Sunday, April 25, 2010

I've Given in To Ruger... Again

I know what you're thinking. "This guy is about as indecisive as a high school cheerleader... except with guns." And you're probably correct. All this time, I've had my heart set on that new Beretta 92 A1 pistol. I love Beretta. And if all handgun companies except one had to go under, Beretta would still win the day - except not all gun companies need go under and my favorite gun manufacturer is still Ruger Firearms. To date, almost half of the guns in this house have Ruger's name on them.

I personally own two Ruger handguns: a Ruger SP101 and a Ruger LCP. Both are fantastic, and both were relatively inexpensive to buy. Each are built like tanks. They are solid. The fit and finish is on par with guns in the next tax bracket. The Ruger SR9 is no different.


I took the opportunity, while out of the house, yesterday to hit the gun shop and look at the SR9 up close and personal. I have been researching the heck out of this gun and, though I didn't care for it at first, it has really grown on me. Let's face it, the SR9 is pretty ugly. It isn't nearly as pretty as the Beretta 92 A1 or even my beloved Beretta 92 FS. Heck, it isn't even as good looking as my new Ruger LCP. The SR9 is kind of like the ugly duckling of semi-automatic pistols. Well, I take that back. Glocks and S&W guns are uglier.

I never got into the P-Series Ruger automatics. I just couldn't stand them. I've always been a big fan of Ruger revolvers and I wish I owned more of them. Until the Ruger LCP came along, I was pretty oblivious to the big changes that Ruger made when it came to new autos, especially the Hard-R line of guns. After buying the LCP, which is plastic, it didn't take long for me to understand just what I'd been missing with polymer-framed guns. My LCP has been an amazing companion and I really enjoy shooting it and carrying it. The price was not bad either.

Price is always a consideration when purchasing a new gun. It doesn't matter if you make $20,000 a year or $120,000 a year, when purchasing a gun, price does matter. I'm not big on buying names. What I mean by that is I won't buy a Smith and Wesson just because it is a Smith and Wesson. I won't buy a Kimber just because it's a Kimber. For that matter, I won't buy a Ruger or Beretta just because I like both brands. Granted, I will gravitate towards both Beretta and Ruger, but it's not because they have cool names; it's because their products work. But like any company, I'm not going to buy into fads or just because everyone else buys it. I'm on record in a few places talking about how I hate the Beretta 90-two or the storm line of guns. They are ugly and stupid. My cup of tea, in Beretta world, is the 92/96 series of guns. The same goes for Ruger. I'm not big on the P-series of guns. I think they are butt-ugly and can't stand them. But I can't find fault with any Ruger revolver out there. My Ruger forte is most definitely revolvers, but I've come around to their automatics. I asked for two quotes from my local gun shop. I was told $630 for the new Beretta 92 A1 and $435 for the Ruger SR9. At nearly $200 less than the Beretta, the Ruger wins in price hands down.

The other problem I was having is that the Beretta 92 A1 isn't available yet. I know, I know. Suck it up and wait a few months for it to hit the gun shops. But the newest Beretta hasn't been market tested yet. I'm sure the engineers over at Beretta have thoroughly tested their newest creation, and I'm sure that since no changes were really made to the internals, the gun will handle and operate just fine. I'm just not comfortable dropping that much money on an untested gun anymore.

On the other hand, the Ruger has been out for a couple of years. Ruger has already experienced teething issues with this gun and has time to correct any problems it had. Thus far, it has been a very good weapon for many shooters. Additionally, Ruger has a reputation for awesome customer service and I feel the company will go above and beyond to make me a happy customer should I experience any issue with my SR9.

Okay, enough babbling. Let's get to the meat and potatoes. Specs!

Ruger only makes a stainless SR9. But I want a black one. Problem solved. the finish of the metal slide is Nitrodox Pro Black over stainless. Yep, it is a stainless gun that has been finished with a hardened black finish the resist scratching, but most importantly a stainless gun resists corrosion better than regular steel and is better for self-lubrication. I know this because most of the handguns in this house are stainless. I'd opt for the bright stainless, but this gun will be used as a companion to my AR 15 and thus I want it black.

Caliber: proven 9mm Luger (shares ammo with my trusted Beretta 92 FS)
Capacity: 17+1
Frame: Black, glass-filled nylon. Yep, it's plastic.
Sights: Adjustable 3-dot (highly visible I might add)
Barrel length: 4.14"
Height: 5.52"
Length: 7.55"
Width: 1.27" (comparable to a 1911 pistol)
Weight: 26.5 oz (just a couple oz heavier than my SP101 and about 9 oz lighter than a Beretta 92)
Grooves: 6
Twist: 1:10 RH

At first, the striker-fired concept for a full-size gun worried me. But I have discovered, through a lot of research, that the striker-fired concept has been proven over and over again in Glock pistols. Note: Glocks are ugly bastard children. With all the hype about strikers being unreliable behind me, I'd ready to get behind a striker-fired gun. Hey, it's the 21st century after all.

The other worry was the nylon frame. Plastic can crack. But so also can aluminum or steel. Let's not forget also that the furniture on nearly all modern assault weapons are made of plastic too. It is strong, yet lightweight - even lighter than aluminum. If taken care of (IE: don't use the gun as a hammer), the plastic will give no issues, and certainly won't rust. another added benefit is that if uses in really cold weather, my hand won't freeze to a plastic frame. Metal framed guns get COLD! The opposite holds true in really hot weather.

Let's not cloud the waters here. In no way am I saying that I'm not going to buy the new Beretta 92 A1. I'm simply waiting. I want to see it up close. I want to read reviews and watch videos online. I want to hear what others have to say. Then, when I'm satisfied, I will buy one. It's just at this time I want to keep an open mind about other guns too, and as everyone probably already knows, I don't need an excuse to buy a new gun.

-James

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

10 Day Report - Crossbreed Minituck Holster

A few entries back, I wrote about my desire to purchase the Crossbreed Mini tuck holster for my Ruger LCP. In mid-march, I placed the order for the holster, and patiently waited as my holster was hand made just for me.

On April 3rd, I received my new holster in the mail. I was excited to see it, and could not wait to try it on. I did, however, take a few minutes to give it a good once over and to read the literature that came with it. All of the information was straightforward.

Upon close examination, I found that it would be easy to adjust the holster for different cant, height, and comfort. I decided to give it a shot as is and see if all the hype about this holster's comfort was true. Not more than 15 minutes into wear, I was beginning to see what all the fuss was about.

I've since worn this holster as often as possible and have found it extremely comfortable. It hides my diminutive little LCP extremely well, and true to Crossbreed's claim, I can tuck in a shirt and still have the gun completely concealed without printing.

I messed around with the height adjustment just to see if I'd like the gun to ride a little lower into my pants. So far, not too bad. It hides even more and didn't take but an hour to get used to. So far, I'm having a very difficult time having anything bad to say about it. In fact, I can't really think of anything as of this writing.

Most holsters have apparent drawbacks, especially when used for concealed carry. Normally, you sacrifice the fast draw in favor of deep concealment. I have no problem drawing from this holster rather quickly. I've developed a technique that involves using my left hand to lift the shirt up and away from the rig and firearm. Then with a quick motion, I place my thumb over the top of the gun slide, and my middle and ring finger onto the grip. With a solid lift, I draw the gun from the holster, clearning any garment that may still be in the way during the beginning of the draw. As the gun clears the holster, my trigger finger naturally rests against the trigger guard, and as I bring the gun up to my chest and out to firing position, my support hand comes up and contacts the gun and my strong hand as my thumb then rotates 90 degrees down to the proper position and ready for fire. This is a very quick motion and I can accomplish it in less than a second or so. The gun aims very naturally, and even without the use of sights, I am confident I am on target out to the prescribed defensive range of 7 yards (21 feet).

All in all, I'm really liking the holster. It works well with my LCP and gives me the advantage of a fast and deliberate draw while still maintaining extremely deep concealment and the comfort of knowing I'm carrying my insurance policy around with me.

-James