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
80% Builds

Liberty MkIX: 80% 1911 Frame with Significant Advances

Liberty MkIX 1911 frame

If you like to build your own firearms, the Liberty MkIX line of 80% 1911 frames may be of great interest to you.

The new Liberty MkIX pistols from Freedom Concepts Laboratory promise fewer parts, lighter weight and improved fit for a range of shooters. With a range of frame sizes, you will be able to build a 1911-style handgun that meets your needs instead of trying to arrange your life around the gun’s size.

Sizes & Models

Initially, there will be three basic models:

  • MkIX-G – a government sized model with a 5″ slide, short accessory rail, full grip and 8 round magazine
  • MkIX-Gx – an extended model with a 5″ slide, full length accessory rail, full grip and 8 round magazine
  • MkIX-O – an officer sized model with a 4″ slide, short accessory rail, full grip and 8 round magazine

All three models are made of a proprietary blend of glass filled polymer. The frame rails are made of steel for increased durability.

80 percent 1911 frame

I should be careful to note that these are 80% receivers, or frames, and not completed firearms. To be used as a firearm, you must complete a number of machining actions on the part before it can be assembled into a working handgun. Once you complete the required machining operations, you can complete it with 1911 parts.

The machining process will require some simple tools and work on your end. Until the machining is complete, this is (legally speaking) just a hunk of polymer. It can be shipped straight to your home without paying $30 or more to have it transferred through an FFL.

Yes, it is perfectly legal to build your own gun. Homemade firearms are completely lawful under federal law and most states. See my article on the federal requirements about applying a serial number to a homemade firearm for more information.

Fewer Parts

According to Freedom Concepts Laboratory, the new 80% 1911 frames use standard 1911 magazines, slides and internal parts. However, the company says the frames require 40% fewer parts than a standard 1911 pistol.

In addition to the 80% 1911 frames, the company will sell a reusable jig. This will be sold separately since it can be used to complete multiple firearms.

1911 frame jig

Freedom Concepts Laboratory states it will support the frames with a full line of parts kits to make assembling the guns as easy as possible for the home builder. This includes a “one box, one gun” package that includes all of the parts you need.

Hand Fit, Lefties

One of the things that 1911 shooters tend to love about the guns is the way they fit into the hand. However, that doesn’t mean the traditional 1911 grip is ideal for all shooters.

To improve the shooting experience for folks of all hand sizes, the company designed the frame to accept different sizes of backstraps. Interestingly, the patent pending backstrap system also captures the mainspring assembly. I look forward to seeing exactly what the designers did here.

left handed 1911

Left-handed shooters may be interested in the ambidextrous nature of this frame. The frame comes with the parts needed for a right-handed shooter: magazine release button and frame mounted safety on the left side of the gun.

However, the company will also offer an ambidextrous upgrade kit for $75. No modifications to the frame are needed to install the ambi kit.

Pricing, Where to Buy

The pricing of these new 80% frames is interesting. The full suggested retail price is $139. This puts them in the same ballpark as the Polymer80 frames for Glock compatible pistols.

However, to sweeten the deal, Freedom Concept Laboratory will offer full pistol kits that include everything you need to assemble a completed frame into a working 1911. These kits will have a MSRP that starts at only $399.

Liberty MkIX 1911 officers model

One of the complaints I hear regularly about building your own Glock-style pistol is that the cost of all the parts exceeds the price of just buying a new factory Glock. At $399, the Liberty 1911 is a real bargain. Not only do you get to build your own gun, but it comes in a lot cheaper than nearly any 1911-style pistol on the market.

All three of the models are expected to ship in March 2018.

According to Freedom Concept Laboratory, the Liberty MkIX pistol frames will be sold through Brownells and the Glockstore. I’m a fan of both companies, and would not hesitate to do business with either in the future. If you like doing business with Brownells, please use my affiliate link here so that I receive a small portion of the profit from that sale. It doesn’t affect your price and it literally helps me feed my family. I do not have an affiliate relationship with Glockstore, but I recommend them regardless. You can access them through this link.

 

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.

Categories
Handguns

New Beretta APX Pistols for 2018

Beretta APX FDE

Beretta USA is expected to announce three new APX pistols at the 2018 SHOT Show in January. The new pistols are the APX RDO, APX Combat and APX Flat Dark Earth. These guns are an expansion of the line that was only recently introduced to the US commercial market. (Update: Shooters that like the APX line might want to read the 2019 SHOT Show rumors…)

Beretta APX RDO

RDO stands for “red dot optics” and likely tells you what makes this gun different from the standard APX. The slide of the APX RDO is cut to allow for the quick installation of four different optics including the Trijicon RMR.

Many people are moving toward adding a red dot sight on their self-defense pistols. As the APX is designed to be a combat handgun, it makes sense that the company would want to accommodate shooters adopting this trend.

It is not likely that these new models will fit most, if any, of the existing Beretta APX holsters.

Beretta APX Combat

Beretta APX Combat

One step farther than the RDO model would be the Combat model. The APX Combat is said to be a pistol with a red dot optic cut and a threaded barrel. The threaded barrel would allow for the addition of a sound suppressor.

For a home defense gun, this is ideal. The reduced muzzle blast would potentially allow you to still hear other threats, the shouts of family members and responding law enforcement officers.

Of course, a sound suppressor is also desirable for military units and law enforcement officers for many of the same reasons. I feel this is a “no-brainer” for Beretta to offer.

Beretta APX Flat Dark Earth

Beretta APX FDE New Gun 2018

Unlike a previously seen APX with a FDE colored frame, this gun is all flat dark earth. It has both a frame and slide with an FDE finish. Other bits, like the trigger and magazine release, remain black.

Additional Information

These guns will be shown at the SHOT Show, but some have already started to appear on sales sites around the country. When they begin to ship is anyone’s guess. However, I would expect that Beretta is very close to getting these out to the public now.

Also, I’m working on getting photos of the guns mentioned above. While I’ve seen what these new guns look like, I have not yet secured permission to use the photos I have seen. Once I do, I will post them for you as well.

Categories
Handguns

Good News – Taurus Now Shipping the Spectrum

Taurus Spectrum Shipping

Taurus USA announced on its Facebook page that the company is now shipping the Spectrum pistol. (Update: You can read my Taurus Spectrum review here. At the 2019 SHOT Show, I will try to track down someone at Taurus who will be willing to comment on the problems I’ve experienced with the gun.)

Taurus made the announcement on December 22, narrowly beating an “end of the year” deadline that I was told the company was working toward.

The Spectrum was officially announced at the 2017 SHOT Show, though I previously broke the news about the gun last December. The gun was slated for a first quarter release, but was delayed. I spoke with a company representative about the delays and was told that Taurus decided to make some improvements to the pistol prior to shipping. These improvements required additional testing to ensure customers would be happy with the end result.

It was at that time I was told the company was hoping to have them out by year’s end.

It is a .380 ACP pistol that has a number of design elements that may appeal to shooters. This includes a shape based on extensive ergonomic testing and research, the use of soft overmolds and the use of a magazine extension that works with the size of a pinky.

However, the most eye catching feature of these new guns is the wide variety of color options available. When announced the basic colors would cost only $289.

I have been critical of Taurus in the past, but I also judge every gun based on its own merits. I look forward to testing these and hope Taurus has a winner on its hands. Regardless, you will get an honest gun review from me on it.

Update: My local gun shop was able to order me an all black version of the Spectrum. I have it in my safe now, and will be testing it in the coming weeks.