Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Walther PPQ M2 9mm Pistol Review - This is My Ultimate Factory 9mm Pistol

Walther PPQ M2 9mm Pistol Review - This is My Ultimate Factory 9mm Pistol

Without question I love my Glocks, my G19, G26, and G17. In fact my $1500 Salient Glock 17 is my personal favorite pistol of any I own, however that is custom and far from something you can walk in and buy for under $600. All the custom elements I love about my Salient Glock 17 and the functional attributes of the Glock are all integrated in the Walther PPQ 9mm.
In the past decade, Walther has jumped from a waning brand with quality problems to delivering extremely high value premium quality firearms. The new Walther has indeed dramatically changed what the company has been delivering with very cutting edge designs. I have been personally very impressed with the PPK re-due in .22LR,  PPX and the PPQ now available in a variety of defensive calibers as well as a terrific .22LR version for training, plinking, and small game hunting. Today we are discussing the gloriously fabulous PPQ M2 9mm.

I like many handguns, love Glocks, but for the money, the off the shelf PPQ M2 is hard to beat. First is comfort and probably the biggest point. It as if Walther snuck into my house at night, took an imprint of my hand, and then went and made a gun around that imprint. Beyond the sublime fit, the gun points perfectly.  An old fitment trick for pistols is to pick a point, such as a light switch, close your eyes and point at that point with your finger. Nine times out of ten your index finger will be pointing at the fixed point as you open your eyes. A pistol which fits you perfectly will deliver on this same trick, but with the sights perfectly aligned as you open your eyes. The PPQ provides this level of fit for me and thus is extremely fast on target for me even without using sights.  Glocks do this for me and so does the PPQ.

Functionally the PPQ operates exactly like any Glock which is to say that it is void of any external safeties. All the safeties are internal which is exactly the way I like my pistols. In my opinion the last thing you need is a safety to worry about disengaging in a stressful situation. Just like any revolver, I want to just concentrate on pulling the trigger and hearing a bang from my gun.

Beyond the allure of Bond and appearing recently in several of the new 24 TV series shows, the PPQ M2 delivers a lot of custom features including light rail, front and rear cocking serrations, two drop safies plus a firing pin safety,  low profile three dot sights, and a Tenifer finished slide.  Unlike my Glocks, Walther departed from the traditional block square design with a full contoured frame and slide.  All these elements increase the concealment and in the pants comfort of the pistol in addition to looking really very cool.

The PPQ M2 also features ergonomics that work for me with the hog leg bend at the base of the grip, comfortable yet aggressive grip pattern as well as front fingerguard grip. The angled hog leg grip is for me an important point for several reasons including ergonomic comfort and concealment while carrying. Back when I reviewed the Walther PPX I was a little shocked how the butt of the unique Walther grip greatly reduced printing and increased concealment.

The slide release is extended and easy to hit as well as being ambidextrous, the magazine release is reversible and easy to hit for small hands like mine without the obligatory minor hand reposition during the reload to hit the mag release.

And then there is the 5.6lb trigger. There has not been a shooter I know who has not been shocked at the short crisp trigger of the PPQ M2. The trigger is freaking awesome, short .4" travel, crisp break, .1" reset, and in many ways very similar in feel to the Walther PPX, however better than the initial prototypes I had shot from Walther prior to release. Honestly it rivals the Salient and ZEV competition match triggers for Glock shooters. The trigger also allows the match grade barrel to stack rounds on targets.

Despite the full sized look of the PPQ M2, it is actually roughly the same size as your standard Glock 19. Yeah, I know its a bit of an optical illusion like one of those 3D pictures you had to stare at for a while. It was a bit of a magical moment when I placed the PPQ M2 on my Glock 19 and witnessed that they were the same basic size. The compact size would explain why I enjoy carrying the gun so much. Its that great carryable size with a full sized handgun feel.

The Walther PPQ features a match grade barrel which delivers excellent out of the box accuracy. In my case,  Hornady 9mm TAP ammo delivered some impressive groups around 1" at the 25-yard line. During a little screwing around shooting golf balls at 25-50 yards, I was very impressed that off the sandbags, I was still connecting with the golf balls off the sandbags with less expensive Winchester and Federal FMJ rounds.

I had zero functional issues with any ammo fed through the gun from reloads to the premium rounds tested from Hornady, Federal, & Winchester.

So for around $550 you can own a gun which will give nearly any competition gun a run for the money with features which are difficult to match in this price range of gun.  The only complaints I have are that the magazine well need a little more flaring for competition folks and that magazines run at the $40-$45 range on the street which seems high when many other comparible firearm magazines are in the $30 range. I would have also like to see Walther stuff one more round in the magazine given its ¼” extra length over a Glock G19 magazine, however on the other hand, I do not dislocate my thumb putting in the last 15th round in the magazine.  I attached a Universal Clipdraw on the side of the pistol and carry it everywhere without the need for a holster. Great gun… thanks Walther for sneaking in my house to get the hand print.

.22 L.R.
Barrel Length:
Trigger Pull:
5.6 lbs
DA: 11.0 lbs / SA: 4.0 lbs
15 rnds
10 rnds
Overall Length:

(empty mag):
1.5 lbs
1.1 lbs

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Burris Timberline 4.5-14x32 Scope Review

Burris Timberline 4.5-14x32 Scope Review

During my Ruger 10/22 Sporter Redue build, I used the newer Burris Timberline 4.5-14x32 scope and since, have been extremely impressed with what it has delivered.  This build was pure and simply a trick shot betting machine to take money from friends, family, and acquaintances and it works wonderfully. Part of that subdued look is the compact Timberline scope which delivers big advantages is a very small package.

Burris’s new $300 street ($415 MSRP) priced 1”-tubed Timberline 4.5-14x32 scope looks the part of a 10/22 sized optic, but with very clear optics and all the capabilities and features of a full sized optic. The Timberline is sized nearly identical to your standard 3-9 power .22 rated scope that rides on most 10/22s, however it is far from a budget optic and is a fully recoil-proof rated scope for any caliber. Beyond the double-spring tensioned reticle and repeatable steel-on-steel clicks for windage and elevation adjustment, and multi-coated and indexed lenses, the Timberline had several other features which I find critical on a 10/22 when shooting for accuracy.  

The Burris Timberline features a parallax adjustment from a stunningly short 7 yards to infinity to eliminate parallax error which increases the closer the target is. At 7-yards parallax error can be significant. The scope features a wide and higher 4.5-14 magnification range than your average 3-9 power optic to improve precision a bit, and a Ballistic reticle which allows you to establish known aiming points with your ammo of choice.  Need to kill a fly swarming the target at 10-yards and then hit a 12-gauge hull at 100-yards? No problem this optic has the flexibility and clarity to get the job done with ease.

Previously I had a full sized Burris MilDot FullField optic and it performed marvelously, however it looked gigantic on the 10/22. The Timberline also features up to 5" of eye relief to keep the riflescope well away from your eye no matter what hard kicking load you use.

This is not a shortcut optic on budgets, but a smaller and more compact high end optic. The price of an optic increases exponentially as the size of the glass increases, so with the smaller size, Burris was able to keep the price down and still deliver premium clairt which includes top grade optical glass with index-matched HiLume lens multicoatings.

If you are building a precision 10/22, which still provides low enough power for moving criters, this is a great optic option.  Because the Burris Timberline 4.5-14x32 is fully rated for high recoil calibers, it would be a great addition to something like a lightweight 308 build as well.  Excellent optic which has more than paid for itself.

Model: 4.5-14-32
Field of View (Feet@100 Yards) Low - High: 17-6.3
Exit Pupil (mm) Low - High: 7.1-2.3
Click Value (Inch@100yards): .125
Max Adj. (Inch@100yards): 30
Weight (Ounces): 15
Main Tube Diameter: 1 in.
$279-$300 Street Price

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Bond Arms .45ACP Backup Review

Bond Arms .45ACP Backup Review

Many of Bond Arms’ law enforcement community were asking for a very compact backup Bond Arms Double barrel handgun in .45 ACP as a last ditch backup gun which packed enough punch to actually stop an attacker. The were also asking for something a little less shiny as well. The result was the very short .45ACP chambered Bond Arms "Backup" which features a crinkled flat black finish and bead blast barrel finish. Historically all of Bond Arms double barrel handguns have been stainless and pretty much all looked the same with the exception of barrel length and grip type. The Backup definitely stands out from their regular line up.  Knowing that the .45ACP in a short 2.5” barrel would not be a plinker, I also ordered a 4.25" .357 Magnum barrel to swap out for a bit more ammo versatility for more play time at the range.

As noted in my Bond Arms factory tour article, one of THE features of the Bond Arms handguns is that any barrel length and caliber offered by Bond Arms can be swapped out with any Bond Arms frame and vise-versa. Gordon went a step further and created sets of various grips and grip sizes. All the Bond grips can be swapped between the frames. Technically, all the Bond Arms frames are the same, some models feature different finishes or have a removable trigger guard, so if you have a Bond barrel, it will fit on any Bond lower receiver. Honestly it is dizzing to think of all the combinations, however in this case the Backup is a standard Bond Arms receiver with a black a crinkle finish and removable trigger guard and rubber grip.  The finish looks great with both the flat bead blast barrel finish and the standard brushed barrels finishes was shown on the longer .357 Magnum barrel.

Obviously the very short 2.5” barreled Backup is designed for one purpose, to deliver a last ditch option when the primary firearm is inaccessible or inoperable. To keep the Backup as low profile and compact as possible, the barrel has been bead blast finished and the receiver is flat black crinkle finished. The Rubber grips are kept compact and provide a surprising amount of grip for tiny little grips, however they deliver a lot of control for this powerful little package.

I did actually work through 20 rounds each of full power Hornday TAP 200gr XTP and 185gr FTX ammo and I am surprised to say, it was not that bad. I noticed the recoil, however it was far less than I had imagined it would be. Having shot a competing DoubleTap pistol in .45ACP which felt like it broke my hand, the Bond Arms Backup .45ACP was a cake walk.

According to Gordon Bond, many law enforcement wanted a backup pistol to tuck in their pocket or under their body armor. The Backup fits that need perfectly.

Just like any of Bond Arms handguns the operation and loading is simple. Push down on the left hand side action lever and the action will pop open, drop in two rounds, close the action, assure the safety is pushed to the right (fire), cock the hammer and pull the trigger to fire the first round, and cock the hammer and pull the trigger to fire the second round. Bond Arms feature and automatic firing pin selector which automatically moves to the next barrel with each cocking of the hammer. Is it as fast as pulling the trigger twice on your Glock? No, however it is surprisingly fast and if you have been brushing up on your Cowboy Action Single Action Revolver skills, its quite fast.

There are not target pistols, they are very short barreled defensive pistols, so you cannot hold them to the same accuracy standards. Realistically beyond ten yards, I had a difficult time maintaining 2” top barrel and bottom barrel groups. Of note, there is difference in point-of-aim between the top barrel and bottom barrel, however if you hold center of mass you will consistently deliver gut and chest hits. If you want to shoot for groups, pick a barrel and cycle through shooting groups with that chosen barrel, otherwise you will end up with a 2” top group and about 4”-6” lower another 2” group with the respective barrels.

Naturally the longer the barrels the better the practical accuracy.  The long .357 Magnum barrel was delivering 50-yard offhand shots on full sized Action Target Silhouettes and keeping most shots within a large pie plate sized ring. The .45 ACP was a little harder to control and aim with that short little barrel.

Technically I thought I was a little nuts buying such a short little handgun in .45ACP however the Bond Arms has enough mass to not make shooting the thing terribly unpleasant. Where the longer and heavier 4.25” barrels provide all day plinking and shooting comfort, the 2.5” was very snappy but controllable. My biggest observation was that due to the extreme short length, support hand fingers could potentially end up in front of the barrel. This is really not a two handed gun anyway and is not designed for that hold. If you have to use this gun, it will likely be single handed during a struggle.

Moving over to the .357 Magnum, I had a blast mainly because I was able to shoot my cheap cast bullet reloads. I also tried out some of Hornday’s new 90gr .38 Special FTX Critical Defense Lite with the “Pink” Label. For the highly recoil sensitive shooters this was a joy to shoot, however stepping up to full power .357 Magnum loads was still enjoyable to shoot. In reality the Bond Arms frame with a longer barrel is actually heavier than your typical airweight revolver which translates into less recoil.  The .357 Magnum barrel I have been having a lot of fun with.

The Bond Arms have proven to be infallibly reliable and easy to shoot. Add in a premium quality not found on most guns these days and you have a tough to beat firearm. Sure, on almost any given day, I have a Walther PPS, Glock 26, 19, or 17 on my hip, however there are times and places where having a tiny little concealable gun with full bore power is the only carry option. Although I initially picked up the Backup as a fun gun to add to the arsenal, I do find myself carrying it more often than I had imagined, all while feeling well armed.

Bond Arms .45ACP Backup
Interchangeable Barrels
Rebounding Hammer
Retracting Firing Pins
Crossbolt Safety
Spring-Loaded Cammed Locking Lever (for a tighter barrel/frame fit and Rapid loading and unloading)
Stainless Steel with Matte Finish and black crinkle powder coat
Trigger guard
18-19 oz
Rubber grips
2.5″ barrel, .45ACP (included on gun)
MSRP $410

Optional Accessory Barrels Available in Matte Finish (please specify matte finish when ordering)
.357 MAG/.38 Spl
.45 Colt, Only (not .410)
.40 S&W

Added .357 Magnum in Standard finish 4.25” for testing.

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Bond Arms -