Whether you’re looking for a full-size handgun to take to a competition or one for everyday carry, there are many makes and models to choose from for every shooter.
From classic 1911-style pistols to reliable wheelgun designs, these four selections show off some of the newest engineering and design features on the market.
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Read on to see what’s new!
Ruger GP100 Match Champion
In 2014, Ruger introduced a special version of its double-action GP100 .357 Magnum revolver called the Match Champion. Unlike the standard GP100, it had a half-lug ejector rod shroud, a slab-sided barrel, Hogue walnut target grips and a fixed Novak rear sight combined with a fiber-optic front sight. Like previous GP100 revolvers, this edition is fashioned from stainless steel with a satin finish. A new variation of the six-shot GP100 Match Champion is now being produced. It has all the essential features of its older sibling, but the Novak rear sight, mounted in a dovetail on the topstrap, has been replaced by a standard Ruger-designed fully adjustable rear sight. To me, this sight will add versatility to this revolver, allowing the shooter to sight-in the revolver in for specific .357 Magnum or .38 Special loads. (ruger.com)
EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer
To say there is a plethora of 1911 pistols on the market is an understatement, but for a truly unique 1911 there’s European American Armory (EAA). The company’s Witness Elite 1911 Polymer model from Tanfoglio, as the name implies, has a polymer frame that decreases the weight of this full-sized, 5-inch-barreled 1911 from 38 ounces to 32 ounces. Better yet, the lightweight frame is the same size as found on any other steel or alloy-framed 1911. Steel action inserts are embedded in the frame and it has polymer grip panels, a flat mainspring housing, plus an extended beavertail grip safety. Other features include a Commander-style hammer, an ambidextrous safety, an accessory rail, fixed sights and a non-reflective matte black finish. (eaacorp.com; 321-639-4842)
Bersa Thunder 9 Pro XT
I’ve had a lot of experience over the years with the Argentine-made Bersa pistols, and I can tell you that they are quality products that are both accurate and reliable. For 2015, Bersa is introducing the Thunder 9 Pro XT. Like the other pistols in the Thunder Pro series, the 9mm XT is a traditional double-action/single-action pistol with an exposed hammer and ambidextrous safety, slide and magazine releases. The blue steel slide rides on a satin-finished, high-strength aluminum alloy receiver. Conceived as a sport shooter’s handgun, it has a longer than usual 4.96-inch barrel and a fully adjustable rear sight, along with a fiber-optic front sight. The dust cover of the frame has no accessory rail, but is serrated just above the forward end of the triggerguard to provide a resting place for the trigger finger. The checkered polymer grip and grip frame are ergonomically designed for comfort and to provide control during rapid-fire shooting. (bersa.com; 732-493-0333)
Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Performance Center Ported
A multi-role pistol that could function in many environments, the M&P 40 Performance Center Ported is, as the name implies, a ported barrel/slide pistol chambered in .40 S&W. The ports help tame recoil and reduce muzzle flip for rapid-fire controllability and quick sight acquisition between shots. The dot-type rear sight and front sight blade both ride high on the slide so that they can co-witness with an optical reflex sight. This pistol is means competition-optics ready and will fit several such sights. Other features include an adjustable trigger stop, three interchangeable enhanced palmswell grip sizes, plus an enhanced trigger with a Performance Center sear. This is a striker-fired pistol with no manual safety, but it does have internal safety systems to prevent an accidental discharge. The stainless steel slide has a durable satin black, corrosion-resistant finish and the frame is polymer. The dust cover features an integral accessory rail. (smith-wesson.com; 800-331-0852)