Every year the major gun manufacturers feel like they have to bring something new and exciting to the market. It’s the same way with the car manufacturers. How are they going to get you to buy a new car unless there is something about it that differentiates it from the one you have now? One of the problems they have when it comes to guns is there are designs that have been with us for 50, 75 or a 100 years that we still like and really find nothing that compels us to replace them. The manufacturers don’t care if we keep our old guns. They just want us to buy new ones, too!
There’s a major difference in how the gun manufacturers work as opposed to those who make cars. Every year in August or September, we get the new models, and they are on the show room floors ready to go. With guns, we get new models typically introduced at the annual SHOT Show in January. We read about them in the gun magazines in the Spring, and we can’t get our hands on them until late in the year. I haven’t quite figured this out yet, but it almost seems they wait to see how much interest has been generated, or maybe wholesale orders, before they crank up the assembly line. I’ve found myself telling potential customers asking about a new gun they just read about in Guns & Ammo or American Handgunner that it will be 8 months to a year before I’ll have any to sell. Sometimes I’m surprised and get them earlier, but not often. Ruger does better than most in this regard. Glock did pretty well with the 42, and the 43 is beginning to trickle into the system. We’ll see.
I’m both retailer and an instructor. As such, my primary focus, but of course not my only focus, is on finding the right gun or guns for new shooters. With that focus in mind, my approach to new offerings is not the razzle dazzle of something new, but how will this gun fit into my recommendations of a gun to consider for new shooters.
One gun I thought would make a big hit, but didn’t, was the Taurus Curve. It has absolutely no appeal to me, but I figured I wasn’t typical. We put them on order and when the first one arrived, it sat around for three or four weeks before somebody bought it. Since it sold I don’t think we have had a single inquiry that would compel us to stock another one. It’s a pretty radical design and maybe it just hasn’t caught on yet, but there’s one that for me doesn’t hold any excitement.
One that does excite me is the FN Herstal FNS-9C. FN is one of the premier manufacturers of military and law enforcement firearms. It’s a Dutch company with manufacturing here in the US as well, in South Carolina actually. FN quality is like Sig Sauer quality. Rugged, reliable, magnificent engineering. The S in this particular model stands for “Striker.” The 9 is of course for 9mm and the C is for “Compact.” FN makes true ambidextrous handguns and they add all the features you might want in a typical handgun. They put it in an attractive package that feels good in your hand, shoots well and will last indefinitely. If you’re looking for a good 9mm for concealed carry or personal defense, this one should be a consideration. Whereas FNs used to be priced too high for many people to consider, they’ve adjusted prices in recent years to be more competitive. I would never hesitate to recommend an FN handgun to a new shooter or an experienced shooter.
I went through a period with Walther when I wasn’t impressed. We saw some feeding issues at the range that shouldn’t have been there with a German-engineered gun. A little research turned up the fact that Walther had farmed out some of their manufacturing. I don’t think that lasted very long, because for the past two to three years Walther has been turning out some excellent products. One of their newer offerings is exactly what I’ve been looking for when trying to find a good 9 mm handgun for some of our clients with hand issues. I’m talking about the new Concealed Carry Pistol, the CCP.
The CCP uses a blow-back design that directs a portion of the gas pressure from an ignited cartridge through a tiny port in the barrel in front of the chamber to slow down and delay the rearward motion of the slide. A piston inside a cylinder under the barrel opposes the rearward motion of the slide until the gas pressure has subsided—after the bullet has left the barrel. At this point, the slide slams to its rear-most point, opens the breech, and ejects the empty cartridge case. What this means to the shooter is two things: 1) it doesn’t require a heavy recoil spring that the shooter has to work against when racking the slide and 2) the blowback system helps eliminate barrel flip (less recoil). I haven’t shot it yet, but I can tell you it is much easier to rack the slide on this pistol than on most other 9mms, making it a prime candidate for many of our lady shooters, or guys with hand strength issues. Being a Walther now means good quality. This gun feels a lot like an H & K in the hand.
Speaking of H & K have I mentioned the VP-9? If you’re a fan of good German engineering and price of the gun isn’t a deterrent that will keep you from getting what you want, the H&K VP-9 might be worth a look. It’s a striker-fired gun, something H&K hasn’t had in recent years. Personally, hammers are fine with me, but some folks feel not having an external hammer makes for an easier to conceal gun. It does mean a consistent trigger pull on every shot, from first to last.
One other gun I’ll mention is the Sig Sauer P320. I’m a big fan of the SP2022. When Sig announced the P250 a few years back their rumored intent was for it to replace the SP2022. That didn’t happen because SP2022 owners were happy with what they had and new purchasers were still buying them. The P250 was kind of gimmicky with all of its modular components, multiple frame sizes, barrel lengths, etc.
When the P320 came along it was basically a striker-fired version of the P250, which was beginning to gain widespread acceptance. I was still kind of ho-hum about modular concept until I took a really good look at the pistol, then another look at all of the optional configurations. Featuring a modular grip frame and removable fire control assembly, the P320 is customizable to any hand size or handgun need requirement. The P320 can quickly be converted from a Full-size to a Carry pistol. Slide and barrel conversions allow the P320 to change between calibers and barrel lengths as well. The serial number is on the fire-control module. All of the other parts fit around it and fit well, they do. I’m now at the point where I feel this gun merits a serious look whether your looking for a home protection gun, a concealed carry gun, a console gun, or a law enforcement duty gun. You can have them all with one serial number and with Sig Sauer’s quality. Not only that, Sig is pricing their polymer guns in line with other manufacturers these days. We try to keep them in stock and whenever I walk by and pick one up, I’m really impressed with how it feels in my hand. I haven’t shot one, but we’ve sold enough of the to have gotten a lot of positive feedback and absolutely no negative feedback.