Springfield Armory Provides Behind-the-Scenes Look at the M1A

By: Guy J. Sagi

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Springfield Armory has released a short video that details the history of its M1A series and provides a close look at the craftsmanship and precision required in the creation of this iconic American firearm. An M1A lineup has been offered by Springfield Armory since 1974, and the company is one of only a few manufacturers currently making civilian versions of the M14 rifle.

“The careful hours, scrupulous effort, expert machining and meticulous tool work needed to complete an M1A from start to finish, make it a labor-intensive yet wholly worthwhile process,” says CEO Dennis Reese. “The end result honors the tradition and legacy of the M1A. It is truly an exceptional rifle and a beloved American firearm.”

In 1959, the U.S. Military replaced the World War II-proven M1 Garand with the M14, which is chambered in 7.62 NATO. By 1970 the latter was also retired, but when the long-distance, mountainside engagements with terrorism in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan proved too much for the 5.56 NATO M4s, many of the M14s remaining in armories were retrofitted with modern furniture and pressed back into service.

Civilian enthusiasts can own similar improvements in Springfield Armory’s M1A series, including the Loaded M1A model tested by Shooting Illustrated—with fully adjustable, Archangel Precision synthetic stock. Traditional versions with wood furniture and iconic profile are still offered by the company as well. The M1A National Match remains a popular choice with competitors.

The company is also currently running an M1A Gear Up Promotion that allows new owners who submit a proof of purchase online to receive three, 20-round magazines in addition to the single, 10-round magazine that ships with each rifle. Purchases made between Feb. 1 and May 31 qualify for the special deal. Those consumers who live in restricted states will receive magazines compatible with local laws.

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New for 2018: Walther Arms PPS M2 RMSc

Fans of the Walther Arms concealed-carry handguns can now take advantage of a new carry optics package offered by the company in the form of the new PPS M2 RMSc. This new-for-2018 package combines the compact size and enhanced ergonomics of the PPS M2 pistol with the rapid target acquisition provided by the Shield Sights RMSc reflex sight.

“Carry optics is a fast growing category, and Walther is very excited to offer the PPS M2 equipped with the RMSc,” said Kevin Wilkerson, marketing manager for Fort Smith-based Walther Arms. “The combination provides significant value with a slim factory milled slide topped with an exceptional optic. This pairing will be a perfect fit for the buyer looking for a concealable optic ready product.”

One of the difficulties of pairing a red-dot reflex sight with the PPS M2 was dealing with the thin slide on the gun, which measures just an inch wide. Luckily, Shield Sights took its popular RMS reflex mini sight and shrank the design in order to allow it to fit onto compact, single-stack carry guns like the Glock G43, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield and now the Walther Arms PPS M2. The sight provides users with a bright, clear aiming dot that measures 4 MOA in diameter.

The rear of the slide on the Walther PPS M2 RMSc is milled to accept the reflex sight and allows the red dot to sit low enough in the slide that the dot can co-witness with the iron sights on the gun. Should the reflex sight ever run out of power or be damaged, users can still accurately fire the handgun using the irons. Should owners want to remove the red-dot optic entirely, a cover plate is included to fill the milled gap in the slide.

The suggested retail price on the Walther Arms PPS M2 RMSc package is $699, which is a significant savings for consumers versus purchasing each component separately. The suggested retail price on the PPS M2 alone is $469, while a standalone Shield RMSc reflex optic has a suggested retail price of $504.

SHOT Show 2018: Century Arms Draco NAK9 AK Pistol

By: B. Gil Hillman

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Century Arms is expanding its Draco line of compact AK-pattern pistols to include the new NAK9 chambered in 9 mm. The company has wisely designed the magazine well to accept factory and after-market magazines designed for Glock G17 and G19 pistols in capacities ranging from 15 to 33 rounds.

Manufactured in Romania, this blowback-operated pistol features a stamped receiver, hardwood fore-end furniture, a black polymer grip and an 11.14″ barrel. The mil-standard 14×1 mm threading of the muzzle accepts various muzzle devices and sound suppressors. The controls follow typical AK standards with a right-side mounted safety selector, steel bow trigger and lever-style magazine release. The pistol ships with AK-style adjustable iron sights and a Picatinny rail for optics.

The NAK9 has an overall length of 19.1″, an unloaded weight of 6.38 lbs. and ships with one 33-round magazine. A sling mount is attached to the rear of the receiver to accommodate single-point slings. The pistol will have a suggested retail price of $724.99

SilencerCo Releases First Suppressed Muzzleloader

For the first time since the National Firearms Act (NFA) was created in 1934, civilians can enjoy suppressed shooting in nearly all 50 states with SilencerCo’s latest innovation: the integrally suppressed Maxim 50 muzzleloader.

With the invention of the Maxim 50, SilencerCo has created a product that is 100 percent legal for civilian ownership under federal law (some state laws may not allow it, though, depending on how they define muzzleloaders) while providing hearing-saving suppression at a reasonable price point. How is this possible? By paying very close attention to federal law. 

The BATFE defines a silencer as a “device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm . . .”  By that definition, a silencer is only a silencer if it can attach to a firearm. The Maxim 50 is built on the base of a Traditions Vortek Strikerfire Muzzleloader. For those who know muzzleloaders, you’ll also know that they are not considered firearms by the BATFE but are instead antique firearms, a definition and difference that is very distinct under federal law. Because of this, a moderator that is permanently affixed to a muzzleloader is not legally defined by BATF as a silencer, since it does not attach to a firearm. With this realization, the Maxim 50 was born. 

“It took a lot of creativity to arrive at this solution,” said Josh Waldron, SilencerCo CEO and Co-Founder. “We have been working on this product for three years, with most of that time spent waiting on a determination from the Technology Branch of the BATFE as to how this product would be classified. As soon as we received official word that it wouldn’t be considered or regulated as a silencer, we got to work on bringing the Maxim 50 to customers across the country.” 

SilencerCo expects the Maxim 50 to be a hit not only with the NFA-loving crowd, but also with hobbyists and hunters. In many states, muzzleloader hunting begins days (sometimes weeks) before standard rifle season, giving hunters using this platform an edge. But this edge does come with caveats—antique firearms are usually loud, have lots of recoil, and the shooter has to battle the thick cloud of black powder smoke billowing from the barrel as they try to see if their shot connected with their game. The Maxim 50 solves all of the issues experienced by muzzleloader shooters while also drastically reducing the resulting smoke by more than two-thirds, allowing hunters to see the location of their shot and track their game.


SilencerCo is honored to finally be able to bring suppressed shooting to its customers across the country, and, in most places, sans a long wait or a tax stamp.

For more information visit silencerco.com

Browning Expands Black Label 1911-380 Pistol Line

By: American Rifleman Staff

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Since the 2015 introduction of its Black Label 1911-380 line of pistols, Browning has continued to grow the line, this year adding five new models.


The Black Label 1911-380 Medallion Pro will be available in Full Size and Compact versions, and ships with two magazines. These new pistols will feature an aluminum-reinforced composite frame and slide with a blackened stainless steel finish with silver brush polished flats. The grips will be checkered rosewood and feature the famous gold Buckmark logo. The Full Size model barrel length is 4 1/4″ and the Compact barrel length is 3 5/8″. Both the Full Size and Compact versions are available with steel 3-dot sights or steel night sights. MSRP is $799.99 for the 3-dot sight model; $879.99 for night sights model.

Browning is also adding three Compact models to the 1911-380 line.


The Black Label 1911-380 Compact has the same features as the Full Size model but with a shorter, 3 5/8” barrel. This model has composite black grips and includes fixed combat sights. MSRP: $669.99

Look for new Compact models in the Black Label Pro and the Black Label Pro with Rail, too. Both models have 3 5/8″ barrels and are offered with either steel 3-dot sights or steel night sights.

Review: Glock G41 and G42

By: B. Gil Horman

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Since its inception in the early 1980s, Gaston Glock’s pistol has become firmly established as one of the premier polymer-frame, striker-fired handguns available in the marketplace. The simple, rugged and reliable semi-automatic pistols have been adopted by military, law enforcement, competition and self-defense practitioners all around the world. Last year, Glock expanded its product line with two new models that rest at opposite ends of its product size spectrum. For fans of the full-size, long-slide “practical/tactical” configuration, which has been available in 9 mm Luger and .40 S&W, Glock has introduced the G41 chambered in the popular and potent .45 ACP cartridge. Designed for convenient concealed carry, the new single-stack .380 ACP-chambered G42 represents the smallest pistol that the company has produced to date.

The Practical/Tactical Gen4 G41 .45 ACP
The G41 is a .45 ACP Safe-Action semi-automatic pistol with a full-size (Standard) Gen4 frame and an extended black gas-nitrite-finished slide. With more metal onboard from the extended slide and barrel, it makes sense that long-slide-configured pistols would weigh more than standard models. Glock has addressed this in the past—with its lengthy G34 (9 mm Luger) and G35 (.40 S&W)—by removing material via a rectangular lightening cut in the top of the slide, between the front sight and the chamber, resulting in overall weights more in line with the standard-length models.

Instead of following this pattern of stretch-and-cut slide design for the new G41, the company used a different approach. Weight was reduced by using a narrower, thinner-walled slide with external dimensions much like those of the G34, albeit a fraction of an inch longer. The result is an upper assembly with enough room for a 5.31″ extended octagonal-rifled barrel, no cut-out in the top of the slide, and an overall weight that’s 2.84 ozs. lighter than the standard-size G21.

The G41 sight system employs a factory-standard polymer white-dot front sight and a polymer white-bracket rear sight containing two adjustment screws for windage. The slide features an extractor with a square protrusion that acts as both a visual and tactile loaded-chamber indicator. The recoil assembly is of the Gen4 variety, with a polymer guide rod, dual recoil springs and steel supports.

The rest of the pistol, including the trigger, frame and magazines, is lifted directly from the Gen4 version of the G21 service-size .45 ACP pistol. The smooth-faced trigger of the pistol tested required 5 lbs., 6 ozs., of force to cycle, according to a Lyman digital trigger gauge. As a Safe-Action pistol, the G41 contains the same three independent passive safeties found in other Glock models: a trigger safety, firing pin safety and drop safety.

The two-pin frame houses the takedown lever, along with the slide lock and magazine release, which are located on the left side. The enlarged magazine release button is reversible for left-handed users. A full-size molded-in Picatinny compatible accessory rail can be used to support a wide variety of light and laser modules. The pistol has textured finger grooves along the frontstrap of the grip with the Gen4 Rough Texture Frame blunted pyramids surface treatment on the backstrap and sides.

The G41 arrives in a hard case with a total of three magazines holding 13 or 10 rounds, depending on local regulations. Four interchangeable backstraps, two with beavertail grip extensions and two without, and an installation tool are also included. With no backstrap installed, the frame presents the smallest grip size, which is a 0.08″ reduction in the distance to the trigger compared to the Gen3 frame. Adding one of the small (2 mm) backstraps brings the frame back to the original Gen3 size, while the installation of a larger backstrap (4 mm) adds an extra 0.08″ for shooters with bigger hands.

The most notable characteristic of the G41 at the shooting range is how light and well balanced it is for a long-slide .45 ACP. With a fully loaded 13-round magazine, it feels like the gun ends at the trigger guard. In other words, it points and handles like a short-barreled pistol instead of an extended one. The trigger cycled smoothly, and the pistol ran flawlessly with test ammunition ranging from steel-cased imports to defense-grade +P hollow points.

There is one advertising point for the G41 that did not play out in the course of testing. A press release from Glock states, “The longer barrel and slide on the G41 Gen4 helps to reduce muzzle flip and felt recoil … .” That might be true if the elongation of the G41’s upper assembly resulted in a proportional weight increase, but, as discussed, that is not the case.

With an empty magazine, the G41 tipped the scale at just 26.8 ozs. That means it actually weighs almost 3 ozs. less than a standard Gen4 G21. Since the G41 uses the same recoil assembly, and the bullets fired are gaining a little more velocity due to the 0.71″ longer barrel, the lighter slide will transmit more felt recoil, not less, to the operator’s hands. In actuality, the G41’s level of felt recoil was generally on par with the G21 but in some cases it exhibited more recoil and muzzle rise. The increase was negligible, but the G41 should not be thought of as a reduced-recoil .45.

When it came to accuracy testing, the G41 proved to be a top-notch performer for an out-of-the-box pistol. The 5.31″ barrel and extended sight radius kept the five-shot group averages below the 3″ mark at 25 yds.

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The Pocket-Size G42 .380 ACP
Shrinking an existing full-size handgun design into a pocket pistol platform is no mean feat of engineering. Many manufacturers don’t even try; rather, they often beg, borrow, or whip up a whole new design from scratch. It’s interesting to see how the features of the G42 were compressed, modified and, in some cases, left just the same as other Glock models.

Proofmarks on the slide, barrel and frame indicate that the G42 is made at Glock’s Smyrna, Ga., facility. Although it is not marketed as a Gen4 product, it takes many of its cues from the latest generation pistols. Using the same materials and processes employed in the construction of the full-size models, this little pistol is fitted with Glock’s proprietary Safe-Action trigger and internal safety systems. The G42 is 5.94″ long, 4.13″ high, and weighs 13.8 ozs. unloaded, making it the smallest Glock pistol to date. It is listed as being 0.94″ wide but it’s only this thick near the slide lock. The rest of the frame is no more than 0.89″ wide, and the slide is just 0.83″ wide. The 3.25″ barrel contains hexagonal rifling, which means it should not be fired with non-jacketed bullets.

The pistol exhibits a mix of unique and familiar features. The matte-black slide is topped with factory standard polymer white-dot front and white-bracket rear fixed sights. The slide lock, magazine release and takedown lever are in their expected locations and are actually the same size and shape as those found on the Gen4 pistols. However, the frame has only one pin instead of two.

The grip frame has a Gen1-style straight frontstrap, with the backstrap featuring the usual palm swell. All four sides of the grip are treated with a light version of the Rough Texture Frame grip treatment. The grip has a small, but distinctive, downward-curving beavertail to protect the shooter’s hand from the slide. The backstrap extends down below the mouth of the magazine well, nearly flush with the flat base of the drop-free, fully-metal-lined, six-round single-stack magazines. This extension makes the grip a little longer, a bit more rounded, and it protects the shooter’s palm from being abraded by the movement of the magazine base during recoil.

One notable change to the interior is an enlarged firing pin safety plunger with an irregular shape and a beveled surface. The recoil assembly is of the Gen4 variety with dual recoil springs, a polymer guide rod and steel supports in key locations.

One of the best choices the company made with the G42 was to retain the familiar trigger guard and trigger dimensions of its larger pistols. Although the trigger guard is narrower, its length, shape, finger rest and the size of its opening remain the same. The trigger itself is the same size and shape as the smooth-faced triggers used on the Gen4 pistols, with the same 0.49″ travel distance. As a result, the trigger feels perfectly familiar to those who already use Glock pistols.

Specifications for the pistol indicate that it’s supposed to leave the factory with a 5-lb., 8-oz. trigger. An early version of it required 7 lbs., 3 ozs. of trigger pull to cycle, which is heavy for a Glock. Another G42 manufactured later in the year had a better trigger, with a pull weight of 6 lbs., 8 ozs., which was still heavier than listed. The trigger was good, but not quite as good as it could be.

At the shooting range, the G42 proved to be a comfortable, soft-shooting pocket pistol. Diminutive .380s tend to produce moderate to intense levels of felt recoil, with some loads becoming uncomfortable to shoot after just a few rounds. The felt recoil produced by the G42 was mild with standard-pressure full-metal-jacket and defense-type ammunition. Only when it was loaded with the hottest ammunition in the test set did it start to produce a moderate level of recoil.

Throughout the entire test, the G42 did not experience any of the traditional ammunition failures that can occur with semi-automatic pistols, such as failures to feed or extract or stove-piped cases. The only two events that could be noted as malfunctions where when the pistol’s slide locked open when firing a high-velocity load. In both cases, the chamber was clear and the next round in the magazine chambered when the slide was retracted and allowed to fall forward. This is the first time I’ve had a semi-automatic pistol go into slide lock during a test fire. But since the G42 did not lock open with any other load, it seems that the increased pressure produced by this particular load was the source of the problem.

One of the reasons the double-stack Glock sub-compacts are popular is because they are capable of producing down-range accuracy on par with the Glock Compact and Standard size pistols. The G42 did not demonstrate the same level of accuracy as the double-stack models, which was not wholly unexpected. Instead, the accuracy was in line with other pistols of the same size and caliber, such as the Ruger LC380 and the Taurus PT638 PRO SA. With targets set at 7 yds., the G42 produced group averages ranging around 1.5″ to 2″ in size. This is a solid level of defensive accuracy for an easy-to-carry, close-range defensive tool, which is how the G42 is intended to be used.

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Final Thoughts
Some gun owners make the mistake of thinking that all Glock pistols are alike because they share the same color scheme and profile. In truth, the new G41 .45 ACP and the G42 .380 ACP represent Glock’s willingness to take risks and move its product line in new directions. As a hybrid pistol, blending the extended-slide design, the standard G21 frame, and Glock’s Gen4 package of features, the G41 successfully reflects the best that Glock has to offer. It’s a welcome addition for competition, on-duty use and home defense.

As for the G42, Glock was successful in shrinking its platform to satisfy a broad swath of the concealed-carry market. The Glocksters among us will feel right at home with the G42’s layout. It operates like a Glock, the trigger is the same as the double-stack pistols and it’s just as reliable as the larger models. For shooters who have not owned a Glock, the G42 is soft-shooting, easy to operate, and demonstrates a level of defensive accuracy as good (or better) as other pistols in its class. It’s an ideal concealed-carry option for new and seasoned shooters, alike.