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The Best CCW Gun
It is difficult to state what is the "best" CCW
gun, as there are many individual factors at play. For example, the
conceilability depends greatly on body shape. Also, the required
effectiveness of the gun is usually dependent on the anticipated
threat. However, here are
a few guns that we have found to work well for us:
Glock 36 (45 ACP, 6 shots)
The Glock 36 is a very versatile gun. It has a
surprisingly slim design, yet offers the full power of 45ACP +P+. Good
enhancements for a Glock are a recoil spring guide integrated laser,
night sights and a
The main drawbacks of the Glock 36 are that the
magazine only holds 6 rounds, that the gun is delivered from the
factory with magazines that won't drop-free (an important factor for
quick reloads), and that the lack of a manual safety strongly discourages
belt-clipping the gun with a live round in the chamber.
The best source for Glocks and their add-ons
is The Glock Doctor, who attends most of the major gun shows in the
West. We can get you this gun today if you live in the Reno/Sparks area.
Kel-Tec P3AT (380 AUTO, 6 shots)
When extreme concealability is a must, there's no
substitute for the P3AT with its miniature size and small weight. While it's only offered in 380 AUTO and has a
magazine capacity of 6 shots, it fulfills the first rule in a gunfight:
bring a gun. This is our favorite backup and summertime gun, when other
options would create revealing bulges.
The main downside of the P3AT is that it uses the
lethargic 380 AUTO round. It would be a more useful gun if it could
handle standard 9mm.
Kel-Tech P3AT's are a little difficult to find, but very reasonably priced.
S&W 340PD Scandium Airlite (.357 +P, 5 shots)
If you're partial
to revolvers, then there's really only one obvious choice for highly
concealable CCW guns. It's the Scandium Airlite 340PD from
Smith&Wesson. While the Aluminum/Scandium frame and titanium
cylinder make the gun extremely light, it can still handle .357 Magnum
+P rounds that pack a lot of punch. This is not a gun for shooting just
for fun, as it has quite a bit of bite to it with magnum +P rounds.
However, it's a reliable gun that won't get snagged on anything. If you
don't like the Double Action Only feature of the 340PD,
Smith&Wesson also offers a model with an exposed hammer.
We can offer you the 340PD, or you can get it from your favorite gun store.
Black Talon Ammo (9mm +P+, 45 ACP +P+)
The best ammo to load into your CCW gun is Black
Talon by far. It's proven to be very effective. Just be sure to check
that your gun can handle +P+, which should be stated in the
The Best Handgun
It's virtually impossible to determine what handgun is the best, but here are some that we have grown fond of over the years:
Walther P22 (22 cal, 7 shots)
This is a fun gun to shoot. It's extremely
accurate, and the virtually non-existent recoil makes even long
shooting sessions fun. Its small grip is a joy to hold, and the only
distraction is the relatively small capacity of the magazine.
HK USP 45 Tactical (45 ACP, 12 shots)
The Heckler&Koch USP 45 is a very enjoyable gun
to shoot. However, the USP Tactical provides even higher accuracy, and
the option to mount a suppressor to the gun. We have witnessed a
standing shooter hitting a 1 foot metal disc at 90 yards with about
every other shot using this gun with its standard iron sights and a
suppressor. We were very impressed.
Springfield Operator (45 ACP, 7 shots)
The Springfield Operator is a
1911 with a Picatinny mounting rail forged into the pistol frame. It
has Pachmayr grips standard, with a match trigger, light-weight hammer
and ambidextrous safety. The slide was quite tight before breaking in
and the gun is a pleasure to shoot. The only downside was a plastic
recoil spring guide that probably should be replaced with a stainless
one for smoother operation.
The Most Powerful Handgun: Smith&Wesson Model 500 (.500 S&W Magnum, 5 shots)
have bad news for those who like to recite Clint Eastwood's "most powerful
handgun in the world" line. It's time for the 44 Magnum to move over.
The new game in town is the Model 500 series from Smith&Wesson, in
caliber 500 Smith&Wesson Magnum. It's a 5-shooter, and is available
with a short 4", a regular 8" and an extra long 10" barrel.
This is an awesome gun to shoot with, though we recommend that you bring a
set of padded shooting gloves if you're using anything but the lightest
loads. The Model 500 definition of a light load is the Barnes-X
all-copper 275 grain round from Corbon. We've tested most of the
ammunition available for this gun, and find it very accurate with all
of them. If you're afraid of recoil, this gun isn't for you.
We carry this gun in stock and have it available for immediate sale.
The Best 50 cal Rifle: Barrett 107
Deciding on the best 50 cal rifle depends on what
parameters are considered important by the evaluator. In our case, we
believe that the best all-around 50 cal rifle is the Barrett M107,
which is the military version of the M82A1, and is available in limited
quantities on the civilian market.
The M107 is delivered with a factory mounted 4-16x scope, a
high-quality Pelican case, an extra magazine, 80 rounds of Barrett
ammo, and a large number of useful features that can't be found on the
One concern that we hear often is the magnitude of recoil in a 50
caliber rifle. In the case of the M107 (and also M82A1), recoil is
attenuated by a triple-recoil reduction system. The M107's bipod also
has spiked feet, which reduces recoil on a suitable surface.
All this turns the recoild of the M107 and M82A1 very similar to a 12 gauge shotgun.
In our opinion the
M107 is by far the best choice for
a 50 caliber rifle. However, it is also expensive. If for some reason
you can't afford the M107, it's a very good idea to stay with the
Barrett family and settle for the M82A1. It's almost as much fun to
and beats other -- non-Barrett, and bolt-action Barrett -- alternatives
by a clear margin. If you're from California, you can't have any of
these rifles thanks to Arnold who terminated your rights to own them by
The best source for Barretts is One-Eyed Jacks (see
above under Black Talon Ammo) who offers the full Barrett lineup, however
we can also provide you with the M107.
The Best 50 cal Ammo: Raufoss
The Raufoss round has a relatively complex
projectile, that combines a penetrator
core with a small amount of explosive, an incindiary compound, and a
tracer. It was originally designed for use against flying targets with
self-sealing fuel tanks, where the explosive would disrupt the
self-seal compound of the fuel tank, the penetrator would puncture the
tank, and the incendiary would set the fuel on fire. However, the same
combination has also been found to be effective for clearing mines both
on land and at sea, and against many lightly armored vehicles. It seems
to be the ammunition of choice for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Practical Trading does not sell any ammunition, including Raufoss
<Political Commentary> Some anti-gunners have linked to this page in discussions regarding the "dangers" of 50 caliber ammunition to airplanes. These people are dolts. First of all, a shooter would have to hit an airplane, which while traveling even at landing speeds is quite an accomplishment. (Note: in WW2 we had QUAD-mounted 50 caliber machine guns for anti-aircraft shooting, and even then the probability of hitting an airplane isn't that high.) Second, assuming that a shooter were to hit an airplane with a lucky 50 caliber round or even a few, all you would get are a bunch of holes in the airframe. Most critical systems are duplicated several times, and disabling them only causes the others to take over. Someone inside the aircraft could certainly get hurt, but dropping stones from a window of a building in New York would probably kill many more. Wake up folks. 50 cal rifles aren't the problem. Antigun left-wing communist socialist liberals are. They want us to take goosesteps right into a dictatorship (all the while proclaiming everyone else is a Hitler). </Political Commentary>
The Best Bar In the World: Bar Suzuki
While we realize
that discussing bars is not necessarily related to guns, we can't
help mentioning the most professional bar that we have run into on all
the continents we have been to so far. It's Bar Suzuki in Tokyo. They
have an incredible selection of various liquors, and they make all
mixed drinks only in the proper fashion. It ain't cheap, as nothing in
Tokyo is, but it's also not overly expensive as it would be in some other
places in that town. Bar Suzuki is on a small side street between the
Sony and Hermes Buildings in Tokyo's Ginza district. Look for a sign
"Bar Suzuki 4F" (as in fourth floor, Bar Suzuki), then follow a small
entryway to a small elevator and take it to
the fourth floor. They also have a website,
but it's in Japanese. Don't expect many people, and either know what
you want or bring someone who reads Japanese, as the drink menus are
mostly in Japanese. If nothing else, try the Karuizawa Whisky. It's
well worth it. You could also try the Irish Whisky made by Hennessy,
called Na-Geanna, which Hennessy has recently discontinued but that's
still available at Bar Suzuki. Please note that Bar Suzuki has a flat 1500 yen service charge
per person that includes two types of tidbits.
|Karuizawa on the left, Na-Geanna on the right|