January 30, 2023
By Richard Nance
SHOT Show is the place to be for the latest and greatest firearm offerings. Here are a few handguns I found interesting from a personal defense perspective. Prices range from about $350 to over $2,500. In addition to the predictable 9mm chamberings, it was refreshing to see a .357 Magnum revolver, as well as pistols chambered in .380 ACP and 5.7x28mm.
FN 509 CC Edge
A follow up to their 509 LS (Long Slide) Edge pistol, the 509 CC (Concealed Carry) Edge is scaled down and ramped up with an auto-indexing compensator which FN claims to reduce muzzle flip by 25%, resulting in faster, more accurate fire. The compensator can be removed simply by pressing in and rotating it 90°.
While the CC shares many features with the LS, the CC is specifically designed for concealment, with a shorter barrel (4.2-inch vs. 5-inch) and a shorter grip (4.8-inches tall vs. 5.9-inches tall). At 25.5 oz, the CC is also 5.5 oz. lighter. It ships with two 15-round magazines and a 10-round magazine, or three 10-round magazines in restricted states.
The red-dot-ready 509 CC is rich with features including an accessory rail, lightening slide cuts, an ambidextrous slide stop and a reversable magazine release. The stippled frame and interchangeable backstraps provide a solid, customizable grip. The CC’s TiN finished barrel increases lubricity, and the polished chamber and feed ramp help ensure reliable operation. The flat faced trigger breaks cleanly at about 5.6 pounds.
Renowned for developing the 2011 pistol platform, Staccato’s new CS model is the company’s smallest and lightest offering. Donning the features that made the Staccato brand synonymous with quality double-stacked 1911-style pistols, the CS delivers 2011 performance in a compact size that’s ideally suited for concealed carry.
At just over 7-inches long, the CS is only 1.2-inches wide at the grip, which houses one of three supplied 16-round magazines. This 9mm chambered, hammer-fired pistol features a 3.5-inch bull barrel and a 7075-billet precision aluminum receiver. The slide is topped with a fiber optic front sight and a Dawson Precision rear sight in either the “carry” or “tactical” configuration. The CS is also cut for those who prefer a red-dot sight. The accessory rail is compatible with the compact Streamlight TLR-7 Sub and Surefire XSC-B weaponlights.
Like 1911s, 2011 pistols are known for their exceptional trigger pull, which is the envy of the handgun world. The CS is no exception, with a trigger pull that breaks crisply at 4-4.5 lbs. The CS comes standard with a long curve aluminum trigger but for $80 more, you can have it shipped with a flat faced trigger. Each is aluminum and skeletonized.
Following up on the success of their Security-9 pistol, Ruger is now offering the Security-380, which shares many of the Security-9’s features, but in a smaller package and a milder caliber that’s easier to control during recoil. The Security-380 is also easier to manually cycle thanks to Ruger’s Lite Rack system, which consists of slide serrations, cocking ears and a lighter recoil spring.
The Security-380 is constructed of a glass filled polymer frame, which accepts a flush fit 15-round magazine (10-round magazine for restricted states). The aluminum alloy slide sports a black oxide finish. The fiber optic front sight and drift-adjustable steel rear sight are more prominent than that of many similarly sized pistols.
With a 3.42-inch barrel, a slide width of 1.02-inches, and a weight of just 19.7 oz., the Security-380 is small but not puny. It’s a solid choice for new shooters and for shooters with compromised hand strength or recoil sensitivity. Its manual safety gives piece of mind to many shooters. And, with an MSRP under $400, the Security-380 is a budget friendly option.
Redesigned for modern carry, the new Beretta 80X Cheetah is a .380 ACP chambered DA/SA pistol. The Vertec style grip profile makes the 80X Cheetah easy to conceal and control. The dustcover’s Picatinny rail enables you to pair the pistol with a light or laser.
Featuring a 3.9-inch barrel, the 80X Cheetah is well-sized for a carry gun. Those who prefer a DA/SA pistol will appreciate the Cheetah’s controls. The thumb safety pulls double duty as a decocker. The extended magazine release facilitates efficient reloading. Both controls are readily accessible.
The 80X Cheetah runs on a 13-round flush fit magazine (10-round magazine for restricted states). The slide and spring weights have been tuned to make the pistol easier to rack. The mild .380 ACP chambering paired with the Cheetah’s adjustable X-treme S trigger makes the gun easy and pleasant to shoot. Add the skeletonized hammer and DLC-coated internal components and it’s no wonder the 80X Cheetah runs smooth and fast, like its namesake.
Unlike its predecessors, the 80X Cheetah is optics ready, designed around the Shield RMSc footprint and is poised to garner a new generation of fans.
Rock Island Armory RIA5.0
Seven years in the making, the American-made, 9mm chambered RIA 5.0 has arrived. At first glance, it appears to be a striker-fired pistol but it instead incorporates an internal hammer. A press of the RIA 5.0’s trigger will confirm that fact — there’s no way a striker-fired pistol’s trigger could be as smooth and clean breaking. In fact, Armscor International CEO Martin Tuason said it took extensive engineering to get the trigger pull weight up from a competition-minded 1.5 pounds to a more general-use weight of around 4 pounds.
The RIA 5.0 features a square barrel, part of the patented RVS recoil system designed to maximize barrel mass and linear movement, thus mitigating recoil. Its noticeably low bore axis also reduces muzzle flip. The two-piece modular grip combines the flexibility of a polymer grip with the durability and control of a full-length aluminum receiver. The RIA 5.0 can be purchased with Dawson Precision sights or with a C-More red-dot optic.
The RIA 5.0 feeds from a 17-round magazine. Its Picatinny rail will accommodate the mounting of a light or laser unit. For competition or defense, this full-sized pistol is worthy of consideration.
Taurus 605 T.O.R.O.
Given the popularity of sub-compact and even micro-compact pistols with double-digit ammunition capacity, it’s easy to forget about wheel guns. But 3-inch-barreled 5-shot revolvers like Taurus’ 605 have been getting the job done for decades and are no less capable today, especially those chambered in .357 Magnum. Throw on a red-dot sight, and you have a modern-day defensive handgun. That’s exactly what Taurus had in mind when developing the 605 T.O.R.O. (Taurus Optics Ready Option). Touted as the first optic-ready revolver, the 605 T.O.R.O. is designed to accommodate red dots that share the Holosun K mounting footprint.
Red-dot sights simplify the aiming process by placing the target and sight on the same plane. Just focus on the threat, an instinctive response, and you’ll see the aiming dot. Press the trigger without disturbing the alignment of the gun and the dot will be replaced by a bullet hole, in this case produced by the proven .357 Mag. cartridge.
The 605 T.O.R.O. features all steel construction and is available in a black matte finish, or stainless steel for $20 more. The rubberized compact grip helps absorb felt recoil, ensure purchase, and enhance the gun’s ability to be carried concealed.
Smith & Wesson M&P 5.7
The M&P 5.7 marks Smith & Wesson’s foray into the 5.7x28mm market, joining the likes of FN and Ruger, but with an offering that’s half the price of FN’s Five-seveN and $200 less than the Ruger-5.7.
The polymer framed M&P 5.7 sports a 5-inch Stainless Steel barrel, which is threaded to accept a suppresser. It features a gas-operated, locked-breech, rotating Tempo Barrel System to handle the high pressures of 5.7x28mm ammo, and more reliably extract spent casing once the bullet passes the gas port. This should also facilitate enhanced precision on follow up shots.
The M&P 5.7 ships with white dot sights and is optics ready, should you prefer a red dot sight. The magazine release is reversable for southpaws. Forward and rear slide serrations ensure a solid purchase when racking the slide or conducting a press check. Like many S&W pistols, the M&P 5.7 can be had with or without a thumb safety.
The M&P 5.7’s ships with two 22-round magazines and represents the latest, and most economical way to enter the 5.7 market.
Gunsite Glock Service Pistol
A collaboration between the Gunsite Academy and Glock was surprising to many and downright shocking to some. It’s no mystery Gunsite’s founder, the late Col. Jeff Cooper was not a big fan of “plastic” guns, preferring instead a metal .45 ACP chambered 1911 pistol.
Before you declare a Gunsite branded 9mm-chambered Glock Model 45 blasphemous, consider Cooper’s recommendations for a fighting handgun. A large caliber, semi-automatic pistol with good sights, and a good trigger. In the Colonel’s heyday, that meant a 1911. These days, especially with the increased effectiveness of the 9mm cartridge, it can just as well describe a Glock, like the popular Model 45.
The striker-fired 9mm chambered G45 is a hybrid, featuring a compact G19 slide atop a full-size G17 frame. The result is a grip that fills your hand and a magazine that holds 17 rounds with a shorter barrel that feels exceptionally well balanced.
The Gunsite Glock Service Pistol comes standard with a Holosun 509T red dot sight as well as suppressor-height Ameriglo sights. It features a “minus” trigger connector to reduce trigger pull weight. The slide is engraved with the school’s raven logo and the word “Gunsite”. Each serial number begins with API, a reference to the original name of Cooper’s academy, the American Pistol Institute.
What new handguns are you most excited about? Let us know by emailing us at GAEDITOR@OUTDOORSG.COM, and use "Sound Off" in the subject line.
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