By Elwood Shelton, Gun Digest
Here is the skinny with some of the top handgun reviews and sneak peeks on some of the top models soon to be on sale.
Remington might have produced the shocker of the SHOT Show with its reintroduction of the Model 51 — the R51. The nearly century-old design — not manufactured since the 1930s — has been revamped as a concealed-carry special. More importantly, it has given the masses what it wanted — a single-stack 9mm. The pistol has a 7+1 capacity and has nary a sharp edge on it — making for a smooth draw with no worries of a snag. And it is designed to pack an extra punch, able to handle +P ammunition. So far, those who have shot the aluminum-framed pistol have given it high marks. And those looking for a bigger option in the R51 need not wait long, with Big Green aiming to release a .40 Smith & Wesson version in near the future. Gun Digest has more details here.
Springfield Armory XDS 4.0
At first blush, the latest iteration of Springfield Armory’s popular XDS line seems counterintuitive. When everyone else is going smaller, Springfield went bigger. The XDS 4.0 is a full four-inch barrel, adding .7 inches to the previous model. But there is good reason why the company did this — physics. The longer and heavier gun is easier to control, has less felt recoil and handling is more balanced. At the same time, the extra length does little to make the gun less concealable; the 4.0, like the other XDS models, is the slimmest option in its class. Too boot, if you happen to own the older XDS you won’t need to re-purchase a holster, since the 4.0 is compatible with all open ended models designed for its forerunner. The 4.0′s MSRP is identical to the 3.3-inch model, $599 for black and $669 for bi-tone. Read more and watch a review on the XDS 4.0 here.
Entering the SHOT Show no other firearms manufacturer had more buzz around it than Glock. There were mixed emotions when the Austrian manufacturer announced its new sub-compact was chambered in .380 ACP rather than the 9mm everyone was expecting. No matter what the initial take on the pistol was, it has gotten high marks from nearly everyone who has had the opportunity to thumb some rounds off with it. No less than Massad Ayoob gave the 42 a thumbs up, seeing it as an excellent option for shooters with fragile or petite hands. And Glock nation need not worry, rumor is the company is using the .380 as a stepping stone for a single-stack 9mm. Check out Gun Digest’s sneak peek at the Glock 42.
SIG Sauer P320
Striker fired handgun fans will have another option to chose from with SIG’s latest addition to its roster. The P320 is based off the company’s popular P250 — recipient of the NRA’s Golden Bull’s eye award — and shares many of its characteristics. Like its hammer-fired forerunner, the P320 is customizable to any grip, size and caliber requirement. The pistol will be immediately available in 9mm, .40 Smith & Wesson and .357 SIG. A .45 ACP model will be available later in the year. The MSRP on the SIG is in line with most poly-framed striker fired pistols on the market at $719. The Truth About Guns has an on-the-floor look at the P320 at SHOT.
Slowly, but surely, the market for revolvers designed for competitive shooting is opening up. And it’s exactly the segment Ruger had in mind when it designed the GP100. The six shot .357 Magnum (also capable of shooting .38 Special) has the bells and whistles to make it a champion. Outfitted with Novak Lo-Mount Carry rear sights and a fiber optic front, the revolver has a fast sight picture. And its polished springs and hammer strut help deliver shots on target with little effort. Similar to all competitive guns, it is a little more pricey, with an MSRP of $899. Get the GP100′s specs here.
Smith & Wesson M686
Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center has churned out some impressive hand-crafted wheel guns over the years. But when it comes to classic lines and functional performance, it’s hard to beat its M686. The seven-shot, 2.5-inch barrel .357 Magnum looks to be the epitome of concealed carry revolvers. The price tag is somewhat hefty at $1,089.00 MSRP, but, then again, this is not a stripped-down model. The Firearms Blog gives the M686 the once over.
Crimson Trace Laserguard LG-443
Crimson Trace is sure to have produced a hit with Glock nation with the introduction of the Laserguard LG-443. The laser sight is designed for the new Glock 42 .380 sub-compact and looks to be the perfect accessory for the pocket pistol. The sight requires no gunsmithing to be mounted on the trigger guard and adds little size or weight to the pistol. The sight is adjustable for windage and elevation and has a MSRP of $229. Learn more about the laser sight.
Walther PPQ M2 .22LR
Let’s face it, with ammunition prices in fluctuation, shooting can get expensive. That is why many handgun manufacturers have started to produce models chambered in .22 LR. Walther is among them. The lighter caliber will come in 4- and 5-inch barrel models that will be designed in the exact specifications as the heavier calibers. The price tag is reasonable, with the MSRP expected to fall somewhere around $469. Discover what’s exciting about Walther’s .22LR pistol.
One thing is certain about the Taurus View, it is the most unique handgun at SHOT 2014. The .38 Special revolver is based off Taurus’ Model 85, with one big difference — a translucent side plate on the right side that allows a view of the mechanics in action. The 5-round revolver has 1.41-inch barrel and weighs nine-ounces unloaded. The frame is aluminum, while the cylinder and outer barrel are titanium. The interior barrel is steel (can’t rifle titanium). The handgun has a reasonable MSRP of $599. Get the inside scoop on the View.