Categories
Handguns

Stoeger STR-9 Compact

Stoeger STR-9 Compact

Stoeger Industries announced the further expansion of its compact 9mm pistol line. The new Stoeger STR-9 Compact is a variation of the original STR-9 pistol that rolled out at the 2019 SHOT Show. It follows the introduction of the optics ready model announced in January at the 2020 SHOT Show.

The new Compact model has a 3.8″ barrel and shorter grip frame. Standard magazines hold 13+1 rounds. If you are stuck in a reduced-liberty state, 10 round magazines are available.

As with the full-size pistols, the STR-9 Compact is a striker-fired handgun with a polymer frame. It weighs in at 24 ounces (unloaded.)

Stoeger uses a safety that is built into the center of the trigger. This trigger safety, popularized by Glock, helps to prevent accidental discharges. It is naturally disengaged when a shooter presses the trigger.

In addition to helping keep both cost and weight low, the polymer frame allows for the use of interchangeable backstraps. While often found on more expensive guns, Stoeger includes the feature on this pistol to improve the ability of the owner to fit the gun to his or her hand.

Drift adjustable, 3-dot sights are standard. However, the company offers tritium night sights as a factory option.

Additional features of the new Stoeger STR-9 Compact include:

  • reversible magazine release for left-handed shooters
  • low bore axis for improved control over muzzle rise during recoil
  • aggressive texturing on the front and rear of the grip
  • accessory rail for the addition of a white light or laser module
  • black nitride finish

As with the other guns in the STR-9 line, the Compact model has an affordable price tag. The suggested retail price is $329 for the standard model. If you wish to step up to the night sights, the price increases to $449. Keep in mind that these are suggested retail prices. Your dealer sets the actual price, which may be even lower.

Stoeger backs the STR-9 Compact with a 5 year warranty.

Categories
Handguns

FN 503: The Slim New 9mm Pistol

FN 503 Review

Concealable pistols continue to drive much of the firearms market, and the new FN 503 is an example of that trend.

FN America just announced the new 9mm handgun that will be direct competition for other single-stack, subcompact pistols like the Glock 43, Smith & Wesson Shield, Walther PPS M2 and the Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2.

But, how does it compare? Will it build enough of a following to be a viable product long-term?

Let’s take a look at the pistol and what it may offer you.

FN 503 Features

Put simply, the FN503 is a striker-fired subcompact 9mm pistol that was designed for concealed carry.

FN states it took design cues from the FN 509 pistol, which was its entry in the US military’s handgun replacement program. But this gun is clearly built for concealment.

The company claims that the feel of the striker-fired system is “arguably the best in its class” with a crisp trigger break at an average of 5 pounds.

As with other striker-fired handguns, the FN 503 trigger has a safety built into the face of the trigger. Unlike many similar pistols, FN uses an all-metal trigger.

FN503 9mm Handgun

The gun is relatively small. It has a 3.1″ barrel with a maximum width of 1.1″. However, FN built the gun with large controls to make it easy to run – even under stress.

On top, the company uses metal 3-dot sights. They are dovetailed into the slide with a cut that matches that of the FN 509 pistol. That means the sights are large enough to be useable and can be replaced with fiber optics or night sights if you prefer.

FN developed a new grip texture that it likens to skateboard tape. That should provide adequate traction for controlling the pistol when shooting – even when your palms are sweaty.

Specifications

caliber9mm
magazine capacity6 rounds (flush fitting), 8 rounds (extended)
barrel length3.1"
weight21 oz unloaded
sights3-dot
finishmatte black
MSRP$549

How Does it Compare?

With a variety of other pistols on the market in this niche, is there a compelling reason to purchase it instead of the competition?

Until I’ve had this gun on the range for a full testing and review, I can’t say for sure. However, here is how the gun’s numbers stack up against the competition:

FN 503

Glock 43

Kahr CM9

S&W Shield

SA XD-S M.2

Walther PPS M2

caliber

9mm

9mm

9mm

9mm

9mm

9mm

capacity (flush fitting magazine)

6+1

6+1

6+1

7+1

7+1

6+1

barrel length

3.1"

3.4"

3.0"

3.1"

3.3"

3.2"

weight (unloaded)

21.0 oz

18.0 oz

15.9 oz

19.0 oz

21.5 oz

19.4 oz

width (thickest portion)

1.1"

1.1"

not given

1.0"

1.0"

1.0"

MSRP

$549

$589

$460

$374

$586

$449

Note: All measurements rounded to the nearest tenth.

You should not buy a defensive firearm solely on specifications. However, specs can help you narrow down your choices. All of the guns in the table above – save the new FN 503 – are currently in my possession. The Walther is my favorite with the Shield and G43 being close runner ups. It will be interesting to see how the new FN pistol will compare once I have one in hand.

Final Thoughts

FN 503 9mm Pistol

While the gun might be a little late to the party, it has the styling and features to put it on par with its contemporaries.

Assuming the gun is reliable, I think it will carve out a place for itself with many gun owners. How large of a market share it can pull remains to be seen.

Market share is important as it will be a key factor for obtaining third party support such as FN 503 holsters.

Categories
Handguns

Ruger PC Charger Pistol

Ruger PC Charger Pistol Review

One of the runaway hits for Ruger has been its 9mm rifle. Building on that success is the new Ruger PC Charger Pistol chambered in 9mm.

Based on the company’s PC Carbine, the new PC Charger Pistol has a wealth of features that will make it a great candidate as an SBR or the addition of an arm brace.

Here’s a quick look at the new pistol.

Quick Note

I’m a fan of the original Ruger PC Carbine. It proved to be an excellent shooter and had the feeling of being a quality build.

While the PC Charger Pistol is likely to be more of a niche gun, I fully expect it to be an excellent shooter.

Categories
Handguns

Palmetto State Armory PS9 Dagger: $300 Glock Killer [UPDATED]

At the 2020 SHOT Show, Palmetto State Armory announced a new 9mm pistol called the PS9 Dagger.

With its combination of features and price, the new gun stands to make quite a splash in the industry.

Categories
Shotguns

Escort Versatile Tactical Shotgun: A New Series of Scatterguns for the Rifle Crowd

Escort SDX 12 Gauge Shotgun

HatsanUSA, the exclusive US importer of firearms from Escort Shotguns, announced a new line of gas-operated scatterguns at SHOT Show 2020.

The new Escort Versatile Tactical Shotgun (VTS) series is designed to replicate many of the controls and features of the AR15-style rifle. The concept is to have shotguns that will very familiar in the hands of shooters who are comfortable with modern rifles.

Escort is making a range of VTS variants. Initially, the company will offer the DF12, SDX and BTS shotguns to the US market.

Let’s take a look at each.

Escort DF12

Escort considers the DF12 as the premier VTS model.

Escort Df12 Shotgun

Offered only in 12-gauge, the gun is magazine-fed and can chamber both 2.75″ and 3″ shells. The standard magazine capacity is 5 rounds while a 2-round mag will also be available for hunters and others needing more limited capacity.

Like an AR-style rifle, the DF12 has an upper and lower receiver that is held together by a pair of pins. Also like an AR, the upper and lower separate for easy cleaning and maintenance. The receiver halves are made of black anodized aluminum. Escort does not identify the aluminum used other than “aircraft alloy.”

The DF12 barrel is 18″ long and is hard chrome plated. It is internally-threaded for chokes and ships with a slug-friendly cylinder bore choke brake. Included with the shotgun are full and improved cylinder (F and IC) chokes.

Sights consist of a rear aperture in the carry handle with a front post. However, the carry handle is removable, so Escort includes flip-up sights the raplce the carry handle and front tower. You can also add your own optic.

The DF12 is available in two colors: black and flat dark earth (FDE) Cerakote.

Escort SDX

The SDX shares a similar configuration as the DF12, but has two significant differences.

Escort SDX 410 Shotgun

First of all, the SDX is available in both 12-gauge and in .410 bore. So, if you are looking for a lighter shooting shotgun, the SDX might be a better choice than the DF12.

The other major difference is that this gun uses a polymer lower and forend instead of aluminum. According to the company, the magazine well has metal guides to ensure proper magazine seating and increased durability.

Like the FD12 shotgun, the SDX is available in both black and FDE.

Escort BTS

Escort BTS 12 Gauge Bullpup shotgun

Using the same operating system as the two other shotgun models, the BTS reconfigures the package into a compact bullpup format. Keeping the 18″ barrel, the company is able to reduce the overall length of the shotgun by 9″. This gives the BTS a significant advantage in maneuvering.

Like the SDX, the BTS can be had in 12-gauge and .410 bore.

Gas System

AR shooters might expect to see a gas tube running above the barrel from the front sight tower. That is not how Escort designed this system.

Instead, the company developed a gas piston that floats around the barrel of the shotgun. According to the company, this improves the efficiency of the system while decreasing the overall weight and size of the shotgun.

Escort VTS Gas Piston System

By having the piston coming back with equal pressure above and below the barrel, muzzle rise should be reduced. In theory, the recoil should be closer to a straight push backward.

Final Thoughts

Modern rifle-style shotguns are not an entirely new concept. However, this seems to be a more complete approach to the design. Shooters have three different variants to choose from – two AR-style and a third in a bullpup configuration.

For me, reliability is always a key factor. For a semi-automatic shotgun, I expect it to run with light and heavy loads without a lot of tweaking. I look forward to seeing how the Escort VTS line does.

Pricing starts at $589.99.