Gun Review: CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine in 9mm

By: Ian Jacobs

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As CZ puts it, their Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine is a “whole new animal.”  With an enormous variety of semi-automatic AR-15 style firearms in rifle and pistol calibers on the market, the Scorpion surely stands out.  I decided to get a better idea of what its sting felt like.

History

CZ, or Ceska zbrojovka Uhersky Brod, originated in Czechoslovakia in 1936.  The newer CZ-USA arm of the company was formed in 1997, acquiring the renowned Dan Wesson firearms in early 2005.  The CZ-USA headquarters are currently located in Kansas City, KS, while the parent company remains in what is now the Czech Republic.

A primitive variation of the scorpion was the vz. 61 Skorpion, which was designed and manufactured in the early 1960s.  This machine pistol was chambered in .32 ACP, among other small cartridges.  A semi-automatic civilian model was later created, but discontinued in 2010.

CZ introduced the first in a newer line of Scorpion models as a submachine gun in 2009.  Following its success and adoption by security and military forces worldwide, CZ released a semi-automatic pistol version in 2015, built off of the same platform.  The pistol is now in its second iteration, with the latest offer including a longer forend with room for most suppressors. Subsequent to the pistol, CZ released the semi-automatic carbine version of the Scorpion in mid-2016.  It is available with either a compensating muzzle brake or faux suppressor specially built by SilencerCo.

Features

Like many submachine gun and pistol variations, the Scorpion Carbine is blowback-operated and chambered in 9mm Luger.  The carbine has a sufficient number of US-made parts to make it 922(r) compliant.

At the rear, the Scorpion has a folding, adjustable stock.  It also has a 16.2 inch hammer-forged barrel topped by a ½ x 28 threaded muzzle (plus muzzle brake or faux suppressor).  The forend has several M-LOK attachment points and there are two sling attachment points on each side, plus a ¾ inch sling slot on the left.  At the top resides a generous Picatinny rail, along with low-profile aluminum adjustable sights, with the rear sight having four different apertures.

The Scorpion offers ambidextrous controls, including the swappable, non-reciprocating side-charging handle.  Even the trigger reach can be adjusted.  Research indicates that the trigger pull is around nine pounds, but one of many after-market accessories can reduce this to somewhere in the range of six pounds.

The Scorpion I purchased came with a single 10-round double stack magazine, but additional magazines are available that hold 20 or even 30 rounds, where permitted by law.  Replacement magazines are incredibly affordable, with each being $20 or less on CZ’s webstore.

The frame and magazines are both made of polymer, the former being certainly noticeable when handling the carbine.  The faux suppressor model weighs in at seven pounds, while the muzzle brake version comes in at 6.38 pounds.

Range testing and initial thoughts

The MSRP for the Scorpion ranges from $999 to $1,040 for the muzzle brake and the faux suppressor models, respectively.

Since purchasing the Scorpion with the muzzle brake, I have fired over 200 rounds with a variety of target ammunition and have not experienced a single malfunction.  This ammunition included Federal, Winchester White Box, Winchester Forged (steel cased) and also at least 50 reloaded cartridges.

The side-charging handle was a big draw, and it has not disappointed.  This can be slapped MP5-style to close the bolt, or there is a separate bolt release.  The handle itself is a bit on the small side, likely to keep the profile slim. If desired, there are aftermarket replacements available which allow for a size increase.Overall, the Scorpion was easy to shoot with very little recoil, and it was also very comfortable to handle, not to mention fun.  The controls are certainly different than the AR platform, but they are very easy to adapt to.

The ambidextrous safety switch has occasionally pinched my right hand when shooting.  However, I mostly view the switch as advantageous, as it is sometimes easier to reach with my index finger than the one on the left side is with my thumb.  Fortunately, CZ has an inexpensive part referred to as a “safety delete”, which will replace the switch with a flat circular piece of plastic.

With the aluminum sights, I was able to shoot some tight groups at 25 and 50 yards, and even made a few shots out to 100 yards.  The four rear aperture options were much appreciated when changing distances.

Disassembly of the Scorpion is quite simple.  All one has to do is remove a single pin and pull out the trigger pack.  The bolt/slide assembly comes out fairly easily from there.

The only other slightly unfavorable experience I have had with the Scorpion has been upon insertion and removal of the magazines, but this problem has not been persistent.  Occasionally, when inserting the magazine, it would not fully catch.  It would either have to be inserted again, or the release pulled outward slightly for it to seat properly.  Upon attempted release, the magazine sometimes did not drop freely and I would need to remove it manually.

A call was placed to CZ-USA to inquire about a potential easy fix or to perhaps identify if there was an oversight in manipulation.  The Customer Service department proved superior, as the call was answered within moments.  The initial representative was unable to resolve the inquiry, but the call was immediately transferred to a warranty gunsmith, who indicated it was a novel complaint.  The gunsmith suggested mailing the item back for further investigation, but as the glitch isn’t too bothersome, I opted not to.

Conclusion

I currently own both an AR platform carbine as well as the Scorpion. After purchase of the latter, I assumed I would eventually decide to sell one. Thus far, however, this has not been the case.  Each has a unique feel and it is enjoyable to have the ability to practice with 9mm ammunition, switching to .223 or 5.56 for some extra punch and distance.  I currently plan to continue use of the Scorpion primarily at the range, but can easily see this reliable firearm being used for home defense.  It doesn’t hurt that it is incredibly fun for plinking as well.

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Ruger LCP II Pistol

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by Dick Jones

The new Ruger LCP II is an excellent .380 ACP pistol that’s easily concealed, has some great features and is a solid shooter.

When I was a young man working behind a gun counter, the choices of truly small pistols were severely limited, and none were more than marginally effective. The smallest were the .22 short and .25 ACP semi-autos that offered less muzzle energy than many air rifles currently available. When one was purchased and the buyer was walking out the door, there was always a remark about the value of chocolate grips, or perhaps filing off the front sight in the event someone made the owner eat it or ingest it into some other orifice. There were Remington-pattern two-shot derringers available, but they were single action, heavy and antiquated. High Standard made a little double-action over/under .22 Magnum, and it was the best tiny gun to be found but offered only two shots and was still pretty heavy because it was all steel.

To get a small semi-auto in a more powerful caliber, one had to go to guns the size of the Walther PPK that Mr. Bond made famous, and a PPK is not a tiny gun by the standards of today. The PPK and other guns of a similar size were available in .32 and .380 ACP, and ammunition was full metal jacket only. I think James Bond was the only guy who saw the PPK as an effective stopper. There’s a new reality with modern defensive .380 ammunition; it’s now more effective than the standard round-nosed lead 158-grain load that 90 percent of law enforcement officers carried just a few years ago, and because of this, I consider a .380 a viable concealed carry gun when you simply can’t hide a bigger gun.

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In the process of writing The Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry Handguns, I reviewed the three most popular .380 sub-compact semi-auto concealed carry pistols. The guns I chose for the test were the Ruger LCP, the S&W Bodyguard and the Glock 42. While all were similar as sub-compact .380s, the three guns revealed a noticeable difference in approach to the same issue. The LCP was certainly the smallest and lightest, but with tiny sights and a challenging trigger. The Bodyguard was a bit larger, still with a long stroke trigger, but was a full featured semi-auto with a slide that locked back on the last round and sights that were more usable at a slight cost in concealability. The Glock was simply a sized-down version of the standard Glock product with all the features of any other Glock, smaller, but hardly a miniscule pistol. As a result, the Glock was easy to shoot, the Ruger was easy to hide and I chose the Bodyguard because it had slide lock and second strike capability.

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A Great Gun…But
As I say almost every time I review a gun, we’re currently blessed with some mighty good choices in firearms, and it’s really hard to improve on what we have. Having said this, the LCP II is a big improvement over an already excellent concealed carry pistol. First impression is that it’s a bit bigger, but it’s just barely bigger than the original. When you operate it, you notice the big improvement, the trigger. The trigger on the older version was a long, double-action-type pull. The gun was already small, and guys with average-sized hands had trouble getting a full stroke before the index finger buried itself into their thumb. In spite of the long compression, the LCP didn’t have second-strike capability, meaning a second pull of the trigger wouldn’t fire the striker in the event of a dud round.

Another shortcoming of the earlier design was the lack of slide lock on the last round. There’s no doubt this omission was to allow lighter weight and simplicity, but it’s a nice feature to have, and most of us who shoot autoloaders have grown accustomed to the slide locking back. Still, the LCP was a very good gun, and at just over 9 ounces with a thin profile and shape, it was an easy gun to hide almost anywhere. Ruger sold tons of them, and it took a lot of LCPs to make a ton.

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Striker-Fired Trigger in a Hammer Gun
The new gun corrects every shortcoming of the original. First is the trigger. It’s an excellent striker-fired-style trigger. The LCP II isn’t a striker-fired gun. It still has a hammer, but the trigger pull duplicates the bladed, two-stage trigger of a good striker-fired service gun. My test gun’s trigger broke at a reasonable 6 pounds. Light triggers aren’t a good idea on defensive guns in the hands of shooters who aren’t highly trained, and 6 pounds is reasonable. The first stage is light; the second stage is well defined, and while there is backlash, it isn’t excessive.

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The next improvement is slide lock on the last round. The original LCP had a manual slide lock, and though it was a bit difficult for anyone with sausage fingers, it was functional. The LCP II locks the slide back on the last round, decreasing the time required for a reload by what would seem eons if it was required during a deadly force event. Fortunately, reloads for civilians in defensive situations are almost non-existent, but it’s still a great feature.

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The third major improvement was in the sights. On the original model, the sights looked like they might have been an afterthought. They were tiny, but in good light, they worked well enough to produce silver dollar sized groups at 7 yards. The sights on the LCP II are substantially larger, though still smaller than the almost-full-sized sights on a Glock 42. These three improvements cover every area of concern I’ve heard about the original LCP and at a cost of about 1 ounce of weight and $90.00. The MSRP of $349.00 is very competitive in the sub-compact pistol market. Still, Ruger is betting the $259.00 price, and slightly lighter weight, merits keeping the original LCP in the catalog.

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Range Impressions
Shooting the LCP II was much easier than the original and also easier than my previous favorite, the S&W Bodyguard. The two-stage trigger is easy to manage, and the sights are large enough to see. The grip is small, but a small gun can’t have a large grip. I fired it with both the flat magazine plate and the one with the finger hook. With the finger hook, it’s a two-finger arrangement. Without it, I could only get about half my ring finger on the grip. Grip texture is lightly stippled. One thing I noticed from the outset was the slide seemed easier to operate. On the original LCP, there was a separate stage at the beginning of the slide’s stroke. On the LCP II test gun, the slide stroke was smooth all the way back. This is not a big issue for most, but of real importance for those with low hand strength, like some women and older shooters.

There is recoil. Even a .22 that weighs 10 ounces will generate recoil, and a firm grip is required to keep it properly placed in the hand when shooting fast. Still, it’s capable of shooting ragged-hole groups at 7 yards, and that’s all you can ask of a gun this small. The Ruger-LCP-II-target-288x300sights were easy to see, but I think a three-dot system might make it a bit better in low light. I teach shooting to a lot of novice shooters and lining up three dots is an easy way to teach sight alignment to a former non-shooter. The LCP II is a gun that’ll be attractive to those new to the concept of daily, concealed carry. There were zero malfunctions with the three rounds tested.

The magazine release is easy enough to get to, especially for a small gun, and the LCP II doesn’t just release the magazine, it launches it. I particularly liked the fact that I can drop a magazine without it snagging on the heel of my hand, a common problem with many smaller pistols. The gun comes with only one magazine, and I’d have liked to have another to see just how fast I could accomplish a mag change with it. I suspect it would be about as fast as any compact pistol and faster than some.

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The Fix Is In
In closing, the LCP II is everything one can ask for from a super tiny, reasonably powerful, decently accurate, easy-to-hide defensive pistol. Were I to revisit that test of the Glock 42 and S&W Bodyguard against the new LCP, the result would be different. The LCP II would be the clear winner because it has the best features of the other guns combined with substantially less size and weight. It’s certainly a good choice and maybe the best choice in the sub-compact pistol market.

Specifications:

Ruger LCP II
Type: Semi-auto, internal hammer-fired
Caliber: .380 ACP
Barrel: 2.75 in., alloy steel
Overall Length: 5.17 in.
Weight: 10.6 oz.
Grips: Integral with polymer frame
Sights: Integral on slide, rear notch and post front
Finish: Blued
Capacity: 6+1
MSRP: $349
Manufacturer: Ruger

Performance Data:

Winchester 95-gr. FMJ   
Best Group: 1.72 in.
Worst Group: 2.34 in.
Avg. Group: 2.01 in.

Winchester 85-gr. Train & Defend
Best Group: 1.02 in.
Worst Group: 1.94 in.
Avg. Group: 1.65 in.

Winchester 85-grain Kinetic HE
Best Group: 1.44 in.
Worst Group: 1.99 in.
Avg. Group: 1.88 in.

Accuracy data was the result of five, five-shot groups fired deliberately at a distance of 7 yards from a standing position.

 

Originally published by Gun Digest, April 13, 2017

Review: Colt Delta Elite 10 mm Pistol

By: Dick Williams

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When I’m interested in powering up a handgun, downsizing the caliber is not my first thought. Yet, that’s the premise behind the 10 mm cartridge as envisioned by the FBI during its pursuit of the perfect pistol cartridge/caliber during the final decade of the last century. The bureau’s on-again/off-again romance with different solutions (along with Dornaus & Dixon’s failure of its Bren 10 pistol to reach production) essentially doomed the 10 mm until Colt stepped in and provided a home for the cartridge in the company’s iconic Model 1911.

The Colt Delta Elite is a Series 80 (rather than the older Series 70) design. This means—in addition to other manual-safety devices like the grip safety and slide stop, automatic safety devices like the disconnector, the hammer safety stop and the inertia firing pin—the Delta Elite also has a firing-pin lock. This prevents the firing pin from moving forward until the trigger is pressed. Some gunwriters, usually older guys, tend to go emotionally berserk over this feature. Don’t; the firing-pin lock requires a couple of extra steps and pieces in manufacturing, but it works fine.

(l.) A memory bump on the lower portion of the beavertail aids in rapid deactivation. (r.) Though narrow, the thumb safety offers ample purchase.

While the Delta Elite is available in either stainless or blue steel, the test gun furnished was stainless and ran flawlessly on the range with all ammo tested. I can’t address the gun’s performance under adverse conditions simply because the gun didn’t really get dirty during our outings together. Good news is that it worked fine right out of the box, with no break-in period needed.

Things I liked: The controls are well designed. The prominent “speed bump” on the grip safety ensured proper disengagement with my normal shooting grip, while the large beavertail grip safety provided ample protection from slide cuts. A slender, strong-side thumb safety allowed easy manipulation, yet facilitated a proper firing grip (shooting hand thumb on top of rather than under the safety lever). Rubber grip panels with “checkering” resisted damage from scrapes and bumps but provided adequate grip control. Subdued serrations on the mainspring housing permitted a firm firing grip without snagging clothing during the draw stroke or while carrying concealed. Sharp-edged cuts on each side of the slide assisted manual operation of the pistol. An old-style barrel bushing and traditional recoil-spring guide simplified takedown, without requiring any additional tools. Both front and rear sights are dovetail-mounted in the slide, enhancing survivability in a rough environment. The three-white-dot sight system seems to be the norm for defensive pistols these days and does offer an improved sight picture in dim light or against threats wearing dark clothing.

Things that might be changed: There are no bumper pads on factory magazines, and while a flat bottom is fine on the magazine carried in the gun, speed reloads are greatly aided by an extended bumper pad. In fairness, the Delta Elite’s magazines did have rounded bottoms that protruded slightly below the magazine well, and that helped ensure proper seating with one definitive slap.

(l.) Holes in the trigger provide aesthetic appeal and beneficial weight reduction. (ctr.) The drift-adjustable rear sight is wedge-shaped to prevent snagging on cover garments. (r.) A single white dot adorns the Delta Elite’s dovetailed front blade and promotes a quick and intuitive sight picture.

Every edge on the Delta Elite’s slide was quite sharp and, with the exception of the aforementioned slide cuts, they could stand some rounding. While the dehorning process would add some manufacturing costs to the gun (and perhaps detract from the appearance of the precisely machined slides) I’m in favor of a slightly friendlier exterior.

Things I’d consider changing: Flying in the face of today’s tactical wisdom, I’d think about putting adjustable sights on the pistol. Yes, it was conceived as a fighting pistol, but it handles a wide range of bullet weights with velocities normally reserved for magnum-caliber handguns. With its noticeably flatter trajectories, one can make precision shots at ranges well beyond what’s considered acceptable for conventional carry pistols, but only if you have properly sighted the gun in for your selected load. No, I haven’t made any hostage-rescue shots, but I have been hog hunting with 1911s chambered in 10 mm, and it was nice knowing exactly where the bullet would impact at ranges beyond 50 yards.

It’s no secret that I’m a long-term fan of the 1911, and now I’ve become a fan of the 10 mm 1911. If you start with a pistol that fits you and you can run smoothly, then how can you not like the added performance enhancements offered by the 10 mm? If you can handle the recoil/power of the .45 ACP or .40 S&W you shouldn’t have any problem managing the 10 mm Colt Delta Elite.

Century Arms Introduces New AK Pistols

By: SI Staff

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Century Arms announced the addition of two new AK-47 pistol models to the company’s lineup: the C39V2 and the RAS47. Both models contain many of the same features found in the rifle variants, while the overall length has been trimmed down.

“This great addition to our AK line is the result of considerable development that has gone into our government-focused product line,” said Jason Karvois, Century Arms’ director of sales. “As we were developing our full-auto and short-barreled models for various contracts, the pistol variants were a logical offshoot for the commercial market. Plus, these things are just plain fun to shoot.”

Both guns feature a receiver side rail, which are compatible with the company’s AK Micro Dot Side Mount. The guns also feature 4150 nitride-treated barrel, RAK-1 enhanced trigger group and multiple quick-detach attachment points for sling mounting. The guns also sport Magpul MOE AK furniture, including a grip and a handguard.

The difference between the two guns is found in the design and construction of the receiver. The C39V2 AK pistol features a milled receiver made from 4140 ordnance-grade steel. The RAS47 AK pistol features a stamped-steel receiver.

The two AK pistols are completely made in the USA. The C39V2 retails at a suggested price of $909.99, while the RAS47 model retails at a suggested price of $749.99.

Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm

M&P by Smith and Wesson
At its core, the Shield is a polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol. The pistol falls into the broad category of compact handguns.

What separates this firearm from the rest of the pack of M&P pistols isn’t its overall length or weight. It’s the Shield’s girth, or rather the noticeable lack thereof. At a dead-skinny .95 in wide, this pistol is more that .2 in thinner than the M&P Compact.

Specs and marketing hype notwithstanding, the real test of a self-defense gun’s usefulness is on the range and on the street. If the gun isn’t reliable and accurate, what’s the point in a self-defense role? The Smith and Wesson M&P Shield delivers.

The reality of protection is that you never know when you’ll need it. Smith & Wesson took the power and features of their full sized M&P pistols and put them into a slim, lightweight pistol the size of your hand. The M&P Shield is an easy to conceal pistol that offers professional grade features with simple operation and reliable performance day or night. One million Shield owners can’t be wrong.

Features
Extremely thin and lightweight – can be comfortably carried all day
Polymer frame with embedded stainless steel rigid chassis system
Striker-fired for short consistent trigger pull, every time
M&P’s patented take-down lever and sear deactivation systems allow for disassembly without pulling the trigger
Includes 2 magazines; 1 with extended capacity and one flus

Specifications
Caliber: 9mm
Magazine Capacity: 7 rounds
Weight: 19 ounces
Barrel Length: 3.1 in
Overall Length: 6.1 in
Width: 0.95 in
Sights: three-dot, drift adjustable
Action: striker fired

Get yours at Calibers today!
Take advantage of the Smith & Wesson rebate offer!

Tested: Smith & Wesson M&P45 Shield

By: American Rifleman Staff

XD9801R1Ten years ago, Smith & Wesson introduced a line of defensive semi-automatic pistols that carried the firm’s long-used “Military & Police” model identification. Not like the familiar Model 10 revolver that armed Americans since the last decade of the 19th century, the new M&Ps were 21st century striker-fired, polymer-frame autoloaders with a full range of today’s essential features. The first models were full-size service pistols with double-column magazines. And the first examples were chambered in .40 S&W, although 9 mm Lugers and .45 ACPs followed quickly. Undeniably a successful product line, the M&P has been made in countless variations—from compacts to long slides and, for a while, even in .357 SIG. But of all the variations that have come from the Springfield, Mass., plant, one that stands out is the recently released M&P45 Shield.

The Shield line is a reflection of the current interest in medium-to-small, single-stack, semi-automatic pistols set up for concealed carry or police backup roles. High-capacity magazines are not essential, but serious terminal performance is. The first gun in the Shield line was a 9 mm (July 2012, p. 42), followed closely by a .40 S&W. It took a while longer for S&W engineers to adapt the Shield concept to the .45 ACP cartridge, but that gun is now a reality.

With a steel slide riding a polymer frame, the M&P45 Shield is recoil-operated, locking by way of the barrel’s hood engaging the ejection port and unlocking by way of its underlug camming downward after firing as it comes into contact with a steel block in the frame. A captive, dual recoil spring assembly returns the slide to battery.

The M&P45 Shield’s steel, drift-adjustable, three-dot sights consist of a square-notch rear and a post front.

The gun’s substantial .45 ACP chambering and scant 22-oz. weight combine to create a pistol that might be a bit difficult to manage were it not for its superior ergonomic design, which makes the pistol eminently shootable. Most shooters, including those with smaller hands, generally take to the Shield grip shape very well. In fact, it is probably the most appealing of the little pistol’s virtues. The frame is angled for natural pointability and has a deep pocket for the web of the shooting hand.

Looking at the gun in profile, note that the curve of the trigger is well below the curve of the pocket on the backstrap. This simply means that the pistol is nicely shaped for the “back and up” sweep movement of the trigger, which has an action that is consistent from shot to shot. The trigger pull is around 5 lbs., and seems to vary just a bit, though it may level out with time. There is a minimal amount of take-up before trigger pressure actually begins. Trigger reset is reasonably short.

With regard to safety features, the M&P45 Shield has an articulated trigger safety and an internal drop safety. Our sample gun also featured a manual thumb safety mounted on the left side of the frame for use by right-handed shooters, although Smith & Wesson does make a variant without the manual safety.

Two magazines come with the .45 ACP-chambered Shield, one with a seven-round capacity and one that holds six.

Each pistol comes with one six-round magazine and one seven-rounder—the difference being only in the height of the baseplates. As is the custom with service pistols, most shooters will load the pistol by retracting the slide, inserting a fully loaded magazine and depressing the slide release to chamber the top round. They then remove the magazine to top it off with a single round and replace it in the pistol. For this reason, pistols are commonly described as having a capacity of “six-plus-one”—the magazine carries only six rounds, but after topping off, the gun has a total of seven cartridges onboard. Yet curiously, both M&P45 Shield magazines (the six-rounder and the seven-rounder) feature witness holes marked “3, 4, 5, 6 and +1.” Not only is the “+1” denotation nonsensical, it is incredibly frustrating when one unsuccessfully attempts to load the “additional” round into the six-round magazine.

Finished in a businesslike black color, the Shield is an impressive little package. The square-notch rear and post front sights feature a three-dot pattern and are drift-adjustable. At the time of the M&P45 Shield’s introduction, the maker pointed out the improved (over earlier Shields) texturing on the gun’s gripping surfaces. S&W has gone to panels of a slightly more aggressive version of what was once termed a “crackle” finish. It works like a charm, serving to anchor the pistol firmly in the hand. This is a very light little pistol that recoils sharply when firing the larger .45 ACP cartridge.

The Smith & Wesson M&P45 Shield is a good choice as a daily carry gun. At 22.7 ozs., it isn’t particularly heavy, and would be a good choice as a police backup gun, as well; it is flat and could nicely fit into a pocket or seam in body armor. The Shield chambered in .45 ACP is quick into action, simple to manage and about as powerful as carry guns get.

Tested: Springfield Armory EMP4 Concealed Carry Contour

By: B. Gil Horman

Tested: Springfield Armory EMP4 Concealed Carry Contour

Last year I had my first opportunity to spend some quality time at the range with one of Springfield Armory’s 1911-pattern EMP4 9 mm pistols. This series is set apart from the competition by the reduced dimensions of the grip frame. Springfield spent the time and money required to compress the traditional 1911 .45-ACP grip to fit the 9 mm cartridge, which is not as easy to do as one might think.

  

The combination of this shooting-hand-friendly grip configuration with the reduced recoil of 9 mm ammunition, lightweight aluminum frame, longer 4″ barrel and top-notch controls led me to say of the EMP4 that, “It is one of the most well-balanced defensive single-stack 1911 pistols I’ve had the pleasure of working with.” I’m not alone in this opinion because the EMP4 has been a popular model with critics and consumers alike.

Just when I thought the EMP4 had reached a pinnacle in 9 mm pistol design, Springfield has served up a new model with an intriguing twist, or should I say, curve. Also known as a bobtail grip, the mainspring housing and heel of this pistol’s grip frame have been rounded off. This makes the pistol easier to carry concealed because it eliminates the squared-off portion of the grip that tends to poke out or print through clothing. 

Depending on your hand size and personal preferences, a bobtailed grip can also feel more comfortable to shoot. Generally speaking, a bobtail grip is a custom feature that costs more because of the extra work needed to shape, polish and refinish the grip. Adding a bobtail to an existing pistol can cost upwards of $200. However, Springfield’s in-house contour for this pistol is a real value at half the price.

 

This version of the EMP4 two-tone, single-stack 1911 pistol retains the features that have kept this model selling like hot cakes. The satin finish stainless steel side has rear cocking serrations and a 3-dot sight system which employs a red fiber optic in front and a low profile white dot sight in back. The 4″ stainless steel, match-grade bushing-less bull barrel sports a fully supported ramp. The full-length one-piece steel guide rod supports a single round wire recoil spring.

The lightweight frame is forged aluminum with a traditional rounded trigger guard and matte-black hardcoat anodized finish. The controls, including the slide stop, round button magazine release, ambidextrous thumb safety, skeletonized hammer and extended beaver tail grip safety, are all steel with a matte black finish which matches the frame. The skeletonized trigger is aluminum with a matte silver finish to match the slide. The pistol ships with three blued steel 9-round, single-stack magazines.

 

Along with the bobtail contour, the other changes to this model of the EMP4 can be found in and around the grip frame. The frontstraps and backstraps are both treated with a more aggressive “golf ball” type texturing. The hardwood grips have been replaced with black G10 panels that have the same texture. The result is a grip that rests comfortably, but securely, in the hand. This new model exhibits the same degree of top-notch fit, finish and attention to detail as its predecessor. 

At the shooting range, the EMP performed to my fairly high expectations. The slide exhibited a tight fit to the frame, without any GI shake, and cycled smoothly right out of the box. The controls were easy to operate and functioned flawlessly. The clean, crisp single-action trigger pull was dead center of the listed pull weight (5 to 6 lbs.) at 5 lbs. 8 oz. The single-stack magazines locked tightly in place but easily dropped free when the magazine release was pressed.

How aggressive the texturing of a pistol’s grip should be depends on which school of thought you choose to follow. Over the last few years we’ve seen more of the highly aggressive tactical textured G10 grips favored by military and law enforcement making their way into the civilian market. These toothy patterns bite into skin or glove fabric to provide a secure purchase in wet or cold environments. Old-school grips have light textures to prevent wear and tear on clothing. The EMP4 Contour grip effectively splits the difference with leanings toward the tactical side while not being so abrasive as to need to replace your wardrobe on a regular basis. 

The pistol and magazines were utterly reliable without any hiccups or hang-ups throughout the entire course of testing using a full range of practice and premium grade ammunition. Because this is a concealed-carry pistol, benchrested accuracy testing was conducted at 25 yards by firing five 5-shot groups using premium defensive hollow-point ammunition.

The new 4″ barrel 9 mm EMP4 Concealed Carry Contour is another terrific example of how Springfield Armory is diligently working to tune this elegant century-old design to fit the needs of the modern concealed-carry practitioner. It’s true that polymer single-stack 9 mms can weigh and cost less than this gun. However, they just don’t have the same feel, light trigger pull, and accuracy potential right out of the box that this pistol provides. The new bobtail grip makes a very well balanced pistol just that much easier to carry.

NRA Specifications
Manufacturer: Springfield Armory
Model: EMP 4″ Concealed Carry Contour (PI9229L)
Action: Single-Action Semi-Automatic 1911
Caliber: 9 mm
Slide: Stainless Steel
Frame: Forged Aluminum, Black Hardcoat Anodized
Grip Panels: Black Textured G-10
Front Sight: Fiber Optic
Rear Sight: White Dot Low Profile Combat
Barrel: Stainless Steel Match Grade Bull, Fully Supported Ramp
Guide Rod: Full Length, Dual Recoil Springs
Trigger: Match Grade Long Aluminum
Barrel Length: 4.00″
Overall Length: 7.50″
Height: 5.50″
Slide Width: 0.92″
Grip Width: 1.15″
Weight: 31 oz. with Empty Magazine
Capacity: 9+1 Rounds
Twist: 1:16” LH
Rifle Grooves: 6
Accessories: Lockable Carry Case, Three 9-Round Blued Steel Magazines, Cable Lock, Owner’s Manual.

Beretta Introduces the APX

By: American Rifleman Staff

Beretta Introduces the APX

After nearly five years of development, Beretta is finally bringing its APX pistol to the civilian market. The semi-automatic marks something of a departure for the company, as it stands as the first full-size striker-fired pistol in the venerable Italian firm’s nearly 500-year history.

Beretta’s entrant into the U.S. Army’s recently concluded XM17 Modular Handgun System (MHS) program, the APX was designed for duty use by military and law enforcement operators, however, the handgun will fit right in on the commercial home-defense market. American Rifleman’s Kelly Young had the opportunity to put the APX through its paces last week at The O’Gara Group’s tactical training facilities in Montross, Va. 

A polymer-frame pistol standing 7.56” long and 5.6” tall with a 4.25” barrel, the APX weighs 27 ozs. with an empty magazine. Utilizing a tilt-barrel, locked breech operating system, the new gun is chambered in 9 mm Luger and .40 S&W, with standard magazine capacities of 17 and 15 rounds, respectively. Bilateral slide locks and a reversible magazine-release button mean the APX can quickly be converted for left-handed use, and a replaceable backstrap system offers three different grip-circumference options. Sights on the gun follow the modern three-dot pattern.

Similar to the SIG P250 and P320, the APX utilizes a removable chassis (which for paperwork purposes is considered the serialized part) that allows the heart of the gun to be easily transferred into alternate frames—and Beretta is offering black, gray, Flat Dark Earth and Olive Drab Green frames for this purpose. The APX’s fiberglass-reinforced polymer frames also have a three-slot MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail segment molded into its dustcover.

In addition to a trigger safety and a firing pin block safety, the APX also features a striker deactivation button. Located near the beavertail on either side of the frame, this button allows the pistol to be field-stripped without pulling the trigger.

Springfield Armory Introduces Laser Equipped 1911 Loaded Model

by American Rifleman Staff

laser

Springfield Armory has optimized the 1911 Loaded Parkerized pistol for serious defensive use by adding Crimson Trace Lasergrips.

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The Parkerized finish is designed to stand up to the rigors of daily carry while the full 5″ Government size makes it an excellent home-defense option too. 

“The addition of the laser means you can react more quickly in response to a threat,” says Springfield CEO Dennis Reese.“ I don’t know if there’s anything more comforting than that.” 

Those familiar with Crimson Trace Lasergrips will already appreciate the instinctive activation button, which turns on the laser with no switch manipulation required. And low-profile grip replacements means that customers can use their favorite Government size holster. As a self-defense model, the Loaded Parkerized comes standard with three-dot Tritium combat sights. 

“The goal of our Loaded product line is to provide customers with pistols that are ready to go, out of the box, with everything they might need for serious types of usage,” says Reese. “To us, Loaded doesn’t represent a single combination of features. Rather, we create a number of different configurations within the Loaded family to meet different types of customer needs.”

Because everyone’s definition of Loaded is a little different, Springfield Armory now offers six different models in the series, each with its unique set of features. For example, the LB Operator offers an extra round in the magazine, while the Lightweight Operator uses a forged aluminum alloy frame to shave extra weight for concealed carry applications. The traditional Parkerized and Stainless Steel models are forged with a traditional dust cover while the Marine Corps Operator, LB Operator, and Lightweight Operator models include Picatinny rails for more tactical use. 

Depending on the specific Loaded configuration, customers will find premium features such as ambidextrous thumb safeties, extended beavertail grip safeties with memory bumps, lightweight delta hammers, and extended triggers. Two included magazines and a very high quality polymer briefcase round out the package. 

Springfield Armory will be offering the Loaded Parkerized Crimson Trace pistol in .45ACP.

The Parkerized finish is designed to stand up to the rigors of daily carry while the full 5″ Government size makes it an excellent home-defense option too. 

“The addition of the laser means you can react more quickly in response to a threat,” says Springfield CEO Dennis Reese.“ I don’t know if there’s anything more comforting than that.” 

Those familiar with Crimson Trace Lasergrips will already appreciate the instinctive activation button, which turns on the laser with no switch manipulation required. And low-profile grip replacements means that customers can use their favorite Government size holster. As a self-defense model, the Loaded Parkerized comes standard with three-dot Tritium combat sights. 

“The goal of our Loaded product line is to provide customers with pistols that are ready to go, out of the box, with everything they might need for serious types of usage,” says Reese. “To us, Loaded doesn’t represent a single combination of features. Rather, we create a number of different configurations within the Loaded family to meet different types of customer needs.”

Because everyone’s definition of Loaded is a little different, Springfield Armory now offers six different models in the series, each with its unique set of features. For example, the LB Operator offers an extra round in the magazine, while the Lightweight Operator uses a forged aluminum alloy frame to shave extra weight for concealed carry applications. The traditional Parkerized and Stainless Steel models are forged with a traditional dust cover while the Marine Corps Operator, LB Operator, and Lightweight Operator models include Picatinny rails for more tactical use. 

Depending on the specific Loaded configuration, customers will find premium features such as ambidextrous thumb safeties, extended beavertail grip safeties with memory bumps, lightweight delta hammers, and extended triggers. Two included magazines and a very high quality polymer briefcase round out the package. 

Springfield Armory will be offering the Loaded Parkerized Crimson Trace pistol in .45ACP.

Heckler & Koch SP5K Pistol

sp5k-right-revised-may-11-2016-web

Heckler & Koch will launch the new SP5K semi-automatic pistol (civilian sporting pistol)—which matches the look and feel of the iconic MP5K submachine gun—at the 2016 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Louisville, Ky. See a video from the exhibit hall here.

Designed and manufactured as a civilian pistol, the SP5K marks the return of the roller delayed blowback operating system to an HK commercial product, a system well-known for its accuracy and reliability. Originally developed on the G3 rifle, it has been used on many of H&K’s most memorable firearms of the last 60 years.

“The SP5K is a unique and historic HK pistol that captures the essence of the legendary MP5K but as a semi-auto handgun,” said Michael Holley, HK-USA vice president for commercial sales and marketing. “It’s equipped with a special ergonomic handguard that protects the shooter’s supporting hand and enables a stable and comfortable grip. A bungee cord sling is also included and makes shooting an SP5K easy. It’s a fun gun to shoot and goes a long way in recreating the experience of handling and firing a real MP5 subgun.”

The SP5K has been designed to duplicate the quality and fine details of the MP5, including its precision machined components. The same cold-hammer forged barrel used on the MP5K is found on the SP5K, ensuring a service life of tens of thousands of rounds. The SP5K is manufactured completely in Heckler & Koch’s Oberndorf factory in southwest Germany.

A Picatinny rail scope mount is attached to the upper receiver, allowing for an optional sight. The SP5K also comes with a custom-fitted, lockable, high-quality carrying case.