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New Handguns: Beretta, CZ-USA, Dan Wesson, Kahr Arms, Magnum Research

by J. Scott Rupp   |  August 16th, 2011 11
Beretta Nano 9mm

Beretta's Nano is a subcompact, super-concealable striker-fired 9mm with no external levers.

As promised, here’s a rundown of the new handguns we got a chance to see and shoot at PASA Park. I’ll start with a gun that will be gracing our December/January cover of Handguns: the Beretta Nano. It’s the latest entrant into the subcompact 9mm race—typified by such guns as the Ruger LC9, Kimber Solo et al. The striker-fired Nano is remarkable for its lack of external levers: there’s no safety, no slide stop to catch on anything. Just rack and go. I found it very controllable for a light pistol, and despite the minimal sights, I was able to run the plates well with it if I took my time. The gun will be on shelves in mid, late October and is expected to retail for around $475.

CZ-USA and Dan Wesson (which is owned by CZ-USA) had a bevy of pistols to show off. One of my favorites was the P07 Duty,

CZ-USA CZ P07 pistol

a CZ 75 variant with a green polymer frame. For some reason I’m a sucker for green pistols. I’ve owned a CZ 75 for quite a while, and it’s one of my favorite 9mms. The P07 seems to have a smaller frame, so it fits me really well, and despite the lighter weight as compared to my all-steel 75, the P07 shot great for me.

New from Dan Wesson is the ECO, which, depending on who’s doing the talking, stands for “everyday carry officer.” As the name suggests, it’s an Officer-size 1911 with a good-looking set of grips, probably from VZ. I found the frontstrap checkering a bit sharp, but then it’s an Officer so it’s going to bite a bit. Aside from looks and size, what sets the gun apart is a flat spring, one that’s rated for 15,000 rounds. It will probably sell in the $2,000 neighborhood.

CZ-USA P07 pistol profile

The P07 offers shooters the option of going with the installed decocker or switching out to the supplied safety, which our sample gun had.

More to my taste is the new Specialist, a full-size Government 1911 with an accessory rail. Similarly striking grips. No word on price, but probably in the mid to high $1,000s. With the extra weight and a superb trigger, it was easy to hit with. Both the ECO and Specialist are targeted for a first-of-year distribution.

Dan Wesson Specialist 1911 .45 ACP pistol

Dan Wesson's Specialist is a good-looking 1911 with an accessory rail and an excellent trigger.

Kahr Arms and Magnum Research Inc. (which Kahr owns) took top honors in the cool-shooting category, but it was almost cheating because MRI was showing off the new limited-run Desert Eagle made by IWI. You can read a bit more on that gun here. The one they had was in .44 Mag., and I could just shoot that thing all day. Interesting difference between the limited IWI guns and the ones built at MRI’s

Minnesota facility: the IWIs have the original two-piece barrel, whereas MRI-built guns have the gas port drilled all the way through. In a concession to modern tastes, the IWI gun has a Picatinny rail on top, which original IWI guns didn’t have.

So that was huge fun to shoot, but so was the other .44 Mag. that MRI brought: the BFR revolver. I leave it to your imagination what BFR stands for, but it’s a big, massively built 5-shot revolver available in 12 powerful chamberings. In .44 Mag. the BFR was almost a pussycat, and aside from that the most fascinating aspect was the cylinder. Spin that sucker and it would keep going like the Energizer Bunny. Some fine machining and design going on there.

Magnum Research Desert Eagle .44 Magnum pistol

For coolness and power, you just can't beat the Desert Eagle. This one's in .44 Mag.

Kahr had a number of guns there as well, including the new CM9, which Pat Sweeney is writing up for us in an upcoming

issue of Handguns. Basically it’s a PM9 that sells for about $200 less. Cost savings comes from traditional rifling on the CM9 as opposed to the polygonal rifling on the PM9. And the CM9 comes with just one magazine instead of two. It’ll sell for about $560. The DAO trigger takes a little getting used to, but once you do, wow. Super easy to hit with for a small 9mm.

Kahr Arms CM9 9mm pistol

Kahr's CM9 is a more economical version of its popular PM9. It has traditional rifling and comes with just one magazine.

 

 

  • Sarg

    What a great time to be a handgunner! So many sweet one's in the market place! I love the choices! Bring 'em on!

  • JMK

    Can you tell me how much effort it takes to pull the slide back compared to the Walther PPS? I read somwhere that it has a variable rate spring to make "racking the slide" easier.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000528608408 Nathaniel Coleman

      it only takes about .25 ponds of presser depends

  • Guest

    I hope to read a full detailed review of the Dan Wesson Specialist. I would like to know all the details of the exact specifications and how the parts are made before I even can think about buying.

  • Michael Vollmar

    I really would like to know more about the Dan Wesson Specialist. When can we expect to get a full review with detailed specifications? Hopefully before 2012 SHOT SHOW!

  • Jim

    Can you advise what would be a good choice for a novice to buy for the home ? something with a clip so It won't be loaded ? no children in home 2 adults. To protect against home invasion.
    Thanks
    Jim

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000528608408 Nathaniel Coleman

      well i would get a sk8 it is simi atomatic and can hold 20 rounds at a time but there is a extended clip that holds 40 rounds at a time

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000528608408 Nathaniel Coleman

        sorry it is a sks not a sk8

  • Mike

    Any 357 revolver is a good choice for a novice to buy for home protection. They are more reliable, easy to use and are pretty much "novice" proof. Also you can use .38 if the recoil of a .357 is too much for a beginner. Since it will not be carried look for a heavy one because again this will decrease the recoil. I would avoid semi auto's unless you want the training involved with clearing malfunctions

  • Paul

    The Desert Eagle looks almost identical to the Beretta Neos

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=724696352 Jon Robert McSpadden Jr.

    The P07 is gonna be in my safe soon!

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