HGR 059 - 2014 New Guns & Pistol-Caliber Carbines

Hello and welcome to Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wilds of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world.

This week is a solo show! I’m going to discuss some of the stuff I saw that really intrigued me at the 2014 Augusta Gun Show I attended this past weekend, as well as some thoughts I had on pistol-caliber carbines!

Brought to you by the Firearms Radio Network

Since the episode is pretty much a week in review itself, we are going to head right into the main topic, the Augusta Gun Show and Pistol Caliber Carbines!

Listener Question: Why Don’t Cops Shoot People In The Leg?:

With recent events in Missouri, I have had a couple listeners email me genuinely asking “Why don’t cops just shoot people in the leg rather than the chest? Why do they always have to go for a killing shot?” I am not going to comment specifically on the events in Missouri, because that is not a discussion for this show. However, I have heard the same question posed from many media channels and political commentators, etc. I DO want to address the misunderstanding regarding why cops do not take leg shots. It is my belief ( and I do believe many Law Enforcement Officers, as well as defensive shooting experts would agree with me) that cops do NOT take leg shots because it is STILL using deadly force. Shooting at another human being is never considered a “non-lethal” action. A gunshot wound, no matter where it is, always brings with it the very real possibility of a fatality. Cops are heavily trained to only use lethal force when there is imminent danger to themselves or others and there are no other options available. Violent encounters are extremely rapid and oftentimes the presented circumstances do not allow for the deployment of a Taser or Pepper Spray (both of which may or may not be effective in stopping the attack.) Law Enforcement Officers often must make a split-second decision to use deadly force and even then, gunshot wounds do not sometimes stop determined attackers. Shooting them in the leg just to get them to “stop” may not be effective, and may allow for the attacker to continue their assault, potentially killing the officer or an innocent bystander. Also, we do not want to get into the mindset of “Oh well he’s only doing XYZ so I can just do a “non-lethal” leg shot and he will stop and he will survive.” EVERY GUNSHOT WOUND BRINGS WITH IT A VERY HIGH PROBABILITY OF LETHALITY. We must understand not only disparity of force, but proper application of lethal force. Using what the movies show us, believing that someone shot in the thigh is just dandy after a few days will only cause us to have a mistaken belief that a leg shot is non-lethal force and can be used when full lethal force would not be appropriate.

Main Topic: 2014 Augusta Gun Show & Pistol-Caliber Carbines

This past weekend I attended the Augusta, Maine gun show at the Civic Center. It was one of the larger shows in our state, and had quite a few new firearms that I hadn’t had a chance to see yet. Since I didn’t go to the SHOT or NRA shows, this was my chance to get to handle some of the new-for-2014 introductions to the firearms world, and I must say I was impressed at some of the new offerings. I will divide them up by manufacturer for ease of discussion.

Ruger:

9E: The new Ruger 9E was something I was really interested in seeing up-close. Recently introduced, the 9E is a budget gun in Rugers lineup of polymer pistols known as the SR series. The 9E shaves off about 100$ from the original MSRP of $529, bringing it down to $429. The 9E incorporates different slide serrations (I imagine, to reduce machining and labor costs) and also only ships with one magazine and no magazine loader. The reversible backstrap is still there, but the loaded chamber indicator is absent. Ruger also went with a matte black finish which is cheaper than the Black Nitride finish included on the SR series pistols. It still felt great in the hand and should be a great pistol for the budget minded shooters out there looking for a decent handgun.

LC9s: The most recent Ruger introduction I saw at the show was the LC9s. The LC9s is the venerable LC9 single-stack pistol, but with a striker firing system rather than a hammer fired system. The LC9s comes with a magazine disconnect (which I don’t like) and uses a trigger safety similar to Glocks and other striker fired guns. It ships with one 7 round magazine and has an MSRP of around $449. I couldn’t try the trigger because the gun was locked up for the show, but the feel was exactly that of an LC9. If you are someone who prefers a striker fired action to a hammer fired one and that was preventing you from purchasing the LC9 before, this might be just the gun for you. The best part is if you already have an LC9 and you purchase the LC9s, all the accessories for the LC9 hammer fired will transfer over to the LC9s.

LCRx: The LCRx was introduced by Ruger at the 2014 SHOT Show, but in my state sometimes products are slow to make it to market. This was the second time I got to handle the LCRx and it is basically what you would expect from the original LCR, except with an exposed hammer. We have discussed why having an exposed hammer for single action firing can be a problem in a defensive situation, but there are some people who just prefer that configuration. For those who do, the LCRx may be just for them! It retails for around $529 MSRP and uses all existing LCR accessories. I bet if Ruger made the LCR .22 LR or .22 Magnum with the exposed hammer, you would see a lot more sales of those than the ones in defensive calibers.

Taurus:

PT-22 (Not New): The Taurus PT-22 is not really a new introduction for 2014 but this past weekend was really one of the first times I picked one up and really looked at it. As many of you know I am a big fan of the small .22 LR semi-automatic pistols (I saw a beautiful Walther TPH at the show) so the Taurus really intrigued me. I am somewhat leery of the reliability & longevity of some of the Taurus products, but I have heard some pretty decent things about the new Taurus line of the “Poly” series PT-22 and PT-25. The PT series incorporates the tip-up barrel system like the small Beretta series handguns do, and would make a really great plinking handgun or even potentially a backup to a backup or a gun for those people who may be really, really sensitive to recoil. I will have to shoot one soon and check out the reliability on them before I can make a judgement as to its reliability and longevity.

Taurus View: This was the first time I got to see the new for 2014 Taurus View in person and all I can say is….wow. It has a design like none other, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Small, J-frame type revolvers are meant for concealment and carrying when a larger gun just won’t do. The J-Frames tend to strike a decent balance between shootability and portability that allows you to practice often enough with these small snubby guns (because they require a great deal of practice to be proficient with them.) While I get the idea Taurus was going for with the View, I forsee several issues. First, it is an ultra-lightweight revolver, using an aluminum frame and weighing in at a scant 9 ounces. That is VERY light for a cartridge such as the .38 Special. The View is NOT rated for +P (and I doubt you would want to shoot them in it anyway.) This light weight, coupled with the abbreviated grip frame, is not going to make for pleasant shooting. My concern there is that this will result in the shooter not practicing enough with the gun to become proficient with it. I have medium sized hands and I just could not get a decent grip on the View without feeling like, if fired, it would twist out of my hand. Second, the barrel is only 1.41”. This decreases the sight radius, making an already hard to shoot gun even harder to shoot accurately with. This short barrel also means a short ejector rod, which won’t clear cases completely out of the chamber. This is a common problem with the J-frame guns, but it is amplified on the View. Finally, I do not care for the exposed sideplate idea. It feels gimmicky to me. The other concern I have with it is one that was expressed over at the Balloon Goes Up Blog when the View first came out. If someone who is new is firing the gun, and they say “Oh look I can see inside” I can forsee a tendancy to point the gun in directions it shouldnt be pointed, and the person working the trigger to see how the action works, not even thinking that they are going to fire a shot. Yes, it may a be a remote possibility, but it is still a possibility. I think if they left the sideplate normal they may sell a few more guns. With an MSRP of $599, you are also approaching S&W Model 642 territory, so I would recommend going with one of those.

Smith & Wesson:

M&P Shield in .40 S&W and Shield with no thumb safety: The Shield is proving to be one of S&W’s most popular semi-auto handguns for the concealed carry market, and rightly so. I have fired the 9mm Shield extensively and really enjoyed the great feel and accuracy of the gun, while being amazed at how slim they could make it. Recently, S&W announced that it had listened to the consumer and they are now offering the Shield without a thumb safety, which in my opinion is a great thing. This was not previously an option and it allows those people who prefer a gun without a manual safety get what they want. S&W also began offering the Shield in the .40 S&W chambering a short while ago, which is nice for those people who want to step up in caliber if they don’t like the 9mm. Personally, while I have not fired the .40 S&W version, I would think it would be a handful. The Shield is not a heavy handgun, weighing in at only 19 ounces. The .40 S&W may be a little snappy for the slim Shield, but I will have to wait and see if that is the case. I found the 9mm Shield to be fairly comfortable to shoot, so I will be curious to see if that translates to the .40 S&W version. MSRP of $449.00

S&W M&P Bodyguard without laser: S&W also introduced their Bodyguard .380 pistol into the M&P line of pistols, and this time they included it without the laser. I am rather ambiguous when it comes to having lasers on pistols, and I really would prefer to not have one myself. This gives the end user the option of having such a configuration. The Bodyguard .380 definitely feels better in the hand in my opinion than the Ruger LCP I have been carrying lately. It weighs 12 ounces and has far better sights than the LCP as well. The only complaint I have with the Bodyguard series is the thumb safety. On a small .380, the safety is even smaller to manipulate, and could present a problem under stress if you are trying to disengage it. If they could do what they did on the Shield with the Bodyguard .380, I bet they would sell quite a bit more. It has an MSRP of $379.00

S&W Model 69 L-Frame .44 Magnum: Finally, the last one I saw was the new Model 69 .44 Magnum built on the L-Frame. Typically, the .44 Magnum guns were built on the larger and more robust N-frame. The Model 69 uses the same frame size that the .357 Magnum Model 686 uses, making for a very compact and fairly lightweight .44 Magnum that mimics the lines of the Combat Magnum. Due to the larger cartridge on the smaller frame, the Model 69 sacrifices one shot, bringing the capacity down to five rounds, but I really liked the feel of the gun. I do not care for the finishes that S&W is putting on their new guns like the 69 and the reintroduced Model 66 (I wish they just stuck with stainless steel) but it is nice to see new ideas in revolver design coming out of S&W. The gun weighs 37 ounces, so you may only run .44 Special through it for practice and Magnums for business work, but with a retail price of $849 it is a fairly affordable trail gun that could have many applications at the range and in the field.

Thoughts on Pistol-Caliber Carbines:

I recently saw a video put out by Military Arms Channel showing the DeLisle Silent Carbine in .45 ACP from the WWII era. The DeLisle was used by some special operations forces for sentry & dog removal during covert operations. Using the already subsonic .45 ACP cartridge, the DeLisle was built upon the very fast Lee-Enfield action, and used slightly modified M1911 magazines. Because of the short .45 cartridge, the bolt-throw was very short and very fast. It made me start thinking, why are there not more pistol-caliber carbines available? I see plenty chambered for AR type rifles, but what about stuff like the Ruger Deerfield, Marlin Camp Carbine or the Spanish Destroyer Carbines in 9mm Largo? Some pistol caliber that have so-so performance in comparatively short barreled pistols, can become whole different animals in a rifle length barrel. I would really like to see a Marlin Camp Carbine or Ruger Deerfield in .357 SIG! I was extremely excited when I saw Ruger come out with their bolt action Model 77 in .357 Magnum. The .357 Magnum is already a fairly powerful cartridge in a pistol; put it in a bolt-action with some 180 grain bullets, and I personally would feel comfortable hunting deer at short to medium distances, the most common ones here in my state.

Here are a few I would like to see made or see come back:

Ruger PC9 Carbine

Ruger Deerfield in .44 Magnum or in 9x25mm Dillon

More 10mm Carbines

Ruger Bolt Actions in .44 Magnum, .50 AE, .357 SIG

Go Check this Out!:

One thing I saw just recently I really wanted to share with you listeners in case you hadn’t seen it. Jerry Miculek, revolver legend and competition shooter has a YouTube channel where he shows off different drills, guns, tricks and much, much more. There is a link in the show notes to go check it out, but recently, he did a 1000 yard shot with his S&W Model 929 in 9mm on a steel plate/balloon combination. I’ll include a little bit of the audio right here, and I just want you to notice how long it takes for the bullet to reach the target after the shot breaks. I believe Jerry said he is using 147 grain Hornady XTP 9mm rounds, and he almost fires another shot before you hear his spotter call out the hit! Here have a listen:

(Jerry Miculek Audio Cut)

Wow! What a shot and insane how long it takes for that 9mm round to get there. I’ve included a link to the video in the show notes, be sure to check those out at handgunradio.com/059.

Wrap-Up:

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  • Also, I was on the Practically Tactical Podcast Episode 042 this past week! We did a “Revolvers 101” episode so be sure to go check it out at practacpodcast.com/042

Until next week, Have fun and SAFE SHOOTING!