By Doug Howlett, Gun Digest
In recent years, concealed carry has driven the handgun market. This year is no different. But along side some new and interesting defense pistols and revolvers are a number designed for hunting, competition and other applications. Here’s a look at the eclectic collection of handguns from 2015 SHOT Show.
1) Smith and Wesson’s M&P 9 Performance Center Ported
Introduced in 2005, the Smith and Wesson M&P series has proven to be a favorite of competitive shooters and the company has introduced Performance Center modifications to make them more suitable for competition use. Last year, the company offered the CORE, an enhanced M&P with the option of mounting a compact reflex sight.
The new guns offer the addition of a ported barrel and slide to reduce muzzle rise, a new trigger with an adjustable trigger stop and a Performance Center sear that offers a quicker reset stroke. They’re also optics ready with an included mounting kit for most popular optical sight systems. They’re now available in 4 1/4” and 5” barrel lengths in both 9mm and .40 S&W.
2) Glock MOS versions of the G34, G35, G41, and G40
Glock has now introduced the MOS option for several versions of popular Glock Models. The G34 MOS is the standard G34 but with a modified slide to accommodate popular reflex sights. The MOS name designates the Modular Optics System, a platform designed to make mounting an optic to Glock pistols a simple task.
It consists of a removable plate on the top of the slide that interfaces with adapters to mount eight of the most popular reflex type sights. This gives shooters with older eyes an opportunity for enhanced accuracy and makes the Glock platform of pistols more suitable for hunting applications. The MOS version of the long slide G40 with the power of the 10mm round and the ability to use an optic, is likely to find favor with hunters.
3) Walther CCP
Probably the most innovative handgun of the show was the Walther CCP, which uses a gas piston and cylinder to retard recoil instead of a link or cammed unlock. Instead of the gas cylinder operating the gun as happens with most guns, the gas pressure impedes the slide’s opening by feeding pressure into the cylinder from a port just in front of the chamber.
Once the bullet leaves the barrel, the cylinder vents through the same port that originally pressurized it and this retards the slide enough to allow a very light operating spring. There was a similar design in the 80’s by another manufacturer, but while the gun worked well, its steel frame conducted heat from the gas cylinder down through the frame to the shooter’s hand. This problem is eliminated in the CCP because there’s a void in the frame around the cylinder and the polymer doesn’t conduct heat like steel.
The aforementioned light operating spring is important because a lot of older shooters don’t have the hand strength to operate the slide on many semi-autos. Another advantage the Walther touts is a smoother recoil stroke; the recoil energy is the same, but it’s spread over a longer time. The trigger on the CCP is light and involves a fairly long stroke. It might be compared to an extremely light and short double action revolver trigger. There’s also a slide mounted thumb safety that sweeps down and the magazine release is in the usual 1911 position.
4) Springfield XD M2
Perhaps the hottest segment of the shooting market is the striker fired compact, concealed carry semi-auto.Springfield Armory has held a strong presence in that market since the introduction of the compact XD double stacks and they consolidated that presence with the slim XDs single stack line. Now, they’ve refined the double stack line with the XD Model 2.
The Model 2 incorporates most of the heritage of other XD models, but refines a few issues to make it more usable. Springfield Armory’s new XD Model 2 is a sub-compact double stack. It has the same profile but is a bit thicker than the popular XDs line, but the double stack magazine offers a much expanded magazine capacity. The Model 2 also utilizes Grip Zone technology providing three different textures on the gun to provide the optimum grip for the operator. It also offers a refined gripping surface at the rear of the slide, by making the grooves more aggressive and adding a wider section at the rear of the slide.
5) Ruger LCR 3”
Last year, Ruger introduced a version of their popular LCR revolver with an exposed hammer. Previous models featured a shrouded hammer. For concealed carry, there are advantages to a shrouded hammer. There’s nothing to snag in a pocket or purse and without the exposed hammer it won’t hang up or wear out clothing. Of course, there has always been an advantage to the crisp and precise trigger pull of a single action trigger on double action guns.
Accurate double action shooting takes a lot of practice so most shooters cock the hammer when they need a more accurate shot. The new version was dubbed the LCRx, the X representing an exposed hammer. Now, there’s been another model added to the line. The new LCRx 3” is a utilitarian multipurpose revolver designed for more utility than a standard five shot small frame gun. With adjustable sights and a three inch barrel, combined with the precision of a single action trigger, the LCRx 3” becomes a revolver capable of precise accuracy when needed without too much compromise to concealability.
Chambered in .38 Special +P, there’s enough power to make it a viable protection gun for wilderness situations. I am hereby dubbing this new category of guns as sport utility guns (SUG). Maybe this new Ruger isn’t the first ever SUG, but it’s certainly going to help make this kind of gun popular.
6) Taurus Curve
Certainly one of the most unusual appearing guns introduced this year is the Taurus Curve. It resembles an early transistor radio more than a gun at first glance, but there’s a reason for the unusual shape.
The Curve is based on the popular TCP line and uses many of the same internal parts, but it’s designed for concealed carry so all angles are rounded for ease of snag free carry. Even though the frame of the gun has a wavy curve down through the grip area, the magazine is internally the same straight unit as the TCP with a modified base. Every surface on the Curve is rounded to make concealment easier from the muzzle to the base of the grip. There’s even a pocket clip incorporated on the side of the frame. At the front of the trigger guard, there’s a switch to activate the light/laser that’s an integral part of the gun.
Chambered in the popular .380 ACP round, the Curve has an MSRP of $392.00 and considering it comes with a light and laser, it seems to offer a lot of rounded, concealed carry, value.
Thanks to the team at Gun Digest for this contribution. Gun Digest offers free downloads. Be sure to take advantage of Gun Digest’s free downloads to learn all about Gun Values, AR-15 Optics, Glock Accessories and Concealed Carry Holsters.