Recently, custom-lever action rifles have piqued my interest. Steel and wood is a refreshing change from a steady diet of polymer and aluminum. Besides, every red-blooded American should have a reliable lever action in their stable. So when I stumbled upon Ranger Point Precision (RPP) in Cypress, Texas, I was immediately intrigued. Not only did I like the styling and finish on some of their more popular models, but their short-stroke pistol caliber carbines especially caught my attention. Unique chamber offerings range from .40S&W, .357Sig, .45ACP, 10mm and a nasty looking .44 RIPSAW.
What goes into a Ranger Point Precision build? From their site:
Our conversions are not warmed over factory rifles, but are married from the action up to your caliber of choice. All critical parts are modified to produce an 1894 carbine that runs these shorter semi-auto pistol cartridges faster, smoother, more accurately, and more reliably than a factory rifle.
Faster: Every one of our semi-auto 1894 pistol caliber carbines includes a short stroke conversion. This means that you move the lever significantly less to cycle the action, resulting in faster follow-up shots.
Smoother: Every one of our conversions includes our full action and trigger treatment, for the lightest, slickest action possible.
Accurate: Our conversions are built with quality Douglas barrel blanks, individually chambered, concentric to the bore, and perfectly head-spaced to your chosen cartridge. In addition, our accurizing service can deliver 3 – 5 shots in 1 inch MOA accuracy at 100 yards.
Reliable: Because every action part is modified and/or hand tuned, your converted pistolcaliber carbine will run flawlessly. No feed glitches, no failures to extract or eject. Just go time. Every time.
Unique: Custom paint and wood finishes. Your choice! Add a rail, a one or two point sling, optics, etc.
I was first introduced to KRISS USA, the North American extension of the Switzerland-based KRISS Group, a few years ago at SHOT Show. I was impressed by what the company had to offer in the way of quality and innovation, so I took the Sphinx Compact Alpha 9 mm pistol for a test drive. Since then the company has been working to expand the caliber options of its Vector line-up of carbines, submachine guns and pistols. Recently, it released the Gen II series which includes options chambered in 9 mm. This review takes a closer look at the SDP 9 mm pistol.
The SDP is a semi-automatic pistol fitted with the patented Kriss KSV closed-bolt, delayed-blowback action. This particular model has been configured as a non-NFA item for sale on the U.S. market, thus no shoulder stock. However, the rounded flush cup (QD) sling swivel mount can be removed and replaced with a shoulder stock should the gun owner wish to register the SDP as a short-barreled rifle (SBR) with the federal government.
The Kriss Vector design stands out from other pistol-caliber platforms because of its unusual, but effective, Super V Recoil Mitigation System. Most semi-automatic rifles and pistols employ a recoil system that moves backwards (directly towards the operator) as just-fired casings are ejected. The resulting recoil tends to flip the muzzle of the gun up and away from the target.
In order to reduce muzzle flip, the Super V Recoil Mitigation System utilizes a bolt attached to a recoil assembly that moves downward (toward the ground) instead of directly back. The system is positioned in a space behind the magazine well, which explains the Vector’s somewhat boxy shape. This recoil system configuration has other advantages. It eliminates the need for a complicated gas system. It places most of the gun’s weight directly in front of the grip for better balance. And because the recoil system is not located across the top of the gun (like an AK-47) or behind the action (like an AR-15), the Vector can be configured in a variety of barrel and stock lengths.
The SDP’s two-part chassis is constructed of a tough black nylon fiber composite polymer that is treated with a Cerakote finish to give it the OD green color shown here. Other color options include Flat Dark Earth and Alpine White. It’s topped with an integral aluminum sight rail which arrives fitted with a set of removable Magpul MBUS polymer sights. A 3.5″ accessory rail, below the barrel, can be used to attach lights and lasers.
The muzzle of the 5.50″ barrel is threaded at 1/2-28″ TPI and will accept 9 mm AR-15 pattern muzzle accessories and arrives with a thread protector installed. The non-reciprocating, left-side charging handle folds forward against the receiver when not in use. The serrated bolt-catch lever, located just below the charging handle, is easily operated with the thumb of the support hand, as is the magazine release button. The Vector series is designed to load from Glock magazines. In the case of the SDP 9 mm, it accepts G17 pattern magazines with capacities of 10, 17 and 33 rounds.
The ambidextrous thumb safety lever is positioned above the integral pistol grip. It swings down into the Fire positions and back up into the Safe position. The Gen II smooth-faced steel two-stage trigger has a light 1 lb. takeup and breaks cleanly at 4 lbs. 5 oz. of trigger pull with just a hint of travel after the break. The trigger reset is short with a tangible and audible “click.” The grip features a storage compartment with a hinged access plate and the integrated QD sling swivel mount arrives with a swivel installed. Unloaded, the pistol tips the scales at 6.20 lbs. with an empty G17 magazine inserted.
The pistol’s upper and lower polymer receivers are held together with four takedown pins that can be removed without tools. Field stripping the gun starts by removing the magazine, locking the bolt in the open position to verify that the gun is completely unloaded, and then moving the bolt forward into battery.
Remove three of the takedown pins, the two up by the sight rail and the one located nearest the pistol grip. Separate the upper and lower. Now remove the forth pin, behind the magazine well, and pull the recoil assembly down and out of the receiver. Rotate the bolt to remove it from the recoil assembly and the pistol is ready to clean. The SDP goes back together just as easily.
There wasn’t much information in regard to ammunition compatibility in the SDP’s owner’s manual, so I called a company representative for more information. Kriss recommends that Vector 9 mms be fired with ammunition loaded to at least SAAMI specifications. This is because light target loads or hand loads may not cycle the robust, combat rifle-type action reliably. The Vectors have been tested extensively with +P 9 mm and have not shown signs of distress or excessive wear.
At the range, the SDP ran reliably with every type of ammunition it was fed. Test loads ranged from bulk 115-gr. full-metal jacket practice rounds up to +P hollow points. Test magazines included the Glock 17-round magazine provided with the pistol and a set of the extended 33-round SGMT9G33R magazines manufactured by SGM Tactical. This was my first opportunity to work with SGM magazines and I found them to be solid and reliable. I’m looking forward to trying them in a few more guns.
The 6-lb. weight and recoil reduction system gave the pistol an almost gentle disposition in the felt recoil department. All of the other controls worked properly, although the charging handle was stiff enough that I had to grasp the front of the lower receiver with my shooting hand in order to have enough leverage to cycle it. It’s not a deal breaker per se, but it is something to keep in mind.
For off-the-bench shooting, an adjustable braided paracord Sandstorm Custom Rifle Slings convertible sling was attached via the QD sling swivel port. Creating a push-pull tension between the sling and the pistol helped to steady it for standing shots.
Formal accuracy testing was conducted from a benchrest by firing five, five-shot groups into targets set at 25 yards using the provided folding sight system. The HysKore adjustable #30207 Rapid Fire Precision Shooting Rest, which I’ve found to be helpful during other rifle-action pistol tests, proved to be a very good option to stabilize the atypically shaped SDP. There was plenty of room for the 33-round SDM magazines. Bullet velocity was checked using a Lab Radar chronograph.
Overall, bullet velocities were on par with other semi-automatic 9 mm pistols with barrels that are around 5″ in length. However, the accuracy was better than the typical defensive pistol with groups hovering around the 1.50″ mark.
The new Kriss USA Vector GEN II SDP 9 mm is a rugged, reliable semi-automatic that rifle-action pistol fans will find to be fun and affordable to shoot on and off the bench. Although trimmed-down, pistol-caliber combat rifle actions like this one are not everyone’s cup of tea, the Vector’s features and recoil reduction system make it an innovative and unique option. The system works nicely in the carbine configurations too.
Manufacturer: KRISS USA
Model: Vector GEN II SDP ODG
Action: Closed Bolt Delayed-Blowback Semi-Automatic
Caliber: 9 mm
Steel Components: Matte Black Nitrite Finish
Stock: Black Nylon Fiber Composite Polymer with OD Green Cerakote Finish
Grip: Integral with Storage Compartment
Sights: Magpul MBUS
Barrel Length: 5.50″
Muzzle Thread Rate: 1/2-28″ TPI
Overall Length: 16.75″
Weight: 6.20 lbs. with Empty Magazine
Magazine Type: Glock G17
Capacity: 10+1, 17+1 or 33+1 Rounds
Twist: 1:10” RH.
Rifle Grooves: 6
Accessories: Hard Case, 1 Glock G17 Magazine, Owner’s Manual, Lock
Recently, Michael Humphries posted “Today’s Mighty Mega Handguns,” which discusses some of the largest and most powerful semi-automatics and revolvers available. But where there’s one extreme, there’s always the other. In this case, it would be concealed-carry pocket pistols, which are among the smallest handguns you can buy. Thanks to the ever growing carry market, there are literally dozens of similarly sized pocket rockets to choose from. In order to narrow the list down, I opted to focus on the six smallest handguns I’ve had a chance to handle or work with. Here they are in descending order, from the largest caliber to littlest:
6. Bond Arms Cowboy Defender
Bond Arms advertises its caliber-convertible double-barrel pistols as the smallest, most powerful personal protection you can buy. Take a look around and you’ll be hard pressed to find anything else that can be as easily tucked into a jeans pocket or purse while boasting such beefy big-bore caliber options as the .357 Mag., .44 Spl., .45 Colt and 10 mm. The Cowboy frame does away with the removable trigger guard and sports the company’s compact laminated grip. It ships with a 3.00” barrel chambered to fire .45 Colt and 2½” .410 shotgun shells.
Last year, I used the Cowboy frame and a 3.00” conversion barrel to assemble what is probably the smallest 10 mm pistol available. The Back-Up version of this pistol sports a 2.50” barrel, making it smaller and lighter than the Defender models. However, the 2.50” conversion barrels are only available in a few calibers. I selected the Cowboy Defender for this list because its 3.00” conversion barrels are available chambered in every caliber option the company has to offer.
Model: Cowboy Defender (BACD)
Caliber: .45 Colt /.410
Barrel Length: 3.00”
Overall Length: 5.00”
Slide Width: 0.95”
Grip Width: 1.20”
Weight: 19 oz., Unloaded
Capacity: 2 Rounds
5. Diamondback DB9 9 mm Pistol
I’ve shot my fair share of compact, single-stack 9 mm pistols, including the Glock G43, Bersa BP9cc and SIG Sauer P290. But of all the little 9 mms I’ve tried so far, I can safely say theDiamondback DB9 is the smallest in overall size and weight. Tipping the scales at just 12.8 oz., the DB9 is almost half the weight of the other models mentioned above.
The DB9 is based on Diamondback’s DB380 .380 ACP with dimensions that are nearly identical. However, trimming a 9 mm down to .380 size does have its limitations. The DB9 should not be fired with +P or +P+ ammunition. Shooters need to stick to standard pressure loads only. But then again, from a recoil management perspective, it’s a good idea anyway. The pistol is shootable with solid defensive accuracy but it does require a firm grip to operate properly.
Caliber: 9 mm
Barrel Length: 3.00”
Overall Length: 5.60”
Slide Width: 0.81”
Grip Width: 0.80”
Weight: 12.8 oz. with Empty Magazine
Capacity: 6+1 Rounds
MSRP: Starting at $431
4. Kahr Arms CW380 .380 ACP Pistol
Pocket pistols chambered in .380 ACP continue to offer a useful middle ground between the weaker “mouse guns” (.22 LR, .25 ACP, .32 ACP) and the larger 9 mm offerings. At this point in time, there are several pocket .380s to choose from that are about the same size and weight. But one that stands out in my mind as being both diminutive and shootable is the Kahr Arms CW380, which is the budget-friendly version of the company’s P380.
It’s common for pocket-sized .380s to have blowback-operated actions, which makes the levels of felt recoil fairly intense. The CW380 has a locked-breech action that slows the rearward movement of the slide which in turn reduces felt recoil. It also has an excellent trigger with a smooth trigger pull and a wide, rounded trigger face that makes it comfortable to work with.
Caliber: .380 ACP
Barrel Length: 2.58″
Overall Length: 4.96″
Slide Width: 0.75”
Grip Width: 0.78”
Weight: 11.4 oz. with Empty Magazine
Capacity: 6+1 Rounds
3. Kel-Tec P32 .32 ACP Pistol
Today’s gun manufacturers are competing for the pocket space of their customers with ultra-compact .380s and 9 mms. But back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was a demand for as-small-as-possible pistols chambered in .32 ACP. The pistol that probably inspired this .32-caliber arms race was the Seecamp LWS. It was as small and sleek as the then popular .25 ACP pistols while offering a significant increase in stopping power.
The Seecamp’s competitors included the North American Arms Guardian, the Beretta Tomcat and the Kel-Tec P32. We could argue that the Seecamps and Guardians have slightly shorter barrels and grip frames than the Kel-Tec P32. However, the polymer framed P32 only weighs 8 oz., making it lighter than the other pistols mentioned here by 2.5 to 7.6 oz. In my book, that makes it ‘the smallest’ option.
Despite having been overshadowed by larger caliber options, the P32 is still on the market because it is so small and lightweight. There are plenty of useful holsters and accessories to choose from, including the Crimson Trace LG-430 Laserguard laser sight.
Caliber: .32 ACP
Barrel Length: 2.70”
Overall Length: 5.10”
Slide Width: 0.74”
Grip Width: 0.69”
Weight: 8 oz. with Empty Magazine
Capacity: 7+1 Rounds
MSRP: Starting at $326
2. FN “Baby Browning” .25 ACP Pistol
Back in 1969, my dad picked up one of the last Belgium-made FN “Baby Browning” pistols to make it into the country before the Gun Control Act of 1968 blocked them from importation. Don’t let the small size and caliber fool you, these little blued-steel semi-automatics have the clean lines and precision machining of a Swiss watch. The Belgium Brownings are one of the few .25 ACPs that can be counted on to run reliably.
However, this is not the easiest pistol to master. The Baby Browning’s slick, thin grip frame only provides enough room for a one-finger grip. Therefore it tends to buck and twist when it recoils. The lack of a beaver tail above the grip frame exposes the shooter’s hand to the sharp edges of the recoiling slide. As a result, it will bark the skin off the shooting-hand thumb knuckle if the operator is not paying attention (the inside joke in my family is that the Baby’s slide is nearly as lethal as the cartridge it fires).
The FN version of this pistol is no longer in production although they do crop up on the used pistol market from time to time. The good news for those who appreciate this little .25 is thatPrecision Small Arms provides a faithful American-made replica of the Baby Browning in a variety of finish options.
Model: FN Baby Browning
Caliber: .25 ACP (6.35×16mmSR)
Barrel Length: 2.11″
Overall Length: 4.10”
Slide Width: 0.68”
Grip Width: 0.82”
Weight: 9.3 oz. with Empty Magazine
Capacity: 6+1 Rounds
*MSRP: Precision Small Arms Models starting at $799
1. Smallest of All: The North American Arms NAA-22S .22 Short
I remember reading a magazine article years ago in which the writer was laboring strenuously to convince his audience that the double-stack Glock G26 9 mm was the tiniest, littlest, most itsy-bitsy concealed-carry gun anyone could ever hope for. I chuckled to myself thinking that the reviewer must not have ever laid eyes on the truly diminutive North American Arms Minirevolvers, in particular, the NAA-22S chambered in .22 Short. So, here’s a look at this revolver side-by-side with a G26 to give you an idea of how small this mini really is.
I’ve heard rumors of the smaller Minis being tucked inside the cowboy hats and drink cups of undercover police officers who could not carry any other type of firearm during their assignments (but I have yet to confirm if the stories are true). We’ve posted reviews for Minis chambered in .22 Mag., including the Black Widow and Sidewinder. But we have yet to put the NAA-22S or the similarly sized NAA-22LR chambered for .22 Long Rifle to the test. If you’re interested in a review, let us know in the comments below.
Caliber: .22 Short
Barrel Length: 1.13″
Overall Length: 3.63″
Cylinder Width: 0.78”
Grip Width: 0.88”
Weight: 4.1 oz., Unloaded
Capacity: 5 Rounds
You can tell a lot about a national government by its trust of law-abiding, armed citizens. Nations with a functioning government in place were considered and judged based on their rates of civilian firearm ownership, open or concealed carry legislation and other factors. Here are ten of the world’s best countries for gun owners.
The Good: Hondurans may purchase most popular types of shotguns, handguns or rifles for the recognized purposes of self-defense and recreation.
The Bad: The momentum in Honduras is overwhelmingly anti-gun. Decades of violence swayed public opinion and led to a complete ban on open and concealed carry in June 2007. Not surprisingly, these gun controls have done nothing to quell the bloodshed. Honduras retains one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Hondurans are only permitted five firearms, all of which require licensing and registration with the government. All 26 locations where guns and ammunition are sold in Honduras are under military control.
Rate of Ownership: 2.05 percent; however, this includes only registered firearms. Illicit firearms may number as high as 850,000.
Allows semiautomatic rifles? Yes, most semiautomatic carbines of .308-caliber or smaller are allowed.
Concealed or open carry? Prohibited
The Good: As with other Nordic countries, Finland boasts high per-capita gun ownership due in large part to a strong hunting tradition. In 2009 Finnish pro-gun activists fought back a proposal to tighten licensing restrictions.
The Bad: An acquisition license is required to buy firearms, and a separate license is required for each individual gun. Gun owners must declare a reason for ownership such as hunting, target shooting or collecting, but self-defense is not considered valid. All guns must be locked in the home. If the collection includes more than five guns, they must be stored in a safe that has been inspected and approved by local police.
Rate of Ownership: 12.81 percent, however, this rate is based on registered ownership. Thousands of additional World War II-era guns are thought to be in circulation, though estimates vary widely.
Allows semiautomatic rifles? Yes, but only in very limited circumstances; generally, with a collector’s license at the discretion of local police.
Concealed or open carry? Prohibited.
The Good: Rural Serbs have a strong history of gun ownership and licenses can be obtained to buy most classes of firearms.
The Bad: If a prospective gun buyer is denied a license, there is no appeal process. You can’t buy a gun. Shooters are also limited to purchasing 60 rounds of rifle or handgun ammunition annually, not including any rounds expended at a shooting range. Reloading rifle or handgun ammo is prohibited. Handgun ownership licenses are highly difficult to obtain.
Rate of Ownership: 15.81 percent
Allows semiautomatic Rifles? No, except in extremely rare instances.
Concealed or open carry? Permits for concealed or open carry are available to those in “imminent danger,” but they are very rarely issued.
The Good: A fairly high number of Swedes own guns and participate in competitive shooting and hunting.
The Bad: Self-defense is not considered a valid reason for owning a gun, and Swedish self-defense laws essentially render any shooting an unjustifiable one. The gun-control laws are numerous and draconian. Those over 18 may obtain a license from the police to own a gun and must declare their reason for applying: sport shooting, hunting or collecting. Sport shooters must belong to a club for six months before obtaining a license; prospective hunters must pass an examination. Guns registered for sport may not be used for hunting. Swedes are only permitted 6 hunting rifles or 10 pistols, or an eight-gun combination of rifles and pistols (all of which must be stored in an approved safe), and they cannot purchase ammunition for a firearm they do not own.
Rate of Ownership: 31.6 percent
Allows semiautomatic rifles? Yes, pending “special authorization”.
Concealed or open carry? Prohibited
The Good: Canada’s hunting and sport-shooting traditions continue, despite the many successes of its anti-gun lobby. In 1995 the country required every gun to be registered in a federal database, but the scheme was famously disastrous and ceased operation in 2012.
The Bad: Canada has outright bans on pistols with barrel lengths under 4.1 inches, semi-auto rifle magazines holding more than 5 rounds and semiautomatic pistol magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Pistols with barrel lengths exceeding 4.1 inches, long guns with an overall length under 26 inches and semi-auto rifles with barrels under 18 ½ inches (i.e. AR-15 variants) can only be shot at firearms ranges and require a special license. All gun ownership requires a “possession and acquisition license.” Canada’s storage requirements include provisions that the guns be unloaded and rendered inoperable or locked. Forget using them for self-defense.
Rate of Ownership: 23.8 percent
Allows semiautomatic rifles? Technically, yes, though the right is severely restricted.
Concealed or open carry? Prohibited.
The Good: Norway has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world and a permit process to obtain most types of firearms.
The Bad: The right to own firearms is not guaranteed by law, and those seeking a gun owner’s license (required for all ownership) must provide a reason for doing so. License applicants must pass background checks and complete a qualifying course at a shooting range just to keep a gun in their homes.
Rate of Ownership: 31.3 percent
Allows semiautomatic rifles? Yes, with a permit.
Concealed or open carry? Prohibited.
The Good: Want to retire someplace warm and gun friendly? We suggest you stick with the southern United States; otherwise, Panama is the least anti-gun country in Central America. If you legally own a gun, you can carry it concealed; no permit required. Essentially all non-fully automatic guns are legal, even sawed-off shotguns and short-barrel rifles, and there are also no magazine capacity restrictions.
The Bad: Tourists have no gun rights. You must establish residency to buy or import a gun to Panama, and the importation process is expensive and reportedly quite unreliable. Your best bet is to buy a pre-government-registered gun from a dealer, which will require a firearm owner’s license. To get the license you must complete a background check, which can take months, and submit blood and urine samples. The next issue to overcome is that Panama has a diminutive gun culture despite decent laws compared to much of the world. Thus, there are few gun stores and even fewer with a decent selection of guns and ammo. Don’t expect to find the gun you’re looking for (without special order) and plan to pay more than the gun is worth.
Rate of Ownership: 3.06 percent
Allows semiautomatic rifles? Yes
Concealed or open carry? Concealed carry is allowed without a permit for any legally possessed handgun; open carry is illegal.
The Good: Until 2010, all able-bodied males were required to keep automatic rifles at home or the local armory to provide for the national defense. The service is now voluntary, but voters rejected a 2011 referendum that would have required militia members to store their guns on military bases. The tradition also coincides with a strong culture of private ownership. The Swiss have one of the world’s highest rates of gun ownership at around 29 percent, and also one of the lowest crime rates. So-called “free arms” such as single-shots and bolt-action rifles can be purchased by anyone over 18 years of age without a permit. In 1997, the Federal Law on Arms, Arms Accessories and Ammunition guaranteed a right to ownership.
The Bad: Unfortunately, the same 1997 law that recognized a right to ownership also established numerous restrictions, as did laws that followed. Licenses and registration are required for most gun purchases, including between private citizens. If someone steals your gun and uses it in another crime, you are legally responsible for his actions.
Rate of Ownership: 29 percent
Allows semiautomatic rifles? Yes, with a permit.
Concealed or open carry? Guns may be carried openly with the proper license. Concealed-carry permits are issued on a restrictive basis. Individuals must show “proof of genuine need and tangible danger,” and pass a variety of background checks and a police firearms examination.
2. Czech Republic
The Good: After the fall of the Soviet Union, Czechs sought to restore their gun rights and indeed have some of Europe’s best. Recreational shooting is the third most popular sport in the Czech Republic, behind soccer and hockey. Unlike many European countries, citizens may obtain concealed-carry permits without declaring a reason for doing so. Czech law also recognizes the right to self-defense more strongly than most nations.
The Bad: A Czech court ruled that the right to firearms is not constitutionally recognized. All gun owners must go through a shall-issue license process including background checks and various competency exams in order to buy and own firearms. Even single-shot types must be registered.
Rate of Ownership: Despite having decent gun laws in comparison to other European countries, the rate of ownership is quite low. In 2013, there were only 306,815 firearm-owner licenses and 728,476 registered guns out of a population of 10.5 million Czechs. Overall private ownership rate is about 16.3 percent.
Allows semiautomatic rifles? Yes, with a permit.
Concealed or open carry? Though a distant second to the United States, the Czech Republic has one of the world’s best concealed-handgun laws. After obtaining a firearm-owner license (requires backgrounds checks and various competency exams), no additional permit is required to carry concealed. Up to two guns may be carried concealed at once. Open carry is highly restricted.
1. United States
The Good: The United States boasts the proudest tradition of firearm ownership in the world. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution recognizes an individual right to keep and bear arms, as affirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2008 D.C. versus Heller decision. When America’s gun rights are challenged, the measures are generally beaten back by a large and organized segment of pro-gun voters. It holds the No. 1 spot on this list by a very distant margin.
The Bad: Certain states and municipalities have sought to undermine gun rights through regulation. Some of these attempts have been overturned on Second Amendment grounds, as in the cases of Chicago, IL, and Washington, D.C. More recently the state of New York’s SAFE Act banned a host of firearms and features.
Rate of Ownership: The United States does not require registration of non-NFA guns, so ownership rates are difficult to quantify. Estimates are that 43-percent of American homes contain a firearm and that 90 million people own a gun. These are by far the world’s highest rates per capita.
Allows semiautomatic rifles? Yes, in all but a few states.
Concealed or open carry? Yes. Thirty U.S. states allow open carry without a permit, 14 require a permit, and six prohibit it. All 50 states now have a process by which citizens can obtain a concealed-carry permit; 39 shall issue, eight may issue, and three unrestricted.
I think that we have all been in the position where we see something at a gun show that stands out as really rare or interesting, but just don’t have enough information to act on it. Even the internet can fall flat sometimes, this was one of those cases. I don’t know if I would come off of $15,000 for a non NFA AR-15 with nothing more than a promised letter from Colt to verify the rifle’s legitimacy. I am sure that the seller is an upstanding guy and I understand that Colt is currently working on those letters, so verification is coming. When I called the Colt archives they were not willing to make any statement other than “those serial numbers sound like how we would serialize”. I guess verbal verification of whether or not a rifle left the factory in that condition is not allowed by archive employees.
The photos do a great job of outlining what each rifle is, and its price at the gun show. I am nowhere near a Colt expert but I am sure that someone that reads the blog might be. If you happen to be that expert that can tell us more about the rifles, please let us know.
Hat tip to Vhyrus for the photos.
Patrick is a Staff Writer for The Firearm Blog and works in the shooting sports industry. He is an avid recreational shooter and a verified gun nerd. With a life long passion for shooting he has love for all types of firearms, especially handguns and the AR-15platform.
A friend of mine had a defensive gun use (DGU) a few days ago. Not the kind you see reported in the news, but a DGU nonetheless. He’d parked a bike near the front door of his home, affixed to a metal chair with a decent cable lock. His dog started to bark at the door, in the middle of the day, during the week. There was no knock or doorbell ring. My friend accessed his house gun, a S&W N-frame model 28 he’d converted to .45 ACP. The security door was locked. He opened the inner door with his left hand, the revolver in his right. In the entryway stood a 16 to 18-year-old young man with a shaved head and tattoos down his neck. My friend hadn’t seen him in the neighborhood before. The young man was studying the bike, the lock, and the chair. My friend held the revolver in the attitude shown in the picture above. You do not see more of him because he wishes to remain anonymous. In the actual event, he was in the doorway, visible through the locked security door.
In fluent Spanish, he asked, “May I help you?”
The tattooed youth looked up. He didn’t say anything. My friend said that he then did a very credible 100 yard dash. My friend did not pursue. There was no reason to do so.
He never pointed the pistol at the youth. He never threatened anyone. He never reported the incident to police. What was there to report? No crime had been committed, except perhaps trespassing.
In Arizona, you are allowed to threaten deadly force to prevent trespassing. As the young man immediately left the property, it’s unlikely a judge or jury would convict him of trespassing. My friend had only asked him if he needed help.
This is a good approximation of the “typical” DGU. No shots fired. The mere presence of the firearm defused the situation. If no firearm were present, the youth might have been emboldened to further action. As it was, there was no physical confrontation. It appears that a guilty conscience (or the sight of Springfield’s finest) was sufficient to command flight.
It’s not hard to believe that such incidents occur hundreds of thousand of times a year, as noted by the CDC in 2013 (pdf):
Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010).
There is no incentive — actually a fairly strong disincentive — to report this kind of non-newsworthy incident. In fact, there’s a small but real potential that involving authorities would bring trouble down on the homeowner. Case closed.
We all have a love for our shotguns. For good reason, they are one of the best weapons to have for home defense. Plus they are almost as customizable as our AR-15 rifles. Have you ever shot a double barreled shotgun? What about 6 barreled shotgun? Now were talking some serious fire power. It was only a few weeks ago that Matt from Demolition Ranch and Richard Ryan from Full Mag came up with the Quad-barrel shotgun. Granted it was nothing more than a DP-12 with a couple Remington 870s strapped to the side.
It was a fun little gag, but they thought bigger. After talking a distributor into sending him a couple more DP-12s, Matt created the triple-double.
If you have clicked into this review, I bet you’re thinking one of two things–either you think the idea of a mouse gun firing a .223 round is bad ass, or you’re thinking it is a bad idea. Well we’ve been hammering our hands for two weeks now and are here to settle the score. Is the rocket-in-your-pocket a good idea, or just a gimmick? Some guns are so iconic that they need no contextualization. The 1911, for example, is what it is. I can write a review of one without explaining its taxonomy in graphic detail. But not the Heizer. This one deserves some ink on its origins. Single-shot, break action pistols are nothing new. As long as guns have had break actions, there have been single shot break action pistols. Yet almost all of them are antiquated designs. Not the Heizer. The fundamentals of this gun are different.
This is not a derringer, exactly—though it fits in that idiom. It is a super-flat (.7”) gun that is designed to provide a last-ditch option for those in need of self-defense. The frame is steel, and the gun itself weighs just a bit more than your typical .380 pocket pistol. That’s to be expected from a gun designed to handle the energy of a .223 or a 7.62×39.
The thin design is accomplished by forming the frame in two distinct halves that are then bolted together. The frame can accommodate .45 Colt, .410, 7.62×39 and .223 barrels. Changing barrels is easy–just push out the pin and swap barrels. The additional barrels sell for $159 (for the .410 and .223) and $199 for the 7.62×39 (which only comes in ported) and the ported .223.
Buy one on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=heizer
Weight: 23 oz
Height: 3 7/8 inches
Width: .7 inches
Length: 6 3/8 inches
Finish: Black or Silver
MSRP: $449.00 (with porting)
Velocity: 1,200 FPS
USA Aerospace Stainless Steel Frame and Barrel
Weight: 23 oz
Height: 3 7/8 inches
Width: .7 inches
Length: 6 3/8 inches
Finish: Black or Silver
MSRP: $399.00 (without porting)
Velocity: 1,400 FPS
USA Aerospace Stainless Steel Frame and Barrel
When the rounds were loaded, the gun fired. There was only one type of round that wouldn’t fire, and it was a steel-cased 7.62×39 round that had a hard primer. The indention on the strike was fine, it simply wouldn’t pop. None of that batch would. I’d grabbed a few AK mags from my stash without considering what might be in them, and one particular make wouldn’t fire. No matter how many times the pin struck the primers, they all failed. Every other round worked flawlessly.
Shooting the .223 is a breeze. It is as easy, or maybe even softer on the hand than your typical .380. I’d put it right up there with the recoil from a Kel-Tec P3AtT, and below that of the Beretta Pico, which kicks like my first wife.
The 7.62×39, though, isn’t fun. I did my part for science and pulled the trigger on 30 or more of these. And I hated every pull. I’m going to say that’s it akin to shooting a steel framed .44 Magnum. It pops and stings. The recoil hit the web of my hand and lingered in that swell of muscle below my thumb. Sam, who also helped out with this review, felt it in the bones in his palm. About four days after we’d done most of the shooting, he sent me a text asking if I could still feel it. I couldn’t–but he was still sore.
So it isn’t fun. So what?! This isn’t a rimfire. It isn’t a gun you’d used to teach someone how to shoot. It is meant to serve one purpose. And when your adrenaline is pumping, as it would be when you would use a PAK1 for self-defense, I doubt you’ll even notice the kick.
So how well did we do with these monsters? As the section above might imply, shooting the .223 was easier than shooting the 7.62×39. When you are flinching like a mad man becasue all you can focus on is the hand-shock that’s about to come, your shot placement suffers. But the PAK1 is still easy to aim and hits were consistent.
I found myself pulling from the pocket and punching the gun out. At the end of this extension, I’d squeeze the whole gun in my fist. At contact distances, that would be devastating. From 5 feet, and 10 feet, and even 15 feet I could get effective placement on a torso sized target. And, as I’m about to show, precise placement is possible–if you can get over the anticipation of recoil.
The PAR1, which was easy to shoot, grouped incredibly well fro such a small gun. Check out these images.
After I’d done all of the realistic testing, I backed out to 15 yards and took a coupe of shots. I was most pleased. I’d expected erratic shot placement at best, but the PAR1 is spot-on. I wish all of the pocket guns I shoot were this easy to make pin-point hits with.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO REALLY WANT TO GEEK OUT…
Let’s talk numbers. The barrels on these two measure in at 3.75”. That’s measured in the typical manner of closing the barrel, running a post to the breech face, and measuring how far in it extends.
3.75” barrel…. That’s measuring how you would measure an automatic, or a rifle or shotgun. A good bit of that distance is taken up by the rounds themselves. A typical .223 comes in at 2.26”. The baseline for 7.62×39 is 2.2” So you can do the math as well as I can—maybe better. Assuming the rifling starts somewhere around where the bullet lines up with the barrel, this gives you about 1.49” of good rifling with the .223, and 1.55 with the 7.62×39.
These barrels aren’t that short, of course—the official 3.75 measurement still holds—but you don’t have much rifling to stabilize the round. What this means is that you’ll see a decrease in accuracy at distance (which completely misses the point of these guns). It also means that the rounds may tumble. We saw some wicked keyholes from the 55 grain .223s. Those bullets were punching paper sideways. That’s good news for terminal ballistics, as it will leave a more jagged wound and dump more energy in the intended target.
And while we’re on the subject… let’s talk velocity. The .223 is effective—or most effective, rather—when traveling fast. Fast, in this case, is a relative term. The 7.62×39 is also a fast round, though it sacrifices some serious speed for its extra mass.
From an 16” .223 barrel, you can expect speeds near the 3,000 FPS mark. Heavier rounds will be slower, and lighter rounds more zippy. The Heizer spits out 55 grain .223 bullets at close to 1,100 FPS. That’s a serious decline, but the result could still be effective.
Let’s do a bit of comparison.
- A 55 gr .223 traveling 3,000 FPS has 1,099 foot-pounds of energy.
- A 55 gr .223 traveling at 1,100 FPS has 148 foot-pounds.
- From a 16” AK, the 123 grain 7.62×39 should hit somewhere near 2,300 FPS. That’s 1,445 foot-pounds.
- From the PAK1, that same 123 grain projectile was traveling closer to 900 FPS. 221 foot-pounds.
- A 40 gr Eley Match .22 LR fired from a 5” Smith & Wesson clocks near 950 FPS. That’s 80 foot-pounds.
- A 115 grain 9mm fired from a 3” barrel (1075 FPS) has 295 foot-pounds of energy.
- A 185 grain .45 ACP fired from a 3” barrel (900 FPS) has 333 foot-pounds of energy.
- A 90 grain .380 fired from a 3” barrel (1,000 FPS) has 200 foot-pounds of energy.
Foot-Pounds of energy are just one measurement we can look at. They serve to help show how the variables (in this case bullet weight and muzzle velocity) combine to determine the efficacy of a given caliber in a given design. How the bullet performs once it hits the target is also crucial. There are numerous bullet designs for both the .223 and the 7.62×39, so choose wisely. We’ll be running some gel tests soon and will bring back the results.
Did I mention the hand bite? This thing will—if you aren’t prepared—leave you wondering about your life choices. It can hurt. The 7.62 x 39, even with the ported barrel, was not easy to shoot. After more than 100 rounds (mixed .223 and 7.62×39) through the gun, I’m ready to do a few rimfire reviews.
I’d like to note, though, that I would trade some pain in my hand for the protection this gun can provide in a pinch. No questions asked.
The other criticism has more to do with how the gun runs. All of the 7.62×39 ejected fine. When you pulled the latch back, the barrel popped open. At times, I did have to reach in to tug the round from the chamber—but most of the empties were pushed out far enough for me to pull them out. This is a single shot. There’s no easy way to do speed reloads, though that’s hardly the point.
And the .223? Not as easy. The pressure pooched out some primers and the gun would lock up, momentarily. This could be a lubrication issue, as we ran it hard and didn’t bother greasing it up as we went.
Is that a deal breaker? Hardly. This isn’t an automatic. It isn’t a revolver. The round leaving the gun is what’s important. I can’t imagine a scenario that would require a speed-reload (at least not one that would be filled by this gun to begin with).
THINK OF IT LIKE THIS
As I researched this article, I kept finding people on the internet willing to dismiss this design outright. The Pocket AR and Pocket AK are, they said, novelties. That’s it. There’s never a practical purpose for a gun like this.
Is it s a novelty? Yes. I know this because I picked it up at my FFL, an old fashioned gun store, where several people took turns holding it and fiddling with the controls. At the range, the Heizer received the same attention. People like to play with it. The idea of running a rifle round through a pistol makes some folks curious.
But I see something more. This is a great backup. I typically carry a compact 9mm, one with an ample supply of ammunition in its magazine (and the spare I also carry). There is no way that this would replace that. But there are times that I can’t carry a double-stack 9mm. I typically rely on a single-stack .380. This gun would fit nicely in the same pockets that one does. It would also be a great truck gun. This would fit easily in the console of any car. So when you sit down on your holstered carry gun, you still have something within reach.
And I think the Heizer is the modern equivalent of The Liberator. The iconic pressed metal guns were dropped behind the lines for the French Resistance and anyone else who needed a gun. The idea was you use the cheap gun in an improvisational fashion to get another gun. One well equipped Kraut could fall to a Liberator, and his guns could be used to stay in the fight.
Having one of these in .223 and 7.62×39 (the two most common military calibers in the world we live in) could be a solid option for the survival minded, too. The Heizer isn’t really meant to be used to to get another gun, but it offer a fighting chance in a made-for-television scenario.
However you look at it, the gun makes an impression. The Heizer is loud. It also has a tendency to spit fire. Between the assault on the senses provided by the deafening crack, and the potentially blinding flash of powder, and the impact of the round itself hitting home–the gun is much more than a novelty.
Prices start just north of $400. I’d highly suggest one frame and all of the barrels. We’ll get to ballistic testing soon, and I hope to get the .410 barrel in there, too, to see what it can do.
We’ll let you know when we finish the time machine.
The social media giant plans to lean on its 1.6 billion users to report gun sales, the company says. Although Facebook says it has banned sales of firearms on the service, it is relying on its giant user base to monitor the social network for violations of its new policy. On Friday, the company announced its new policy, which will ban the direct sales of guns on Facebook and Instagram. Although Facebook has a large community standards team, it has no plans to use that team to enforce the new policy. “Enforcement would work the same as everything else on Facebook,” a company spokesperson told Fast Company today. “We rely on our community of 1.6 billion people to report anything they believe violates our community standards. We review all reports and take action if there is something that is in violation.”
On Friday, Facebook head of product policy Monika Bickert said in a statement, “Over the last two years, more and more people have been using Facebook to discover products and to buy and sell things to one another. We are continuing to develop, test, and launch new products to make this experience even better for people, and are updating our regulated goods policies to reflect this evolution.”
Despite the new policy, it will still be possible to advertise gun sales on Facebook. According to Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the policy will only govern actual offers of firearms for sale on Facebook and Instagram.
“In this country, we know that 40% of gun sales are through unlicensed dealers, without background checks,” Watts told Fast Company last week, adding that licensed dealers, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, would still be allowed to advertise guns on Facebook. She pointed out, however, that “licensed dealers don’t sell on Facebook.”