New Handguns for 2011
April 12, 2011
We don't have space to do every model justice, so in typical self-satisfying fashion we'll give details on our favorites and just brush on others, but watch for meaty, in-depth reviews in issues to come.
In honor of its 100-year birthday, Les designed a 1911 Centennial Model that we fell in love with. It's tastefully understated, with real ivory grips that set off the charcoal bluing to perfection. Three eight-round magazines come with the pistol in a special presentation box. Built on the Premier II format, the Les Baer Centennial is as capable of hard use as it is beautiful. Price: $3,960.
On a more serious note, the new Ultimate Tactical Carry is built for practical use and features all the vital elements of a superb 1911 without any frills. Price: $1,890.
Most interesting from Ed Brown are two 100th anniversary 1911s.
The decked-out Classic Custom Centennial has all the features of the standard Ed Brown Classic Custom plus hand relief engraving on the flats of the slide and frame, the grip screws, and the flats of the thumb safety, grip safety, slide stop, and mag release; special laser engraving on the left side of the slide; custom rib on top of the slide; Tru-Ivory grips; jeweled barrel hood; and special serial number starting with "JMB" prefix (for John Moses Browning). Price: $6,995.
The "mainstream" Executive Elite Centennial comes with all the components of the standard Executive Elite plus special laser engraving on the left side of the slide, Tru-
Ivory grips, solid trigger, plain black sights, jeweled barrel hood, and special serial number. Price: $2,495.
Also new is the Kobra Carry Lightweight, which features an aluminum frame, 4.25-in. Commander-style slide, Bobtail housing, snakeskin treatment on the slide and the frame, Gen III finish, plain black rear sight, dovetailed front night sight, and slim wood grips. Price: $2,920; $2,995 (with ambidextrous safety).
Right at the top of the list of most-intriguing new products we saw at this year's SHOT show are Browning's built-to-rimfire-scale 1911-22 A1 and 1911-22 Compact pistols. Yes, a scaled-down 1911 in .22 Long Rifle. The A1 (16 oz.) has a 4¼-in. barrel. The compact (15 oz.) has a 35/8-in. barrel. Both have alloy frames and machined aluminum slides. Actions are blowback operated, magazine capacity is 10 rounds, and triggers are single action. Price: $600. Definitely watch for a future in-depth review here in the pages of Shooting Times.
With this being the 100th anniversary of the Model 1911, Colt is doing it up right with special commemorative models, including a one-of-a-kind Custom Shop offering (O1911ANV) that will be auctioned by NRA and two cataloged limited-edition versions. The Model O1911ANVII (shown) will be limited to 750 units. It features polished royal blue finish, special serial number, smooth cocobolo grips, and scroll engraving with 24 kt. gold highlights. It comes with a glass-topped walnut display case. The other pistol (O1911ANVIII) will be limited to orders placed by November 30, 2011, and it is based on the collectible Model O1918 configuration and finish. Price: $2,295 (O1911ANVII), $1,150 (O1911ANVIII).
Also new is a reintroduced New Frontier Flattop single-action revolver. Like the original New Frontier, the 2011 model comes with an adjustable rear sight. Other features include a ramped front sight, blue/case-colored finish, and walnut grips. Optional barrel lengths are 4.75, 5.5, and 7.5 in. Available calibers include .357 Mag., .44 Spl., and .45 Colt. Price: $1,455.
The CZ Czechmate--based on a modified CZ-75 TS frame--comes ready to rock and roll in both IPSC Open and Limited competition. Two interchangeable barrels allow quick versatility: One is set up with a C-More red-dot sight and compensator for Open division; the other is set up for Limited. One 26-round and three 20-round magazines are included. Price: $3,164.
For shooters wishing to shoot Production division IPSC, the CZ-75 SP-01 Shadow Custom comes replete with a CZ custom shop trigger job, fixed competition sights, and other custom internals. Price: $1,199.
In addition to new laser-equipped pistols and new Massachusetts-compliant models, Kahr has the brand-new 9mm CM9. The DAO CM9 comes with a 3.0-in., conventional rifled barrel and measures 0.9 in. thick, 5.3 in. long, and 4.0 in. high. It weighs a mere 15.9 oz. with magazine. Magazine capacity is six rounds. Intended to be a more economical option, it incorporates the value-priced features of the CW line with the 3-in. barrel of Kahr's most popular pistol, the 9mm PM9. Price: $565.
Very dedicated research and development has taken Kimber in a completely new direction with its Solo Carry 9mm compact: an innovative carry gun built on a machined aluminum frame and stainless-steel slide. Though the Solo's ergonomics and fire controls are distinctly 1911-esque, internally it is quite different, and in size it's about half of what old slab-sides is. The trigger is single action, the barrel is only 2.7 in. long, and the sights are excellent. Magazine capacity is 6 rounds. Weight: 17
oz. Overall length: 5.5 in. Both the bi-tone and all-stainless (colored) versions will retail at $725. Watch for an in-depth technical review in an upcoming issue.
Like many, Para is building an anniversary model 1911, in fact a matched set. One is a classic single-stack model; the other holds 14 rounds of .45 Auto. The two come in a presentation box and are about as cutting-edge as classic can get. Price: $2,399.
The 1911 R1 made a big splash last year, and Remington is following up with the 1911 R1 Enhanced model: a bells-and-whistles gun. It features a beavertail grip safety with memory bump, combat hammer, aluminum match trigger, extended thumb safety, and other upgrades. Price: $940.
And in honor of the 1911's 100th birthday, there are two models: the R1 Centennial ($1,250) and the R1 Centennial Limited Edition ($2,250). Both feature tasteful engraving, high-grade grips, and too many other fine details to enumerate here.
Innovation continues to pour out of Ruger's R&D department, this year in the form of the LC9, a diminutive compact pistol that coughs out 9mm ammo. It's less than an inch larger in either height (4.5 in.) or length (6 in.) than the tiny but popular LCP. It's of DAO, hammer-fired, locked-breech design; features rounded edges for comfortable carry; and has aggressive checkering on the grip for control through recoil. Capacity is 7+1, and weight is 17.1 oz. Price: $443. Watch for an upcoming review.
There's also a new LCR with tritium XS sights, an SR40 with Nitridox Pro black finish, an SP101 with Crimson Trace lasergrips, and several new versions of the popular 22/45 rimfire pistol with threaded muzzles.
Three new SIG semiautomatic pistols caught our attention: the P238 Extreme, the SP2022, and the brand-new P290.
The DAO P290 is a 9mm pocket pistol that measures 5.5 in. long, 0.9 in. wide, and 3.9 in. tall. Barrel length is 2.9 in., and weight is 20.5 oz. The polymer frame is black, and the stainless-steel slide is natural stainless or matte-black Nitron. Sights are SIGLITE night sights. Price: $758.
The single-action .380 P238 Extreme comes with a Nitron-coated stainless-steel slide, SIGLITE night sights, hard coat anodized aluminum frame, built-in accessory rail, front cocking serrations, reversible magazine release, and Hogue Extreme Series G10 black and gray textured grips. Price: $752.
The SP2022 is now available in the U.S. Chambered for 9mm, .357 SIG, or .40 S&W, the SP2022 has a polymer frame, modular grip, reversible magazine release, integral accessory rail, 3.9-in. barrel, stainless-steel slide, and SIGLITE night sights. Magazine capacity is 15 rounds of 9mm and 12 rounds of .357 SIG or .40 S&W. Price: $494.
In addition, SIG has new 100th anniversary 1911s as well as 9mm, .40 S&W, and .22 LR 1911s; the new P210 Legend; and new P226 and P229 Elite Enhanced pistols, too.
Smith & Wesson
Perhaps the most intriguing new S&W handgun this year is the .410/.45 Colt/.45 ACP Governor revolver. This new DA wheelgun features a six-round cylinder, scandium-alloy frame, 2¾-in. barrel, tritium night sights, and synthetic grips (Crimson Trace lasergrips are optional). Finish is matte black. Weight is 29.6 oz. Length is 8.5 in. Height is 5.5 in. Width is 1.75 in. Price: $679; $899 (with CT grips). Watch for a full report on this exciting new self-defense number in an upcoming issue.
In addition to new compact pistols and revolvers, six new enhanced 1911s, and Performance Center hunting revolvers, S&W has introduced the M&P22 pistol. Made by Walther of Germany for S&W and chambered for .22 Long Rifle, this polymer-frame single-action semiautomatic comes with 4.1-in. barrel, aluminum slide, ambidextrous slide stop and safety, reversible magazine release, and adjustable sights. According to the company, it combines the look, feel, and operating features of the centerfire M&P pistols. Price: $419.
The most interesting new pistol from Springfield for us is the Range Officer 1911. It is an "upgradeable," affordable basic competition .45 ACP and features a 5-in., stainless-steel, match-grade barrel; low-profile, adjustable target sights; cocobolo grips; and matte black finish. It weighs 40 oz. and comes with a 5- to 6-lb. trigger pull. Price: $939.
On the polymer-frame, striker-fired pistol side, Springfield's compact XDM 3.8 is now available in .40 S&W. Magazine capacity is 11 rounds in the flush-fitting magazine and 16 rounds in the company's "Megazine." Trigger pull ranges from 5.5 to 7.7 lbs. Finish options are all black or bi-tone. Price: $697 (black), $763 (bi-tone).
Included in the numerous new handgun models from Taurus are compact auto pistols and compact revolvers in the DT series, three Anniversary Model 1911s, new G2 Slim pistols, a new ProCompact .380 pistol, and two new lightweight big-bore revolvers. But coolest from Taurus this year is what the company is referring to as its most versatile Tracker ever. It's called the Tracker Model 992, and it's an interchangeable-cylinder, double-action revolver in .22 LR/.22 Magnum. There have been interchangeable-cylinder .22 rimfire revolvers before, but they have pretty much been single actions. What makes this one so interesting is the fact that it is double action.
Barrel length is 6.5 in., finish is blued or matte stainless, and
cylinder capacity is nine rounds. Price: Not available at press time.
The new PPQ polymer-frame pistol comes with Walther's new Quick Defense trigger, ambidextrous slide lock, ambidextrous magazine release, and adjustable sights. The pistol can be had in either 9mm or .40 S&W, and it features a 4-in. barrel. Height is 5.3 in., width is 1.3 in., and overall length is 7.1 in. Price: $729.
Also, the Walther P22 semiautomatic .22 LR pistol has been updated with an improved grip shape and slanted slide serrations. Price: $379.
Returning with all the legendary features of Dan Wesson revolvers--tensioned, shrouded interchangeable barrel system; forward-located crane latch with rear ball detent; clockwise-rotating cylinder; and more--the 715 Revolver is designed to be the most accurate, rugged, and versatile revolver available. Initial offerings are fitted with a 6-in. barrel and weigh 46 oz. A barrel wrench kit is included, and 2.5- to 10-in. barrels are available from CZ-USA and Dan Wesson. Price: Not available at press time.
Combining the best features of the Commander Bobtail and the CCO, the new 1911 Guardian sports a lightweight allow Bobtail frame and Commander-length slide. It's available in both 9mm ($1,530) and .45 ACP ($1,590). Finished in Dan Wesson's durable black "Duty" finish, it should prove to be a solid performer.