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A TALO Exclusive Ruger GP100 Good looking gun - built like a tank

05/15/2022 – Why is it TALO and not Talo? Because TALO is an acronym. No, not a giant spider. It is a wholesale buying cooperative operating in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and the first letter of each of those states is represented in TALO. As they have since 1965, TALO commissions major firearm manufacturers to…

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Stoeger’s STR-9S Combat Semi-Auto Pistol Wow... Good one

05/15/2022 – The last time my wife and I purchased a car, it was preceded by a major debate. I wanted a Ferrari 812 Superfast and Diane wanted a Ford Escape, so we compromised. We bought a Ford Escape and a Ferrari keychain. The funny thing is, it was a good decision.

The Escape had lots of advanced driver assistance and safety technology and solid turbocharged performance. It could be used for long road trips, an evening out, or hauling bags of garden mulch from Lowe’s. We did own a Ferrari at one point, a 355 Berlinetta. It left us with tingchechangphobia, it was a magnet for carjackers and spent most of its life in a dark garage attached to a battery tender. Even the sounds of a V8 winding to 8,500 RPM was not enough to justify its existence.

Yes, the Ferrari was something special, but the Escape served us every day and without a touch of temperament. See where I am going with this? Yeah, me either.

$329 MSRP as a sign of respect for customers

Firearm, and ancillary industries, generally whine and cry over being picked on by the government and, subsequently, call on consumers for political support. The same businesses have no problem using the cover of government policy-induced inflation to sharply raise consumer prices. Look at the financials for publicly traded members of this community and you will find a recent trend of tripled net income and double millions of dollars in executive compensation. So, for now, I buy what I need, rather than what I want, and comparison shopping is the norm. The Stoeger STR-9 product line remains a value.

Stoeger’s STR-9S Combat Semi-Auto Pistol

Item #s 31746 / 31736
Point of Manufacture Turkey
Imported By
Stoeger, MD – USA
Type Action
Caliber 9×19 Parabellum
Magazine Capacity 10 / 20 Rounds
4.70″* Alloy Steel
Rifling 1:10″ 5 RH
Overall Length ”
Overall Height ”
Frame Width ”
Weight Oz
27.9 With Mag
Sight Radius ”
Trigger Pull – Actual 4 Lbs. 5 Oz.
Sights Front & Rear
3 Dot Fiber Optic Green
Slide Material Alloy Steel
Frame Polymer
Safety Trigger
Magazine Disconnect No
Chamber Check Port
Barrel Hood
MSRP $599
*End of threaded muzzle to breech face
**6.6″top of front sight to bottom of inserted
, 5.8″ to bottom of mag well.

Prices for the Stoeger 9 full size striker range from an entry level, full size STR-9F at $329, to the more heavily accessorized subject firearm, the STR-9S Combat Semi-Auto at $599. There are seventeen STR-9 models; full, mid and compact sizes that fill the space within that price range.

All Stoeger ST-9 models share core features: Turkish manufacture, black nitrided alloy steel slide and barrel, three dot sight system, loaded chamber indicator, integrated trigger safety, fiberglass reinforced polymer frame with steel chassis, interchangeable backstrap, easy grip slide, and tactical rail.

Stoeger’s STR-9S Combat Semi-Auto Pistol goes on to include: 1/2×28 threaded barrel, optic ready slide inclusive of adapters, high fiber optic sights to clear muzzle devices, 9mm Luger 10 or 20 round magazines.

Information that does not fit on the table…

The ST-9 manual indicates the use of commercially manufactured new ammunition. Instructions go on to caution that the use of +P and +P+ ammunition can accelerate wear, The only “Do not use” was affixed to 9mm submachine gun ammunition which operates at 9mm Luger proof pressure levels. Usually manufacturers draw the line at +P. That is a lot of confidence in a pistol’s design.

Standard 9mm Luger pressure is 35,000 psi, +P pressure is 38,500 psi and +P+ is approximately… Do not know as they are not under a standards organization like SAAMI or CIP and vary with over pressure ammo manufacturers. +P+ is generally listed as above +P, lower than a proof load.

Multiple safeties

The only safety indicated on the table is a trigger safety, however, the STR-9 has multiple safety devices that do not need tending.There is a firing pin block that prevents the striker, firing pin, from moving forward from inertial force, unless the trigger has been depressed.

A safety is embedded in the face of the trigger and is automatically depressed under a finger squeeze. The idea is to prevent an accidental discharge in the event the pistol is dropped.

An out of battery safety disconnects the trigger bar unless the slide is forward, barrel locked in place and the breech is fully closed.

The STR-9S is optics ready and, therefore, has a mount access cover which prevents the inclusion of the pop up, loaded chamber indicator that is included with other models. The STR-9 does have a chamber view port at the the rear of the barrel hood.

A complete package…

More and more, some manufacturers are omitting useful accessories from products, often leaving only the pistol and one magazine in the retail box. The Stoeger kit includes: pistol, magazine loader, 3 magazines, three different size interchangeable backstraps, 4 optic sight mounts that cover virtually all popular model open optic sights.

Good sights with optic sight accommodation

From front to aft… The barrel muzzle threads, when a muzzle device like a silencer, brake or compensator are not installed, are protected by a thread protector. The front fiber optic sight is dovetail mounted and can be drifted for windage compensation. The small rectangular view port, toward the rear of the ejection port, permits a quick check to see whether or not a round is chambered. Aft of the port is the optic sight mount cover which is secured with two screws. The rear sight, also dovetail mounted, can be adjusted for elevation by turning the top screw on the sight, or side screw for windage.

The sights on this model are mounted approximately 0.440″ above the slide top to assure there is a clear line of sight to target when a muzzle device is in place and to permit co-witnessing when an optical sight is installed.

A quieter side…

The configuration of the pistol, as seen, makes for a good competition shooter. The overall configuration also serves my purposes of target shooting, evaluating ammunition and developing handloads. With optical sight installed, it is easy on the eyes and the silencer makes it easy on the ears.

Above, maybe a better view of the orientation of sights to slide and silencer. In this case, the AAC silencer mounts on an eccentric so the tube can be rotated down to just about the slide’s top surface plane. No, this combination would not drop into a watch pocket. I know, what a watch pocket? An owner could be reduce the STR-9S’s profile by removing the magazine well’s flared guide, using a conventional 17 round magazine and maybe going to a low profile sight set. Or purchase a version of the STR-9 that already meets that criteria.

Easy takedown and clean

Pull the mag, check for empty. Push the slide back 1/16″, push side disassembly latches down, release slide and pull the trigger. The slide moves forward and can be slipped off. Pictured above, slide assembly, captive recoil spring, frame with steel insert that provides rigidity to the frame and positions fire control pieces. The barrel spec length is 4.1″, but the threaded and rifled muzzle extended this to 4.7″.

Shooting personality

The Stoeger STR-9S is one of those pistols that encourages heavy use. Full size and with some heft, recoil and muzzle rise are modest at most. Excellent slide gripping surfaces make manual slide actuation a minor effort. Other than following normal safety procedures, there is nothing to do but aim and fire. The low profile slide stop is on the left side. The pistol ships with the magazine release on the left side, but it can easily be switched to the right.

The full size frame and grip pretty much assure a comfortable home for all fingers. Yes, there will always be those guys with catcher mitts for hands but, for the rest of us, the grip is hand filling. Lots of control and sights that would show up against any backdrop make the STR-9S an easy pistol to shoot.

Numerically, how the Stoeger STR-9S shot

Four types of ammo were shot through the STR-9. Three supersonic and one subsonic.

Cartridge Bullet
25 Yard
5 Shot
Remington HTP JHP 115 1255 1282 1.9
AE Subsonic FMJ 124 1030 1040 2.1
Remington UMC FMJ 124 1100 1119 2.4
Remington UD JHP 124 1125 1179 1.6

Someone said my range conditions lacked environmental specificity. So… Groups were shot from a rest… sand filled leather bags. Playground sand I believe. Shooting went on most of the day. It was balmy, but humid. A breeze kept lifting my comb over. Around noon I grew a bit peckish and had a light lettuce and cubed Swiss salad with red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. Oh yes, the pistol’s muzzle was 10′ from the front chronograph screen. I think that does it.

In summary

Low price, high quality, great value. The Stoeger SRT-9S was rock solid reliable and performance was consistent. Don’t need the high sights, threaded barrel, flared mag well? There are plenty of other variations of size and configuration to choose from within the STR-9 product line Nice pistol.

S&W’s Model 351 PD Kit Gun And no assembly required

05/08/2022 – As a kid… yes, a baby goat for folks who insist upon correct word usage and/or need specificity in language, I could not figure out why anyone would want to pay full price for a “kit gun”. a gun they would have to assemble. I did not solve that mystery. No, I think labeling me obtuse would be a little strong as a personality trait, however, I would endorse naive.

I stopped thinking about “kit guns” altogether until the 1970s when I purchased a S&W Model 63 22 LR for my wife and noticed it was already assembled!..!!. The event was a milestone in my life and I began thinking what other understanding might might have eluded me. Nah, I knew I was pretty much set on everything else in life. As my mother would say, “L’ignoranza è beatitudine”.

Just for clarification, and to justify this preamble, in the late 13th century “kit”, at least to the Dutch, meant a large wooden container. Fast forward to 1785, where a collection of personal effects was called a “kit”. By 1898, there was a “soldier’s kit”; a collection of items gathered for a common purpose. It wasn’t until 1930 that “kit” was applied to an article that needed to be assembled by the buyer. Yes, like Heathkit electronics of that day, or reloading and AR15s of today.

“Kit guns” fall into the category of a collection of items gathered for a common purpose. Because I said so. You round up your fishing gear, grab your kit gun, and off you go. You grab your hunting gear and take along kit gun. You go anywhere outside of your home in today’s world, you grab your car keys, your wallet, your kit gun and head off to the nearest Lowe’s garden center.

In the beginning…

The 22/32 Kit Gun concept actually began with a San Francisco, California Smith &Wesson dealer named Phillip Bekeart. Bekeart contracted S&W to manufacturer a .22 rimfire revolver on a larger than traditional, square butt, S&W .32 hand ejector “I” frame. This original version, with 6″ barrel, was produced from 1911-1941 as the .22/.32 Hand Ejector Bekeart or .22/.32 Heavy Frame Target.

A more compact .22/.32 Kit Gun model was produced on the round butt “I” Frame with a 4″ barrel from 1935-1941. Both firearms went on to become standard S&W catalogued firearms. In 1957, the Target became the Model 35 and the Kit Gun the Model 34. In 1977, a new .22/.32 Kit Gun was introduced as a square butt “J” Frame with a 4″ barrel, as pictured above, the Model 63, chambered for the 22 long rifle cartridge.

And then along came Jones… Coasters 1959

The .22/32 kit gun was first chambered for the 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire in 1960, introduced as the S&W Model 51. The Model 51 was built on the square butt target frame, with a  3.5″ barrel. Alloy steel, the revolver was offered in blued or nickle plated finishes. There have been numerous iterations since.

The subject revolver, the Model 351PD AirLite .22 M.R.F. was introduced at the 2004 Shot show. Built on the J magnum round butt frame, it had a 1 7/8″ two piece barrel, barrel and shroud, and a Hi-Viz red front sight. The boot grips were fashioned from Cocobola wood. The barrel was stainless steel, while both frame and cylinder were aluminum. A lanyard pin was integrated at the heel of the frame. Fortunately, little has changed.

The current Model 351PD has the same sight system, only with a Hi-Viz orange fiber optic front sight. It’s weight is listed as 11.2 oz, compared to the 2004 weight of 10.6 oz. The current model barrel measures 2″, minus the cylinder gap. However, its muzzle crown is recessed 0.125″, an 1/8″, so let’s call barrel length the same.

Like its 2004 predecessor, the current version of the Model 351PD has a 7 shot, 1.3″ diameter cylinder. For folks in a hurry, there are speed loaders available.

The 351PS’s next widest dimension is located at the base of the boot grip, 1.1″, Coupled with a 6″ x 4.2″ envelop, the Model 351PD is easily concealable.

The revolver’s extremely lightweight makes it an easy carry, concealed or open. As an example popular polymer frame revolvers with the same barrel length and general size in 22 Magnum weigh a full 50% more.

For folks looking for a more snag free, concealed hammer version, there is the Model 351 C with XS Sights® white dot front sight and synthetic grips that lists for $749.

The boot grip on the Model 351 PD is deceptive. Anticipating another small grip revolver that was difficult to grip and less than stable, a high grip and two finger squeeze was  more than enough to keep the 22 Mag under control and shoot accurately and the bright Hi-Viz sight made for an excellent sight picture.

In addition to the good short barrel revolver sights, the Model 351PS has a medium width checkered target hammer and a smooth trigger surface.

A coil spring double/single action revolver, trigger pull was smooth if heavy at 9 lbs 10 oz for the double action pull and a crisp 4 lbs 3 oz for single action. Practice double action and the pull will be natural.

S&W Model 351PD – 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire

Manufacturer Smith & Wesson Springfield, MA
SKU # 160228
Type Single, Double Action
Caliber 22 WMR
Mag Capacity 7
Barrel Length 1.875″
Rifling 1:16″ RH
Weight 11.2 Oz
Overall Length 6.2″
Height 4.2″
Width 1.3″ – Cylinder
Frame Aluminum Alloy
Aluminum Alloy
Barrel Stainless Steel
Sight Rear Integral U Notch
Sight Front Hi-Viz Orange
Trigger Pull S/A – D/A
4 Lbs 3 Oz. – 9 Lbs 10 Oz.
CA – MA Approved Yes
MSRP $826

Performance – I don’t make the ammo, I just collect the data

Cartridge Type
24″ BBL
1 7/8″ BBL
10 Yard
7 Shot Group”
Winchester Super X Tin HP 28 2200 1419 3.1 14.0
CCI TNT Green Copper/Polymer HP 30 2050 1187 3.7 12.5
Hornady V-Max Copper Poly Tip 30 2200 1248 3.3 15.5
CCI Gamepoint Jacketed Lead Core SP 40 1875 1192 2.8 13.0

As would be anticipated, muzzle velocity dropped considerably from rated to chronograph. A missing 22 1/8″ of test barrel will do that. However, velocity was pretty good from a 1 7/8″ revolver barrel. Standard size Bicycle playing card targets proved to be sufficient to collect group sizes. Seven round groups were shot where I normally use 3 or 5 shots. I wanted to see what a cylinder full would do to all of those aluminum parts. Worked really well. OK, I was just having fun. Is that a crime?

The relatively deep penetration had me scratching my head. No, not a scalp condition, the the effect of stimulating thought. Then I realized how far below rated velocity was and determined expansion was modest. Even varmint bullets were not breaking up within a few inches of entry. Which, for an application of defense is good news and expansion was more that sufficient for small game and pests.

Shooting personality

Actually, the 351PD was a pleasant surprise. I generally don’t care for 22 Mag revolvers, particularly when they have above 6 shooter capacity. They often have slight indexing problem that cause my hands to be peppered with small amounts of powder and lead/copper debris. Absolutely not the case here.

Lightweight 22 Mags are often not pleasant to shoot. The 351PS shot like a standard 22 long rifle gun with barely perceptible recoil and moderate muzzle blast. As noted earlier, the boot grip was more than enough to establish good control. These things combine for very good 30 foot accuracy and a standing invitation to shoot it frequently.

It is so light. Pocket or holster you can’t even feel its presence. I typically think of a grooved top strap as a rear sight means point and shoot. Not the case here. That front Hi-Viz sight is bright and front and center on a target.

I have seen people grouse about the price… No, not the bird, they complain. I know the guns that approximate the 351PD’s specs and sell sometimes a couple of hundred dollars less, with bad castings, crude assembly, substandard finishing . All I can say is, “You get what you pay for” and the 351PD gives you a lot. It is a very nice revolver.

S&W’s M&P9 Pro Series Finally, a full size pistol!

03/20/2022 – I hate to say this in polite company, but you might want to move back from the screen a bit. No lactose intolerant old guy should have a chili, red pepper and cheddar cheese omelette and a fresh banana / vanilla ice cream smoothie for breakfast, and then go out in public. In…

Real Guns is a membership supported publication. Membership offers access to: all current and archived articles, handload data, ballistic calculators, and the Real Guns Image Gallery. Membership is available for $29.95 for twelve months.

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Smith & Wesson’s M&P 340 – No Internal Lock Mighty Mouse...

03/16/2022 – I’ve been trying to work on my taxidermy skills. Returning from a big bear hunt in Oymyakon, I decided a rug before the fireplace was in order. Damn thing won’t lay flat.Maybe I just have to shoot it some more? Anyway… Between the bear and chili with beans that won’t soften, it has…

Real Guns is a membership supported publication. Membership offers access to: all current and archived articles, handload data, ballistic calculators, and the Real Guns Image Gallery. Membership is available for $29.95 for twelve months.

Please either Sign inorJoin Real Guns.