This roundup of new handguns was assembled shortly before Christmas, and you can bet my wish list grew by leaps and bounds as I worked on it. As is common most years, the new guns in this preview are typically refinements of existing models, which is a good thing because a lot of us look at Gun X and think “Boy, if they’d just add such and such, it would be perfect for me.”
Here’s a look at some of the best new handguns for 2013.
CZ 75 Compact SDP
While other offerings in CZ-USA's Custom Shop, the new CZ 75 Compact SDP is a carry gun. It’s a P-01 variant with a competition hammer, polished and tuned trigger (3.5 to four pounds single action, 7.5 to 8.2 pounds double action), and comes with tritium sights that include a Heinie Slant Pro rear.
CZ P-09 Duty
Whether you’re already a CZ fan or aren’t familiar with this Czech Republic manufacturer’s offerings, the new P-09 Duty certainly has to top your list of new guns to investigate. It’s essentially a full-size version of the P-07 Duty, and after shooting a prototype a while back, I have to say it is one of the nicest-pointing 9mms I have ever handled (it’s also available in .40). Plus, it’s got impressive firepower: 19+1 capacity with a flush-fit magazine in 9mm.
The gun also features CZ’s excellent DA/SA Omega trigger system. It comes with decockers installed, but you can convert it to a manual safety with the supplied parts. The P-09 is also supplied with three interchangeable backstraps.
Price: 9mm, $514; .40, $528
I’m a fan of the FNP platform, which I’ve always found a nice-handling DA/SA, so I’m looking forward to shooting FNH USA's new FNX-45—a major upgrade of the FNP-45 with improved ergonomics and a full complement of ambi controls: manual safety/decocker, slide stop and magazine release. Slide and 4.5-inch barrel are stainless steel, the former in either matte black or matte silver finish. The checkered polymer frame (available in either black or flat dark earth) takes interchangeable backstraps with lanyard eyelets, and it features a MIL-STD 1913 rail up front. Capacity choices are 10 or 15 rounds. There’s also a Tactical version with 5.3-inch barrel and night sights (15-round capacity only).
$824; Tactical version, $1,399
Glock is bringing out the new Glock 30S, a concealed-carry hybrid that incorporates a G36 slide on a G30 frame. It’s chambered in .45 ACP and has a 10-round capacity. It features a 3.78-inch barrel and has an overall length just shy of seven inches. Width is 1.28 inches, and height with magazine installed is 4.8 inches. The 30S weighs 2.47 pounds with magazine.
Kahr has found success with its CW and CM series of concealed-carry handguns, which feature many of the features found on the company’s famous P series but at a much lower cost. For 2013, the company continues that strategy with a CW380, an economical companion to the firm’s P380. It’s a 6+1 DAO .380 ACP with a 2.6-inch conventional barrel (as opposed to the P series’ polygonal-rifled Lothar Walther barrel).
It’s ever so slightly larger than the P380, but we’re talking hundredths of an inch with an overall length of five inches, and it’s also tenths of an ounce heavier. Aside from the barrel, the cost savings come from a pinned polymer front sight instead of steel, and it ships with just one magazine instead of two.
Magnum Research Desert Eagle .50 AE
While it’s not brand new, the Magnum Research Desert Eagle .50 Action Express with 10-inch barrel is new enough to mention. Of the Desert Eagle chamberings, the .50 AE is my favorite and frankly the one that makes the most sense to me—“sense” being a relative term because I don’t need a Desert Eagle as much as I really want one. This new barrel length makes the OAL a whopping 14.75 inches and increases the weight to four pounds 12 ounces—not quite half a pound heavier than the model with the six-inch barrel. And it’s pure Desert Eagle: rotating-head bolt single-action semiauto with fixed combat-type sights. Which means it’s pure fun to shoot.
Rock Island Armory .22 TCM Mid-Size Standard
If you haven’t heard of the .22 TCM round yet, you’re probably not alone. It’s a 9mm Luger necked down to accept .22 caliber bullets that generates 1,900 fps at the muzzle, and it made its debut in the Rock Island Armory Micro Mag—a full-size 1911 that permits switching back and forth between 9mm and .22 TCM.
Now comes the .22 TCM Mid-Size Standard, a Commander-length 1911. Unlike the Micro Mag, this is a dedicated .22 TCM and doesn’t come with a 9mm conversion kit. It has 8+1 capacity and weighs just shy of 4.5 pounds. The slide is Parkerized, and the grips are polymer. Sights are low-profile and snag-free.
Rock Island Armory Tactical VZ 2011
Talk about your yin and yang: Rock Island Armory’s other new pistols are a pair of 10mms: the Tactical II and the Tactical VZ 2011. They’re both 1911s with 8+1 capacity, five-inch barrels, Parkerized slides, VZ grips and an empty weight of 2.5 pounds. Sights on both include a fiber-optic front and an adjustable, low-profile rear. The only difference is the Tactical VZ 2011 features an accessory rail.
Ruger’s latest concealed carry offering, the LC380, is built off the company’s LC9 and features a light recoil spring which allows the slide to be easily manipulated, making it one of the lightest recoiling pistol in the Ruger family. The LC380 is also dovetailed with a 3-dot sight system, plus a loaded chamber indicator just in front of the rear sights.
Based on Ruger’s popular SR9 series, the brand new Ruger SR45 is chambered in .45 ACP and comes with two 10-round magazines. The SR45 features an ambidextrous manual safety and mag release, along with interchangeable backstraps and adjustable 3-dot sights for windage and elevation. The SR45 also features a Picatinny-style rail for mounting tactical lights or lasers. Available in either a stainless steel, brushed finish slide or an alloy, black nitrite slide.
SIG Sauer P227
New from SIG Sauer is the SIG P227, a double-stack .45 ACP. Its dimensions are similar to the P226 (7.7-inch OAL with 4.4-inch barrel, 5.5-inch height, 1.5-inch width, 34-ounce weight) but gives you 10+1 capacity in the flush-fit magazine and a whopping 14+1 in an extended duty mag. As a bonus, it will accept any P220 slide assembly, which means by swapping top ends you can turn your regular-size P227 into a Carry, SAS, Stainless or Super Match. The P227 has a Nitron-finished slide that’s machined from stainless bar stock; the frame is lightweight alloy.
Price: $993, $1,085 with Night Sights
Smith & Wesson M&P C.O.R.E.
“Optics-ready” describes a new addition to the Smith & WessonM&P line, the C.O.R.E. (Competition Optics Ready Equipment) series. These models make it easy to add six popular styles of competition-based optics: Trijicon RMR, C-More STS, Leupold DeltaPoint, Docter, Insight MRDS and JPoint courtesy of a mounting platform on the slide. Available in 9mm and .40 with either 4.25 or five-inch barrels, they retain the basic M&P design—polymer frame, stainless steel slide and barrel, ambi controls and Melonite finish—but their backstraps have a new, more aggressive texture and come with three palm swell grips to accommodate different hand sizes.
The M&P C.O.R.E.s incorporate a Performance Center sear for a 4.5-pound pull and shorter reset; higher sights that you can use with an optic mounted; and a new muzzle crown.
Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 41
Smith & Wesson is bringing its Performance Center front and center with new guns that are essentially “production custom” models.
One new one is an update of the classic Model 41 rimfire, a competition favorite. The Performance Center M41 comes with an integral Picatinny rail for mounting optics, making it ready for any competitive course of fire. Performance Center gunsmiths have also tuned the action. But for those who prefer to shoot irons, the M41 has a removable front sight and an adjustable rear sight.
Other than that, the pistol’s configuration remains unchanged: carbon steel frame, 5.5-inch barrel and 10-round magazine.
Smith & Wesson Performance Center SW1911 Round Butt
We covered the new Performance Center SW1911 in the February/March issue of Handguns. Well, hot on the heels of that introduction comes a round-butt version built on a scandium alloy, Commander-length frame. Thanks to that construction, the Performance Center SW1911 Round Butt will weigh just 29.6 ounces and be much more suitable for concealed carry (with the round butt configuration also helping to reduce printing).
It has the same slide cuts as the full-size gun, but the G10 grips on the Round Butt are two-tone orange/black.
Springfield XD-S 9mm
Springfield Armory introduced its XD-S semi-auto pistol in 2012, and the compact, single-stack .45 was a quick hit. Now, Springfield is at it again, bringing the XD-S back in a single-stack 9mm version. The XD-S 9mm features a seven-round capacity—a nine-round extended mag is also available—and even lighter shooting than the original XD-S.
Taurus Millennium G2
The new Taurus Millennium G2 is part of the company’s Carry On series of, you guessed it, concealed-carry pistols. It’s a true lightweight at just 22 ounces and features a thin profile and a 6.2-inch overall length. It’s a DA/SA pistol that’s available in two compact models, both incorporating textured polymer grips, carry melt and high-profile sights. The PT111 is a 9mm, and the PT140 is a .40.
Thompson 1911 Custom Stainless
Auto-Ordnance—the company that makes a semi-auto version of the famous Thompson submachine gun—also makes handguns, which may come as news to many shooters. A relatively new one is a stainless steel 1911, the 1911 Custom Stainless. It’s a Government model built with a 420 stainless steel cast frame and machined stainless slide. It has low-profile sights and checkered laminate grips with the Thompson bullet logo. Both the mainspring housing and frontstrap are checkered at 20 lpi, and it features an adjustable trigger and extended magazine release and beavertail grip safety. It ships with one seven-round magazine.
Uberti 1873 Cattleman Series
Uberti is expanding its popular Cattleman series of single-action revolvers with three new .22s. Unlike the Stallion, which is a scaled-down revolver, the new Cattlemans are full-size guns. There are three models, all with 4.75-inch barrels, 2.3-pound weights, case-hardened frames, walnut grips and blued barrels. The two six-shot versions offer the choice of either brass or steel backstrap and trigger guard. The brass version sells for $489 and the steel version for $509. There’s also a 12-shot model; it features a steel backstrap and trigger guard and sells for $519.
Walther PPK/S .22
If you feel like sipping a “shaken, not stirred” martini after your day at the range, Walther is offering the PPK/S .22 for James Bond aficionados and those searching for a good-looking German-built rimfire as a fun gun.
It’s compact at just over six inches overall and weighs in at 23 ounces. It features an interchangeable sight and a manual hammer-dropping safety. Magazine capacity is 10 rounds.
Price: Black, $400; Stainless, $430
Walther PPQ M2 5-Inch
For 2013, Walther is bringing out the PPQ M2, a striker-fired polymer-frame gun with the company’s Quick Defense Trigger—a pre-cocked trigger that breaks at 5.6 pounds. With an overall length of 7.1 inches and a weight of just 21 ounces, the four-inch barrel version should prove to be a great carry gun; a five-inch barrel is also available. Interchangeable backstraps and a button magazine release where American shooters expect it (as opposed to the trigger-guard paddle of the P99) round out the package. It’s available in 9mm (15 rounds) and .40 (11 rounds).
Also new from Walther is the PPX, a hammer-fired gun with a pre-cocked trigger pull with a 6.5-pound pull, which is a good for a DAO. It features a four-inch barrel with adjustable three-dot steel sights, and the button magazine release is reversible. Weight is 1.7 pounds; overall length is 7.3 inches.
Up front it’s got a MIL-STD 1913 rail, and there’s a threaded-barrel version for suppressor use.