Simplicity has been the cornerstone of the revolver’s popularity over the years. Its basic point-and-shoot design combined with rare malfunctions or misfires has earned the revolver a well-deserved reputation for ruggedness and dependability.
This is due largely to the fact that revolvers have limited ammo capacity and have a traditionally slow reload regimen; both features that concealed carry permit holders consider basic essentials for a carry piece.
Revolver speedloader manufacturers are trying to change that mindset. Today with some practice, modern speedloaders can compare to semi-auto magazine reloading times. Modern speedloaders fall into two categories; mechanical cylinder and speed strips. There are several versions of each.
Author and firearms trainer Scott W. Wagner describes mechanical cylinder speedloader history in his article “Revolver Speedloaders” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“Keep in mind that both [of] these models got their baptism by fire via rough law enforcement service. In 35 years of time, I have never seen either brand break or malfunction. I can’t say the same of pistol magazines.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
The mechanical cylinder speedloaders are primarily manufactured by Safariland and HKS.
The Safariland loader is the faster of the two because it releases the rounds into the cylinders with one motion. After the speedloader is loaded, the basic revolver loading sequence involves aligning the rounds with the chamber and pressing the bullets into the cylinder until the loader stops. Then a firm push engages the star release and the rounds drop into the chambers.
The HKS revolver speedloaders require two motions to load the speedloader, slowing the overall process. To load the revolver, simply hold the speedloader by the black cylinder and ease the rounds about halfway into the cylinder. Then simply turn the silver knob to the right and the ammo will fall into place.
Speed strips work a little differently. The main advantage for these speedloaders is that they’re basically flat and can be easily carried in a pocket or purse. The disadvantage is that only two rounds can be loaded at the same time.
TUFF Products manufactures their QuickStrips for countless firearms and offers choices in a multitude of configurations. Loading a QuickStrip simply requires inserting the rounds and then pulling the loader against the cartridges.
With the growing popularity of revolver speedloaders, these stalwart firearms should definitely be an option to consider when shopping for your next concealed carry handgun.
When it comes to flashlights, there isn’t much room for improvement, right? Wrong. Maglite, an icon in the industry, has taken portable illumination to the next level with the ML300L LED D-Cell flashlight.
By redesigning the head and reflector, Maglite has not only widened the beam, but kicked the intensity up a notch to the 625 lumen level formerly reserved for lithium and rechargeable batteries.
In addition to that, the ML 300L has integrated a host of options that allow users to customize settings.
One of these options is beam adjustment. Older Maglites traditionally had beam selections ranging from spot to flood with decreasing central intensity. These settings also could not be locked in and often slipped from one to the other. Not so with the Maglite ML300L –the beam rotation control only spans about an inch on the head and the beacon central intensity remains the same no matter the setting. This is an important feature when trying to disorient a nocturnal intruder.
The other major change with the ML300l is the switching system. First and second generation Maglites used the familiar on-off push button spring system. The ML300L features a “Quick Click” electronic switch.
Author and firearms trainer Scott W. Wagner describes how the “Quick Click” system works in his article “Maglite ML300L LED D-Cell Flashlight: 625-Lumen Power, More Functions” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“The Quick Click system provides four function sets, with the addition of a strobe mode. Within each of the four sets are three functions. The sets can be selected by the user based on their preference and need.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
The default setting for the ML300L is General. The other options are Outdoor, Law Enforcement, and Tactical. Each of these options contain choices for different operational modes such as strobe, momentary, full power, eco, etc. Using the settings and modes allows each user to essentially customize their Maglite.
The Maglite 300L represents the top-of-the-line in full-size flashlights and provides several advantages over smaller lights that have come into vogue.
Its custom options allow the user to tailor it to very specific needs. Other advantages of the 300L are that D-cell batteries are readily available, it is constructed of high quality aircraft aluminum, and is reasonably priced around $70. Not only that, but what could end up being its most important attribute — its potential as an “emergency impact device.”
Heckler and Koch or HK, is a name familiar to anyone who has spent time around firearms. The German gun manufacturer is known for innovative technological advances such as the use of polymers in frame design, an integrated rail system, and polygonal rifling.
The company has supplied weapons for counter-terrorists groups worldwide, including the U.S. Navy Seals.
Two of their most notable products are the USP handgun series and the extremely accurate PSG1 sniper rifle, so Heckler and Koch is no slouch when it comes to manufacturing guns.
However, the P2000 does not rise to the normally high bar set by HK. For the most part, it seems to be a reworking of the USP. They tweaked the design a little with some beveling and reshaped the grip area. They also added user-changeable backstraps, none of which ever seem to feel quite right during actual firing of the weapon. There was also an ongoing problem with magazine release slippage on the P2000.
Range testing for the Heckler and Koch P2000 was average. The P2000 proved to be very tough and durable and recoil for all ammo types was tolerable. Yet target accuracy was average at best, which was in part due to a trigger pull that can only be described as “tortuous.” The gun is a double-action/single action operation and in his article “Heckler and Koch P2000” at USConcealedCarry.com, author George Hill describes trying to shoot the P2000 using the double-action pull:
“The double-action pull is truly and amazingly horrible. The pull weight is up there in the realm of ‘crossbow draw weight.’ If it were just heavy, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But it was heavy and gritty. Maybe gritty isn’t the right word for it. It’s more like…rocky.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
On the other hand, the single-action pull presented no problems. Heckler and Koch also produce a version of the P2000 that has something called a “LEM” trigger mechanism, which reportedly solves the problems of the double-action system. However, there is probably a waiting list since the trigger pull issue seems to be pervasive.
Overall, the P2000 is best described as average, being perhaps slightly better with the LEM version. The P2000 was designed to be the new weapon of choice for the German state police, who didn’t want the USP. Although rare for Heckler and Koch, the P2000 disappoints in many areas. With so many other choices out there, the P2000 may be one to leave in the gun shop display case.
It’s no secret that the 1911 has been the workhorse handgun for military and law enforcement personnel for more than 100 years. In the year 1911, Colt’s Manufacturing Company obtained the contract for what would become the world’s longest-standing military and law enforcement service handgun, the appropriately named 1911.
Since then, the basic design of the 1911 has remained unchanged.
Power, performance, and structural integrity have improved with advances in technology, but today’s 1911 is essentially the same weapon that Colt launched 104 years ago.
Yet now, the 1911 is reaching new heights. Bill Wilson, of Wilson Combat fame and Pistolsmith of the Year winner in 2002, has designed the ultimate 1911 — the Stealth Defense System or SDS.
Author George Hill describes some of the specialized features on the SDS in his article “The Wilson Combat SDS” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“Wilson Combat gave the gun a number of custom features, such as a beveled magazine well, the checkering I already mentioned on the high-cut front strap, flat and checkered mainspring housing, ultra-light hammer and trigger, tritium-filled night sights and gorgeous, checkered, wood grips.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
The finish on the SDS is also a one-of-a-kind Bill Wilson Armor-Tuff finish that starts with blast scrubbing the metal, dehorning it, then Parkerizing it. After that, the Armor-Tuff finish is sprayed on and heat cured at 300 degrees to ensure protection against just about any plant, animal, or mineral. The sleek finish is available in black, gray, or OD Green.
The specs on the Wilson Combat SDS are fairly standard for a 1911 with a few tweaks. The frame is shortened by one-half inch and the slide length is reduced by a full inch for an overall length of 7.7 inches. This reduction allows for an increase in discharge velocity. The width on the SDS is 1.3 inches and the empty weight is 35.6 ounces. Magazine capacity is seven rounds. The size reductions on the SDS, while not particularly noticeable, greatly increase the weapon’s concealability.
During range testing, the gun was flawless. The Wilson Combat website promised a 1.5 inch grouping at 25 yards and it was true to form. At fifteen yards, the SDS rounds tore through the target like a laser, leaving a hole slightly larger than the ammo. The gun performed nearly as well in low-light situations because the pale orange rear and the green front battle sights make lining up the target a cinch.
The downside to the Wilson Combat SDS is the price. Even though the gun is a top-shelf custom piece, the price tag still evokes sticker shock. The MSRP for the SDS is around $3500.00. That kind of money can buy a lot of other firepower, but if you’re interested in owning what may be the finest 1911 ever made that also happens to be an excellent concealed carry weapon, the SDS may be a good investment.