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The mid-year handgun roundup.

The current handgun market is a mix of many different states of affairs: some companies are continuing production of their well-established handgun lines, some have begun delivering the new products that were promised for 1992 (and even as far back as 1991 or 1990!), and some -- most notably Smith & Wesson -- have slimmed down their product lines by dropping many of their seemingly endless handgun models.

While getting a new gun into production is not always an easy thing to do (dealers and writers alike are often given promises of speedy deliveries which stretch into weeks, months, years ... ) here is a line-up of the handgun market as it stands today. For more information about these products, circle the appropriate number on the Reader Service card in the back of the magazine.


AMT catalogs a complete line of semi-auto handguns including the AutoMag II (.22 WinMag), the AutoMag III (.30 Carbine, and 9mm WinMag) the AutoMag IV (10mm Magnum and .45 Win Mag) the Javelina (10mm), and the Hardballer and Hardballer Long Slide (.45 ACP).

The latest to come out of AMT is the On Duty, a double-action-only, semi-automatic in 9mm and .40 S&W chamberings.

The oldest gun in the AMT line-up now that all the Ruger Mark I clones have been dropped is the Back-Up in.380.

AMT is the only manufacturer offering the long homeless 9mm Winchester Magnum and the new 10mm Magnum. The 7-inch-barreled Javelina is the easiest shooting of all of the 10mms that have surfaced the past few years. For more information circle 401.


Years ago Browning dropped their Challenger and Medalist .22 pistols then introduced the Buck Mark series. The basic idea was good, but it was not carried out well.

This year, Browning listened to shooters; the result is a complete line-up of Target Grade, .22 Buck Marks that are very accurate pistols. For silhouetters there is the 10-inch Silhouette Model and the 14-inch Unlimited Model. The same gun with a 10-inch, scope-ready barrel is the Varminter. All of these feature heavy barrels as does the 5 1/2-inch Target Model.

For field use, Browning offers the 5 1/2-inch Buck Mark with slab-sided, and lighter weight barrel and the Buck Mark Micro with a 4-inch barrel.

The selective BDM 9mm will be available by the time you read this. The BDM allows the shooter use of single action or double action with the flick of a switch. For more information circle 403.


From Beretta comes the new medium-frame "F" pistols in .380. The 84F offers a 13-round magazine, while the 85 F holds just eight rounds. Also new from Beretta is the long-awaited .40 S&W version of their classic full-sized pistol, the Modle 96, sure to be a popular seller with all handgun customers. For more information circle 402.


The Anaconda .44 Magnum announced last year is now available from Colt. The first models bad barrels but the latest run of .44s are definitely more accurate than the average out-of-the-box .44 Magnum.

All sixgunners will rejoice to see that the Colt Single Action is back (albeit in a limited way) through the Custom Shop.

The Government Model is still available in all its variations, blue and stainless, Gold Cup and standard, including the new Model 1991/1911, the Commander, and also the Double Eagle version. The All American 2000 is also currently being delivered.

As this is written Colt has just filed Chapter 11; all handgunners everywhere hope and pray that Colt survives. For more information circle 404.


From Germany comes the big bore Bounty Hunter, a brute-strong, traditional-styled single action in .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum, .45 Colt, and now in both.41 Magnum and.44-40.

Also from Germany is the upgraded double-action Vindicator series in .22 LR, .38 Special, and .357 Magnum. Test guns have proven to be highly accurate.

From Tanfoglio in Italy, EAA is importing a complete line of double-action semi-automatics dubbed the Witness. These are upgraded TZ-75s built on entirely new machinery and offered in 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and even .41 Action Express. EAA is also heavily into action shooting with a complete custom shop. For more information circle 405.


The newest chambering from Freedom Arms is the 353 Casull following on the heels of the 252 Casull introduced last year. The 252, actually a .22 Long Rifle chambering, is becoming a favorite of the .22 silhouetters. The 353, which in reality is a .357 Magnum, promises to go where no.357 has gone before.

Due to the inherent strength and precision fitting of the Casull revolver, the .357 Magnum can now deliver more muzzle velocity than the .357 SuperMag. This will endear the 353 Casull to silhouetters and handgun hunters alike.

Casulls chambered in the original .454 as well as the .44 Magnum continue to flow from Freedom Arms for big bore silhouetters and handgun hunters also. For more information circle 406.


Desert Eagles have been available for nearly 10 years now, first arriving in .357 Magnum. The original Magnum was upstaged by the Desert Eagle chambering in .44 Magnum, becoming the first successful .44 Magnum semi-automatic, which in turn was followed by the .41 Magnum.

Standard barrel length of all models is 6 inches with 10-inch and 14-inch barrels available. All of the above are available in blue and stainless steel finishes.

The new .50 Desert Eagle is a large handgun spelled H-U-G-E! The slide measures approximately 1 3/4 inches in height and 1 1/4 inches in width. The barrel is over 1 inch in diameter at the rear with a heavy square rib on top slotted to accept scope rings. The front of the barrel is trapezoidal with the base being 1 1/4 inches in width. The Desert Eagle .50 Action Express is capable of putting all seven rounds from its magazine in one gaping hole at 25 yards. For more information circle 407.


Four new models are available to handgunners from Ruger this year. Last year's promised .45 ACP semi-auto, the P90, is at last available and receiving acclaim industry wide. Even Col. Charles Askins has called it "perhaps the best .45 ever." As the P91, Ruger's semi-automatic is now also available in.40 S&W.

Two more semi-autos, .22 style, are also now reality in the Competition Model and the .22/45. The former has a heavy 7-inch, slab-sided barrel with a special rear sight that will accept Ruger scope rings. The .22/45 is a standard Mark II stainless Ruger barrel and slide on a Zytel Government Model shaped frame. One of those "why didn't someone think of this sooner" guns.

Sixgunners have not been left out as Ruger has improved the Super Blackhawk by rounding the back of the trigger guard and using a heavy, ribbed barrel that is also scope-ready.

Ruger still maintains a full line of sixguns with the single-action Blackhawks and Bisleys and double-action SP101s and GP100s, as well as the .44 Magnum Redhawk, and Super Redhawk. For more information circle 408.


Many models of sixguns and semiautomatics have been dropped from the Smith line, but the standards are still available. The Model 29/629 .44 Magnum not only remains but has been upgraded, and the heavy, underlug-barreled Classic DX in blue or stainless is available with a 5-inch, 6-inch, or 8 3/8-inch barrel.

Exciting news from Smith & Wesson is the latest LadySmith, which will be carried by as many men as women. This is another long-overdue sixgun. With Models 65 and 66 as the basis, S&W now has the Model 65LS (LadySmith) stainless, 3-inch barreled .357 Magnum with round butt, large fixed sights, and a general trimming and smoothing to make this an easy handling revolver.

From the semiautomatic side comes a no-frills, 15-shot 9mm, the decocker-equipped Model 915 that sells for under $500. For more information circle 409.


The one cartridge seemingly too tough to die is back again -- Taurus has resurrected the .44 Special, not in a large-framed sixgun, but a medium-framed fivegun. The Taurus Model 431 is available in blue or stainless with fixed sights and a 3-inch or 4-inch barrel, or with adjustable sights and a 6-inch barrel.

New also is a companion for the fine little nine-shot Taurus .22 revolver, The Model 941, an eight-shot .22 Magnum with a shrouded barrel (thank you!). Last year's promised .40 S&W Taurus is now a reality with the PT100 blue and PT101 stainless double-action, 12-round capacity semi-automatic. For more information circle 410.


Springfield Armory's catalog is a veritable dreambook/shopping mall of semiautomatics. The standard P9 and 1911 are available in many standard models as well as bullseye, competition, and carry guns from the Custom Shop.

New this year is the "R" series consisting of a 28-ounce, double-action Panther in .40 S&W. .45, and 9mm; a 25-ounce, single-action Firecat in .40 and 9mm; a 22-ounce, double-action Bobcat .380; and an 11-ounce single-action Lynx .25 ACP.

Of great interest to long-range shooters will be the bolt-on-to-a-Government Frame SASS silhouette and hunting single shot in big bore calibers including the .7mm-08, .35 Remington, and .375 Winchester. For more information circle 411.


The extremely popular Thompson/ Center Contender is now found in 19 chamberings covering everything from mice to moose with .22 Long Rifle to .45-70.

For hunters who want everything from one source the T/C Hunter is offered in eight chamberings in both 12-inch and 14-inch models all with 2.5x T/C scopes, sling swivels and a sling, T/C Muzzle Tamer, and a padded carrying case. For more information circle 412.


Wesson Firearms, formerly Dan Wesson Arms, offers the long-range accurate .357, .41, and .44 Magnums; the .357, .375, and .445 SuperMags; the .45 Colt, and pleasant-shooting silhouette sixguns in .22, .32 H&R Magnum, and.32-20.

New this year is a +P+.38 Special, the 2-inch barreled Model 738P, and Super Big Bore shooters who are taken with the .445 SuperMag will now be able to purchase a compensated barrel for the big Super Magnum. For more information circle 413.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Publishers' Development Corporation
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Taffin, John
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Previous Article:1991-92 Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence.
Next Article:Reading the handgun market.

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