Friday, August 14, 2015

Firearms Friday: The Sound Of Range Music

As I noted last week, I would rather take a pistol to the range over a rifle. It is what I have more experience with and frankly I am much more proficient with a pistol. Now I am sure that this will prompt much debate, but, as of this moment, here are a few of my favorite handguns and the ones that find their way into my range back most often.

Smith & Wesson M&P Pro CORE / Smith & Wesson M&P9 Full Size


In the end, this is the handgun that I shoot the best with at the range. While the trigger is far from the best on the market (the Pro CORE model is far superior to the standard package) the ergonomics and reliability are on par with the best. Additionally, there is a little bit of simple unexplainable preference. I also prefer the consistent pull of striker fire pistols which leads me to my second choice…

Glock 17 Gen 4 / Glock 34 Gen 4


Probably the most natural to get on target than any other pistol in my hand. The slight change in the grip angle is superb and the trigger is just above average. However, the fit and finish leaves something to be desired. Overall, this is probably the firearm which I am second best with at the range. Again, striker fired but not all the handguns on my list have that in common…

Para Ordinance 1911 Expert 14.45 / Para Ordinance 1911 Expert Stainless


Until relatively recently, I wasn’t a big fan of the 1911. While they have great triggers (for the most part) and are highly accurate), I wrongly viewed them as overpriced with limited capacity. They were also predominantly in a caliber which I was much less familiar compared to the 9mm. However, I came across these models at a price point far below those firearms previously mentioned and one of them settled the capacity argument pretty handily. Once those two dubious arguments were settled, caliber wasn’t really a question anymore. This leads to the next firearm on my list…

Kimber 1911 Poly Pro Carry 4


A high capacity 1911 with a polymer frame. Any questions? This is a great combination between old and new with a reliable design upgraded with additional capacity and a lighter frame. As a bonus the frame was actually made by BUL in Israel much like another one of my favorites…



Really this is the Magnum Research Baby Eagle as the Jericho (the name it has before Magnum research and the one it bears again today) has a frame mounted safety rather than a slide mounted safety of which I am familiar. This is another highly accurate firearm which takes much of its functional design from the CZ 75 (another favorite) and adds a rugged Israeli edge to it. This is a great range companion but not something I would use in competition like the Smith & Wesson Pro CORE, Glock 34 Gen 4, or the following firearm…

Springfield Armory xDM Competition / Springfield Armory xDM


While further down the list than some of its direct competitors, Springfield does produce a fine striker fired firearm with the xDM. The feel is a little different and the grip safety is something you have to get used to (similar but different from the 1911) but it is accurate, reliable, and just plain fun to shoot at the range. You also don’t have to reload as much with a magazine capacity, in 9mm, of 19+1. A few more rounds than something that you could easily conceal…

Sig Sauer P938 (Limited Edition)


This particular model had a beautifully engraved a blued slide. It is the perfect balance of concealability with the function and accuracy that you would find in a full size 1911. So much so that it performs surprisingly well as 25 yards on the range. The only minor issue that I have heard from people is having to carry a pocket gun cocked and locked… not an issue with a good holster but that is another topic altogether. It does take some getting used to but then again so does every firearm…

H&K P30S


Some people love the H&K trigger while others hate it. For me it just takes some getting used to as I have improved at the range each and every time that I have taken it out. On top of that, there might not be a firearm on the market with better ergonomics (the Walther PPQ is close) or fit and finish. One company that is pretty close when considering the latter also has a pretty impressive Special Forces pedigree…

Sig Sauer P226 MK25 / Mitchell Arms TZ99


The MK25 is built to take a beating but that doesn’t meant that Sig cut any corners… on the other side of this equation are copies like the TZ99 which offer the same form and function but with limited attention paid to the fit and finish of the pistol. The MK25 isn’t the most accurate or the best overall firearm on the market but it does the job in any conditions. While the double action trigger is lacking, it is one of the best when it comes to single action with regard to both feel and accuracy when compared to others with the same action.  

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield


Light, concealable, reliable, and accurate. One of the best in class for concealed carry and a great compliment to the M&P. In addition to being a practical firearm that doesn’t break the budget it is an easy to use striker fired pocket pistol with a reasonable amount of accuracy and capacity for its size. Not my favorite but certainly nowhere near the bottom of the list (that spot is reserved for the Remington R51). However, I will say that the Khar CM9 (CW9 and PM9 should also be considered) is really close and I would have no reservations recommend those firearms as well.

So those are my top 10 (and a few extras) which I really enjoy taking to the range. There are a lot of others that I have enjoyed shooting but there is limited space on the list. But, since I know there are a lot of you that didn’t see your favorite mentioned above, here are the next 20 on my list:

  1. Beretta PX4 Storm / Stoeger Cougar
  2. CZ 75 B / EAA (Tanfoglio) Witness
  3. Sig Sauer P320F
  4. FNH FNS 9
  5. H&K USP9
  6. Glock 21 Gen 4
  7. Beretta M9A1 / Taurus PT99AF
  8. Smith & Wesson 39-2
  9. Ruger SR9 Stainless
  10. Sig Sauer SP2022
  11. CZ P-07 Duty
  12. Kimber Pro Carry II
  13. BUL Cherokee / EAA (Tanfoglio) Witness (Polymer)
  14. Walther PPX
  15. Canik TP9
  16. Taurus PT24/7
  17. ATI Fatboy Lightweight
  18. Beretta 9000-S
  19. Ruger LC9 CTC
  20. Beretta Nano
Still not seeing your favorite? Well, either I haven’t shot it or I don’t much care for it. But, in the end, this is simply my opinion. Doesn’t mean that I am right or wrong (mostly the latter on a daily basis). That is my list, what is yours? Share your top 10 below just please don’t mention Hi Point.