January may be the official start of the year, but for handgunners who have been cooped up through the long winter, it is spring that marks our opportunity to emerge and begin anew our outdoor shooting activities. No matter how pleased we are with our existing inventory of handguns, we keep a sharp eye peeled for new items that might expand our shooting enjoyment. We may be lured by a hot new item from the SHOT Show, a discontinued model from one of the major manufacturers, or just something we've been "meaning to try" for the last couple of years; whatever it takes to cure spring fever. Listed by manufacturer, here are some of the items that just might make our hearts beat a little faster.
ACTION ARMS LTD.
Sticking with the premise that you shouldn't change anything that's working, Action Arms continues to offer the Czech-made CZ-75. Now there's a .40 S&W caliber version and a removable front sight pin to allow replacement with tritium night sights.
AMERICAN DERRINGER CORP.
American Derringer doesn't just carry the classic style, double-barrel derringers in calibers from .22 through .45 Colt -- which also fires .410 buckshot rounds. Its catalog also includes the five-shot Semmerling pistol in 9mm and .45 ACP, and the four-barrel, double-action COP pistol in calibers from .22 Magnum through .357 Magnum.
AMT continues to fill vacant niches in the handgun market with its family of stainless-steel self-loaders. In addition to basic 1911 guns in the standard calibers, AMT's Auto Mag series handles various magnum calibers from the .22 Magnum rimfire up through the giant .50 AE. The tiny .380 Backup has been joined by the new 23-ounce, double-action-only .45 ACP Backup. Check out this newest "Pocket-O-Power" for serious self defense.
Another believer in staying with proven products, Auto-Ordnance presents the 1911 pistol with some variations in calibers, finishes, and barrel lengths. All you Elliot Ness fans who refuse to shoot shoulder stocked guns, rejoice! The famous Tommy Gun is available as a 13 1/2-inch barrel semi-auto pistol with a 30-shot magazine or 50- and 100-round drums.
BERETTA USA CORP.
Beretta, the maker of the U.S. service pistol, has an impressive array of semi-automatics in small, medium, and full-size frames from 22 rimfire up through .40 S&W. Known for human ergonomics, clever design features (e.g. tip-up barrels), smooth actions, and absolute reliability, it's a rare customer that won't like one of Beretta's offerings. Newly announced for '94, but not yet available, is the Cougar 8000. It offers Beretta ergonomics and safety features, but utilizes a unique locked-breach system. The locking lugs on the rotating barrel are operated by a cam action.
BROWNING ARMS CO.
Browning, creator of the first high-capacity semi-auto handgun, continues to offer its famous Hi-Power in the original 9mm. There's a variety of options that include double-action and .40 S&W. In addition, the Utah-based firm offers a high-capacity (13-shot) mid-size, double-action .380 semi-auto. Its Buck Mark line of .22 rimfire pistols addresses just about every aspect of the .22 shooters' needs and has made serious inroads into the rimfire handgun market.
CASPIAN ARMS LTD.
Caspian did for the action shooting world what the Boeing 747 did for the aircraft world; carried more cargo farther, faster, and in more comfort, than any plane/gun had ever done before. Though it does not sell full pistols, there are very few components of an action pistol, beginning with its high-tech/high-capacity frames, that haven't received the creative treatment of this innovative Vermont company.
CENTURY INTERNATIONAL ARMS INC.
Century Arms is kind of a handgun warehouse outlet with some truly unique new and used handguns from different parts of the world. It also features some bargains on used American-made handguns.
CHINA SPORTS INC.
China Sports has some interesting handguns being built in China and offered at reasonable prices in the U.S. by Norinco. Models include the classic 1911A1, the Makarov, the Tokarev, and a unique trigger-guard cocking semi-auto in 9mm called the Model 77B.
COLT'S MANUFACTURING CO. INC.
Colt's continues to build some of history's most classic handguns despite ongoing legal and financial problems. Production revolvers range from the famous six-shot, .38 caliber Detective Special through the Cobra and Python .357 Magnums up to the .44 Magnum Anaconda. Semi-autos include full-size and cut-down Model 1911s, the Mustang-size group of .380s, and for the budget-conscious shooter, the brand new Colt .22 single-action, semi-auto. And if you want to own a piece of the Old West, call the custom shop for the one and only Colt Single Action Army.
Davis Industries provides low-cost protection in the form of small handguns. The double-barrel D-series derringers come in calibers from .22 rimfire through .38 special, while the P-series semi-autos are in .32 auto and .380 auto.
EUROPEAN AMERICAN ARMORY CORP.
EAA imports the Tanfoglio versions of the CZ design semi-auto in numerous calibers and with a variety of options including multi-caliber gun combos. Recognizing America's long-term love affair with our Old West, it also offers Italian-made single-action revolvers called the Bounty Hunter in calibers that include the .44-40. The double-action revolvers, the Vindicators, are chambered in calibers from .22 rimfire to .357 Magnum
Freedom Arms, whose high-quality single-action revolvers challenge the single shots in accuracy, have added the .50 AE to its inventory. Like the .22, .357, .44, and .454, the Model 555 is built on the standard-size revolver frame and utilizes Freedom's lined-bored, hand-fitted manufacturing techniques. Unlike the big semi-auto fifties, the Wyoming revolver allows, and even encourages, the use of cast bullets of various designs optimized for big-game hand-gun hunting.
Glock continues to make "the Glock Pistol," and while it comes in many models and calibers, they are all instantly recognizable as the polymer frame semi-auto pistol that has revolutionized handgun manufacturing. Simple, lightweight, and extremely high capacity, it's available in calibers from 9mm up through 10mm and .45 ACP. Reaching for a bigger piece of the competition market, Glock's new long-slide Model 24 in .40 S&W features a 6-inch barrel, integral three-chamber compensator, and 3 1/2-pound trigger pull.
Grendel makes a couple of interesting looking semi-auto pistols. There's the P-30 in .22 WRF Magnum, and the P-12, a 13-ounce .380 auto that holds 12 round is designed to be used for home defense by "individuals with limited handgun training." Both make extensive use of polymer materials in their construction.
HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON 1871 INC.
H&R's economical guns have introduced many an American to the shooting sports. It again is offering their classic top-break, nine-shot .22 revolver. Also available are a pair of solid-frame revolvers in .22 WRM and .32 H&R Magnum that feature swing-out cylinders.
HECKLER & KOCH
H&K offers a multitude of options in the two pistol inventory available to U.S. dealers. The unique Model P7 "squeeze cocker" comes with single- and double-stack magazines in calibers from .22 to .40 S&W. The newly released USP 40 (Universal Self-loading) pistol is available in only .40 S&W at this time. For competitive shooters, H&K offers its Quik-Comp muzzle brake/compensator with six expansion ports which attaches to an unmodified USP.
HERITAGE MANUFACTURING INC.
Heritage doesn't have a vast line, but what they have is built solid with some interesting touches. Three revolvers make up Heritage's Rough Rider single-action offerings. They're available in .22 LR and a .22 LR/.22 WRM combo with a deep blue finish, brass accents and barrel lengths of 3, 4 3/4, 6 1/2 and 9 inches. The .38 Special Sentry double-action revolvers have 2- and 4-inch barrels and the small Heritage semi-autos in .25 ACP feature an exposed hammer and open top slide.
Interarms is an importer with some world-renown clients. Ignoring the traditional alphabetical order approach, the Walther semi-autos include all the James Bond PP series, the World War II classic P-38, the compact P-88 and P-5, and the tiny TPH in .22 and .25 ACP. The line of Rossi revolvers is making serious inroads into the wheelgun market with .22s, .38/.357s, and more recently, some compact .44 Specials designed to handle unpleasant social situations. Back on the semi-auto side, Star has gained the attention of American shooters with its compact Firestar in serious calibers, its Megastar in big bores, and now the slim, compact double-action Ultrastar in 9mm that has a polymer frame.
KBI's line of imported self-loading pistols include the Hungarian-made 9mm Hi-Power in both single- and double-action, and the more compact double-action PMK .380 auto and GKK 9mm. KBI also handles the line of IMI Jericho pistols in 9mm through .41 AE and the American-made, FN-licensed PSP semi-autos in .25 ACP.
MAGNUM RESEARCH INC.
Magnum Research makes all the standard magnums plus the .50 AE for its big Desert Eagle for those of us who are into big bores and big bangs. Stepping down in size is the Baby Eagle in 9mm through .41 AE, and the Mountain Eagle in .22 rimfire. For serious long-range handgun hunters and shooters, MR offers their single-shot, rotary-breach SSP-91 Lone Eagle in about 17 rifle and pistol calibers that will allow you to hunt just about any animal on the planet.
MITCHELL ARMS INC.
Mitchell Arms offers several lines of classic guns including the 1911 in .45 ACP, the Parabellum P-08 9mm Luger, the Single Action Army in .357 Magnum and .45 Colt, and the High Standard series of .22 rimfire pistols. New for '94 is its premier-grade High Standard Victor II in stainless steel for the serious target shooter. The Victor II features full-length vent rib, adjustable trigger, push-button take down and stippled grip frame. Optional ribs include either Weaver or Dovetail to accommodate just about any optical sight system on the market.
NORTH AMERICAN ARMS
North American Arms continues to offer its line of the world's smallest revolvers. The five-shot Mini-revolver models come in either .22 LR or .22 WMR with barrel lengths of 1.125 inches or 1.625 inches. Stepping up noticeably in performance and ease of handling, the Mini-master models are available with full size grips, adjustable sights, and 4-inch heavy-vent barrel.
Pachmayr is known primarily for the numerous accessories it offers for everyone else's handguns. However, it makes a single-shot pistol that successfully blends the feeling of the 1911 grip frame with the precision of a bolt-operated barreled action in a variety of rifle calibers for long-range shooting and hunting.
Para-Ordnance, the Canadian company that produced the first high-capacity .45 ACP 1911s, continues to offer its Model P in this proven caliber in the compact officer's model, mid-size commander, and the full-size government.
REMINGTON ARMS CO.
Remington makes only one handgun, but its XP-100 still sets the standard of accuracy that everyone else hopes to match. Variation include several calibers, a 100R "repeater" model with magazine and rear-grip synthetic stock, and a wood stock for the production-model single-shot.
SIG ARMS INC.
SIG, having captured the lion's share of the police market in Europe, is still gaining popularity in the U.S. with its full size-series of SIG Sauer pistols. They have no external safeties, feature both single- and double-stack magazines, and come in calibers from 9mm to .45 ACP. SIG's smaller offering is the double-action P230 in .380, also with no external safeties.
STURM, RUGER & CO. INC.
Ruger is constantly upgrading their P-series of centerfire self-loaders and the original .22-caliber model that started the empire. New this year is the P-94 in 9mm and .40 Auto with its streamlined frame and smaller, slimmer grips, Large- and medium-frame, double-action revolvers continue in production with the small frame SP101 series available in several calibers, hammers, and barrel length options. In keeping with the Vaquero's successful theme of "giant marketing step forward, medium technology step backward," Ruger is making fixed sights available on more of their single-action revolvers, specifically the Single-Six and Old Army black powder pistol.
SMITH & WESSON
S&W, despite cutting back on certain model variations, still offers something for every niche of pistol shooting. Revolvers go from .22 rimfire in the small "J" frames to the .44 Magnum in the large "N" frames, all with the world-renown Smith action and feel. Self-loaders include target .22s up through compact and full-size defense guns in .45 ACP. A special treat for .45 ACP fans is the reintroduction of the Model 4516 in DAO with Novak sights and bobbed hammer. Perhaps the most exciting news is Smith's entry into the polymer-frame, high-capacity semi-auto market with its high-tech, ergonomically designed Sigma series pistol in 9mm and .40 S&W. And check out the new S&W Performance Center dealer-direct program designed to put custom handguns on the shelves of stocking dealers.
Springfield, re-organized and re-vitalized, continues to satisfy every possible action pistolero fantasy with its production model 1911s and custom shop "race" guns. Springfield has leaped into the high-capacity arena with their XM4 polymer "wide body" frame available in a multitude of options. For single-shot aficionados who prefer the look and feel of the 1911 grip, Springfield still offers its SASS (Single Action Single Shot) conversion units in several rifle and pistol calibers.
Taurus is making more variations available of their line of production revolvers (including factory-installed porting systems and big-bore pocket pistols) while maintaining visual similarity to S&Ws. Its uniquely designed PT-908 in 9mm is available for the first time in stainless steel. Also new is the PT-945 in caliber .45 ACP. Like the rest of the Taurus double-action auto line, the single-stack, 8+1 capacity PT-945 has a safety/decocker lever allowing it to be carried in either DA first-shot or cocked-and-locked mode. A handsome addition to the Taurus revolver line is the massive Model 44 in attention-getting .44 Magnum.
Thompson/Center, the company that revolutionized handgun hunting and silhouetting with its remarkable single-shot pistol, continues to update the Contender pistol package with different calibers, finishes, barrel lengths, muzzle brakes, and optical systems. It's a multi-gun inventory on a single firearm at very reasonable prices.
WESSON FIREARMS CO.
Dan Wesson and Wesson Firearms opened new horizons to handgunners with their super magnum series of cartridges and screw-in, tensioned barrels with removable shrouds. Now these are offered with built-in muzzle brakes called "Compensated Barrel Assembly." New this year are the very affordable, fixed-barrel .357 Magnum revolvers in various barrel lengths.
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|Title Annotation:||new handguns|
|Article Type:||Buyers Guide|
|Date:||Jun 1, 1994|
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