Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ruger .308 Gunsite Scout Rifle Redue

Ruger .308 Gunsite Scout Rifle Redue

The Ruger Gunsite was specifically designed around Cooper's concept of a Scout Rifle by some of his closest friends at Gunsite and Ruger. The Ruger Gunsite features bulletproof reliability, good usable accuracy, and provides for various magazine capacities. The rifle does all this while delivering the common sense scout rifle design elements that make it handy and user friendly. If you were only going to own one bolt action rifle, the Ruger Gunsite Scout should be it.
This collaboration produced a great version of the Cooper Scout rifle which matches up well to his original guidelines. My version lacked a few tweaks after the initial review period to make it fit the scouting purpose. It needed a great sling, a sensible optic to extend the capable range of the gun, a better muzzle brake, improved shooter comfort, better trigger, and smaller polymer magazines with full capacity. For the extras, I fired up the world wide interweb and headed over to Brownells.com… becuase, ya know they everything.

CARRYOVER UPGRADES
In my original review of the Ruger Gunsite Scout rifle I featured a Hi-Lux 2-7 scope and Andy's Leather Rhodesian Scout sling.
An Andy’s Leather Rhodesian Scout Sling was carried over in the redue. I personally consider one of the finest leather slings you can put on a rifle. Think of it as the offspring of a National match and easily useable field sling. Technically it is the closest sling you will get to a Cooper recommended Ching Sling without adding extra swivel studs and a triple sling mount. It is a beautiful sling and has delivered everything I could possibly ask for from a sling supported shooting position. It does take a little practice to figure it out, however once you are locked in, you see the advantages downrange want this on every rifle you own.
Ruger provided a forward mounted Picatinny rail for mounting the long-eye-relief optics as Cooper suggested.  I topped the original build with a Hi-Lux/Leatherwood's LER (Long-Eye Relief) variable power 2-7 Scout Rifle scope exactly where Cooper intended; way out in front of the bolt. Of note the Hi-Lux Scout Rifle scope was designed specifically for the Ruger Gunsite rifle and delivers a 308 tuned BDC reticle which aligns to a 200-yard zero with 300, 400, 500, and 600 yard aiming points and a breadth of magnification from 2-7x for very close and longer range targets. I have really grown to love the very often underestimated Hi-Lux optics performance. Hi-Lux’s clarity is excellent and as equipped, matches almost perfectly to Cooper's specs. Most importantly, the Leatherwood Hi-Lux 2-7 LER delivers the much needed magnification for eyes which need a little clarity boost.
CHEEK PAD
After a few months of shooting, I noticed that I was adjusting a my cheek position up when behind the scope and not just dropping naturally in behind it. A quick test is to close your eyes and shoulder the rifle naturally. If you open your eyes and the scope is centered then you are golden, otherwise you need to make some adjustments to the height of your stock comb or the scope ring height. 
I needed about a ¼” rise to get my eye where it should be. The scope was as about as low as it could go so the only thing to do was add a simple cheek pad to bring my eye up about 1/4" off the stock. There are a variety of cheek pad options, however I choose the very simple $35 option direct from Hornady. Brownells was out of stock and nice enough to point me over to a Hornady branded version in stock direct from Hornady.com. Actually its my understanding Hornady brands the Blackhawk Urban Warfare IVS Performance Ventilating Cheek Pad, however it has a Hornady logo, so as far as I am concerned its a Hornady Cheek Rest.
The pad may look like its just a velcro attached cheek rest, however there is a stunning level of adjustment capabilities and features on this pad far beyond what the photo was showing. I was actually really surprised at the immense flexibility. The underside is a velcro field which is then covered with another fabric velcro field backer to protect the gun finish and lock all the adjustment tabs in. This simple system allows complete control of where you want all the securing tabs to be placed. If you need a bit more height you can easily secure a piece of thin foam within the underside Velcro cocoon. My experience has been that once the pad is properly adjusted, the pad is not going anywhere.  Attached to the right hand side is a pocket for things like small range tools and firearms cards and a 5-round ammo holder which I have found quite handy. I had thought the cheek rest was all made from ballistic nylon from the pictures, however it instead features a comfy suede-like cheek cover. The most important aspect of the cheek pad is that it bumped up my natural sight line about ¼” so that my eye is naturally aligned to the scope when shouldering the rifle. The end result is that I can find my target quicker and shoot faster which are all great things in a scout rifle. A simple $35 fix that made a world of difference and added some handy onboard storage.
BARREL FREE-FLOATING
My original Ruger Gunsite scout had questionable barrel floating. Yeah, yeah... Ruger said they addressed it, however mine was not passing the free-float paper test by a long shot. 30 minutes later after a little sanding with sandpaper wrapped around a dowel rod and I had a barrel which was without argument free-floated. I did see more consistent groups after reassembly and testing so it was worth the trouble.
MORE MAGS
The factory steel Ruger Gunsite Magazines are well made and reliable, but a bit bulky and expensive considering other options on the market. I am not sure everyone knows that Ruger choose to use an AICS compatible magazine which is the same magazine used on most “bottom metal equipped” short action .308 Remington style sniper systems. There are now a ton of companies who make magazines such as MDT, Alpha, AICS, and even now Magpul. I have had good luck with all the AICS magazines I have tested in the Ruger Scout, however my two favorites are Alpha Mags and Ruger polymer magazines. Both of these magazines deliver a full ten rounds, but they are double stack magazines which means they are about an inch shorter than the factory magazines. Less bulk is a great thing. The Alpha Mags are definitely the best and highest quality magazines out there for AICS compatible firearms, however they $62 each. The Ruger Polymer Scout mags deliver the same functionality but sell for around $30 on Brownells and are available in 3, 5 and 10-round options.  I added a 5 and 10 round mag to my cart and continued shopping.  The 5-round magazine pictured provides a hunting legal magazine capacity (see your local laws) and is very trim. The 3-round version is almost flush fit.
MUZZLE BRAKE
The factory flash hider is this goofy looking thing which seems to me to do an OK job at controlling flash but very little to tame the recoil.  If you are really going to shoot the Scout and train with it, you owe it to yourself to swap over to something that will cut down a little of the recoil. Most would agree that there are fancier brakes on the market, but very few that offer more than a $59 Miculek compensator in the way of actual performance. The simple look of the Miculek comp fits the style of the Scout and delivers a substantially softer shooting Ruger Scout rifle that you want to shoot all day long.  The Miculek comp is a small priced upgrade that really makes a substantial difference to shooter comfort after a few magazines downrange.
TRIGGER UPGRADE
The last upgrade I added to the cart was a new Timney Ruger MKII trigger. This trigger is usually an easy upgrade for most other Ruger MKII format rifles, however not so much for the Gunsite Scout rifle. It was a far more involved install than I had imagined, but when it was done… WOW!  
The old trigger assembly was removed and replaced with the Timney Ruger MKII trigger and fit into the action just as it should. Then the fitting started. The safety tung has to be fitted and matched to your safety lever. This is something that is done usually by hand at the factory or by a competent gunsmith, but in this case it was a slow tuning process of using a file to hand fit the safety tung. Once I had a tight safety throw that will did not allow the gun to fire, I moved on to fitting the different shaped and wider Timney trigger into the Gunsite stock. This required a significant bit of Dremel work on the trigger guard and stock. After the final fitting and reassembly, the trigger feel was drastically improved. Another benefit is that the Timney trigger is adjustable from 1.5 lb-3 lbs. I will note that unless you have done this type of hand fitting upgrade before, I would strongly recommend turning the process over to a gunsmith as you could end up with a rifle which is unsafe.
FINAL THOUGHTS
From stock to upgraded, the Ruger Gunsite Scout Redue delivered the functionality and accuracy I was hopeful of on the factory rifle with my initial upgrades. The accuracy improving trigger and free float barrel upgrades improved 100-yard groups down to solid 1" groups from the 1.2"-1.5" groups with factory ammunition. Interestingly Hornady 178gr Match ammo delivered a few groups just under the 1" mark pretty consistently. Despite the extra barrel free-floating work and hours on the Timney trigger install, the 20%-30% group reduction sizes tell the story that the time and expense were worth it.
The muzzle brake delivered a pretty huge recoil reduction which makes actually shooting more than a few magazines actually fun. The Ruger Polymer magazines are lighter and more compact at a price that is affordable.
SPECS
Caliber .308 Win
Cap. 10
Stock Black Laminate
Front Sight Post
Rear Sight Adjustable
Length of Pull   12.75" - 14.25"
Material Stainless Steel
Barrel  Matte Stainless 18.00"
Length 39.50" - 41.00"
Weight  7.10 lbs.
Option Right-Handed
MSRP  $1099.00

Leatherwood Hi-Lux 2-7 LER Scope - $153.99
Andy’s Leather Sling - $55
Hornady Cheek Rest - $31

Brownells Sourced Products
Timney Ruger MKII Trigger - $125
Miculek .308 Brake/Compensator - $59
Ruger Polymer Magazines - $30 each

SOURCES
Ruger - http://www.ruger.com
Hi-Lux Leatherwood - http://hi-luxoptics.com



Leupold FX-II 4x28mm Handgun Scope Review

Leupold FX-II 4x28mm Handgun Scope Review
During my review of the EXTAR AR15 format pistol, I realized that the pistol had accuracy potential far more than what people give the AR15 pistol format credit for.  The pistol deserved a fitting optic which could take advantage of the accuracy without diminishing the close range capabilities of the pistol. I chose the Leupold FX-II 4x28mm scope. This optic has just enough magnification to deliver on the potential of the AR15 pistol format with plenty of eye relief for arms length aiming.
FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES & FUNCTIONS
Leupold has a long reputation for high quality optics. For pistol optics, Leupold really only makes two models, the FX-II fixed power 4X magnification and the VX-3 variable power scope. The FX-II I tested here is a very high quality pistol optic which delivers an extremely useful 4X magnification in an optic with superb optical clarity and generous eyebox.
Handgun optics are actually subjected to higher than normal recoil due to the exponentially lower weight of the firearm and the very large rifle cartridges being shot in handguns such as the TC Contender.  I have actually shot a scoped 45-70 in a TC Contender and it definitely delivers significant recoil. Over a decade ago, some shooters actually used triple or quad rings to help distribute recoil more evenly to the scope tube and provide more rigidity. The reality is that lower quality optics just do not hold up to the punishment rifle caliber handguns dish out, however Leupold's pistol scopes are famous for their durability on these heavy recoiling pistols. Leupold obviously guarantees and warranties the scope should you ever have an issue.
The Leupold 4x FX-II pistol scope offers all the usual Leupold optic voodoo features including their Multicoat 4, Xtended Twilight Lens System, Diamondcoat II and other proprietary image, reflection, light transmission, and durability improvements. Leupold also delivers some impressive gas waterproofing which actually increases image quality as well.
The 4x FX-II features Twin Bias Spring Erector System, Super Fast-Focus Eyepiece, Lockable Fast-Focus Eyepiece, Clasic/Standard Lockable Eyepiece, Micro-Friction 1/4 MOA, and 1/4 MOA Finger Click. With a 1” 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum main tube the FX-II delivers a simple mountable scope with very common and less expensive 1” rings, though 30mm rings are much more common now.
Most people add far too much magnification on everything from handguns to rifles. The Luepold FX-II handgun scope delivers a usable magnification that is not frustrating to hold steady at arms length. Once you just up up in magnification beyond 4X in a handgun scope you can become frustrated with a reticle which keep jumping around on you unless shots are taken from an extremely stable rests. The 4X magnification on a handgun is just right and provides the precision you need to reach out beyond distances that eyesight and iron sights can deliver.
Having shot behind a number of handgun optics, the biggest challenge is having an optic which delivers a large enough eye-relief box/window. If the eye-relief box is too narrow, the shooter is constantly fighting the distance your gun is from your eye to see the full field of view and reticle. The Leupold certainly delivers a huge flexible eye-relief box which enables you to concentrate on the target and not finding the right scope mount length.
FINAL THOUGHTS
The Leupold FX-II Handgun scope delivers a proven and reliable design which is specifically built to take the increased punishment a handgun can deliver even the really big handgun rounds like 45-70 and even .308. Obviously the EXTAR 5.56 AR15 pistol didn't even phase this scope, however it did deliver a super light pistol which when equipped with a scope was more than accurate enough for varminting and plinking all the way out to the 300 yard line.
SPECS
Twin Bias Spring Erector System
Super Fast-Focus Eyepiece
Lockable Fast-Focus Eyepiece
Clasic/Standard Lockable Eyepiece
Standard Multicoat
Micro-Friction 1/4 MOA
1/4 MOA Finger Click
Proprietary Nitrogen Fill Process
One inch Maintube
6061-T6 Aircraft Quality Aluminum
Standard Power Selector
Durable Lens Cover
Factory Standard Reticles
24K Gold Ring and Medallion
Actual Magnification N/A 3.70 x
Linear Field of View (ft/100 yd) 9.00 ft N/A
Linear Field of View (m/100 m) 3.00 m N/A
Eye Relief (in) 18.00 in N/A
Eye Relief (mm) 457.00 mm N/A
Weight (oz) 7.00 oz
Weight (g) 199.00 g
Objective Clear Aperture (in) 1.10 in
Objective Clear Aperture (mm) 28.00 mm
Elevation Adjustment Range 60.00 moa
Windage Adjustment Range 60.00 moa
SOURCES

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Oakley SI Ballistic Det Cord Eyewear Review

Oakley SI Ballistic Det Cord Eyewear Review

This year at SHOT show I bumped into huge Oakley booths at the range day and at the show which showcased everything from entry safety goggles to some pretty kick ass looking safety eyewear. As we all should now know, eye-pro (eye protection) is a requirement if you are shooting or in a combat situation. In fact the number one injury that puts soldiers out of service is eye related injuries. This is one reason why the military started pushing hard that troops begin wearing ballistic rated eyewear during deployment. We have seen the market explode in the last few years with a huge variety of ballistic eyewear to address the military's need for troup eye protection which meets ballistic and optical standards of MIL PRF32432 and ANSI Z87.1 (2010) requirements. Oakley's expansive line of eyewear covers the spectrum from entry goggles, to multi-lens kits, to the rather fashionable Oakley SI Ballistic Det Cord eyewear I am testing here.

ABOUT OAKLEY STANDARD ISSUE
When we think of the name Oakley, most of us think of hard bodied Olympic snowboarders or volleyball gals with the latest style of snow goggles or sunglasses, or maybe backpacks, but most of use do not think "Military eyewear". In fact Oakley is old brand from the 1970s when they burst into the market with very unique motocross handgrip. Then came the eyewear which we all know Oakley most notably for and then followed all the other accessories and clothing the company is well known for now. The innovation continues.

Military eyewear is another market which most do not expect to see Oakley in, however they have actually been selling Oakley to the military for over 20 years. Initially the eyewear was pretty much the same models as the consumer market, however over time they became more specialized to optimize ballistic protection, comfort, and fit the special fitment requirements of the military. Although the military has not been particularly famous for style, however Oakley believes that even after meeting military guidelines that there is room for a ton of style and fashion. The SI Line (Standard Issue), is designed exclusively for government customers.

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES, & FUNCTIONS
Many will take one look at the Oakley SI Det Cord's and say they are just another nice set of Oakleys, however there is a bit more added into this line of eyewear. The legacy of top quality fit and finish in all of Oakley's 100% USA made eyewear continues with the SI Ballistic Det Cord. Yep, they are all American made eyewear in case you didn't know.

If you have not purchased a top end set of sunglasses in a while and have been living life behind cheap sunglasses, you are missing a lot... like you literally are not seeing as much. Slip on a set of Det Cord's can its like you have HD vision versus the low end eyewear you usually wear. I own a number of top tier ballistic eyewear, however I have to say that Oakley really does deliver some superbly clear lenses. The lenses are anti-fog coated to retain visibility even when you start to steam. The SI Ballistic Det Cord's do have a rather large oversized lens design, however I noticed that they deliver a much more wider unrestricted viewing window versus smaller framed eyewear. The expanded optic window was greatly appreciated once I was on the range where I realized my old ballistic eyewear was truncating some of my optical window.

Oakley has also made the SI Ballistic Det Cord's very comfortable with a rubberized "unobtainium" nose piece. The thoughtful ergonomics is also noticed once you start sticking comms in your ear. Generally most sunglasses fight your ear comms, however Oakley designed the Det Cord's to be comms compatible and also comfortable with a helmet.

The Oakley SI Ballistic Det Cord's delivers all these features while meeting ballistic standards in a design which are highly fashionable. The design is not just another top frame style range eye protection, the SI Det Cord's actually have a substantial amount of style that does not scream "hey look at me, I am tactical". If you are one of those covert types, you may want to consider the SI line as an option.

Oakley actually offers the SI Det Cord's in both a polarized semi-reflective lenses and these grey lenses. Generally I love polarized sunglasses simply because they really cut down on full sun glare, however with so many optics and electronics now polarized to deliver that same non-glar performance, you can get that polarized blackout effect in some situations where you don't want it. Tactically speaking that could be a bad thing not being able to see into a car window, or through a optic which might be polarized. I can see advantages and disadvantages of both, however this is probably the reason Oakley offers both options.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The SI Ballistic Det Cord's are packaged with a soft microfiber storage sleeve which offers some degree of protection, but will not add bulk to a pack. After seeing these at SHOT show, I wanted to get the word out on what Oakley is bringing to the market and especially since they are a 100% American made product. With most eyewear made overseas it is refreshing to see Made in USA on the inside of the stems. IF you are looking for a great set of ballistic eyewear that can deliver protection on and off the range or at all times during deployment, the SI Ballistic Det Cords are a really cool option.

SOURCES
Oakley Standard Issue - www.oakleysi.com

Friday, April 10, 2015

Six Ways to Survive your Drive to Work

Six Ways to Survive your Drive to Work
… and a new AR15 is not one of them.

When it comes to survival discussions, nearly everyone gets all excited and nerdy over the latest and greatest gadget, gizmo, and gear. I suppose it is human nature to get more excited about tools than the most important survival tool - “thinking”. Recently I was forcibly exposed to a “drivers safety” class after getting caught going far beyond the posted speed limit. Yes, I am a speeder, always have been, and without conscious thought, probably always will be; a trait I marry with another trait of extreme impatience. Though I accomplished my goal of having the ticket dismissed and a no points pulled from my license, I did actually learn a few things about surviving. Realistically the mayan, zombie, EMP, Gas Shortage, economic collapse, and alien invasion probably will not happen this year, however in the interim I need get to work. On the other hand, you are cruising down a rural road to your favorite hunting or fishing haunt and bam, then next thing you remember is waking up in a hospital. Statistically we have the highest likelihood of dying while driving.

1. Situational Awareness - Gone are the the days of Stop, Look, Listen, & Live and in is a more relevant Recognize, Understand, and Act, because after all if you see something that is not right when you are doing 90 in a 60, slamming on your brakes to look around and listen is not the best course of action.  Especially when you are talking to your wife on the the phone when the radar detector goes off while going 90 - it could happen. Distilling this down they noted that an actionable situationally aware person could avoid well over 90% of potential accidents. Included in this statistic was refraining from mentally altering legal or illegal substances.

2. Wear Your Seat Belt - Over 53% of those killed in car accidents were not wearing seatbelts. The statistics typically used are that wearing a seatbelt will increase your survivability by 45% and reduce your probably of injury by 60%. Those involved in higher speed accidents who are not wearing their seatbelts are 30 times more likely to be throw from the vehicle. Statically you don’t fair well at that point with 3 out of 4 dieing after being “thrown clear”. Having been in a few accidents, I am a seatbelt guy and based on these stats and odds I will continue to be. Airbags obviously are a lifesaver as well, however not everyone has them and alone they are not as effective as when a seatbelt is also used.

3. Close and Lock your Doors - I found little to support statically that locking your doors would decrease the probably of your doors flying open in an accident, however every source and piece of information presented to us during the class highly recommended it. I recommend it simply because it secures the vehicle and prevents anyone from walking by your car and opening a door. Logically it should also provide a barrier to potential carjackings.

4. Adjust your Head Restraint - The Insurance Institute for Highway safety notes that as many as 66% of all “severe” accidents result in a neck injury, however over 50% could be avoided by proper heat restraint adjustment. I tend to like my neck and the thing attached to it, so I take the second required to reach back and adjust my head support before backing out of the garage at 40MPH.

5. Stop Using a Cell Phone in the Car - Situational awareness was noted above, but this deserves its own special section. Why? Using a cell phone while driving is a triple manual, visual, and cognitive distraction. Mythbusters tested this and it was shown to be as bad or worse than driving drunk. Since then, a significant amount of testing has validated this great show’s data. Even worse is texting because you also have to look at the screen while using at least two thumbs for typing... so that leaves only 80% of your hands and 5% of your mind able to concentrate on not killing yourself. Accorinding to IIHS.org statistics you are four times (yes 4) more likely to be involved in an accident when using a cell phone. You have to ask yourself punk, was that call or text worth dieing for?

6.  Avoid the Four Highest Percentage Fatal Accidents - #1 Speeding, #2 Right of Way Confusion, #3 Crossing the Centerline, #4 Tailgating/Following Too Closely. Oddly enough there has a been a spike of all four of these deadly accidents with the invention of the cell phone. The distracted driver tends to do all four.

If you are going to die in a car accident, 32% of the time it involves speeding. As a State validated member of the high speed club I will admit that I have had more close calls due to going a bit fast than going slow. If you want to die, you can do it faster by Speeding.

Unless you are complete butthole behind the wheel with rage issues let the other driver pass and give yourself some working room when making turns or at crossways. The highest percent of fatalities are due to a left turn. Though less deadly than speeding, 41% of all accidents occur when someone turns left into oncoming traffic - IIHS.org. The percentage goes up if you include right turns, parking lot accidents, and other accidents. Watch your left!

If you are going to get into an accident crossing the centerline is worse than playing Russian Roulette. This accident kills 53% of the occupants on average simply because a head on collision between two 45MPH cars colliding from opposite directions is the same as a 90 MPH crash. It is deadly and then number one, two and three causes are cell phone use/texting, distracted driver, or an impaired driver.

Tailgating surprising kills more people than you would think and represents most neck injuries due to the shear number of these accidents. 23% of all accidents are tailgating related causing 5% of the fatalities of all traffic accidents. My advice is to back off a bit. You hugging their bumper will probably result in a butt whooping or at at least higher insurance rates.

Say alert my friends and survive another day going to work, to the hunt, to school, or to the range. It is surprising that its not the thing we do every day that is one of the most deadly threats we face.

Kahr CT9 Value Priced 9mm Pistol Review

Kahr CT9 Value Priced 9mm Pistol Review

About a month ago, I reviewed Kahr’s CT45 .45ACP which is essentially the identical marginally larger version of the CT9 9mm pistol here. The CT9 deserved a separate review simply because it delivers a size and shape which may be one of the best pistols for small handed shooters.

I am a fan of the Kahr pistol lines and models. Among the sea of companies who wanted to offer a pistol too, Kahr has delivered an exceptional design which is actually different and not just another functional copy with a different logo. The Kahr design basically offers all the safety benefits of the Glock pistol, minus the trigger split tongue safety, into a Kahr pistol design which has a simpler fire control mechanism. To me, the simplicity of the Kahr design is one of its primary selling points and one of the main reasons why the pistols are stone cold reliable.  I have been carrying and shooting the Kahr CM9 for almost two years and never had an issue with reliability.

The CT9 9mm is the same philosophy as the CM9 "Value Version" of the PM9. The new CT45 and CT9 models are the "Value Versions" of Kahr's high end pistol models. What a brilliant idea - Kahr asked the public, "How about we sell a less expensive version of our $600 pistols for around $390 on the street." People rejoiced, glasses were poured with fine scotch, super models posed, the iPhone 6 was released shortly after, and shooters stormed gun counters with money in hand... well some of that happened. The value line of Kahr pistols is a terrific idea and delivers a straightforward gun with proven reliability minus a few cosmetic points. Where my previously reviewed CT45 was chambered in .45 ACP, this CT9 is in a slim 8+1 capacity concealable 9mm package.

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, & FEATURES
The fit on the CT9 is the same as any of Kahr's higher end pistols I have handled and shot. Even the internals are the same as the high end models. The biggest difference between the high end and value line is the additional machine work on the slide, the higher grade surface finish on the slide, milled vs cast slide release, and the more expensive metal sights versus the polymer versions. If you want a little more contoured pistol with a bit better finish and more durable sights, the higher end models may be a better choice, however for the majority of us who just need a gun for CCW and home defense, the extra luxury is not required or needed.


Comparing even these "Value" lines to the competition, you see some huge differences. The slides and barrels for instance are machined from stainless steel instead of standard carbon ordnance grade steel. The slide release is an actual dimensionally manufactured part versus being a stamped part. The sublimely awesome trigger is actually metal versus being polymer as are the magazines. Even the recoil spring is a stainless double captive spring recoil assembly.

Like all Kahr pistols, the trigger feel is closer to a really light, smooth and crisp double action revolver than a striker fired pistol trigger. Every Kahr pistol features the same operational internal design which is a trigger cocking DAO (Double Action Only); lock breech "Browning - type" recoil lug design. Pulling the trigger disengages the passive striker block safety, finishes cocking the gun and then completes the firing cycle by releasing the spring loaded firing pin. It is an extremely safe design which in many ways works more like a revolver then a striker fired pistol. Thankfully, Kahr only offers external safeties only on a handful of models, but the vast majority of pistols in their line are free including the CT9 and void of any external safeties or magazine disconnect safeties. So yes, you can fire the gun without a magazine in the gun which is good because I consider the Magazine Safety the most retarded firearm invention ever.


Thanks to the double recoil spring assembly, the CT9 is really very easy to hand cycle and charge. One of my biggest pieces of advice to new gun buyers is to assure they can hand cycle the gun. If they cannot due to either gun ergonomics, spring tension, or hand strength, they should move on to another gun no matter how much they want that gun. In the case of the CT9, even younger and small frmed female shooters should find them extremely easy to manipulate.

Consider the price of these Value Line guns given the quality and you really start to appreciate the high quality of Kahr's value line which is better in many cases than most regular production handguns on the market.

The CT9 represents a very aggressive $390 price point. It is way down under the price of most of the used Glocks, Walthers, S&W, and H&K pistol lines and you end up with a new gun with full manufacturer warranty. Kahr is also one of the very few companies who uniquely offer only single stack magazine designs. For the less-free Americans living in communist states faced with 10-round magazine limits, the Kahr pistols make a ton of sense. The gun's design begs the question, why would you carry around an extremely large gun with a truncated capacity magazine when a slim gun would do the job.


Another benefit of Kahr's single stack design is that they are very slim and trim guns which fit the hands of gals and dude with small to medium hands. They are basically the logical common opposite of the made for giants Magnum Research Desert Eagle. If you fall into the smaller hand category, I would highly recommend Kahr pistols. In the case of the CT9, the shooter is greeted with an impressibly slim and small grip which is so slim that it actually makes you think that you are shooting a .380 chambered gun. The overall profile is a bit shorter than the CT45 and actually a little smaller than a Glock 19 profile. The Kahr grip is not particularly ergonomic in the same way as a 1911, however it somehow still delivers a comfortable grip. Kahr does a good job not going nuts with over texturing the grips and focuses on the front and back straps which provide excellent grip.

Before the Walther PPQ and H&K VP90 entered the market with jaw dropping trigger feels, I would have said that Kahr had the best trigger in any polymer pistol.  In reality, Kahr pistol's triggers still have a better smooth stacking single action feel from the beginning to the break, however the PPQ and VP90 just happen to have more crisp final break at this time.

The CT Value Series also most to traditional rifling versus the accuracy increasing hex rifling. I have shot both types of barrels and don't really see you give up much at all when it comes to a defensive pistol shot at combat distances. There is an accuracy difference, however from a defensive pistol perspective it is such a marginal difference I would not consider it a relevant point. What I would point out is that this budget pistol has the ability to consume cast bullets whereas the high end hexagonal rifled models do not have the same ammo flexibility and can only digest plated rounds due to leading issues with cast bullets on the Hex rifling.  Though the accuracy may be a bit better with the hex rifled models, you can shoot far less expensive home case lead bullets in the Value CT 45 and CT9 models for practice.

Essentially the CT9 is the same DOA (Double Action Only) Kahr design which the company designs into all its pistols. From a size perspective you basically get a compact commander DOA 1911 sized gun without any external safeties in a 8+1 magazine capacity.


FUNCTIONS & ACCURACY
I have come to expect that Kahr pistols deliver reliability on par with other more known pistol brands and this is what both the CT45 and CT9 delivered. I pushed a little over 250 rounds of various ammo from Hornady, Winchester, Federal, CCI, Wolf, Liberty Extreme Velocity, and even some handloads and I did not have any stoppages or malfunctions of any kind in either the CT45 or the CT9 with similar rounds. Functionally they are simple pistols which just freaking work.

Accuracy was pretty standard defensive grade accuracy similar to the CT45. I found the CT9 just a hair more accurate than the CT45, but not by much. Expect around 2" 10-yard unsupported groups and about the same off sandbags at 25-yards with most quality ammo. Reloads may change those groups a little or a lot. The CT9 did not seem to be as picky with my reloads, so either I did a better job with those 9mm reloads or it simply has less ammo preference to deliver still deliver good accuracy.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Generally in this price realm of sub-$400, buyers are looking at the HiPoint and KelTec lines or the questionable "import knockoff" models or used police trade ins to get into this price point. Even the Taurus lines have a tough time getting into the sub-$400 price range. I think Kahr has made a brilliant decision to offer this quality at this price.

The CT9 is a great size which is just big enough to make it fun to actually shoot at the range, but in smaller package which is an awesome carry gun size. The CT line delivers a very slim profile which makes for a mighty comfy concealed carry gun even in this full sized pistol. Shooters with mid-small sized hands such as the new female shooter market should really take a hard look at Kahr and try to overlook the pin up girl marketing of the company. In a 9mm chambered CCW gun, I think Kahr has introduced a category killer which will drive other manufacturers catch up in this value priced category.

SPECS
Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 8+1
Operation: Trigger cocking DAO; lock breech; "Browning - type" recoil lug; passive striker block; no magazine disconnect
Barrel: 3.965", conventional rifling; 1 - 10 right-hand twist
Length O/A: 6.5"
Height: 5.08"
Slide Width: 0.90"
Weight: Pistol 18.5 ounces, Magazine 2.1 ounces
Grips: Textured polymer
Sights: Drift adjustable white bar-dot combat rear sight, pinned in polymer front sight
Finish: Black polymer frame, matte stainless steel slide
Magazine: 1 - 8 rd Stainless
MSRP $449 - Street $370


SOURCES