It's 2012, and despite the impending end of the Mayan calendar, this year is shaping up to be a stellar year for new handguns. Every manufacturer out there is acutely aware that carry guns are the new norm, that we all want something light, powerful, easy-to-carry and not expensive. And that we are more than willing to move down the gun-shop counter until we find what we want. Gone are the days when manufacturers could issue a few new/not-so-new models, call it "done" and wait for us to pony up the cash for something "close enough."
With the best manufacturers now making handguns on all-computerized systems (CAD/CAM to CNC to your local gun shop) the new normal is more handguns than you can shake a stick at. Here's a brief look at eight handguns that will be the topic of conversation in 2012, some we've already heard about and others that were previously just blog fodder and forum rumors.
Glock 21 Gen4
Glock? Who doesn't have a Glock? How about the latest generation of Glocks -- the Gen4
-- in .45 ACP? A new recoil system, extractor, the RTF surface and a reversible mag catch for you southpaws should spark your interest. If that isn't enough, a hell-for-tough .45 ACP pistol with 13-round magazines should pique your gunny instincts. Alas, old magazines won't work, but Glock magazines have never been expensive, so stock up with a bunch more.
The two-barrel derringer is now a century-and-a-half old, and most of the designs out there are not much more than slightly updated copies of the old Remington .41 Rimfire. The Heizer DoubleTap
is a titanium/aluminum creation chambered in .45 ACP, and not only does it have two shots right now, but it carries two extras in the grip. Recoil promises to be stout, but the DoubleTap has both barrels ported for recoil reduction.
Ruger LCR .22LR
The best way to get good is to practice. The cheapest practice is with a .22LR clone of your carry gun. Those of you who carry a Ruger LCR
now have a perfect practice gun, the LCR .22LR. And more, it would be a great plinking gun, a camp gun and a snubbie to teach a new shooter. Given all the uses, Ruger will probably have to make them by the truckload to keep up with demand. Stock up on .22LR; this one will have you shooting all day long.
Ruger SP101 in .357 or .22 LR
Ruger has been on a tear lately, making their firearms in the models and calibers we want. The SP101
has always been a solid little revolver, but an all-steel .38 Special is not what we have all desired. Now you can have it in .357 Magnum, for those used to the recoil and muzzle blast. And for those looking for a camp gun with a little more oomph, you can have the compact SP101 in .22 LR. The only way I could see to improve it would be to offer an airweight frame, and for that, Ruger already has the superb LCR.
After wandering in the wilderness of government contracts for the past couple of decades, Colt is back, and the Mustang
is available again. Back when it was last seen, the .380 got no respect. Well, it does now, and if you want a compact, lightweight, carry .380, you can have a Colt again. The Mustang is a single-action pistol, so if you're familiar with a 1911, your transition training is minimal.
is the latest Kahr pistol, a line of carry guns so extensive you practically need a chart to keep them all straight. The CM40 is a compact, polymer-framed carry pistol that holds 5+1 rounds of .40 S&W. At 17.7 ounces empty, you'd better get in some practice before you depend on defensive loads in .40, recoil will be sharp. But that's a small price to pay for compact security in a carry pistol. And being stainless steel and polymer, the CM40 won't be the least bit put out if you sweat on it all day.
FNH-USA took their rugged, reliable FNP/X pistol and adapted it to those who do not feel the need for an external hammer. The FNS-9
is a striker-fired pistol in 9mm (we can be certain a 40 and 45 are soon to arrive), taking the rugged features of the FNP/X pistols and marrying them to the simplicity of a striker-fired system. All your holsters, mag pouches and even mags (if you have the X-series) will work in the new striker-fired FN.
Looking for a reliable handgun that doesn't sacrifice style? Ruger's got the answer. Ruger has introduced the Ruger SR22, a scaled-down, lightweight handgun that is designed to cover all the shooting sports, from plinking to small game hunting. The polymer-framed SR22 features an external hammer with a rounded spur, designed for easier cocking and single-action shooting. The SR22 also features two interchangeable rubberized grips that also allows a slim or wider palm swell option without using tools to adjust. The SR22's aluminum slide is serrated to allow for better grip and slide manipulation on both the front and rear. An underside Picatinny rail with multiple cross slots allows for variable mounting, and a 3-dot sight system features adjustable front and rear sights to account for wind and elevation. In addition, a reversible blade allows shooters to choose between two white dots or a solid black blade. Other features include a replaceable stainless steel barrel, an ambidextrous manual thumb safety and decocking lever, ambidextrous magazine release and a visual inspection port.
Remington R1 Stainless
Remington introduced the brand new Remington R1 Stainless at SHOT Show 2012 in Las Vegas. Building on the same features as the original R1 model, Remington's brand new semiauto now comes in a stainless package with three-dot sights and a beavertail grip safety — a visual throwback to classic World War II sidearms.
Springfield Armory has made another addition to its line of XD pistols with the brand new Springfield XDs. Chambered in .45 ACP, Springfield promises that the slim, compact XDs doesn't sacrifice power for bulk, still packing a whallop for a gun with a one-inch beam.
Be sure to check G&A magazine and G&A TV for tests and evaluations of these guns, and keep checking back throughout January for more new handguns from your favorite manufacturers.