Back in 2006, while I was in Iraq, I purchased a Spec Ops Brand THE Wallet JR. I’ve been using it ever since. This weekend, one of the zipper pulls broke off. I had forgotten it had zippers.
Over the years I have owned a variety of S.O.B. gear. It has always been well made, but a little on the large and clunky side. Their X4 and X6 pouches are excellent utility pouches. Their lone downside is a fringe around the outside making it hard to put another pouch directly next to it. S.O.B.’s belts, vest, chest rig, and other products are all excellent.
This wallet is no exception. Tons of pockets, slots, and places to stick things. The main compartment is sized for US Dollars and has a zippered pocket. It has a windowed pocket on the outside and inside of the wallet. 4 credit card slots that can hold multiple cards. I also stick cards in the folds of fabric for those slots. And an additional zippered credit card sized pocket on the inside. The main feature of this wallet is its “shark-bite” closure, which is a sort of rigid flap that holds the wallet close. Easily opened and closed.
The only downside to this simple, heavy duty wallet it its thickness. The “shark bite” flap makes the wallet thicker on top of the thick nylon and cordura fabric. Once you stick a few hundred dollars in the wallet it becomes quite plump.
This is probably not the right wallet for most people, but I love the one I have.
Inland Mfg has been on a pretty good roll since they brought the old name back online and started producing weapons that could have been if only they had continued. I have already tested and reviewed their M1 carbine and their excellent USGI M1911A1. If you read those reviews you know I was impressed with both. The first M1 I tested rated pretty highly with me, though the same gun got a bad rap by some later testers who didn’t mention the hell I had put it through in my abusive testing. I couldn’t make it fail me no matter how hard I tried while keeping my abuse within reality. This Jungle Carbine, as the company calls it is just as tough, possibly more accurate and has a nifty little new feature easy to miss.
The Jungle M1 Carbine comes in a very nice box that keeps it packed nice and tight. Not really something that matters about the guns function, but to me sometimes attention paid to these kind of details can give you a hint about how seriously the maker takes other aspects.
The inside has the gun snug in foam , with sight and bolt handle protectors. It came with two 15 round mags and a new Inland 30 round magazine. It also came with the owners manual etc, and the ever present lawyer lanyard.
Looking at the blister pack the 30 rounder cam in, I noticed on the back the specs for other mags Inland offers, I did not know they had a 10 rounder. But that is good to know. If you decided you wanted to hunt with the gun, this would make finding a magazine limited to the legal capacity for hunting a lot easier.
The mags all seem to be made to the mil specs of all other real USGI M1 carbine mags I have seen and owned. They worked as they should with no problems. It can be dicey getting surplus mags that work in my experience so its good to know you can get new ones that are up to snuff.
The carbine has all the markings as other models in all the right places, This mimics the USGI models and the originals. Just like the WW2 models, this one has all the same small details attended to.
The buttstock has the logo and the slot for the oil bottle that also works as the mounting point for the sling. The wood of the stock on the test model is a nice walnut, darker than the first test gun and has the look you associate with originals with their darker stocks. Some people I showed the first model , thought the lighter color of the wood some how was off to their eyes. I had to point out to them that they are used to seeing stocks oiled and reoiled over 60 years.
Of course the new Inlands have something hard to find on originals. A top handguard that actually matches the rest of the stock.
The fire controls are all standard M1 carbine. These having the button safety as opposed to the lever. The mag release being forward of the safety. Something some people have said they have had trouble with in the past. It is what it is though. The guns being made correctly to the originals more than trying to modernize or correct anything.
The bolt operates the same as all others, cycle to chamber a round, with a button at the rear , used to manually lock the bolt back for administrative purposes or light cleaning or malfunction clearing. The mag will not lock empty on a 15 round man but it will on a 30 rounder.
Now on to accuracy testing.
I was able to make a very solid shooting set up for the gun. I took advantage of the slot in the stock and was able to lock it down almost like a vice.
After testing all the option of ammo which is basically different versions of ball ammo and some soft point, I selected the most accurate loads. I used the PPU ball and some OLD remington soft points. I then went on to shoot at 100, 125, 150 and some at 200 yards.
I have read a lot about the guns limited range and accuracy. I get sick of this as it always seems to be more talk than action by those worthies. I decided to shoot this gun for accuracy in a way that would better show its potential on a man sized target in a self defense capacity.
First group at 100 yards. I intended to shoot 10 rounds but lost count as you can see. I fired this iron sight like I did all groups, and from the bench and bags. The small peep is not good for my oddball eyes as a larger peep is easier for me. So to make up for the peep not working well for my eyes and to make sure I got all I could out of it, I made sure to use the sand bagged/locked down set up.
The 125 yard group is shown on the targets “head”. I have seen some guys who couldn’t do this with an M4 using an ACOG. Not to say this is some how my ability, as I said the gun was nearly locked into a vice or as vicelike as I could manage, which was pretty good. I simple lined up the sights then worked the trigger while making sure the gun didn’t slowly move off target. After seeing this performance, I really wished I could pull the same set up off with other model rifles.
Above is the 150 yard group, Same set up. The group isn’t much bigger than the first two. Which ideally is what you would want, but I am sure it may surprise a decent amount of naysayers. Not as good as a decent AR15 of course. but that is not a fair comparison. This was a PDW meant to replace the handgun. This is still good enough to make a head shot possible if you could hold steady enough in the field. Probably unlikely in combat or any field shooting. Making tight groups in the field is obviously a lot different than the range but you would be surprised how many seem to never want to acknowledge that little factoid. Making hits accurately at any distance and in the field in any position is something I wish we had more competitions that strove to replicate.
Group above is the 75 yard group. This is the closest I fired at this target and the group I set as the zero of the sights. That is actually a 10 round group. This was fired with the remington ammo that is so old I am not even going to bother showing because it couldn’t be found anyway. If did show it, some one would go buy new made remington ammo and when it didn’t shoot as well blame me or be really let down. The ammo was so old in fact, that some of it misfired. I show this last because I originally didn’t intend to show it since the ammo can’t be purchased. But on second thought, it is worth showing just to give an idea of my zero and how well the gun will do within the range most people think is “far” for it.
I had only 5 rounds left and fired at this tiny man shaped target at 200 yards . I fired semi off hand and hit it twice solid and a glance shot on the top (readers) left. The other rounds landed so close I thought I hit it. The entire target is a little bigger than the cardboard man sized Q target’s “head.” The gun and round will make hits further. You can find me making hits at 300 with the first test M1 I was sent. The gun would make a great trunk gun or walking pack rifle or self defense gun if you live in a commie state. No doubt it is still as handy today as it was in the 40s and 50s.
The reliability and function of the gun was as it should be, I had no malfunctions other than ancient ammo being duds. The gun worked though I left it un-oiled. I fired an uncomfortable amount of 30 carbine through it. Uncomfortable because of the price. The gun had a hair over 500 rounds through it. All I could find at cabellas and every local guns store and some old trashed looking stuff salvaged from a defunct pawn shop that had been collecting rust and dust since Rome fell.
Now to the new feature and something that make it more appealing to some.
The cone like flash hider/muzzle device may look funny to some, or familiar to others. You may have seen something like it on the Bren, the British Enfield “jungle carbine” bolt action and possibly M1 carbines cut down and used by US advisors, Special Forces or Vietnamese troops in Vietnam. I’m not going to pretend to know the actual history of how any of those came in use and in association with use in jungles. Maybe Dan will have some insight to add or one of the wonderful commentators who have started posting here more from weaponsman. I will say that it looks pretty cool and it can be removed to allow you to thread on a sound suppressor. Or, the name it is known by if you are a left wing anti-gun kook, a silencer. That is a pretty neat little perk I think. This would allow mounting of a can to a gun that would look just like any USGI M1 but with a suppressor, That would make for a neat package to me. Of course you could attach other muzzle devices that would work with the bore size.
The Jungle carbine otherwise is a gun made for the smaller niche of Vietnam era Advisor type weapons. In the early years when US advisors and ARVN troops used the WW2 US family of weapons Many SF troops would modify weapons to make them handier for jungle fighting. Inland in fact makes a model they dubbed the Advisor which is a “pistol.” That is to say the ATF says that is what it is anyway. It mimics a cut down M1 in a way a Green Beret would have modifies it for easier jungle carry.
The small size and light recoil of the M1 made it popular with Vietnamese troops. The communists and RVN troops both appreciated it s attributes. You can see it in the hands of various units and factions in many pictures of the war. In a time before the M16 became issued to ARV troop, no doubt it was much desired when compared to the M1 Garand for the smaller sized Asian users.
No doubt in the hot jungles and hills and rice paddies, the M1 carbine would have been an easy rifle to carry. Pictured above is the jungle carbine as used by an “advisor” wearing ARVN airborne camo and using the M56 web gear. The M56 general purpose ammo pouches having been made in a transitional time and will hold the 30 round M1 carbine mags, M1 garand block clips, 40mm grenades, regular fragmentation grenades, M14 mags and BAR magazines. Of course a little later on , they held M16 twenty round mags. A versatile pouch though it does have its flaws and draw backs. Uniform and webgear from mooremilitaria. If you are a collector of vietnam war gear and uniforms or just want some repro to wear and use, Moore militaria is your answer. If you want a carbine, Inland is your answer to that.
Lastly., some ammo from 1952. M1 carbine .30cal on the original strippers. Ball and tracers 30 cal carbine.
Now we will take a look at how the gun does in accuracy testing. I did the testing in my usual manner. I shot 5 shot groups of various ammo I could get my hands on at 20 and 25 yards from a a bench with sand bags. Ammo was of the the type to be used for duty or self defense and some ball and target ammo handloads included. All groups are shot slow fire to the best of my ability to try to give the gun every chance to show us what it has.
Per request I also started the practice of shooting handguns meant for defensive use at longer ranges. The idea being the possible need to stop a terrorist who may have explosives strapped to himself.
First off we have the Hornady 185 gr SWC handloads. A personal favorite accuracy load of mine that I won’t be sharing the load data for. The load is a go to for accuracy testing and the gun loved it as much as most others. The markings are the sharpie drawn square I drew for the target. All groups are at 20 yards unless marked.
The next load is my personal carry ammo. The barnes 185 gr solid copper HPs in a +P load. My 1911s shoot well with it and the extra weight of the gov model tames it. The Kahr with its plymer frame and light weight made for painful shooting. The gun also didn’t seems to like it as much as the M1911s.
The next group is a well know favorite of many. Many of the local LE officers use it as their duty ammo. I have never been in love with it to the same degree as others but that’s just a personal choice. This was group is about what all other groups fired with the GD looked like. I could not get it to shoot any tighter.
Next I tried some 230 grain lead practice and plinking ammo. It is common to use this as a plinking and practice load. The gun didn’t like it to put it mildly.
Next up is another popular load. The Winchester ranger T load, a 230 gr HP that is basically the much hyped “black talon” without the evil black. It was and is a common and popular police and carry loading that many still like to use. It was so so.
The Federal HST is another common and some what popular self defense rounds at least locally.. I have never used it much beyond shooting it as a test load in pistol reviews, If you carry it and are thinking of a P45, here is how it did in the T&E sample.
The next two are both FMJ 230 gr ball rounds. Not much to say about factory ball that you don’t already know,
This group is fired from my other self defense carry load. This is the Corbon 185gr +P solid copper HP. It is the same bullet as the barnes load without the grey/black coating. This load shoots great in my 1911s and does well in this gun. To no surprise at all, it was rough shooting the hotter loads through the P45. The grip texture and the polymer frame are not comfortable to a guy like me used to the weight of the M1911. But it is an excellent SD load.
This is the Corbon load in the 165 gr solid copper round. It is again the same Barnes solid copper HP bullet in 165 grains but not a +P loading. This round is tailored for the shorter sub compact handguns with shorter barrels. I use it as the standard carry ammo in the Colt Defender. It also works fine and is much more pleasant in the P45. If i was going to carry the P45 this is the SD load I would use in it.
Above is a 10 round 25 yard group fired with the target load of 185 SWCs. The loads are excellent in the P45. Maybe it just likes 185 bullets period? It seems so on the surface anyway.
The same load fired a 50 yards as promised. I fired two mags at the orange square not quite off hand but nor from bags and a rest. It was more or less semi-supported as I rested my hands on something while standing up. I would have shot 50 from bags and the bench but didn’t realize that was the last of it I had until after I had shot this target. Anyway, if you had to take an emergency long range pistol shot I would think you would have to do it without sandbags and a bench anyways. Maybe you could get into prone to steady yourself if you had time but who could really say? It’s always worth seeing how a handgun or rifle would do offhand anyway.
The gun had no problems for me. I fired 896 rounds with no problems using a variety of bullet styles and pressures. I purposefully never lubed the gun and never had a problem. The trigger is not what I would call great as I am of course a 1911 guy but I think it is fine for the striker style. It took me considerable dry fire practice for 5 nights in a roll to get used to it. No fault of the gun this is just a fact of life for a guy born with a M1911 in his hand. All of the controls are easy to hit and I can’t fault it with anything. It would make a good CCW pieve for the new owner looking for a solid reliable pistol without spending a lot.
The of Colt light weight Commander has been around for a long time. It was the first major variant of the M1911 that colt brought out to the market and while a lot of the big names associated with handgun use and training and gun writers at the time considered close to perfect for carry, it did not take off in popularity at the time.
The original Commander with the ally frame lead to the Combat Commander with the steel frame. The all steel frame commander is a fine gun. It handles superbly and some people, lie my brother, find they can shoot the combat commander better than a full size 1911. I have owned both and love both but I have come to prefer the original commander over the CC. The reason for that is that if I am going to be carrying a smaller gun, I may as well have a smaller and lighter gun. For all of my adult life I always preferred the full size M1911 for carry and I still do. But with the Commander ( I will refer to the alloy frame as what it originally was , the commander and the steel frame later model as the CC , for Combat Commander )I get a M1911 a little shorter and considerable weight savings. While the Colt Defender is a sub compact, it doesn’t give the sight radius or full grip of the commander. The subcompacts also require careful accounting of how often you replace springs. Of course that isnt’t a deal breaker or a negative, it’s just the trade off for having such a compact gun. Just like rotating tires and changing oil.
With all that in mind, when Colt brought a Commander back out in specs that are much like my beloved XSE models, I bought one as quickly as I could.
Like all Colt handguns it came with two Colt factory mags in the same finish as the gun. They are of course full sized mags because the commander has a full sized grip. Both mags are the 8 round type sure to give an upset tummy to the 7 round mag purists I have no doubt.
A very nice touch on this new model is the grips. This is a big upgrade Colt has been adding to its current pistol line up because they are the very tough VZ grips. As you can see the grips are made with the Colt logo made into the checkering and it is very attractive to my eyes. I like checkered wood grips on CCW guns and these look and feel the same as wood checkering and are a lot tougher. Unlike wood checkering these won’t wear down and smooth out like wood, keeping the gripping texture the same.
The commander comes with the an extended combat safety. I am not 100 percent but I am pretty sure it is a wilson combat model. I still prefer the STI safeties that came on the XSE series, but I have no complaints with this one and I doubt I will ever change it out. The temptation to go ambi is strong though. I have a hard time understanding why anyone for not want a safety they could deactivate with either hand when it comes to a gun they think some day they may have to fight with. That said, it is not a must and I will leave this one as is.
You can see the current commander comes with the hammer type that was introduced when the original commanders came to market. A lot of people really like the look of this “rowel ” style hammer and will add one to their guns. For a long time I was indifferent about this but in recent years it has grown on me. It is however slightly heavier than the rounded hammer that is more common, so it does have an advantage beyond classic good looks.
You can also of course see the now standard S&A grip safety. I am pleased to say this is something colt has started doing since 09 and it was long awaited by me. There are a lot of grip safeties out there but this one is the one I always opt for when I have a choice.
The commander also comes with the standard sights for Colt’s combat and carry pistols. Those of course are the Novaks. I know there is a move towards rear sights that can be used for cycling the gun by hand if wounded in one arm but I find that there are plenty of other edges on a 1911 that can be used for this. The front sights, the edges on the ejection port are a couple of examples. I love the look and lines of the novak sights. I also like the non snag lower profile. It’s been around forever and more than 2 million have been sold. There is a reason for that.
Another very welcome touch is the front strap. Like the Colt Gold Cup target pistols, the commander has the front strap cut for gripping grooves. With the VZ grips, and the matching MSH, this makes for a very solid and sure grip.
And of course the scalloping cut where the trigger guard meets the front strap is there. This little bit of detail makes a big difference for me. The way I grip the guns benefits a lot from that little bit of metal being removed. I know it makes no difference for some people’s grip, but it does for me and its a very nice touch that used to be a custom gun only detail.
Like every pistol Colt has made for carry use since 2009, the commander has the edges dulled for carry and comfort. The front sight can be seen and its the Novak front.
The commander also uses the standard, original recoil spring guide and plug. No full length guide rod. I can remember a time when the standard JMB system was good enough, then it wasn’t and we all had to have guide rods, and now we are back to the USGI original parts being the preferred and wise choice. I agree for what it’s worth but it’s funny how things go back and forth. Of course the commander uses its own parts for this as its shorter than the government model.
On the topic of recoil springs, the commander uses the now standard dual recoil spring system. The original 10mm delta elite came with a dual recoil spring system and it was brought back when that gun was resurrected. The next gun to get that treatment was the M45A1 made for MARSOC. This dampened recoil and wear and tear on parts so much it was made standard on a lot of the new models. It does help, I noticed the recoil of the new delta to be tamed greatly and it makes a big difference with this light alloy framed commander. I have no doubt it will eventually be the recoil spring set up in every colt gun in the near future. It adds not complication in taking the gun apart nor does it hurt function. It does soften recoil. I am considering changing over to dual springs on my guns that are already comfortable to shoot like my full size government models in 45 ACP.
The crowning on the barrel of this gun is interesting. The picture doesn’t show it well but It has a very nice crowning job. I don’t mean it’s just a competent job done on an assembly line, I mean it looks to me like it was given special care. I have carefully compared it to my other Colt’s of this years vintage and it has a crowing job you would expect from a gunsmith. I have not confirmed this is a new standard Colt has started to phase in, but I hope so, I will update this post when I learn the answer to this.
The barrel is the stainless steel Colt barrel seen on all modern guns save for the models that come with the Colt national match barrel. Of course it is shorter than the full size gov model. The standard slide release is seen on the right side as well as the three hole competition trigger. Unlike the XSE models or Gold cup this 3 hole trigger is not adjustable for over travel. This isn’t a problem because the truth is, the new triggers from Colt are excellent. They are crisp and break clean. That is not to imply they are 2 pounds or lighter, but they are greatly improved from the triggers from pre 09. I have purchased five Colt M1911s since 2014 and the triggers on these guns are all I could ask. I have never bought into the complaints about the series 80 triggers anyway, but the factory has really upped their game on putting out fine fire control parts on their pistols. I can only imagine how good the new series 70 competition series 1911s are.
The roll mark on the slide is the now standard style that is a throwback to the commercial vintage models. It has always been my favorite version. I’m glad to see they are sticking with this marking system for the time being, The right side roll marks are of course the lines that denote the specifics of the model as always. In this case the light weight commander.
Right side also shows larger flared ejection port. Another now standard feature on all models not meant to be retro. The new style cocking serrations can be seen. These first showed up on the MARSOC M45A1 USMC gun and it looks like they are here to stay on every gun that is made to modern styling. A few models have the legacy serration pattern or something else but every gun that is meant for tactical/CCW use now has this pattern. If I could change only one thing.. Not to say I hate it or have to avert my eyes, but I simply like the older style or the serration found on the older XSE models not extinct but for the Combat Elite. Some will rejoice that there is not forward slide serrations. Looks-wise, I don’t really care. Do some models look better without them ? Yes. Do some look fine with them ? Yes. If I am going to have them I would rather have the older style if I had a say in the matter. But having them, not having them or style would not make me buy or not buy. For the record I do think front cocking serrations are a nice thing to have on a gun that may be used for the most serious of environments and having options in emergencies are always good. I like them on my XSEs, I like not having them on some other models. I just like 1911s .
Just for comparison, pictured below is classic serrations and XSE style. I use XSE as a expedient term not only for angle of the serrations but spacing of each cut as well as forward serrations. This angle of the serrations of course existed before the XSE line, but the amount of serrated cuts and size varied.
This is the more classic retro original style.
And below are the XSE type seen on a Combat Elite. All styles are fine with me. But, as I said before if it was up to me, I would have stuck with the XSE style. I’m sure the change over came because it was easier to make some using the new system that was came about for the specs of the M45A1. It would have been a waste to have a set up just for one model pistol that came about because of the wants of the most flaky and fickle of customers, the US Gov.
Not pictured because I forgot, is the standard Colt slightly beveled magazine well. A little better than no bevel but not really enough to reach the same benefits of an extended beveled well. I have not felt any real pressing need for an extended beveled well added since I stop competition. For carry or fighting guns I like being able to quickly load mags that don’t have a bumper pad, My thinking is, you never know what mag you may have to use in an emergency and I want it to lock in immediately without worrying because it doesn’t have a pad and I didn’t eve think about it because I am used to my personal mags having the extended bumper. Without the extended well It’s not an issue for me .
As usual, part 2 will be accuracy testing. I have been carrying this gun for about 3 months in a variety of holsters and carrying options. The gun already has 1500 rounds through it with no problems. Accuracy has already show to be excellent with my carry ammo so I expect it to do well with other types and brands. Formal accuracy testing beyond what I carry has not started as of this writing but it will be coming with a few weeks, Please come back by for Part 2.
Accuracy in modern carbines is always a popular topic on the various gun boards and news stand slick gun rags. People want the newest barrel some company is making that promises more accuracy. New chamber types, coatings, contours , linings and materials are all shown to us to try to win your money.
If you have read this website for a while you know I like to take a chance to convince people that their barrels on stock rack grade AR15s is already a lot better than they think and honestly more accurate that most of their users, The modern M4 carbine milspec barrel’s accuracy potential should not be ignored or tossed aside for something that costs a lot more and may not really offer any real gains. I think I have preached this until I am blue in the face. Even stock milspec barrels are fine now a days.
But what about those from 40plus years ago? Everyone knows those M16A1s and CAR15s weren’t all that accurate right? We have had plenty of ‘Nam vets tell us Don’t forget those cold war national guard vets (with those old worn out A1s left over from Nam waiting to be replaced with A2s ) around to tell us how bad they were. Why , they couldn’t even qualify with them at 25 yards with reduced range targets!! You won’t find many people ready to argue with that. Why would you even bother? Those older 1/12 twist barrels won’t handle modern match rounds in the 77 or 69gr range. But what if?..
What if that’s all you have? Maybe you like A1 profile barrels and retro guns? Maybe you just can’t give up your nostalgia or you just want to be different. Or you are curious like me, So I gave it a try.
I borrowed my friends Colt SP-1 AR15 carbine to find out. The gun has everything an early AR15 could be given to it by Colt. The A1 sights, the A1 profile barrel and the 1/12 twist chrome lined Mil-spec bore. I set the gun up on rest with bags front and read and got it as locked down as I could get it and started shooting with match quality hand loads,
Groups where shot at 50, 75 and 100 yards. The A1 sights being a limit for me. The older A1 front sight post shape has always been harder for me to get the best out of it. I used bullet weights close to the M193 load used the most during its heyday. I selected and loaded bullets I have experience with that have always squeezed all the accuracy I could get for shorter ranges. Not being able to use 9 or 77 grain bullets int he 1/12 barrel I did not try for longer range accuracy testing.
The 50 and 55gr Blitzking sierra bullets are excellent, really excellent. Those two have always been go to bullets when loading for shots 400 yards and under when I want higher velocities, flatter trajectories and more explosive effect on targets when using rounds like the .218Bee or .223 from a bolt action varmint rifle . All groups are 5 round groups, You can see above how well those two weights perform.
The 55 gr Vmax from hornady is also a dependable bullet if you want an accurate bullet for varmint or target use. I used the 50 and 40gr Vmax .22cal bullets almost exclusively when I wanted a ballistic tip before sierra introduced the Blitzking. Not to say that I think the BlitzKing is the end all be all for ballistic tip bullets, They just shoot a bit better in some of my varmint guns. The 40gr Vmax is still the bullet I would recommed for varmint use on small targets in rounds that are not in the class of 22-250 or 220 swift.
Since I am on the topic, I will save my handloading component choices for a different post.
The real dependable money maker for 300 or less accuracy for milspec AR15s is the 53 grain flat base HP matchking. The bullet performs well in a 556 NATO chamber for a few reasons and its fairly well known. I will go into this in a later post, but for now I will just show you the results, The bullet is an old fav for seeing what a milspec barrel and NATO chamber can do. Give it a try if you handload and no one has ever told you about it.
I’m guessing that some of you may be let down that I didn’t shoot further. I just couldn’t be sure I could use those sights well enough to shoot to the guns potential to 100 yards and beyond. So I used the most accurate loads and fired groups at 50 and 75. I think this was a decent balance for distance and what I could see. I did shoot some at 100 yards and the strain it put on my eyes gave me a raging headache. When it gets like that, you can’t tell if bad groups are you, the gun or the ammo or the weather. I rested and did the final record group of a10 shot string. I feel this shows what the gun could do at 100 yards or at least gives and idea of the potential it has if optics had been mounted and a better trigger added. Neither of which I would bother to do on this classic rifle anyway.
Above is group I fired for record at 100 yards. It is a 10 round group fired from the bench and bags at 100 yards using the 55gr blitzking. I chose the Bltizking 55gr because it seemed to me to slightly edge out the others and I had run our of the 53gr flat base HP. Otherwise I would have shot 100 with the 53 grain matchking without hesitation.
The older SP1 Colts are still great shooters unless you haveone some one ( or you) mistreated. The original A1 barrels on original A1 or SP1 uppers have the same potential. They are the same Colt ( or made to colt spec by another company for the gov at the time) made Milspec barrels. Just because it is a 1/12 doesn’t hurt accuracy, just accuracywith heavier bullets. Many varmint bolt actions rifles came with 1/12 twist for 223 remington for years. It’s about knowing the limits of the barrels twist rate , not the quality of the barrel. I think it is odd that a lot of AR15 users make a lot of noise about faster twist rates in their modern guns when they never shoot anything heavier that 55gr M193 type ammo. I suppose it’s just the thought.
If you have one of these or you have made yourself a “retro clone” with original parts, maybe you will look at it in a little different light now, or maybe some of those stories told at the gun store round table BS sessions will seem less like wisdom and more like what they are.
Lastly. the gun ran perfectly. It is a vintage Colt AR15 SP-1 carbine. AS you can see it has the original CAR15 metal stock which is much sought after these days and is in near mint condition. Below is the test carbine with Sp1 rifle. A classic pair to be sure.
With Trump winning the election. A few things have come to pass. Gun buyers ( wrongly) have assumed the danger of a possible “assault rifle” ban has ended for a while, the rush to buy those guns has subsided , there has been a sharp alarming rise in radical left violence and CCW promotion has been on the march. With growing carriers and more states “allowing” permit less carry, those new to CCW need guns to carry. Most of the new gun owners wanting a handgun have more interest in smaller more compact and lighter pistols for carry. In fact a lot of veteran Concealed carriers want those things in a carry gun if the last few years have taught us anything. I suppose not everyone is like me and insists on always having a full size government model on the at all times. Who knew?
With that in mind, when Kahr arms graciously offered me my choice in pistols to review, my first selection was the P45. Assuming I don’t explode the p istol in my own face, you will be seeing us reviewing more firearms from Kahr.
With the specs listed above, lets take a look at the gun with my observations.
The gun is indeed flat and compact. It has the now standard polymer frame common on modern pistols. The rear of the grip has a textured checkering that bites into the hand when as soon as you grip it. It is not sharp or painful but it is effective. I found it to work a lot better than the type I have encountered on the various glocks I have shot.
The front has the same type of checkering as the rear and once you grip the gun, it is staying put.
The front strap also has a undercut where the trigger guard meets the front strap. This allows a higher grip and is something I have on all of my serious use M1911s. The trigger guard also has a contour in it that helps lock the alternate shooting hand into place once you wrap it around your firing hand. At first glance I didn’t know what purpose of this was but it became pretty clear quickly. I don’t know that it will perfectly match up to everyone’s hand shape and size but it did mine.
The magazine release button is where you expect and works perfectly. It has some checkering on it but not as aggressive as the grip. With the size of this gun it should be no problem for even small hands to hit it without having to change the firing grip. Same goes for the slide release. The release is made with some slotting to make it easier to operate but being a 1911 I prefer something with more of a ledge on it personally. If you are a “slingshot ” kinda Guy or Gal or something in between, I doubt it will matter. Administrative operation of the slide stop is still easy and positive.
As I tried to show in the picture above, the machine work on the slide is pretty impressive. If a lack of any tooling marks matters to you then this pistol will make you feel happy your hard earned dollar was spent on something with quality looking craftsmanship. It doesn’t do a very good in the picture above but I will try to get better close up pictures in later parts of the review and test. ,
The sights are nigh sights as listed in the specs and they work well. Front and rear are the same color green though if that is something that concerns you. They sights are dove tailed in place though so changing should not be a problem if that is your wont. The rear is also made to facilitate operating the side with one hand if the need arises.
The pistol came with three stainless steel mags. The extended magazine being the 7 round mag. I’m glad to see the gun come with three magazines because it is my policy to carry a handgun with at least 2 spare mags. I think this is just smart policy no matter how many rounds the guns magazine will hold. All three have worked perfectly in dry runs and dry fire.
Now as for size. I have take a picture of the P45 besides my various CCW guns most people are familiar with. I hope this will give an idea of its compactness. First off above is the P45 beside a Colt Defender. The defender is the subcompact from Colt with the 3 inch barrel and holds a standard of 7 rounds of .45 auto.
Below is the P45 beside a Colt lightweight Commander. The commander uses the same frame as a full size government model but with a slightly shorter slide. I should mention now that yes the Commander will have a review up soon .
The P45’s trigger is like most triggers of its type. Not as good as a M1911 trigger of course but a lot better than a DA/SA. It is workable and I am hoping with use it will improve even more so.
As is my custom this is the first part in a 2 to possible 3 part review. Accuracy testing will be in part 2 and part 3 will be reliability endurance testing if it is not included with the accuracy review. I will shoot a variety of hollow point and self defense ammo through the pistol and it takes time to gather up. That is the reason for a delay and the reviews being done in parts for those that have asked in the past. Please keep and eye out soon for part 2.
The Canik TP9SF is a firearm I have wanted to test out since it was released about a year ago. Canik has built a decent reputation with its TP9 series of pistols. The Canik TP9SF is imported by Century Arms and Century Arms was gracious enough to send us the pistol to test and review.
The TP9SF is the fourth pistol of the TP9 line. With each new TP9 pistol released, Canik is trying to answer consumer concerns and feedback about the TP9 line. With the Canik TP9SF’s release, the pistol now seems to be a serious defensive firearm contender, compared to other more expensive firearms in its class. Throughout this review I will post pictures and videos of the TP9SF so you can decide if the TP9SF is right for you and your needs.
When the Canik TP9SF showed up and I opened the box, I was really surprised at how nice the accessories and pistol were. As soon as I pulled it out from the case, started to handle and visually inspect the Canik, I could tell this was a very nicely built and machined firearm. The finish looked really nice and I quickly compared it to a few other firearms I had nearby (H&K VP9, Sig SP2022 & Glock 17). I found it felt, and visually was on par with these firearms. The slide finish actually looks as nice as the H&K. The polymer frame and stippling was also on par with these firearms. The Canik TP9SF is no ugly duckling when it comes to its overall finish/look compared to any other quality firearm I have. I was now very excited to get to the range and test it out. The Canik TP9SF made me feel like it was going to shoot as good as it looked.
The price of the Canik TP9SF is extremely good. I have found at full retail prices; you are looking at $349 dollars. Recently I have found some sales here and there, at very close to $300 dollars for the TP9SF, with the new Warren Tactical Sights, delivered to your FFL. While you might think you are not going to get a nice firearm at these prices, believe me, you are getting a very nice firearm with a lot of accessories. The Canik TP9SF comes in a nice case; with two magazines, a holster, cleaning patch rod, bore brush rod, extra larger back-strap, back-strap replacement tool, magazine loader and a full color gloss instruction/maintenance manual. This package pretty much sets you up with everything you need to initially get started with the Canik. While some of these items will need replacing, (mainly the holster), Canik has put forth a large effort to give you a very nice package. You really don’t get any of these included accessories with any other handgun out there, especially at the Canik price.
The Canik TP9SF has a 1913 Picatinny rail, enlarged heavy-duty external extractor, loaded chamber indicator and thumb and index finger stippling.
Slide & Frame
The Canik slide is machine cut/milled from a solid block of high carbon steel. The slide has a smooth even black Cerakote over a phosphate finish. The slide is rounded and beveled on the edges, across the top, front and back. The rear slide serrations are generous enough and allow you to get a sure grip on the slide when racking or manipulating the slide of the firearm. I would like to see more aggressive slide serrations but the serrations are deep enough to get the job done.
The Frame is a polymer design similar to other striker fired firearms. The Canik TP9SF has a Picatinny rail that can accommodate any aftermarket weapon light or laser. The polymer of the frame is very thick. It does not bend or flex like other polymer framed firearms. The lock up of the frame and slide has a very slight wobble from side to side, but you have to physically move the slide side to side with your hand to notice it. The takedown lever in the TP9SF operates like a Glock.
Barrel & Guide Rod
The Barrel on the TP9SF seems to have the same Cerakote over phosphate finish on it. After over 2000 rounds it has some of the classic barrel chatter marks. After cleaning and whipping it down, both sides of the chamber also have just a slight sign of wear.
The Canik TP9SF has a match grade steel barrel. The barrel is cold hammer forged and has traditional lands and grooves. The barrel has performed very well in testing and is very accurate. It has a very nice polished feed ramp.
The Canik TP9SF has a metal guide rod with a captive flat recoil spring. I was expecting the Canik to have a polymer guide rod but to my surprised it had a steel one. Yet another quality feature you are getting in the firearm at its price.
Grip Panels / Ergonomics
The stippling on the Canik TP9SF is similar to a Gen4 Glock on the front and back straps. The stippling is aggressive enough to notice but does not beat up your hand during extensive and long strings of fire. The three (3) included changeable backs straps give you the option to fit the grip size to your hand and adjust your length of pull for the firearm. The side grip stippling is very similar to a Gen3 Glock. Overall, I really like the grip texture and it is very comfortable while providing a positive grip during use.
The Canik TP9SF magazines are one of the obvious shinning features of the firearm. Canik used Mec-Gar magazines in their firearms. Mec-Gar makes the OEM magazines for several well-known firearm manufactures, like Sig Sauer and Beretta so you know you are getting quality magazines. Not only are the magazines hi-quality, they hold 18 rounds. The magazine capacity is more than any other standard Glock, H&K, Sig or any other full size pistol I have owned.
There are very nice (Canik Shield) markings on the magazine floor plates, that match the grip, the magazine loader and the case. The magazines are stamped (MEC-GER MFG. FOR CANIK – TP Series) on the magazine body. All of this just adds to the overall theme and quality of the pistol. The finish is very smooth, allowing for a nice, smooth insert and drop from the pistol. In the magazine quality and capacity department, the Canik TP9SF is absolutely killing it for the pistols price.
The Canik TP9SF has some new features on its sights compared to previous versions of the TP9 series. The front & rear steal sights are, dove tail sights. The dove tail is a new feature on the SF series. The steel sights are an upgrade for the Canik line, from their previous models plastic/polymer sights. With the dove tail sights, after market sights are possible. I have heard from several reliable sources, that there are a few sight companies working on sights for the TP9SF. This is a really good thing in my opinion because the stock sights are really busy.
The Canik TP9SF sights are accurate, once you get adjusted to them, then they hit right where you want. While very accurate, the sights did take a long time to acquire and slowed down follow up shots. I found the rear sight distracts your eye from quickly acquiring the front sight, due to the added vertical line on the rear sight. The two dots with the vertical line draw your eyes to the rear sight. The rear sight notch is also very shallow and it is hard to line up the front sight.
Rear Sight Distraction:
The stock rear TP9SF sights are very distracting for fast pick-up and shooting. There is just a little too much going on with the rear sight. I took a sharpie and blacked out the rear sight post line. This improved overall sight acquisition during shooting, to a traditional three (3) dot sight configuration feel.
Very recently Canik has started offering Warren Tactical sights on a few of their pistols. The new TP9SF’s seem to be coming exclusively with Warren Sights, at the same price points mentioned before. This is a huge improvement from the standard sights we have been talking about.
Loaded Chamber Indicator
The Canik TP9SF does have a loaded chamber indicator on the top of the slide. The loaded chamber indicator is finished in the same Cerakote as the slide and has two bright red dots on each side to visually identify you have a round in the chamber. Another small nice touch on the Canik.
Firing Pin/striker Indicator
The Canik TP9SF also has a cocked striker indicator on the back of the slide. This visual indication shows that the firing pin/striker is in the cocked position, ready to fire, by a red indicator painted on the back of the slide. This is another feature you see on several other pistol on the market, that are at least twice the price of the Canik.
So far I have put over 2000 documented rounds of mix ammunition, (Blaser Brass 155grn FMJ, American Eagle 115grn FMJ, Fiocchi 115grn FMJ, Speer 147grn TMJ, Federal 147grn HST & Speer 147grn Gold Dot), through the Canik TP9SF. It has well over the 2000 round count; I just stopped counting after the 2000 round mark. I am confident it is over 2500k now. I have found the Canik TP9SF to be extremely reliable, just as any of my other firearms.
I spoke with Mrgunsngear a few months ago and received his permission to link his 1000 rounds test video to this article. Check out that video below for TP9SF reliability.
One week it was particularly humid and rainy, so I decided to take the TP9SF out in the rain and let it sit for the day. I then let it sit for 24 hours to see if any rust would show itself on the outside or inside parts of the pistol. After stripping and inspecting the TP9SF I found no rust on anything in the pistol.
note:I did observe one unexplained malfunction with the TP9SF. In the first 200 rounds fired, the TP9SF had a dead trigger on the 192nd round. My wife was firing the Canik during this time. The 192nd round chambered but the trigger was dead. The primer did not have a firing pin strike on it and for some reason the trigger did not reset after the previous round had been ejected. This was the only malfunction with the TP9SF out of all rounds fired and I could not reproduce the malfunction.
I found the TP9SF was very accurate and could do everything I needed it to do. The sight radius on the TP9SF is full sized, approximately 6.75 inches, by my measurement. I felt the sight picture was not that good, as stated before, but it does get the job done when you do your part. The angle of the sights had some glare from time to time as well. Even though the sights were not ideal for me, the TP9SF had great accuracy. With some aftermarket sights or the new Warren Tactical sights, I feel it will perform even better.
The 147grn Speer Gold Dot had several very impressive groups and it is one of my two defensive loads of choice. All shooting of the TP9SF was done off hand or from the holster. Not going to cherry pick groups here, you can clearly see some shots I pulled.
All of the controls on the TP9SF feel like they are in the right place for my hands. The slide release and magazine release require no shifting of the hand to hit.
The Slide Catch/Release Lever, or whatever you want to call it, is not ambidextrous but easy to use from the left side of the frame. I found I did have to adjust my grip to avoid riding the top of the lever with my strong hand thumb while firing. In the first 100 rounds video, you can see I had this issue, on the first magazine. I usually find myself contacting the slide stop/release with other firearms, making the slide not lock open on the last round in the magazine. This is something I do on several firearms and I know I have to adjust my grip slightly. I prefer to use the (over the top / sling shot method) when doing a reload for consistency across multiple platforms, so the slide catch lever does not get used that much for me on reloads.
Takedown Lever/Field Stripping
I will not spend a lot of time on this. If you have taken down a Glock, its exactly the same. Pull back slightly on the frame while pulling the takedown lever down. Release the slide and pull the trigger. The slide then pops forward and you pull it off.
The magazine release is metal and is reversible for left hand shooters. It has a very positive push/ release and aggressive checkering.
The trigger on the TP9SF is very nice. The trigger looks and operates like a Glock and other similar striker fired handguns. It has a smooth but a little long take-up before you hit the wall, then it has an extremely small amount of creep before it breaks very cleanly. If I had to nit-pick it would be on the take up being too long. The trigger reset is very short and I really like it. The reset is audible and strong, (similar to having a NY1 trigger in a Glock). For a $300-dollar firearm, there is really nothing to complain about with this trigger. It is giving several well known firearms a run for their money. Personally, I think it is actually a little nicer than the stock Glock trigger and if you have followed us for any length of time, you know I’m the Glock guy here. The break is cleaner (not spongy) and the reset is shorter than the Glocks.
The Canik seems to have a little more recoil than some of the other striker fire firearms that I own, but just slightly. The TP9SF bore axis is a little higher than on a Glock, with the large slide, this seemed to make a difference in the recoil. It just snaps a little more. Fast accurate follow up shots are still very easy to make and the sights come back on to target relatively quickly. As stated before, improved sights over the stock sights would improve sight acquisition. After a few rounds and adjusting to the TP9SF, I found the recoil to be a non-existent factor. Once again you can see some rounds I pulled, I will not cherry pick the best groups.
Accessories/Holsters – Shoutout:
The Canik’s have been around for several years and it is still hard to find quality holsters for them. During this review Kenetic Concepts Tactical http://kctkydex.com/ (KCT) was kind enough to make me a holster for the TP9SF. If you are going to carry the TP9SF, ditching the supplied holster is a must. I use less than handful of holster companies for my firearms, KCT was the only place that had the mold for the TP9SF. Some other companies did have holsters for the Canik but they were well over $100-dollars (special order) and that just does not keep in line with the TP9SF’s price. KCT will get you quality holster and magazine pouches, at a low price, and they are one place we highly recommend.
Throughout this review I found myself comparing the Canik to my H&K VP9, my Sig SP2022 and several of my Glocks. The Canik TP9SF has very similar characteristics and features close to these firearms. In-fact I might get a lot of blow back for this, but I am going to call the Canik TP9SF the poor man’s VP9. This is not an insult to the Canik but high praise. I let several of my co-workers handle the Canik and one in particular mentioned to me, “It kinda feels like my VP9”. He liked it so much, especially the price, that he bought the tan TP9SF.
I really like the Canik TP9SF. It has preformed and handled well above my expectations. If there is anything to complain about, it would only be the stock sights. Since the TP9SF is now coming with Warren Tactical sights, standard with the same price, I think that issue is fixed. The size of the TP9SF is very close to a Glock 17/22. It holds a few more rounds than most handguns that are the same size and I think that is the big advantage to the TP9SF. At it’s very low price point, it is a awesome truck, car or home defense firearm, if you are on a tight budget.
The Canik TP9SF is a very hard firearm to beat in its market. It is doing things as good, in fact better than some pistols in its price point. If you look at all firearms in the 350 or under category, there is no one doing as well as the TP9SF. It really does give firearms like Glocks, S&W M&Ps and Sig (SP2022/P320s) in the $450 to $500-dollar price range a run for the money. I would have no problem recommending it to anyone.
Thanks again to: http://www.ammoman.com/ for supplying the ammunition for this review. Without that support we could not complete these reviews. Also thanks to: http://kctkydex.com/ (KCT) for making us the custom holster for the review.
When I get stuff I really think highly of, I like to take a another look at it as time passes. To see how well it has held up or if my opinion has changed. Since we started the website, we have gotten a lot of holsters to try out. Holsters aren’t something really sexy to readers but they are a necessary accessory if you take carrying your gun seriously.
Today we are gonna revisit a few things from 5 years ago and one item now at its 10th year of near daily use by me.
Fist thing I want to update on is the comp-tac gun belt. I love this thing. They sent me on in 2013 and after a few months I wrote about it. I have used this belt every day of my life since. I do not put on pants without this thing, even when doing work that would get me and the belt filthy. It has only gotten softer and more comfortable with age and use. The kydex strip in the center has kept it stiff and supports a handgun and two mags all day.
The only slight marring it has is from me dragging the buckle across it when I try to yank it tighter with one hand. Even that hasn’t hurt the leather or worn any thing places. The belt is made for serious use for years. I’m 40 now and I could see this belt lasting the rest of my life baring I catch on fire or get smashed in a car wreck or the belt takes a bullet. You can see in the pictures how well made it is. Not one stitch has come loose. You can’t ask for more in my opinion.
The holster sent with the belt has also stood my test of time and use. I use this one for when I want a deeper cover IWB. By adjusting the outside belt clips you can have it set higher or lower. I keep mine at the lowest so the grip of my M1911 just barely comes out above my pants, The holster is very comfortable. The leather backing is wide and spreads out around your hip and leg are. It keeps it from feeling like a lump. The kydex keeps it stiff and open for smooth draw and makes it easier to re holster. I use it very heavy in summer months when wearing just a T-shirt. It is a great holster. For normal CCW, I use two holster mainly and this is one of them. This holster surprised me. I got it to review and had no idea it would end up being a mainstay of my CCW life.
This last holster is my longest serving CCW holster. I got this holster 10 years ago this month. It is a custom made Kirkpatrick Leather IWB holster. I had seen this bit of leather in some place or the other and knew I wanted to try it. It was exactly what I had in mind in a quick to put on and take off IWB holster that gave me a full master grip from the draw and had a skin guard. it’s obviously a lot like the Milt Sparks summer special, but it seems a little smaller to me.
This holster with gun shown inside have been through a lot of stuff on my side. Soaked in sweat and rain, submerged in water and generally beat around. It has been with me as I traveled from PA to SC and to all states in between that it’s legal to carry in. I can not even imagine how many miles the gun and holster have traveled with me as my old job required an insane amount of travel. It has been on my side through the best times of my life and its the holster I used the most hands down. At this point it has as much sentimental value for me as it has practical utility.
Now with its age and miles, it is starting to show. The leather is rubbed and worn pretty well in some places, but no holes. The belt loops are very supple now as if most of the holster. The stiffener for the top has started to get a little softer unfortunately, but it still has a long way to go.
The only issue starting after 10 years is some of the stitches have come out.
I’m not sure what has caused this other than wear, tear and time. No doubt me sweating all over it day after day helped weaken the stitches as well as the sometimes wetting it has taken and the oil from the gun soaking through to it. Regardless its a small matter to me. The local leather shop tells me its will take seconds to put a few new stitches in it to shore it up. I believe the flap is glued in addition to sewed so I have no fear it will come loose. The kirckpatrick leather holster have my highest recommendation. Not being a fad holster company these days, you can get one pretty quickly and its all hand made in the USA with high quality leather, You can even chose the leather loops like mine or the kydex clip. Either way I doubt you could go wrong.
It’s good to take a look back at the things we use and write about, Nothing compares to use and time as the best T&E.
Last week I bought a set of Magpul PRO LR flip up iron sights. I got to try them out yesterday at the range and I am liking them.
The KAC 2-600m sight are still my favorite, but I think these Magpul PRO sights are well worth the cost.
Both the front and rear sight are very low profile. A very small footprint for either sight. Both sights have tool less adjustments. When I first unboxed the sights, I was very impressed with the heavy duty feel of the sights. The melonited case hardened steel should end up being a very tough, rust resistant sight.
I really appreciate how the mounting screw for these sights can be tightened by a screw driver or a 1/8 inch Allen wrench. The PRO LR rear sight has an elevation adjustment wheel unlike the Magpul PRO.
The elevation wheel is can be set from 2-6 with a single click in between each. The rear sight offers small and large apertures. The front sight post is a narrower match style.
I really like these sights, and I recommend them. These little steel sights feel substantial. I was worried at first that they would be too stiff and too small to deploy quickly, but since installing them I found that isn’t an issue. The adjustment are stiff, which I prefer so there isn’t a concern of accidentally adjustment.
The only criticism I can come up with for these are that the back sides when flipped up don’t have the best aesthetics.
I also wouldn’t mind seeing a 100 setting for the rear sight.