Gratuitous Gun Pic: CZ 75B (9mm and .40 S&W)

Despite my aversion to double-action 9mm pistols, I’ve always had a soft spot for the CZ 75:


Made by the fine Ceska Zbrojovka Company in the Czech Republic, the CZ 75 is probably one of the most respected DA pistols ever made.  Reliable to a ridiculous degree, I think it was prevented from beating out the Browning High Power as the world’s most popular 9mm pistol only because Czechoslovakia had the misfortune to be once part of the Evil Empire, and as such it was difficult to export the guns to the Running Dogs of the Capitalist West.  To add to the irony, the CZ 75’s action is based on that of the High Power, so the design is as sound as a bell.

CZ is such a damn good company in so many respects, they put most American gun companies to shame.  For starters, their marketing is excellent—there are as many variants of the CZ 75 as you could wish for.  Their advertising is likewise great (check out their website for an example of how a gun company should advertise their product line, with great pictures and feature-rich product data).

And they are accurate.  It should be remembered that I am, in all honesty, no better than a “competent” shooter with a handgun, but I can shoot the CZ 75B well enough to impress even serious shooters.  Oh, and one more thing:  take a CZ 75B out of your gun bag at the range, and nobody will ever look down on your choice.

Here’s the best part, however.  For what you get, the CZ pistols are great value for the money.  You can get a new CZ 75B for less than $650.  For that price, you may have to spend another $90 on a trigger job — like all DA pistols, the pull is not always to the individual’s liking — but then again, it may suit you fine.

As I always say:  IF I were in the market for a 9mm pistol, and IF I didn’t prefer single-action (e.g. Browning P35 High Power) over double action, I’d already have a CZ 75B.  And all that said, I’m still tempted.  Maybe a stainless model?  I don’t have one of those

Gratuitous Gun Pic: Colt Combat Commander (.45 ACP)

Here’s the gun with which I learned to shoot the .45 ACP cartridge:  the Colt Combat Commander Model 70:

Now I’ve said a lot of bad things about Colt (the company) before, but I have to tell you, my Commander was an absolute joy to shoot, and I never had to do anything to improve it.  What’s more, it loaded, fired and ejected every possible type of .45 ACP I ever put into it, and within the confines of the shorter 4” barrel, it was as accurate as I could shoot it — which, I have to tell you, wasn’t saying much.  In those days, I had no patience, and every handgun shooting session seemed to involve shooting a box of ammo as quickly as possible, then heading off to the rifle range lanes to do the serious stuff, i.e. trying to get five rounds of .308 through a single hole with my Israeli Mauser.

It seemed pointless to me to spend a lot of time at the range trying to coax tiny groups out of a 4” barrel, when most self-defense situations involve distances of less than seven yards and shooting fewer than five rounds — when pin-point accuracy is largely irrelevant, really, as long as all the holes are in a sideplate-sized hole in the center of the target.

But to return to the old days:  after shooting off my first thousand rounds of .45 ACP, I could handle the Commander in my sleep, and saw no reason to spend more time than I needed “to keep my eye in”.  Ah, the silliness of youth…

To a certain degree, I still have some of that cavalier attitude towards large-caliber handgun shooting, and most especially with a carry gun.  Now, though, that’s confined to my backup S&W 637;  the 1911, however, always gets a thorough workout.

And here’s the scoop:  the smaller 1911 frames like the Combat Commander are a perfect compromise between stopping-power and concealability — for a man.  I think that women need something which either tames recoil better (i.e. a larger-frame pistol) or else should shoot a cartridge which has less recoil to start off with.  Or both.  Like this shiny Combat Commander in 9mm:

And yes, I know there are women who compete in IPSC and all that jive, using full-frame 1911s to shoot .45 ACP.  (David also killed Goliath — but that’s not the way to bet.)  The stainless Commander fits every bill for the ladies, I think.

As for me:  would I use a Commander for my carry piece nowadays?  In a heartbeat.

Gratuitous Gun Pic: Beretta BM62 (7.62x51mm NATO)

After WWII came to an end, the Italians needed a locally-made self-loading rifle for their Army, and rather than reinvent the wheel, Beretta simply took the excellent Garand design, modified it to take a removable 20-round magazine (as opposed to the top-loading 8-round en bloc clip of the Garand), gave it a select-fire (full auto) switch, and called it the Beretta BM59. The BM59 was Italy’s battle rifle until 1986, when it was replaced with a poodleshooter-type “assault rifle”, the AR-70 in 5.56mm NATO.

Shortly afterwards, the semi-auto-only civilian version (BM62) was released, with a 19” barrel, and would still be an excellent choice as a citizen’s battle rifle.

Here’s a close-up of the action:


Unfortunately, not many of these beautiful rifles were made, so their prices are typically in the nosebleed range, generally well over $2,500. As with so many rifles of the post-WWII era, it’s just a case of there being more buyers than rifles, so if you find one and really want it, you just have to grin and bear it grimace and sacrifice the kids’ college fund.

Speaking personally, I would rather have one of these than an M14 of the same era—in fact, I would rather have one of these than an M1 Garand, come to think of it. The design is robust and reliable, the caliber excellent (and recoil more manageable than that of the .30-06), and the mag capacity quite acceptable.

Gratuitous Gun Pic: Carbine Problem Solved

From Reader Brad_In_IL comes this excellent rant / exposition:

Kim,
I’m certain that you recall my pistol-caliber carbine dilemma from a few months ago.

Well, I thought about all the comments, tightened my belt, increased my budget and purchased the Ruger PC-9 carbine.  It’s a fun little rifle, I can shoot it reasonably well and it shares magazines with Ruger’s SR9 series pistols.  For your Readers who are Fanbois of Glock 17/19:  the carbine ships with interchangeable magazine well inserts allowing it to alternatively run Glock double-stack magazines.  Changing to the Glock mag insert takes but a few minutes.
And:  Ruger also made the bolt face removable.  In the future, if they want to produce variants in .40 S&W or say .45ACP, new bolt face, new barrel, additional mag well inserts, new recoil spring in the blowback system, and VOILA !!!  New Rifle !!!  Can you tell I’m sold on the concept?  Thought so.  And how does it shoot?  Off-hand at 25 yards, if I do my part reasonably well, it patterns to minute-of-fist with junky “range grade” practice ammo.

Here in IL, the inmates are most decidedly running the asylum. As the progressive political winds of doom grow stronger and the political clouds of doom darken to the point of sack-cloth (re: miserable rich-boi fat-fuck toilet-yanking, property tax avoiding, never-worked-a-day-in-his-life JB Pritzker),  I decided the time for a carry piece as a companion to the Ruger rifle was to be the order of the day.  Remember from above I mentioned about the carbine sharing magazines?  I contacted a buddy of mine with an FFL and procured Ruger’s SR9c compact, giving me…

…wait for it…

[drum roll]

a Gratuitous Gun PAIR !!!

So today I give you the modern version of the paired carbine & pistol, sharing not only ammo, but also sharing magazines. Think of it as the modern incarnation of the Old West cowhand who carried a lever-rifle and revolver chambered for the same ammo.

Also:

A few days ago you put up a post about being angry, and that we’d get more of Classic Kim.  Angry?  Am I angry with how IL is quickly degrading to be almost Kommiefornia?  You bet your pasty-white conservative South African ass I’m angry.  The Dem-progs here in ILL-Annoy are driving a once-good state, The Land of Lincoln, down the shit-hole.  Those feckless moronic mouth-breathing pension-hoarding troglodytes can suck my gunsmoke all day long, and double on Sunday.
Now… time for me to get BUSY.  I’ve got two stripped AR lower receivers sitting on the shelf doing me no good.  Time to begin my first AR build, because AR rifles cause the Progs here and everywhere to get a crippling case of the vapors, and because a hearty FUCK YOU to the dem-prog hoplophobes in Springfield, Cook County, Deerfield, Highland Park, Aurora and elsewhere.  Buggering sods.
Gah.  I need a drink.  Now, where did I leave my heirloom rye whiskey?

Now that, my friends, is how to deal with living in a GFW location, i.e. which is not part of the United States — other than leaving it, which I’m constantly nagging Brad to do.  And that, too, is a fine rant.  (The “miserable rich-boi fat-fuck toilet-yanking, property tax avoiding, never-worked-a-day-in-his-life”  appellation is worth the price of admission alone.)

And allow me to be the first to congratulate Brad on his gunny activities.  That matched pair is a joy to behold.

Final thought:  Is it my imagination, or are Ruger products starting to become more-imaginatively (i.e. better) designed?

Gratuitous Gun Pic: FN-FAL

So now that the Gummint has admitted that small-caliber guns are not “military” equipment, I think it’s time to look at a couple decent “civilian” rifles, which I will do here, and again over the next few days or so.

Everyone has written or is writing about the Usual Suspects (AR-15, AK-47 etc.), so I’ll look at what I think are viable alternatives.

Here, for example, is the SA-58 line in the manly 7.62x52mm NATO caliber from DSArms:

This should trigger all sorts of memories among men Of A Certain Age who served with it as the FN-FAL in various European armies during the mid-20th century period.  As the L1A1 it was the rifle of choice in the British and Commonwealth armies and as the R1, it was the standard-issue rifle during my time in the Seffrican Army (SADF). While my particular rifle was an absolute pig (shot-out barrel and a quirky mag release, to name but two “features”), that shouldn’t prevent anyone from getting one now.

And any gun designed by Dieudonné Saive (he of the improved Browning High Power design) should always be afforded a respectful hearing.

The biggest knock against the FN was its unreliability in dusty conditions (it’s the main reason the Israelis dumped it in favor of the Galil), although it should be said that later versions performed much better in this regard.  (For an overview of the FN-FAL, go here.)

As far as I’m concerned, its main problem is its weight — as I recall, mine (with a 21″ barrel, don’t ask) weighed in at just under 6kg (13lbs) unloaded — but I see that DSA has got their modern version down to a far more manageable 8.25lbs, which is good news.

You can get it still lighter with some versions, but then the lighter frame doesn’t handle the 7.62’s recoil as well.  Newton will not be denied.  Here’s what we’re talking about:


I’m not a big fan of the collapsible (“paratrooper”) stock, but I will grant that this feature allows for easier storage and carrying.  You may want to invest in a shoulder pad, however, if you’re going to have an extended range session with this puppy.

The FN-FAL doesn’t compete with the AR-15 much, because it’s more of a rifle for wide-open spaces, as opposed to short-range urban activities where it’s disadvantaged compared to its smaller counterparts.  I do think, though, that it’s a better rifle than Stoner’s AR-10 because it handles recoil better.

The only thing you need to know about the SA-58 is that it’s based on the “metric dimension” of the Steyr version, so it can’t use parts from “inch-dimensioned” variants common in the U.S. and Canada.

Would I take an SA-58 today over an AR-15?  If it was the shorter-barreled Combat Tactical Carbine (CTC) version, in a heartbeat.  (And I should also note that it’s a bear to make the basic FN tacti-cool, but the CTC makes it easy.)

Would I take an SA-58 over an AK47?  Probably not — unless I was facing the prospect of open-country (ergo longer-range) shooting.  Then, I believe the 7.62x51mm cartridge is a much better choice than the shorter 7.62x39mm, and I’d forego the CTC for the 18″-barreled fixed-stock option, and just pump iron for a few weeks first so I could handle the extra weight [sigh].

As always, comments are welcome.