“One Gun, One Carry and Master it” Part 2

“One Gun, One Carry and Master it” Part 2

Practical considerations

By Dennis Adler

Thin and thinner, injection molded holsters like this Galco Model CVS 226 barely add to the footprint of a gun like the Glock 17 Gen4, and have a curve to keep the rig close to the body. It is still a big gun but easier to conceal in a holster like this. At right, a very thin but well made leather belt holster. The MTR Leather belt rig it is made for a variety of small handguns. Holsters like the MTR are very comfortable but offer little in the way of pistol retention other than the soft leather contoured fit. Injection molded holsters like the Galco add some residual retention of the gun with the tight contoured fit around the triggerguard, and slide ejection port.

There are many considerations when you decide to carry concealed, aside from the moral and legal implications that each individual must address. The first of which is why? If this seems a bit intense for an airgun article, it is, because in this instance the airgun is substituting for a real gun and you have to have your priorities straight.  

I chose these two extremes to illustrate different needs of carry. Both guns are 9mm; the Glock has a 17+1 capacity, the Sig 10+1, still quite an advantage at almost half the size. Both CO2 models can be used for general training use and learning concealed carry with Micro-Compact and full-size semiautomatic pistols.

Making the decision to carry a gun goes beyond the visit to your local Police Chief or County Sheriff to request a carry permit, which, depending upon where you live, can vary from simple questions to providing more specific information and even having to attend and pass a handgun training class before a carry permit is issued. In some states, counties and cities, a carry permit is almost impossible to get, while in some states you don’t even need a permit. But we are putting the cart before the horse here. read more


“One Gun, One Carry and Master it” Part 1

“One Gun, One Carry and Master it” Part 1

Lessons from the professionals

By Dennis Adler

Full-size guns vary in dimensions, take the Glock 17 Gen4 at left and the Model 1911 at right, the Glock is a much smaller footprint. All three guns pictured are CO2 models in the holsters used for their centerfire counterparts. The little Sig P365 at the bottom gives you a comparative relationship between a full-size handgun and a Micro-Compact.

“One gun, one carry and master it” is the principle taught by John Bianchi, the master of concealed carry and the world’s most famous holster maker. I wrote John’s Biography in 2009 (John Bianchi – An American Legend) and he taught me his rules for concealed carry, the first of which was to find one gun and master it from holster, to drawing, aiming, shooting and concealment. If your are in law enforcement, as Bianchi was early in his career when he first began designing and making holsters for fellow police officers, this is easier to achieve. For civilians it is a precept that is easier to embrace than actually accomplish, at least it has been for me, because I have made a profession out of testing guns, and aside from a few favorites, have never had one gun long enough to consider mastering it for CCW use. Over the years I have gone from one to another, from DA/SA revolvers to semi-autos, full-size duty guns to subcompacts, and as for reviewing guns, it is hundreds of guns in and out of my hands for more than 20 years. So for me, mastering one gun is still a personal goal because my carry guns have changed a dozen times over the years (one of the benefits and pitfalls of having so many options from testing new models). There’s a handful I am proficient with to the point that I have total confidence in carrying them, but to be totally honest, the older I get the smaller my EDC gun gets. Still, I have never narrowed it down to one gun or even one holster. But I’m getting closer; more about that later.   read more


Greater Expectations

Greater Expectations

A serious look at air pistols and practicality

By Dennis Adler

Back in 2000 when I was preparing the First Edition Blue Book of Airguns these were the latest designs. They were all pellet-firing pistols that had excellent velocity, authentic styling and fundamental handling, guns that could be used for target shooting and handgun training (like the Walther CP99), but they were not blowback action pistols, and they were not actually semi-autos. Internally they worked like a DA/SA revolver with the cast alloy pellet magazine inside the action, rotating like a cylinder with each pull of the trigger (or by cocking the hammer). Look at the guns pictured in my feature from the 2001 book, and you will see the finest CO2 air pistols on the market at the time.

Rarely do I use this forum to write an editorial opinion, but it seems that the time has come to compare the market, marketing and manufacturing of air pistols to the expectations of consumers, and these are seldom shared objectives. It does happen, but not as often as most of us would like. We expect new guns every year, and that means we are sometimes thrilled, but more often easily disappointed. 

When I came into the airgun/air pistol market as an author almost 20 years ago, most of the airguns I write about today not only didn’t exist, they were not even imagined as being possible (Glocks for example). BB guns were as basic in 2001 as they were a decade or more before. When I looked for superstars that would be the topic for my first book on airguns (published by my late friend Steve Fjestad at Blue Book Publications), the field was small but well focused on two fronts. There was adult sport shooting with BB and pellet guns, and secondly a handful of guns (some the same) aimed at use for fundamental handgun training. This was nothing new, airguns had been implemented in the past for military training in times of war. read more


Revisiting the Python Part 2

Revisiting the Python Part 2

A snakey situation

By Dennis Adler

Dressed up with the black hard rubber grips the Umarex looks very close to the real guns. It also fits well into some leather holsters like this Galco Dual Position Phoenix holster which is compatible with the Python, Dan Wesson 6-inch, and S&W L Frame 586. Loaded with Umarex Peacemaker pellet shells and high quality alloy pellets, the gun can deliver at 21 feet, but is no match for some of the competition.

It seems that as hard as Umarex tried to make an authentic Python, the foundation was a little flawed in its dimensions in order to accommodate the CO2 firing mechanism, but for the time it was quite good. We have come a long way in a very few years with guns like the ASG Dan Wesson Model 715 and the almost flawless Webley & Scott MK VI, along with a few others like the Peacemaker and Schofield, but the Umarex Colt Python is still a very eye catching CO2 revolver, and with the use of Peacemaker pellet cartridges and alloy pellets can deliver impressive velocity. Currently, the Chrome model is selling for $129.99 (MSRP $149.99 and presently the original black finish CO2 model is not available). read more


Revisiting the Python Part 1

Revisiting the Colt Python Part 1

A snakey situation

By Dennis Adler

The legendary Colt Python was revived in 2014 as a .177 caliber CO2 model. The Colt authorized Umarex wheelgun is a “nearly” perfect copy of the fabled .357 magnum revolver introduced in 1955 but as can be seen in this comparison with the new 2020 Colt Python .357 Magnum, the lines of the CO2 model are not quite true to the centerfire pistol. But it is pretty close for an air pistol.

The Colt Python was one of the most celebrated handguns of the 20th century and one of the few hand fitted revolvers ever manufactured. From 1955 until the majority of Python production ended in 1996, it was regarded as one of the finest American handguns in history, and today you can expect to pay thousands of dollars for an original Colt model. Even among the last examples made, and those produced by the Colt Custom Shop as late as 2002 to 2006 under the Python Elite series, the prices remain at close to $4000. Colt itself has been fighting an uphill battle to resurrect its history and, while taking a rather uninspired path with the new Cobra in 2017 and King Cobra in 2019, both of which fell short of the measure for the original models, this year Colt finally began building the revolver that people wanted, a Python. Reviews of the new Snake Gun have been sketchy, from revelry to criticisms in the age of instant media and reviews of guns by internet pundits as well as established publications. Colt simply proclaimed “The Python is back!” The information offered with the announcement in January built on the Colt Python’s heritage with two new stainless steel models, 4.25 inch and 6 inch barrel lengths. The new 2020 Python’s are built using modern stainless steel alloys and a re-designed adjustable target rear sight with 30 percent more steel beneath it for a stronger revolver. A recessed target crown, user-interchangeable front sight, and classic walnut grips with the iconic Colt medallion round out the new .357 Magnum models. And you will pay at least half of what original Pythons bring today with a retail of $1,499. But you’ll be hard pressed to get one soon because after the first couple of thousand were delivered orders skyrocketed to more than 14,000 putting the Python into backorder status and eager owners on a waiting list. Python fever remains. read more


56 Years ago, Crosman gave us a sense of reality

56 Years ago, Crosman gave us a sense of reality

Welcome to the “Was” Part 3

By Dennis Adler

The Crosman design was the first of many similar air pistols to follow over the decades, but it is most interesting to realize that back in the early 1960s, when the first variation was introduced, Crosman used of a lot of S&W features making the air pistol, including a very authentic trigger and hammer, with commensurate feel and weight, and essentially copied the metal sights on S&W models with an adjustable rear.

I learned to shoot with revolvers. That was back in the 1970s. I’d grown up on air pistols, and never shot a cartridge gun until I was in my early 20s, and that first trip to the range with an S&W .38 was an experience. Within a decade I had begun a career as a journalist, and had started collecting Smith & Wesson revolvers. I use this to set the stage for what can describe a great many people my age today that learned to shoot with a revolver back in the 1970s, a time when S&W and Colt were the most commonly carried revolvers in law enforcement and among civilians with carry permits or for use in home protection. Of course, there were a lot of significant semi-autos back then, too, but it was S&W revolvers that I shot and enjoyed most in those days, and because of that I literally skipped over the CO2 models available, like the Crosman 38C and 38T. Their appeal to me now is more than nostalgia, because I never shot one until this week. It is an airgun experience that I am very glad to share with you because these old guns seem even more impressive today in the light of what airgun manufacturers are willing to build and sell. Sure, the Umarex Colt Peacemakers are extraordinary, same for the Bear River Schofields; both groundbreaking CO2 models steeped in the history of the American West, but with few exceptions there is a dearth of equally impressive DA/SA models, and even the best of those, like the ASG Dan Wesson Model 715, are chambered in .177 caliber. What is sorely missing after testing the old Crosman 38C is a good .22 caliber model for more serious wheelgun shooters. In retrospect, back in the 1970s I could have been the beneficiary of what I write about today! This was a great training gun, and shooting .22 caliber pellets as accurately as a centerfire revolver at distances out to 10 yards. read more


56 Years ago, Crosman gave us a sense of reality

56 Years ago, Crosman gave us a sense of reality

Welcome to the “Was” Part 2

By Dennis Adler

A single CO2 powered DA/SA revolver that fires .22 caliber pellets and looks like a classic S&W would seem like a perfect gun for 21st century air pistol enthusiasts, but no such gun exists unless you go back to the mid 20th century. What?

It is mind boggling that with today’s technology airgun manufacturers, who have made stunning advances in the design and manufacturing of blowback action semi-auto CO2 models, have not pursued some equivalency in the design and manufacturing of DA/SA revolvers, with the exception of the most recent offerings from ASG with the Model 715 Dan Wesson lineup. And even still, they are .177 caliber pellet pistols, not .22 caliber. You have to go to an entirely different type of air pistol to get into .22s today. read more