5.56 Timeline

The Colt .22LR AR15/M16 Conversion Kit

This is a re-post from 2013 but because of this weeks theme of 22 rim fire used in the Ar15 I thought I would bring it back for those who hadn’t seen it.

I know I have talked a little bit about the old Colt produced .22LR conversion kit before, but it was not in much detail. I get asked about the conversion units often and they seem to be fairly rare these days.  I am not even sure how popular they used to be since commercial .223 and surplus 5.56 use to be so cheap.  So anyways, I thought I might talk about it a little more now.


Sorry to say I can not nail down an exact date for when these things first started being produced, but I know I had seen them around for as far back as I can remember and bought one with my first AR15 way back when I was still young and supple. Above is a picture of a conversion kit still in its original plastic blister pack and shot only enough to confirm it works, which is maybe 20 rounds.  You can tell by the crappy art that it was from at least the early eighties.  Nothing on the paperwork even gives a hint of its starting  date of MFG.   The instruction with this one show it was made at least until the end of the 80s but I have no idea when they first made them.

The unit came with  1  magazines that holds ten rounds, the conversion bolt, a chamber plug and the instructions along with a manual for the AR15 of the time, a SP-2  sporter ( A2 ).


This is actually one of two that I own.  Since it is mint, I do not shoot this one.  But, I do have a second one with spare magazines.  Since it comes with just one 10 rounder, things move a little slow. Though it would be enough for what I am sure they intended at the time of its release, i.e. teaching a kid or plinking at cans, hunting small game, or like me, a broke college student who could barely afford 22LR and had 30 rounds of 5.56 at any one time to my name.


As you can see, the second kit is  more used and the two mags make shooting it move along a little better.  The mags are easy to load and are about as tough as a AK mag. No joke. They are solid hard plastic with metal  feed lips etc.  Its like a solid block of hard plastic.  You can see in the picture the size compared to a standard colt 20 round magazine.

I actually owned a third kit before these two and one of my best friends owned a kit as well.  All of them work great. I have never had a problem out of them. I remember my friend had a miss feed a time or two but once was from too low powered ammo and the other from a little too much heavy lube.  They work great and are very simple.  The bolt is hardened steel and a file would not make a mark I would rate its hardness just below Chinese algebra.

I did recently buy one of the 30 round mags made by Black Dog Machine and had high hopes only to find out the mag is a POS and BDM would not return my emails about their garbage product.  So, you won’t be seeing it in this post.


In this picture above, you can see the little metal nub at the chamber end. That is where the charging handle catches to worth the “bolt” and chamber a round or to chamber check or for whatever other reason you may need.  It seems like its not enough and it probably isn’t but it is just a 22 and no one is going to be beating on it to clear a malfunction to save their life.  Its also as hard as wood pecker lips and I have never seen or even heard of one breaking. As a side note, many years ago DPMS copied this kit and sold one. No surprise there.. The end tab is just what you think it is.  The bolt rides on the two rails and it tracks very smoothly. You do feel the fouling of the rimfire after enough rounds but the springs and rails keep it moving great. Its easy to clean and maintain though colt does say absolutely not to take it apart. There really is not need to take it apart anyway. Its just so simple you see everything you need to clean and lube anyway. Brake parts cleaner and oil is all it really needs.  I knew another guy who  is one of those types who just HAS to take something apart. especially if the factory says not to.  He caused a few problems to the one he had but it still worked.


The magazine does not have a bolt hold open, but its not really needed.  I suppose if you are super into training with a rimfire to simulate what you do with a 556 thats a down side, but with only 10 round mags and the kit being a rare item these days, I don’t care. I am not much  on using a 22 for training anyway. But that is just me.    You can see the steel feed lips. The mag has the ejector on it  on the rear left of the magazine.  It works well and the steel is hard enough.  The plastic nub in front keeps the magazine from going into the gun too far.  You can see a screw on the side of the mag, but it is not for taking it apart.   the mags have never failed me and as I said, they are very tough.  Though 10 rounds is boring for serious dirt shooter and tin can killers.


I find it interesting the mags are marked “for M16/AR15”.  I do not know if the military ever bought any to supplement the kits they  used at the time, but it looks at least like colt hoped they would. Or, since people could buy a real M16 for just a few hundred more than a semi auto gun at the time, maybe they just marked it for those who may not have known the AR15 and the M16 are the same gun. Whatever the reason, its neat.


Here is the kit beside its intended home.  The gun is older then the kit by a lot, but the SP-1 and SP2 is  what the kits probably saw the most use in.   As far as  accuracy, its not too bad in the older gun with a 1/12 twist.  Its good enough to hit a rabbit or squirrel out to around 20 yards. I find with good ammo, skeet are easy to hit out to 100 yards and sometimes 200 with really good ammo and some hold over.  Its not MOA  by no means and its less accurate in a barrel with a 1/7 twist, but its still a rabbit killer out to 100 and a ground hog killer to 150 yards or so when you get use to your hold over.  I have not shot it much beyond 150 yards in a barrel with a 1/7 twist.

Back in the late 90s and friend and I did try it in a Colt Accurized Rifle with a 24 inch SS barrel and a 1/9 twist. It was was accurate enough to hit a old stop sign out to 250 yards with a 18x scope on it adjusted for such or course,  If I recall, it would have been enough to keep it on a coyote sized animal 80 percent of the time.  That is not bad considering what the thing is really meant for.

it will work with some of the hotter standard velocity ammo, but they work best with the high velocity ammo.  Using proper ammo, the kits have never failed me.  If you can buy one for a decent price  I would go for it.   I know that there are very few spare mags floating around. Colt did sell them but not many.  If you do get a kit, it will be just with one mag. If you are offered the kit but no mag, I would pass. Its very, very hard to find a lone magazine for sale.  I would not even bother with trying to get a BDM magazine for it without expecting to have to send it back.  Some guys claim their BDM mag worked, but mine did not and since they would not even return any email I sent trying to get some help I would never recommend buying a kit with no mag and plan on using the BDM mag.

The Still Useful MIL-DOT

The Mil-dot reticle has been around a while now and I am sure most shooters consider it old and nearly useless compared to the newer Christmas tree reticles. It still has some life left in it though you just have to have a little imagination.

The Mildot system is a great way to use holdovers,but seems to limit us at the range we can apply them. With a traditional zero striking dead center on the crosshair. we have 5 Mils of drop still available to us for use on the reticle. 5 Mils is enough to compensate for the drop of most cartridges out to the 500 to 600 yard range plus or minus some. Depending on exact round used etc.

By changing the point of the reticle we use to zero, we can get more out of the reticle. In the diagrams we have four standard Mildot reticles.

1.The traditional zeroing aiming point. 2.Shows the amount of holdover available before running out of mils with the traditional crosshair type zero. If we re-zero our rifle to the 4th Mildot above our crosshair, as shown in the 3rd reticle, we are extending the hold over points our mildots provide.

Instead of only having 5 Mils of drop available, a simple change can give us 9 mils of holdover, as shown in reticle 4. Having holdover out to the thousand yard range instead of only 500 is a huge advantage, and at no cost to the shooter.

Shooting at longer ranges is growing in popularity at a faster rate than I have seen in my lie and many people are dipping their toes into the game. Reality is for most , several thousand dollar rifle optics with the new cutting edge reticles are not an option. especially when just starting out. The new shooter can still find very high quality optics with MILDOT reticles considerably cheaper than the same optics with the artillery grid reticles. The MILDOT is what we used for years and good work was done with it. I still use MILDOT reticles on many of my precision optics and have not been handicapped. Give them a try or take another look at an old favorite for hunting or long range varmint shooting. The MILDOT still can be useful contrary to popular internet belief. even if it is paired with 1/4 MOA turrets!

diagrams from PS Magazine


By Luis Valdes

The S&W 4566 TSW was the last of the 3rd Gen .45 Autos. Solid hunks of stainless steel with a levem of craftsmanship that rivaled custom guns. The Ruger P345 was the last of the classic P Series guns. Internally, it is a classic P97 .45 ACP with the cluttered sharp ergonomics of a brick removed.

Both had everything that would have been in demand in the 90s. Loaded chamber indicator or witness holes, magazine disconnect, 8rd capacity, slide mounted decocker/safety, accessory rails for weapon mounted lights, slick no snag sights, and stainless components. And of course they were hammer fired DA/SA guns.

In an era of high capacity striker fired 9mms averaging 18rds now. A single stack 8rd .45 ACP with a DA/SA trigger just wouldn’t fly. But in the 90s, they would have been quite popular, especially since the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban was in full force. 1911s regained popularity because of the ban, but some still had an aversion to carrying cocked and locked. So manufacturers like Sig, Colt, Ruger, and S&W all came out with DA/SA .45 ACP guns to replace the 1911. (The Colt was the “Double Eagle” a 1911 converted to DA/SA offered in .45ACP and 10MM-Editor)

The S&W Model 4506 (8 rds & 41.6 oz), Ruger P90 (7 rds & 34 oz), SIG P220 (7 rds & 30.4 oz), and the Colt Double Eagle (8 rds & 41.52 oz).

All were horribly antiquated by their release due to GLOCK. But again, remember the AWB took away from the civilian market one of GLOCK’s biggest strengths. A double stack magazine with a double digit capacity. Suddenly, much like the 1911, the DA/SA Single Stacks were popular.

Ruger continued with the P90 line and made the P97, polymer framed version. Colt shuttered the Double Eagle. S&W took the 4506 and evolved it into the 4506-1 and the ever popular 4566. Sig did well with the P220 and still produce it to this day.

But S&W and Ruger went on different paths with theirs. Ruger streamlined the P97 and made it i to the P345 and gave it everything someone would’ve wanted in 1999 or 2000. The problem is, they instituted these upgrades right before the ban the ended. The P345 suddenly found itself out of place in a world of now legally available Double Stack .45s and Wonder Nines. Production ended in around 2011-2012 time frame.

S&W did something similar. They took the 4566 line and made the Tactical Smith & Wesson line (TSW for short). It too was designed at the tail end of the AWB and faced an uphill battle and clawed a small but loyal market share in law enforcement circles due to older established relationships between S&W and Police Departments. The final iteration shown above was produced in 2011 and that was it. The line was closed after that.

Both guns share similar traits, but on the opposite side. One oozes quality with machining and steel making while the other oozes affordability due to experienced with casting. Both though are the best of their product lines.

But again, the AWB end (thank God) and any market for these guns dried up. They are fantastic shooters and when I have the time, I definitely plan on doing a head to head review of them.

Though neither of these guns are fairly old. The mindset and ideas that led to their developments are rooted in the past. Over 30 years now if we go back to when the DA/SA craze started taking over in the 80s and early 90s. They are guns of a bygone era.

Omaha Beach June 6th 1944

This is a repost from a few years ago that I thought I would re -share. It is part of our growing content that gets buried and lost as time goes on. Since it’s the 75th anniversary in a coupleof days, I thought I would share it again today for those who missed it.

An important anniversary is coming this year.  It is not only an important day for our country, but the entire world. On June 6 1944 the fate of not only the USA , but the rest of the free world hung in the balance.  It was a lot closer to failure than many people think.  As most know, it was D-Day, the beginning of operation Overlord and the allied invasion of Europe. The people and industries of the free world had put their full effort into what was going to happen, The industrial feat that provided equipment and support to the men who would throw themselves at Hitler’s Atlantic wall in an attempt to establish a beach head was staggering.  The men had been trained and sharpened to a fever pitch for this all out effort. It had to work.  This crusade was meant not as a conquering invasion to subdue, pillage, destroy and make slaves, but to free Europe from the Nazi Empire.  It was the largest amphibious invasion in history.

This is not a complete history of Overlord and Neptune, but a focus on on a small portion of the action on and around Omaha beach.Of course a lot more happened that day, but the action on Omaha was unique because of the unimaginable horror and violence the men who assaulted it had to face.

The beach is crescent shaped, about 10 kilometers wide with firm sand at low tide that stretches for about 300-400 meters from the water line.  The only obstacle across the beach as they would move in was a shingle band 1 to 4 meters high that was impassable for vehicles. Beyond the shingle for a large section of beach was a sea wall of wood or masonry. Inland of the sea wall was a flatter area with tank ditches, swampy areas and then the bluff. The bluff was grass covered and offered no way for a vehicle to climb. It looked featureless, but actually had many folds. This would turn out to be very advantageous because a man could still climb the bluff. Cutting the bluff were 5 small draws that went up the bluff to the top with a small paved road leading up the bluff through the exits.  All of it was heavily mined with obstacles. The Germans had strong points, pill boxes, machine gun nests and trenches for firing on the beach in enfilade so as to cover the entire beach in cross fire. In addition there were observation points for artillery from mortars up to the bigger guns further inland as well as artillery that could enfilade the beach.  Ammo and men could be brought up in the trenches to reinforce quickly and form smaller counter attacks. According to Ambrose, “The waters off shore were heavily mined and along with the beaches the promenade, which had concentina wire along its length and the bluff. Rommel had twelve strong points holding 88s, 75s,and mortars. He had dozens of tobruks and machine gun pill boxes supported by an extensive trench system.”

Set to assault the beach were the 1st and 29th infantry division with companies of the rangers attached with assorted smaller units. They faced 3 battalions of the 352 Division.  Intelligence reported a smaller unit of inferior troops that would be knocked out by the air and naval fire.  After the pre invasion prep had let up and the landing craft were about to assault the beach, just before H-Hour, Captain Walker on an LCI took a look as the smoke lifted.  “I took a look toward the shore and my heart took a dive. I could not believe how peaceful, how untouched, and how tranquil the scene was. The terrain was green. All buildings and houses were intact”.

The air bombardment was a failure, nothing on the beach was hit and the fire from the battleships was too short, though firing smoke had obscured the beach for direct fire.

As the first landing craft went in. the defenders opened fire. Mate Sears, an electrician’s mate remembered, “We hit the sandbar and dropped the ramp, and all hell poured loose on us. the soldiers in the boat took a hail of MG fire. The Army LT was immediately killed, shot through the head”  Captain Taylor Fellers and every man in the leading boat of A Company was killed before the ramp even opened. It either hitting a mine or took a hit from an 88.  At any rate, it was there one second and vaporized in an instant.

All along Omaha German machine gunners let loose a withering amount of fire, one German vet reporting firing 12,000 rounds that morning. Because of a strong current and obstacles, the landing craft landed in the wrong spots.  When the skippers saw one LCI make it in, they followed close by leading the men to be bunched up, making easy targets for MG42 gunners.  That is, if they even made it to shore to begin with. Those who did make it to shore in the first wave had to ditch their gear. Sand bars and mines kept many craft from going in closer. The men stepped out into deep water and had to drop gear to keep from drowning. The ones who did drag ashore were tired, and demoralized.  Most also had multiple wounds.

When the ramp let down, the Germans raked the front of the boat with Machine gun and artillery fire. Entire craft of men where killed by machine gun fire or hit with mortars and exploded, killing everyone. The men in the water found that if you stood up, you would get hit, so many floated in with the tide.  Sgt Valance was one such men. “I abandoned my gear which was dragging me down into the water. it became evident rather quickly that we were not going to accomplish much. I remember floundering in the water with my hand up in the air, trying to get my balance, when I was first shot through the palm of my hand, then through the knuckle. PVT Witt was rolling toward me. I remember him saying they were leaving us to die like rats, just die like rats…”  Valance continued, ”…and staggered up against the seawall and sort of collapsed there and spent the whole day in that position. Essentially my part of the invasion had ended by having been wiped out as most of my company was. The bodies of my buddies were washing ashore and I was the one live body in among so many friends, all of whom were dead, many cases very severely blown to pieces.”

On another boat, LT Tidrick was first off. While jumping from the ramp to the water he was shot through the throat. Getting up to the sand he fell and said to a PVT “advance with the wire cutters”  As soon as he said it, a machine gun ripped the LT from groin to the top of his head. On another boat coming in, every man in a thirty person assault team was killed before they could get off.

Survivors huddled together and helped each other up to the sea wall. Medics did what they could with what little was left. Most men had little left from having to ditch earlier. Gear was strewn all over Dog Green sector of the beach. Though the first wave was slaughtered, the gear would be proof they had not died in vain for the follow up waves.

As the men tried to cross the open beach to the single and sea wall, their wet clothes and gear weighed them down and made it seem as if they were running in slow motion.

As SGT Warner Hamlett of F company made his way up the beach, he found the weight of the wet clothes full of water and sand really made it hard to run. He could hear men and officers shouting the only chance to live was to get off the beach.  While he was resting in a shell hole a young private fell in beside him. “I said, Gillingham, lets stay apart, cause the Germans  will fire at two faster than one. He remained silent as I ran forward”. A shell burst between them and he looked back,  “It took Gillingham’s chin off, including the bone, except for a small piece of flesh. He tried to hold his chin in place as he ran toward the shingle. He made it and Bill Hawkes gave him a shot of morphine. We stayed with him for around 30 minutes until he died. The entire time he remained conscious and aware he was dying.”

Private Parley landed a kilometer off target. “As our boat touched sand and the ramp went down, I became a visitor to hell. I shut everything out and concentrated on following the men in front of me down the ramp and into the water.”   Another man reported “Sgt Robertson had a gaping wound in the upper right corner of his forehead. He was walking crazily in the water. Then I saw him get down on his knees and start praying with his rosary beads. At that moment German machine gunners cut him in half with their crossfire.”

The same man then had an 88 go off beside him,hitting him in the cheek. “It felt like being hit by a ball bat. My upper jaw was shattered. The left cheek blown open. My upper lip was cut in half. The roof of my mouth was cut up and teeth and gums were laying all over my mouth.”

Despite all of this, junior officers and NCOs were starting to organize the survivors who made it to the sea wall. They started to make the men believe their best chance to live was off the beach. Men ran back to the beach, stepping over bodies and equipment to get what they needed to work their way up the bluff. All of the armor, truck, jeeps and bulldozers floundered or were being knocked out by 88s. From one end to the other the beach was full of blown up and burning vehicles with only a very few working tanks supporting the infantry. Men had to step over bodies and in some cases walk over them to start to get up the bluff.  The invasion plan and fallen apart. The infantry would be alone with no artillery support on the beach and only a few tanks firing at strong points.  Later in the morning some of the destroyers off shore got dangerously close to the beach to place direct fire at pill boxes to relieve the withering fire.

Sgt John Slaughter relates that the incoming fire was horrible. “this turned the boys into men.”  “Some would be very brave men, others would soon be dead men, but all those who survived would be frightened men.” Some wet their pants, other cried unashamedly, and some had to find it with themselves to get the job done.” When he reached the sea wall. “The first thing I did was take off my assault jacket, and spread my raincoat so I could clean my rifle. It was then I saw bullet holes in my rain coat. I had to rest and compose myself because I had become weak in the knees”  “Colonel Canham come by with his right arm in a sling and a .45 Colt in his left had. He was screaming at the officers to get the men off the beach. ‘Get the hell off this damn beach and go kill some Germans!’ There was an officer taking cover from mortar fire. Colonel Canham screamed, ‘Get your ass out of here and show some leadership!’ To another Lt he roared ‘Get these men off their dead asses and over that wall!’”

This was the battle started to turn as the US Army recovered from the brutal, murderous unrelenting fire.  The men found what it took to start up the bluff. They cleared the wire and went through the thousands of mines and up the bluff taking out enemy pill boxes along the way and taking prisoners that they sent back down the bluff.  When men saw others make it to the top, they thought to themselves ,”Hell if they can do that why can’t we?”

Most of the troops to hit the beach in the first wave had no combat experience, and it was purposefully designed this way. Th commanders knew that experienced troops who knew what high velocity bullets and shrapnel could do to the human body would not be as fast to assault the beach. The 16th Regiment of the 1st Div was an exception in the first wave.  One of those was Pvt Romanaski.  As his boat came in, he looked to his right and saw a boat blow up and then he looked to the left and that boat hit a mine. He saw a man blow about 10 feet into the air, arms and legs covered in flame. The ramp dropped and he was in the water.  “There was already men there, some dead, some wounded. There was wreckage. There was complete confusion. There was a body rolling in the waves. And his leg was holding on by a chunk of meat about the size of your wrist. the body would roll and then the leg would roll. Then the leg would roll back and then the body would roll back.” He joined an unknown officer and started up the bluff.

To the commanders offshore in the invasion armada, it looked like a total disaster. Bradley considered putting follow up waves on the other beaches and suspending the landings until they knew was what going on.  But the men on the beach had made it to the top and were making penetration into and behind the defenders.  As D-Day went on, the infantry were fighting in mixed units. sometimes with Navy beach master, clerks, tank crewmen with no tanks, and HQ soldiers fighting as infantry.  Toward the end of the day, the exits were opened by the engineers and extra paths made, mine field trails cleared and the vehicles stated to get a foot hold inland and into the battle. The men at the top started to encounter the normal hedgerows and the expert defensive line positions the Germans had prepared. All D-Day objectives were not hit, but there was a beachhead and there would be no gap between Utah, Juno and Gold.

It would turn into a long slog in the hedgerows in France, but the Allies had a foot hold. The decisive moment was over and the US Army had assaulted and taken the most effective defenses the German Army and its best General could think up.  It was the US Army’s finest hour.  They accomplished an amazing feat. The cost in terms of men and equipment was appalling, but the USA  flung its best at the Atlantic wall, and they did achieve success.

PVT Wiehe, on his assault had found himself crying for what he thought was hours, before pulling himself together and doing his job perfectly. But on reflecting back on it he said in his oral history. “To this day I have never shed another tear. I would give anything to have one good cry or one good laugh. I hurt inside but I cannot get my emotions out since that day. I have never been able to.”  The people freed by these men, and those of us that live in the world that they secured, can never imagine the cost these men paid to win.

In 1964 while visiting Omaha, Eisenhower told a reporter while looking down on the beach, ”It is a wonderful thing to remember what those fellows twenty years ago were fighting for and sacrificing for, what they did to preserve our way of life. Not to conquer any territory, not for any ambitions of our own. But to make sure Hitler could not destroy freedom in the world.“

“I think it is just overwhelming. To think of the lives that were given for that principle, paying a terrible price on this beach alone, on that day, 2,000 casualties. But they did it so that the world could be free. It just shows what free men will do rather than be slaves.”

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking. — Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Innovative Glock in 1991

Today’s post was written by Miami_JBT from ARFCOM. He was kind enough to let me share it here.

Shooters coming of age today don’t understand how good they have it.

In 1991, the gun industry was to a degree a stagnant, faltering, lethargic beast that it couldn’t innovate its way out of a wet paper bag. Designs were moving forward on a snail’s pace. Yes, there was the jump from Revolvers to Semiautomatics but the layout and designs were still cemented in old ideas.

Metal Framed, DA/SA, Hammer Fired Guns. Sig Sauer, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, CZ, etc all mirrored each other when it came to 9mm platforms. Make a gun that is basically a Hi-Power in size, with similar capacity, and make it double action capable. Even HK at the time was still pushing their amazingly expensive P7 series.

GLOCK was the outlier. We all know the story by know and why. Lightweight, Polymer Framed, Striker Fired, extremely High Capacity compared to the competitors at the time, etc, etc, etc.

Well, why did I mention 1991? Because in 1991, the .45 ACP was still a popular duty round and a number of agencies wanted it even though .40 S&W was released a year before. But the problem with .45 ACP was capacity. Always was an issue and that is one reason why .40 S&W did so well. Anyways, back to the main topic at hand. .45 ACP prior to 1991 was mostly relegated to single stack guns with 7rd or 8rd capacities. They were big, heavy beasts too.

But in 1991 two guns were released. One that clearly shows you the old mindset and one that showed you the innovation GLOCK had and was.

The Ruger P90 was released in 1991 and was a fine representation of how outdated a number of companies were. Here you have a gun as complicated as a 1911, as large as a 1911, with a 7rd capacity and a weight of 34oz. Yes, the P90 was a reliable gun but it was a beast of a gun. The ergos were shit and the gun was covered in sharp edges. But the most glaring issue is 7rd capacity in 1991. Trigger pull was average for the era, 9lbs to 10lbs in DA and 3lbs to 4lbs in SA.

By 1991, the market was screaming for higher capacity. It was the era of the Cocaine and Crack Epidemic, a rise in perceived violent crime, and a perception that cops were being outgunned by bad guys (which to a degree, they were). And what Ruger released for the .45 ACP duty makret was a 7rd, DA/SA, 1911 sized and weighted gun to compete with the other outdated designs like the S&W 4506, Sig Sauger P220, and of course the 1911 itself.

Amazingly, GLOCK released the G21 the same year.

Here, you have a .45 ACP chambered automatic that held 13rds of ammunition, and weighed 26.0oz. That’s almost a 1/2 pound lighter in weight than the P90. And it basically held twice the amount of ammunition. The gun was smooth for the most part. Not rough or sharp edges. A simplistic constant trigger pull that weighed in at 5.5lbs.

The overall design was simple, reduced in complexity, and worked extremely well. The G21 invalidated every .45 ACP on the market. The S&W 4506, Sig P220, Ruger P90, and especially the 1911 was dinosaur waiting to be killed off by the fallout from the asteroid strike. To put things in perspective, the G21 weighed less than a Beretta 92FS, Sig Sauer P226, S&W 5903, and all of it contemporaries Wonder Nine era guns.

It was that radically different.

Shooters coming of age today have no grasp or understanding how revolutionary this was. Honestly, the arrival of GLOCK in the 80s and early 90s completely changed the design layout and mindset of the handgun industry. New shooters today complain about a G21 being big or heavy. It they only knew…. and I say this as a fan of the DA/SA Wonder Nines and Boat Anchor DA/SA Single Stack .45 ACP guns. They’re all outdated and GLOCK is the reason why.

Whether you like or dislike GLOCK, the market wouldn’t be what it is today without them.