Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Handguns: Don't fall for the hype

I'm more than a little amused by all the hype over Glock's much-rumored announcement to be made on March 20th.  It's widely speculated that the company will launch a single-stack 9mm. pistol, to be known as the Glock 43.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I like Glocks.  I have more Glock pistols in my gun safe than any other make or model of handgun.  I'll almost certainly buy at least one Glock 43 in due course.  However, I just can't get excited over yet another 9mm. pistol, no matter whether or not it has the Austrian seal of 'perfection' on it.  There are lots and lots of good handguns out there for you to choose from.  Many of them offer features as good as or better than the new G43 is rumored to do, at a much lower price.

If I were buying a value-for-money personal protection handgun right now, and wanted it chambered in 9mm. Parabellum, my choice would be pretty simple.  I'd buy a Ruger SR9c.

It's a little larger than the G43 is rumored to be, but it's also a couple of hundred dollars cheaper (CDNN Sports was advertising them just last month for $359.99 and $369.99, depending on finish, and still has the full-size SR9 at that price).  Some don't like the SR series pistols, but I do (and Tamara recently reviewed the SR9's cheaper clone, the 9E, and found it to her liking).  I've had one SR9 and four SR9c's pass through my hands so far.  They've been uniformly well made, reliable and dependable, shooting every kind of ammo I put through them without a bobble.  What's more, the SR9c comes with ten rounds on tap in the compact magazine, and a full 17 rounds when a full-size SR9 magazine is used, fitted with a sleeve to match its shape to the grip, as in the illustration below.

With the smaller magazine it's very concealable, and with the larger one it's got the same capacity as its full-size brother, the SR9.  You can get two-packs of 17-round SR9 magazines for pretty decent prices if you shop around (currently under $20 per magazine), and the magazine adapter sleeves are about $10.  Used SR9c's can be had in my area for $350-$375 if you shop around and buy privately, and there are those screaming deals at CDNN for new guns (although you'll have to pay shipping and transfer fees on top of their prices, and wait for them to get more in stock).  I find the SR9c probably the easiest-to-shoot compact 9mm. pistol on the market today, so I certainly won't worry about getting onto a months-long waiting list to buy a G43.

Don't believe the hype when it comes to the latest models of pistols (or anything else).  A good, serviceable base model from almost any reputable, reliable manufacturer will serve you well. You don't need bells and whistles, or to spend twice as much.  If you want to, go ahead;  but I'd rather spend that money on ammunition, training and accessories like extra magazines, night sights, holsters, or a laser sight (something I regard as almost essential on a defensive pistol these days, given my physical restrictions and limitations).

I'm giving the SR9c (and its larger-caliber brother, the SR40c) to disabled shooters as fast as I can find them.  If you want quality and reliability on a budget, I recommend them for your consideration as well.  (No, I'm not getting compensated in any way for recommending them.  I just appreciate good weapons and good deals when I find them, and spread the word.)



Murphy's Law said...

In 9mm, I'll just stick with my tried-and-true Browning Hi-Power. Call me back when those Rugers (and the Glock 43) get to be 80 years old and I'll take another look at them.

dorfer21 said...

The biggest advantage Glock has over any other manufacturer is market penetration, and by extension availability of accessories. Decent, QUALITY, holsters are (and for the g43 will likely) be available quicker for the Glock pistols, and will fit more laser/light/sight options than any other manufacturer.

I love variety, and I'm a cheap bastard, but I made that mistake with my first pistol (Taurus PT840, great pistol, no issues), i couldn't find accessories to fit except for generic rail mounts. Did finally find a FANTASTIC holster from Alien Gear, and promptly bought another when I got mo Glock.

Anonymous said...

I like compact 9mm pistols as well but for the pocket the SR9C is a bit much. In 9mm flavor I had a pair of Kahr PM9's and now I have a SIG 290 filling the role of pocket artillery. The rumored new Glock is supposed to be in that minicompact/pocket sized arena and definately something to look at now instead of later if you want a pocket 9mm to supplement your Glock 26. I will definatly get one if it competes well with the size of the PM9 and SIG 290. I would prefer to have a Glock in my pocket.


Jay Ater said...

I absolutely LOVE my SR9c, 4000+ rounds without a hiccup and fits my hands perfectly.

Glocks are ok but the Ruger has a much better trigger out of the box and I don't have to worry about shooting myself in the @$$ if my hoodie gets in the holster.

Coconut said...

But it just isn't speshul enough.

Everyone knows the most expensive thing in a class is automatically the best. The more you pay, the better it is.

Inconsiderate Bastard said...

Jeff Cooper's First Rule of Gunfighting: "Bring a gun."

First Rule of Bringing a Gun: Find a good one that you can afford.

Second Rule of Bringing a Gun: Buy a matching second gun because one is none and two is one, and the cops will steal it from you for months if you ever have to use it.

Angus McThag said...

I dunno... A grip zone is kind of a make or break feature now.

lee n. field said...

Hopefully when the G43 starts showing up, folks will be dumping their LC9s, PF9s, etc. for good prices. :-).

Everyone knows the most expensive thing in a class is automatically the best. The more you pay, the better it is.

In the first class I took, back when, it was the high dollar 1911s that gave the most trouble. Various other things, inc. my old Ruger P90, chugged on without incident.

cpwilliams said...

I am a long-time Glock fan, but lately I've come to the realization that I'm going to need to switch to a different handgun. The problem is I now have neuropathy in my finger tips from using crutches for most of my adult life. The neuropathy makes it impossible for me to work the barrel release slide for cleaning the gun.

Can someone recommend something in the 40S&W caliber? Clip fed?

Peter said...

@cpwilliams: Try Ruger's SR40 or SR40c. They're the same family as the SR9/9c mentioned above. I like them.

cpwilliams said...

Thank you for the suggestion. do you happen to know what the largest capacity clip for the Ruger SR40 is? I use my 30 round Glock clip when I'm on the range as it saves wear and tear on my hands reloading the clips.

cpwilliams said...

OOps - I should have said "22 round magazine" for my trusty old Glock. The second thing to go is the memory.

cpwilliams said...

A related question is - Have you ever tried shooting Tula steel-cased amo trough the SR40? I've still got a bit of that stuff lying around and I've got to get out to the range and shoot it up.

It tends to gum up the Glock and the powder formula is a bit on the dirty side so I have to clean my Glock more often. I would imagine the SR40 would have a similar reaction.

Peter said...


1. AFAIK the SR40 (full-size) takes a 15-round magazine; it can also be used in the SR40c with a sleeve adapter, just like the full-size SR9 magazine illustrated in the SR9c above. The SR9c takes a ten-round magazine as standard, IIRC.

2. I don't recommend using steel-case ammo in any quality firearm. Period. In Russian or Eastern Bloc firearms, that were designed for it from the beginning, it's a different matter, of course.

mobius wolf said...

" I don't recommend using steel-case ammo in any quality firearm."

Interesting. Why not?

Peter said...

@Mobius Wolf: Increased wear on extractors, potential problems with tight chambers. Jim Clark Jr. once told me that about a third of Clark Custom Guns' business (in the early 2000's) was coming directly from the use of steel-case ammunition in high-end 1911's and AR-15's. He was all in favor of it, for obvious reasons!

BCE 56 said...

I like my 3913.
I really like my BHP.

My revolvers, notably the M640 and the M65 are useful as well, as conditions may require.
And there is a place for the PPK/s.

But I love my 1911s.


mobius wolf said...

That makes sense, thanks. I don't know that I've ever shot any. Maybe a round or two through a friends commiegun at one time or another.

I only ever shoot my reloads so I never had a need. Plus I like historic American cartridges 45acp, 45 colt, 30/30, 30/06, 308.
You get the idea, Of course I'm missing a few.