9mm (9x19)


  Mean Arms came into the Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) market with an interesting idea. They made a 9mm insert for Magpul Pmags, called the “EndoMag”. This eliminates having to use a special lower receiver or magazine adapter. I was intrigued after we discussed them on the Gun & Gear Review Podcast. Mean Arms kindly sent one for review.

  The Endomag is not your standard magwell adapter. First up, it goes inside a Gen 2 or 3 Pmag body. Just take your Pmag apart and set your spring and follower somewhere. Now, depending on where you live, cut the Endomag to the required magazine capacity. It has marks for 15, 20, and 30 rounds and comes in a 10 round configuration. The included instructions tell you how to do this and it is super simple. I cut mine to accept 30 rounds. Then all you need to do is slide the Endomag assembly into the Pmag body and install the floorplate. It is now ready to be used.

  Before using the Endomag, it is recommended that you break it in. Basically, it involves testing to make sure the mag body doesn’t rub the bolt. Then testing cycling, by hand, with the Endomag installed. Again, the instructions are very useful here. I could feel the bolt rubbing a little on the one they sent me. I just did as instructed and have had no issues.

  The Endomag has some great benefits, and a few that leave me wanting something else. I love the ability to load rounds just by pushing them down, much like a standard AR magazine. This is because the Endomag is a double column, double feed magazine, much like the Colt 9mm style magazines. The Endomag also features a last round bolt hold open feature. My biggest complaint about the Endomag is the built in ejector. It functions great, but takes some training to unload the firearm. One has to cycle the bolt back by hand to eject the live round. Then while the bolt is back, you have to drop the magazine. If you drop the Endomag out before cycling the action, the round will not eject, and thus just go right back into the firing chamber. Like I said, this is a training issue, but during a competition this could confuse some people and maybe even cause an unsafe condition. Besides this training issue, the Endomag doesn’t require any other learning curve. It is the same size as a standard magazine, therefore it fits in all your gear. All the rifle’s controls will also be the same, especially the magazine release button. I also noticed that the magazine spring, that Mean Arms uses in the Endomag, looks very much like the spring that came out of the standard Pmag. So much that I would guess it is the same spring. The EndoMag also lets one “try out” a PCC without having to purchase a lower receiver or magwell adapter. Of course you would still need a complete 9mm upper.

  I used the Endomag a lot. As expected, it ran like a champ. If I had a failure, it was minor, because I don’t remember any. One of the nice features about installing the Endomag in a Pmag body is that you can mark the Pmag with “9mm” in the dot matrix! That way you have a better chance of not getting your magazines confused. As far as training with the Endomag, I give it a thumbs up. 9mm is cheaper than 5.56/223, and has about the same felt recoil. So you can get some good training in, for cheaper.

  Mean Arms has a good idea with the Endomag. It has some decent features to aid in training. Goes into a magazine body that you probably already have, and works fantastic. I just had to get over the ejecting a round before dropping the magazine. If you think the Endomag is for you, go give one a try, they are inexpensive enough to see.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

9mm magazine kit for converting standard AR-15’s to 9mm without a magwell insert

Target Market:

Those wanting a 9mm carbine without the added cost of an adapter

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Converts a Magpul 30-round 5.56x45 PMAG (Gen 2 and 3) to 9mm

  • Functions as a standard AR magazine

  • No magwell adapter needed

  • Uses a standard AR15 receiver

  • Insert comes fully assembled.

  • Uses same controls as a standard AR

  • Uses standard mag pouches, etc.

  • Last round bolt hold open

  • Lifetime warranty

  • Built in Ejector

  • Compatible with Colt and Glock style BCG’s

  • Indents for 15, 20, and 30 round options, Ships as 10 round capacity

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?


What others are saying?:

Charles F.  5/5 stars @RainierArms

Great 9mm option. Worked like a champ, I had no issues with the operation at all. Great product.

Link to other reviews:

The Firearm Blog

Price point:

MSRP = $29.99

Retail = $29.95 at AimSurplus

I need it now! Availability:

Mean Arms

Our Rating:


  • Uses Glock or Colt 9mm BCG’s

  • No lower modifications or special lower required

  • Last round bolt hold open

  • Uses same spring as P-Mag

  • Fits same accessories as standard AR magazines

  • Uses same controls as standard AR


  • Only available in 9mm

  • Magazine body required

  • Ejector in magazine

Score: 7.00 Good


Favorite Link:   We The Female

Official Qube Compensator

  If you haven’t heard about CGS Group, well now is the time. CGS has been making custom rifle and suppressors for a few years. They recently ventured into the pistol compensator market. The “Qube” compensator is touted as the first pistol comp that doesn’t need set screws, more on that later. Because of the “no set screw” design, I asked if I could get one for review, and here we are.

  The CGS Group Qube compensator is called that for a good reason. The Qube looks essentially square, like a cube. It really isn’t square, as one can see in the FNB’s below. It has been designed for 9mm pistols. The squarish look makes it ideal for square slided pistols, like a Glock, but is at home on other pistol designs also.

  I really wanted to try the Qube out because of it’s set-screwless design. I was not disappointed either. Lots of other compensators use set screws to keep the thing on and indexed. These screws press against the threads on the barrel and can damage them. The Qube uses a 2 part system, with tapers and a nut, to mount it. Those 2 parts consist of an inner round piece and the outer square part. The inner piece has a bunch of tiny holes in it. This is what screw onto the threads of the barrel. It has 2 flats also, so you can snug it up tight. Then you slide the outer piece on. The outer cube sits on a taper at the rear, and has a taper on the front. A special tapered nut then screws on to tighten everything together. The instructions have you put your slide in a vice, with the Qube, to tighten it on. Please use leather or some other non damaging jaws. The vice then squares up the Qube to the slide. Then you can tighten the nut. Tighten it tight, I had it loosen up the first time I did it. 

  If you have ever shot a pistol with a compensator, then you know what a difference they make. The Qube is no different, possibly even better. I put the Qube on a Polymer 80 compact framed pistol. I immediately noticed the reduction in recoil. No, I don’t have any factual recoil data, but it was definitely noticeable. The Qube also lets the pistol shoot flatter, meaning the muzzle does not rise as much under recoil. All of this makes for a much faster follow up shot or shots. I definitely can shoot much faster on steel targets with the compensator on the pistol. When the Qube came loose, completely my fault, I did shoot it with just the inner part. It even helped reduce recoil without the cube part on. Of course, this didn’t surprise me, as the inner piece has all those holes. It just doesn’t direct the gases up.

  The Qube’s design is very well thought out. From the taper design to the ease of use. Once you install the comp, you’ll notice it has a large top port, and two side ports. The side ports are also angled upward. The gases escape from the inner small ports and then are directed around and out the large ports. Whatever they did with the design allowed me to shoot all but very light 9mm loads. Light reloads and some light factory 115 grain were the only loads that didn’t always want to cycle the slide. Compensators are pretty well known for this. All other factory ammo worked flawlessly. This is from 115-165 grain bullet weights. You could always install a lighter recoil spring if wanting to shoot light loads, but I didn’t find a need for this. About the only problem you’ll find with the Qube, is not having a holster that fits it. The Qube does add 1.25” to the front of the pistol. If your holster is open at the bottom, it might fit. If not, I guess you’ll need a new holster. On a Glock 19, it makes it about the same length as a Glock 34.

  If you are one who likes compensators on pistols, go check out CGS Group. The Qube is an awesome little compensator. It would work great on a carry gun. Plus the hotter self-defense loads will make the comp work even better. You also get to choose from a vast color pallet to match your gun, or not. I really like the Qube.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Pistol compensator that doesn’t use set screws for mounting

Target Market:

Anyone wanting the added benefits of a compensator

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Comes in 1/2 x 28 or M13.5 x 1LH threads to match the host firearm.

  • OUNCES: 2.4

  • LENGTH: 1.25″

  • HEIGHT: 0.825”

  • WIDTH: 1″

  • MATERIAL: 17-4 Stainless Steel

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

13.5x1LH, also in Black, FDE, Gold, & Rainbow

What others are saying?:

None found

Link to other reviews:

NFA Review Channel

Price point:

MSRP = $159.00

I need it now! Availability:

CGS Group

Our Rating:


  • Reduced recoil

  • Reduced muzzle flip

  • Uses standard ammunition

  • Looks awesome

  • Tapered locking nut


  • May not fit in some holsters

  • Makes firearm longer

  • Lighter loaded ammo may not function properly

Score: 8.00 Great


Favorite Link:  Thor Targets and gun shop

Guntec 9mm Micro-Comp

 The Guntec USA crew has introduced a new little micro-comp for 9mm rifles. I personally like mini compensators on PCC style rifles. As I mentioned in the 9mm bolt review, Guntec sent this out for review at the same time as the bolt.

 One of the reasons I went with the micro-comp is the small size. It is 2 ⅝” long and has an outside diameter of 0.95”. On a rifle length 9mm carbine, almost all of the powder, or all of it, is burned up before the bullet leaves the barrel. This makes a large compensator not as efficient. Plus I like the mini look.

 Even though it is called a comp, it is actually more. I would call it a hybrid brake/compensator. The compensator portion of the micro-comp comes from the 3 holes the face upward. This vents gas up to push the barrel down. The next part is the brake, which is meant to reduce recoil. A huge single rectangular cut, from side to side, facilitates the brake function. One disadvantage to the micro-comp, as in almost all hybrid comps, is the increase in muzzle blast sound.

 I could definitely tell a big difference in this micro-comp over the 9mm A1 flash hider. Muzzle control from target to target is way faster. Felt recoil seems about the same, at least on my shoulder. I have a red dot on my PCC. Finding the target after recoil is also faster. Sometimes the dot stays on target, depending on the target size and distance. So the compensator portion works well.

 The Micro-comp is threaded ½-36. The thread pitch is part of the reason I chose the micro-comp. My 16” barrel is threaded ½-36, not ½-28 used on many of today’s barrels. Most of Guntec’s 9mm muzzle accessories are threaded the ½-36, but they do have some in ½-28 also..

 Do I like this micro-comp? Yes. Do I think there might be a more efficient one on the market? Yes, but Guntec does a good job in their micro-comp. It works well for what it is and at $39.95, the price is good also. Go take a look at Guntec USA and all of their AR accessories. I have been pleased with most of their products.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Micro compensator for 9mm carbines

Target Market:

Those wanting a smaller effective compensator/muzzle brake for a 9mm carbine

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Multi Port Compensator

  • Micro Design, Very Compact

  • 3 Top Porting Holes To Reduce Muzzle Climb

  • Side Slot Cut Reduces Pressure During Rapid Fire

  • All Steel Construction

  • 1/2 x 36 Thread Pitch

  • 2 ⅝” long

  • 0.94” Diameter

  • Comes with crush washer

  • Made in USA

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?


What others are saying?:

Too new at this time

Link to other reviews:

Too new at this time

Price point:

MSRP = $39.95

Retail = same

I need it now! Availability:

Guntec USA

Our Rating:


  • Small size

  • Effective

  • Price

  • Made in USA


  • Loud

  • Not available in ½-28 for 9mm

Score: 7.50 Good


Favorite Link:   AR 15 podcast

Guntec 9mm Bolt Carrier Group

 I was in the process of putting together a pistol caliber carbine or PCC for short. So of course I needed a bolt. I contacted GunTec USA since they had recently come out with a 9mm bolt. They were kind enough to send one out for review, along with a 9mm compensator for the same build. I have reviewed other GunTec products in the past with good results.

 This review will probably be on the shorter side, after all it is a bolt carrier group (BCG). The GunTec 9mm BCG has a very nice QPQ Nitride finish. This makes cleaning a little easier than a standard run of the mill Mil-Spec BCG, plus it looks nice. Another function of the Nitride finish is it’s smoothness, if that’s a word. When I installed the GunTec BCG, it cycled very smoothly. This could also be due to the fact that the exterior machining on the bolt is top notch.

 The GunTec bolt has pretty much all the features one would need for this type of BCG. It has a roll pinned in weight to add mass. This makes it possible to run a standard weight buffer in your recoil system. The bolt is heavy at almost 15 ounces, but this is needed for the straight blowback style action used in most 9mm PCC’s. I did run into a small problem that was probably my OCD. Where the gas key block is located, right behind it on the bolt, was a little raised area. When I cycled the upper by hand, you could feel it drag against the buffer tube, but only right at full extension of the charging handle. It however did not cause any wear or problems during use. I smoothed them out so I felt better. Other than my OCD, the bolt has ran flawlessly using the Stern Defense mag block and all different types of glock magazines. The gas key bolts are staked in. They could be a little more, but since it is really only there to manually cycle the firearm, I didn’t pay much attention to them. The BCG also uses an external extractor. A big plus if you actually shoot enough to wear it out.

You can see here where I polished off the small lip.

Same lip on bottom of bolt. Neither top or bottom lip actually affected function.

 I am not sure how many round that I have out through the BCG. But it has not failed me so far. I would estimate around 700-800 round through it at the time of this review. I have ran it with three different AR15 triggers. A mil-spec, a KE arms, and a Velocity. All worked well. The Velocity was on the light side of the trigger pull weight, so I took it out and am currently running the KE arms trigger with good luck.

 If you are in the market to assemble a pistol caliber carbine, take a look at GunTec. PCC’s are an economical way to practice. This 9mm BCG will do both styles of receivers. It has given me no problems and is made right here in the U.S.A. Go take a look at GunTec USA, they probably have everything needed for a PCC.


Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

9mm AR bolt for Glock or Colt style magazines

Target Market:

Those building a pistol caliber carbine

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Compatible With Glock & Colt Style Lower Receivers

  • MIL-SPEC 8620 Steel

  • External Extractor

  • Dust Cover Compatible

  • Total Weight : 14.9 Ounces

  • USA Made

  • Fully Heat Treated

  • QPQ Salt Bath Nitride Finish

  • 1 Year Warranty

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

In Nickel Boron

What others are saying?:

None found at time of writing

Link to other reviews:

None Found

Price point:

MSRP = $159.00

Retail = $135.99 at OpticsPlanet

I need it now! Availability:

GunTec USA or OpticsPLanet

Our Rating:


  • Drop in installation

  • External extractor

  • Nitride coated

  • Works with Colt and Glock style magazines

  • Works with standard AR15 hammers/triggers

  • Made in USA


  • Slight raised lip by gas key

Score: 8.00 Great


Favorite Link:   Brothers & Arms

Stern Defense Mag-AD9


 Stern Defense has introduced a magazine block for standard AR-15 style rifles. 9mm converted AR’s are excellent for cheaper practice. Stern Defense was kind enough to send their AD9 magazine block. This product converts a regular AR-15 lower to accept Glock 9mm and 40 cal magazines. One will still need a complete 9mm AR upper, with a Glock style bolt, to work with the magazine block.

 The Stern Defense AD9 is probably one of the nicest magazine blocks around. It is beautifully machined and engineered. Made from 6061 aluminum, hard coat anodized, with some steel and plastic parts where needed, it should last a lifetime. The built in feed ramp is also NiB coated to help smooth out the transfer of the round from the magazine into the chamber. I also noticed this makes the feed ramp easier to clean. I ran various types and weights of 9mm through the AD9. All of them fed reliably, even my 124gr Gold dot hollow points.

 Installation of the magazine adapter is super easy. I used a standard forged mil-spec receiver. First, if new, just insert the adapter into the magwell, like you would any standard AR magazine. Push it until the standard magazine release clicks back out, just like the standard AR magazine. Now, on the bottom of the Stern Defense magazine block, are 3 screws. Take the supplied allen wrench and tighten up the gib screw, while pulling down on the adapter. The gib screw is the larger set screw toward the front of the adapter. What this does is force the gib (plastic piece at the front of the adapter) against the lower receiver’s magazine well. Then lightly tighten the other 2 smaller set screws until they touch the lower receiver. Now you are done with the hard part.

 This AD9 insert is great. I am using a Guntec USA BCG, which is cut for both the Glock style and Colt style, just for your info. Every magazine I have tried fed reliably. All the magazines drop free with a press of the magazine release. Now, the magazine release on the AD9 is a push forward type. Located if front of the trigger guard. All you have to do is push it forward with your trigger finger, and the magazines drop free. It took me a little bit to get the hang of this, but once I did, it works very nicely. If you try and hit the regular magazine release, it does absolutely nothing because of the mag block being wedged in with the gib. I used Glock, Magpul, ETS, and Amend2 magazines, all worked great, as mentioned above. Since the magazine release is only on the right side, left handed people will have to find a different way of releasing the magazines. I did find that if you push the magazine release with your left hand thumb, you can kind of strip the mag out, similar to an AK. I would love the magazine release to be ambidextrous and larger so that I don’t miss it when reloading quickly. Speaking of quick reloads, the magwell is also slightly beveled to help with the insertion of magazines.

Left hand using magazine release

 Some people may not see the purpose in a magazine block. I must admit, this thought has gone through my head before also. But, if you have a SBR, and want to run a short 9mm setup, a mag block allows someone to do this without having to pay another $200 tax stamp on a dedicated 9mm lower. Or if you are fortunate enough to have a full auto m16, you can convert it to 9mm with the AD9!

 I almost forgot to mention. The Stern Defense AD9 has last round bolt hold open. And it worked with all my magazines. It pushes up on the regular AR bolt release. So there is no need to learn any new aspects to your training, at least as far as the bolt release goes. The ejector is also part of the magazine adapter. Replacement ejectors are also available from Stern Defense.

 Stern Defense has made a great product. It is expensive, but worth it in my opinion. So if you think a magazine block might be for you, go check out Stern Defense.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Magazine block to convert standard AR-15 lowers to 9mm Glock magazines

Target Market:

Those wanting a 9mm carbine on a standard AR-15 lower receiver

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Constructed from 6061 T6 aircraft grade aluminum.
  • NiB coated feed ramp.
  • Hard coat anodized type 3.
  • Sturdy Construction.
  • Ergonomic mag release.
  • Works with all generations of Glock magazines.
  • Works with any mil spec ar15 lower receiver.
  • All gun components besides the Bolt and Barrel remain stock

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Beretta 92, M&P, and M&P .45ACP

What others are saying?:

4 / 5 stars at Brownells

Building a 9mm AR Carbine on a budget can quickly become an expensive endeavor if you buy unreliable parts. The AR-15 9mm Conversion Adapter for Glock® Magazines by STERN DEFENSE Is a reliable way to use Glock magazines in a Mil-spec lower. I use it for USPSA PCC division and Steel Challenge matches to keep the feel of an M-4 and for training. I’ve personally tried other methods and this system is far superior. The feed ramp angle on 9mm is critical for proper function and reliability, with the vast array of projectile profiles. So far I’ve had luck with multiple types of 9mm projectiles I.E. Winchester 124gr FMJ, 145gr RN Bayou, and 147gr FP/HP Berry’s. The last round Bolt hold open is somewhat unnecessary for PCC, however, is great to feel the weight transfer of the bolt carrier group and buffer and have it lock on the last round. The only feature that I dislike is the magazine release is located at the bottom of the unit which is not a big deal if your state allows “standard capacity” magazines. However, I’d like index the same magazine release in the same configuration of an AR series firearm, which would be difficult without permanently modifying the magazine. Overall a great product the moment you open the package you can see that a lot of thought went into its development and manufacturer.

Link to other reviews:


Price point:

MSRP = $179.99

Retail = $179.99 at Brownells

I need it now! Availability:

Stern Defense or Brownells

Our Rating:


  • Easy Installation

  • Last round bolt hold-open

  • Beautifully made

  • Magazines drop free

  • Bevelled magwell


  • Price

  • Magazine Release is not in the standard location

Score: 8.50 GREAT



Favorite Link:   GunTec USA

9mm MagPump

 If you shoot enough, you probably have looked into magazine loaders. MagPump has introduced a 9mm magazine loader. Their first adventure into the market was their AR-15 magazine loader. They went one step farther with the 9mm version. This was sent to me for review, but it will still get my honest review.

 When I first received the MagPump, I had to try it out. So I assembled it. To assemble it, all you have to do is pull the 2 pins from the hopper, set in on the pumping system, then push the pins in to hold it together. But of course, there is more to it then that. One has to select the magazine adapter and install it. I first chose the Glock adapter. It comes with adapters for: Glock, Sig, Smith & Wesson, Springfield, CZ, and Ruger. They also have other adapters for sale. As with all the magazine adapters, it has two raised circles that slide into the MagPump. Just squeeze them gently, and slide the adapter in place. Now you are ready to install the magazine. I found that if you angle the magazine at about 45 degrees, it makes this step easier. See the pictures, it helps explain these steps. Then push the magazine down as it slides into the adapter. Once down, push the magazine and adapter forward until it clicks in. There is a trigger looking mechanism that catches the magazine/adapter in place. Make sure it clicks in, or the magazine will get pushed out when trying to load it up. Now dump some rounds in the hopper, and start “pumping” the handle! When done, pull the trigger mechanism to unlatch the magazine, and now you have a loaded magazine.

 The MagPump is something used for high volume loading. Because of the size, it is not something you would probably take to the range with you. It does come with a base that can be mounted to a table or workbench. The base is basically a picatinny rail and then the MagPump mounts on it with two large thumbscrews. Because of this feature, the loaded can also be mounted to any picatinny rail that is long enough. The MagPump is pretty stable when mounted to a bench. In the video, you will see I had to hold the base, that is because it wasn’t mounted. I could see a range having some of these for their members to use. All of the MagPumps use the same style of mounting base. So if you have limited space, and more than one style of MagPump, they are easily swapped onto a mounted base.

 I mentioned the hopper system. This system allows you to literally just dump a box of 50 rounds into it, and start loading. There is a little spring loaded latch on the hopper. You can push this to help start loading the rounds into the feed slot, if needed. I would really like the hopper to hold more rounds. Somehow the mechanism that flips the rounds to the proper direction, doesn’t care for hollow points. It does work fine with round nose bullets. MagPump does state that it is optimized for FMJ/Round nose bullets, so I wasn’t surprised.

 After using the MagPump for thousands of rounds, here is what else I found. The pumping handle feels a little flimsy, but it has held up fine. Even when trying to force it. The loader does take a few tries until you get the hang of it. Loading practice ammo has never been easier. It handles all different capacity magazines, from 10 rounders up to the 33’s. So if you are looking for a bench style magazine loader, you may want to go try one of these out. Now, if I could just motorize it.


Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Easy, fast magazine loader

Target Market:

Those wanting quick and easy loading of magazines

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Fast magazine loading
  • Picatinny mounting
  • Bench mountable
  • 50 round hopper
  • 6 different magazine retainers included

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

9mm Elite loader

What others are saying?:

4 / 5 stars from Midway

Limited usage

I purchased this product thinking it would be a useful tool. Basically what it does is saves your fingers if you do a lot of target shooting. It will not load hollow point cartridges or any flat nose cartridge. It will load round nose practice ammo very well, although in my experience, one cannot go quite as fast loading rounds as the ad videos purport. Slow and steady loading works best for me. My recommendation is based on this information.

Link to other reviews:

Pistol Forum Review

Price point:

MSRP = $149.99

Retail =$124.95 on Amazon

I need it now! Availability:

MagPump or Amazon

Our Rating:


  • Hopper system
  • Mountable base
  • Ease of use
  • Comes with more than one magazine adapter
  • Loads magazine quickly


  • Doesn't work well with hollow points
  • Hopper only holds 50 rounds
  • Handle feels flimsy

Score: 7.00 Good



Favorite Link:   Nevada Cerakote


Blacklist Glock Ultra Match Barrel

 If you’ve been around the aftermarket Glock seen for awhile, then you probably have heard the name Blacklist Industries. They make barrels and a few other parts. Blacklist sent me a G19 drop in Ultra Match barrel for review. I opted for the Chameleon color.

 First things first. This Blacklist barrel is great looking. Almost enough to just set it around and look at it. Blacklist has a great attention to detail. So much, that the barrel comes in its own little padded hard case. With a patch and some stickers. The “Blacklist” logo is engraved on the outside of the chamber area. The caliber and model are marked on the hood of the barrel. All of the barrels have column fluting, which are straight cut flutes down the length of the barrel.

 The barrel fit in my Grey Ghost slide was a little bit tight. Not enough that the firearm doesn’t function. But tight enough to cause some finish wear around the hood area. This of course is good because a tighter barrel fit gives better accuracy. It is bad because the pretty chameleon finish wears off some. Since the barrel is made from 416R Stainless Steel, the wear is only cosmetic.

 The Blacklist barrel has the normal features. It is “drop in” and runs a full supported SAAMI spec chamber. This allows it to run any 9mm load, including +P. I really like how Blacklist uses broach cut rifling in these barrels. Besides being an accurate way to rifle barrels, it allows the use of all the common bullet materials including lead. The muzzle end has a recessed crown to help protect that rifling. The 9mm version is a 1 in 10 twist rate to better stabilize the heavier bullets like the 147 grain ones.

 Let’s get into how it shot for me. All of the ammunition used was your run of the mill target variety. All targets were shot at 15 yards with the pistol rested on a bag. They are 5 round groups. So probably not a perfect test, but useful for real accuracy. My best group was 1.75” with Aguila 115gr. The worst was around 2.75”. I really was impressed with how well the Blacklist barrel shot most of the ammo I ran through it. There were a bunch of groups right around 2” as you can see in the pictures.

Aguila 115gr

Remington 115gr

Sellier & Bellot 115gr

Buffalo 115gr

Sig 115gr

Speer Lawman 124gr

  If you are thinking about getting a replacement pistol barrel, check out Blacklist Industries. This is a really nice barrel. Now, if you are in a hurry, don’t be. These take around 6-9 weeks to get after ordering. Are they worth the wait? That is a personal decision, but I would say so. Plus sometimes, online retailers have them in stock. This barrel shoots just as good now as the day I received it.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Match grade Glock barrel

Target Market:

Shooters wanting better accuracy or builders of Glock style pistols

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 416R Stainless Steel

  • 1 in 10 twist

  • 9mm

  • Drop in

  • Pulled Broach rifling

  • Full supported SAAMI chamber

  • Column flutes

  • Gen 1-4 compatible

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Stainless Steel, TiN (Gold), Armor (Black)

What others are saying?:

From Blacklist Ind. 5/5 stars

Serious attention to detail, presentation, packaging and build quality. Customer service is second to none (also, hilarious). Getting better groups at the range. And the presence it brings to my G19 is well noticed. I learned that the barrel travels to several states around the country for each phase of manufacturing, I like that; shows the research behind finding out who does what best. You can feel/see the American pride, that is so lacking in the industry lately

Link to other reviews:

Brian Enos’s Forum

Price point:

MSRP = $219.99

Retail = $209.99 at AIM Surplus

I need it now! Availability:

Blacklist Industries or AIM Surplus

Our Rating:


  • Drop-in

  • 1 in 10 twist rate

  • Broached rifling

  • Accuracy


  • Delivery time

  • Finish wear

Score: 8.50 Great



Favorite Link: US Tactical Supply

Faxon Firearms Glock Barrel

 It seems as if everyone is getting into the custom Glock barrel making business. Faxon Firearms is no exception, or is it? Faxon has been making rifle barrels for some time now. What’s the next logical step, pistol barrels, of course. Faxon was gracious enough to send me 2 of their Glock barrels. One for a G19, and then one for a G17. We will mainly be talking about the G19 barrel.

 The G19 barrel that came in was the TiN (titanium nitride) one. This coating gives the barrel a great looking gold plating. Not only does it look good, but it should last a lifetime. Not only does the barrel have Tin coating, the Tin coating is actually done over a QPQ salt bath nitride. These “Match Series” barrels are made from 416-R Stainless Steel. Faxon also does a flame style fluting on the outside of the barrel. On this type of barrel, I would have to hear some really good data as to why, except that it looks good.

 These barrels are what they call “Drop in”. Yes, it did drop into my slide without any fitting, and I would expect it to for almost any slide. Because it has tighter tolerances than a stock barrel, the lock up is tighter and the fit in general is better. According to Faxon, it has a 9mm SAAMI chamber. It doesn’t mention a “match” chamber. The barrel also runs a 11 degree target crown. Faxon uses a conventional button rifling. This means that you can shoot any type of bullet out of it, including lead. The lock up was nice and tight. The barrel has very little, if any, noticeable movement front to back or side to side. There are some wear marks around the barrel, but that is to be expected. I guess those tight tolerances are working correctly without being too large to cause problems.

 I want to mention difference that I noticed with this barrel. The hood of the barrel (the top part that fills up the ejection port) has a tapered cut at the front. This allows the slide/barrel to unlock more smoothly, at least in my opinion. Other “match” barrels that I have are just squared off in this location. After a little use, they show a wear mark, but the Faxon barrel does not.

S - Sig 115gr. 3 rounds shown, other 2 rounds are covered by tape measure

 Now that I’ve bored you with the details, how does it shoot? My answer would be good. I tested accuracy with 7 different ammunition manufacturers. These groups were shot at 15yds with me resting the pistol on a bag. I used a Polymer 80 frame with a Grey Ghost Precision slide. The 5 shot groups ranged from just under 1.5” to around 7”. I also shot the same ammo through a different barrel and the 7” stuff was just as bad. Most of the groups averaged around 2.5” - 3”. This barrel has worked great from the first round and on up. The best group was with Sig 115 gr Elite ball FMJ, and the worst group was HSM 124 gr. I know this is not a Ransom rest accuracy test, but I thought it was more practical and probably gives a better idea of real world accuracy.

A - Aguila 115gr

L - Speer Lawman 124gr

H - HSM 124gr

B - Buffalo 115gr

R - Remington 115gr

 If you are in the market for a new, or replacement Glock barrel, look into Faxon. Besides the one here, they make different color options and threading also. Plus, they are made 100% in the USA in Faxon’s production facility. A great barrel option for Glock style pistols.


Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Drop in match grade barrel

Target Market:

Pistol shooters wanting a better barrel

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 416-R Stainless Steel

  • SAAMI chamber

  • Conventional rifling

  • 11 Degree target crown

  • Button rifled

  • Flame fluted

  • 1 - 10 twist for 9mm

  • Salt bath nitride coating inside and outside

  • TiN PVD coated

  • Made in USA

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Threaded, Black, Chameleon

What others are saying?:

AJ M. at Faxon. 5/5 stars

G19 Barrel

this barrel is awesome, lockup is great and fit and finish are top shelf

Link to other reviews:



Price point:

MSRP = $199.00

Retail = $189.00 at Rainier Arms

I need it now! Availability:

Faxon or Rainier Arms

Our Rating:


  • Drop in installation

  • Tin gold coating

  • Flame fluted

  • Conventional rifling


  • Non-match chamber

Score: 8.5 Great



Favorite Link:  Freedom Flag Products


Polymer 80 PF940C

  I have to admit, that after seeing the Polymer 80 PF940c frame in person, I had to get one. Polymer 80 was gracious enough to send one to me for review. The PF940C frame came in 3 colors at the time, so I opted for gray, more colors have been added since then. This is a 80% frame for Glock Gen 3 parts. One must first machine the frame to get it to function.

  When I first received the frame, I noticed that it came with all the tools needed to finish it out. The only thing missing was a drill press or a dremel tool. The kit includes a plastic jig that the pistol sits in. This jig is a one time use type of deal, but works really well. Basically you pull up the online instructions and go from there. Brownells also has a video series on machining the frame. First thing I did was drill the holes. Drill each hole from each side of the jig, don't think that you can just drill through the whole thing. Next, I actually took a mill and machined off the four "nubs". One can use a file, a dremel, or a drill press with a vise for this also. The last machining step is probably the hardest. In this step they have you mill out the recoil spring channel. Just pay close attention and you'll be fine. I had to dremel the channel out some more after I installed the locking block so that the recoil spring moved smoothly. I figured that you can always remove more material, but you can't add material.

  After the machining steps are done, it on to installing parts. The Polymer 80 PF940C frame kit comes with a locking block/front slide rails insert. Just drop this in and install the front pin. Also in the kit is a Rear Rail Module. This rail piece sits around the Gen 3 G19 trigger mechanism housing. I really like how they did this as it gives metal rear slide rails and is easy to install. All the other gen 3 parts go in just like a standard Glock 19. If you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself, please take it to a gunsmith.

As received

After machining and parts installation

  Now that it is assembled, it's time to go into some things I noticed about the PF940C. I love the grip texture that comes on the frame! It is not too rough, but not smooth either. It feels kind of like they glued sand on the frame. I did run into a problem with the takedown spring. The channel in the frame, where the flat tab sits, was not cleaned out, or still had a thin piece of plastic from the molding process. This made the spring sit too high and put upward pressure on the slide. I took a sharp x-acto knife and just moved it back and forth to clear out the slot. This worked good, and the spring flat slid in and sits flush. The other hitch I ran into had to do with the recoil spring channel. As mentioned above, I dremelled out more of the channel, this was so the spring wouldn't rub on the sides of the channel. Result, smooth as butter. 

  The PF940C frame has some improvements over a stock Glock 19. Besides the texture I previously noted, It has a really nice undercut trigger guard so you can really get your hand up high on the pistol. I didn't care for the front of the trigger guard, it's squared off angle looks good, but makes it not fit in some Glock 19 holsters. Holster makers are starting to address this problem, so in the future your options should be better. Polymer 80 also makes a smooth frame for those wishing to add their own texture. For those with larger hands, It also has an extended beavertail. My favorite is probably the different grip angle. This grip angle just works better for me than a stock Glock. You may, or may not like it, it really is personal preference. There is also a STANAG rail up front to mount a light. My frame, when using a Grey Ghost Precision slide and barrel, locked up super tight. It took about 100 rounds before it would cycle consistently. I could have cycled the slide by hand to get the same result, but I was excited to go shoot it.

  These Polymer 80 frames are pretty neat. If you like to build stuff on your own, or just want something different, these might just be the ticket. I had a good time building the PF940C frame into a complete pistol. These kits are really great for building a custom "Glockish" pistol. Go check Polymer 80 out, pistol frames are not the only thing they make.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Glock 19 style 80% frame kit

Target Market:

Those wanting to machine a 80% G19 size frame, or those wanting to build a complete G19 size pistol

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Comes with all tools and Jig for machining

  • Online instructions

  • Easy to machine

  • Textured frame

  • Undercut trigger guard

  • Uses Gen 3 Glock 19 parts

  • Metal front and rear slide rails

  • Slight beavertail

  • Built in Metal plate for engraving ser#, etc

  • Picatinny Rail

  • Thumb ledge

  • Available without texture

  • Delivered to your door

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Black, FDE, OD Green, Robin Egg Blue, White, and Cobalt

What others are saying?:

By Hollywood at GlockStore.com 5/5 stars


I was blown away with how easy this was to finish. I used a drill press, but have no doubts this could have been done just a good with simple hand tools. I decided to go with a custom slide, so I did have to rack it about 150-200 times before it would move smoothly. With a Glock factory slide I'm sure it would not have required as much effort. Everything about this lower is exceptional. I field tested it putting about 250-300 rounds down range. I did have three malfunctions within the first 25 rounds but after that, she was flawless. I would have complete trust in this weapon as a daily carry. Do yourself a favor and get one... maybe two of these. They are fun to finish and even better to shoot. Plus they look great.

By Templeton P. at Brownells 5/5 stars


I assume because of these receivers, demand for even just plain old used Glock 19/23 uppers seems to have skyrocketed. It's hard to find one under $300 unless you get really lucky. You will NOT save money vs buying a new Gen 3 Glock (or probably even a Gen 4) by doing it this way. I was seeing used Gen 3 G23s for $299 just a couple of weeks ago. That being said, this is a fun project, and everything can just come to your door. Had never attempted anything similar, but it was relatively easy to complete. I didn't have a mill, but instead bought a milling bit for my Dremel. I had the Dremel Router/Shaper table accessory and it made the job exponentially easier. If you plan to use a Dremel, I would highly recommend spending the extra $35 for this add-on. Freehanded the barrel block. Put the jig in a vice and just took my time and it went okay. Drilling the holes is a no brainer as well. Sanded things down and installed the parts kit without much fighting. Grabbed a box of cheap ammo and worked flawlessly at the range from the first trigger pull. Needs more range time before I trust it completely, but so far so good. Ergonomically, I also find this feels better in my hand than actual Glocks. Going to try a 9mm conversion barrel next.

Link to other reviews:

We Like Shooting review

Price point:

MSRP = $160.00

Retail = $149.99 at Brownells

I need it now! Availability:


Our Rating:


  • Comes with all tooling (Jig, Mill, Drills)

  • Frame texture

  • Uses Gen 3 Glock parts

  • Undercut trigger guard

  • Multiple colors

  • Can be completed with a dremel


  • Some patience needed for small problems

  • Not all standard G19 holsters fit

  • Sharp angled front of trigger guard

Score: 7.00 Good



Chad's Favorite Link:   Poly Gun Mods


Lone Wolf Dist Compact Timberwolf Frame Review

While attending the NRA Annual Meetings in April of 2015, I got to meet up with Zack, the marketing manager of Lone Wolf Distributors. I was really interested in their Compact Timberwolf Frame for Glock pistols. Through our conversation, Zack agreed to send me a fully built Timberwolf Compact pistol, which I have since purchased. This is part one of two, where I focus on the frame. Stay tuned for my review of the upper assembly, as well as a summary of the pistol as a whole.  20151024_180117-1

Lone Wolf Distributors has been manufacturing accessories and replacement parts for Glock handguns for many years. From slides, barrels, triggers, and more, you could almost build a custom Glock by just using Lone Wolf’s parts. The only thing missing was the frame, until somewhat recently. Lone Wolf saw the modifications that people generally made to their standard Glock frames, and decided to offer a lot of these modifications right out of the box, with their Timberwolf frame.

Common modifications made by end users to Generation 3 Glock pistols include backstrap reduction, frame texturing, adding extended magazine releases, and even removing material in key places to allow a higher grip on the handgun. Well, Lone Wolf Distributors took all of these modifications into consideration, when designing their Timberwolf frame. I will take a look at each of these aspects one-by-one.



One of the biggest benefits to this replacement frame would have to be the grip. The Timberwolf offers two choices of backstrap to the shooter. The first is the slim grip. It is an incredibly short (front-to-back) grip that more closely matches the grip angle of the classic 1911. The second is a swelled backstrap. It is a little smaller in the hand than the standard Glock swell, which will come as a welcomed feature to many Glock owners. This setup happens to be my favorite of the two. As good as it feels, the smaller grip leaves the meat of my palm really close to the magwell, and it can actually get pinched in between the magazine base plate and the frame, upon reloading. Do this a couple of times, and it starts to get on your nerves. Luckily, the swelled grip fit me just as well, if not better, and Lone Wolf engineered the swap very well. To make the change, all you have to do is, with an empty gun, insert a flat tool into a slot that can be accessed through the magwell, and gently pry downward.


In my trials of the differing grips, I noticed an odd, but very well thought out (and well hidden) feature. Under the backstrap is actually a round recess that will hold one CR2032 battery, which is the somewhat industry standard for micro red dots. Alternatively, it can hold two CR2016s. This is a great feature if you’re building a race gun, or just want to carry a gun with a dot sight, and I am honestly a little shocked LWD doesn’t even list this in their feature literature.

The next part of the grip is the texture. Many people feel that the Gen 3 Glock grip is just too slick. I, for one, am in that boat. What the Timberwolf offers is a very aggressive square pattern, without being so harsh as to tear up your hands, with one exception. The edges of the frontstrap have slightly sharper corners than the rest. I suppose that is just a geometry issue of the curve meeting the corners of the texture, but it became very uncomfortable for the end of my pinky. That being said, it could easily be taken care of with a quick pass of some fine sandpaper, just to knock the edge off. Overall, the grip texture is very good at keeping the gun in your hands while firing. Speaking of the frontstrap, one feature many owners elect to remove on factory Glocks is the finger grooves. The factory finger grooves on a standard Glock 19 (Gen 4) actually happen to fit me perfectly, but I completely understand that there are so many different shapes and sizes of people. One good example for me was my Smith and Wesson Model 66. When I would attempt to get a high grip, the finger grooves would jam right into my knuckle, causing much discomfort, and forcing me to get a less that optimal hold on the gun. That is why it’s quite interesting that Lone Wolf decided to leave the finger grooves on their Timberwolf frame. But, to their credit, they reduced them down quite a bit, so if they don’t fit you well, it may not be the largest discomfort, when compared to a factory frame. I would still like to have seen them remove the grooves, though.

Moving up the grip, we have the undercut trigger guard. This is another common modification that allows you to get a much higher purchase on the pistol. To help with that, even further, they also designed the rear grip higher, and added a beaver tail, to remove the risk of slide bite. I have never personally had the web of my hand bitten by a Glock slide, but I have fairly small hands, and can see where it would be a problem to larger-handed shooters.

One last minor change I would like to see in the grip would be a slimmed down portion where the trigger finger rests on the frame, similar to that of the Walther P99. I feel like it would allow shooters with shorter fingers to more properly grip the handgun, and reach the trigger.

Magazine Release

For the longest time, people have been adding extended mag releases to guns, to make them easier to actuate. Lone Wolf, as well many other aftermarket parts manufacturers, offers extended releases. Lone Wolf even offers one that is wider than the factory, but it requires custom machining to make it work. When designing their frame, they decided to incorporate it right in, that way you don’t have to have it modified later. The wider release offers people with shorter fingers, like me, an easier to reach release without shifting the grip, as well as an easier to find release, which is good for everyone. As with the front strap, the corner of the magazine release can be a little sharp and annoying, if you’re performing repeated actuations, but, like I said previously, it’s not something a little swipe of sandpaper wouldn’t take care of.


Another curious note on the mag release is that Lone Wolf didn’t make it reversible, like the Gen 4 Glock. That would be a nice feature, but seeing as how it was designed before the Gen 4 was released, I can understand the oversight.



The final feature of the Timberwolf frame is the rail. Rather than using Glock’s proprietary rail, Lone Wolf decided to go with a Mil-Standard, three-slot, Picatinny rail. This allows users to select from a wider array of rail-mounted accessories, as well as move the placement forward or rearward, as they see fit. I did not attach anything to the rail, though.



The Timberwolf frame is very a very well thought out replacement for anyone that owns a Generation 3 or older Glock handgun in 9 Luger, 40 S&W, 357 Sig, and even 45 GAP. It is available in either the full-size (17, 22, 31, 37) or the compact (19, 23, 32, 38) frame sizes. The improvements offered by a good grip modification company could run well into the $4-500+ dollar range, whereas Lone Wolf offers many of these features at a fraction of the cost. If replacing a Gen 3 frame for a gun you already own, you could buy just the bare frame and use most of your existing Glock parts to fill the replacement. That is, with the exception of the mag release, since the Timberwolf frame comes with their proprietary release pre-installed. The bare frame will cost you just shy of $200, which is a steal, compared to grip work. If you do build your own frame, you should be aware that you will need to buy either a LWD Gen4/Timberwolf Trigger housing, or LWD Ultimate Trigger Stop Gen4, to replace your Gen 3 housing, as the grip is slimmer in the front-to-back dimension.

If you’re planning to build a whole new gun, or just want multiple lowers, Lone Wolf offers a pre-assembled lower frame for $330, which is only about $30 more than buying every individual part and installing them yourself. To save the hassle and time of potentially forgetting or losing a part, I would recommend just buying the built frame. But, if you want to add your choice of custom trigger, you could easily purchase the parts separately from the frame. Lone wolf makes this easy by offering an interactive schematic.

Another benefit of buying the assembled frame is that Lone Wolf adds a few enhanced parts. These enhancements include: LWD 3.5# connector, LWD 6# trigger spring, LWD Extended slide stop, and LWD Extended slide lock. The 3.5# connector and 6# trigger spring makes for a very smooth, and pretty light, trigger pull. This is a great upgrade over the factory Glock parts that I am glad Lone Wolf includes in the assembled frame. It provides a good trigger feel, without being obscenely light, so I feel it would still be suitable for carry. On my example, they even installed the smooth trigger that usually only comes with the full-size Glock handguns. I much prefer the smooth trigger, as the serrated trigger begins to wear at my trigger finger, during firing sessions. I’m not sure if this is the standard feature for the assembled frame, but based on my invoice, it seems to be. The Extended slide stop is useful if you are the kind of shooter that uses it to release the slide. It provides a much larger purchase area than the standard, so it’s easier to manipulate, but it’s not so large that it gets inadvertently hit. As far as the Extended slide lock (the two tabs in front of the trigger guard that you pull downward to disassemble the gun), I really don’t get the purpose of it. The tabs are a little longer than standard, but I’ve never had a problem using the standard Glock part. It’s an upgrade that I could take it or leave it, and be satisfied either way. It did, though, scratch the inside of my holster. That’s not too much of an issue with a plastic holster, but with leather, I’d be afraid of it causing premature wear on the holster.

In summary, the Lone Wolf Distributers Compact Timberwolf Frame is a great upgrade to your Gen 3 or older Glock pistol, or for building your own custom pistol. It is a great value compared to the expense and wait for frame modification work. Some of the features are addressed on the newer Gen 4 Glocks, but with the Timberwolf, the grip is still slimmer (front-to-back) than the OEM. You also wouldn't get the undercut triggerguard, raised and lengthened beavertail, and reduced finger grooves.

At the time of writing, the assembled frame is available for only $234.95 (prices subject to change), and it even comes with Lone Wolf's excellent Ultimate Adjustable Trigger. This is a promotional price for the UAT, and I do not know the timeline for when it will go back to normal, so if you'd like an assembled Timberwolf frame, I would jump on it as soon as possible. The UAT is normally a $50 upgrade, so you are basically paying for the frame and the assembly labor cost, and getting all of the internals for free!

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Replacement frame for generation 3 and older Glock handguns

Target Market: Concealed carriers and competitive shooters


FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Improved ergonomics over Glock OEM frame
  • Full-spec 1913 accessory rail
  • Higher grip angle
  • Extended beaver tail
  • Rounded trigger guard
  • Round/extended mag release
  • Improved Checkering
  • Quick change grip panels (2 total)
  • Spare CR2016 battery storage in grip panel
  • Improved trigger over Glock OEM (standard in assembled frame)
  • Extended slide lock lever (standard in assembled frame)

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Currently, the Timberwolf frame is only available in black.

What others are saying?:

“The Timberwolf pistol is of particular interest to the small-handed shooter, or to the user who says “I love everything about the Glock but the grip angle,” or the handgunner who just likes to be able to get lots of finger on the trigger and lots of flesh and bone around the “handle.” It’s definitely worth a look.” - Massad Ayoob, Daily Caller

“But the Not-A-GLOCK feels terrific in the hand. No really. Like many, but not all shooters, I find it difficult to come to a natural point of aim with a standard GLOCK. What’s more, the grip angle puts my hand and wrist out of the line that gives me stability. The Compact Timberwolf’s grip is, for me, vastly improved. I can get a high hold on the gun and put all of my fingers on the handle. It boasts a fairly small diameter grip, with good holding surface. I can get a natural point-of-aim and a solid one-hand grip, right or left.” - Jon Wayne Taylor, The Truth About Guns

Price Point:

  • Bare = $199.95
  • Built = $329.95
  • Built with UAT = 234.95 (Limited time offer)

I need it now! Availability: You can get the Timberwolf Compact Frame directly from Lone Wolf, and a few online retailers, but once you spend a few minutes on the LWD website, you’ll most definitely want to pick up some of their other great products, like their Glock Magazine Disassembly tool.

Our Rating:


  • Greatly improves ergonomics
  • Interchangeable grip panels
  • Offers many common custom options
  • Improved grip texture to provide better traction
  • Available as a bare frame or built to LWD’s preferred specs
  • Built frame has improved trigger
  • The ability to build any caliber offered by Glock on this frame size (19, 23, 32, & 38)
  • You can even build it as a “Long-Slide Compact” by using a factory full-size upper (such as a G17), or Lone Wolf upper, and purchasing Lone Wolf’s Slide Adapter, which fills the gap between the front of the 17 slide and the 19’s dust cover.


  • Still has finger grooves (though they are greatly reduced)
  • Mag release is not reversible to left-hand operation

Score: 9.090



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Firing Line Review



Rock Island Armory TAC 1911 FS 9mm

RIA3Rock Island Armory / Armscor is a Manufacture of 1911 pistols and some other firearms from the Philippines. I chose their TAC 1911 in 9mm. This is a full size parkerized, not blued, 1911 chambered in 9mm (duh). The pistol comes from the factory with a Novak style rear low-profile sight and a post front, both dovetailed into the slide. Both sights are target black with no dots of any type. This 1911 is a series 70 style, meaning it has no firing pin safety. The TAC model also comes with an extended ambi thumb safety, a beavertail grip safety, beveled magazine well, longer trigger, commander style hammer, full length guide rod, and a checkered flat mainspring housing. While the extended thumb safety is nice, it is too sharp for my liking. Where the safety angle back toward the frame, there is are really sharp corner. This sharp safety cause the pistol's safety to bite into your thumb under recoil, it was however better if you are one that rides the thumb safety. The frame of the pistol has vertical grooves on the front to help aid in your grip. I would have liked it better if they had checkered the front strap. The rear checkered mainspring housing feels nice in the hand, it is however made from plastic. The beavertail grip safety is very nice. It has a bump on the bottom to aid in depressing it and has a nice feel to it. Having a longer skeletonized trigger placed my finger just right, for people with shorter or longer fingers this might not be the case. The commander hammer and beveled mag well are nice touches also. The rubber checkered grips that come on the pistol where not of my liking, but they do supply an okay gripping surface. The RIA TAC 1911 makes for a good entry level 1911 with quite a few built in options.

lokgrip1911The TAC 9mm is extremely accurate. I could keep shots under a 1" circle at 7 yards off hand. The slide to frame fit on this pistol is very tight and I believe that is why it shoots so good. That, and the fact that the trigger was extremely smooth out of the box. The trigger has very little take up and over travel is adjustable with a set screw that is located in the trigger. The trigger pull weight is about 5 1/2 pounds. I have had no failures with the pistol in over 500 rounds of various types of 9mm ammo. Recoil is very manageable as one might expect with an all steel 1911 in 9mm. All in all I really do like this offering from Rock Island. It shoots great and would make an excellent starting point for a more custom pistol. Rock Island has many other 1911 style pistols also. So if this style isn't what you are looking for, they probably make a style you might want.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Entry level priced 1911 in 9mm with good options

Target Market: Shooters wanting a full size 1911 in 9mm

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Finish: Parkerized
  • Operation: Single Action Semi-Automatic with Thumb and Beavertail Safeties
  • Barrel: 5"
  • Length: 8 1/2"
  • Height: 5 1/4"
  • Width: 1.4" at the safety and 0.9" at the slide
  • Weight: 2.56 lbs
  • Grips: Textured black rubber
  • Sights: Novak style rear, Post front, both dovetailed in for drift adjustability
  • Safety: Extended Ambidextrous thumb and Beavertail grip
  • Capacity: 9+1
  • Trigger: Skeletonized
  • Hammer: Combat style
  • Beveled magazine well

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: The Rock Island Armory Tac 1911 is available in many different styles and calibers available at Rock Island Armory

What others are saying?: 

  • Budsgunshop.com By: Preston O on 07/20/2014Rating:  [5 of 5 Stars!] This gun is amazing! This is my first 1911 and the first gun I've bought off Bud's. Took it out to the range the first weekend after I got it and put about 75 rounds through it without any issues. Zero issues! The gun cycles everything I've put through it. I have even hand cycled some Hornady Custom 147gr JHP through this bad boy and still zero issues. I've read that if you are going to run HP's through this then go with a larger bullet. Don't use 115gr or 124gr. I have read that they can have issues, but the 147gr run perfectly. The gun comes with a Metalform magazine which i highly recommend for this gun. I bought a Metalform 10rd and it runs perfectly. Again, zero issues! The only thing I will say is that the picture shows the new model with the small logo on the rear of the slide. I got the older model with the "Rock Island Armory" billboard on the slide, but it's not that big of a big deal.
  • Budsgunshop.com By: Andrew C on 07/09/2014Rating:  [4 of 5 Stars!] This was my first Rock Island Armory purchase and let me say it won't be my last. Fit and finish exceeded my expectations for a sub-$450 1911. It shot great right out of the box and with over 300 rounds through it, I've experienced no failures, even with the sometimes sketchy reloads and cast lead bullets folks give me. It came with nice brand name magazines (to which I added a slam pad). Accuracy is very good and with a full size 1911 frame shooting 9mm, recoil is light. Now, why only four stars. My pistol came with a firing pin stop that I could not remove. I personally think they put a little too much finish on the slide and it got stuck. I sent it off to RIA prepaid and they fixed it, no problem. Now, it is a really great pistol and one I love to shoot. I wish I could give it 4.5 stars but that isn't an option. Anyway, I am quite satisfied and recommend this pistol.

Price point: MSRP = $559 Retail = $465

I need it now! Availability: Check your local gun store

Our Rating: 


  • Price
  • Novak style sights
  • Extended Beavertail grip safety
  • Full length guide rod
  • Extended skeletonized trigger
  • Beveled Mag-well
  • Combat hammer
  • Smooth trigger
  • Ambi-safety (see Cons)


  • Thumb safety is sharp
  • Rubber grips
  • Plastic mainspring housing
  • Only comes with 1 magazine

Score: 8.5 Great85



Chad's Favorite Link: U.S. Tactical Supply

SGM Tactical Glock Drum Magazine

SGM Tactical 50 rd Drum

You don't have to be a mathematician to know 50 is better than 33, 17, 15, or even 10. That's the simplest reasoning you need to pick yourself up a 50 round drum magazine for your Glock pistol, Keltec Sub 2000 Glock model, or your AR15 chambered in 9mm that accepts Glock magazines. When I first learned that SGM Tactical was importing these polymer drum magazines, I had to at least get one. Luckily, they were only about $69.00 at the time. That must have been an introductory price, because lately the price for these on retail shelves has almost doubled do to demand. Who doesn't want an entire box of 9mm cartridges loaded and ready in a single magazine?
Well, those who don't like the magazine weighing down their firearm down like a brick tied to the wrist. At least it gets lighter as you shoot, sort of countering the fatigue you may start to feel holding up the additional pounds. For pistol users, the drum obviously presents a holstering issue, unless you wear suspenders. Also, loading all 50 rounds into the magazine is a longer process.... more of a sit down, and make small talk to pass the time away experience. The ratcheting lever makes it easier, and with practice you could speed up the pace quite a bit. Be aware though if you ratchet too far and carelessly drop a round in the stack improperly it can end up backward to perpendicular. All and all aside from the unconventional nature of its shape, size, and weight, what's not to love!?! Firing a 50 round volley of finger-numbing of freedom is some of the funnest and most expensive time you can have at the range.

SGM Tactical 50 rd Drum

For carbine owners who insisted on having a platform that takes advantage of the abundance and quality of Glock magazines in the world, this SGM Tactical Drum Magazine is a little black treasure. Both the Keltec Sub 2000 9mm Glock model and various AR-15 platforms that accept Glock mags are what the SGM drum was designed to shine in. The stick portion of the magazine that goes in the magwell is about the same size as a 17 round magazine, so it will fit the Sub2k well, and protrude a bit low on AR15 platforms. That may be a turn off for those who dream of Lone Wolf G9 carbines or other builds such as DDLES, but thats the nature of the beast. Any shorter and you'd be getting less rounds, to a point where the tried and true 33rd "happy stick" would be a better option.
The only other Glock compatible drum magazine on the market is the Beta C-Mag, which is twice the size and over twice the price of this drum. I would recommend finding one of these Korean made drums at a good price and at least getting one or two just for an investment, if your current state of residency allows it.

Firearms Insider Reviews – 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:  The only 50 round drum magazine available for Glocks and Firearms that accept Glock magazines.

Target Market:  Glock owners, Keltec Sub-2000 owners, 9mm AR-15 owners

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Finger lever moves the follower down and takes up tension
  • 50 Rounds
  • Polymer construction with steel internals
  • Fits all Glock 34, 17, 19 & 26 models, all Generations
  • Made in Korea (imported by SGM)

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Black Only

What others are saying?:

"I received this drum mag on Saturday and I have to say, WOW! It is well-built, doesn't feel cheap and the built-in loader is great! I am very impressed with this mag. I have cycled it in my G19 and KT Sub2K with no problem. I got it from Mississippi Auto Arms for $69.99 (email flash sale), they have since gone up to $129.99 but Bud's has them for $89.99." Glocktalk.com Review

"Ive put around 500 rounds through this magazine with no issues. The quality and value of this drum magazine seems to be exceptional. You might not want to use it for military applications... but for range use, screwing around or for a truck gun, this is a good option" Military Arms Channel

Price point:

I need it now! Availability:  Readily available online at Brownells or locally.

Our Rating:


  • No winding
  • Ratchet lever makes loading easy by taking tension off the follower
  • Polymer construction makes it light as possible, still pretty rugged


  • No windows for bullet count
  • If bolt is not open you will damage the locking slots on the drum tower
  • No steel feed lips
  • No bolt hold open when empty due to roller style follower
  • Made in Korea

Score: 7.0 Good



Featured FFL:

For FFL services I choose Promised Land Firearms in Toulon, IL.

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Hunter of Design

Kahr CM9 Review

kahrcm9-1The Kahr CM9 is Kahr Arms' budget priced, polymer framed, micro-compact 9mm with a stainless steel slide. When I say budget, what it means is this: Standard rifled barrel instead of a polygonal rifled one, a staked polymer front sight and not a dovetailed in metal front post, a MIM (metal injected molded) slide stop as opposed to a machined one, and a less machined slide. All of these steps reduce the cost of the CM9, but don't be mislead, this is still a quality firearm. As with all of the Kahr firearms, this one is a striker fired double action only. The trigger has a long, but super smooth pull. The CM9 comes from the factory with 1 six round flush fit magazine. Other magazines are available, and it will take the original K9 7 round magazines but they will stick out the bottom by about 1/2". When I measure the pistol the length is 5.7" and the height is 4.25" with the magazine inserted. The width is as advertised at .90". The weight fully loaded with 7 115gr Cor-Bon's comes in at 21oz's. The pistol uses a standard lock breech tilting barrel Browning style system. Included within the slide is a passive striker block to help prevent accidental firing if the gun were to be dropped or something to that affect. Disassembly is very easy also. Make sure the firearm is unloaded and there isn't a magazine in the gun.  Slide the slide back about 1/2" until the crescent shaped cut out is in line with the slide stop, then push the slide stop pin out from the other side.  Release the slide, and as slightly pulling the slide forward, pull the trigger and the slide will slide right off. kahrcm9-3Being that the Kahr CM9 is small and lightweight, it lends itself to being a dedicated concealed carry pistol. The pistol is easily concealed under a t-shirt with a good IWB holster. If you are of larger stature, it could even be considered a pocket pistol. How does it shoot, you ask?  It shoots as one would expect for a micro 9mm pistol.  I could keep all my shots under 3" at 10 yards with all the ammo I fed it. The gun's recoil is VERY snappy, as one would expect from such a small powerful pistol. If you are recoil sensitive, this might not be the pistol for you. Also if you are new to shooting, the CM9 might be too much gun to handle. Kahr says to give the pistol a 200 round break-in period. In the first 100 rounds I fired, I had about 10 rounds of Speer Gold Dot 124gr +p cause the slide to lock back with rounds still in the magazine. These were the only malfunctions I have had with the pistol. After breaking in the pistol, I fired 50 rounds of the same Speer Gold Dot's without a single problem. All the other types of ammo I tried shot flawlessly.

If you are looking for a small lightweight carry pistol, this might be one to consider.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Small, inexpensive, lightweight, sub-compact 9mm pistol

Target Market: Concealed Carry

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 6+1
  • Operation: Trigger cocking DAO; lock breech; "Browning - type" recoil lug; passive striker block; no magazine disconnect
  • Barrel: 3.0", conventional rifling; 1 - 10 right-hand twist
  • Length O/A: 5.42"
  • Height: 4.0"
  • Slide Width: .90"
  • Weight: Pistol 14 ounces, Magazine 1.9 ounces, total 15.9 ounces
  • Grips: Textured polymer
  • Sights: Drift adjustable, white bar-dot combat sights
  • Finish: Black polymer frame, matte stainless steel slide
  • Magazine: 1 - 6 rd flush floorplate

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: None

What others are saying?:

By Robert L  4/5 stars at Buds Gun Shop

Great gun. I have put about 100 rounds through it so far with no malfunctions. The sight and trigger wil take some getting use to. Great size to carry though.

By Joey K 4/5 stars at Gander Mountain

Love the compact and super lightweight design. Small and light enough to pocket carry all day and almost forget that its there.

Excellent review by Massad Ayoob on the CM9

Price point: 

MSRP = $460.00

Retail = $331.00 at Buds Gun Shop

I need it now! Availability: Check your local gun store

Our Rating:


  • Small size
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth trigger
  • +p rated
  • Price


  • Sharp Recoil
  • Only comes with 1 magazine

Score: 8.5 Great85



Chad’s Favorite Link:  Albany Rifle and Pistol Club




Pearce Grip Glock Plus XL Magazine Extension

Pearce Grip Glock Plus XL Magazine Extension Another great addition you can make to your Glock arsenal is a magazine extension. Not only does it give you extra surface area if your gorilla mits didn't quite fit on a particular Glock frame, but increases your magazine capacity. If you own a Glock as opposed to say a 1911, you probably already side with the reasoning that "more bullets are better" for the possibility of confronting multiple assailants. So why settle for the standard high capacity magazines from the factory when you can add a few more rounds by installing an "Extendo" as the kids call it?

Adding a Pearce Grip Glock Plus XL Magazine Extension is advertised to increase your 9mm magazine capacity (double stack only) by three rounds. If you want to add on to your 40SW or 357SIG magazine, you get an extra 2 rounds. If you are a very loyal Glock Fanboy and rock the 45 GAP round, you will earn just one extra bullet in the magazine.

I bought a couple Pearce extendos and added them to a 15rd and 17rd magazine. In both cases I found adding the last round (20th for the 17rd, 18th for the 15rd) was almost impossible, and could see the feed lips start to warp under the strain of forcing that 3rd extra bullet that Pearce claims you can achieve. After leaving two extra rounds in and giving the mag time to relax, I still could not add the 3rd round. It's conceivable that you could remove one or two loops from the magazine spring to give more room but I did not wish to make that commitment. The mags weren't brand new / stiff, but perhaps a mag with over 1000 rounds and years of loading/unloading would have more 'give' to add that last widow-maker.

In a Glock 22 15rd 40SW magazine I found adding the 2nd additional round was also difficult but not impossible, and feel more comfortable with the lifespan of the magazine itself when fully loaded to 17rds, and the same applies to .357SIG.

My recommendation is for Glock 19 Gen 2 & 3 owners to pick up a few, which effectively will give you the same capacity as a Glock 17 using 17 round magazines. Of course, you could just use a 17 magazine in the Glock 19 if the gap / overhanging magazine isn't a concern to you. But these extensions do give a more professional look and operational feel.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Adds capacity to Mid and Full Size Glock high capacity magazines

Target Market: Glock owners

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product)

  • Add three rounds to the 9mm magazine capacity, two rounds to the 40SW and 357SIG and one round to the 45GAP models.
  •  Fits Glock Models: 17-19, 22-26, 31, 32, 34, 35, 37, 38
  • Made from High Impact Polymer and withstand drop tests at temperatures from -20 F to 350 F.
  • Bottom of base has 5 recessed dots for filling in with paint (mag identification)
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  Black only

What others are saying?: "This magazine extension added three rounds to my gen 4 GLOCK 26 9mm magazines. Perhaps those who have had problems adding three rounds were using earlier GLOCK magazines. Two notes on squeezing three additional rounds in your gen 4 GLOCK 26:
1. Load the newly-extended magazine to maximum capacity (be it 11 or 12). Then unload and reload repeatedly until all 13 fit. This took three load/unload cycles for me.
2. My magazines have between 600 and 800 rounds through them and typically are stored loaded to capacity. Perhaps the springs are just broken in. Your GLOCK loves to be used...take it to the range!

I began to experience ftf's with this grip extension. I assume this is caused by too much tension on the spring. Decreasing to 12 rounds solved the problem. To be totally, 100% reliable for personal defense or concealed carry, I've been loading only 11 rounds in these magazines. They do provide a VERY solid feel for my small-ish hands with a CTC Laser Guard. "  Daniel Hood, Amazon User

Price Point:

MSRP: $9.95 Retail: As low as $6.99 at local retailers

I need it now! Availability: Readily available at Pearce Grips or Brownells

Our Rating:


  • Front grip texture matches Gen 3 frontstrap texture
  • Provides pinky ledge for those with bigger hands
  • Baseplate included has slots that interface with rails molded in interior or extension for positive interface
  • Aids in retrieval from pouches for more dexterous reloads


  • Last round of advertised capacity increase is very difficult to add without a magloader.
  • Witnessed deformation of the feed lips when installed on a Glock 17rd magazine and attempting to load 20th 9mm round.
  • Increased strain on spring

Score: 7.0 Good



Springfield Armory XD Subcompact 9mm Pistol Review

photo By Matthew McMullen

This is one of the best shooting handguns that I have ever owned or shot. Right out of the box, it shot perfectly. It is easy to clean and fires every time flawlessly. It is also perfect for concealed carry. Comes with short magazine 13+1, long Magazine 16+1, holster, speedloader, and magazine holster.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Fires every time!!!

Target Market: Everyone wanting to conceal carry.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Shortest concealed-carry polymer pistol
  • The only pistol with a light rail in its class
  • Comes with two magazines
  • 3" steel Melonite barrel
  • Shown with grip-extension magazine

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: The Springfield Armory XD Subcompact 9mm Pistol is available in black and Bi-Tone(black with stainless slide).

What others are saying?: "With simple lubrication and occasional cleaning, the XD will faultlessly fire tens of thousands of rounds, even in the harshest conditions." - Robert Farago, The Truth About Guns

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: You can get this pistol from a few retailers, including Bud's Gun Shop.

Our Rating:

+_Very Consistent +_Accurate

Score: 9.0 Amazing90

SCCY CPX-2 Pistol Review

cpx2-stainless-prod01 By Joseph Hulsey

After hearing and seeing some reviews, my interest was piqued. I had a client who also had been reviewing the SCCY and came to me to see if I could get one. I could, and actually got two, a CPX2 and CPX1. The customer preferred the CPX1 with the safety, so I kept the non-safety version. The takedown to clean and lube was pretty simple, typical of most modern polymer guns. It did require a bit of prying (not to be done with a fingernail) on the retaining pin to get it out. It wasn't stuck, just recessed in the frame. After a cleaning of the factory lube, I lubed with Froglube and off to shoot.

I started the shooting with some dry firing to familiarize myself with the double action trigger. This trigger is factory set around 9 lbs, as advertised. The trigger felt about in that ballpark, but was smooth throughout the pull. You could easily pull to a break point with little practice and follow through on the trigger well. This gun does have a covered but visible hammer, which won't snag on apparel if carried in a pocket.

The shooting time was enjoyable. I was surprised at how little the recoil was for a small 9mm. I think a little less than a comparable Glock 26. I feed the little nine: ball, hollow-point and lead in semi wadcutter and round nose. Ammo was sized from 115 gr to 147 gr. It ate all I could give it. I will admit a few times maybe 3 out of 150 it didn't go completely into battery. This has seemed to be a common thing until broke in, even mentioned by the customer.

Accuracy? I shot mostly at a distance of 30 feet at B-27 targets and I was again surprised how easy it was to shoot tight groups with such an inexpensive gun. Granted I am no professional but this gun would have no problem putting defensive shots where needed. Even moving and firing was not as bad as expected with a DAO gun.

The feel of the gun is very similar to the aforementioned G26. It is actually slightly smaller and lighter by an ounce or two. It did take me a few minutes to warm up to the grip, but after shooting several hundred rounds I had no problems with it.

All-in-all, I like this gun. As a reasonable entry level gun priced under $300 this thing is something I would not have a problem defending my life with. With 10 rounds of good 9mm hollow points you could walk with confidence and concealed ability.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Fills a market for an inexpensive compact 9mm semi auto.

Target Market: Best serving concealed carry. With easy concealablility in climates where compact is a benefit.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 2- 10 round magazines incl.
  • Nice visible sights

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: The SCCY CPX-2 Pistol is available in black, black/stainless, pink/black, and pink/stainless. You can get each of these colors with an optional manual safety, as well.

What others are saying?: “Thankfully I had brought a couple brand new shooters with me the day I was testing it, and out of all the handguns we fired, this was the one they seemed most interested in buying. They had been thinking about getting a handgun for home defense, and even with the FNS-9 and Glock 17 sitting on the table, they kept asking about the SCCY CPX-2 and wanting to fire it.

There is something to be said about a good looking, cheap gun.” – Nick Leghorn, The Truth About Guns

Hickock45 Review

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: You can purchase this pistol from many retailers, including Bud's Gun Shop and  Impact Guns.

Our Rating:

+ Consistent trigger ever time + Easy sighting with slightly raised sights

- Magazine reloads can give you a bite, pinched between the mag and mag well on fast reloads

Score: 7.5 Good75

Taurus PT709 “Slim” Pistol Review

IMG_20140315_191701 By Justin Goodell

The Taurus PT709 is one of the first handguns I purchased because it fit my criteria: modestly priced, easily concealable 9mm for self-defense. This firearm has a 3.2" barrel, 6.24" length, 4.52" height, and 1.04" width. It weighs in at 19 oz. with an empty magazine. Capacity is 7+1. Sight system is 3-white-dot with a fixed front sight and adjustable rear sight for both windage and elevation. The magazine release is reversible for all of you wrong-handed people, but the slide stop and manual slide safety are not. It is a polymer/blued carbon steel hybrid, also available with a stainless steel slide. Trigger pull is officially listed as 5-7 lbs., and without the proper equipment, I am unable to quantify the trigger pull.

My wife and I have shot around 600 rounds through this gun so far, and I am pretty impressed with the product. However, she is not. She has fired around 200 of those and had 2 failures to feed and 1 failure to extract. I have fired twice the number of rounds and have had zero stoppages of any kind, but it's a habit of mine to strong-arm my handguns. It's possible that those failures have all been from not maintaining a solid grip.

On both sides of the grip frame, just forward and above the trigger guard on either side are little concave grooves. They are very convenient for a trigger finger rest for the dominant hand and the thumb rest for the off hand. They are perfectly placed for my average-sized man hands and assist in attaining the perfect grip consistently, draw after draw. Simple feature, but one of my favorites.

Another thing I would like to mention is that the white paint started to chip off the sights after about 3 months of daily carry with draw/reholster drills with a hybrid leather and kydex IWB holster a few days per week. I attempted to fill the recesses in with some florescent orange nail polish thanks to my wife, but the nail polish seemed to dry somewhat translucent. I removed the nail polish, applied the brightest white model enamel (like the stuff you paint model cars and airplanes with) I could find, and have not had another problem since.

I carry this daily inside the waistband in a leather/kydex holster by Shepperd Leather and have not had any issues with the gun, the holster, or any combination thereof. No accidentally dropping mags, no hang-ups, no sticking. Speaking of magazines dropping, the release is very low-profile but still easy to use. The shape and placement is perfect. The button only actuates when deliberately pressed, yet it's easy to do so.

Finally, the fun factor. I really enjoy taking this gun to the range! It's fun to shoot, makes easy follow-up shots, and is easy to clean, even at the range. It is my everyday carry pistol for now until I can afford to buy something that I can grow into, not out of.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: This gun is very small and thin, allowing a comfortable carry in the waistband or in a pocket holster.

Target Market: The PT709 is intended for concealed carry.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Competitive price
  • Manual slide safety if desired
  • Adjustable rear sight

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: The Taurus PT709 “Slim” is available in black and 2-tone with a stainless steel slide.

What others are saying?: "The PT709 has a bit of a "Glocky" appearance, with a lever in the middle of the trigger and a very Glock-like takedown lever/latch. It is also striker-fired, as is the Glock, but unlike the Glock the PT709 offers a double-action mode which allows you to attempt to fire a round that didn't go bang the first time." - Russ Chastain

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: You can purchase this pistol from many retailers, including Bud's Gun Shop, Academy and Kentucky Gun Co.

Our Rating:

+ Price + Adjustable sights + Size + Weight + Feel

- 3 failures possibly from sloppy grip

Score: 7.575

Beretta M9 Pistol Review

M9_8x6 By Justin Kepley

A good friend of mine gave me a call one day and asked if I would be interested in taking a CCW class with him. I said "sure, but I do not currently have my own gun, but I can get one for the day of the class".  A week or so before we were scheduled for the CCW class I borrowed a handgun from a family member, we set up some targets to shoot, partly for fun, but to also make sure we could hit what we intended to hit on the day of our class.  That day at our homemade range I was able to shoot a Glock 17, a Smith and Wesson Sigma .40, and a small .22lr revolver.  It had been years since I had shot a gun, but almost instantly I knew I had found my new hobby.

After taking the class and getting my CCW permit, it was time to start shopping for a gun that I would be happy with.  I went into the search with all options open. I started by researching which caliber I would fit my needs the best and when I decided to go with the 9mm I started my homework on the different makes and models of pistols.

I read everything I could get my hands on from varying gun magazines, to online blogs, to a firearm encyclopedia. At that point I had narrowed my search down to just a handful of possibilities. On the polymer side of the coin I was left with the Glock, M&P, and XD and on the non-polymer side I was down to CZ-75B or Beretta 92FS. (It was at this point when a Google search of "Glock, M&P, and XD" lead me to the Gun Guy Radio episodes 20 and 21. I started listening then and have now gone back to listen to all back episodes.)

I borrowed a Glock 17, a CZ-75B, and Beretta 92FS and went to shoot.  After several rounds, I realized that the heavier gun just felt better to me so I knew my choice would be between the Beretta and CZ.  Both felt great in my hands and both shot without any issues. I was still torn until I asked advise from a lifelong friend who has been a member of our military for nearly 20 years, he said "Beretta is a great gun, just heavy for a 9, if you don't mind the weight you will not be disappointed". He also mentioned the M9, stating it was the same as the 92FS except for the military markings and sights.

I think I drove my wife crazy with all of the YouTube videos comparing different guns, most notably Hickok45, or constantly listening to the Firearms Radio Network on my iPhone. I can honestly say that the gun was worth all of the time and research I put into it, I have taught wife and child how to safely handle and shoot the Beretta.  And to this point I have not had a single failure to feed, stovepipe, Hang fire, or any other malfunctions.  All in all if you are looking for a solid gun for home protection I would highly recommend the Beretta 92FS/M9 platform.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Home Defense,Target/Range shooting, Military/Law Enforcement, Collection (military history)

Target Market: Military, possibly Law Enforcement, Collector.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Reliability,
  • Ease of Field Strip,
  • Durability,
  • Weight helps with staying on target.
  • Dot-and-Post site system.
  • Safety/De-cocker

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: The Beretta M9 Pistol is only available in black but the 92(its “civilian” variant) is available in various configurations, even .40 cal.

What others are saying?: “Great performance on the range. This is a man's pistol. A true warrior that replaced the 45 ACP 1911 service pistol. The Beretta M9 (or 92FS) is the most tested pistol since the M1911-A1. Used by the U.S. Military and thousands of police officers. Beretta 92 pistols with over 75,000 rounds have been reported. This solid designed pistol is what replaced so many police revolvers. Nothing shoots better than a well used Beretta 92FS. Allow about 300 rounds for break-in. Good long range pistol. I can hit the 50 yard gong over and over again. Easy to find magazines and holsters for this popular gun. The Italian made ones are tight! See the new 92-A1 with 1913 Picatinny rail.” -  best9mm.com

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: This pistol is available from many retailers, including Bud's Gun Shop and Impact Guns.

Our Rating:

+ Ergonomics + Balanced

- Too large for concealed carry

Score: 8.585




Image via m700, The Firing Line

Laser Ammo - SureStrike Ultimate LE Edition

laser ammo The SureStrike Ultimate LE Edition laser trainer is a cool package deal. In it you get a laser trainer cartridge for 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP, and a .223 laser cap. You also get pistol barrel inserts to make sure that your firearm is clear, a carrying case, and 6 reflective targets. The targets have little holes so you can hang or pin them up. The Laser caps are really easy to use, you just have to swap out one part for another to switch to a different caliber. You have to make sure you put it together right. I accidentally assembled it for .223 but left the 9mm laser cap on it. It got stuck in the chamber and after we got it out of the AR the laser trainer was stuck together. It took a lot of work and a couple vice grips to get it apart but afterwards I was able to  assemble it the right way and “shoot” the AR. Later I tried it out in a brand new M&P-15 and the bolt had a little trouble closing on it. If you racked the charging handle and released the bolt it slam into battery with a little hiccup towards the end. It’s great for trigger control and practicing using a DA/SA or DAO gun. If you have a SAO gun the laser trainer doesn't have a rim on it so that you can rack the slide without having to reinsert it. The only issues I had with it were that the .40 S&W insert and 9mm laser cap were not marked, it fit snug in the M&P-15(not the other AR), and that I messed up assembling the .223 trainer. Overall this is a great package if you have multiple caliber pistols and something in .223(we all know I mean an AR-15).

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame Training Technologies

Target Market Home defense, law enforcement, and military.

FNBs Use your own firearm to train Prevents loading live round Easy to switch caliber between 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and .223(more if you get other inserts) Can be used as training ammo or to boresight Guaranteed for 5,000 shots Acts as a snap cap Comes with a carrying case Comes with reflective targets

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available? There are no other aesthetic options.

What others are saying? 5 Stars “Haven’t seen anything better out there.” amazon.com 2 Stars “on time, battery weak, does not ” midwayusa.com

Price point MSRP = $199 laser-ammo.com Retail = $187.06 amazon.com  $179.10 midwayusa.com

I need it now! Availability Check your local gun shop or anywhere that has gun stuff.

Our Rating + Multiple calibers + Functions with other inserts for even more caliber options + Carrying case + Targets included + Functions as a boresight + Long battery life (5,000 shots) - .40 S&W insert and 9mm laser cap not marked

85Score 8.5 Great

Sig Sauer P226 Enhanced Elite 9MM

Sig 2

There is not much to say when it comes to Sig Sauer firearms. They have a reputation for fit and finish that comes from over a hundred years in the firearms manufacturing business. Regardless of the trim level of my gun, I am reviewing a gun that is part of theSig 3 p226 family of pistols. This pistol design is thirty years old and is still going strong with the new x5 competition models fetching  $2000 plus pricetags. That being said, it is a trusted sidearm for organizations such as the U.S. Secret Service and Navy Seals here in America, as well as police and Special Forces military groups in over two dozen countries world wide.

 Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:  High quality partnered with years of domestic and international military and police service.

Target Market: Home defense, tactical operations, self defense, military and police.


FeaturesSig 1

  • 15 Round Magazines Standard
  • SIGLITE® Night Sites
  • Sig’s “SRT” Short Reset Trigger
  • Checkering on the front strap and the front of the trigger guard
  • Front and rear cocking serrations
  • One of the best decockers I have ever felt
  • One piece ergonomic grip with updated stippling pattern reduces reach


  • Firepower
  • Ergonomics lend themselves to a variety of shooters
  • Well execute beavertail design allows a firm high purchase everytime

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  The P226 comes is available in 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 Sig, and .22(Classic Model).  Aside from the Enhanced Elite version which I am reviewing there have been over a dozen variants over the years including;  longer barreled tactical models, a Blackwater edition, and the newer X5 models which come in green and red.  Although not a choice in this specific model the p226 is available in DA/SA SAO and DAK.  Sig Sauer Product Page

What others are saying?:  Youtube review- Cruciblearms

Price point:  I purchased mine brick and mortar here in New Jersey and paid $875.  This was a couple years ago and was part of a three gun purchase, so the manager gave me a little break on this and another handgun.

 I need it now! Availability:  Not a rare firearm however if you are looking for a specific caliber or specific finishes, it may take some hunting.

Our Rating

+ Weight and feel + Magazines + NJ and similar state compliant out of the box + Confident and secure decocker + Great trigger

- All of the night sights are the same color, which can sometimes be confusing in a low light situation.  I feel a different color front post would be more advantageous.

Score: 8.585


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NJ Gun Blog