Although there are a lot of new guns unveiled each year at SHOT Show, some guns are saved for release at the Annual NRA Meeting. At this year’s Annual NRA Meeting there were a few new handguns and rifles you might find interesting including Remington’s RM380, which I reviewed here last week. To read up on the RM380, look here, and to learn more about some of the others, read on.
Smith and Wesson M&P Compact .22, suppressor ready
Smith and Wesson can trace their roots back to 1852, and in the 163 years they’ve been in business they’ve designed more firearms than many companies can even begin to imagine. Their most popular line right now is, of course, the M&P line, so it’s no wonder they’d choose to expand it once again. The newest addition is a compact .22, and what makes it truly unique is the fact that it’s suppressor ready.
Purchasing a firearm that’s suppressor ready has a two-fold payoff. The first has to do with cost, because when you purchase a suppressor-ready barrel for an existing firearm it tends to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% of the gun’s own purchase price – or worse. Yes, there are cheaper barrels out there – and beware, because you do tend to get what you pay for – but you will not find one inexpensive enough to change the fact that buying a gun already sporting a suppressor-ready barrel saves you money. Secondly, there is something to be said for using a barrel made by the same company that manufactured the gun itself. Yes there are benefits to after-market components, barrels included, but there are also benefits to parts made by reputable companies.
The .22 is a widely popular caliber thanks to its minimal recoil, quiet report, and affordable cost. It’s true this has been an incredibly difficult caliber to track down in recent years, especially in certain states, but it is not entirely impossible to find. It remains a fantastic caliber for teaching new shooters the ropes of marksmanship and gun use, and it’s fun, too.
Bottom line? Smith and Wesson makes good, reliable guns. They’re popular for a reason, and as knowledge spreads of the accessibility of Class 3 items such as suppressors, an increasing number of people are making the leap into quieter shooting. You might be surprised to find the number of states not allowing its residents to own suppressors are actually quite limited; most states allow it provided you fill out the appropriate paperwork and pay the tax. Check out Class 3 Laws and check out their reference-only list to find out what your state allows.
(Also new from Smith and Wesson: a number of their guns are now available with Crimson Trace lasers, some are sporting new finishes, and don’t forget the ported M&P 9mm they unveiled at SHOT Show last January. New products can be seen on their site at: Smith and Wesson
Smith and Wesson M&P .22 Compact Suppressor Ready Specs:
- Model: M&P®22 Compact
- Frame Size: Compact
- Caliber: .22 LR
- Action: Single Action (Internal Hammer)
- Capacity: 10+1 Rounds
- Barrel Length: 3.56” (9.04 cm)
- Front Sight: White Dot
- Rear Sight: White 2-Dot – Screw adjustable for windage & elevation
- Overall Length: 6.65” (16.9 cm)
- Overall Height: 5.03” (12.8 cm)
- Overall Width: 1.48” (3.8 cm)
- Grip: Polymer
- Weight: 15.3 oz. (433.8 g)
- Empty Mag Weight: 1.7 oz (48.2 g)
- Barrel Material: Carbon steel
- Slide Material: Aluminum alloy
- Frame Material: Polymer
- Finish: Black, hard coat anodize
- MSRP $389.00
Signal 9 Defense, The Reliant
You expect to see new, unique guns at firearms industry events, but, even so, sometimes one comes along that takes you by surprise. Such is The Reliant from Signal 9 Defense, a four-barreled pistol that hit the market this year.
Signal 9 Defense is based in Gallatin, Tennessee, and surprisingly little is known of the company’s history. On their website their company vision is stated as “Signal 9 Defense produces innovative firearms with an emphasis on self-defense. We use our experience, creativity, and technical excellence to deliver unique products that make gun owners safer and more confident in daily life.” In person, the Signal 9 team is friendly, happy to share, and clearly excited about their new gun.
The Reliant is, as mentioned, a four-barreled pistol. Although the barrel is fixed like that of a semi-auto it’s loaded like a revolver and holds just four rounds in its barrel. According to the company the gun is meant to deliver revolver-like reliability in the body of a shrunken-down 1911. At their booth at the annual NRA meeting people were standing three deep hoping for a look at the little gun, and I was able to spend some hands-on time with it.
First, dimensions. This is definitely a small pistol meant for concealed carry with a height of 4.25”, a barrel length of 2.63” and an overall length of 5.25”. My hand wrapped all the way around the slim 0.94” frame, a width that can be increased with the grip, making it 1.25”. At 16 ounces unloaded it’s fairly light but has enough weight to absorb some of the gun’s recoil, and with an 8 pound trigger pull it has the same pull weight of many other pistols its size. It has an aluminum frame and upper and a stainless steel barrel. The Reliant comes chambered in .32 ACP, .32 HR Mag/.32Long/.32 Short, .380 ACP, and .38 Special/.38 +P/.38 S&W/.38 Long/.38 Short, and additional barrels can be purchased once you have the frame. A moon clip is required for the .32 ACP and .380 ACP.
Although I wasn’t able to fire The Reliant I did spend some time manipulating it. The barrel breaks smoothly forward when you push a slim plastic bar on the gun’s side in and slightly forward, and according to the company all components have withstood significant testing and wear and tear without failures. The rep I spoke to described the action as all-internal and said the design means an attacker can’t neutralize the gun simply by grabbing it. In addition he said the gun has passed the drop test with flying colors, saying the gun could literally be thrown on the floor without discharging.
When the trigger is not being actuated, the firing pin will remain stationary at rest in between 2 of the chambers and behind a steel plate. This means that the firing pin is never behind a live round while at rest. The steel plate has 4 holes in it that are in line with each chamber. The firing pin passes through one of these holes to strike the primer. Finally, when the trigger is released, the cam indexes to the neutral position and the firing pin is again behind the steel plate. Accidental discharge is practically impossible. The trigger must be pulled in order for the firing pin to line up with a live round. In addition, all moving parts, other than the trigger and barrel release, are located internally unlike a revolver or automatic pistol. The benefit is that the firearm can be fired from concealment without the risk of jamming. Also, in a situation where an attacker grabs the firearm, the trigger and action can still fully operate through all trigger pulls unlike a revolver or auto. ”
Internally there is a raised plastic clip on a metal pin placed at the center of the barrel. This clip assists in fastening the barrel to the frame and the rep told me it’s tough and resists wear and tear. Additional features include a four-round speedloader that sits inside the gun’s grip for rapid deployment and a red or green laser that pulses and is activated by squeezing the grip.
If it performs as promised it allows for a four-round punch in calibers that, when used one round at a time, don’t have the ability to produce a permanent wound cavity like their larger-caliber brethren – but when four of those rounds slam into an assailant all at once, they’re bound to produce a significant wound. It would be great to see how these rounds behave when fired into ballistic gel: do they travel together, delivering a nice, tight group? And if so, what range do they have before they begin to spread out? The Reliant is an innovative design centered around a logical concept – multiple rounds, despite caliber, will do more damage – and it should be interesting to try out when production begins.
Signal 9 Defense, The Reliant Specs:
- Calibers (Offered with interchangeable barrels)
- .32 ACP (requires moon clip)
- .32 HR Mag, .32 Long, .32 Short
- .380 (requires moon clip)
- .38 Spl, .38 +P, .38 S&W, .38 Long, .38 Short
- Finish: Various Hardcoat Anodized and Black Phosphate.
- Trigger Pull: 8 lbs
- Barrel Length: 2.63″
- Capacity: 4 rounds with 4-round speedloader in the grip (.380 and .32 ACP speedloader w/moon clip)
- Overall Length: 5.25″
- Height: 4.25″ (without speed loader)
- Width: .94″ without grip, 1.25″ with grip
- Weight: approx 16oz.
Anderson Manufacturing got their start making car parts and a whole slew of components for a variety of products. They’ve been at it for 50 years, and their reputation as a manufacturer of quality metal parts is solid. Their foray into firearms began with AR-15 components, which makes quite a bit of sense considering the massive popularity of the rifles. Well, now they’re taking it a step further by producing what they say are no-lube needed rifles.
Their 2015 no-lube rifle line includes M4s, rifles chambered in .300 BLK and .308 Win, a Sniper model chambered in 5.56, and a Pistol rifle, also chambered in 5.56. Talking to the rep at the Anderson booth during the recent NRA Meeting garnered me a run-down of the entire process by which the company’s rifles are made to live up to the “no lube” promise. In brief, the promise relies on a nano technology by the name of RF85. The metal used to make the rifles is permeated with RF85, and the particles that make up RF85 are supposed to reduce friction and wear due to the way they elongate, forming a barrier, when heated during firing. Not only does this technology make lube unnecessary but it means there’s no excessive carbon build-up, because there’s no oily residue present to capture carbon. Guns come with a limited lifetime warranty which includes the term that the firearm must be operated and maintained according to the company’s instructions, which in this case includes the detail of not using lube. One cannot help but wonder if a malfunctioning rifle is shipped in and the gunsmith finds any sort of residue consistent with lube, will it void the warranty? It seems quite possible.
According to the rep cleaning is also ridiculously simple, requiring nothing more than soap and water. When I asked if he had a preferred soap he said many of them are actually quite partial to Dawn, but don’t quote him on that.
These rifles and lowers are fascinating, because if they really do function throughout their lives with no need for lube whatsoever, it would be fantastic for simplicity and cost’s sake. Who among us hasn’t stood in the rain or alongside a hot gun, dumping rather copious amounts of lube into their gun? Regarding testing I was told “thousands” of rounds have been put through and one rifle was fired until the barrel became too hot and they were forced to cease fire. On their website a handful of tests can be viewed carried out by various sources. I’d love to torture-test one for myself and see what happens, because these guns have real promise. With less friction, easy maintenance, and a faster action, Anderson rifles just might be a glimpse of the firearms future.
Check out the company’s website: http://www.andersonrifles.com/
It’s just not possible to list the new gun highlights of this year’s annual NRA meeting without discussing the new Glock 43. The gun world – Glock lovers, specifically – has been waiting for this single-stack 9mm for longer than many of us want to admit, and now that it’s here it’s causing quite a stir. Glock played this one close to the vest, limiting our coverage in the media and keeping the actual existence of the gun a mystery right up until the last minute. Unfortunately, the gun was still leaked – an action I, personally, condemn for many reasons including the fact that his actions make other journalists look bad – but less than a week prior to its official announcement. I was on a business trip with another gun manufacturer when word of the Glock 43 hit the general public and ended up spending a several-hour-long drive from the local airport to our destination going back and forth with another gun writer regarding the questions and comments cropping up all over the internet. We could see just the bare rumor that this long-awaited gun truly existed was causing a miniature online riot, so what would happen when those rumors were confirmed?
Chaos. That’s the best word to describe the initial and ongoing response to the Glock 43. The manager of a gun store in Tennessee told me he was receiving an average of 30 phone calls a day asking about the new gun, and a member of the Glock team described the response as “overwhelming, but good.” So is the new Glock worth the fuss?
(A full-length review of the Glock 43 is coming from yours truly, and it’s a review I’ve fully enjoyed working towards completion. Consider this your quick summary.)
It’s been described as a slim 26 and a slightly larger 42, but in reality the Glock 43 is its own gun. Its single-stack mag means it will appeal to shooters with smaller hands, so those who have avoided Glocks in the past due to their thick, double-stack mags now have a self-defense option from the German company. That said, for those who find compact guns a bit on the small side for their larger hands – my long fingers often make compact guns a challenge – the gun does come with a mag with a pinkie extension. Helping a positive grip along is the slightly raised beavertail at the top of the grip and a texturized area on each side of the grip. This means the 43 is not limited only to one group of shooters or another but is well-suited for serious self-defense gun owners of all sizes.
The 43 has the features you expect from a Glock: it’s striker-fired, has internal safeties, and comes with basic white three-dot sights. The reach is fairly short and is actually described by Glock as being made to fit shooters with smaller hands, but as I said, my hands are not small by any stretch of the imagination, and the reach suited me just fine. Its trigger pull weighs in at 5.5 pounds, which is within the expected parameters for a Glock but significantly lighter than many compact DAO pistols filling the market and lighter than many other single-action pistols currently hitting the shelves. With a fairly light pull and a short 0.49” travel distance the Glock 43 can be rapid-fired with ease, which brings us to our next topic: accuracy.
Shooting the 43 is fun, but more importantly, it’s accurate. The gun delivers nice, tight groups at a variety of distances, and shooters with bigger hands will find using the mag with the pinkie extension instead of the flush mag improves accuracy as their grip becomes more solid. Comments have been made here and there regarding the “snappy” recoil of the gun and while it does indeed have a snap to it, it’s nothing excessive or unusual for a compact 9mm. Remember, this is a slimline, lightweight, single-stack pistol chambered in what is currently the most widely used semi-auto self-defense caliber. You don’t want it to be too big because it’d be harder to conceal, and if you have small hands a thicker mag, which would be part and parcel of increased weight, would defeat the purpose of making a gun for shooters with smaller hands. Getting accurate shots with this gun is easy and, in fact, a brand new shooter one of the Glock team members found and brought out of the back room during a Glock writers event quickly mastered it.
This Glock is receiving high praise from those who have fired it and is creating widespread excitement among those interested in purchasing one. It’s even won over shooters who have previously expressed a lack of interest in Glocks, perhaps because it’s a compact striker-fired pistol chambered in 9mm rather than .380 ACP, which has been cropping up all over, and perhaps because it feels good in your hand and slings lead down-range with typical Glock reliability.
No surprise the Glock 43 promises to fill an important niche in the concealed-carry world, but I believe it will prove itself useful in other ways as well. This gun could easily become a commonly-used backup gun (BUG) in law enforcement; yes, it’s slightly larger than some BUGs, but it’s small enough, chambered in a more reliable caliber, and more likely to fit a larger number of shooter’s hands. It’s also likely to be popular for range time, because it’s fun to shoot, making it more likely its owners will choose it when they just want some trigger time. In fact, that may be its most important feature: one of the biggest mistakes gun owners make is relegating their daily carry weapon to their holsters or their safes, failing to get any truly dedicated target practice in with it. That’s not just disappointing, it’s a disaster, because a gun owner’s willingness to spend serious time training could one day be the difference between life and death. Practice isn’t just for fun, it’s a must, and the Glock 43 makes punching holes in paper enjoyable.
This is a great gun, and I’m looking forward to sharing my full review with you all.
Glock 43 Specs:
- Frame Size: Compact
- Caliber: 9mm
- Action: Single
- Trigger pull: 5.5 lbs
- Capacity: 6+1
- Overall length: 6.26”
- Overall height, with mag: 4.25”
- Barrel length: 3.39”
- Sights: white dot
- Weight, unloaded: 17.96 oz
Author’s Note: Coming up next, a closer look at the new FNH semi-auto M249 and the launch of Axelson Tactical’s rifles.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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