved its greatest popularity during the mid-1850s and was a favorite of civilians seeking a compact, easily concealed firearm for use in personal defense. Although the Deringer pistol was somewhat limited by its single-shot capacity, its light weight and small size gave it a distinct advantage over bulkier, unconcealable alternatives, and the limitations of its firing capacity could be circumvented by carrying two pistols, which were sold as pairs for approximately $22 to $25 during that time period. The Deringer pistol’s ubiquity, success, and infamy as a deadly weapon is apparent in its association with a number of prominent California murders that took place during the 1850s, as well as its later use in the assassination of President Lincoln. The latter homicide ensured the permanent notoriety of the Deringer pistol while simultaneously finalizing the incorporation of the word “derringer” into the American lexicon as a common noun denoting a concealable, short-barreled nonautomatic pistol. Notably, the use of the noun Deringer refers to a pistol manufactured by Henry Deringer, whereas the use of the noun derringer (sometimes spelled Derringer) refers to a pocket pistol of any make.

As the Deringer firearms were each hand-made, there might have been profound consequences forensically:

Because each paired set of Deringer pistols included a bullet mold specific to the caliber of the two matching pistols, loss of this mold virtually precluded the proper fit of ammunition for the paired set.

Unfortunately, the forensic scientists were disappointed to learn that the bullet removed from the brain of President Lincoln had corroded in the intervening 132 years, to the point that they could draw no direct conclusions confirming the bullet as fired from the Booth gun.

Now, this pair of Deringers comes without that important bullet mold, but since they don’t seem to have been fired much (if at all) in the last 150 or so years, it would be rather unwise to shoot them. Particularly with the starting bid set at $7,500.

3d Printed 1911 ( in .22LR Caliber)

It’s been a long time since we’ve done any kind of 3d Printed Guns update, and things are still proceeding at a staggering rate, with lots of interesting gun designs and also a real explosion of accessories.

However, here’s something everyone seems to have been anticipating: a working 3DP M1911. Except… it’s only working in .22, so far, it’s not working 100%, and as we’ll see it took several iterations to get there.  The developer goes by the name MBA Firearms. This is the current iteration:

In an Imgur album, the poster says this:

Here it is, the FIRST EVER 3D-printed 22lr semiautomatic pistol. These 1911 models were printed, assembled and test-fired by MBA. There are many firsts with this gun. This design is still in development but improvements are being made.

It’s not a very high round-count gun yet.

95rounds of .22lr through the latest model. Getting light primer strikes about 1/3rd of the time because I lightened up the mainspring too much.

Several different materials were used on developmental frames.  The upper is a .22 Kimber conversion kit. 

Changing to 910 reduced warping of the rails. The warping was partly due to the weight of the mainspring. Tests with 15# spring worked well but was obviously to light leading to light primer strikes. More testing will be done with 16# and 17# spring later which are ready to go.

The reference to 910 is to Taulman 910 nylon filament (the spool is visible). It’s strong stuff, but needs to be kept dry aggressively as possible, and may need higher temps that some printers prefer.

This image above shows the characteristic layering of 3D printing on consumer printers. The next picture shows four of the test frames. The one that’s built up into the gun is made of Taulman 910.  The white one is made of ABS. The ones that have “attached” grips actually had the grips molded in as part of the pistol.

This is the first functioning 1911 we’re aware of, to have been built on a consumer 3D printer. As such, it is a milestone of considerable significance.

Here’s the initial design and test-firing video.

And here’s a follow-up with more test firing. Better, but still not reliable.

A Little More on the ICE P320 Buy

It looks like lots of people read WeaponsMan.com, albeit sometimes second-hand.

Several other forums also picked the story up.

The Arms Guide story had significant bits of their own reporting in it, notably these parts:

ICE recently completed the contract with Sig delivering the .40 cal SIG 229R DAK.  DHS (with ICE, Secret Service and Coast Guard using Sigs) was the largest customer Sig had in the world. There was widespread discontent among ICE agents with the large grips, weight, snappy recoil and heavy DAK trigger on the 229.

ICE agents have told TAG that the current and very unpopular Director of the Office of of Firearms and Tactical Programs (OFTP) is retiring soon.  He may be looking to give Sig a big contract on his way out the door to get a job with Sig on the other side. Let’s hope this isn’t true, and that if it is, the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility is monitoring the situation.

Most likely P320 size for the contract is the Compact. Grip frames and palm swells are interchangeable to fit many different hands.

Two Collector Firearms: One You Can’t Buy, and One You Probably Can’t

Let’s start with the one you probably can’t buy. It’s an amnesty-registered World War II STG44 or MP44, with the usual late-war blend of blued, phosphated and in-the-white parts.

Here’s a couple of overviews of it.

You will not find a more historical 20th Century firearm, apart from one associated with a particular individual. For this is the creation that spawned the name and the category “assault rifle.”

The description reads:

STG-44 MP44 WWII bring back w/amnesty paperwork copy included in sale. this is a true unmolested survivor!! Everything origial, mint bore. Stock was serialized to gun receiver. Bolt and op-rod do not show any numbers. Also included is the original take down tool and magazine loader. We test fired this gun and it ran flawless!!!! We own it, it is in our inventory/hands.

The reason for the last sentence is simple: a lot of Class III dealers are “selling” stuff they’re merely brokering. So these guys (Recon Ordnance of Wisconsin) want serious buyers to know that they can get started on transfer paperwork straightaway once money changes hands.

So, if it’s for sale on GunBroker, why can’t you buy it? Probably, because you’re not in the market for a $32,000 gun. Yep, it’s a no-reserve auction, but that’s the minimum bid. You’d think they’d at least throw in a couple of spare magazines.

Even the hand-scratched serial number adds to this StG’s vintage appeal. But… well… $32k.

Then, there’s the one you definitely can’t buy. This is a Roth-Steyr Repetierpistole M.07, a major arm of the Austro-Hungarian forces in World War I. Partially designed by Karel Krnka, this had the distinction of being the first automatic pistol adopted by a major power, a year before Prussia and Germany followed suit with the Pistole 08 Parabellum.

This particular example is not in the best condition that collectors love, but it’s still a collector piece, still wearing its original unit disc which identifies it as Pistol 73 of (we believe the 2nd, not 11th) Landwehr Regiment. The Landwehr was an organized reserve much like today’s American National Guard.

So why can’t you buy it? Because it was taken in a gun “buyback” in Cleveland last year and destroyed as follows:

… placed into the No. 1 Basic Oxygen Furnace iron ladle and … melted by approximately 200 tons of molten iron, at temperatures of about 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. The molten iron, along with the scraps, were charged in the basic oxygen furnace to make steel which will eventually be used to manufacture cars, household appliances and other goods.

Cleveland’s Police Chief, Calvin Williams, blames guns like this and the collectors that normally trade them — ammunition for this firearm hasn’t been a mass-production item since 1944 — for crime in his city. Meanwhile, he didn’t have the back of his own cops in a 2015 incident, leading beleaguered and unsupported Cleveland cops to “go fetal” as cops in so many other cities have done, and has led to exploding homicide statistics over the last two years.

Cleveland homicides took off when Chief Williams and other leaders embraced the Black Criminals’ Lives Matter movement in 2015. 2016 isn’t over yet, but had tied 2015’s bag limit of 120 before Thanksgiving. Not one of them was shot with an 8mm Steyr round, oddly enough.

Hat tip, the irreplaceable Dean Weingarten, who wrote:

Gems like the Roth Steyr are routinely found at gun “buy backs”. They are not found in quantity, but they are found. All the more reason for private buyers to monitor these gun turn-ins, and to rescue the valuable items from the smelter.

Williams and his senior managers studiously avoid addressing the real problem in Cleveland — urban gang violence, which occasionally spills over to claim truly innocent victims — and the weak, soft prosecutors and judges that condemn good people to death annually because they’re so solicitous of the feelings of bad people. Cleveland’s homicide detectives do a great job of finding these guys, once they kill. And in almost every case, the guy has a previous violent or gun offense that ought to have had him locked up.

But why address the crime problem when you can melt down an evil deodand from the Hapsburg Empire?

Two ex-Yugoslavian Pistol Families

While most people associated CZ with the Česká Zbrojovka, specifically, these days, with CZ-UB (as the original CZ trademarks have traveled around a little), occasionally you’ll see a CZ that is not a CZ. One of these is the CZ-99 (and its successor, the CZ-999). These pistols were not produced by a Czech firm at all, but by the former Yugoslav firm Zastava Arms (formerly Cervena Zastava) in Kragujevac, Serbia.

The CZ-99 was intended to be the Model 1989 of the Yugoslav Army. Instead, soon after production began, the country went out of business. According to legend, the gun got the CZ-99 moniker in the United States because of a typo on an ATF form (99 for 89) and hopes of exploiting the public’s goodwill towards the CZ-75 and its successors.

Only a handful were imported before a 2003 embargo on Serbian goods, but the Serbian sanctions have since been lifted and exportation to the USA resumed.

It has a modified SIG manual of arms. Modified in that it has no manual safety, and the slide stop and decocker functions are combines. A single catch works as slide stop and (when the slide is forward) decocker.

The CZ-99 has been replaced, and its successor, available now, is the CZ-999. It retains the CZ-99’s modified SIG manual of arms.

The pistol is available in 9mm and .40 S&W calibers, and (internationally, at least) in several different sizes. The latest variant is the EZ, in EZ9 and EZ40 models for those two calibers and in three sizes from concealment to service pistol. It appears to be the same as the C999, with the addition of a light rail.

Zastava in Kragujevac was long Yugoslavia’s and then Serbia’s state armory, and makes all calibers and types of small arms. According to Zastava’s website, its products are imported by Century to the United States, but none of Zastava’s pistols are listed in Century’s 2016 catalog.

Slovenia != Serbia, Rex != Zastava

A pistol that is sometimes identified as a CZ-99 derivative, but seems to be a closer copy of the SIG P22x series, is the Rex Zero One. The Rex is made by Arex, a Slovenian defense company that is, as far as we know, unrelated to Zastava’s pistol. Here, the imitation of the SIG operating system is more exact. There is a slide-mounted safety which is the one ambi control (the mag release is reportedly reversible). Instead of the ambidextrous slide stop/decocker lever, used on the CZ-99 and its derivatives, the Rex has this lever on the left side only.

While it looks like a SIG, it isn’t. It’s its own thing. To the best of our knowledge, no SIG parts interchange. The Rex appears to be well-made. It sells at a similar price point to other alloy-framed SA/DA pistols from Europe, although availability of spares is nil at this time.

These are all fairly unusual pistols in the USA at this time. Despite their rarity, collector interest is just about nil. These are potential carry guns if priced reasonably, you can get sufficient magazines, and you can make yours fit a SIG holster or have a custom holster made. These things are enough of a pain in the neck that you start to see why someone might throw in the odd-gun towel and get a Glock, when you can get spare mags and holsters seemingly everywhere.