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Handguns

Smith & Wesson M&P 9EZ Shield

Smith & Wesson M&P 9EZ

Building on the success of the M&P 380EZ, Smith & Wesson is introduced the new M&P9 EZ today.

The new gun blends the easy-racking slide of the original pistol with the more powerful 9mm cartridge. This means that people with reduced hand strength are no longer handicapped by the comparatively low powered .380 ACP.

Features of the new M&P 9EZ include:

  • a slide that is easy to manipulate
  • a slide with tapered rear slide serrations
  • magazines with a loading tab for easier insertion of rounds
  • reversible magazine release
  • a one-piece trigger design

In the above video, Julie Golob gives you an introduction to the pistol.

Standard ModelCrimson Trace Model
caliber9mm9mm
capacity8+18+1
actioninternal hammer firedinternal hammer fired
barrel length3.675"3.675"
overall length6.8"6.8"
weightapproximately 23.2 ozapproximately 23.8 oz
sights3 white dot3 white dot and Crimson Trace Red Laserguard
grippolymerpolymer
finishmatte blackmatte black
MSRP$479$479

Guns will be available with and without a thumb safety. All of the pistols will have a grip safety.

Easy to Load Smith Wesson MP 9EZ

Smith & Wesson is also offering a version of the gun with a Crimson Trace Laserguard that uses a red aiming laser. Lasers can be very useful for people when a traditional sight picture is unavailable. For example, if you are knocked to the ground or are using cover that precludes the alignment of gun and eye.

At this time, Smith & Wesson lists all versions of the M&P 9EZ at the same price: $479. It would seem that there is no additional charge for getting the pistol with the Crimson Trace Laserguard.

I found Palmetto State Armory is currently offering the 9mm EZ pistols for $399 here.

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Handguns

Stoeger STR-9 Pistol – New Contender for Best Handgun Under $400

Stoeger STR-9 9mm pistol

The Stoeger STR-9 might just go down as the best new handgun under $400 coming out of the 2019 SHOT Show. It is also one that might be missed by a lot of people who don’t recognize the Stoeger Industries name.

Before the annual trade show, news about the 9mm pistol leaked out. I was immediately interested, as Stoeger had done a very good job producing the Cougar pistols. The Cougar was a Beretta design that had largely been abandoned as Beretta pursued new designs like the PX4 Storm and APX pistols.

Update

Palmetto State Armory now has these in stock. At the time of this writing, the price was less – substantially less – than the MSRP.

Stoeger picked up the Cougar and continued the manufacturing of those pistols. Stoeger Cougars were widely regarded as being an excellent value in the self defense handgun market. Nevertheless, the guns seemed to take a back seat to the polymer-framed, striker-fired handguns like those from Glock and Smith & Wesson.

It seems that Stoeger has abandoned the Cougar pistol and has put all of its weight behind the new STR-9.

Basics of the STR-9

Stoeger STR-9 Features

The STR-9 is everything that a modern defensive pistol seems to need for success. In fact, if there is a manufacturing checklist somewhere, I bet it has nearly every box ticked.

As a striker-fired pistol, the shooter has a consistent trigger pull from one shot to the next. Having shot and trained others to shoot traditional double action/single action (DA/SA) pistols, I can say that the consistency of a striker-fired pistol is much easier to learn. Every time you press the trigger, it feels the same. This is appealing to many people.

Polymer frames are a normal part of the shooting world. When done right, these frames are every bit as durable as a metal frame in most circumstances. I’m not talking edge case here – just average Joe self-defense guns. Once the manufacturing is set up, polymer frames can be much less expensive to make. This allows the company to keep the guns affordable.

Matching the tool to the user is an important concept. In the case of handguns, there have been a variety of methods developed to help do this.

Stoeger uses an interchangeable backstrap system to help get a good hand fit on the pistol no matter how large or small your hands are. I’ve got medium hands, but relatively stubby fingers. This makes proper finger placement on the trigger something of a challenge with pistols like the Beretta 92. But using small backstraps on a handgun like the STR-9 improves my trigger reach.

Stoeger STR-9 Backstrap System

Left-handed shooters might be interested to know that the magazine release is reversible. With just a few minutes of work, you can move the push button release to the right side of the frame.

As we’ve seen in the past few years, the shooting public has come to appreciate the 9mm cartridge again. I saw the major shift to the “Wonder 9” semi-auto pistols in the 80s, then to the .40 S&W in the 90s. Now, the public seems to have shifted pretty quickly back to the 9×19 again.

It is a proven cartridge that has the largest base of active shooters in the US today. I’ve seen some of the ammunition sales numbers from a few of the major companies. If you make a gun or ammo, ignore the 9mm fans at your own peril.

Three dot sights aren’t my favorite, but they seem to be the default position for many companies. Stoeger selected them for this pistol. You can get a factory model that has three dot night sights for a little more money. If you like night sights, this might be the best option for you.

New Stoeger STR-9 9mm pistol

One of the features I do like about the sights is that the rear sight has a hard front edge. This allows a shooter to run the slide with only one hand in an emergency. Yes, I recognize this is an unlikely occurrence for an armed citizen. It is, however, a bonus that cost the company nothing to include. I appreciate it.

Adding a light or supplemental aiming laser is easily accomplished with the Stoeger STR-9. A reasonably sized accessory rail is available to the shooter.

For some this might be a deal breaker: the gun is made in Turkey. Ignoring politics for a moment, there are some good guns being made in that country. The quality of the manufacturing base in that country does not concern me.

Specifications

caliber9mm
magazine capacity15
weight24 oz unloaded
barrel length4.17"
overall length7.44"
action/firing systemstriker-fired
sights3-dot
finishmatte black
MSRP$329 (base)

The Models

At launch, Stoeger is offering three different versions of the STR-9. Fundamentally, they are the same gun but with a few minor differences.

Stoeger STR-9 Review

The base model comes with one magazine and only one backstrap. It has a suggested retail price of $329. Since it doesn’t have multiple backstraps to try out at home, you definitely want to check this in the store before you put your money down. If this works for you, I’m betting you can get this for less than $300 at many gun shops.

Next up the list is the same gun, but with three magazines and three differently sized backstraps. This is the model for me, as I like to have multiple mags for every gun I own. The MSRP is $389, but I bet I pay less than $350 when they arrive locally.

If you want night sights, you have one option, and it has a full retail price of $449. At that price you also get three magazines and backstraps. So, it is only a $60 jump for tritium sights.

Final Thoughts

Not everyone who wants a pistol for self-defense can afford a SIG SAUER or HK, never mind an artisan gun from Nighthawk Custom or Cabot Guns. Frankly, a new Glock or M&P is a bit out of reach for some people who want to exercise their right to protect themselves.

Guns like the Stoeger STR-9 offer options to people that have historically had few. Fortunately, there are a growing number of good guns in the sub-$400 market. I look forward to testing one of the STR-9 pistols and letting you know how it performs. If you get one before me, please leave a comment below with your experiences shooting it. If these are good or bad, let’s share that information and help each other out.

Update: These guns are now on the market. PSA is offering them for a lot less than the suggested retail price.

Categories
Handguns

Mossberg MC1sc – A New 9mm Pistol with 100 Year Roots

Mossberg MC1sc Pistol

Ahead of the 2019 SHOT Show, Mossberg announced a new pistol: the MC1sc.

The Mossberg MC1sc is a subcompact 9mm handgun that is designed for the concealed carry and self-defense markets. It offers a range of features that make it worth considering.

The Basics

One hundred years ago, O.F. Mossberg & Sons opened its doors and started selling firearms. The first gun it offered was a handgun called the Brownie – a .22 caliber pistol with four barrels that looked similar to, but operated differently from, some pepperbox pistols of the era.

Fast forward from 1919 to 2019 and Mossberg has become the 6th largest firearm manufacturer in the United States. Even though the company is better known for its shotguns and rifles, it returned to its handgun roots with the new MC1sc pistol.

The MC1sc is a striker-fired, polymer-framed handgun that is an obvious candidate for concealed carry duty. Three years of development and testing suggest the engineers have had ample opportunity to work all of the bugs out of the new design.

Shooters may wonder if the “sc” in the name stand for “subcompact.” It does. Using this naming convention makes one wonder what else may be in the pipeline. Also, this gun is chambered in 9mm only. Other caliber options may also be in the works.

The MC1sc or MC1 subcompact is relatively small and lightweight. It has a 3.4″ barrel, and with an empty magazine, it weighs a little more than one pound.

Today’s shooter has a broad selection of subcompact pistols from which to choose. Mossberg seems to have recognized this as the company attempts to differentiate itself with a number of features such as:

  • Clear-Count Magazines: Mossberg uses Clear-Count magazines with translucent bodies that allow the shooter the ability to quickly assess round count. According to the company, the magazine bodies are made from a “lubricious polymer compound” that offers very good wear resistance and low friction. Mossberg also states the floor plates are easy to remove. Bright red followers also help owners quickly ID when a magazine is completely unloaded.
  • Mossberg STS: One of the complaints I’ve heard about Glock pistols relates to the need to depress the trigger to field strip the pistol. While I don’t feel the complaint has much merit, I recognize that perception is reality for most consumers. So, I completely understand Mossberg’s use of the STS, or Safe Takedown System, that negates the need for a trigger press to disassemble the pistol.
  • DLC Finish: Diamond-like carbon coatings (DLC) have become quite popular for shooters that want excellent wear and corrosion resistance on their firearms. Mossberg uses a black DLC as standard to reduce wear and improve durability of the MC1sc. Both the barrel and slide have a DLC finish.
  • Flat Faced Trigger: Mossberg uses a flat faced trigger with a blade trigger safety. The company states the trigger pull weight is between 5 and 6 pounds.

Mossberg includes two magazines with each pistol: a flush fitting 6-round magazine and an extended 7-round magazine. Additional features include 3-dot sights, an oversized trigger guard, reversible magazine release button and forward slide serrations.

CONFIRMATION: A Mossberg representative confirmed that the MC1sc will feed from Glock 43 magazines.

Specifications & Variations

At launch, there are five different versions of the MC1sc that can be purchased.

Standard MC1sc Specifications
caliber9mm
magazine capacity6 (flush), 7 (extended)
weight19 oz unloaded
barrel length3.4"
overall length6.45"
action/firing systemstriker-fired
sights3-dot
finishmatte black
MSRP$421.00

A variation of the basic model is a version with a cross bolt safety. This safety is located on the frame and directly behind the trigger. I wonder how well this configuration works as it looks like a shooter’s trigger finger may activate or deactivate the safety simply by grasping the gun. This variation is otherwise identical to the basic MC1sc pistol.

If the standard 3-dot sights aren’t ideal for you, Mossberg offers two other aiming options. The first has a set of Truglo Tritum Pro sights installed.

The second optional sighting system leaves the basic 3-dot sights in place, but adds a Viridian E-Series laser unit. This unit attaches to the front of the trigger guard and uses a red aiming laser.

The final variation is the Centennial Limited Edition MC1sc. Recognizing the company’s 100th anniversary, this is a limited run of 1000 pistols with sequential serial numbers. It features 24k gold accents on the engraved slide and a titanium nitride finish on the barrel and other metal parts.

Pricing

Mossberg aims to keep this gun affordable. The basic models have a suggested retail price of $421. This beats the wildly popular Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 2.0 by more than $50. It is, however, priced more than $100 above the Ruger EC9s pistols.

Stepping up to the model with the Truglo Tritium Pro sights, the suggested retail price increases to $526. If you opt for the Viridian laser sight with standard 3-dot sights, the price is $514.

As one might expect, the limited edition gold plated pistol is the most expensive at $686.

Holsters

When the gun launched, several companies announced concealed carry rigs that are made for the guns. Since then, more companies have announced fits. See our full list of Mossberg MC1sc holsters here.

Final Thoughts

It will be interesting to see what the public’s response to this new gun will be. A gun designed for personal protection must be reliable. For it to be a commercial success, however, it has to feel good in the hand and look good enough to catch people’s attention.

The use of “sc” to indicate “subcompact” certainly suggests that a MC1 or MC1c might also be in development. If this gun sells well enough, Mossberg may have an entire line of pistols on the market by this time next year.

In my experience, Mossberg makes quality firearms. So, I have high expectations for how well this gun performs. Time will tell.

Update: Brownells is now selling these guns here.

Categories
Handguns

Walther PPQ Subcompact

Walther PPQ SubCompact

Walther Arms announced its latest pistol: the Walther PPQ SubCompact. This new 9mm handgun takes all of the popular features of the PPQ M2 and puts them into a more concealable platform. This announcement was made at the 2018 SHOT Show where the guns were on display at the Industry Day at the Range event.

The Basics

In many ways the Walther PPQ SSC is just a chopped PPQ M2. However, that description diminishes how good this pistol could be. Nevertheless, it shares many of the iconic features of the larger gun just in a smaller package.

The PPQ Sub Compact has a 3.5″ barrel with a 1:10″ twist. This is 0.5″ shorter than the standard PPQ M2. One of the key measurements of a concealable handgun is the grip length. While Walther doesn’t give a measurement for the grip alone, the height of the gun is listed as 4.4″. This is a drop of 0.9″ from the full size pistol.

In more concrete terms, this means that the subcompact version of the gun is not long enough for the pinky to wrap around the grip. With the gun chambered in 9mm, 10 rounds fit into a flush seating magazine.

What is very nice is full compatibility with the larger 15-round and 17-round magazines of the larger PPQ guns. These mags use a spacer sleeve to provide a full grip on the gun. Also, the spacer sleeve prevents the magazine from striking the ejector when inserted into the pistol.

Walther PPQ SC specs

There is no immediate word if a .40 S&W chambered gun will be offered in the future. I doubt that adding the .40 S&W is a priority for Walther Arms since the 9mm is the most popular self-defense cartridge in existence. However, I could see them introducing it as it could be used as a backup gun for law enforcement agencies in a manner similar to how Glock positions the G17/G22 and G26/G27 pistols.

Walther continues the use of a push button style magazine release on this pistol. While I prefer this, I know there are many Walther fans who like the lever style release. While not truly ambidextrous, the button can be moved to the right side of the gun if you prefer.

Keeping with the idea of matching the gun to the shooter, Walther Arms retains the ambidextrous slide stop lever. Additionally, the grip has backstrap panels that are swappable.

Specifications

caliber9mm
capacity10 rounds, 15 rounds in extended magazine
actionQuick Defense trigger
barrel length3.5"
overall length5.4"
weight21.2 ounces unloaded
height4.4"
width1.3"
grippolymer
finishblack
MSRP$649

Price and Shipping

The PPQ SC has a suggested retail price of $649.

Walther Arms states the PPQ Sub Compact is shipping now. You should be able to slide by your local gun shop and order one up today. I would expect demand to be heavy for these initially, so you may have a delay depending on how many your dealer can get.

While I will likely keep my Walther PPS M2 as my daily carry gun, I am very interested in this gun. Having additional rounds on tap is certainly a good thing. The ability to use larger magazines in the PPQ SubCompact is also very interesting to me.

I look forward to trying one of these out in the near future.

Special thanks to Paul Carlson of the Safety Solutions Academy. Carlson is a top notch defensive firearms instructor and an honorable man. If you ever have a chance to shoot with Carlson, jump at the opportunity. You won’t regret it.

While I haven’t yet had a chance to shoot this pistol, Carlson did and was able to provide these photos. Later today, he will have a video that I will post here.

Categories
Handguns

FERRO 9mm Pistol from DRD Tactical: Steel Frame Glock

DRD Ferro 9mm pistol

DRD Tactical announced it would show the new FERRO 9mm pistol at the 2018 SHOT Show. The new pistol is fed from Glock compatible magazines, but unlike a Glock pistol, it has a significant twist: it has a steel frame.

A stainless steel frame is a bit heretical for many fans of the Glock system. Even though it wasn’t the first gun with a polymer frame, Glock popularized the concept back in the 1980s. Since then, there has been a significant trend toward polymer frames in military, law enforcement and self-defense handguns.

However, there are many shooters who prefer to have a steel frame from which to launch projectiles. If you are of a like mind, it would seem the DRD Tactical FERRO is one possibility for you to consider.

In addition to the frame, DRD Tactical uses stainless steel for the barrel and slide as well. As shown in the above photograph, the FERRO can ship with a threaded 4.88″ barrel. You can also purchase it with a non-threaded 4.48″ barrel – the identical length to a standard Glock 17 pistol.

The trigger is provided by Apex Tactical Specialties. Additionally, the gun comes with an extended slide lock and magazine release. On top is a set of night sights.

DRD Tactical will ship the gun with three Magpul 17-round GL9 magazines.

Exactly how compatible this gun is with a Glock remains to be seen. I suspect that a lot of the parts interchange between a G17 and the FERRO. However, there may be some that do not.

The DRD FERRO 9mm will be offered with a black nitride finish and with a NiB Battleworn finish as is shown in the photo. DRD Tactical expects to ship the gun by spring of 2018. I do not have word on a price yet.

For those that are not familiar, DRD Tactical is a Georgia based company that is known for building high quality rifles like the APTUS, KIVAARI and quick takedown Paratus.