Several new compact and subcompact handguns have been introduced this year. Some were long awaited, like the Glock 42 pocket pistol chambered in .380 ACP.
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Others were completely unexpected, like the Taurus Model 85 View, the smallest .38 Special revolver on the market and the first ever to have a transparent polycarbonate side plate exposing the gun’s inner workings.
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Others are virtual resurrections of handguns from the distant past, like the early 20th century Remington Model 51 redesigned for the 21st century and chambered in 9mm. But most are the latest variations of guns we know and have come to respect.
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Here are the most interesting and important new concealed-carry guns of the year from companies like Colt, Springfield, Glock, Para USA, Ruger, Smith & Wesson and more.
Arne Boberg has already established himself as an innovator with the Boberg XR9-S and XR9-L, but now he has gone one step beyond innovator to illusionist. What you see is not another 9mm version but the first Boberg chambered in .45 ACP. And at the moment, it assumes the position as the smallest .45 auto on the market. Boberg’s subcompact models put down a smaller footprint than semi-autos with comparable barrel lengths and calibers without compromising power, accuracy or creating a firearm that has harsher recoil. All Boberg models use a variation of Browning’s 1897 patent for the rotating barrel system, but the Boberg’s real secret is the magazine—it loads rounds from the back, nose forward, angled down, and the magazine sits under the barrel rather than behind it! Check out the video below for an animated look at this function in Boberg’s XR9.
Boberg XR9 Animation
When the Boberg is fired, the next cartridge is drawn from the rear of the magazine and brought up to the level of the rotating barrel and then inserted straight into the chamber by the slide. This design eliminates the need for a feed ramp and allows a longer barrel in a smaller frame and slide, essentially a barrel that is greater in length but equal in proportion to the length of the cartridge and feed ramp. On average, a Boberg barrel is more than 1 inch longer than a comparably sized subcompact pistol. The new XR45-S measures 5.73 inches in overall length with a 3.75-inch progressively rifled barrel, 4.4 inches in height and just over 1 inch in width. Capacity is 6+1 with a carry weight of 21.5 ounces (empty).
- World’s Smallest Semi-Auto .45 ACP
- O.A.L. 5.73″, Barrel 3.75″, Width 1.080″
- 6+1 Capacity, Rated for +P Ammunition
- Extremely Accurate
- Precision Manufactured in the USA
For more information on the Boberg XR45-S, visit bobergarms.com or call 651-287-0617.
Colt Model 1911 Wiley Clapp Special Edition
For the last three years Colt has had a series of Wiley Clapp-designed 1911s. The first was a Commander model with his unique recommended changes: a checkered frontstrap, undercut triggerguard, Novak Low Mount sights with a brass bead on the front sight, fitted beavertail safety and early (short) Colt 1911-style thumb safety. These same modifications were done to produce the Wiley Clapp Government Model, and now for 2014 Colt has introduced the Commanding Officer’s slide version. This unique model has an Officer’s size frame (0.75 inches shorter so it does not protrude from the holster) combined with the undercut triggerguard, Novak sights with the brass bead front, checkered frontstrap and rounded butt with a checkered flat mainspring housing, all done for Colt by Pete Single. What this model offers is the shorter grip frame of the Officer’s model combined with the 4.25-inch barrel and slide from the Commander to provide a longer sight radius with a more compact build for concealed carry.
- Series 70 Firing System
- Lightweight Aluminum Alloy Frame
- Original 1911 Small Safety Lock
- Front and Rear Slide Serrations
- Long Black Trigger
- Flat Smith and Alexander checkered Mainspring Housing
- Colt Beavertail Grip Safety
- Novak Wide Notch Rear Sight
- Novak Brass Bead Front Sight
- Tactical Oval grips with fingerprint checkering
- Pete Single 25 lpi checkered front strap
- Special Serial Number
For more information on the Colt Model 1911 Wiley Clapp Special Edition, visit colt.com or call 800-241-2485.
Colt Mustang XSP First Edition
Traditional to Colt, anytime the company develops a uniquely new revolver or semi-auto, a select number (in this case 1,000) of guns are reserved as “first edition” models because so many people collect Colts. The new XSP is the polymer-frame tactical version of the legendary Colt Mustang Pocketlite .380. For 2014, the first 1,000 serial numbers have been reserved for this series. The gun will be the same construction as a standard XSP but will be machine engraved (not roll marked or laser engraved) with the model name, Colt logo and “Rampant Colt” on the left side of the slide. “First Edition” and the “Rampant Colt” will appear on the right side of the slide.
The XSP sports a modern polymer frame, a bold, squared-off triggerguard, a larger grip profile, an integrated accessory rail under the dust cover, aggressive rough-textured checkering on the front and backstraps, and an undercut triggerguard to allow a little extra frontstrap surface for your hand. The XSP also has a dovetailed (and replaceable) blade front sight that is easier to acquire than the original Mustang front sight. With a 2.75-inch barrel, a compact length of 5.5 inches, a height of 3.98 inches and a new lighter carry weight of 11.8 ounces (empty), you have a new breed of Mustang for the 21st century.
- High Profile Sights
- Commander Style Hammer
- Solid Aluminum Trigger
- Lowered Ejection Port
- Stainless Steel Slide
- 2 ¾” Barrel Length
- .380 Auto, 6 Round Magazine Capacity
For more information on the Colt Mustang XSP First Edition, visit colt.com or call 800-241-2485.
The new Glock 42 in .380 ACP is the smallest Glock pistol ever, making it ideal for pocket carry and other deep concealment carry methods. The famed Austrian armsmaker has actually been manufacturing a .380 model for years (the 10+1 capacity Glock 28), but that gun has only been available to the law enforcement community in the U.S. The new Glock 42 is a smaller gun than the Glock 28, and it essentially establishes a new category for Glock with the smallest frame, slide and barrel length available. With the continuing popularity of the .380 ACP for personal defense use, this new pistol is a very welcome addition and not just another take on earlier designs.
Offering all of Glock’s latest advances in manufacturing and design, this is a slim-frame pistol that is easier to carry concealed with a width of just 0.94 inches. The small frame .380 will also comfortably fit smaller hands, yet it is substantial enough for almost anyone. Additionally, the Glock 42 employs a dual recoil spring unique to the model that reduces both felt recoil and muzzle rise to a level comparable to a .32 ACP! The Glock 42 has a 3.25 inch cold-hammer-forged barrel and, unlike the usual unlocked blowback designs used in most .380 pocket models, the Glock fires with the barrel and slide locked. The sights are excellent, the slide locks back after the last round, and it handles like every other Glock, and so familiarity with the gun’s operation is intuitive. The Glock 42 measures 5.94 inches in overall length, 4.13 inches in height, weighs 13.76 ounces (empty), and has a capacity of 6+1. With a standard trigger pull of 5.5 pounds and ultra-compact dimensions, this is one new pocket pistol that we can all agree was long overdue!
- Caliber/System: .380/Safe Action
- Weight (Unloaded): 390 g / 13.76 oz
- Weight (Loaded): 407 g / 14.36 oz.
- Trigger Pull: 25 N / 5.5 lbs.
- Trigger Travel: 12.5 mm / 0.49 in.
- Barrel Rifling: Right Hand, Hexagonal
- Length of Twist: 250 mm / 9.84 in.
- Magazine Capacity (rounds): 6
- Length: 151 mm / 5.94 in.
- Width: 24 mm / 0.94 in.
- Length Between Sights: 125 mm / 4.92 in.
- Height: 105 mm / 4.13 in.
- Slide Width: 21 mm / 0.83 in.
- Barrel Length: 82.5 mm / 3.25 in.
For more information on the Glock 42, visit glock.com or call 770-432-1202.
Para LDA Officer Crimson Trace
Para USA is among a handful of America’s leading custom builders of 1911 platforms, and the guns that come from the company’s North Carolina factory are all handcrafted and designed for specific end-user requirements. Because of this, there are numerous shot-barrel/short-slide variations in the Para USA line, with one of the most recent being the latest version of the LDA (Light Double Action), a 1911-style .45 with a hammerless DAO action. There are two .45 ACP versions, the LDA Carry with a 3-inch barrel and LDA Officer with 3.5-inch barrel. Both offer the advantages of carrying with the confidence of a DAO trigger and loaded chamber. The LDA Officer Crimson Trace comes with laser grips, a forged stainless slide and frame that are black IonBond coated, a fiber-optic front sight and low-profile rear sights, an extended beavertail safety and thumb safety, as well as a skeletonized trigger. The LDA Officer Crimson Trace is available in .45 ACP and 9mm models, both with 9-round magazines.
- 9 MM
- 3.5” Stainless Steel Match-Grade Ramped Barrel
- 2-Dot Rear, Fiber Optic Front Sight
- Stainless Frame & Slide
- Beavertail Grip Safety
- Full Length 1-Piece Guide Rod
- Oversized, Flared Ejection Port
- Ionbond Finish
- VZ Machined G10 Grips
- Two 9-Round Magazines
For more information on the Para LDA Officer Crimson Trace, visit para-usa.com or call 888-999-9386.
Remington 1911 R1 Carry Commander Crimson Trace
The Remington heritage of building its version of the Colt Model 1911 dates back almost 100 years to World War I when Remington UMC produced over 21,500 guns under government contact between 1918 and 1919. The latest R1 Carry Commander (4.5-inch barrel) is a handcrafted model with an oversized, flared ejection port, a full carry melt on the entire forged carbon steel frame, a forged carbon steel slide, a Novak tritium front sight and a Novak low profile rear. The R1 Carry Commander also features an extended beavertail grip safety and ambidextrous thumb safeties, an adjustable skeletonized trigger as well as 25-lpi checkering on the frontstrap, grip safety and flat mainspring housing. The R1 Carry Commander has a durable black oxide finish and comes with Crimson Trace Master Series G10 Lasergrips. The pistol is available with either 7- or 8-round magazine capacity.
- Order No.: 96356
- Caliber: 45 Auto
- Magazine Capacity: (1) 7 Round (1) 8 Round
- Barrel: 4.25″ Stainless
- Twist – 1 turn in: 1-16 LH
- Overall Length: 7.5″
- Overall Height: 5.5″
- Trigger Pull: 3.5 -5 lbs.
- Finish: Satin Black Oxide
- Grips: Crimson Trace
- Avg. Wt. (oz.): 40
For more information on the Remington 1911 R1 Carry Commander Crimson Trace, visit remington.com or call 800-243-9700.
If there is something oddly familiar about the new R51, it should be no surprise. The basic design dates back to the early 20th century and the Remington Model 51. Although the original Model 51, built from around 1918 to 1927, was a small-caliber pistol chambered in .32 ACP and .380 ACP, the new 21st century R51 version is chambered in 9mm. The R51 is retro in appearance but right in step with the latest 9mm +P semi-autos on the market. Built with an aluminum alloy frame and stainless steel slide, the gun is a modern version of the original John Pedersen design scaled up to handle 9mm and provide all the modern features demanded by today’s shooters, including ambidextrous magazine releases and a grip safety to eliminate the need for a manually operated safety lever or integral blade-type trigger safety.
Features on the R51 include a modern version of the Pedersen block design to absorb recoil energy, rounded edges for ease of carry and retro Model 51 styling, all combined with an undercut triggerguard, interchangeable grips, drift adjustable front and rear sights (and an optional Crimson Trace Laserguard version), low-resistance slide effort for easier chambering and clearing of the gun, and a light trigger pull. The R51 measures just 6 inches in length with a 3.4-inch barrel, a weight of 22 ounces (empty) and 7+1 capacity.
For more information on the Remington R51, visit remington.com or call 800-243-9700.
Ruger has introduced another version of its popular LCR revolver—the LCRx. The newest variation of the revolutionary Lightweight Compact Revolver is chambered in .38 Special +P and features an external hammer that allows it to be fired in single-action mode. “Since its introduction in 2009, the LCR has become extremely popular with concealed-carry customers seeking the simplicity of a revolver,” said Chris Killoy, Ruger’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Customers have been asking for a traditional double-action (DA) version of the LCR with an external hammer for optional single-action (SA) shooting. We were listening and have added a crisp single-action mode to the already smooth double-action LCR,” he concluded.
Read about the Top 10 Ruger LCRx features on Tactical-Life.com!
The newest LCR maintains all the features of the critically acclaimed original LCR. Its double-action-only (DAO) trigger pull is uniquely engineered with a patented Ruger friction-reducing cam fire control system. The trigger pull force on the LCR builds gradually and peaks later in the trigger stroke, resulting in a trigger pull that feels much lighter than it actually is. This results in more controllable DA shooting. The addition of the LCRx with an exposed hammer now adds the option of cocking the gun for an even smoother SA shot.
- Model Number: 5430
- Caliber: 38 Spl +P
- Finish: Matte Black, Synergistic Hard Coat
- Front Sight: Replaceable, Pinned Ramp
- Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
- Barrel Length: 1.875″
- Height: 4.50″
- Weight: 13.50 oz.
- Twist: 1:16″ RH
- MA Approved & Certified: No
- Grip: Hogue Tamer Monogrip
- Rear Sight: U-Notch Integral
- Cylinder Finish: Ionbond Diamondblack
- Overall Length: 6.50″
- Width: 1.28″
- Capacity: 5
- Grooves: 6
- CA Approved: No
For more information on the Ruger LCRx, visit ruger.com.
Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380
Smith & Wesson has added a new version of the Bodyguard .380 for 2014 in the M&P series, combining popular M&P characteristics with existing Bodyguard features without the integral laser from the original Bodyguard design. The new M&P version is a uniquely engineered, lightweight self-defense pistol that is compact, sleek and ergonomic. The M&P pistol benefits from new fish-scale serrations on the rear of the slide for ease of use. The new model comes with two 6-round magazines (finger groove and flat buttplate). Chambered for .380 ACP, the lightweight DAO subcompact pistol features a high-strength polymer frame with a black Maximum Corrosion Resistant (MCR) coated stainless steel slide and barrel. The new M&P model is standard with a 2.75-inch barrel, which contributes to an overall length of 5.25 inches and an unloaded weight of only 12 ounces. The M&P Bodyguard 380 is furnished without a laser sight and is instead standard with stainless steel, drift-adjustable sights. Additional standard features include a rapid second-strike capability, an ergonomic grip, external takedown lever and slide stop, and a manual thumb safety.
- SKU: 109381
- Model: BODYGUARD 380
- Caliber: .380 Auto
- Capacity: 6+1 Rounds
- Barrel Length: 2.75″ / 7.0 cm
- Frame Size: Frame Size: Compact
- Action: Double Action Only (Hammer Fired)
- Front Sight: Stainless Steel Drift Adjustable
- Rear Sight: Stainless Steel Drift Adjustable
- Grip: Polymer
- Overall Length: 5.25″ / 13.3 cm
- Weight: 12 oz / 340.2 g
- Frame Material: Polymer
- Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
- Slide Material: Stainless Steel
- Finish: Matte Black
- Purpose: Personal Protection, Professional / Duty
For more information on the Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380, visit smith-wesson.com or call 800-331-0852.
Smith & Wesson Performance Center 686
The new Smith & Wesson Performance Center 686 is a classic, time-tested revolver with popular self-defense features made possible by the master gunsmiths in the famed Smith & Wesson Performance Center. Manufactured as a high-end personal-protection revolver, the Performance Center 686 is a seven-shot .357 Magnum revolver with a 2.5-inch barrel that features an un-fluted stainless steel cylinder. The revolver has a stainless steel frame, custom wood grips, adjustable rear sights and a red ramp front sight. With an overall length of 7.5 inches and an unloaded weight of 34.6 ounces, this seven-shot revolver is easily concealed until needed. The Performance Center 686 also features a glass bead finish, a chrome trigger with a stop, a chrome teardrop hammer, a precision crowned barrel, a cylinder cut for moon clips, and a Performance Center hand-tuned action.
- Model: 686
- Caliber: .357 Magnum / .38 S&W Special
- Capacity: 7 Rounds
- Action: Single/Double Action
- Barrel Length: 2.5” (6.4 cm)
- Front Sight: Red Ramp
- Rear Sight: Adjustable
- Grip: Custom Wood
- Weight: 34.6 oz. (980.9 g)
- Overall Length: 7.5” (19.1 cm)
- Frame Material: Stainless Steel
- Cylinder Material: Stainless Steel
- Finish: Glass Bead
- Purpose: Protection
For more information on the Smith & Wesson Performance Center 686, visit smith-wesson.com or call 800-331-0852.
Springfield XDS-9 4.0
When it comes to concealed carry, size truly matters, and what usually have to be sacrificed are capacity, handling, accuracy and caliber. Aside from capacity, the XDS-45 and XDS-9 give up none of these and actually offer some features rarely found in this category. All XDS semi-autos have not one but two external safety mechanisms: Springfield’s Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) toggle trigger combined with a secondary 1911-type grip safety. Another advantage is that XDS models will discharge a chambered round with the magazine removed. These are all pluses, and with the addition of the 4.0 you gain a longer sight radius and increased muzzle velocity with a barrel that is 0.7 inches longer without significantly increasing weight (just 2 ounces more). Maintaining the same short grip as the 3.3 models, the design of the subcompact 4.0 semi-autos is about more than size reduction. It is about building a pistol strong enough to handle modern personal defense and law enforcement ammunition, yet remain both controllable and accurate, two of the most commonly compromised features in scaling down large-caliber pistols.
While maintaining a reasonable 7+1 capacity, the XDS-9 4.0 offer excellent weight and balance and reduced felt recoil, with less muzzle rise than one might expect from a lightweight, short-barreled handgun. The 4.0 is more manageable and quicker to get back on target, quicker in fact than many larger and heavier 9mm subcompacts. All XDS models use a striker-fired system, which Springfield Armory has fine-tuned to reduce trigger take-up and provide a short reset. Including engaging the blade trigger safety, there is about 0.5 inches of travel, and the trigger pull remains crisp and consistent with every shot requiring a nominal 6.8 pounds on average.
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 7+1 rds, 9+1 rds w/X-Tension
- Weight: 25 oz. w/Empty Mag
- Length: 7″
- Height: 4.4″
- Grip Width: .9″
- Barrel: 4.0″ steel, Melonite, Fully Supported Ramp
- Slide: Forged Steel
- Frame: Polymer
- Sights: Fiber Optic Front and Dovetail Rear (Steel)
- Trigger Pull: 5.5 to 7.7 pounds
- Magazines: 1 Stainless Steel Flush Fitting & 1 Full Size w/XD-S Gear Mag X-Tension
For more information on the Springfield XDS-9 4.0, visit springfield-armory.com or call 800-680-6866.
Taurus 85 View
Pardon the pun, but one of the advantages of this innovative, ultra-compact .38 Special revolver is very clear—you can see through it! Although based on the earlier Taurus Model 85, the View is smaller with a re-contoured grip, a scant 1.41-inch barrel (steel barrel inside a titanium shroud), and a polycarbonate side plate on the right side of the frame revealing all of the internal works. It used to be this was what would be done for display guns, but Taurus wanted to give owners something unique and interesting. It isn’t often we see exactly how a revolver functions, and with the View you can see almost all the moving parts in action.
Taurus has tested the design by putting 2,500 rounds through it, and the polycarbonate side plate stands up to use the same as the rest of the aluminum alloy frame. As a pocket pistol, the View has some impressive stats: a length of 5 inches, a height of 3.5 inches and a width with cylinder of just 1.35 inches. The gun weighs a mere 9 ounces empty, and with the uniquely shaped and canted grip and shaved hammer is less likely to print through a pocket than any other .38 revolver ever made. The five-round cylinder and barrel shroud, which has an integral front sight, are made from titanium. And despite its remarkably compact size, the gun is easy to handle with a double-action-only (DAO) trigger and short, stainless steel ejector rod designed to dislodge even stubborn spent cases. For more information, visit taurususa.com or call 800-327-3776.
- Model: 85VTA
- Finish: Colored Aluminum
- Status: Available
- Caliber: .38 Special
- UPC: 7-25327-61132-5
- Capacity: 5
- Weight: 9 oz
- Barrel Length: 1.41”
- Height: 3.5”
- Frame: Small
- Width: 1.35″
- Front Sight: Fixed
- Length: 5.67”
- Order #: 2-850019
For more information on the Taurus 85 View, visit taurususa.com or call 800-327-3776.
To learn more about these brand new compact and subcompact handguns for 2014, please visit the following websites:
- colt.com (Model 1911 Wiley Clapp Special Edition)
- coltsmfg.com (Mustang XSP First Edition)
- smith-wesson.com (Bodyguard 380)
- smith-wesson.com (Performance Center 686)
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