Friday, July 3, 2015

July 4th is a Celebration of Guns

Red, White, and Blue Volquartsen 10/22,
Volquartsent/Ruger Mark III
and 100% American Made
Stainless .50AE Desert Eagle
July 4th is a Celebration of Guns

Contrary to most people's beliefs, July 4th was not recognized as a holiday to fawn over hot dogs, brats, and hamburgers cooked at the altar of the grill. We have our independence because of firearms. The pacifist of our country would say that diplomacy helped create our independence, however knowing history a bit better, our independence was won while spitting vulgarities were exchanged and blood was spilt on the battlefield, streets, and homes of our then young nation.

Those that look to peacekeepers to save them today, let's not forget in those times the "peacekeepers" were corrupt colonial governors and british soldiers who were in charge of "keeping you safe", raping your wife, killing you, beating your son, shooting your dog, and taking all your livestock, produce, food and money. Oh, and let's not forget at time also confiscating our weapons, because why would you need firearms with such loving overlords.  No... our independence was won not with kindness and love shown to England, but lead, gunpowder, flint and steel applied directly to the chests of the Englishman ruler in the form of rebellion after rebellion after rebellion.

Without firearms and firepower including artillery level cannons, rifles, pistols, and swords to fight for our freedom, we would not be the great free nation we are today. All the ink and paper in the world cannot replace the power provided with firearms to overcome tyranny when words alone are ignored.

God bless the firearms, men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything including rebel against unjust laws in the face of overwhelming oppression. Long live the Republic and God bless past, present and future love of firearms. Guns were the reason we are free today, so celebrate firearms with our independance on this July 4th Holiday.

Please share this post if you agree.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Glock G29 10mm Pistol Review

Glock G29 10mm Pistol Review

During my behind the scenes tour of the US Glock factory, I saw a lot of things and many things drifted through my mind. At that time I was one of only eleven editors invited to the unveiling of the secret release of the Glock G43. That predictable and yawn-able moment of the G43 introduction where we all exclaimed “good lord, finally”, my mind was thinking about a G29.  The G29 is in essence a G19 in 10mm and is Glock’s “compact 10mm” pistol. Though the G29 is actually about ¼” shorter than the G19, the reality is that the G29 is like a G19 9mm which has overindulged a bit at the pasta bar one to many times.

The 10mm G29 is also Glocks most powerful compact pistol capable of delivering 600-800 ft/lbs of energy depending on the ammo you feed it. Not bad considering you have 10+1 rounds on tap… its a lot of power and firepower in a very small concealable package.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 10MM AUTO
The development of the 10mm round is actually an interesting story which dates back to the 1970s. The idea was for a high power flat shooting semi-auto cartridge that would run in a 1911 format pistol which would basically deliver .357 to .44 Magnum (midweight loads) ballistics. In the end Jeff Cooper, yes the scout rifle guy, was involved in the development at which point Norma began producing ammunition in the early 1980s. The FBI felt a little outgunned on the streets and briefly adopted the 10mm round, but with the full bore kick ass loads that were first released.  The reality was 90% of the agents felt uncomfortable shooting and handling the larger dimensioned and significantly more powerful 10mm powered guns.  The ammo manufacturers responded with the 10mm Lite rounds which in essence dropped the power all the way down to about .40 S&W loads however the FBI and the public wanted a smaller format with less power than what the 10mm round delivered. Smith & Wesson though this was a waste of un-used powder space on the longer 10mm brass and developed a 10mm Short or what we now know as the .40 S&W.  The round delivered everything the FBI specs wanted in a format that would fit in a smaller 9mm sized pistol format.

The current crop of 10mm rounds from Hornady and other are not neutered to the degree the "LITE" rounds were, however they could certainly be loaded hotter as we see with the higher power Buffalo Bore, Federal, and Liberty Ammunition rounds.  The current 10mm rounds are still much more powerful than the .40 S&W.  .40 S&W usually deliver around 450Ft/lbs of energy and the 10mm typically delivery around 550 ft/lbs which is around 20% more power.

Today the 10mm cartridge has rabid fans plus still does have a following in Special forces, Special Law Enforcement, and is growing as a hunting cartridge due to the capacity of the firearm and power.
Little 9mm G43 vs powerhouse 10mm G29

ABOUT THE GLOCK G20, G20SF, & G29
Glock began producing the G20 in 1991 to answer the market demand in the midst of the 10mm Auto’s hay day. Even after demand tapered off there was still a demand for the 10mm Auto pistol, however the major complaint was the overall size of the grip. Later in 2007, Glock introduced the G20SF (reviewed here) which is the “Short Frame” model.  The G20SF model provides a significantly grip feel circumference equal to a standard .40 S&W chambered Glock.  

The net result is that those with medium to small hands can establish a comfortable and secure grip.  Glock has been specifically marketing the G20 and G20SF as hunting companion firearms to be used for the hunt or to provide a humane finishing shot on very large game. For those hunting in bear country, having a 15-round pistol which can believer power that rivals some .44 Magnum rounds, is an enormous benefit. In fact the Greenland Sirius Sledge Patrol uses the G20 on the very aggressive Polar bear which far outweigh our typical brown bear. Many of the relatively rapid 10mm fanatics, myself included, requested/demanded a smaller concealable format... ya know? in case we are attacked by polar bears. The small format G29 10mm was born.

WHY I HAD TO HAVE ONE
I would argue why wouldn’t you want one, however I can see there may be some folks who just do not get it.  I will put it this way. Why would someone carry a .357 Magnum Ruger LCR snubby revolver when you could just carry the same gun and shoot it with less recoil in .38 Special. The simple answer is “POWER” and the same reason muscle cars were created. Do I need the power in a handgun to down small aircraft? Well not recently, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to own it. In fact, I have been lusting after the rather surprisingly mild recoiling G29 since I picked up my G20. Who doesn't need 41 Rem Magnum power in a concealable 11-round pistol. Well I did.

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES, FUNCTION
The G29 has the fit, finish, and features identical to any other Gen 3 Glock you may have handled, however the slide and barrel is even wider and beefier than Glock’s .40 S&W pistols to handle the power of the 10mm Auto round. The side profile of the G29 is just a bit fatter than a G19 but about a ¼” shorter as noted previously. Think of the the G27 (the G26 of the .40 S&W lineup), but about 10% larger.

If you want night sights, I recommend picking them up included from Glock as they are a bit less expensive than adding them later plus they will come factory zero'ed.  On my G29, I added the Glock night sights because, you know... sometimes big critters roam around at night.

Just like any other Glock reliability was superb and flawless from the first to the last round.  Thankfully Hornady sent me a couple boxes of their lighter shooting 560 ft/lb Custom 10mm Auto 180gr XTP rounds and Federal supplied some of their full power 650 ft/lb 10mm 180gr Trophy Bonded JSP rounds. What surprised me most was that the recoil was really quite pleasant and even easily tolerable and controllable with the harder hitting rounds. I will admit, the G20 is a treat to shoot with hot rounds, the G29 is a bit snappy and after every three mags, I had to take a break.  Not painful, but the lighter G29 is snappy enough with the harder hitting rounds that the snap feels more like bite after more than three or four mag fulls.

I found that like every other double stack Glock I own, the G29 slipped into the same G19 Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe Holster Mark Craighead personally gave me and carries just like any other Glock.

ACCURACY
My friend and I have made it a habit to routinely plink and hit the 12”x12” steel 100, 200, and 300-yard gongs with our Glocks.  Oddly enough, once you figure out the 12-15 foot holdover at 300-yards, it is not that difficult. Just like the G20 testing I did, shooting flatter shooting 10mm at distance was a whole new game. 100-yard torso shots were simply and downright easy. The original intent of the cartridge was clear - this is a long range handgun round and if zeroed at 50-yards, the 10mm Auto only drops about 4.5” at 100- yards and is only 36” low at 200 yards and still delivering around 400 ft/lbs of energy (about the same energy a 9mm has at the muzzle). This is a very impressive round that is more than adequate for hunting deer sized game at a little distance.

Otherwise at normal combat distances, the G29 was marginally less accurate than your average G26 or G27 due to the increased recoil the shooter is managing.

FINAL THOUGHTS
I love this little 10mm. If you have a reason to drop something with about 70%-90% more power than your average 9mm then the G29 is your pistol. What I love about the G29 is that it delivers the most powerful semi-auto pistol round in a reliable gun outside of Desert Eagle. Actually owning two Desert Eagles, I would argue the Glock 10mm is "the" most reliable high power semi-auto pistol and the G29 is the smallest format available.

SPECS GLOCK G29
LENGTH: 177 mm / 6.96 in.
WIDTH: 32.50 mm / 1.27 in.
LENGTH BETWEEN SIGHTS: 150 mm / 5.91 in.
HEIGHT: 113 mm / 4.44 in.
BARREL HEIGHT: 32 mm / 1.26 in.
BARREL LENGTH: 96 mm / 3.77 in.
UNLOADED: 770 g / 27.18 oz.
LOADED: 935 g / 33.01 oz.
TRIGGER PULL: ~2.5 kg / ~5.5 lbs.
TRIGGER TRAVEL: ~12.5 mm / ~0.49 in.
BARREL RIFLING: right hand, hexagonal
LENGTH OF TWIST: 250 mm / 9.84 in.
CAPACITY: 10 - Accepts G20 15-round mags

SOURCES
Hornady Ammo - http://www.hornady.com/

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Walther PPK made the .380 ACP Cool, but the G42 Made it Practical

The Walther PPK made the .380 ACP Cool, but the G42 Made it Practical

Its a funny thing when you think about the .380 ACP round. Although modern ammo technology has exponentially increased the lethality of the .380 ACP round from the perception of anemic to acceptable defensive levels, there still are more than a few chest thumpers bagging on the Browning 9mm Short (aka .380 ACP). Even back three decades ago when men were men and .380 rounds were primarily just ball ammo, the Bond films made everyone still want a PPK... even if that did mean they were carrying a wimpy little .380 ACP. I can hear everyone whipping out their gun to measure against the tiny dimensions of the little Walther PPK, but Bond didn't care about the size... it was what he did with it.

Part of that attraction and acceptance of the .380 round was the legend, myth, and sex appeal that Bond brought to the screen with arguably one of the smallest production calibers of the time. Back around the time of the Bond films were introduced, there were certainly significantly more powerful pistols and revolvers. The S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum carried by Dirty Harry was introduced just after the books were released and could have been used in the film adaptation, plenty of .357 magnums and .38 special snubbies were on the market, and a host of 1911s as well. So why the little .380 Walther?

Likely, Fleming authored in the gun to make some sort of subtle reference that phallically, Bond only needed a little gun due to his "superior abilities" in all other areas. The other point is the Walther PPK is a timelessly sexy design, which aside from a few off years, delivers a very reliable little highly concealable quick reloading pistol.  It featured 6+1 capacity which delivers 40% more capacity than a similarly sized five shot snubby. The PPK even delivers a tame controllable recoil, quieter report, and is very accurate.  One of the most significant reasons I still love the PPK has been the very slim size format which disappears completely when carrying concealed. Concealability was the main reason many undercover officers internationally carried the gun. Also with the cold war raging, PPKs were all over Eastern Europe which meant that someone finding a PPK would likely not scream "he is a secret agent".

Tactically, it was a sound decision for Fleming to write in the now famous PPK as Bond's gun. The books and films undoubtedly skyrocketed the popularity of the PPK because it was the one thing of Bond's that Bond fans could actually own. The millions of dollars of spy gadgets and tricked out custom Aston Martins were significantly more than a PPK. Walther thankfully picked up the old bastardized PPK design and restored it to its former glory. I would actually argue the new models are better than the highly coveted original models.

In my case, I know that Bond never carried a stainless model, however my PPK is in stainless and has accompanied me to almost every high class suit and tie affair my wife and I attend. Like everyone else who owns a PPK, I love the little gun and I will admit to feeling cool and secret agent-like with it in my waistband. Bond made the PPK cool, however today in the midst of a sea of striker fired polymer pistols, defensive muscle memory and the familiarity of designs mimicking Glocks, the Walther PPK falls short from a practical perspective. It is still a fine firearm, however its heavy trigger, double/single action design, 1.5lb heft, and safety all scream to me, its not a striker fired polymer gun once it hits my hand. 

This is a bad thing when faced with an immediate shoot now defensive requirement... ohh wait the safety was accidently engaged. From defensive practicality, most would opt for the simplicity of the striker fired gun even in  .380 ACP. As it were, most of us would rather have a current firearm design protecting our ass instead of a legend designed in 1929. This is also my feeling on 1911 designs as well.

Glock so loved the firearm world that it produced a gun no one asked for and we said thank you. As it turns out that PPK sized format was a giant void in the marketplace, however no one but Glock realized this. Currently the G42 is outselling all other Glock models combined; about a quarter million units were sold last year alone and demand is not slowing in 2015. The first time I put a G42 in my hands, I said Glock just made a striker fired PPK. Now that I own two G42 pistols, I only feel more strongly about that comment.


Glock took all the great and wonderful attributes of the PPK's slim, concealable pistol design and delivered it back in a modern format which conveys the same confidence that every other Glock is famous for. I actually sold my Ruger LCP .380 because I never carry it any more even though it's smaller. The Glock G42 is just small enough to be uber concealable and still be a dream to shoot.

Even though the PPK had marginal recoil the G42 feels like you are shooting a .22LR rimfire pistol. Its just amazing how the recoil springs and polymer soak up added recoil. The G42 does all this with about half the weight of the Walther, a crisp Glock trigger, and in a format that I find comes on target faster and more confidently than the PPK.  

The PPK is a wonderful gun whose beauty and cool factor guilts me a bit every time I am stuffing the ugly Glock G42 into my waistband instead of the PPK. The PPK still gets carried, however no where near what the Glock sees. For me the Walther showed me the comfort of shedding 1-2 lb of firearm weight when I am just running to the opera - the PPK made me appreciate what the .380 ACP offers, but the Glock made it practical for me in a faster, lighter, and lighter shooting pistol.

Maybe Bond was right.  All we really need is a small little .380 which we have confidence in for practical defense to get us out of a situation our brain and charm cannot. It begs the question, is a .380 enough? For me I feel fully and confidently armed with my PPK or G42… but I am pretty charming.

SOURCES

Volquartsen MKIII Target Frame and Competition Bolt Review

Volquartsen MKIII Target Frame and Competition Bolt Review

After screwing around with my little Ruger 22/45 Lite, I really started to appreciate the surprising accuracy of the "LITE" 4” tensioned barrel, but really yearned for the feel of the super awesome Volquartsen trigger kit in my upgraded Slab Sided MKIII competition pistol.  Accurizing the Ruger MKIII and 22/45 pistols with Volquartsen internals makes a huge difference. I wanted to go a few steps further with their new Competition Bolt and "newer" Target Frames. The goal was a super lightweight pistol which could hopefully become an awesome trail, target and suppressor host.

ABOUT VOLQUARTSEN
Way back in 1974, the company was not really a company so much as a home based gun bluing operation. Volquartsen is not just making parts anymore, they now have their own line of firearms which range from customized versions of existing base firearm designs to designs which are functionally unique to the company. Swirly barrels, cool flutes, colorful anodizing, radical compensators and sci-fi stocks aside, Volquartsen is more than just gorgeous rimfire firearm and parts, what they are really famous for is stunning accuracy.

ABOUT THE BUILD
I will go out on a limb and say that my 4" Ruger 22/45 is not only significantly lighter, but also almost as accurate as my full weight upgraded Mark III pistol with 6 7/8" barrel. I really love what Ruger did with this pistol including the tensioned target barrel and making it suppressor ready. After some experience with the 22/45 grip frame it feels and points wrong to me in the hand.  Volquartsen does offer both a 22/45 frame and Luger style Mark II/III frame, so I took the opportunity to customize the pistol to my liking by converting the 22/45 frame to a Mark III style grip. It fills my wants, is truly unique, and delivers a more natural pointing .22LR pistol for me.

Swapping out a 22/45 grip for a MKIII grip is not that groundbreaking of a customization. Most people surmise that most of the components are compatible between the 22/45 and Mark II/III. In reality you can take a complete 22/45 lower grip assembly and mount it directly to you Mark III upper or in this case a Mark III Volquartsen grip assembly on a 22/45 LITE. With the exception of the magazine base, mainspring, and bolt release, every other part is cross compatible on the lower grip frame. 100% of the parts on Ruger's barreled uppers are cross compatible, so the swap is relatively easy.


The Volquartsen Target Frame, delivers a ton of upgrades, however I also added their Mainspring and extended magazine base plates to convert over the 22/45 mags to work on the MKIII Frame. The stock bolt assembly was also replaced with Volquartsen’s Competition Bolt.

Based on the final price of this build many will say I was only around $300 short of just buying a complete Volquartsen pistol. For this build anyway, I wanted the lightweight the threaded Ruger LITE barrel assembly provided. The stock 22/45 grip was sold for $150 which recovered a few dollars and helped offset the cost of some of the Volquartsen upgrades.

FIT, FINISH, & FEEL
Along with being one of the only major competition upgrade players in the Ruger MKIII space, Volquartsen carries through it exception reputation of quality and finish. Each part is gorgeous and the new Competition Bolt is downright jewel like. Ruger made a giant leap forward with the quality and finish of the Ruger LITE, however with Volquartsen parts around and in it, there still is a noticeable difference in quality and fit.

FEATURES & FUNCTION
Volquartsen Target Frame MKIII - $466
Going right for a complete grip frame from Volquartsen can make sense from a cost perspective. I didn’t particularly care for the 22/45 and would have changed that anyway.  If we take the included billet aluminum Volquartsen grip frame conversion out of the equation, the included Volquartsen performance parts included in the $466 frame.

The 6oz Volquartsen MKIII Target Frame is CNC-machined from aluminum alloy which includes Volquartsen's Extended Bolt Release, CNC-machined Target Trigger, wire EDM-cut Target Hammer, Target Sear, CNC-Machined Disconnector, Built-in Spring-Loaded Magazine Ejector, and Extended Safety. The VC Frame is shipped with a clean, crisp 2.25lb trigger pull. Joyously, the idiotic magazine disconnect has also been eliminated from this frame.

There is always some “fitment” that is required between the frame and barreled upper, so they have provided shims to assure a perfect fit between the two parts. After adding one shim, the Volquartsen Target Frame matted up just like the stock grip and just as easily. The Target Frames are available in anodized black, red, OD green and blue and the silver frames are NiB coated.

Once together, the Target Frame delivers the best match trigger available for the Ruger MK III platform. The 2.25lb trigger is amazing, but that is just the start. I can reach the magazine and bolt release more easily and the spring loaded Magazine Ejector fires out empty mags. No more lethargic magazines exiting the frame - hit the mag release and the mag hits the ground like a rocket. The Target Frame delivers all the upgrades you could want in one purchase.

Volquartsen Mainspring - $68
When ordering a Volquartsen Target Frame, I would encourage you to add a Volquartsen mainspring as they are significantly higher grade than the stock parts and match the look of the beautiful Target Frame. You can use an old MK III mainspring, however it just will not look as nice.  Functionally I don’t really think you will impact performance with this upgrade, but on this build it felt like the Volquartsen Mainspring delivered a tighter and longer lasting precision setup with its EDM and CNC components.

Competition Bolt Metallic Silver - $240
The Ruger MKIII are famously reliable once they are broken in, however that can take thousands of rounds from my experience. In the interim, owners can expect the occasional stovepipe, misfeed, and a few failed ignitions. Volquartsen drastically improves day one performance with with their 4 oz Competition Bolt and adds several great features. Reliability out of the box was superb with this Competition Bol with zero stovepipes or failures to fire in over 500 rounds. The bolt's finish also seems to deliver a longer operating pistol between cleaning intervals. I credit this performance to the high precision of the case hardened bolt, the slick Chromium Nitride finish, Exact Edge Extractor and SureStrike Firing Pin.  Volquartsen noted the case hardening and finish advantages include Increased hardness, Low residual stress, Increased lubricity, Low coefficient of friction, Improved wear resistance, and Requires much less lubrication.  It just freaking works.

The Competition Bolt also has an integral Extended Bolt Racker which greatly speeds the charging process and completely eliminates pinched fingers of the bolt charging wings. Volquartsen basically added a nice doorknob at the back of the bolt. Its a very simple and reliable solution to a vexing and often painful problem. No more do you fingers get pinched when manually charging the bolt.


Hogue Grip - $25
Volquartsen suggests their grip, however I used a Hogue MK IIII grip instead. I like these grips despite having finger grooves and find them to have a great balance between target ergonomics and fast field handling. For $25, its a hard upgrade to argue against.

ACCURACY
The Volquartsen upgrades did not disappoint. My stock 22/45 LITE delivered solid 1" 25-yard groups off sandbags. The upgraded Volquartsen LITE managed .75" groups at the same distance with SK Standard Velocity ammo. This isn't quite the standard of the complete Volquartsen pistol deliver laser accuracy, however I was thrilled with this accuracy that allowed me to put 9 out of 10 rounds on a small ground squirrel steel spinner at 50-yards. A 25% accuracy improvement is impressive all in a small well healed light format that could deliver competition winning accuracy in a suppressor ready lightweight trail gun.

FINAL THOUGHTS
I liked this gun in its original stock format, however in its current format it is about as perfect a .22LR pistol as I could hope for. The accuracy was pushed to excellent along with the reliability with the Volquartsen upgrades. The trigger is amazing and gone is a sloppy trigger with a load of take up and gritty break. The bolt and magazine releases are more ergonomically prominent to the hand. If you are practicing high speed reloads the spring loaded Magazine Ejector delivers the fastest empty mag well in the industry... its just up to you to get a fresh mag reloaded.  From a positive handling perspective, I cannot recommend the extended Volquartsen magazine bases enough. A great upgrade.  The Competition Bolt is a piece of art with a finish that extends reliability and I am sure increased accuracy as well. The simple doorknob design on the back of the bolt is incredible fast to reliably use. All these upgrades have delivered what I consider to be the ultimate lightweight .22LR pistol, but most of all this is a a whole lot of fun in a small compact and light package.

SPECS
Build Cost
Volquartsen Target Frame MKIII - $466
Volquartsen Mainspring - $68
Competition Bolt Metallic Silver - $240
Ruger 22/45 LITE - $412 Street
Hogue Grip - $25
TOTAL BUILD = $1211
UPGRADES ONLY = $799

SOURCES
Volquartsen - www.volquartsen.com
Sturm & Ruger - http://www.ruger.com
Brownell's - http://www.Brownells.com

Saddleback Leather Pistol Wrap Review

Saddleback Leather Pistol Wrap Review

Before I start this article, I want to say I love really nice things and generally those things are not cheap, so the point of the article is not to brag, but to look at one of those really nice beautifully executed firearms accessories… the Saddleback Leather Pistol Wrap. My belief is that if I buy the best I can afford, it will last at least one lifetime and deliver more enjoyment to me over the long term and potentially as an heirloom item. For example, I like nylon bags for their weight and price, but nylon just does not have the feel, look, and longevity of leather. In the last decade, I have owned and worn out many nylon bags, but my Saddleback Leather Messenger still looks fabulous after a ton of abuse. Quite simply, I feel awesome when I have nice things and select leather goods are high on my list. Equally, I feel my top end custom firearms deserve better than a $9 gun bag I bought on clearance. After spending well over a grand for a custom pistol, why not invest in a $239 Saddleback Pistol Wrap for it?

On my last weekend trip as I was packing the car with my Cole Haan leather duffle and my Saddleback leather Messenger bag for a weekend trip, I began to realize a couple things. First I felt like an elitist pig loading up nearly a $1000 of leather bags. Second, I will likely be fighting the zombie apocalypse in a silk shirt, golf shorts, and Converse Jack Purcell sneakers, because as we know those expected things do not happen when convenient or as I happen to be wearing around riot gear around the house.

As a middle aged white male with a smile on my face in $80 designer Chucks, a $100 silk (or bamboo) shirt, $2000 top end watch, and carrying $1000 in leathergoods, I will likely be profiled as a non-threat and able to slip out, by or through… and I have.  I do not fit the look or profile of someone who is a risk or “tactical”. That rambling train of thought guided me to thinking that there are certainly a growing market for “premium” firearms related designer goods which are friendly to or designed for tactical use. Some of those accessories look the part and other are tastefully and stylishly covert. The genuine fleece lined Saddleback Leather Pistol Pouch is the later which protects your best firearms during any treacherous journey imaginable to and from the range, but looks like some unusual but indistinguishable leather bag. At first glance it actually looks like a top end camera case.  Inside though is pure luxury for transporting your pistol. In this case, I slide in my rather subtle Gold Titanium plated .357 Desert Eagle.

ABOUT SADDLEBACK LEATHER
If you are not familiar with Saddleback Leather then I can hopefully initiate you to the cult of owners who "get the brand". I say cult because it is like that Jeep and Harley owner thing where other Saddleback owners give you the head nod and point to your bag. I can't count how many times I have had people note my Saddleback Messenger in some airport around the US and strike up a conversation with me based only on the fact we are both carrying Saddleback products.

If you are looking for a Park Ave styled sealed and buffed leather edges, fancy zippers and little a little brass logos hanging from your bags then you probably are not going to “get Saddleback”. If you instead want the bag that not only conveys the durability but could take the actual abuse of global travel, even through the uninhabited areas, then Saddleback Leather is for you. They are not particularly light bags, however the leather is substantial bridle leather which is heavy compared to any other leather bag. Saddleback is also unique that there are no snaps or zippers to break or fail and all seams are double stitched with industrial thread to assure durability in the most extreme environments. Saddleback certainly has a rugged style to it, however these are bags you invest in once for a lifetime of hard use.

Saddleback Leather bags have that look of "so how was your trip to China and Mumbai?" early on in the company history, Dave Munson used to have videos of him traveling the world with his bags and letting crocodiles tear into the bags to prove their durability.  Dave and his team are still world travelers and the durability remains. As a long time Saddleback Messenger Bag owner, I will note that the attention to detail I see in the Saddleback Leather Pistol Pouch has improved greatly over the years with tighter and more consistent seams and higher precision edges. The durability is still there, but the fit and finish is now top notch as well.


AN INDUSTRY TREND TOWARD “PREMIUM”
This premium designer tier is nothing new in the sporting industry. After all we have Gaston Glock Style, Orvis, and Galco who have been catering to those with deep pockets that want something more exclusive than what is hanging on pegboard walls of gun shops. Gaston Glock Style offers everything from $170 reindeer gloves to spectacular handmade forged knives from World Champion Pistol shooter Dave Sevigny’s .40 Glock barrels. Orvis offers the sportsman with unlimited funds $800 fly rods and $600 hunting jackets and of course Galco offers a full line of exotic leather holsters which are likely to run as much as the custom gun inside.

Saddleback Leather is also notably shooter friendly with their offerings of this pistol wrap and rifle case with similar construction. You will also see a substantial number of customer posted pictures circulated by Saddleback featuring many of their everyday bags being used as CCW firearm carry. The Saddleback Pistol Wrap is not designed for concealed carry, but intended for transportation and protection of larger and likely more expensive and/or custom firearms. After all doesn’t your custom 1911 deserve better than a $9 nylon and foam pistol bag? The Pistol Warp delivers the wow even before you reveal the firearm, but more importantly it delivers a high degree of impact protection to the firearm within.

FIT, FEEL, FEATURES & FUNCTION
The Saddleback Pistol Wrap cocoons your pistol is genuine sheepskin which naturally wicks moisture away from your firearm. The sheepskin liner is removeable, however your firearm will still be protected with a full pigskin leather inner liner.   Saddleback designed the Pistol Wrap as an open breathable airy design to prevent moisture build up like a sealed case.

As with every Saddleback Leather product, there are no snaps or zippers to break - everything is secured with adjustable buckle straps to accommodate a variety of firearm sizes. I have slipped everything from my Desert Eagle, to my large frame revolvers, to my competition red dot equipped Glock. All fit inside the rather larger “medium” sized Pistol Wrap. The rear mounting straps can be secured to a wide variety of objects in the truck, on your pack, or even at home.

As you open the pistol wrap, there is a magazine pocket which can accommodate a couple magazines depending on the size of your mags. On the range, the wrap can be fully opened and used as a gun rug at the range to assure you beautiful firearm’s finish is not scratched by some rogue rusty nail sticking out of the bench. If you do happen to get the sheepskin liner dirty it can be easily hand-washed with just simply baby shampoo and then air dried.

Functionally I could not be happier with this pouch that I now use universally to transport all my pistols and revolvers. It looks great while delivering high grade bump and scratch protection to my best firearms during transport and on the range.

FINAL THOUGHTS
I don’t know a lot of folks who spend much more on firearms protection than whatever foam and nylon case came with the gun. Now that many of us are flying with firearms a top end flight case will easily set a shooter back well over $200. The rest of the time, our beautiful firearms do not get the attention they deserve. The Saddleback Pistol Warp definitely delivers attention. I actually had more compliments on the Pistol Wrap than the attention whoring Desert Eagle at my last range trip. The Pistol Wrap is a beautiful firearms accessory which may make you feel just a bit elitist, however take pleasure in knowing that the quality of this case will likely last the legacy of the firearms within.

SPECS
Dimensions (approximate size):
Small - $209
Exterior: 5-7” W (bottom to top) x 9” H x 1 ½” D
Interior: 4-6 ¼” W (bottom to top) x 7 ¼” H x 1 ¼” D
1.15 pounds

Medium - $239
Exterior: 5-9” W (bottom to top) x 11 ½” H x 1 ½” D
Interior: 4-8” W (bottom to top) x 9 ¾” H x 1 ¼” D
1.40 pounds

SOURCES
Saddleback Leather - http://www.saddlebackleather.com/