Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ruger and the 1911

It would seem the rumors from earlier this year about a new 1911 offering from Ruger were true.  Ruger just announced that they will be producing a new 1911 pistol called the SR1911.

New Ruger SR1911 .45 ACP
The pistol will only be available in stainless steel initially and will have a MSRP of $799.  For that rather modest amount you'll get many of the features you would expect on a slightly more expensive 1911 offered by other companies.  Of course this is assuming the pistols don't sell for their MSRP and wind up selling for $700 or so, which they likely will after the market settles.

The new Ruger pistols sport a raised beaver tail grip safety, extended trigger, fixed Novak 3-dot sights, flared and lowered ejection port, commander style hammer and wood grips.  The pistol is only being offered in .45 ACP at this time.  The pistol doesn't appear to have front strap checkering which some folks may or may not appreciate.  It also sports a traditional internal extractor vs. the external design used by S&W and attempted then dropped by Kimber.

The design appears to be tastefully done and lacks controversial features such as front slide serrations and an ambi-safety lever.  I don't see any roll marks with lawyer speak or large loaded chamber indicators like on the new LC9.  It seems to be a nicely done 1911 that would meet the expectations of many 1911 aficionados.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The 5.56mm and CQB: Is there something better?

The U.S. Army recently conducted one of the most extensive studies into small arms performance in CQB (Close Quarters Battle) and published their findings.  This study was conducted to answer concerns that some warriors were expressing in After Action Reports (AAR) post battle about the effectiveness of the 5.56mm NATO cartridge.

Ammunition and Weapons Tested
The test team not only tested M193, M995 (AP) and M855 "Green Tip", but they also tested a number of other loads to see if there were any improvements made to the combat effectiveness of the 5.56mm round by civilian companies.

In the 5th paragraph of the report, Major David LaFontaine makes the following statement which pretty much sums up what I've been saying about caliber selection for many years.
In the end, “footpounds of energy” is misleading, “stopping power” is a myth, and the “oneshot drop” is a rare possibility dependent more on the statistics of hit placement than weapon and ammunition selection.  Effectiveness ultimately equates to the potential of the weapons system to eliminate its target as a militarily relevant threat.
In the end the U.S. Army found that no commercially available alternatives in 5.56mm ammunition performed measurably better than existing issued ammo (M855, M193, M995).  This study was based on CQB effectiveness, and from the ranges of 0-50 meters all ammo tested performed similarly and none stood out as being clearly superior.

The M4 Carbine
Also worth mention is that during this testing the U.S. Army also tested the M80 7.62x51mm round fired from an M14 to compare it to the performance of the 5.56mm in CQB conditions.  It performed in the same band of performance as the 5.56mm ammo tested.  They concluded that in a CQB situation the 7.62x51mm round offered no measurable performance benefit over the 5.56mm round.

One more important note, they also concluded that "shot placement trumps all other variables".  This is something I've been saying for years (and in some of my videos found on my YouTube channel).  Take the weapon you can best hit the target with, then worry about what caliber it is.  For me, I'm a fan of the 5.56mm and 5.45x39 rounds.

In the end we all must choose what best works for us.  Hopefully this study helps some of you figure out the best choice for your home protection and SHTF rifle.

Source:  U.S. Army Study of 556 Performance