Every firearm aficionado hopes for the day when he/she can add a high-end Kimber or custom Wilson Combat to their collection. These guns are fine weapons and are generally suitable for concealed carry, but many of the elite handguns are truly works of art and are definitely inappropriate for every carry occasion. That’s where the M70A 9mm comes in.
The M70A has its roots deep in the era of the Cold War and the Soviet Union.
It was originally manufactured as the Tokarev TT-33 by Serbian arms maker Zastava. Around 1970, it was updated to accommodate 9mm ammunition and renamed the M70A.
Century International Arms began importing the M70A and added modern features, such as a manual safety on the slide and a magazine safety that will prevent the gun from firing if the magazine is not in place.
If you’re looking for glitz, the M70A is not for you, but if you’re looking for an inexpensive gun to take on the road, then this rugged classic fits the bill. Author Scott W. Wagner explains the advantages of owning a M70A in his article “Century International Arms M70A 9mm Auto: Classic Protection-Outstanding Price” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“While I don’t want to risk my prized Kimber pistol to TSA officials or baggage handlers, I would risk a much less expensive pistol like the M70A 9mm from Century International Arms.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Specs on the M70A match up to similar guns manufactured in North America and Europe. The gun is finished in a retro steel blue reminiscent of the Eastern Bloc. It is also a compact pistol with a 4.5 inch barrel and single stack nine round magazine, which when loaded, it brings the M70A’s weight up to 2.2 pounds. Sights are fixed.
During range testing, the M70A 9mm was sufficiently accurate at personal defense distances. The trigger is single-action with a pull of about 6 pounds. Discharge was smooth and easy with manageable recoil. After testing a variety of rounds ranging from military style 124-grain FMJ to Hornady Critical Defense 115-grain FTX JHP loads, the Century International Arms M70A experience only one minor jam, with all other rounds chambering flawlessly.
The Century International Arms M70A 9mm is a mid-range quality firearm at bargain basement prices. It is accurate, reliable, and easily concealed. If you are looking for a backup or travel gun, at a MSRP of less than $300, the M70A is the right choice.
Micro pistols are the hottest item in an already sizzling concealed carry market. Manufacturers are churning out the latest “ultimate” concealed carry weapon in what seems like a weekly parade of new subcompact firearms, so why would Boberg Arms want to put in the time and effort to launch yet another micro into an overcrowded market? One word: accuracy.
The XR9-S utilizes Boberg’s unique gun design template and combines it with a lightweight frame and stainless steel slide to create a pistol with pinpoint accuracy.
The gun is available in various finishes as well as a long model sporting a 4.2 inch barrel.
The XR9-S is a double-action only system, but the weapon has a visible hammer, as well as a takedown lever that also can be used to hold the slide open.
While most micros are essentially scaled down versions of the manufacturer’s main line, the XR9-S designers at Boberg’s manufacturing facility in White Bear Lake, Minnesota have taken originality by the horns and created an entirely new operating system based on a rear feeding magazine mechanism.
In the Boberg design, rounds are pulled to the rear and then pushed forward to the chamber. Boberg uses the space that would normally be allotted to a feed ramp to extend the barrel by nearly an inch without altering the overall appearance of the gun. The result is a velocity boost of about 100fps, which translates into more stopping power.
The impressive accuracy of the XR9-S can also be attributed to its non-traditional design. Author Scott W. Wagner describes how the XR9-S ‘s locked breech rotating barrel system indirectly improves accuracy in his article “ The Boberg XR9-S 9mm Micro-Compact Pistol” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“While the rotating barrel type of mechanism (as opposed to the traditional Browning tilt-barrel operating system) does not intrinsically make the XR9 more accurate, it definitely helps mitigate the recoil and keeps the pistol from climbing off target. I did not discern any feeling of torque while firing.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
At the range, the XR9-S consistently produced one-inch groupings from 20 feet, using the white, three-dot Novak sights. On more than one occasion, the bullets followed each other through the same target hole. Recoil was negligible. The trigger pull on the Boberg XR9-S contributes to the accuracy as well. It is an exceptionally smooth 6 pounds, which improves accuracy overall, but is especially noticeable during rapid-fire shooting.
The Boberg XR9-S may turn out to be the ultimate concealed carry weapon and either way, it’s going to end up on many shooters’ wishlists. The list price for the XR9-S is a steep $1349. Time to start putting in for those overtime hours.
Every gun manufacturer is clamoring to find a seat on the 1911 bandwagon. With countless models currently on the market ranging from standard military and police issues to beautifully customized competition firearms, finding a market niche for another 1911 can prove to be a daunting task.
Smith & Wesson wisely designed their 1911 Pro Series .45 as a subcompact, realizing the burgeoning concealed carry market would want a ready-made match for their mid-range line of pistols.
The 1911 Pro Series belies its designation as a compact. The black Melonite finish combined with black textured grips give the gun an aura of power.
For a gun packed with 8 rounds of .45 ACP ammo, the 1911 Pro Series is reasonably light at 30 ounces and can easily be carried for long periods of time. The gun is also a single stack, measuring less than an inch across the slide. As a result, this high-powered subcompact has minimal print, concealing effortlessly with an IWB or OWB holster.
During range testing, the Smith & Wesson 1911 Pro Series proved itself to be consistently accurate at the 10 yard distance with zero malfunctions or misfires through several hundred rounds. Recoil was noticeable, but manageable due to the lightweight scandium alloy frame.
The 1911 Pro Series is equipped with standard three-dot low profile sights. Although these sights are no-snag and allow for a smooth draw, a nice perk on a gun designed for personal defense would have been night sights.
The trigger pull on this handgun is light enough at 4.5 pounds to be maneuvered smoothly and deliberately. However as author Mark Kakkuri explains in his article “Smith & Wesson 1911 Pro Series (‘Pro’ in Every Sense of the Word)” at USConcealedCarry.com, there are some potential issues when the gun is repeatedly fired over a prolonged period, such as at the range:
“After a few 50-round boxes of .45 ACP, the S&W 1911 Pro Series showed its second flaw: a trigger with serrations sharp enough that they cut into my trigger finger. A smooth trigger would likely alleviate the matter, [but] I was happy to tell anyone who’d listen that I am blood-earnest about test firing handguns.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Anyone who spends time at the range knows the importance and necessity of being able to field strip a gun in less than ideal settings. Smith & Wesson has made cleaning the 1911 Pro Series a breeze with no extra tools required and it comes with a full-length guide rod. Cleaning the slide and slide release is a little tricky, but the generic 1911 manual has specific and easy to follow instructions for the 1911 Pro Series subcompact.
The 1911 Pro Series lives up to its name. Despite a couple of minor flaws, this gun is a powerful weapon and is ideal for concealed carry. Designed to be a mid-range firearm between S&W’s main line and their custom Performance Center models, the sleek black 1911 Pro Series is in a class of its own. Although the $1,159 MSRP is not a bargain price, it may be the last concealed carry gun you ever buy.