Friday, August 11, 2006

Unsung Best Buy: A Critical Look at the Taurus PT-92

In 1973, IMBEL of Brazil quit producing their version of the .45 ACP 1911 pistol as the military had decided to go with the Nato standard 9mm and had adopted the Beretta Model 92 pistol. A Brazilian subsidiary of Beretta was producing the Model 92, but was bought by Taurus who has been selling the pistol since the early '80's.*

My luck with Taurus firearms in general has been positive, but I do prefer their automatics to their revolvers. I've also not owned many different models of their pistols. It should be noted that quite a few folks have had problems with Taurus pistols, but the company does offer a lifetime warranty on their products.

The pistol being looked at in this article is the only Taurus automatic I own and is a PT-92 AF. It is an older pistol and the ambidextrous thumb safety does not decock the pistols as it does on current PT-92 pistols if forcefully pushed past the normal "down to fire, off-safe" position. While this can be viewed as a safety improvement, I do have some misgivings about it. Like the CZ-75, the Taurus PT-92 does allow for cocked and locked carry should that be desired and in the stress of a deadly force situation, one might apply enough force disengaging the safety to inadvertently decock the pistol such that the first shot has to be double-action or the pistol recocked before firing.

Taurus PT-92 AF 9mm Specifications:

Type: Conventional DA/SA recoil-operated, locked breech semiautomatic with an aluminum alloy frame, steel slide, barrel and parts. It has a modified ring hammer.

Length: 8 1/2"

Width: 1.6"

Weight: 34 oz.

Barrel Length: 5"

Rifling: 1:10"

Factory Std. Recoil Spring: 13-lbs.

Factory Std. mainspring: 18-lbs.

Magazine: Typical double stack. Pre-ban magazine capacity is 15 rounds of 9mm.

Sights: Fixed. Rear sight is a notched blade dovetailed into the slide. Front sight is a non-serrated semi-ramp integral to the slide.

Safeties: Ambidextrous frame-mounted with "up" for "safe" and "down" for "fire." Current versions of the pistol also can be decocked by depressing the thumb safety past the "fire" position. The pistol has an internal firing pin safety and a half-cock notch. It has an inertial firing pin as well. There is no magazine disconnect.

The PT-92 has the magazine release behind the trigger guard, which is preferred by American shooters for quick magazine changes rather than at the lower rear of the left grip as on the original Beretta 92. Where the original Beretta Model 92 pistols had the rounded trigger guard, the PT-92 has the "hooked." I prefer the rounded as I do not use the finger wrapped around the trigger guard type of shooting.

Currently, Taurus offers this model in 4 versions and there is an adjustable sight version, the PT-99. My gun has a black anodized frame with all steel parts being blued. The top of the slide is matte blue with the slide flats being polished. The pistol originally came with nice Brazilian hardwood stocks that while attractive, were slick as they were not checkered. With the least bit of perspiration, the gun got kind of hard to hang onto despite the vertical serrations in both the front and rear grip straps. Years ago, I replaced them with a set of the checkered rubber grips for the gun from then "Uncle Mike's." I believe that company is now called Butler Creek, but the pistol grips are still referred to as Uncle Mike's.

The rear grip strap can be seen with its vertical serrations. These do offer improvement if shooting with wet hands, but are not allowed to be optimum in this job due to the slick finish on the anodizing. I believe that a matte finish would have been more practical.

The front strap is also serrated nicely. Note that the magazine release is not ambidextrous and neither is the slide release lever. On the PT-92, only the thumb safety is ambidextrous and it is one of the few that I do not mind being so. It does not get in my way when shooting the pistol. Notice also that the magazine release assembly is attached to the pistol with a roll pin. I have heard of but one account of this coming loose. Though not a good thing, this would be easily corrected and statistically, is not a problem.

The PT-92, like the original Beretta 92 has smallish fixed sights that I personally believe could have been upgraded a bit over the years. Taurus' "solution" has been to use the same size sights, but with the now familiar 3-dot style sights. The gun is easier to use at speed than the early CZ-75 pistols, but does not offer the same speed sight picture as do the current CZ-75 pistols or the current Beretta Model 92F. I think this is a mistake and one that could have been rather easily corrected to make a good pistol a better pistol.

The front sight on my Taurus PT-92 is usable, but could certainly be better. I do not understand why Taurus has not improved this on later versions of the gun. The adjustable sighted PT-99 does offer a satisfactory sight picture and does have a taller front sight.

In this picture, you can see the rear sight, the abbreviated ring hammer and the right-side ambidextrous thumb safety lever. Note that due to the shape of the top of the slide, if POA did not match POI and lateral adjustment was needed, it would be very limited. The front sight, being integral to the slide doesn't help matters any. Fortunately, this pistol is dead bang "on," and this seems to be the case for the majority of these pistols that I've fired over the years.

The PT-92 has been called too large for its caliber and it is a large 9mm compared to many others. It is surprisingly light for its size and very comfortable to shoot.

So how does it shoot? Is it reliable? Can the smallish fixed sights be used at speed and in slow fire? To see, the following rounds were fired through this PT-92 at distances of 10, 15, and 25 yards.

Ammunition: Average Velocity (ft/sec) Extreme Spread Std. Deviation

Corbon 100-gr.

PowRball +P 1476 23 9

Hirtenberger 100-gr.

JSP "FL" 1363 51 20

Remington UMC 115-gr

FMJ 1214 78 24

Fiocchi 115-gr. FMJ 1188 97 29

PMP 115-gr. FMJ 1089 68 22

Federal 115-gr. JHP 1170 90 43

Fiocchi 123-gr. FMJ 1119 46 17

Fiocchi 123-gr. FMJ

"Combat" 1100 65 20

Speer 124-gr. Lawman

TMJ 1182 68 24

PMC 124-gr. Starfire JHP 1078 50 18

Triton 125-gr. Hi Vel JHP +P 1301 57 25

Winchester 127-gr. +P+ JHP

RA9TA 1292 32 11

Two handloads were also used. The powder charge in both was 6.0 grains if Unique and once-fired Magtech cases were used. Winchester Small Pistol primers were used to ignite the rounds. The only differences were that one used the Hornady 124-gr. XTP, the other, Speer's 124-gr. Gold Dot Hollow Point.

XTP handload 1261 102 37

GDHP handload 1174 68 22

From the data above, it is interesting to note that the change in bullet shape/make, resulted in a 87 ft/sec change in average velocity! The huge extreme spread shown with the XTP handload is there due to but one shot. The rest were much closer together. Even so, most opine that a standard deviation of less than 50 ft/sec is satisfactory. I've run into this a time or two before using Unique and Blue Dot as well as other flake powders simply because they don't meter as well as some of the finer ones.

Shooting: Everything but the 25 yard shooting was done using two hands in a Weaver stance. The 15 yard groups were fired strictly single-action and were done slowly. The 25 yard shooting was done single-action and from a rest using both hands. The groups fired at 10 yards were fired two-handed in a Weaver stance and each set of either controlled pairs or double-taps were fired coming from a low ready position.

15 Yards: Each group consists of 5-shots except for the Hornady 124-gr. CQ Tap load. I only had 3 rounds of it left from a previous test. It is so marked near the target.

Note that at this distance, the extreme spreads and standard deviations shown in the previous data seems to have little bearing on accuracy. I cannot prove it, but I think the single-most important factor in whether or not a pistol groups as well as it can is whether or not it "likes" a particular bullet's shape, gilding metal content, LOA, etc.

Though the point of aim was the light-colored center of the target for all loads here, the lighter and faster bullets did have a slightly lower point of impact. This is something to remember when choosing a fixed sight pistol. Most have their sights regulated for the standard bullet weights in a given caliber.

I remained amazed that the Taurus/Beretta open slide, dropping block, pistols which have minimal support at the front of the barrel group as well as they do. The vast majority of '92's I've fired from either maker have been surprisingly accurate for field purposes.

25 Yards: One composite group was fired at twenty-five yards and this was done from a rest. Four different loads were used to let you see the differences in POI vs. POA. The aiming point was the light-colored dot in the center of the gray target.

Only the significantly lighter and faster PowRball showed a distinctly lower point of impact for the same aiming point. The other groups overlap. The PowRball load is hitting roughly 2 1/2" low @ 25 yards.

10 Yards: Using the targets I normally do for slow, deliberate accuracy testing at 25 yards, I did some of the "quick & dirty" type shooting favored by many or those more oriented toward the defensive aspects of pistol shooting. I fired one group of controlled pairs starting with the pistol cocked and locked and then one group with the first shot being fired double-action. There seems to be some different definitions of controlled pairs vs. double-taps or "hammers." Here is how they're defined for this report:

Controlled Pair: One flash sight picture for each shot. In other words, sight alignment is as quick as possible and may not be perfect, but the sights are used for each shot.

Double-Tap: One flash sight picture for each set of two shots. This is to say that the sights were used only for the first shot with muscle memory attempting to bring the pistol "on" for the second shot. This is quicker to be sure, but I suggest that it only be used at ranges that are very close.

Other than the one low errant shot for the single-action controlled pairs, that group would have been tighter. Even so, for me the transition from double to single action does not seem as tough as for others. That said, I do prefer a consistent trigger pull from start to finish and greatly prefer single-action automatics while other folks prefer the DAO semiautos

Though quicker, the double-tap is just not as accurate for me. Though not by much, I do consider each of the four hits outside the roughly 5" diameter target to be a miss.

I also tested two rounds in the "scientific water jug testing" which is performed simply by shooting the water jugs, lined up in a row, from about 20.' That distance is chosen so that the "calibrated" water doesn't splash on me so much.

The cartridge and recovered, expanded bullet on the left is Triton's 125-grain Hi Vel +P JHP. Impacting at an average velocity of 1301 ft/sec, the bullet did separate from the jacket and did fragment. I was not able to recover all of the fragmented pieces. Recovered bullet and jacket weighed 108.2 grains and the bullet only measured 0.50 x 0.58." The PMC Starfire 124-grain JHP expanded to 0.57 x 0.61" and the recovered bullet weighed 122.3 grains. For what it's worth, the Triton's impact was more "dramatic" than was the Starfire's. I have tested and shown the consistent results of the new Corbon PowRball in other tests so it was not done again.

Observations: As expected, there were no failures to feed, fire, or eject. This pistol has failed to feed one time since I've owned it and that was with a short, hot 88-grain JHP handload. It fired the other 99 of them with zero problems. It's never failed to function perfectly with any JHP or FMJ round weighing 100-grains or more. I have not tried any of the 147-gr. bullets in it so I cannot say how it handles them.

One thing that begs discussion is a comparison to the Beretta pistol from which it sprang.

Taurus PT-92 vs. Beretta 92FS: Whenever the PT-92 is discussed, the inevitable comparison to the current US military pistol comes up. Which is best? Is the Beretta worth the extra money? What are the differences in the two? These are the normal questions. I'll give you my views, but understand that I am not an aficionado of this design handgun compared to the CZ, Browning, or 1911. These are just my observations.

In terms of fit and finish, the Beretta wins. The Brunitron finish is durable and in my opinion better looking that the blued Taurus. I greatly prefer the frame-mounted thumb safeties on the Taurus to the Beretta's slide-mounted decocking safety. The Beretta has a chrome lined barrel interior which the Taurus does not.

The fixed sights on the Beretta are much easier to pick up at speed than those on the fixed sight Taurus PT-92. The trigger on the Taurus is more curved and to me, more comfortable than that on the Beretta. I prefer the Taurus pistols straight front grip strap rather than the slightly flared one toward the bottom of the Beretta. In actual shooting, I've noted no real difference in performance overall between the two. This could certainly not hold true for each and every example of each gun, but in general such has been the case.

If important to you, the Taurus PT-92 can be carried with the hammer down and the frame-mounted thumb safety in the "on" position such that even a double-action first shot could require disengaging the thumb safety first. Folks concerned about possibly losing control of their pistol in a physical confrontation might consider this a plus. I believe that some models of the Beretta allow the slide-mounted thumb safety to remain down unless physically pushed up to disengaged while others act only as decockers and are spring loaded to return to the "fire" position when released. Is the Beretta the better of the two? Probably, but it may be that the Taurus is "close enough" in certain things to make it a best buy for many. I prefer it to the Beretta Model 92 FS.

It is my understanding that the magazines between the two pistols can be interchanged, but some work has to be done on the magazine catch notches on the magazines. A gunsmith told me that the Beretta magazine release is not interchangeable with the Taurus, but I've never personally compared these parts.

Both the Taurus and the Beretta dispense with the common locking lugs and use a block that drops as the slide retracts to unlock the action. These can crack and should be checked/replaced about every 5000 rounds. At least that is what an ex-army friend of mine has told me and is something I've seen in print as well. This is easily done if necessary and not something to worry about.

The cut-away slide top common to both the Beretta and the Taurus PT-92/99 is said to allow for debris from firing to leave the pistol. It would appear that this also allows the fine sand of the Iraqi desert to enter the pistol and cause problems as well. Unless in such conditions, I don't think reliability is a problem with this type pistol.

I was told yesterday that my local dealer sells the PT-92 in a blue finish for $379.00, not counting tax. This brings to mind another quality pistol in that price range, the CZ-75B. A comparison between the two might be of use to folks interested in a 9mm pistol in this price range.

Taurus PT-92 vs. CZ-75B: The Taurus is wider and larger than the CZ, but is lighter. Both are extremely reliable with practically any JHP or ball round that will be used. The Taurus has an aluminum alloy frame while the CZ is all steel in the full-sized versions. Out of the box, the CZ-75B has better fixed sights in my opinion and is a more comfortable pistol. It uses the John M. Browning locking lug/tilting barrel design rather than that of the dropping block. It is more durable I suspect. Both have frame mounted thumb safeties but you have to go to the CZ-85 to get ambidextrous thumb safeties as come standard on the Taurus. Both have internal firing pin safeties and neither have magazine "safeties." With Pre-Ban magazines both use a 15 round double stack. Magazines will drop freely from the Taurus out of the box while the flat spring magazine brake must be adjusted or replaced on the CZ to get the same thing. There are more aftermarket parts for the CZ than the PT-92. Both pistols offer very good case support. I find the CZ less complex internally than the PT-92 but both have many more parts than do the single-action automatics I'm more accustomed to.

While I like the PT-92/99, I personally think the CZ is the better of the two simply because there are no concerns for replacing the block every 5K rounds, it has better sights, is simply more visually appealing to me, is flatter, and feels more comfortable to me. Others may disagree and even with the above, I truly like and trust my PT-92. This one will stay with me.

Here's another reason why.

It's well known amongst the pistol shooting community that failing to firmly hold a reliable automatic can sometimes result in malfunctions. Holding the pistol without sufficient resistance for the rearward movement of the slide to overcome the recoil spring's tension is sometimes called "limp wristing."

The PT-92 does not appear prone to this at all! I've tried this in the past and today's test continued to show 100% reliability with the PT-92. I used "hot" Triton loads as well as the lightly-loaded PMC Starfires. Holding the gun as loosely as I could without dropping it in recoil, I fired 10 rounds of both types of ammo. The pistol worked fine each and every shot. This will routinely make a perfect running 1911 either fail to fully extract a round or fail to chamber. You have to "work" at it, but it can be done. This might be considered important for a person having diminished strength or physical disability and wanting to use the semiautomatic for defense. Even the weakest grip seems not to affect the feeding or extraction of the PT-92.

Though not necessarily the "best" choice, the PT-92 loaded with the extremely low-recoiling PMC 124-gr. Starfire JHP ammunition might make a viable choice for someone with physical disability or diminished strength. Even with an extremely light hold, the pistol shown was 100% reliable.

If you simply prefer the "M9" look or the open top slide, I think the Taurus PT-92/99 series of 9mm handguns have much to recommend them. They're probably not the vehicle in which to see just how fast the 9mm bullet can be shot and without question are not going to handle nearly so many rounds as a 1911 between "tune ups," but they are fun pistols to shoot and in the vast majority of examples, reliable as can


The Taurus PT-92 is easy to field strip for cleaning. I've shot this one up to about 700 rounds in the past before cleaning. It caused no malfunctions, but cannot be recommended. Keep your pistol, whatever the make, clean between range sessions.

Shooting primarily standard velocity ammunition in mine, I'm not adverse to loading it with the warmer stuff for testing and self-protection. With an extra block in the parts bin just in case, one can shoot these pistols quite a lot and even the already-light 9mm felt recoil is minimal in these pistols.

Though they are not perfect, I do think they're quite decent for many within the shooting community and best buys simply because they almost always work fine right out of the box.


*I received this information and wanted to more accurately relate Imbel's history:

Correction about Imbel Dear Stephen,

First of all, congrats on the wealth of information on your site. I've spent quite a long time reading through your gun reviews. You certainly are worthy of praise when it comes to knowing your guns.

One thing, however, caught my attention. In the article entitled "A Critical Look at the Taurus PT-92", you start by stating that Imbel stopped producing the 1911 clones in 1973. That info is not quite accurate.

Imbel, which is controlled by the Brazilian army, but only partially owned by it, actually never stopped producing the 1911. In fact, they make one of the most reliable 1911's I know.

The unofficial story is as follows:

In 1973, all the Brazilian armed forces used the 1911 in .45, either made by Imbel or from a special contract with Colt. They then decided to move to the 9x19. Taurus presented a solution that was the PT-92, which had great acceptance between the armed forces. Imbel, in turn, presented a 1911-clone chambered for 9x19. The Imbel M973 was born.

The armed forces were divided. What followed is that both guns were adopted, one of the dumbest moves ever made. Although the original version of the M973 held 7+1 rounds, the current version uses a double-stack magazine (compatible with the Para-Ordnance P18-9 magazine) that holds 19+1 rounds.

Since 1988 95% of the guns (rifles, machine guns and pistols) bought by the Brazilian Armed Forces are from Imbel.

The Imbel 1911, however, continued being produced for the civil and law-enforcement markets, and their line of 1911's have broadened. Today Imbel makes over 20 models of 1911, in .380 ACP, 9mm, .38 Super, .40 and .45. Most of Imbel's production is made for Springfield Armory. In Brazil the demand for Imbel pistols is very high, since they have proved themselves over and over in IPSC competitions. I have 3 of them.

Here are 2 links with more info about Imbel (both have English versions):

Thursday, August 10, 2006

More Articles By Stephen Camp

A Critical Look at the CZ-75

The CZ-75 and its "off-spring" have caught on with shooters not only in the US, but also wherever handgunners have any choice in their personal sidearm. This all steel recoil-operated, locked breech, semiautomatic handgun was originally brought out in 9x19mm and that's the caliber we'll be looking at in this article. Pre-Ban magazines are conventional double-stack and holds 15 rounds of ammunition. The pistol has fixed sights in normal trim and is conventionally rifled with a 1:10 twist in its 4.72" barrel.

This conventional double-action/single-action pistol also has a frame mounted thumb safety of ample size that allows for "Condition One" (cocked and locked) carry which is very popular among many serious carriers. The pistol is 8" long and came with black plastic grips, a generous tang, and a hammer with an equally generous spur. The thumb safety, magazine release button, and slide stop lever are not ambidextrous on the CZ-75 as a rule, but at least one exception to this exists in a transitional model when the gun was evolving from the earlier version to the CZ-75B. This work focuses on a Pre-B CZ-75, but whenever possible, I will make comparisons to the CZ-75B, the model sold today. Not discussed will be the CZ-85, 97, nor other versions, but they do have much in common with the CZ-75.

This 2.2-lb. pistol was apparently brought out for sale beyond the Iron Curtain as 9x19mm was not used by communist regimes in Europe. Because of unpleasantness between communist countries and the United States, we could not get the pistol in this country except on a sporadic basis and importation was an "on again-off again" type affair. Some paid pretty hefty prices for an example of the gun that Jeff Cooper had dubbed the "world's best service nine." Its appeal was rivaled by its scarcity! (Mercifully, this has reversed in recent years and the CZ-75B and CZ handguns in general represent "best buys" in my opinion.)

The pistol used for this report is a Pre-B pistol, but is not one of the earliest with the shorter slide rails and crude ring hammers. It does have the customary half-cock notch although some of the earliest pistols did not. Slide rails measure approximately 5.5."

In the Pre-B pistols, the fixed sights tended toward the past. In other words, they were smallish and hard to see, particularly if you're in a hurry. The rear sight on any CZ-75 is relatively high for the short front sight. (Current CZ-75B pistols have fixed sights that are easier to see at speed than the Pre-B.)

The recoil spring guide in the Pre-B is steel and not a "full length" type affair. It's similar to the standard GI recoil spring guide found in the 1911 and unlike the Browning Hi Power, it does not apply downward tensioning of the slide stop lever. While the slide stop lever shaft passes through the rear of the Browning Hi Power spring guide, the CZ's does not. It's more like that found on the 1911.

These two CZ-75 pistols are Pre-B versions. The one on the left has had Novak fixed sights added and the barrel and some internal parts hard chromed. The one on the right is practically stock, although it has been refinished. Note the smallish front sight on that CZ compared to the other. CZ-75B pistols have solved the "small sight" problem on their current pistols. Both of these guns have spur hammers, which have been bobbed to prevent hammer bite. In the rear of the magazine well is a bowed flatspring. This is often called a "magazine brake" and does prevent the magazine dropping free when released. It's easily removed, the bow removed, and magazines will then fall free. Some folks just remove the brake, but this is a mistake as some have found out when quickly loading their CZ's. A raised portion of the frame normally behind the brake can damage the rear top of the magazine.

For this report, I'll provide shooting results from both of these pistols.

The CZ-75 uses a one-piece feed ramp and the pistol offers very good chamber support.

CZ-75 barrels do not come hard chromed. Armalloy of Ft. Worth, Texas, did this one.

Note the wide ramp and the very good chamber support. "Kabooms" with the CZ are very unlikely. Note the protrusion at the top of the barrel ala Browning Hi Power.

The factory standard for the 9mm CZ-75 recoil spring is 14-lbs. with a 20-lb. mainspring compared to a 17-lb. recoil spring for the 9mm Browning Hi Power and 32-lb. mainspring. The 5" Colt 1911 in 9mm uses a 14-lb. recoil spring and a 23-lb. factory standard set for the mainspring. Thus, the factory CZ-75 requires the cartridge to provide enough momentum to overcome at least 34 pounds compared to 49 and 37 for the Hi Power and 1911, respectively. I find this interesting, as the Hi Power slide would come closer to the weight of the CZ than would the more massive 1911. Be that as it may, the CZ has proven to be an extremely durable 9mm service pistol.

At this point, it should be mentioned that there have been several complaints concerning the breaking of the slide stop in some CZ-75B 9mm pistols. Mike Eagleshield, gunsmith at CZ-USA, has stated that the 14-lb. recoil springs frequently were not and sometimes closer to 10 or 12! He recommended at least a 14-lb. Wolff conventional recoil spring and perhaps up to about 16 pounds. I use a Wolff conventional 18-lb. recoil spring in my CZ-75 pistols as well as a shock buffer from Buffer Technologies. (Wolff can be found at and Buffer Technologies at if interested.) Some report ejection problems with the 18-lb. spring so it might be better to go with something in the 16-lb. range if you primarily shoot standard pressure ammunition. My pistols work fine with the 18-lb. spring, but have been used quite a lot might be slicked up enough that I don't get the ejection problems mentioned by others. Most standard pressure loads eject the hulls about 4' to the right with the hotter stuff going about twice that distance.

The CZ-75 pistols do not have removable barrel bushings and the guns are internally more complex than either the 1911 or the Hi Power, but the 44- part design seems to be a reliable one as I've owned and shot these pistols since the early '80's with zero small parts breakage or reliability issues…with one exception. One the CZ having the original fixed sights, a certain "hot" handload would routinely fail to feed. To cut to the chase, replacing the factory magazine spring with a Wolff +10% spring solved the problem. With that change, the problem went away and has not reappeared. If you're experiencing any such problems, that might be the cure for you as well.

Internally the CZ-75 is more complex than the single-action automatic preferred by many, including myself. You can also see tool marks here and there. Be that as it may, the pistols have been around about a quarter of a century and seem to be having no problems. They would be more difficult to detail strip in the field than a few, but if that's not a major concern, I believe that arguments against the pistol are more theoretical than practical.

The CZ-75 has internal slide rails, just the reverse of the majority of semiautomatics on the market today. In other words, the slide is contained within the frame rather than riding outside it. Frame to slide to is not nearly so tight as on the Hi Power, 1911, or practically any quality automatic you can name, but the CZ-75B pistols do seem tighter in the examples I've seen than the Pre-B pistols.

The frame to slide fit as shown at the front of the frame and dust cover is not very tight by most standards, but the slide to barrel fit is extremely tight. How much the former contributes to inherent mechanical accuracy is unknown to me, but unless your shooting is done from a Ransom rest, the CZ-75 will prove to be a very accurate shooter. Groups I've seen fired from a mechanical rest where there's no adjustment between shots via the sights have been larger than with several other makes of 9mm pistol.

Here's the slide to frame fit from the rear. The sharp-eyed will notice that the long curved hammer spur has been trimmed a bit to prevent hammer bite. This is not a concern on the CZ-75B pistols as they come with a ring hammer.

Some have opined that the CZ-75 is a poorly made handgun because the internal finish is rough. I respectfully disagree. They are rough internally, but this has never caused me any problems and the CZ-75 pistols I've shot have consistently had long, but smooth double-action trigger pulls and very usable single-action trigger pulls. Because of their design, even in single-action, pressing the trigger will cam the hammer back a very small distance before releasing it. Mercifully, this pistol does not come with a magazine "safety" and the single-action trigger pull is almost always considerably lighter than the Hi Power's out of the box. The CZ trigger pull is somewhat "mushy," but the gun will "shoot," but don't expect to have a crisp single-action trigger pull like that of a 1911 or a tuned Hi Power.

I have consistently found these pistols to be accurate. They will not match the SIG P-210 nor the FN Competition or a target-grade custom 1911, but like the Hi Power, they will be capable of accuracy that is beyond most shooters, particularly under field conditions or if under the stress of a gun fight.

This 15 yard slow fire target was fired with the CZ-75 with Novak fixed sights.

So was this one. It was extremely hot when these groups were fired and I wasn't for sure if the first group fired with the Remington UMC was me or the ammo. It was me as the second group at the lower right shows.

Using Fiocchi's 123-grain FMJTC round, the CZ did plenty good enough for me at 25 yards. The group was fired seated and using a rest.

In slow fire, the CZ-75 with the small factory sights did not prove unsatisfactory. This 15 yard group consists of a full magazine of 115-grain Fiocchi FMJ. I have never noted any instances of "first round flyer" with any CZ-75 I've ever fired in either 9mm or .40 S&W.

This group was done in rapid-fire using the smallish sights. This is tougher than with more easily seen sights such as the Novaks on a different CZ or those from the factory on the current CZ-75B's.

I did pull one using the CZ with the better sights. That was me and not the pistol, of course. This group was 8-sets of controlled pairs from 10 yards. Like most pistols having double stack magazines and a wide front grip strap, the gun can become slippery with sweaty hands. This is the bane of any such pistol not having stippling, checkering, or something to provide secure purchase with wet hands. Unfortunately, my CZ-75 pistols do have smooth front grip straps.

I have found the CZ-75 to be extremely reliable with the vast majority of JHP ammunition I've tried in them. Here are the average velocities, extreme spreads, and standard deviations for several factory loads. Measurements were taken with the pistol's muzzle being approximately 10' from the chronograph screens and figures are based on 10-shot strings.

Ammunition: ` Average Velocity (ft/sec)

Aguila 65-grain IQ 1492

Extreme Spread: 24

Std. Deviation: 12

Corbon 100-grain PowRball +P 1431

Extreme Spread: 50

Std. Deviation: 24

PMP 115-grain FMJ 1076

Extreme Spread: 42

Std. Deviation: 14

Remington 115-grain UMC FMJ 1186

Extreme Spread: 38

Std. Deviation: 11

Fiocchi 115-grain FMJ 1132

Extreme Spread: 73

Std. Deviation: 24

Federal 115-grain JHP 1151

Extreme Spread: 43

Std. Deviation: 15

Fiocchi 123-grain FMJTC "Combat" 1061

Extreme Spread: 61

Std. Deviation: 21

Federal 124-grain Nyclad HP 1162

Extreme Spread: 27

Std. Deviation: 12

Hornady 124-grain CQ (XTP) JHP 1153

Extreme Spread: 52

Std. Deviation: 19

Triton 125-grain Hi Vel JHP +P 1266

Extreme Spread: 69

Std. Deviation: 25

Corbon 125-grain JHP +P 1194

Extreme Spread: 17

Std. Deviation: 8

Winchester RA9TA 127-grain +P+ 1285

Extreme Spread: 70

Std. Deviation: 29

I was somewhat surprised with the sub-1200 ft/sec with the Corbon 125-grain JHP as it normally exceeds 1200 ft/sec from both my CZ and Browning pistols. Note the extreme uniformity in the load. I was also taken back by the better consistency shown in the PMP ammunition. This recent stuff has normally grouped poorly in other 9mm pistols. The figures are from ammo having the same lot number. I reckon I'll just shoot it in my CZ 9mm pistols.

For those interested, there is information on this site concerning other JHP ammo when fired into water. There are better sites for detailed analysis of such things, but I went ahead and fired the Hornady CQ 124-grain into water from the CZ as well as Corbon's PowRball.

Here's what happened:

Fired into water from the CZ-75 shown, the Corbon PowRball impacted at an average velocity of 1431 ft/sec. The bullet weighed 77.4 grains and the expanded slug measured 0.65x0.66." The jacket fragmented and not one piece could be found. The weight of the PowRball includes the small lead fragment shown to the left of the bullet. The standard pressure and heavier Hornady impacted at approx. 1153 ft/sec. The recovered bullet including the small fragment weighed 120.1 grains and measured 0.52x0.54."

In short, I've had extremely positive results with the CZ-75 pistols I have owned and shot over the long-term and have no problems at all in recommending them to others with but one caveat: Test any handgun before relying on it for any serious purpose.

Main differences between the CZ-75 and 75B include an internal firing pin safety on the latter, as well as some cosmetic changes like the B's hooked trigger guard as well as thumb safety lever and slide stop. There is also a slightly different contour on the trigger face and has been mentioned the B has sights that are easier to pick up at speed.

As there have been some breakage complaints of the roll pin that retains the B's firing pin rather than the traditional retaining plate, I would use a snap cap if dry firing the CZ-75B or any other CZ handgun with a "B" designation.

The shape of this Pre-B thumb safety lever has been changed in the B version, as has the slide release lever. The B's also have ring hammers. The slide serrations on the Pre-B are vertical while they're angled slightly forward on the new guns.

The CZ-75 pistols be they "B" or not are world class service pistols in my experience and opinion. That they can be purchased easier and less expensively these days than in the past is a good thing as far as I 'm concerned. If you like doing lots of shooting, there are certainly many fine 9mm semiautomatics from which to choose. If I could not use a Browning Hi Power, I would use a CZ-75.

The CZ-75 remains a real favorite in my collection of 9mm handguns. This one's taken a javelina or two and I would not be afraid to use it for serious matters, either.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Stephen Camp - Part II

Best Buys in Handguns, Part II: CZ and Ruger

By Stephen Camp

A gentleman Emailed, suggesting that these two makers be included in the "best buy" category. I'd been planning to do the CZ pistols, but realized that his suggestion on the other maker was a very valid one. I currently only own one Ruger firearm and it's a rifle, but I will give you my impressions of the Ruger handgun line in general based on my observations after shooting many over the years.

If anything, the Ruger handguns are durable. The ones I've shot have consistently been plenty accurate and this covers the gamut from .22 single-action revolvers and automatics through the Super Redhawk in .454 Casull. Ruger centerfire automatics in their P-Series have always been reliable in my experiences with them as a police firearm instructor and normally capable of better accuracy than 99.99 % of the shooting public. I do not recall any feeding problems and the guns are built like tanks. While I don't think they have "good looks," that is subjective and other folks may think they look fine while still others don't care in the least. I do think the fixed sights on their autoloaders could be a bit larger. All Ruger centerfire automatics are conventional DA/SA unless you get one in DAO. None of them offer "Condition One" or cocked-and-locked carry options. They can be had with safeties that act strictly as safeties, but the decocker-only option is available as well. In other words, the safety lever is depressed and drops the hammer safely, but when released, springs back into the fire position. Ruger semiautomatics can be had in aluminum alloy frames or polymer. I've noted no advantages or disadvantages to either. These pistols do not have magazine disconnects.

Ruger handguns in these calibers are thicker than Colt, Browning, or CZ pistols. They will be more in line with widths from Beretta, Glock, and SIG-Sauer and this might be a consideration for lawful concealed carry, but wouldn't matter one wit for uniform carry, hunting, home protection, or range visits. None will come with magazines holding more than ten rounds in view of today's (utterly ridiculous) law.

Every .22 automatic pistol I've ever shot from this company has worked reliably out of the box and these will shoot with surprisingly fine accuracy when mated with the particular .22 ammo they "like." A shooting buddy of mine has one that matches what my S&W Model 41 will do, at least out to twenty-five yards. Trust me that these make excellent twenty-two's for plinking, range work, small game, or just knocking around in the wild.

My favorite Ruger handguns (besides the .22 autos) have to be their double-action revolvers with their single-action "Matt Dillon guns" (revolvers) not far behind at all! I do not think you can beat the Ruger SP-101 for durability in a small .357 magnum for the guy who intends to shoot nothing but full-house magnum loads. Out of the box, the double-action is not usually as good as the Smith & Wesson, but I've seen some extremely fine double-action pulls put on these guns by competent gunsmiths. The GP-100 is another really good shooting .357 mag and one that will take the hotter loads from both the factory and loading bench with ease. Ruger DA revolvers are extremely easy to fieldstrip as well. There are many variations of this model as well as others.

Ruger's stainless steel SP-101 is a very favored .357 snub for many users. While heavy, they are tough and capable of thousands of full-house magnum loads.

The single-action revolvers in .45 Colt are personal favorites and these can be loaded to much warmer performance levels than can be S&W revolvers, something that matters to many hunting with this caliber.

In short, to my eye, these are not the most elegant of handguns, but they do work and they do last. For this reason, I rate them "best buys." I truly believe these handguns are capable of lasting more than one generation of shooters if given at least a minimum of care.

So why don't I own more? Simple; I hate Ruger's policy that makes spare parts all but impossible for the private owner and more than a little difficult for gunsmiths to obtain. They want guns needing parts changes sent to them. These days that is expensive and what's worse is that if you've had a trigger job or internal change made, rest assured that Ruger will replace your altered parts with stock ones. This means that your trigger job is gone. The "good" side is that some parts, particularly for the rimfires, can be purchased from other sources. You're also not very likely to have much break, but if you do and the gun goes to the factory, I want you to be aware of what will happen concerning altered internal parts.

If interested in more on the Ruger line of handguns, you can check out their site at

Handguns (and rifles) made by CZ have gained significant use and popularity in recent years. I'd bet that this Czech Republic manufacturer's most popular seller is the CZ-75B. This is an updated version of the original CZ-75 9mm pistol, though it's now available in both that caliber and .40, as well.

For those not aware, the original CZ-75 was the "forbidden fruit" when the West learned of its existence as Czechoslovakia was behind the "Iron Curtain," and did not have trade status with the US. While the pistol itself was a very good design, being almost impossible to get increased its allure many times. During the early '80's, many paid much more to have a copy of this 9mm pistol that is required today.

The pictures to be shown of the CZ-75 will be of the Pre-B version. Primary differences between it and today's CZ-75B are:

· High visibility sights on the CZ-75B that are both dovetailed in

· Internal firing pin safety on the CZ-75B

· Slightly altered slide stop lever and thumb safety

· Hooked trigger guard

· Different stocks

Additionally, there are some dimensional changes in the magazine well of the B gun. While my Pre-B pistols work fine with both CZ and older TZ magazines, those by some aftermarket manufacturers like ProMag will not even go into the Pre-B magazine well, but work fine in CZ's current pistols.

Neither version has a magazine disconnect.

This Pre B CZ-75 9mm has a spur hammer and smaller fixed sights while the B version has much more visible sights and a ring hammer. (Some did come with spur hammers.) This gun does not have the hooked trigger guard common to the CZ-75B. The contour on the Pre-B's trigger face is slightly more rounded as well.

These are original stocks common to the CZ-75 pistols made well before CZ-USA existed. The CZ-75B comes with plastic stocks, but they're checkered and thicker than these.

In this picture, you can see the sear and hammer hooks of a Pre-B CZ-75. The hammer is cocked, but pressing the trigger even in the single-action mode will cam the hammer back very slightly before releasing it to fire. This makes a crisp trigger pull on the CZ a bit more difficult to obtain than on other pistols. Still, very good trigger pulls can be had and in my experience, both double and single action trigger pulls on both the Pre-B and CZ-75B pistols are very good. It is my observation that the double-action pulls on the Pre-B pistols are usually smoother.

As most are aware, the CZ-75 pistols have reversed slide rails. In other words, the slide rides inside the frame rather than the frames slide rails being covered by the slide as is the case with the 1911, SIG-Sauer, and most other semiautomatics. I'm not sure that this contributes significantly to intrinsic mechanical accuracy, but it does allow for longer slide rails. The only negative I can note is that there's less slide exposed for malfunction clearing or racking the slide. Fortunately, CZ-75 handguns are extremely reliable.

On the Pre-B's, the firing pin is retained by the traditional firing pin retaining plate as is the case with such pistols as the Browning Hi Power and Colt Government Model. On the CZ-75B, the internal firing pin safety required a different manner of retention and that's now down with a horizontally mounted roll pin in the slide. It catches in a notch on the firing pin and keeps it in the pistol. In the one CZ-75B pistol I owned, there were neither problems with accuracy or reliability, but the internal firing pin safety did mess up the single-action trigger pull right at the break. I'm sure this could've been minimized by a gunsmith or by some careful polishing of parts, but I prefer the older guns and the B was in .40 S&W, a caliber I'm not so fond of. I sold the pistol.

New or like new CZ-75 Pre-B pistols can still be found in the four to five hundred dollar range and I think they're well worth the money. CZ-75B pistols can be found for four hundred or a bit less and are well worth the money. Should you get one of the B pistols, I'd use a snap cap if dry firing as there are not infrequent reports of the firing pin breaking or the roll pin that holds it. Fortunately, customer support at CZ-USA is extremely good and you can get spare parts reasonably and without the hassles of Ruger.

It's been my observation that the CZ-75B and its variants such as the CZ-85B are extremely reliable, tough handguns capable of better than average accuracy at a most reasonable price. Combine that with the super support shown by the importer and you have a "best buy."

I’m also extremely fond of the company's "sub compact" CZ-83. While a few were offered in .32 ACP and 9x18mm Makarov, the majority are chambered for .380 ACP. This is not a small pistol and certainly not a "sub compact" for its caliber as there are many 9mm and forty-caliber pistols that are smaller. In my opinion, if having the smallest size possible in .380 is not important for you, this is probably the best .380 ACP pistol made. I find it much more pleasant to shoot than any of the Walther .380's and like the double action trigger pull much better than that on the excellent Beretta Model 84.

Like the CZ-75, the CZ-83 is a double-action pistol that is also capable of cocked and locked carry if desired. These are extremely reliable pistols and all that I have shot have been exceptionally accurate as well. Both use double-stack magazines and both were originally capable of holding more than the 10 rounds we're limited to today. I particularly hate the Philips head screws used to attach the current CZ pistol grips. The CZ-83 is a straight blowback design.

Out of the box, the CZ-83 will have a lighter and smoother double-action trigger pull than will the Makarov in most instances. The CZ-83 does not have the magazine "safety" so common on handguns today and its firing pin is retained with the tradition retaining plate; there is no internal firing pin safety. The firing pin on the CZ-75/85 series of handguns is inertial as it is on the CZ-83.

CZ also makes and imports a .45 ACP pistol in the form of the CZ-97B. This double-stack forty-five has a ten-round magazine and operates in the same manner as the CZ-75B. It is larger. It is an extremely accurate pistol and has a removable, screw-in barrel bushing. These pistols feel larger than they are, but are actually about the size of the 5" 1911. There have been some complaints about their reliability when JHP ammo is used instead of ball, but this is easily corrected at home by some judicious polishing of the one-piece feed ramp. If all else fails, the pistol can be sent to CZ-USA's gunsmith, Mike Eagleshield. (He also is very good at trigger jobs on CZ handguns.)

All of the CZ handguns that I've fired have been very accurate and in most cases, the fixed sights were dead on out of the box. The CZ-75B in forty was more accurate over a wider range of loads than was my Mk III Hi Power in that caliber.

Finish is not going to match a polished high-dollar custom pistol and the Beretta has a better polished blue on those pistols still having that as an option, but mechanically, the CZ pistols are every bit their equals and in my experience more accurate in the full-size 9mm versions.

They are tough, accurate, and in my opinion, good looking pistols.

In my CZ-75 9mm pistols, I suggest the use of Wolff conventional recoil springs. My pistols are well broken in and work fine with an 18-lb. spring using both standard and +P ammunition, but you might consider a 16 or 17-lb. spring if you have a new pistol and/or intend to shoot primarily standard pressure loads.

This CZ-75 is plenty accurate enough for me. This group was fired at 25 yards using factory Winchester ball ammunition. Bar-Sto does offer match grade barrels for those desiring such.

Not a Camp Perry class target pistol, this CZ-83 in .380 ACP provided better than expected accuracy as this 25 yard target shows. The load used was Federal 90-grain Hydrashok. This gun did malfunction and fail to feed precisely one time. It did it with the Hydrashok, but has never done it since. It has never worked less than 100% with any other .380 load tried.

If you're interested in CZ pistols, you might take a look over at . They have full size pistols and several variations on the CZ-75 "theme." They also have compact versions of the model.

CZ also offers their .22 "Kadet" conversion unit that fits the CZ-75 and 85 pistols. This has proven reliable and accurate in my experience and one is sitting on a Pre-B CZ-75 as this is written.

Again, I've shot quite a few examples from each of the makers and have done so over a period of several years. While I've not shot every model both offers, I believe that both offer extremely good value and are well worth the costs. Should you be interested in any of the handguns offered by Ruger or CZ, I'd sure encourage you to take a critical look at the models offered on their sites.




Sunday, August 06, 2006

Stephen Camp

The "Old" and the "New"

By Stephen Camp

I prefer to believe that others who have been shooting longer than I have are reading this board now and again. It makes me feel younger. I know some that came down the trail a bit after I did are and there are some that have just gotten into handgunning while others have been in the shooting community a few years.

Primarily associated with the devotees of the Browning Hi Power and to a lesser degree, the 1911 and CZ-75, I receive correspondence, Emails, and questions on the Internet forums concerning various other pistols and revolvers with which I've had some experience. I'll bet some of you do, too.

Every now and again, I get a query that goes something like this: "Do you think that the older Hi Powers are better than the new ones?" Similar questions might be asked concerning other makes and models, but not quite so frequently.

This is not as simple a question as some might initially believe.

Let's look at the criteria concerning both current designs as well as what it was 25 or more years ago. While doing this, let's also take a look at the differences in handguns that have resulted not only from the evolving expectations not only from the "seasoned" shooters (sounds better than "old"), but the younger folks who do represent the future of the shooting sports. We'll need to toss greatly expanded lawful concealed carry into the mix as well.

General Expectations in the Past: Consider the gun shops of the '50's and '60's in your mind's eye. Some of you remember, but others will need to imagine. (We won't even dredge up the barrels literally full of Lugers and P-38's that could be had for a song!) In the glass cases, you'd see S&W revolvers of several types, calibers, and sizes. With the exception of something like the Model 28 "Highway Patrolman," all would have a beautiful, high-gloss blue finish and you'd see only wooden grips. All barrels were pinned and in "appropriate" chamberings, the cylinder chambers, recessed. You'd also see Colt revolvers and the finish and blue on the early Pythons had to be seen to be truly appreciated. You'd see quite a few more nickel-plated revolvers back then as well. You did not see Taurus and Ruger's handguns were pretty much his little .22 standard with the Bearcat following a few years ahead.

It is my recollection, that Americans bought revolvers in greater numbers than autos back then. I know the police did. Beautiful blue Colt Commercial Government Models could be found, almost always in .45 ACP, but some could be found in .38 Super. Browning Hi Powers were not nearly so popular. You'd see a Commander or two with the brown, checkered plastic stocks and you didn't have to ask if it was a "light weight" as the all-steel Combat Commander had yet to be born.

Ammunition choices were "easier," too. You could get about any thirty-eight special you wanted as long as it 158-grain LRN, maybe a box of wadcutters could be found and on occasion the Winchester 200-grain "Super Police." In .45 ACP, you'd find 230-grain FMJ, the "army load" although it might be from Winchester or Remington. I really don't remember much about Federal ammo from back then, but in the '70's, lots of folks liked "Federal match hardball."

Prices that seem cheap now were not then and the purchase of a quality handgun was expected to "hurt" some and was something most of us saved and saved for. My first handgun was actually bought by my dad for me, but with strict guidelines for its use, and I do mean strict. I worked two months for the $37.50 that the new one cost.

It seems to me that the older handguns could be looked at as "art forms." Wood was chosen for its richness, grain, and good looks and wood-to-fit was considered "important." Many wanted and expected their firearms to look good.

This old Colt Agent is a revolver I purchased never intending to carry or shoot +P ammunition in. It's just a classic old design that I want own and admire for the times it represents and the memories of a different time where things were so much different than today. Considered a standard for the time, many would say that it lacking today considering the more potent calibers, loads, and action-types available for the defensive-minded. If seen at all these days, the Agent or others of its genre are used as back-up guns. In earlier times, this might very well have been a detective's sole handgun.

I sort of think that people shot their handguns less then than now. A fellow might buy a Colt Government Model or "forty-five automatic" and shoot it a little and then either load and put it away or empty it and do the same thing. Certainly, there were exceptions, but I don't seem to remember people ever wearing out guns back then.

I bought this S&W Model 19 for my father in the early '70's. It has recessed chambers and a pinned barrel and a pretty decent action. The blue is impeccable. The stocks have been changed, but this S&W was built in a different time when ideas on what was "important" differed from what's expected these days.

This S&W Model 27 represents and old and revered revolver. It's 3 1/2" barrel is distinctive as was the checkering on the top strap. This particular revolver shows movement from the "old" to the "new." Even though the design is a "classic," this gun does not have the pinned barrel nor recessed chambers. Concessions to increased competition were being made in terms of departing from some traditions. In a practical sense, this revolver shoots just as well as the older ones I've owned.

Expectations Today: This is kind of interesting. Some of today's shooters still want the classic designs, but they want them to group better than in the past, to be 100% reliable with any and all of the ammo choices we now have, and the "shooters" expect them to last. Of course, the price must be "right," too.

This STI Trojan evolved from the "GI forty-five." Where the old Government Model had the same length barrel, it was not stainless steel, nor was it match fitted and the bushing was not fitted to the slide. Sears were not wire-cut and triggers were steel…even though this meant a really light trigger-pull in the range possible on this Trojan was impossible. Unless you have one custom made, you had two choices in grip safeties, the standard one on the 5" gun or the short one for the Commander. Slide serrations were exclusively at the rear, not angled, and very narrow. Full-length guide rods were not heard of. While I do appreciate and admire the old 1911s and do believe that they looked sharp, today's offer more out of the box for the shooter. This one has adjustable sights, extended thumb safety, stippled front strap, beavertail safety and other features not even considered by the vast number of yesterday's gun owners and none of the factories. If the slide serrations fore and aft are wide (and ugly in my opinion), they are easier to clean and machine. They perform the same function they always did. Colt's National Match and later, the Gold Cup, were built for competitive shooters, but some had light slide for light loads. The front sight used the small tenon and would frequently leave the gun! Today's guns have front sights that are dovetailed in and able to take wheelbarrows full of ammunition.

This old National Match has been "updated." Though the gun had barely been fired when I bought it, the surface had not been cared for. This one's been matte blued and an Ed Brown beavertail safety and a lightweight hammer and trigger added. I appreciate its classic looks, but do appreciate today's advances at the same time.

As is mentioned elsewhere on this site, I saw my first Browning Hi Power about 1969 and eventually got one a couple of years later. While I appreciate the fine blue finish and much better trigger pulls, as a user, I've come to prefer the much less elegantly finished Hi Powers of today, the Mk III and its brethren. The newer Hi Power is much more reliable with a wide variety of ammunition types out of the box and if you don't get the red-interior, black leather pouch with today's gun, you get better sights and extended thumb safeties. That said, the older ones uniformly had better trigger pulls. I also think that the cast frames are tougher. That said, I still own, appreciate and use some Hi Powers from that other time. "Number 1" is such a pistol as is "Number 2," shown below.

Several decades ago, I had some custom work done on this '72 commercial Hi Power. Since this picture was taken, I've replaced the Spegel grips shown with its original checkered walnut factory stocks. This pistol is reliable and accurate, but some work was required to get the reliability that we've come to expect of the current Hi Power.

While a few little things have been done to this Mk III, nothing's been necessary in terms of reliability and the fixed sights that are standard now, are much better for the defensive, "practical" shooting done so much today.

I fall into the class of older shooter that likes what he likes and for the most part, that's the older designs. Could this be because that's what I learned on? Might that be true for many of us? It very well may be and frankly, there's not one damned thing wrong with it.

Other folks views on what's important may be the same in terms of reliability and some may want pretty good accuracy, but quite a few tend to the "form follows function" view of things. A prime example is the Glock. Today, these are proven pistols that have seen huge inroads in both police and military service. In the beginning, many of us old traditional pistoleros thought they were a joke and about as ugly as sin. I'll admit it; I was wrong. Though not perfect as the company's logo might like us to believe, they are functional and probably about as resistant to corrosion and hard use as anything the pistol world's seen. Though evident that "looks" were not a high priority for Gaston Glock, he did come out with a pistol made from unorthodox materials and a protective finish second to none in durability. It ain't no high-gloss polished blue, though! On the other hand, a fingerprint doesn't turn to rust on the Glock, either. HK's USP series, and now Springfield Armory's XD pistols are more examples of firearms meeting the set parameters of the "modern" handgunner

Looking at the "outdated" revolver, consider today's Smith & Wesson vs. yesterdays. All that I'm aware of either have matte finishes, or are of stainless steel and some are being constructed of titanium rather than exclusively steel or a combination of steel and aluminum alloy. I sure that to the S&W collector and admirer of the traditional guns, they are a step down, but guess what? It's been my experience that the timing is uniformly better from the factory and if the finish is not as pretty, it is more durable. The guns are capable of handling hotter loads than in years past as well.

You get the idea and rather than just prattle on, let me suggest that one can like and appreciate both the classic models and the newer examples of current handgunnery. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a fellow enjoying is 1930 commercial Government Model with ball handloads at the range while relying on a Glock 21 for protection. What's wrong with maintaining a collection of old revolvers, but using a new one for protection?

Which is better? Depends on what you call better.