Categories
FO3BDDDA5043

First Look: Armscor 20-Gauge VR82 Semi-Auto Shotgun

The best ar trigger for you

Armscor_VR82

A little brother to the VR80, the VR82 moves the semi-auto shotgun line into 20-gauge territory.

Truth be told, the 12-gauge isn’t for everybody. Certainly that’s blasphemy to most Americans, who by and large swear by the bore whether they’re knocking down ducks on the wing or confronting bumps in the night. Thing is, there’s plenty of buck in the “Twelve”, enough to make it intimidating to some shooters, even outright unusable. Thankfully, there are other gauges doling out less punishment to the user with nearly as much punch downrange. The 20-gauge for example.

Armscor International was thinking along these lines with the introduction of a little brother to its popular VR80 box-magazine fed shotgun. Dubbed the VR82, the 20-gauge rendition of the tactical/competition semi-auto is certain to appeal to the recoil shy or anyone that appreciates what the lighter gauge brings to the table. Though, shooter will have to pay a smidgen more to get into the futuristic-looking 20-gauge, with Armscor setting the MSRP at $729, compared to the VR80’s $699. For a more endurable bore, it might be worth the extra dough.

Essentially, the VR82 is the same gun as the VR80, with the controls (very similar to an AR), ergonomics and operating system identical to the larger gauge. Good news, as those familiar with the line know. Reliable as the day is long, the smoothbore chews through what’s fed to it thanks to a slim, short-stroke gas-piston system that not only cuts down on felt recoil but keeps the shotgun pretty dang svelte. Its slender profile is a nice asset that opens up hand placement on the fore as well as makes for a responsive gun—quick target to target. (At least that was my experience with the VR80, an educated assumption with the VR82). The streamlined system also keeps the gun a light 7.5 pounds, not bad given it sports an 18-inch barreled.

Some of the VR82’s notables include fully adjustable flip-up sights, ample M-Lok real estate on the handguard, full-length Picatinny rail, Mobil choke compatibility and a 5+1 box magazine. Capacity isn’t a concern, given there are 10- and 20-round VR series magazines available. The receiver and handguard are made of aircraft-grade aluminum, thus stand up to regular abuse.

VR82 Specs
Bore: 20 gauge
Capacity: 5 + 1
Sights: Front/Rear Flip Up
Weight: 7.5lbs empty
Overall Length: 38 inches
Overall Height: 7 inches
Overall Width: 2 inches
Barrel Length: 18 inches
Barrel: Contoured
Choke: Mobil Choke
Stock: Thumb Hole Stock
Finish: Black Anodized
MSRP: $729

For more information on Armscor VR82 shotgun, please visit armscor.com.


Draw A Bead On Shotguns:

Related GunDigest Articles

44-Targetposters-pack-GD-reduced-300NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Storm Tactical Printable Target Pack

62 Printable MOA Targets with DOT Drills – Rifle Range in YARDS This impressive target pack from our friends at Storm Tactical contains 62 printable targets for rifle and handgun range use. Target grids and bullseye sizes are in MOA. Ideal for long-range shooting! Get Free Targets


Categories
FO3BDDDA5043

Ruger .22 Handgun: Gun Digest’s Top Pistol Picks (2021)

The best ar trigger for you

Updated 2/10/2021
A first-year Standard Model, serial number 0194, from the first shipment from the Ruger factory in October of 1949. Photo courtesy Don Findley.
A first-year Standard Model, serial number 0194, from the first shipment from the Ruger factory in October of 1949.
Photo courtesy Don Findley.

Ruger hit a grand slam with its first Ruger 22 pistol, introduced to the shooting public in 1949. Here are Gun Digest’s top picks of Ruger rimfire handguns.

When an advertisement for the “.22 Ruger pistol” appeared in the August 1949 issue of the National Rifle Association’s American Rifleman magazine, firearms history was made. The ad presented the very first Ruger 22 pistol to the shooting public, and it also introduced the name Sturm, Ruger and Co., Inc. to an industry that one day would be dominated by the company.

At a glance, the image of the Ruger pistol was very familiar; it bore a striking resemblance to the German Luger. Not only were the names similar, the overall look of the new handgun—the profile, angle of the grip, shape of the trigger guard, the tapered barrel and design of the front sight—said “Luger.”

This was not a negative, as the Luger was one of the most famous and recognizable guns in the world. However, the similarities ended with the outward appearance, for the Ruger’s operating mechanism and blow-back action were nothing like that of the toggle-locked, recoil-operated Luger.

Where it all began, the first Ruger .22 pistol prototype, circa 1946.
Where it all began, the first Ruger .22 pistol prototype, circa 1946.

Ruger’s 22 Pistol Hits the Sweet Spot

The introductory price for what would soon become known as the Standard Model was $37.50, well positioned to compete with the other .22 semiautomatic pistols on the market.

This was about half the price of the popular Colt Woodsman, and was also less than the lowest priced High Standard .22 pistol, those being the only manufacturers of rimfire pistols in the country at the time.

Primarily based on that ad in American Rifleman, workers at the Ruger plant in Southport, CT were soon very busy filling orders. By October 6, 1949 the first shipment of 100 pistols was on the way to retailers, wholesalers and individuals. The new pistol was an immediate success and the Ruger name was on its way to becoming a major player in the firearms industry.

The Ruger company placed this ad in the August 1949 issue of American Rifleman, the NRA’s membership journal and the only true “gun” magazine at the time.

From 1949 to 1951, the Standard Model had a Ruger red eagle medallion inlay on the left grip panel. The medallion was designed by Bill Ruger’s partner and co-founder, Alex Sturm, who was an artist and writer, in addition to being a collector of fine firearms.

The red eagle became the logo for the company in its advertising, on letterheads, catalogs and business cards, as well as the grip panel of the pistol.

This was changed to a black eagle beginning with serial number 34369, in honor of Sturm who died on November 16, 1951 from viral hepatitis at the age of 28.

The black eagle grip was on all Ruger Standard .22 pistols until 1999, when the red eagle medallion was resurrected for a special 50th anniversary model.

(Approximately 25,600 pistols with red eagle medallion on the grip were manufactured before the death of Alexander Sturm, although serial numbers exist beyond 35,000. This is due to the fact that blocks of serial numbers were often set aside and then used at a later date.)

STANDARD MODEL, RED EAGLE GRIP MEDALLION

The Ruger company placed this ad in the August 1949 issue of American Rifleman, the NRA’s membership journal and the only true “gun” magazine at the time.
The Ruger company placed this ad in the August 1949 issue of American Rifleman, the NRA’s membership journal and the only true “gun” magazine at the time.

The Standard Model was based on a simple and reliable blowback design that would function with both standard and high-speed .22 Long Rifle ammunition. Features include a tubular receiver with a cylindrical bolt, blue finish, checkered hard rubber grips, wide grooved trigger, thumb safety, fixed sights and a nine-shot detachable magazine.

With the original 4 ¾-inch barrel, weight is 36 ounces. Approximately 890 pistols were shipped via REA in a wooden “salt cod” box.

MARK I TARGET MODEL GOVERNMENT ISSUE

Gov Issue

From 1956 to 1967 about 5,570 “U.S.” marked Mark I Target Models were shipped to various agencies of the U.S. military. No NIB examples are believed to exist as all of these pistols were used for training purposes.

Some were fitted with silencers and used in the tunnels of Vietnam. The serial numbers on some U.S.-marked guns measure 1⁄8-inch in height, while standard serial numbers measure 3⁄32-inch.

MARK II STANDARD MODEL

A civilian version of the Government Model Target. Only a handful of these models with a U.S. rollmark are believed to be in civilian hands.
A civilian version of the Government Model Target. Only a handful of these models with a U.S. rollmark are believed to be in civilian hands.

Changes for this model were mostly on the inside and included a 10-round magazine instead of the original nine, a faster lock-time, a magazine release button that could easily be moved to either side of the grip, and a device to hold the action open after the last shot was fired.

A new safety allowed the pistol to be loaded or unloaded, or the action to be manually operated, with the safety on. With the Mark II there was an optional stainless steel finish.

The original price for this model in 1982 was $147.50. Two special “Friends of NRA” models were manufactured for the National Rifle Association’s auctions in 1997 (blue finish) and in 2001 (stainless).

To mark the end of the Mark II series, in 2004 the last 1,000 were marked “One of One Thousand.” A small premium of 10 to 20 percent could be negotiated for this model.

MARK II GOVERNMENT TARGET MODEL

Mark II Govt

This special model is a civilian version of a special model made for the federal government as a training pistol for U.S. military personnel. It has an adjustable rear sight, 6 7⁄8-inch bull barrel and came with either a blue or stainless finish.

These models were made with a tight chamber to enhance accuracy. A very limited number with a “U.S.” marking on the right side of the frame—perhaps no more than 25—are believed to have found their way to civilian hands.

One of these models was sold at auction in December 2013 for more than $1,500. The civilian Government Model was identical but did not have the government markings. In 1992, a variation with a slab-side barrel was introduced in stainless steel.

MARK II MODEL 22/45

This first version of the 22/45 series was introduced in 1993 with a grip angle similar to the Model 1911.
This first version of the 22/45 series was introduced in 1993 with a grip angle similar to the Model 1911.

Introduced in 1993, the Model 22/45 featured a composite (Zytel) frame patterned after the shape of the grip frame on the Government Model 1911 .45 auto pistol and was designed to appeal to the many shooters who favor that model.

Other changes included reshaping the bottom of the magazine and moving the magazine release button to the same position as is found on the Model 1911.

Barrel lengths available were 4 inches with standard sights, 5 ¼ inches with target sights, or a 5 1⁄2 inch bull barrel with target sights. A blue or stainless finish was offered.

MARK III STANDARD MODEL

An option for the Ruger .22 pistol Mark III Hunter Model is this attractive and ergonomic set of contoured laminate grips.
An option for the Ruger Mark III Hunter Model is this attractive and ergonomic set of contoured laminate grips.

This further refinement of Ruger’s original .22 pistol was introduced to the marketplace in 2005 and as of 2014 is the current model in production.

New features included placing the magazine release button on the left side at the rear of the triggerguard, where it is located on most modern semi-auto pistols.

Mark III pistols also have a loaded chamber indicator, internal lock, magazine disconnect, and recontoured sights and ejection port. Standard features include fixed sights, black checkered grips, blue finish, and a 4 ¾- or 6-inch barrel.

MARK III COMPETITION

Mark III Comp

A variant of the Target Model series, the Competition model was introduced in 2005. It comes only in a stainless finish, and has a 6 7⁄8-inch slab-side barrel and checkered brown laminate grips with a thumb rest. Weight is 45 ounces.

MARK III 22/45 LITE

Ruger Lite

The newest variation of this popular model introduced in 2013 with a 4.4-inch fluted and threaded barrel, aluminum upper, Zytel polymer frame, replaceable black laminate grip panels, and barrel sleeve. Weight is approximately 23 ounces.

RUGER MARK IV .22 PISTOL

The Ruger Mark IV is like the Remington 870 of .22 pistols — it seems everyone in America has at least one tucked away in their gun safes. Affordable and — now, in the Mark IV design change — easy to disassemble and reassemble for cleaning, it’s the .22 pistol responsible for many a fun weekend of plinking shenanigans and small game hunting.
The Ruger Mark IV is like the Remington 870 of .22 pistols — it seems everyone in America has at least one tucked away in their gun safe. Affordable and — now, in the Mark IV design change — easy to disassemble and reassemble for cleaning, it’s the .22 pistol responsible for many a fun weekend of plinking shenanigans and small game hunting.

When Bill Ruger rolled out his Standard Model .22 pistol in 1949, it’s doubtful that even he could have imagined the success the little semi-auto .22 would bring. It seemed everyone in America wanted the cheap .22 pistol (“cheap” as in “inexpensive”).

The Standard Model would eventually beget a brood of variants that would cover everything from backyard plinking and small game hunting to target models. These would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the High Standard Supermatic and Smith & Wesson Model 41 on the firing line of NRA Bullseye competition.

The Standard Model and Mark I Target would eventually evolve into the Mark II, Mark III and — the latest — Ruger Mark IV. Today’s Mark IV .22 pistol represents the greatest design change since the advent of the Standard Model.

They were plagued through the Mark III evolution with difficult disassembly and reassembly. The Ruger Mark IV now features an easy push-button takedown, which snaps back together after cleaning.

If competitive match shooting is in your future, check out the Ruger Mark IV Competition and Ruger Mark IV Target as affordable alternatives to a Model 41.

RUGER CHARGER .22 PISTOL

The unique Charger had a striking appearance and while it was listed under handguns in the Ruger catalog it was based on the 10/22 Carbine design.
The unique Charger had a striking appearance and while it was listed under handguns in the Ruger catalog it was based on the 10/22 Carbine design.

The Charger was introduced in 2008 with a 10-inch barrel and a gray/black laminated pistol-grip stock with a unique ergonomic fore-end. A bipod is included.

Capacity of the 10/22-type rotary magazine is 10 rounds and the weight is 52 ounces. An accessory rail is mounted on top of the receiver. The Charger was in production from 2008 through 2012.

RUGER SR22

The SR22 is a modern pistol with features found on many more expensive models.
The SR22 is a modern pistol with features found on many more expensive models.

This model was introduced in 2012. It is a traditional double/single-action semiauto chambered for the .22 Long Rifle rimfire cartridge and operates with a straight blowback design. (Unlike the SR9, SR40 and SR45 centerfire models, the SR22 is not a striker-fired pistol.)

With its polymer grip frame and aluminum slide, the gun weighs only 17.5 ounces. The barrel length is 3.5 inches with the overall length measuring 6.4 inches. Magazine capacity is 10 rounds. The three-dot style sights are adjustable and there is a Picatinny rail for lights or other accessories.

Other features include an external hammer, a loaded chamber indicator, and ergonomic rubber grips that come in two interchangeable styles.

Operating controls include a safety/decocker lever and magazine release button, both ambidextrous. Finish is black matte on the frame and either a black or silver anodized slide. A threaded barrel is an available option.

SINGLE SIX (Old Model)

Three New Model rimfires show the different sighting combinations available in current the production guns. At the top, a Single Ten with fiber optic front and adjustable rear sights; center, a Single Six Hunter model with adjustable sights plus integral scope mount bases; and at bottom, a New Model Convertible model with adjustable rear and ramp front sights. Fixed sights are also optional for the Convertible model.
Three New Model rimfires show the different sighting combinations available in current the production guns. At the top, a Single Ten with fiber optic front and adjustable rear sights; center, a Single Six Hunter model with adjustable sights plus integral scope mount bases; and at bottom, a New Model Convertible model with adjustable rear and ramp front sights. Fixed sights are also optional for the Convertible model.

Inspired by the classic Colt Single Action Army, the Single Six in .22 LR was first introduced with a 5 ½-inch barrel. Later models were added with a 4 5⁄8-inch, 6 ½-inch or 9 ½-inch barrel lengths. The Single Six could also be used with .22 Short or .22 Long ammunition.

As the name suggested, the cylinder held six rounds but, as noted above, the original model could only be safely carried with the hammer over an empty chamber.

Grips were checkered hard rubber with a black eagle medallion inlay on each side. Varnished walnut or stag grips were available as an option with true ivory grips added in 1954.

The standard model had a blued barrel and cylinder with an anodized aluminum grip frame. The earliest Single Sixes featured a flat loading gate and rounded profile front sight and are referred to by collectors and Ruger aficionados as Flat Loading Gate models.

A lightweight variation with an aluminum frame and/or cylinder was introduced in 1956.

Original prices were $57.50 for the standard model in 1953, and $63.25 for the Lightweight (1956). In 1959 a version was introduced chambered for the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire cartridge, and was made only with a 6 ½-inch barrel.

The Convertible model with interchangeable .22 LR and .22 WMR cylinders became available in 1962 and replaced the .22 WMR-only model. It was made with barrel lengths of 4 5⁄8, 5 ½, 6 ½ or 9 ½ inches and was in production until 1972.

The Super Single Six model was introduced in 1964 with upgraded features including an adjustable rear sight, a ramp front, and an integral sight rib. Most Super Single Sixes came with interchangeable cylinders for .22 LR and .22 WMR.

NEW BEARCAT

The Ruger .22 Bearcat revolver.
The Ruger .22 Bearcat revolver.

This old favorite was reintroduced in 1994 as the Super Bearcat with a four-inch barrel, fixed sights, rosewood grips and interchangeable cylinders in .22 LR and .22 WMR. Features included smooth rosewood grips, fixed sights, and the transfer bar hammer-block safety.

There was a factory recall of the .22 WMR cylinders, meaning that samples with both cylinders are rare.

About 1000 Bearcats were sold with the WMR cylinders, between serial numbers 93-00500 and 93-01944. A “timing” problem made them unsafe and therefore the magnum cylinders were recalled, but not all were returned to Ruger.

The rarity of samples with both .22 LR and .22 WMR cylinders makes them more valuable but the WMR cylinders must not be used. As stated on the Ruger website: Firing a .22 Magnum cartridge in a cylinder not correctly timed with the barrel may result in excessively high pressures, causing the cartridge case head to fail.

This can result in personal injury to the shooter or bystanders from pieces of cartridge case brass.

Current production revolvers are available only in .22 LR with a 4.2-inch barrel and either a blue or stainless finish.

This article is an excerpt from the Standard Catalog of Ruger Firearms. 


More Rimfire Info:


Corey Graff contributed to this article.

Related GunDigest Articles


44-Targetposters-pack-GD-reduced-300NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Storm Tactical Printable Target Pack

62 Printable MOA Targets with DOT Drills – Rifle Range in YARDS This impressive target pack from our friends at Storm Tactical contains 62 printable targets for rifle and handgun range use. Target grids and bullseye sizes are in MOA. Ideal for long-range shooting! Get Free Targets


Categories
FO3BDDDA5043

23 Top Picks For Any Shooter

The best ar trigger for you

Updated 2/11/2021

Looking to go armed, but are stuck in the weeds as to what to arm yourself with? Here are 23 excellent concealed carry guns to cover your six.

Self-defense has moved to the forefront of Americans’ minds, and scores have clamored after concealed carry guns like no other time in recent history. That raises a question. What exactly is the best concealed carry gun? We have some suggestions. But before we move on to our picks for the best covert heaters, we should cover a few key points about going armed and buying a gun for this particular niche. But if the fundamentals are old hat to you, please feel free to skip ahead to our picks.

Concealed Carry Lifestyle

Above all, becoming an armed citizen is a lifestyle choice. By this we mean, your life will conform around your concealed carry gun. Don’t let this scare you off. It’s less daunting than it seems, yet it merits comment.

The greatest demand going armed makes is mastery of your firearm. Just like buying a guitar doesn’t make a musician, purchasing a concealed carry gun doesn’t make you an expert in self-defense nor the use of lethal force. You must educate yourself, practice and continue doing so. Essentially, it’s a lifetime undertaking. Don’t throw up your hands, because it’s the hardest work you’ll ever love with a side benefit of a lot of range time.

Proof of regular firearms training will favor you heavily in the event of a legal battle after a gunfight.
Proof of regular firearms training will favor you heavily in the event of a legal battle after a gunfight.

After purchasing a concealed carry gun, plan on finding a reputable firearms instructor and enrolling in his or her classes. Generally, they’ll offer different levels of training, from basic pistol courses many states require to procure a concealed carry permit, to instruction on advanced concepts such as dynamic shooting, low-light engagements and mindset. Legal education is a must as well. America is a patchwork of self-defense laws, so be certain you find something tailored to where you live and travel so you have a well-formed idea of when, where and how you can justifiably use lethal force.

Once you have basic instruction under your belt, plan on refresher courses in the future. In the meantime, practice. We won’t prescribe a particular regimen here, because it will differ for each armed citizen. Your individual training should result in knowing your concealed carry gun inside and out, from muzzle to butt and all the quirks in between. Range time is the most obvious arena for learning and excelling with your pistol or revolver. But a solid routine of dry-fire drills at home works miracles on a learning curve and doesn’t cost a thing.

Read Also: Dry Fire Traing Guide

The other lifestyle aspect that comes with a concealed carry gun is clothing. Yup, that wardrobe is going to need updating … most likely. Unless you’re still mired in the baggy days of the grunge movement, it’s a safe bet much of your wardrobe won’t keep your gun concealed. Or, if it does, you’ll feel plum uncomfortable. Again, we won’t touch on the fine points here—there are loads of them. Just expect to make a clothing investment along with your concealed carry gun.

Holsters

Hand-in-hand with clothing is a holster. You didn’t think you were going to tuck that baby in your waistband naked, did you? This is a vast topic, given the numerous types of concealed carry holsters on the market today:

  • IWB
  • OWB
  • Shoulder
  • Ankle
  • Bell Band
  • Pocket
  • Various Off The Body

Each has pros and cons and fit certain armed citizens, but not all of them. However, essentially all of them do the same job: retain the gun, cover the trigger (among the most important), protect you and the gun, enhance concealability, make carrying comfortable, and facilitate a smooth draw and re-holster. That’s a mouthful.

Stick with Kydex for your AIWB holster. Leather will become soft over time ... which is a bad trait for an appendix rig.
Kydex is almost always a solid choice for holster material.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the magic bullet so that you hit the perfect holster your first time out. Nobody does. All we can say is, expect plenty of trial and error—and a closet shelf of rejects—before you find the ideal hanger for your concealed carry gun.

Read Also: Concealed Carry Holster Guide

Concealed Carry Gun Fit

No two concealed carry guns are alike nor are two armed citizens. In turn, the pistol that works for you might be unwieldy to your friend. What this comes down to is fit, and there are two basic factors pertaining to a concealed carry gun.

  • How the gun fits your hand
  • How the gun fits your style of carry

Most new shooters tend to think all guns are alike. They pick a trustworthy name and assume all is right with the world. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A gun needs to fit your hand properly, facilitating a fundamental high grip, otherwise, there can be control issues. Even the relatively mild-mannered 9mm is jumpy if oversized compared to a particular shooter. Gunmakers have engineered some wiggle room into their guns; most new polymer-framed pistols come with replaceable backstraps and palm swells of different sizes allowing for a level of customization. Take the time to find the make/model that fits you best. A good tactic is to go to a range that has a good selection of guns for rent, and give the ones you’re interested in a test drive. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

This shooter controls the recoil in the Glock G35 with good fundamentals of Stance, Position and Grip.
This shooter controls the recoil in the Glock G35 with good fundamentals of Stance, Position and Grip.

As to carry fit, the whole idea behind a concealed carry gun is to keep it concealed. Depending on who you are, how you carry and your particular lifestyle, not every gun will fit the bill. While a 250-pound trucker might easily keep a Government-size 1911 under wraps no problem, a 98-pound business executive might find it more challenging. Think hard about your usual attire (yes, you’ll update some of it), daily routine and potential carry methods as you go through the buying process. These will provide guide marks steering you to the ideal concealed carry gun.

The Best Caliber?

Hoo boy … here’s a can of worms. Ask 100 people the best caliber for a concealed carry gun is and you’ll get 100 answers—probably including 8.5 Mars, .455 Webley and some other oddballs. The topic is so divisive friendships have been lost and gun forums burned to the ground arguing what’s top dog. Presently, the most popular concealed carry calibers are:

  • .380 ACP
  • .38 Special
  • 9mm
  • .40 S&W
  • .45 ACP
  • 10mm
  • .357 Magnum

So, which one is right? The dirty secret is, all of them.

Given ammunition advancements over the past 20 years, particularly bullet design, every one of the cartridges can save your life. The rub is, some of the smaller and lower velocity options—.380 ACP and .38 Special, we’re looking at you—require more homework to find acceptable self-defense loads. The big boys—10mm and .357 Magnum—require more skill to wield effectively. Don’t let either factor turn you off any of those if the particular concealed carry gun that fits you is chambered thusly. Just expect to spend more time making them work.

The Black Hills 125-grain Subsonic HoneyBadger in 9mm has flutes cut to increase effectiveness at low speed. The old-school 23-grain FMJ is ready to go at subsonic velocities—just as it was over a century ago.
9mm, .45 ACP or another choice?

That leaves us with 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. These are the most popular self-defense calibers on the market. Again, we can’t choose for you, only point out each that is an effective option, capable of neutralizing a threat and are widely available. You need to find what you shoot best and that comes in a make/model that fits your lifestyle. A range that rents guns is invaluable for puzzling this out. Take each for a spin before you buy!

What about a .22 LR and other small fries? While inadvisable for most armed citizens, if that’s all you can get or effectively shoot, it’s better than nothing.

2021 Picks Fro Concealed Carry Guns

23 of the best concealed carry guns to depend on:

Springfield Hellcat

Double Stack 9mm Springfield Hellcat

As pointed out below, the Sig P365 is a game-changer. The Springfield Hellcat is proof. Quicky embracing the micro-compact concept, the Illinois concern cooked up a direct competitor to the popular Sig. And in many respects produced a concealed carry gun option that runs neck and neck with the original.

No larger than a compact .380 ACP, the striker-fired is among the smallest 9mm options available today. By the tape, it measures in at 1-inch in width, 6-inches in length and weighs in at 18-ounce. Pretty dang concealable and easy to carry by anyone’s standards. At the same tick, the Hellcat offers everything you’d expect out of a much larger concealed carry pistol—especially capacity. Out of the box, the 3-inch barreled pistol boasts more firepower than nearly anything in its class, shipping with an 11-round magazine. Invest in a 13-round extended-capacity magazine, well folks, you’ll holster an iron flirting with a full-sized pistol’s capacity.

Outfitted with adaptive grip texturing, the Hellcat offers a positive grip when you need it, yet the ability to reposition your hand when you need to. A flat-faced trigger combined with a featherweight break and short reset ups the pistol’s accuracy resume, as well as allows it to run when needed. Breaking from the heard, Springfield opted for a slightly new sighting system, jettisoning the traditional three-dot sights for a U-notch. Similar in concept, the execution differs in that shooters place the fiber-optic front pipe in the white outlined U-notch. A fast and intuitive system, few will miss the old way of building a sight picture.

Perhaps best of all, the Hellcat comes in as one of the most affordable options in its class. In turn, it gives little excuse for not going small for every-day carry. MSRP: $569

S&W M&P Shield EZ in 9mm

M&P9 Shield EZ
Yes, He-Man types will scoff at the idea of a slide that takes less than a metric ton of force to rack, but the concept is rock solid. Why muscle those with weaker hand strength—due to age, infirmity or other factors—into a less desirable concealed carry gun? Smith & Wesson sees it this way and has expanded its easy-to-manipulate line of pistols with the M&P 9 Shield EZ M2.0.

A hammer-fired pistol, the 9mm requires much lighter springs than the striker-fired options that presently dominate the market. In turn, this means less resistance to work the slide, thus opening up polymer pistols to a much greater swath of the shooting world. Smith & Wesson didn’t stop at springs with the Shield EZ, incorporating several other features to enhance operation of the pistol, such as aggressive cocking serrations fore and aft and a flared section at the rear of the slide for a better grip. It’s also right-sized for carry, with a 3.575-inch barrel and weighs in at a manageable 23 ounces unloaded.

The only knock, at least for some, the 9 Shield EZ is a single stack with 8+1 capacity. Still, it should prove more than enough for most defensive situations. MSRP: $479

Walther CCP .380 ACP

Concealed Carry Handgun Walther CCP M2

If the easy-to-manipulate concept appeals to you, but Smith & Wesson isn’t your thing, don’t worry there are other options. Walther, for one, has dedicated itself to the idea of a concealed carry dgun accessible to the masses. The CCP M2 is the result.

A veritable engineering wonder, the .380 ACP utilizes what Walther calls Softcoil gas-delayed blowback technology. Essentially, it’s a gas-piston system that aids in the cycling of the gun and requires a much lighter return spring—thus a much more friendly slide in which to work.

Following the same lines as the original 9mm version of the pistol, the 8+1 capacity gun has a wealth of convenience engineered into it. Chief among these is toolless disassembly. And the 3.54-inch barreled single stack is sized perfectly for comfortable carry, at 20 ounces in weight and 1.18-inches in width. MSRP: $469

Mossberg MC2c

Concealed Carry gun Mossberg MC2c

Convenience and capacity—it seems like a never-ending tug-of-war for concealed carry guns. Go for one and you typically drastically affect the other. Aiming to address just this, Mossberg might have hit the sweet spot with a welcome advancement of its MC line of pistols.

Minted the MC2c, the double-stack pistol vastly improves on the original MC1sc’s capacity, while keeping proportions nearly the same. Holding 13+1 rounds with its flush-fit magazine (15+1 extended mag), the pistol doubles the firepower of the single-stack 9mm. At the same tick, its barrel-length and height are only fractions of an inch greater than its older brother. Quite a feat, one Mossberg pulled off by turning to steel magazines for more structural support.

As tidy as the original, the MC2c also boasts the same top features, such as flat-faced trigger, oversized trigger guard and simple takedown. MSRP: $490

Stoeger STR-9 Compact

Stoeger STR-9 Compact

Let’s be honest here, there’s not a lot original with the STR-9. Yeah, it has a fairly unique slide with aggressive cocking serrations, but get under the hood and it’s essentially a Glock clone. Nearly a dead ringer at that. Though, it’s one that comes in at a fraction of the price and offers nearly identical performance.

For this, we should all rejoice Stoeger has extended the line of 9mm striker-fired pistols with the STR-9 Compact. Right-sized for concealed carry, the double-stack pistol might be among the best values on the market today. Interchangeable backstraps, snappy trigger, great reset, it has everything you’d want out of a serious defensive piece.

Of course, it tends to the larger side of concealed carry guns weighing in at 24 ounces. But with 10+1 rounds of 9mm on tap (13+1 extended mag), the double-stack is well worth the extra burden. MSRP: $329

Ruger LCRx 3-Inch

Ruger LCRx 3 357 Mag

Ruger introduced the LCRx 3-inch to its line-up a year ago, but the revolver more than deserves its place on this concealed carry handgun list. All in all, it might be one of the top everyday carry wheelguns out there.

What gives the gun its chops is its 3-inch barrel. Just off the performance of a 6-inch barreled .357, the LCRx packs much more of a wallop than similarly chambered snubbies. In short, it’s got the goods to get the job done. At the same tick, it’s still a compact revolver and plenty easy to conceal even in the lightest garb. Maybe it won’t ride in the small of the back or on the ankle like a snub nose, outside of that the 5-round revolver cuts a slimmer line than most anything else. The only areas of worry are the adjustable target rear sight and hammer. However, Ruger has made these minimal and overall these features should cause little concern of snagging on a draw. MSRP: $669

FN 509 Midsize

FN 509

Cooked up for the U.S. Military’s Modular Handgun competition, the 509 has an unimpeachable resume. While the Compact model certainly comes in a smaller package, the Midsize offers a greater accuracy potential thanks to a few key differences. Boasting a 4-inch barrel, the 9mm has a greater sight radius making it easier to keep a sight picture steady. Furthermore, a longer grip, thus divers the shooter more control over the gun.

As far as its ability as a concealed carry gun? Don’t let the 509’s dimensions fool you; it might be a smidgen larger, but conducive to staying under wraps. At 26.5 ounces unloaded, it also won’t weigh you down. Exceptional 15+1 capacity and intuitive controls, the shooters get duty-pistol capacity in a very concealable package. MSRP: $799

Heckler & Koch VP9SK

HK VP9

Nope, no hammer here. Kind of crazy with a Hecker & Koch pistol, but the gunmaker’s modern striker-fired VP9 more than proves it knows more than one tune. As to the VP9SK, it’s the shrunk-down version, offering all the overengineering of the original, in a size perfect for tucking along your waistline. You seldom hear a disparaging word from someone who’s been behind the trigger.

Like most of HK’s wares, the ergonomics are well thought out on the 9mm, with exchangeable backstraps conforming to nearly any hand size. A large trigger guard gives fast access to the trigger, even with gloved hands, and wings at the back of the slide make manipulation a snap. And the trigger itself—{{chief kiss}}—is unassailable, one of the best you’ll find out of the box. MSRP: $529

Wilson EDX X9S

Wilson

Crème de la crème … when it comes to concealed carry guns, you’ve got it right here. Admittedly, a steep price tag will scare many folks off. But if you’re unwilling to compromise on safety the Wilson Combat all-metal masterpiece proves a worthwhile investment.

Essentially a shrunk-down 1911-Hi Power hybrid, the X9S has built a reputation for its reliability—pull the trigger, expect it to go bang! The 9mm does have more heft than many concealed carry options, however, this is a benefit when running the gun fast. It soaks up recoil while maintaining accuracy. As to capacity, it comes with a 10-round magazine, but given it’s compatible with Sig P226/228 mags you can upgrade. MSRP: $2,695

Glock 48

G43X G48 1

Now, there’s no denying both members of Glock’s slimline series—the Glock 43X and 48—are top-notch concealed carry guns. Yet there’s something to be said about going for the slightly larger model. They both have the same height and only 2-ounces separate them in weight, but the G48 has a longer barrel, which when it comes to steady sight—thus accuracy—makes a huge difference. This especially goes for new shooters.

The 10+1, single-stack 9mm is among the most comfortable pistols to carry, thanks to its very svelte width. This also generally makes it easy for most people to get a handle on the gun, thus control it better. Furthermore, like all Glocks, it’s reliable and accurate, to the point of being mundane. Yeah, there’s the grip rake—a bone of contention for some. But overall, there’s a reason why so many in law enforcement officials, military personnel and armed citizen trust their lives to the Austrian pistol. MSRP: $580

Heckler & Koch USP Compact .45

HK USP

Compact .45 ACP pistols aren’t the easiest to pull off, but H&K does it eloquently with the USP. The HK USP Compact is a small frame pistol capable of firing the most powerful cartridges in 9 mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP. Based on the full-size USP models, these handy pistols combine compact size with optimum effective shooting performance.

Despite being a hair taller than some concealed carry guns, the UPS still fits this bill. A lightweight polymer frame qualifies it for every-day carry, as does its reliability. Capacity is a little underwhelming at 10+1, but that’s to be expected with a compact .45. Opted for H&K’s LEM (Law Enforcement Modified) Trigger if you go the USP. A modified DA/SA system, it offers an exceptionally light and clean break after the first shot. MSRP: $1,000

Sig Sauer P365

Sig-P365

The pistol that changed the face of concealed carry? It’s not too much of a stretch. The Sig P365 has proven among the most monumental handguns to hit the market in a spell, serving up what many consider the perfect on-person self-defense package. That a tall boast, but one the demure 9mm more than fulfills.

Above all, what makes the P365 such a spectacular heater is size. The 3.1-inch barreled pistol is a mere 1-inch in width and tips the scales at a scant 17 ounces or so, creating one of the most concealable and easy-to-carry pistols out there. Sure enough, there are smaller handguns, but in nearly every case they’re a compromise in power or capacity. Not so with the P365. Shipping with two 10-round magazines, the mighty mite has a payload identical to many compact models that come in nearly twice its size. Not enough on tap? Simply solved, given there are 12- and 13-round extended magazines available to improve your firepower.

Shooting-wise, the micro-compact shocks for a pistol its size. An abbreviated sight radius provides a challenge for those unfamiliar with the touchiness of small guns, yet Sig arms shooters with the tools to keep it steady. In addition to aggressive grip texturing, the striker-fired’s exceptionally light trigger ups the gun’s accuracy potential. To boot, the 9mm is also quite easy to manipulate—an often overlooked asset. All in all, Sig cooked up a gun that is a true game-changer. MSRP: $599

Bond BullPup 9

Concealed Carry Handgun Bond

You want niche? Here’s niche. Texas-based Bond Arms is long known for its Derringer-style and other micro pistols, taking pride in their commitment to total USA-made production of small, powerful personal protection weapons. Officially introduced in late 2018, the Bond BullPup9 looks to hit its stride.

Chambered (obviously) in 9mm, the BullPup9 is an eye-catcher with its ultra-short barrel and muzzle that sits flush with the front of the trigger guard and Bond’s signature rosewood grips adding a bit of style to the overall look. At just over 5 inches total length, the 3.35-inch barrel posed a unique challenge to the designers: how to feed the ammunition when the chamber sat directly above the magazine.

In most semi-autos, of course, the ammunition is pushed forward into the chamber as the slide cycles. Not so with the BullPup9: Instead, due to its unique design, rounds are pulled from the magazine from behind, lifted even with the chamber and then shoved into the barrel.

While most ammunition will work with the BullPup9, Bond Arms acknowledges that uncrimped ammo, such as rounds made by Blazer, risk being pulled apart in the magazine, as the pull force in the chambering mechanism can yank the casing and bullet apart, spilling gun powder into the magazine and causing a malfunction. So far in testing, Bond has found no other ammunition that causes this problem consistently. If you’re a Blazer ammo fan, this isn’t the gun for you. For everyone else, you’ll be just fine.

The 7+1 capacity, double-action-only BullPup9 comes with two magazines and is made in very limited production – only 150 per month. MSRP: $1,099

Walther PPK

Concealed Carry Handgun Walther

You already thought it, but I’ll say it: Bond, James Bond. Yes, it’s that gun — the legend of the silver screen. Now, before you go off all half-cocked (look that one up for an interesting history of a cliché), we know this isn’t a brand new gun. In fact, it’s a rather old design, first introduced in 1930. But it has been redone for 2019 while hanging on to the heritage that made it famous.

While the gun has a bit of a checkered past (Hitler offed himself in his underground bunker with a .32 caliber version), it’s most recognizable for its stainless-steel frame flashing in the limelight in the hands of one 007. The reborn version, absent from Walther’s arsenal since 1992, is chambered in .380 ACP to hold a bit more ammo than the 9mm version. With a gun this small, that extra round can make a difference. Plus, today’s .380 cartridges are more powerful than in years gone by, so you’re not really sacrificing much with the slightly smaller round.

All the controls are right-handed, as is tradition in older models, both original and redone. The magazine is a scant 6+1. However, for one extra round, pick up the sport (PPK/S) version that features a slightly longer grip with a 7+1 magazine and single color black finish.

Production of this venerable weapon has moved from Germany to Walther’s US headquarters in Fort Smith, Arkansas, making this a truly American-made gem. MSRP: $749

Remington RM380 Executive Pistol

Concealed Carry Handgun Rem

The .380 has a special place in the hearts of pocket carriers, with its slightly smaller diameter, often allowing one more round in the magazine than its 9mm cousin. And with today’s better bullets, there isn’t a big power difference anymore between the rounds. Remington has taken advantage of the love with their new RM380 Executive Pistol. It’s still a pocket pistol, so it only holds 6+1, but the convenient size fits easily into dress pants or khaki pockets — with a holster, of course, for safety.

Similar in size and shape to the popular Smith & Wesson .380 Bodyguard, the RM380 takes pocket pistol styling up a notch with an all-aluminum frame, stainless slide and wood-tone accents on the grip, giving it a polished look often lacking in lower-priced firearms. While the abundance of metal makes this gun a tad heavier than most of its competition, it makes up for the excess weight with its runway model looks.

The biggest drawback to the RM380 is a common problem with pocket pistols: trigger weight. At 10 pounds, you’ll need a determined index finger and practice to pull the trigger and keep it on target at the same time. MSRP: $405

Kimber EVO SP

Concealed Carry Handgun Kimber

Long known for their hammer-fired semi-autos, Kimber is bringing out their first ever striker offering in the new EVO SP, chambered in 9mm. Available in four different finishes — from two-tone to custom — the EVO SP offers a ton of features in a lightweight, compact package. The frame is aluminum with a stainless slide finished in FNC black. Each variation offers a different grip texturing that feels and looks unique to the chosen style. Speaking of style — where it meets function — all four variations include changeable backstraps.

Target acquisition is made easier through tritium night sites, standard on all four variations, and putting rounds down the 3.16-in barrel onto that easily-acquired target comes through a 6-7 pound trigger with integrated safety.

One of the smaller magazines on the market, the EVO SP holds 6+1, a surprisingly low number of rounds in today’s industry race to stuff as many bullets as possible into compact and subcompact semi-autos. MSRP: $856 to 1,047

Glock G19X

Concealed Carry Handgun Glock

What’s a new gun review without something from Glock? The G19X officially entered the market in early 2018 but has yet to hit its stride, so you’ll no doubt see a lot of publicity push at SHOT 2019 and throughout the year.
Glock’s entry into the US Army’s tough-fought and potentially lucrative HMS contract program (ultimately won by the modular Sig P320 – with the drop safety issue apparently solved), the G19X is a hybrid design of new features, old features and features from two different existing Glock models, all wrapped in a new coyote color scheme — a drastic departure from the traditional Glock black.

Based mainly on the Gen 5 updates, the G19X is basically a combination of the G17 grip coupled with a G19 slide and Marksman 9mm barrel. The muzzle has been rounded off to enhance draws and reholstering, but not dramatically, so the gun still fits into standard G19 holsters.

The idea of a shorter barrel coupled with a longer grip, while uncommon, is not new in the gun world, ever since the commander-style 1911s first hit the market almost 70 years ago, so this hybrid pairing isn’t so outlandish.

The Army had very detailed requirements when selecting their new handgun to replace the aging Beretta 92/M9, including a manual safety, ambidextrous slide stop, and lanyard loop at the base of the grip, features never before seen on Glocks. For the civilian version, the manual safeties are gone, but the lanyard loop remains.

One important feature that didn’t make it over to the G19X is the magazines. Thanks in part to the lanyard at the bottom of the grip, the G19X only accepts Gen 4 mags, a first for the normally backward-compatible functionality found in other Glock models. Fortunately, Gen 4 mags are very popular and not hard to get.

The G19X comes with two flush-fit 17-round magazines and two 17-round +2 extension magazines. MSRP: $749

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Performance Center Ported

SW-MPShield-9-2-Perf - concealed carry guns
Whether I say it’s the best carry gun or not, America has chosen, and 20 percent of concealed carry guns sold in the U.S. are Smith and Wesson Shields. That’s a huge segment of a very large market, and it reflects the faith of a lot of people that the Shield is a good choice. With a weight of 19 ounces, a capacity of seven or eight plus one, striker-fired action and an MSRP of $479, the Shield represents a good compromise on everything. Simply put: It works.

Arm Yourself With More Concealed Carry Knowledge

Of course, even the most popular concealed carry gun in America can be improved, and with the introduction of the Performance Center Ported Shield, Smith and Wesson has done just that. I recently tested the Performance Center Shield equipped with a Crimson Trace Laserguard Pro, and the addition of both light and laser improve the overall performance of an already great gun for personal defense. With an MSRP of $519 for the gun and $279 for the Laserguard Pro, it’s versatile, effective and affordable. MSRP: $519

Read More: Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Full Review

Glock 43

Glock 43
With an unloaded weight of less than 18 ounces and a small profile, the Glock 43 is slim, light and allows comfortable daily concealed carry — 365 days a year. It has good sights and is simple to operate. The 9mm caliber is a reasonable stopper, and even those who don’t like Glocks won’t argue with the reliability of a Glock. The Glock 43 is easy to learn to shoot and carries enough ammunition in the supplied magazine, and larger magazines are available. MSRP: $529

Springfield Armory XDe

Springfield - XDE9 339B_Flush_L_2- concealed carry -handguns
Springfield Armory’s XD series of pistols has been a huge success, and the standard XDs sports the added security of a grip safety and is a great gun in its own right. The newer XDe is the gun for a guy who just doesn’t trust a striker-fired trigger, and no one can argue against the advantage of second-strike capability. At 25 ounces, it’s a bit heavy for my criteria, but it’s certainly the best choice for a double/single-action gun, and heavier guns are easier to shoot well. It’s both affordable and reliable. MSRP: $519

Read More: Springfield Armory XDe Full Review

Related GunDigest Articles

Kahr CM9

Kahr CM9
Lighter guns are more pleasant to carry, and the Kahr CM9 is both reliable and easy to concealed carry at just 14 ounces. It’s smaller than the above 9mms and packs a lot of punch with a six-plus-one capacity. It uses a long-stroke trigger system that feels like a light double action, but it lacks second-strike capability. The trigger is different than other striker-fired pistols, but it works really well for some people. Recoil is greater than heavier guns and not for the meek of heart, but it’s manageable with some practice. For those who just have to have more horsepower, it’s available in .40 S&W and .45 ACP with a bit more weight. MSRP: $460

Read More: Kahr CM9 Full Review

Ruger LCP II

Ruger LCP II
Sometimes you just have to go small, and of the little guns, the Ruger LCP II is a winner. The LCP II corrected all the shortcomings of the very successful LCP by improving the sights, converting to a striker-fired-type trigger and providing slide lock on the last round. The beauty of the LCP II is its diminutive size and weight. If you can’t hide this gun, you can’t hide a gun. Yes, it’s just a .380, but modern, defensive .380 ammunition is better than the 158-grain round-nosed .38 Special loads that were once the standard for law enforcement. Another advantage is how easy it is to cycle the slide, which can be a big issue for older people and women with low hand strength. The LCP II is also quite affordable. MSRP: $349

Read More: Ruger LCP II Full Review

Smith and Wesson 340 PD

Smith and Wesson 340 PD
The Smith and Wesson 340 PD wasn’t on the website for a few years, but now it’s back and it’s the ultimate Noisy Cricket. Like the explosively powered gun Will Smith fired in Men in Black, the 340 PD packs a serious punch at both ends. True, the 2-inch barrel degrades the performance of the .357 Magnum caliber, but even from a short barrel, it’s on par with a 9mm with a 5-inch barrel. At less than 12 ounces, it’s almost as light as the diminutive LCP II, though it does have a thicker profile. Lighter weight and power come at a price — $1,019 to be exact — and it’s not an easy gun to shoot because of brutal recoil. If you think it’s a bit much, there’s always the S&W 442 in .38 Special at just less than 15 ounces. MSRP: $1,019

Updates were contributed by David Workman and Elwood Shelton.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.



Related GunDigest Articles


44-Targetposters-pack-GD-reduced-300NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Storm Tactical Printable Target Pack

62 Printable MOA Targets with DOT Drills – Rifle Range in YARDS This impressive target pack from our friends at Storm Tactical contains 62 printable targets for rifle and handgun range use. Target grids and bullseye sizes are in MOA. Ideal for long-range shooting! Get Free Targets


Categories
FO3BDDDA5043

First Look: Mossberg Reserve Series Over/Under Shotguns

The best ar trigger for you

Mossberg Reserve Second

The new Mossberg Reserve Series over/under shotguns offers class and performance.

Few firearms exemplify their particular niche better than over/under shotguns. In them is the beat of wings on autumn air, the triumph of clays smashed mid-flight and an heirloom passed from generation to generation. Mossberg is no stranger to turning out excellent break actions and headlines its 2021 additions with a pair of head-turners.

Dubbed the Reserve Series by the gunmaker, the Silver Reserve Field Series and Gold Reserve Sporting Series offer top-end performance and looks, at a fraction of the average over/under’s price. Starting at $636, Silver Reserve Synthetic Stock, and running up to $1,221, Gold Reserve Super Sport, Mossberg offers a model for nearly every budget. Regardless of price, the shotgun line serves up looks and performance to make them classics.

Mossberg Gold Reserve Series
Mossberg Gold Reserve Series

Common across the Mossberg Reserve Series are chrome-lined bores, dual-locking lugs, tang safety/barrel selectors and ample gauge selection. Silver Reserve guns have a bit more selection, coming in 12-, 20-, 28-gauge and 410 bore, but the Gold Series covers a majority of shooters with 12, 20 and 410 options. From there, the guns depart on several features.

The defining the guns are aesthetics; the Gold Series has more of it. Not that the matt black and satin receivers of the Silver Series doesn’t have a sporting and functional appeal, but the Gold guns boast a bit more jazz. In particular, rich scrollwork on polished silver or blued receivers capped off with jeweled actions and attractive gold inlays on the underside. Furthermore, the stock is hand-selected Grade A black walnut on the high-end Mossberg Reserve Series guns, with cut-checkering on the grips and fore-end.

Mossberg Silver Reserve Series
Mossberg Silver Reserve Series

The competition-ready guns are equipped with 28- or 30-inch vent rib barrels topped off with a front bead sight and ejectors. Additionally, the standard Gold Reserve series, Mossberg offers two premium models—the Black Label, with a 30-inch barrel and blued receiver and the Super Sport, with fully-adjustable cast, comb and length of pull.

As for the Silver series, the guns come with the choice of walnut or synthetic stocks, and 28- or 26-inch barrels (depending on gauge). The guns also are outfitted with shell extractors, not necessarily a bad thing on a field gun. Additionally, this end of the Mossberg Reserve Series boasts a 13.25-inch LOP model for youth shooters.

Silver Reserve Specs
Gold Reserve Specs

For more information on Mossberg Reserve Series shotguns, please visit mossberg.com.


Draw A Bead On Shotguns:

Related GunDigest Articles

44-Targetposters-pack-GD-reduced-300NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Storm Tactical Printable Target Pack

62 Printable MOA Targets with DOT Drills – Rifle Range in YARDS This impressive target pack from our friends at Storm Tactical contains 62 printable targets for rifle and handgun range use. Target grids and bullseye sizes are in MOA. Ideal for long-range shooting! Get Free Targets