Dan Wesson Valkyrie Commander 9mm Review

Time for the final review of the Dan Wesson Commander! This was by far the best gun I’ve had come through the tests in terms of build quality and performance. That makes sense because it’s also the most expensive of the guns I’ve personally tested.

Final score: 99/100
10-8 Performance Test: Passed
Parts Breakages: None
Armorer issues: None
Failures to complete the cycle of operations: 1

Kimber Pro Carry II 9mm: 10-8 Performance Test

Time to test a new gun, while the Dan Wesson is off at NRA getting its photo taken for Rifleman. We’re starting with the Kimber Pro Carry II in 9mm, and like all of test guns it starts with the 10-8 Performance test.

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Springfield Armory Range Officer 9mm 1911 Review

It’s finally here, our final review of the Springfield Armory Range Officer 9mm 1911. Let’s first start off with the scoring system, which to refresh your memory starts all guns with a maximum score of 100 points, then deducts points as various things go wrong. The Range Officer had 7 failures that were counted against the gun, lowering the score to 93. It also failed the 10-8 Performance function test, dropping the score to 83. Finally, it had one armorer level repair issue, namely that the rear sight pin would walk out of the rear sight under sustained rapid fire. That gives us a final score of 78/100, making this a solid C+ gun.

What’s interesting about the tests is that while the Springfield did out-perform the Taurus, it didn’t do it by nearly the margin I thought it would. The RO costs as near as makes no difference 250 dollars more at retail than the Taurus, but I honestly didn’t see $250 worth of performance increase. Yes, the RO was more reliable, and yes it was more accurate to shoot groups with, but the RO brand new is a $750-$800 gun, and the Taurus is a $500 gun. If the RO had finished in the mid to high 80s, which is where I expected it to finish, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because $750 is a perfectly reasonable price for a B+ gun.

I did change the stocks out on the Range Officer during the test; obviously if you follow this blog or my Instagram you saw the issues with had with the factory stocks and the foolishness of the previous owner. I actually really like the Magpul 1911 grips, they’re grippy without being too aggressive, and they have a huge thumb relief cut to make accessing the magazine release easier. Plus, they’re affordable. $15 is a pretty good price.

One thing I did love about the Range Officer was how accurate it is. This gun shoots.

Springfield RO 25 yard timed fire group

That’s a timed fire group (5 shots in 20 seconds) from the Range Officer, shot at 25 yards a B-8 target. The “black” of a B-8 is 5.5 inches, and with the exception of that one little flier in the 9, all of those are 10s in the much smaller circle. This gun shoots well. The only real criticism I have of it is the tendency towards light primer strikes with hard-primered ammo like Tula or Fiocchi, both of which I had issues with. The easiest way to solve that of course is not use that ammo with this gun, which is exactly what I’ll do moving forward. With some minor tweaks to the recoil system, and the addition of a magazine well, this would make a pretty solid choice for USPSA Single Stack, and might even be decent if I pressed into service as a Bianchi Cup gun.

As it stands now, the Springfield Armory RO sits at a distance second place behind Tim’s Wilson Combat 9mm 1911, which scored a perfect 100/100 on our test. Up next is either the Armscor 1911 or the Dan Wesson, and to be honest I’m having trouble picking which one.

Ammo review: Hornady Custom Lite Reduced Recoil .308 Winchester

Jeez, that title was a mouthful, wasn’t it? I swear, ammo manufacturers are getting carried away with their product names these days. But that’s not the point, the point is to talk about this product from Hornady. Today we’re reviewing their reduced recoil .308 Winchester load, which is loaded with Hornady’s 125 grain SST bullet.

Hornady Custom Lite .308 Win

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Gun Nuts Review: Smith & Wesson 638 .38 Special

Smith & Wesson 638 two page right side

2014 was the last year that the humble j-frame was a legitimate contender at the IDPA BUG Nationals. In early 2015, the rules were changed in order to make Back Up Gun a full on division, and to do that meant making it a mandatory six shot division. The justification for this was that classifying with a five shooter would have been a nightmare, and while that’s true, it’s sad that IDPA killed the only place where the old-school king of carry guns could play. With the rise of the 9mm pocket gun, what is to become of the humble Airweight?

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Gun Nuts Reviews: Smith & Wesson 325PD

Smith & Wesson 325PD Right side

In the early to mid-2000s, everyone was screaming for lighter carry guns. For a number of reasons, Smith & Wesson decided it would be awesome to offer some of their very popular L-frame and N-frame models with scandium frames and titanium cylinders, resulting in wrist destroying magnums like the 329PD, chambered in .44 Magnum. Of course, the Smith N-frame lineup also includes the legendary 625, the .45 ACP moonclip revolver. It was only natural to make a scandium framed, titanium cylindered version of that, resulting in the gun you see today, the Smith & Wesson 325PD.

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Smith & Wesson M&P15 MOE review

Sometimes you just need meat and potatoes. The AR15 market is so crowded right now; everything from basic entry level rifles all the way up to multi-thousand dollar high-end near custom guns. It’s quite similar to the 1911 market, to the point that the phrase “AR15” is nearly meaningless other than to describe an idea of a rifle. But what if you don’t want to build your own gun or spend $3,000 on a custom build? What if you just want a .223 caliber rifle that feeds from 30 round detachable box magazines, runs reliably, has good features, and nice ergonomics? Well, if that’s what you want, perhaps you should check out the Smith & Wesson M&P15 MOE.

m&P15 moe-1

The Vitals
What we have with the M&P15 MOE is meat and potatoes. With the exception of the mid-length gas system, it’s as close to “rifle, 5.56, generic” as you can get, and the addition of the Magpul Original Equipment that makes up the stock, handguard, and pistol grip makes the gun a lot more comfortable to shoot than a truly generic “rifle, 5.56.” A 16 inch barrel, fixed front sight post, Smith & Wesson’s proprietary flash hider – everything on this rifle is set up to be simple and rugged. It weighs 6.5 pounds unloaded without an optic, which is right in the butter zone for rifles.

Unlike most of my gun tests, I didn’t test the M&P15 MOE on an isolated range; it was with me for a day in the Wyoming desert on an epic prairie dog hunt. This really gave me a feel for the rifle’s real world utility. It’s easy to say that a rifle is great when your review consists of shooting a few boxes of ammo through it on a private range; it’s another thing to say it’s great when you’ve had it bouncing around in the cab of a UTV, covered in dust, getting in and out of vehicles, and shooting over 400 rounds in hot, dusty conditions.

The Test
I drew the M&P15 MOE out of a pool of available rifles. Initially, I had some feeding problems with the gun; a quick inspection showed that the bolt was bone dry. I hosed the BCG with some available lube, and it ran like a top for 300 rounds of various Hornady .223 ammo.

m&p15 moe-3

Over the course of the day in the desert, the M&P15 MOE did everything I needed it to do. It was accurate enough to hit prairie dogs out to 250 yards, it was reliable (after being lubricated), and it was fast handling. There were a couple of opportunities to snap-shoot prairie dogs that were inside 25 yards on us. With the short barrel and collapsible stock, the MOE carbine rode along in the door pocket of the UTV like it was meant to be there. My favorite shot of the entire hunt was cruising on private property, the passenger in the UTV says “there’s one to left” – I hit the brakes in the Viking, spot the prairie dog about 20 yards out of the driver’s side door. The rifle comes up to my shoulder, safety comes off and BLAM I’m treated to flying prairie dog parts.

m&p15 moe-4

The Verdict
Do you want a reliable, accurate rifle that has all the stuff you need and none of the junk you don’t need? I’d strongly recommend giving the Smith & Wesson M&P15 MOE mid-length a look. It’s widely available, retails for right around $1,000, and will do everything you need it to do. Just make sure to keep it lubricated!

Mossberg 930 SPX Tactical Review

Dropping another video review today; we have the Mossberg 930 SPX tactical on the range. I really enjoy shooting this gun; like most shotguns it provides a very rewarding sense of accomplishment. There’s something delightfully tactile about the “chunk-chunk-chunk” of sending 12 gauge downrange and feeling the gun drive back into your shoulder in recoil. It’s a primal feeling, right up there with the emotional reaction I have to hearing a V8 turn over.

Guided Chaos Combat Derp Training

If wanted the experience of having a fat dude breathe heavily on me while trying to push me around, I’d cut in line at Sizzler. (aside: is Sizzler still a thing? I haven’t seen one in YEARS)

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