This past weekend I spent a few hours poking around the aisles of the Nation’s Gun Show in Chantilly, Va. It’s a good show that now occupies every square inch of the Dulles Expo Center, and I always see old friends, but I can also catch a glimpse of what’s going on out there when it comes to interest in firearms old and new.
When sizing the 1911 up against the popular polymer-frame, striker-fired semi-automatics of the day, the 1911 earns top marks in many categories, including for its trigger, its handling characteristics and its ergonomic grip and control placement. When it comes to capacity, though, the old warrior definitely trails behind double-stack designs. Still, the 1911 remains a top choice of competitive shooters, some elite military and law enforcement units, and many personal-defense practitioners. And those who stick with “Old Slabsides” have found extended 10-round magazines to be a reliable means for closing the capacity gap.
During the latter part of the 19th century, it was not uncommon for cowboys to pack both a single-action revolver and a lever-action carbine—each chambered for the same ammunition. Back then, that typically meant a rimmed cartridge such as .44-40 Win. carried on gun belts and bandoleers. It was an eminently sensible system by virtue of the fact that it simplified the user’s ammunition supply.
The few months from the end of 2017 to the beginning of 2018 could rightfully be called “Rugerpalooza,” with Ruger launching more than 40 new models of semi-automatic pistols, revolvers and rifles during that time. And it looks like the new model launches for this year are not over quite yet because, believe it or not, a few more are still on the way.
I may be dating myself to the detriment of my ongoing credibility, but I do remember the incident. No less of an authority than Maj. Gen. Julian Hatcher, editor of the prestigious American Rifleman, was commenting on a new product of a major American Arms maker. Colt Firearms had just introduced a completely new gun. As was the Colt custom, the gun was a six-shot revolver, but this one was fancy well beyond the norm. So much so that the good general wondered in print whether or not enough shooters would ever pony up $125 for a .357 Mag. revolver.