Annually, retirees gather to fire the state mandated qualification course to ensure compliance in carry of a concealed sidearm under the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act. In our state, the course is the same as the course required for active members of service.
Under the statute, guns ‘similar’ to the firearms to be carried must be used in a demonstration of competency. In our state (and in some others) that’s taken to mean revolver and/or semi-auto. For us that’s a pair of fifty round courses – pricey in the current crazy economic environment.
I used a pair of guns from last year, still here on evaluations of their own, on loan from the manufacturers. As ammo availability had become such a mess, I was unable to get new ammo for one of the guns. Shooting that one for qualification with old ammo should suffice to end the evaluation.
The other was a matter of curiosity; could I manage a decent score with a ca-11 oz. 22 Magnum snub nose?
The auto was the Gen5 GLOCK 23. The beefy slide of the new generation 40 Auto makes it more manageable and less problematic for the arthritic shooter. The Ameriglo BOLD sights that were factory supplied are very easy to see. The Talon Grip Pro treatment I’d put on the frame helps keep the gun tightly in hand while not being so abrasive as to compromise comfort in concealed carry. It’s a compromise between the same firm’s granulate and rubber textures – and I really like it.
I backed it up with a pair of Universal Mag Carriers - Gen 2 -- from Pitbull Tactical. Practically fitting everything from a 1911 and a Shield to a double stack polymer mag, I’d seen these on Yamil Sued’s Gunstock Reviews YouTube channel and ordered a pair. This was my first outing with them and they worked like a charm.
With the proliferation of micro-compact/moderate capacity 9mm pistols, it got to be too much of a chore to find support gear. The Pitbull Tactical Universal Mag Carrier was my attempt to sort that out.
The revolver evolution was fired with the Smith & Wesson M351PD. I first reported on the pint-sized cannon here, a seven-shot .22 Magnum with a fiber optic front sight, a sub-two-inch barrel and an empty weight of 11.2 ounces with the factory lumber stocks. The frame and cylinder are aluminum alloy, the barrel is stainless steel and I added Crimson Trace Laser Grips (LG-350) to the M351PD – more for assistance with my hold than the laser aiming aspect.
Ever try to hold an eleven-ounce revolver still against a ca. 10-pound DA trigger press? It’s … interesting.
I shot CCI Maxi-Mag ammo – yes, I still had some left – and used a Galco Concealable belt holster. The CON158B is a nicely molded two-piece leather holster, contoured to the hip without molding, but detail molded in the front for appearance and security. The gun is virtually invisible under a shirt, let alone the field jacket I wore on that blustery April morning.
I figured the S&W “Kit Gun” would go the distance, but it was backed up by a S&W M351C – a “Centennial” (concealed hammer) version of the same gun. Had there been an issue, I’d have drawn the “Charlie” from the Mika Pocket Holster in the left trouser pocket and finished the string.
I needn’t have bothered; the M351PD sailed through the course and rewarded me with a (barely) 100% … came close to the edge of the ‘bottle’ with one round.
Now I know … it can be done.
With the Gen5 GLOCK 23, I contrived to shoot ‘unlocked’ one time … that’s all it takes to end up with a 98%. The center cluster of the G23’s group tore out a hand-sized hole in the center of the target. These Gen5 GLOCKs can shoot even if the elderly shooter can’t.
I found the 40 and 45 GLOCKs were always more accurate than the 9mm guns (excluding the G26 “Baby GLOCK” pistols). The Gen5 has remediated that in the 9mm versions and has lost nothing in the transition to the Forty. The characteristic Gen5 refinements include the nDLC finish, flared magazine well, enhanced GLOCK Marksman barrel and bilateral slide stop lever.
The newly outfitted, slightly larger Gen5 40-caliber gun has been reliable, quite accurate and requires only a slightly bigger holster … something that, like ammo, I did not find by the end of the evaluation.
Agencies staying with the 40 Auto and upgrading to the Generation 5 guns will be well served by the transition if my sample is representative of the line. It’s simply a great fighting pistol.
-- Rich Grassi