A Guest Post by Todd Woodard, editor of Gun Tests magazine.
As editor of Gun Tests magazine, I enjoy the benefit of testing hundreds of firearms and accessories each year without getting stuck with any of them. And because Gun Tests doesn’t accept advertising, I don’t have to push something as the next “great” thing if my staff or I don’t truly like the product. That’s the upside.
But because I can’t buy everything we test that does well, I do wind up with a quite a wish list of items that I would actually like to have as my own personal stock. So for the benefit of anyone in my family who might accidently get subscribed to The Shooter’s Log this week and see this story, here are a handful of items I wouldn’t mind Santa’s Gun Elves shipping our way:
Storm Lake 1911 Government .45 ACP Threaded Barrel
Cheaper Than Dirt! carries these replacement barrels, but only for the GLOCK 21 and M&P 45. They’re about $160. I got interested in them when Gun Tests evaluated a threaded Storm Lake barrel for the GLOCK 17 in the April 2014 issue, “Tuning Your GLOCK: How to Turn A Good Gun into a Great One.” Because that barrel actually improved the GLOCK’s accuracy, I decided to take the plunge and buy one to fit on my Carter Custom Colt 1911 (#NE-GVT-45ACP-576-DI-WN-05T-LPBT with a ramp and link/pin/bushing). It’s 5.755 inches long overall and is threaded .578”-28 for a suppressor (see below) and runs $264.
Honey, I haven’t had a chance to tell you that Santa’s Gun Elves have already delivered this, and it’s been installed, but I haven’t had a chance to shoot it. The fit is tight, so it will require some lubrication, cycling, and shoot-in that we can do together, because I know you like doing things together during the holidays. So consider this one already checked off the list!
SilencerCo 45 Osprey Suppressor .578”-28 Piston
I bought a SilencerCo 45 Osprey from Full Armor Firearms in Houston for $900. The Osprey is an eccentric silencer, which means that the bore does not run down the middle of the tube. Because of this eccentric design, most of the baffles and internal volume is beneath the centerline of the bore and out of the way of the gun’s sights, thus leaving the shooter the ability to use factory sights with little or no sight or target obstruction. It weighs 11.1 ounces and measures 1.3 inches wide and 1.75 inches tall. It’s 8.0625 inches long and has a sound level of 132.5 dB dry and 123 dB wet when tested with an HK USP Tactical with Remington UMC 230-grain ammunition.
My interest in it was due to its interchangeable pistons, which will allow me to mount it on a variety of different handguns by changing the pistons to the appropriate thread dimensions. Because more and more handguns and rifles are coming threaded for suppressors, I expect to use this on a range of firearms, especially handguns.
Honey, I also bought it to shoot on my personal Colt 1911, and now that the Colt has a threaded barrel on it, I just need a .578”-28 AC24 piston for it. They run about $70 from various sources.
Beretta 92A1 Compact INOX with Rail J90C9F20 9mm Luger
This is a compact version of the Beretta 92FS, but it is seldom seen. I had to ask one of my FFLs to special-order one because I couldn’t find one in several shops locally to try it out. It has an aluminum frame and stainless-steel slide, fires a double-action first shot, and holds 13 rounds in the magazine. When I first handled the pistol, I agreed with the test team, who said in the November 2014 article, “9mms: New Beretta 92 Compact Versus Used SIG Sauer P228,” that the slide-to-frame fit was tight with virtually no lateral play. The double-action trigger was smooth but heavy at about 12 pounds, a little lighter than our test gun. The single-action trigger broke cleanly at 5.5 pounds, a little heavier than our initial test gun.
The October test of the gun said that Beretta had done a credible job in downsizing the grip frame. The raters said that the 92C is more comfortable than the full-size Beretta, and that it fit most hands well. During the firing test, the Beretta was drawn from concealed carry and fired at man-sized targets at 5, 7, and 10 yards using Black Hills 115-grain remanufactured loads. There were no malfunctions of any type during the combat-type firing. Recoil was never uncomfortable. In bench accuracy, the Beretta 92C fired 2.0-inch groups at 25 yards with the Black Hills 124-grain JHPs.
Honey, Cheaper Than Dirt! sells the blued version (J90C9F10) for about $650. But the stainless version followed me home, and I can’t bear the thought of looking at its sad eyes if I had to take it back.
Ruger 22/45 Lite 22 LR and SilencerCo Sparrow SP-1505 Suppressor
In a February article, “Suppressor-Ready Plinking 22s: Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Walther,” the Lite 22 LR semi-auto was fun to shoot and offered a threaded barrel for suppressor use. The now-discontinued gold-anodized Lite version is substantially like the black-anodized #3903 that sells for $374 at CTD!
The Lite’s threads were protected by a knurled ring that could be unscrewed by hand. Underneath, the barrel was threaded 1⁄2×28. Externally, the ring was integrated into the Lite’s lines. The top of the Ruger polymer front sight sits 0.4 inch above the aluminum shroud and 0.875 inch above the boreline, more than enough to clear the 1.062-inch-diameter Sparrow suppressor (half its diameter being 0.531 inch). Also, the Ruger’s shroud top is drilled and tapped for a scope base, so adding your choice of red dot to the Ruger would be easy if you preferred an optical sighting solution.
It was an enjoyable experience to shoot without having to wear hearing protection. The 22 Sparrow, which I found on sale for $379, handles 22 LR cartridges as well as 17 HMR, 22 WMR, and the 5.7×28mm FN, and it’s rated for full-auto 22 LR machine guns. It weighed 6.5 ounces and measured 5.08 inches in length. According to the manufacturer’s specifications, it will produce a 41dB sound reduction when fired using CCI Standard Velocity cartridges.
The pistol’s barrel is a heavy bull design in appearance, but the exterior bulk doesn’t translate to weight. There’s a 4.4-inch-long stainless-steel barrel sleeve inside the fluted aluminum shroud (which is also drilled and tapped for Weaver bases), making the unloaded weight with an empty magazine only 23.6 ounces and a loaded weight (10+1 rounds) of 23.8 ounces. Of course, the Zytel frame is light as well.
As noted above, the Ruger’s sights were tall enough to see over the test suppressor, and because they were fully and easily adjustable, they would be easy to center, even with bullet weights varying between 26 grains to 40 grains and muzzle velocities varying by hundreds of feet per second.
Honey, what I liked about this one was at the range, the 22/45 shot the smallest bench groups in the test with Armscor 36-grain rounds (0.8 inches) and pretty well with the CCI and Remington rounds, both at 1.1-inch average group sizes. It’s a sweetheart I’m sure we’ll both enjoy.
Viridian R5-G42 Reactor Green Laser
Viridian’s R5-G42 Reactor is the first green laser for the GLOCK 42 380 ACP, and this laser model automatically ignites instantly when drawn from a supplied leather and polymer holster. Additional holster options are available from many holster manufacturers.
In a November 2014 test, “A Quartet of Pocket Pistols from SIG Sauer, GLOCK, Kahr, and Colt,” the laser unquestionably helped accuracy. Shooting Winchester 95-grain FMJs at 10 yards, the average group size with a laser was 1.2 inches for the GLOCK, somewhat better than with open sights at 1.7 inches. With Prvi Partizan 94-grain FMJs, the GLOCK shot laser-aided 1.2-inch groups compared to open sights at 3.7 inches. With Hornady Critical Defense 90-grain FTEs, the GLOCK shot a 1.7-inch average group size compared to open sights at 3.3 inches.
Honey, the Viridian R5-G42 Reactor is only $199 at our favorite gun retailer.
What’s on your wish list this year? Share your ideas with your fellow shooters in the comment section.
NOTE: All prices noted are as of December 2014 and subject to change without notice.
Todd Woodard has been editor of Gun Tests magazine for 15 years. He’s also author of the Guide to 101 Gun Gadgets, editor of Cartridges of the World 14th Edition, and author of the Shooter’s Bible Guide to Cartridges.