The Beretta M9 Strong Even in Retirement

The Beretta M9 was the standard side arm for the U.S. military for more than 30 years only to be recently retired by a more modern duty weapon design. The M9 has not only withstood the test of time in the hands of our troops, but also here state’s side with various law enforcement agencies as well. With the current trend of duty weapons shifting away, though, it makes me wonder: what’s the Beretta M9’s place in today’s marketplace?

We already know that the M9 is reliable. You cannot spend three decades as a military sidearm fighting in deserts, on mountain tops, and everything in between only to be deemed unreliable. The M9’s open slide design works to its advantage by not trapping spent brass or dirt in the action. The most common malfunction you may run into would be a failure-to-fire but even that is mitigated by the M9’s strong single- and double-action hammer. This is a gun that will not quit on you with minimal maintenance required.

M9

The M9 has not only withstood the test of time in the hands of our troops, but also here state’s side with various law enforcement agencies as well. With the current trend of duty weapons shifting away, though, it makes me wonder: what’s the Beretta M9’s place in today’s marketplace? (Photo: Ben Brown/Guns.com)

You will be hard pressed to find a more comfortable shooting handgun than the M9 straight from the manufacturer. This is a full size “fighting handgun” with a nice high beaver tail to allow for a very aggressive grip. Unloaded the M9 weighs 33 ounces, which is heavy and probably not the best choice for concealed carry, but it aids in keeping felt recoil to a minimum. Once the M9 is out of the holster it shoots like a calm lake.

During a 40-year period a gun can develop a lot of aftermarket support. The M9 has an extensive supply of aftermarket parts, holsters, mags, etc. Some of this support is military surplus from extensive service life and some is from the cult like following Beretta has developed over the years. I will say that if you are buying from the surplus market that a lot of the parts and pieces have been well loved. Make sure you do your homework when buying and if you can physically inspect the components that is even better.

M9

You will be hard pressed to find a more comfortable shooting handgun than the M9 straight from the manufacturer. This is a full size “fighting handgun” with a nice high beaver tail to allow for a very aggressive grip. (Photo: Ben Brown/Guns.com)

Thank you to Ammunition To Go for the quality ammo supplied in this review.

Some would consider retirement a death sentence, but others might consider it a time to re-invent themselves. The M9 is still the same great gun that has been carried by our military for three decades. It will need to find a bigger role on the civilian market and I think it really is starting too. There are plenty of gunsmiths out there boosting the popularity of the M9 by tuning them up for competition and concealed carry. For those out there that want to start messing around with a great SA/DA gun or breathe new life into a military classic, the M9 is one of my top choices for you.

SEE AT GUNS.COM FROM $418

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Found on Guns.com: Rock Island Armory M1911

Rock Island Armory makes affordable 1911s, one of the greatest designs in firearm history. While true believers tend to go after the standard .45 ACP models, Rock Island breaks the mold and offers a 9mm variant as well. The smaller chambering coupled with the sturdy design makes for an affordable training pistol or manageable beginner gun.

With 1911s, you can find models in just about any price range, but for a practical gun like this, Rock Island priced it at a working man’s wage. While just a fraction of what some 1911s retail, this Rock Island 1911 has a performance comparable to those three or four times the price.

The Rock Island 1911 features a fixed front sight with a dovetail rear and a parkerized finish with wooden grip panels that give the gun a classic look. On the range, this model ate through all the Aguila 9mm I could feed it. I personally own one and would recommend this Rock Island version to any beginner who is looking to break into the 1911 platform.

SEE AT GUNS.COM FROM $300

Check the variety of Rock Island Armory 1911 pistols on Guns.com. For other great handguns, rifles, shotguns, check out the Guns.com Vault and collection of Certified Used Guns.

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Taurus Announces New PT-92 Pistol Models with Walnut Grips

Taurus Announces 2 New PT-92 Pistol Models with Walnut Grips 2

Taurus says the new grip options add classic styling to the full-framed PT-92 series. (Photos: Taurus)

SEE AT GUNS.COM FROM $390

Brazilan gunmaker Taurus this week announced they are adding two new models to their long-running PT-92 pistol line, complete with walnut grips.

The guns, clones of Beretta’s 92 series of 9mm pistols, have been a staple of Taurus since the Brazilain company acquired the Italian firearm manufacturer’s Sao Paulo facility in 1980. While the current bright natural anodized and black anodized PT-92s come standard with black synthetic grip panels, the two new models will sport grips crafted from Brazilian walnut.

Taurus says the upgraded furniture has “rich variations in the wood’s tone, depth, and distinguished grain patterns” to give each pistol a “unique, custom look and aesthetic finish.”

Taurus Announces 2 New PT-92 Pistol Models with Walnut Grips 2

Did you say, walnut? Besides the black anodized finish shown here, Taurus also markets the PT-92 in a what they call a “Natural” bright finish.

Other than the grips, the new PT-92 models will still have the same features and specs of the legacy pistols including drop-hammer-forged alloy frames with steel slides featuring 5-inch barrels and a 17-round magazine capacity. Overall length is 8.5-inches with an unloaded weight of 34-ounces. The guns ship with two magazines.

SEE AT GUNS.COM FROM $390

In related news, Brazilian-made Taurus models could be in the rearview in the future for buyers in the States as the company’s U.S branch has officially begun low rate production on firearms in their Bainbridge, Georgia facility. The company announced this week the first “Bainbridge” marked gun has rolled out.

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ToughTested Releases Ranger: Ear Pro for Todays Shooter

The Ranger promises hearing pro with modern amenities (Photo: Scott Gara/Guns.com)

New Jersey based ToughTested has released a new water-resistant Bluetooth earbud aimed at the outdoor and shooting industry, aptly named the Ranger. They say it’s built to withstand the most demanding environments while providing outstanding audio clarity.

Product highlights include Kevlar reinforced wires and noise isolating ear tips. It’s proprietary EQ Voice advanced technology delivers state of the art noise control with advanced audio optimization, eliminating background noise while enhancing music and voice communications.

“In developing the Ranger, ToughTested focused on improving every technical aspect found in traditional earbuds to deliver over the top sound features that will withstand the elements demanded by those who spend a lot of time outdoors,” said Tom Buske, vice president of sales and brand strategy for ToughTested.

EQ-Voice Digital equalizer is pre-programmed to switch from balanced music to clear voice for phone calls and no app is necessary. Adding to its functionality, the Ranger is weatherproof and sweat proof. The Ranger has a five year warranty but should prove durable due to the Kevlar-reinforced cables.

Enhanced Bluetooth 4.1 offers extended range and its workhorse battery offers eight hours of play time and seven days of standby power. A rechargeable power stick provide an additional 32 hours of playtime. That’s a lot of juice for the squeeze, speaking of which, these retail for an MSRP of $89.99.

Stay tuned to Guns.com as we put the Ranger through the paces and compare it to other popular choices for hearing protection for shooters.

The contents of the package (Photo: ToughTested)

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Popular Rifle Builds for Cloners

Maybe you have heard of a group of individuals in the firearms community known as “cloners.” Cloners build rifles that resemble actual service rifles. Sometimes these clone rifles very accurately represent the actual platform. Each component is carefully selected to build the most authentic looking rifle. Other times they are simply an informal example of an actual military rifle and are just an inspiration for a unique project. It all depends on the cloner’s end goal.

The three most common clones are the M4, MK12, and MK18. These frequently copied models have not only been used in recent wars but are also seen frequently in the entertainment industry such as movies and TV shows. All are proven platforms with their own iconic look and characteristics. It is not all for show though. The military have designed these platforms to fulfill specific roles.

cloners

These frequently copied models have not only been used in recent wars but are also seen frequently in the entertainment industry such as movies and TV shows. (Photo: Ben Brown/Guns.com)

The M4 needs no introduction. This is a standard issue service rifle for many soldiers and the model has gone through a number of reiterations. Branches of the military have elected to choose a variety of their own parts such as stocks, fore-ends, lights, lasers, etc. but for the most part the M4 is traditionally built on a Colt receiver with a 14.5-inch barrel and fixed front sight post. Iron sights, red dot (Aimpoint or EOTech) or ACOG will usually be the sighting system on top. This is a rifle that can fill almost any role and is a good beginner project for a first-time cloner.
SEE AT GUNS.COM FROM $1,050

cloners

For some cloning is a challenge to build a rifle that is exactly to spec but for others it is a fun way to remember our history and maybe put their own personal twist on it. (Photo: Ben Brown/Guns.com)

Sometimes you want a rile with precision. The MK12 Special Purpose Rifle (SPR) was designed to be more effective at further distances. This rifle chambered in 5.56 is often cloned but does use some unique parts that may require some in depth searching if you want an accurate clone. It has gone through a number of variations but usually you will find these tack drivers with 2.5-10x variable scopes, 18-inch free floated barrels that sit under a 12-inch handguard. A great place to source MK12 components is from Precision Reflex Inc.
SEE AT GUNS.COM FROM $2,054

cloners

All are proven platforms with their own iconic look and characteristics. It is not all for show though. The military have designed these platforms to fulfill specific roles. (Photo: Ben Brown/Guns.com)

The most popular of the three clones right now is the MK18 chambered in 5.56. Since the MK18 uses a 10.3-inch barrel you will find clones that are in “pistol” form but if you are looking to be as authentic as possible then you will need to build an SBR. A Daniel Defense MK18 is a pretty easy way to knock out a large portion of a MK18 clone. These guns were originally desired for “close quarter battle (CQB)” but have also been found in other roles because of their compact size. These shorties receive a lot of publicity due to a large portion of the Special Operations Community using them.
SEE AT GUNS.COM FROM $1,796

For some cloning is a challenge to build a rifle that is exactly to spec but for others it is a fun way to remember our history and maybe put their own personal twist on it. I would recommend if you start a clone build to not get wrapped up in the specifics of every piece. Some of these components can be extremely rare and take years to find. Above all else, have fun with it and build something you will enjoy shooting.

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Smith & Wesson Brings Back Model 648 .22 Magnum Revolver

The Model 648 has been out of production since 2005 but is now back and ready for work. (Photos: S&W)

The Model 648 has been out of production since 2005 but is now back and ready for work. (Photos: S&W)

Massachusetts-based Smith & Wesson on Tuesday announced they are bringing back a celebrated rimfire magnum, the Model 648 revolver, to their catalog.

The K-frame .22WMR-caliber Model 648 first appeared in Big Blue’s lineup in 1989 sporting a full-lug barrel and stainless steel construction. Retired since 2005, the newest generation of the model still brings a 6-inch barrel to the party, which translates to a very commanding 11.1-inch overall length. Weight is 46.2-ounces in the eight-shot .22 Mag, making the gun attractive for both those looking to fill pots and smoke targets.

“Built on the medium K-frame, the Model 648 is back in production to satisfy the needs of handgun owners who are looking to achieve greater distance while hunting or target shooting,” said Jan Mladek, GM of Smith & Wesson brands.

While Smith & Wesson makes a variety of .22LR revolvers, such as the Model 317 Kit Gun as well as the very similar Model 63, the Model 43 snub, the Model 17 Masterpiece and the vaunted Model 617, the 648 is the company’s only K-framed .22 Magnum wheel gun.

MSRP for the Model 648 is $749 and it comes standard with a Patridge front sight and adjustable rear, as well as synthetic finger groove grips.

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Taylor Organizes the Biggest 3-Gun Event in New England

Taylor Thorne didn’t grow up with guns. She only got her first gun at age of 22. “I’d just moved out into the sticks of New Hampshire with no neighbors and no police department. I decided I wanted a gun to protect myself,” she said.

She asked a friend who worked at a gun shop what kind of gun he recommended. He suggested a Glock 17, or a Beretta 92FS. Thorne tried both, and went with the Glock. “Mainly because it was proven to be reliable, simple and well-rounded,” she said.

Her first gun was an introduction to something bigger. She started to shoot at her local range Pioneer Sportsmen in Dunbarton, New Hampshire. To her surprise, she really enjoyed it.

A few months later, she shot a shotgun for the first time, which she loved. That winter, she participated in a sporing clays competition, which proved to be fun. And finally, she came across 3-gun competition. It blew her mind.

She started binge watching 3-gun videos on Youtube. She desperately wanted to compete, but there were almost no 3-gun matches in New England. “That was something that absolutely bothered me,” she said. So, she decided to do something about it.

Her job gave her a volunteer day to go out into the community and volunteer. She heard about a charity called Aiming for Zero. They put on events to raise money to help prevent veteran suicide, and assist military families.

Thorne contacted the charity and asked what she could offer. They told her she could volunteer at one of their existing shooting competition, or come up with something entirely new. “Within three days, I knew I wanted to run a 3-gun match,” she said. She had never done anything like it before, but she was determined to make it happen.

“We were skeptical at first,” said Kevin Anderson, one of the board members at Pioneer Sportsmen, the club where Thorne planned to do her 3-gun event. But Thorne’s determination and ability to mobilize people changed his mind. “She’s a firecracker. She is a take-charge and full of energy. She organized, got sponsors and planned everything out,” he said.

Thorne’s first Aiming for Zero 3-gun match was a USPSA recognized multi-gun event that took place in 2017. The match filled up within hours of opening registration. Competitors raved about it. Thorne hoped to raise $8,000. After it was over, she recalled counting the money. “My hands were shaking because I counted eight, nine, ten, eleven — twelve thousand dollars. It was the most money the club had ever raised in its history.”

Taylor was given the go-ahead by the club’s board to do as many 3-gun matches as she wanted. Each year they got bigger, and this year’s event is to be the biggest and best.

The event is called Aiming for Zero Great Nor’easter Multigun. It takes place from Sept. 13-15 at Pioneer Sportsmen in Dunbarton, New Hampshire. Registration is open through Practiscore. There is also a Facebook page if you have questions.

Thorne hopes her story inspires other people to get into the shooting sports and organize events in their areas. “It’s one of those things where if you build it, people will come,” she said.

Taylor Thorne and Chris Shanks at the 3-gun match at Pioneer Sportsmen in Dunbarton, New Hampshire

Taylor Thorne and Chris Shanks at the 3-gun match Taylor organized at Pioneer Sportsmen in Dunbarton, New Hampshire on July 28, 2019. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Aiming for Zero

Aiming for Zero on the shirt of a competitor. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Remove Before Pew Pew safety AR15

“Remove Before Pew Pew” (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Lee Cabana preps his shotgun.

Lee Cabana preps his shotgun. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

A competitor choosing his line and preparing to shoot a stage.

A competitor choosing his line and preparing to shoot a stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Shotgun shell caddy on a competitor.

Shotgun shell caddy on a competitor. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Taylor Thorne chooses her line and preps for a stage.

Taylor Thorne chooses her line and preps for a stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Shotgun shell caddy on a competitor.

Shotgun shell caddy on a competitor. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Guns waiting their turn to shred the next stage.

Guns waiting their turn to shred the next stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Sean McClure's t-shirt sums it up.

Sean McClure’s t-shirt sums it up. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Shredding a stage.

Shredding a stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Ivan Bjornlund shredding a stage.

Ivan Bjornlund shredding a stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Guns at the ready.

Guns at the ready. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Shredding the stage.

Bob Blake shredding a stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Shredding the stage.

Matt Cotton shredding a shotgun stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Guns at the ready.

Guns at the ready. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Chris Shanks gets ready to shoot a stage.

Chris Shanks gets ready to shoot a stage. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Guns at the ready.

Guns at the ready. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Ivan Bjornlund with his guns at the 3-gun event at Pioneer Sportsmen on July 28, 2019.

Ivan Bjornlund with his guns at the 3-gun event at Pioneer Sportsmen on July 28, 2019. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

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