It has been a really strange 1st quarter of 2019. I knew we would have some
changes but not the drastic ones I have been seeing, and I say drastic from a
gun dealer’s perspective. All thru 2017 and 2018 we had a flood of AR-15s with
manufacturers trying their best to get rid of inventory but very few were
buying, Instead people were buying semi auto handguns, mostly Glocks and 1911s.
Revolvers were dead in the water, at least standard factory revolvers. Ruger was
smart releasing their Single Sevens and such while Smith & Wesson was putting a
44 Magnum in an L frame, which was to me a bit small for a 44 Magnum. But the 44
Specials are fine in it.
As we got into late 2018 things really started to change. We have about 40 different 1911 makers in the country and they were pumping them out as quick as they could get them made. Then the things began to change even more. All of a sudden, come early 2019 the 1911s were a glut on the market. Smart manufacturers began to shift things around. Taurus was one of the first to do some drastic changing. They brought out a few more revolvers and small autos, leaving their fine 1911s behind in the dust. Just like in 2015 or so, small 9mm autos all of a sudden became the thing whereas back then it was 380 autos. Today we have small autos the size of a normal 380 chambered in 9mm. Taurus brought out one of the best selling guns of all time, the G2C in 9mm along with the new G2S with the slender grip and shape. They also put out the new Spectrum in 380 which the ladies are grabbing up as quick as they can be built. And not only were they in a perfect size but in different colors. A stroke of genius there from both Taurus and Ruger. Ruger has continued to pump out their small double action revolvers in 38 Special, 9mm and 357 Magnum. Their LCP2 has received a new burst of attention with it’s different colors. Mossberg surprised everyone with a handgun, the first one in many years. The new MC1 SC in 9mm is getting rave reviews and seems to be doing very well right out of the gate. With it’s slim dehorned design and 7 round 9mm capacity it would be hard to beat for an everyday carry gun.
Not to be outdone, Glock has their new model 43X and model 48 out that are getting a lot of attention. Both of these guns are single stack and super slim, great for daily carry. The 43X seems to be a slight bit more attention getting so far with it’s super slim design and still holding 10 rounds. Colleen bought one of the first Model 43s to hit the shelves but has been doing some serious looking at the new 43X. Just the fact that the 43X and 48 are both two toned with the normal black frame and silver slide makes them stand out a bit from the rest. Remember in the 2010 timeframe when the more rounds your pistol carried the more you could brag. Things have changed in that form too. These days those slender carry guns holding 8, 9 or 10 rounds are the in thing.
There for a good while revolvers were put on the back burner as the semi autos were the main sellers. With every free state having concealed carry permits available the small semi autos were the main sellers, so the big revolvers were few and far between. These days that is changing a bit. Smith & Wesson has announced that they are bringing back their model 610 in 10mm. It uses moon clips so it fine with 40 S&W also and just like the earlier versions of the Model 610 of years ago we will be doing a lot of rechambering to the 10mm Magnum. That gives the gun 3 ways to go from mediocre power to magnum power in one gun. Built on the big N frame, the same frame the 44 Magnum is based on, we may be doing some experimenting with it chambered in our 401 GNR which is a 44 Magnum necked down to 10mm. We’ll see.
Surprisingly some companies are continuing to bring out the larger pistols. Beretta has their new 92X out on their original size large frame. It has been modified a bit but still the Model 92. The old Beretta 92 was and is a fine gun, but maybe severely outdated. I was told by a distributor that Beretta had a warehouse full of Model 92 pistols in various shapes thinking the military would renew their contract with them. When the military said no thanks Beretta had to do some quick thinking, and that gave birth to some slightly different model 92s. The model 92 is still a fine gun no matter what.
To get back to the original topic, 1911s have been recently a glut on the market, just as the AR-15s were 2 years ago. We recently bought out 2 1911 companies so we are now manufacturing our own 1911s. But with the glut I have decided to ease back on many of our 1911 series and focus a bit more on our hunting revolvers. Our Howdah series is doing extremely well, both our own standard size frame and the stretch frame. The handgun hunters are coming out of the woodwork again and the demand for a good strong revolver for handgun hunting is stronger than ever. We have several new series of revolvers coming out and are reviving some older cartridges like 25-20, 256 Winchester, 32-20, 38-40 and several more. We will continue with our larger big game cartridges but we also have some smaller cartridges in our line up of proprietary cartridges. We now have almost 70 of our own cartridges and quite a few are smaller calibers. I am still working with Sean Harper our ballistician, to get the new cartridges tested and the ballistics down on paper so we can get our 3rd loading manual to the printer. We are slowly bringing back a few of our cowboy revolvers that had been so so with the slow decline of the cowboy action shooting game. We are planning to do some very high quality specialty handguns in the near future, like the new full color cased Dan Wesson 41 GNR we just premiered.
Our custom lever actions are doing very well and we hope to expand our line up of these. Marlin has noticed the demand for larger calibers in lever guns and has recently brought back the 444 Marlin in the 1895 series. Our custom lever guns in 410 GNR, 41 GNR, 429 GNR and the new 500 S&W are doing very well and we hope to expand these calibers in some special series.
We will still build our custom 1911s when we get orders for them and will try to come out with new 1911 series but we plan to also revive our revolver line up at the same time.
For you black powder freaks the EMF guns have for many years been the Cadillac of black powder revolvers. They still are and have now been bought out by Pietta. Personally I don’t think Pietta is quite as good in quality as EMF but they have been more into quantity than quality. Maybe now the EMF guns and tooling etc will bring Pietta’s quality up.
A few things in ammo these days. The new Hornady 6.5 PRC is soundly kicking the 6.5 Creedmore’s butt. It took Ammunition of the Year at the SHOT show. Not being a 6.5 Creedmore fan this makes me happy. The Creedmore is a decent cartridge but it is not the best thing since a Saturday night roll in the hay. Hornady’s new 6.5 PRC is a much better cartridge in every way and I wish Steve and the folks at Hornady the best.
The 22 Magnum is one of my favorite cartridges and I was pleased to see that Norma has a new 22 Magnum cartridge. Norma has been one of the premiere ammo companies for many years and their reputation is solid. This new 22 Magnum round should be another fine one from them. It is a 40 grain hollow point bullet right at 1900 fps. Even with the hollow point it is designed for deep penetration in varmints. And Norma has a reputation for keeping the price tag reasonable.
The company GECO has long been known for unusual but excellent ammunition. They have a couple of new 9mm rounds coming out. One is the GECO Red Zone which is a 124 grain bullet at 1150 fps. It is designed for short barreled carry guns and designed to give optimum performance in a short barrel. Even at extreme close range encounters it gives 12” of penetration. The other one is the Action Extreme which is sort of a copy of Lee Jurras’ old Super Vel ammo. It is a 108 grain bullet that is loaded to optimize performance again in short barreled 9mm handguns. GECO has always been some extremely well made ammo and this should be no different.
CCI has some new 22 LR ammo out designed reduce copper and lead fouling in barrels. It is a 40 grain polymer bullet designed for accuracy and also to cut lead build up in suppressors. There are 2 versions of this new round. Both are named Clean 22. One is sub sonic for suppressors and the other is High Velocity for hunting and target shooting.
For the last couple of years Alliant Powders like Unique, Bullseye, 2400, and quite a few more have been extremely hard to find. Mainly as they wanted to do their own distributing and only a couple of distributors in the country had it. Now Alliant has signed with Hodgdon to have them distribute all the Alliant powders. This makes Hodgdon the largest powder distributors in the world. They now distribute Winchester powders, IMR powders, Pyrodex, Triple Seven, Goex Black Powder Hodgdon Powders and now Alliant powders.
Over the next couple of weeks I will be working with Colleen for her next African hunt April 20 thru April 30 in South Africa. She has hopes of a big Cape Buffalo with her 458 that I built her several years ago. She also has her mind on a couple of larger plains game animals. She is taking 12 hunters over with her, including a couple of husband and wife hunters. I am tentatively planning my next Africa hunt in 2020 and have several people already on my list of hunters.
Our next HHC, Handgun Hunters Challenge is set for Oct 3 thru 6 and the camp holds 55 to 60 hunters. Already several have signed up for it. I will be telling you more about this one as soon as Colleen’s African hunt is history.
That is going to do it for this time, the next time you go out shooting, take a youngster or lady with you. They are our future.