By Mike Cumpston, GUNS Magazine
In mid-June of 2011, FMK Firearms of Placentia, California, saw its 2nd Generation Pistol placed on the roster of handguns approved for sale and manufacture within the State. Like the first generation arm which it replaces, both California and Massachusetts now approve it for sale and FMK has the distinction of being the only handgun manufacturer currently operating in California.
James Pontillo saw the Left Coast communitarian social and legal milieu as a suitably challenging backdrop for validation of American Exceptionalism and individual initiative and an aggressive repudiation of the herd mentality that threatens the American Dream.
The American Bill of Rights is the defining anthem of Western Culture and the most enduring monument to its achievement. It is the framework of limited government recognizing the Free Individual and not collectives or governments as the common denominator of the social contract. It fires the imaginationof freedom-loving people rallying them to defend the principles therein enumerated. Pontillo chose to engrave it in paraphrase on the slide of the pistol.
The 91C/G2 is a striker-fired, double-action pistol with doublestrike capability. The slide travels and abuts against steel structures in the polymer grip frame. Overall size is comparable to the currently popular subcompact personal-defense arms. It is marginally shorter overall than most of the 3″- barreled, 1911-based subs though it has a 4″ barrel.
The 91C comes with two steel magazines of 10-round capacity for restrictive jurisdictions or two 14-round magazines for everywhere else. Also included in the hard case, is a thorough owner’s manual, Red State literature, and alpha-numerically marked, user interchangeable, front and rear sights with markings indicating the approximate change in point of impact at 50′. The Patridge profile, white-dot sights are highly visible.
It has a rocker safety in the center of the trigger, a trigger actuated internal passive firing pin/striker block and its magazine disconnect safety system keeps the trigger bar out of sync with the sear mechanism unless the magazine is in place. The trigger pull on the sample pistol is 2 ounces under 11 pounds with the major weight of pull occurring in the last 1/8″ of travel. The weight of the trigger pull is a further hedge against inadvertent discharge. The chamber is fully supported and a disconnector positively precludes firing unless the barrel is fully locked into the frame. Rounding out the safety features is the loaded chamber indicator on the back of the slide. It is visible in daylight and tactilely readable in the dark.
First impressions reveal the 91 C Gen 2 as quite an attractive package. Photographs can’t quite capture the overall symmetry. The gloss black finish—apparently a coating, harmonizes with the black polymer lower unit. Most observers find the white highlighted engraving to be tastefully done and pleasing to the eye.
People handling the pistol in the gun shop and on the range were very impressed with configuration of the grip and the overall balance and pointability of the arm. The heavy trigger pull draws negative comments. Some would prefer the magazine drop free when the release is pressed, the but its interaction with the magazine disconnect make it necessary to pull the magazine out of the well. It also eliminates the possibility the magazine will detach during routine handling or under stress.
The trigger responds best to a straight back, continuous pull through. Attempts to stage the trigger for greater precision actually proved counterproductive. My 25-yard rested groups ranged from 4″ to 5″ and were not indicative of the accuracy potential of the gun or the various ammunition types. The bulk of my shooting was done with an eye toward practical application. After a few rounds to confirm the factory sight setup was exactly right for me, I performed a popular practice drill calling for five rounds from concealment at 7 yards. The performance standard is placement of all rounds in a 5″ circle in 5 seconds. My fifth shot was away in 4.45 seconds and my overall spread was 1/2″ to the good.
I then fired five shots from 15 yards and timed five more from 25 yards in 5-1/2 seconds from concealment. Four of those rounds were within the 9-ring of the B27 target but severe operator error landed one tragically in the gonadic portion of the target. By and large, I was able to maintain headshot accuracy at 15 yards and keep all but a few hits on the head at 20. My consistency deteriorated markedly at 25 yards and beyond.
The Texas Concealed Handgun Proficiency Demonstration calls for 50 rounds of timed fire from 3, 7 and 15 yards starting from a low-point ready isosceles stance. I modified this by firing all the drills within the specified time frames from a concealed strong-side belt slide holster. Scoring 100 percent was no problem. My impression is that any adult with ordinary reflexes, and a bit of practice should be able to duplicate and likely exceed my range results.
The Gen 2 is rated for SAAMI standard pressure 9×19 ammunition. FMK does not warrant the pistol for +P rounds at present. Since FMK gave me carte blanche with the sample pistol, I did fire a considerable amount of premium +P with no functional issues or visible damage to the pistol. Results may vary and prudence dictates the use of standard SAAMI designated ammunition.
The Gen 2 functioned reliably with the available array of SAAMI standard ball and JHP loads and premium +P loads from Black Hills and Buffalo Bore. There was one unexplained trapped case failure to eject with the S&B ball load but all others cycled without incident. The slide lock consistently locked the slide back on empty and there were no incidents of premature activation.
Three hundred rounds produced no discernible wear to any contact points except for minor finish rubs on the underside of the slide and a thin line on the finish at the front of the chamber lug where it enters the slide. The Gen 2 pistol is competitive in terms of utility and quality with the current crop of subcompact personal-defense handguns.
American Tactical Imports is the primary distributor and source of customer support. This is good news for FMK Firearms and the consumer as ATI has earned a solid reputation for responsible business practices.
Action: Locked breech DAO, Caliber: 9x19mm
Overall length: 6.85″
Barrel length: 4″,
Weight: 23.45 ounces
Capacity: 10 or 14 (tested)
Sights: Adjustable by interchange