Long known for their finishes and custom work on M1911 pistol, Browning Hi-Powers and various rifles and shotguns, Robar is now offering frame replacement and full buildups for the Glock pistol, using CCF Raceframes, which come in either aluminum alloy or stainless steel. It’s the first ever offering of an all-metal Glock-style pistol.
Ruger’s venerable auto loading rifle, the Mini-14, has been duly updated with the addition of a heavier barrel, upgraded sights, and an additional chambering. Formerly available only in .223 or 7.62 x 39 (as the Mini-30), the Mini-14 is now available in 6.8mm SPC, for those who want the added power of the 6.8 in a platform other than the AR-15.
Ruger’s compact SP101 revolver also boasts an added chambering, their newly-introduced .327 Federal Magnum. Far more potent than the other .32 caliber cartridges that have historically gone into really small revolvers, the .327 Magnum is intended to combine the one-more-round-in-your-gun attributes of the .32 (six rounds, as opposed to five with a .38 or .357) with ballistics more comparable to the .357 Magnum than the .32 S&W. Only time will tell if it’ll grab hold, but it on paper it’s very promising.
Also intended for the concealed-carry market is their Lightweight Compact Pistol (LCP) double-action .380. Built on a polymer frame and weighing just over 9 ounces, it should be a handy pocket pistol for those times when a heavier-caliber pistol wouldn’t be appropriate. For those times when bigger is better, though, Ruger’s newly-introduced striker-fired SR9 puts 17 rounds of 9mm into a slim, ergonomic package, and comes in a series of combinations of either a black or OD polymer frame, and a slide that’s either black or brushed stainless.
SIG built its reputation on service pistols; serious working guns that worked all the time. As needs have changed, so have service pistols, and one of the most-commonly-desired features on a weapon issued to people of different shapes and sizes is some degree of modularity. While most pistols only offer interchangeable back straps or grips to adjust size and shape of the frame, SIG has gone above and beyond with their P250, which has a metal frame and firing mechanism that drop into any three different sizes of grip frames (full-size, compact, and subcompact) to be sized for small, medium or large hands. Slide are available in the same range of full-size, compact and subcompact, and you’ve got your choice of 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP. Everything interchanges, and since the frame/fire control module is the serial numbered part, it’s all considered one gun. I haven’t done the math, but you literally have dozens of options.
Several of SIG’s pistols—such as the .45 ACP 220, the .40 P226, and the .22 Mosquito are now available with extended, threaded barrels to accept sound suppressors, and, in the case of the P220 Combat, higher sights that can be seen over the “can.” With the increased popularity of silencers in the civilian market, a pistol that’s factory-ready saves the cost of modifying it after purchase. And in addition to their popular downsized .22 LR Mosquito, SIG has also just announced .22 LR conversions for three of their service pistols, the P220, P226, and P229. Although aftermarket conversions have long been available for virtually every other service pistol—including the M1911, Glock, Beretta, CZ75, and Browning HP—to date there hasn’t been one for SIG’s double action autos.
Their 1911 line has been expanded, with the introduction of the Platinum Elite guns, and SIG’s 556 assault rifle continues to evolve: a gas-piston operated .223 derived from their 550, it takes AR mags and comes in the lightweight ER version, the longer-barreled DMR version intended for designated marksman chores, and several other variants.
Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson’s Military & Police line continues to expand, with the introduction of a compact .45 ACP variant of the striker-fired polymer service pistol. Already available in full-sized 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP versions and a compact 9mm, the compact .45 M&P holds 2 fewer rounds, and substitutes a 4” barrel in place of the full-sized gun’s 4.5” tube. The Midsize (think M1911 “Commander”) M&P .45 combines the full-sized grip of the M&P with the shorter slide and barrel of the compact model. All of the M&Ps are available in either black or dark earth, and with or without frame-mounted thumb safeties.
The M&P line also includes three new variants of Smith’s AR-based MP15 rifle. All three come with 16” barrels with 1/9 twists; the MP15X and OR models have six-position CAR-15 style buttstocks, while the FT model has the stock fixed in place to make it legal in several states in which it would be otherwise restricted.
In addition to their “Pro” series, which amalgamates some of the Performance Center features with otherwise production guns, Smith has also introduced a 6-gun line of Scandium-framed revolvers as their “Night Guard” line. While night sights are now expected on a defensive autopistol, they’re still relatively rare on sixguns, although no less necessary; the Night Guard pistols, however, come from the factory with three-dot tritium night sights. Offered in matte black, they’re available in .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, and .45 ACP, and with cylinder capacities ranging from five to eight rounds.
Springfield’s alloy-framed EMP compact M1911 was introduced last year in 9mm, to great fanfare (it was the NRA’s Handgun of the Year). This year brings the introduction of a steel-framed version chambered for the more-potent .40 S&W. While little M1911’s have been with us for 30 years, and M1911’s in smaller calibers have been around for much longer, the M1911 platform doesn’t usually do particularly well with shorter cartridges such as the 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 GAP. Because of the length of the action and the depth of the magazine well front-to-back, the longer rounds such as the .45 ACP, 10mm Auto, and .38 Super simply work better. In designing the EMP, however, Springfield narrowed the frame window to the proper length for shorter cartridges, so there’s no extra room for the rounds to slop around during the feeding process. Not only does it increase the reliability potential, it also makes the pistol much smaller and easier to handle for those with smaller hands. It’s one of the smallest M1911 variants ever made.
Sun Devil Manufacturing
Until recently a relatively-unknown OEM manufacturer, the Mesa, Arizona-based Sun Devil debuted a 6.5” barreled AR-15 built on their own receiver, which is machined from billet aluminum. Chambered in .223, and classified as a Short-Barreled Rifle, the truncated SD-15 Entry Gun is a formidable weapon for home (or even vehicle) defense, and features a unique gas system designed to circumvent the usual function problems that come with short-barreled AR’s. Look for an optional gas piston variant in the near future. Longer-barreled models are also available, for those who cannot legally own Class III weapons.
Robar Long known for their finishes and custom work on M1911 pistol, Browning Hi-Powers…
by Jeremy Clough / Mar 5, 2008