Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Guns and Gear Review #24: Ruger P89 9mm pistol

Hey folks, 12-Gauge Chimp here.

I know it's been quite some time between my last entry to the site, but that's because I really haven't had the time or energy to write a review. I've got plenty to review now, but I just got sort of burnt out with reviewing and writing entries, so I decided to take a break for a bit. I'm still in the midst of that break from writing, but I decided I at least owed it to y'all to update the site at least one more time before disappearing into the shadows again.

Today's review is of my latest firearms acquisition, a Ruger P89 in 9mm Luger (or NATO or Parabellum or 9x19 or whatever name you want to call it).

The Ruger P series started out with the P85 in the 1980's. After a few years and one recall to fix a safety issue, the P85 eventually was replaced by the P89. My particular gun was built sometime in 2004 or so, so it's not an 80's gun as I originally thought. Ruger actually continued making the P series until about 2009 or 2010 when the SR series took over. Now Ruger has released the "American" series of pistols onto the market and the SR series will probably be less focused on by the company. I wonder how long the SR series of pistols will be made before Ruger decides to drop them like the P series.

I traded my RIA GI Tactical 1911 to a friend for this gun and I think I got a pretty good deal. The reason behind the trade is my friend was looking for a 1911 to practice gunsmithing on and I wanted to try a 9mm. So we met up at our usual trading spot, swapped guns and I became the second owner of a shiny stainless steel Ruger P89. It's officially a KP89 because it has a stainless steel slide on top of the aluminum alloy frame. Ruger likes to differentiate between their standard blued models and the stainless ones with a K in front of whatever model it is. For example, a blued GP100 is just a GP100, but a stainless one is a KP100. Same gun, different model designation in the Ruger books. It makes no difference, really. For some reason, the stainless guns are worth more on the used market as well, but not by much.

Anyway, I got my P89 and went to work buying ammo for it along with some extra magazines. I even put a set of Hogue grips on it to make it a little more comfortable in my hands (I've mentioned before that I have rather large hands and most gun grips feel a little small to me). I love the ambi safety/decocker and the ambi mag release. I wish my Glocks had that, but I've gotten used to switching my shooting grip slightly to release the mags with the factory release. The sights are little banged up, but given that this gun is an older model, it's to be expected. They're not quite as easy to pick up, but a little brightly colored nail polish or one of those paint pens you find at many hobby stores works to brighten the sights up.

The P89 is kind of a heavy pistol, but it was designed as a duty gun and not something you'd carry concealed on a daily basis. Although, if you have a good holster and strong belt set up, you should have no problems. Heck, there's guys who carry heavy 1911 pistols all day and they seem to have no issues. For me, the P89 will be a range toy since I've got my Glock 21 for carry purposes. As soon as I can get a better holster for my Glock 41 (the long slide version of the Glock 21) that'll hold the G41 and Streamlight TLR-1s I have mounted on it, I might carry that one as well.

Overall, I'm happy with the trade I made. If I get the urge to buy another 1911, I might buy another Rock Island Armory or maybe one from another maker.

As always, this is 12-Gauge Chimp signing off.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Guns and Gear Review #23: Classic Firearms Hungarian AMD-63 AK-47 style Rifle

Hello folks, it's 12-Gauge Chimp again. Today I'm reviewing my latest gun purchase.

Last month I purchased a Hungarian AMD-63 AK-47 style rifle from Classic Firearms and it's my second AK style rifle (the first being the M+M M10 I purchased a couple years back).

First I wanted to pick up a DDI (Destructive Devices Industries) AK, but my local FFL couldn't get one at a decent enough price for me. Their rifles are top of the line, but I'm not spending that much money on an AK right now. I think my FFL guy quoted me a price of around 1100 bucks for the base model with the Magpul AKM MOE furniture and 1150 for the upgraded Zhukov-S model. Either way, that's a lot of money for an AK. A couple hundred more and I could get an Arsenal AK, which are like the cream of the crop for AK rifles. Either way, I wasn't able to spend that much on a gun. So, disappointed, I turned back to my quest of finding a new AK and stumbled across Classic Firearm's website. A few minutes of perusing the site, I found my new AK. A phone call and a couple days later, I had my shiny new AK in my hands.

The Hungarian AMD-63, according to a lot of the reviews I've read, is one of the best buys in the AK world. These guns are built from parts kits, but unlike most, still use the original FEG made receiver and that is something that you really want. Some AMD-63 and 65 rifles use American made receivers that can be hit or miss in quality. Rifles that use the original Hungarian FEG receivers are much higher quality. How much of this is true and how much is just gun shop BS, I have no idea. They also use a slightly short gas tube and gas piston compared to standard AK style rifles. So if you get one of these guns, replacing the gas tube with an aftermarket one like the Troy rail or an Ultimak isn't going to work without some modifications to either one.

Either way, I got my rifle and I like it. I haven't had the opportunity to get to the range and test it out yet, but I will soon and give y'all a range report on it when I do.

While the rifle itself is in great condition and with little to no canting of the sights (this is still an issue with some WASR-10s, which is sad), I did run into a few minor fitting issues with parts I purchased for it.

1: When replacing the Phoenix Technologies butt stock off, I noticed one of the screws was broken. After removing the stock, I found out why it was broken. Apparently, whoever put the stock onto the rifle at the factory, torqued the hell out of the screw and caused the head of it to snap off. This wasn't noticed by anyone until I took possession of the rifle and field-stripped it for cleaning. Also, when they put the stock on my rifle, the screw went it at an odd angle and came through one side of the part that goes inside the receiver. It worked, but it just looked so sloppy, like the QC (quality control) person was on break when it went through their station.

2: After pulling the factory stock off, I attempted to install an Vltor AK stock adapter on my rifle and found out that the rear stock tang was just a hair shorter than required. This was remedied by me taking a rubber mallet and smacking the Vltor adapter a couple times to get everything to line up enough to work. I got it to fit and won't be taking it off any time soon since that sucker is on there tight now. Which is a good thing, by the way. Nothing sucks more when shooting a gun than a stock that wobbles after every shot.

3: The original Hungarian hand guard (that a friend referred to as a 'donkey dong' type of hand guard) was nice, but it was made of metal and as most of y'all know, AKs get hot after a couple mags. That and the 'donkey dong' grip made it awkward to do mag changes. So I ordered myself a Magpul AKM hand guard and installed that in place of the original one. Well, I ran into an issue with this as well. Apparently, the Hungarians use a slightly smaller hand guard retainer and I didn't know this until I got my rifle. A couple minutes with a set of files later, my hand guard was fitted to my rifle. I even sent an email to Magpul about it, but it seems they're either too busy to respond or it went into the trash upon receiving. The latter seems to be a more likely occurrence since they're pretty busy with other things and probably can't take time out to respond to each person who emails them. I did have to use my rubber mallet to get everything back into place, but it was all good in the end.When I ordered my rifle, I was told by one of the folks at Classic Firearms that some fitting of parts was going to be possible, so this isn't too big of a deal for me.

4: This wasn't necessarily a requirement for me, but it helps me feel better at ease about my rifle. I bought one of those Tapco trigger retaining plates for my rifle so I could get rid of the paperclip holding the trigger group in my rifle. The shepard's hook (the proper name for the paperclip) is basically a heavy piece of wire that hooks over the trigger group and keeps everything in place. Many people, myself included, opt to replace it with something a bit more substantial and less cheap looking. Seriously, we're in a day and age where aftermarket AK parts are plentiful and many companies still choose to put what looks like something you buy in bulk at an office supply store in their rifles. It's probably a cost saving measure, but it still doesn't make sense to me. Anyway, I once again had to fit the Tapco retaining plate to my particular gun since the hole on the plate didn't quite line up with the hole on my rifle. About ten minutes of filing later and I was able to get it installed. It wobbles a bit, but if it keeps my trigger group from flying out of my rifle or otherwise coming undone, I'm fine with a little wobble.

All in all, I knew before I purchased this rifle that I'd probably have to hand fit some stuff to it so that's on me and not Classic Firearms or the folks who built my rifle.

Still, the rifle is great, looks nice and is a pretty good value in today's market. I highly recommend Classic Firearms and will probably be doing a lot more business with them in the future.

As always, this is 12-Gauge Chimp signing off.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Guns and Gear Review #22: Ruger GP100

Hey folks, 12-Gauge Chimp here.

Today I'm reviewing the Ruger GP100 .357 Magnum revolver

I got this gun in February of 2015 and have had some trigger time behind it. Enough to give y'all my honest opinion of it.

The GP100 has been around for thirty years now (production began back in 1985), so the gun's been around about as long as I have. Which I find pretty neat. Mine, however, has only been around since 2014 (or so the sticker on the box says). Either way, I like the gun. It's got some hefty recoil, but not enough to make shooting it a pain. I mean, we're not talking about .500 S&W Magnum here, folks. Anyway, I had ordered a stainless steel model, but ended up with a plain blued model instead. Mostly because the shop I ordered it from was having a hard time finding a stainless steel model for me. This was right around the time SHOT Show 2015 ended and Ruger was trying as hard as they could to fill orders. So, I took the blued model, filled out the paperwork, talked to my friends at the shop while waiting for the background check to finish and left about ten minutes later with my shiny new gun.

My particular gun sports a 6 inch barrel with the aforementioned blued finish, which is kind of mottled in some spots, but it's fine. So long as the gun works, I could care less about the cosmetic flaws. I mean, I won't purposely let the finish get beat all to hell, but I'm not going to give it the white glove treatment like some folks might. It's a gun, not a priceless work of art. Unless Bill Ruger himself touched this gun (which is highly doubtful since he's been gone for a long time. And well before my gun was built.), it's getting used and the finish won't stay pretty forever. It had a Hogue monogrip on it, but I swapped it out with another rubber grip awhile after the first range trip.

I got the chance to take my GP100 out to the range soon after purchasing it and I have to say if you've never fired a .357 magnum before, it is an eye opener. The first shot (which was a 158 grain Hornady XTP hollow point, by the way) took me by surprise and I was shocked. Well, I was for a brief few seconds and then I emptied the cylinder into my target and reloaded. After I shot the speedloaders of .357 mag ammo I had, I moved onto .38 Special (also made by Hornady). The .38 Special ammo was a lot easier to shoot than the full power .357 magnum stuff, which is not surprising since it was made to be. I have plans to buy some of those "Ruger Only" Buffalo Bore .357 mag loads and see if they recoil as badly as some have told me. I suspect they probably will and will probably gather dust in my ammo cans after one cylinder full.

I swapped some parts out for ones that I felt worked better for me after awhile. The factory Hogue monogrip was tossed aside in favor of a Pachmayr Diamond Pro grip (which feels so much better than the Hogue grip) and the hard to see factory front sight was switched with a Hi-Viz fiber optic set up. I did have a red ramp sight on it prior to the Hi-Viz sight, but I forget the brand name of that one. It may have been from Ruger, come to think of it.

Both the Hi-Viz sight and Pachmayr Diamond Pro grip were Christmas gifts, so I'm not entirely sure how much they cost. A quick check to some online retailers has the Hi-Viz sight at around 26 dollars US and the Pachmayr Diamond Pro grip at around 22 dollars US. So they're not too expensive and worthwhile upgrades to the factory grip and sight if you like to switch out parts on your guns like I do.

After the upgrades, I need to get out to the range to see if my work was worth it or if I'll be going back to the factory parts. I'll be sure and let y'all know what happens.

I personally like the Ruger GP100 and may add another to my collection. I wish they made a .22LR version like they do with the SP101, but maybe someone at Ruger will read this and decide to make my dream gun a reality. Fat chance of that since I'm sure no one at any of the gun manufacturers read my stuff. Ah well, I can dream, can't I ? 

As always, this is 12-Gauge Chimp signing off.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Random Thoughts: New Year's Eve 2015 Edition

Hey folks, 12-Gauge Chimp here.

Well, it's New Year's Eve and like many of y'all I've got plans for 2016. These plans include finally beginning my long talked about YouTube channel and a few other changes in my life. No, I'm not going to be taking down the site, if that's what all three of y'all who read my stuff are thinking. I will, however, be changing some things around. I'll be doing a lot more networking and hopefully expanding the site in the coming year and maybe score some products to review from some big companies out there. As it sits, my website is just a mere blip on the radar and I don't bring in enough views to warrant them taking a chance on me. So, I figure if I start a YouTube channel, be consistent in my uploads (or as consistent as I can be realistically) and start bringing in viewers and interest in products, I might get noticed by these companies. If not, I'll just do what I've been doing since 2009 and that's buying my gear and reviewing it for y'all.

Another thing I've been wanting to do is going back and re-writing some of the older entries and possibly deleting ones with gear I no longer own. Like the Yugoslav Model 59 SKS and Nagant M1895 revolver. I sold the Nagant revolver years ago and I recently traded off the SKS for a semi-auto shotgun (and that itself was traded off for a Ruger 22/45 pistol). Either I'll delete those entries or I'll do a "Where Are They Now?" type of post at some point. Actually, I'll probably do the latter since it seems like a fun idea now that I think about it.

Another thing I want to see in 2016 is more people finding my site and hopefully gaining some info on the stuff I write about. I'm not a professional gun/gear writer, just an average guy who buys the best gear he's able to with the limited resources he has. I'm not under the illusion that I'm some guru on guns and knives and don't want to be one either. I just want to talk about my passion for firearms, knives and having a platform in which to do so. I know not many people actually read my site (hence the somewhat true joke about there only being three people reading my stuff), but those of you who do, know that I really do appreciate it and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

So, now that I've taken enough of your time, I want to wish everyone out there reading this a Happy New Year and I'll see y'all next year. Take care, stay safe and I'll see y'all in 2016.

For the final time in 2015, this is 12-Gauge Chimp signing off.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Random Thoughts #17: Stupid gun videos

Hey folks, 12-Gauge Chimp here. I've been wanting to talk about this topic for quite awhile now and I figured this is as good a time as any to do so.

The topic I want to speak about is stupid gun videos and why they irritate me.

Now, I love watching videos where folks go to the range to have fun with family and friends. Those I have no problem with and honestly love to see folks having fun. What I do have a problem with is the videos where the idiots behind the camera hand an inexperienced shooter or someone who's never fired a gun before a powerful gun. Whether it's a .50 cal Desert Eagle or some other type of heavy recoiling firearm, you just don't hand one of those guns to someone who has never shot a gun before or has no experience with heavy recoiling guns. You start them off with a .22 and work up to the bigger guns.  What really pisses me off is when the person firing the gun gets hit with the heavy recoil and is in obvious pain while the person behind the camera is laughing their ass off. Then they wonder why the person doesn't want to fire a gun ever again. Honestly, I don't blame them for not wanting to be anywhere near a gun again because of their friend or family member's stupidity and carelessness. What also gets me is the folks who hand an inexperienced person a firearm with little to no instruction on how to properly hold it or operate it. There's plenty of videos on YouTube and other video sharing sites where guys will hand their loved ones or friends a gun, give them a very basic rundown on how to shoot it and then get pissed off when the folks break several range safety rules. Here's an idea, guys and gals, before you hand the new shooter a gun, give them a briefing in the four basic rules of gun safety. It's not that hard and doesn't take that much time to teach them.

Another type of video that irritates me is when shooters film themselves engaging in dangerous and idiotic behavior with their firearms.

These types of videos include,
1) People who have no business handling a gun, making what I call "I'm a badass gang member or street thug even though I live in the suburbs" type videos.
2) People who are obviously drunk and handling firearms when they really, really shouldn't be doing so.
3) Prank videos involving guns. (Really, guys? Why do you involve a gun in a prank?)
4) People who like to think of themselves as these 'elite' gun experts and showing themselves engaging in really poor shooting and gun handling activities. A lot of these types of videos include the person on camera wearing a mask of some kind in order to hide their face (probably to save themselves from ridicule from friends and family)

There's a few other types of videos I'm leaving off the list. Mostly because there aren't that many of them out there.

I see these videos all the time and it irritates me to no end. We gun owners get a lot of bad press from the media and the general public and I feel that it has a lot to do with these types of videos. Not all gun owners engage in this type of behavior, but that doesn't stop the general public and media from thinking we do. If you want to see exactly what I'm talking about for yourselves, go to YouTube and type in 'gun fails' in the search bar there. I guarantee there will be millions of results for these types of videos. Usually in compilation form because there are so many of them.

In the end, I sincerely ask you folks to please not engage in this type of behavior. As gun owners, we have the responsibility to have this public image as being mature, professional and knowledgeable adults while owning firearms and using them. We also have this responsibility to make sure we handle our firearms in a safe manner. We've got to show the media and anti-gunners that we're not all a bunch of immature morons who are compensating for something by owning a gun. Gun owners come in all races, religions, political affiliations, lifestyles and genders.We hold all sorts of jobs as well. Gun owners are all over the country, it's not just limited to one part of the country as some folks in the media would like you to believe.

As always, this is 12-Gauge Chimp signing off.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Range Report #6: A Fun Day at the range

Hey folks, 12-Gauge Chimp here with another edition of Range Report.

I finally got out to the range after a long hot summer of sweating myself stupid and being too busy to actually go. I know some of you are probably asking "What guns did you take, Chimp ?" and I'll tell you in a minute. First, I want to tell you about the original plan that ended up becoming an impromptu range day.

My oldest nephew asked me to take him rabbit hunting this past summer and I went all out planning a hunt for the little guy. Well, originally we were going to hunt on my older brother's land where Oldest Nephew and his family live, but Older Brother nixed that idea. His reasoning is still unclear at this point, but I suspect it's because I was the one to come up with the idea instead of him. Anyway, when Oldest Nephew got the news that our planned rabbit hunt was cancelled, he was understandably heartbroken. Kid had been talking about the hunt for months and was so excited to finally get to go hunting. I will still take him rabbit hunting at some point, but I'll be looking for another hunting spot.

Moving on, since the rabbit hunt was a no go, I then decided the day was not going to be lost because my brother is a jerk. So, I loaded up a couple of my guns (I took my M+M M10 AK that I had done some work to over the past year along with my new to me Ruger 22/45 and my Glock 21) and off we went to the range. I also brought along some BB guns for my nephew to practice with.

So we hit the range and I let my nephew shoot some cans with his BB guns before I commence testing my new guns. Nephew had fun and I was happy that he was cheering up. After Nephew had fun, it was time for Uncle Chimp to have fun.

The first gun I tested was my M10 AK and while I only fired a single ten round magazine through it, I have to say all my mods worked fantastically and I'm glad they did.

The Midwest Industries AK muzzle device (again, I am not kidding about the name. MI actually calls it that on the package) worked well and kept the muzzle of my rifle down and made follow up shots easy to make.

The Troy Industries AK handguard worked perfectly and kept my hands from being burned by the hot barrel. The Magpul AFG was comfortable and I plan on putting one on any tactical rifle I purchase in the future because they work so well. The Magpul AK MOE grip was a lot more comfortable in my hands than the Hogue grip that came with the rifle and was too grippy in my opinion. The Magpul grip had just the right amount of grip and felt just right in my hands.

Even the ten round Arsenal AK mag that I used worked well. I just bought those because they were on sale and I figured they'd be good for testing accuracy from a bench (I know, I know, it's an AK not a benchrest rifle and won't get that great of accuracy due to the design).

After the brief AK test, I moved onto the new-to-me Ruger 22/45 I got in a trade awhile back. You folks can expect a full review of this gun some time in the future from me.

It's the basic model and I wasn't really testing for accuracy, just getting some trigger time behind it. I had a little trouble getting it to fire at first, but I soon fixed that and was blowing through the magazine with no problems.After I had my fun with it, it was my oldest nephew's turn. He had zero problems shooting the Ruger as it's a lightweight gun and often the first gun for new shooters. My nephew has some experience with guns, but he still had me help him since he was new to pistols. I helped him hold the gun as he put rounds downrange and after he finished the mag, he had a big smile on his face. "That was awesome, Uncle Chimp." my nephew told me after I put the gun away. I'm happy the little dude had fun and wasn't disappointed anymore that our original plans were messed up by his dad.

After we shot my 22/45 and had put it away, I felt it was time to try out my Glock 21 that I had purchased last summer. I brought along two loaded mags and a holster that I plan to use once I get my CCW permit. I made sure the range was good to go and drew my Glock. I only fired the two mags I had with me, but both worked flawlessly and I was able to keep all the rounds on target. Again, I wasn't testing for accuracy, just to make sure everything functioned and to get some trigger time with the gun. Firing a polymer framed Glock was a new experience for me since I'm used to shooting a steel framed 1911. I actually prefer the Glock over the 1911 now since the gun is lighter and holds more ammo in the mag. Not to mention I don't have to polish the feed ramp to get it to feed hollow point ammo like I did with the 1911 I owned.

Overall, I had fun and was happy I got to finally test out my guns. I was also happy that my nephew got to go along with me and have fun as well. I'm now in the process of looking for land my nephew and I can go rabbit hunting on and I hope we can get out and hunt soon. Otherwise, I bought two scopes for nothing.

As always, this is 12-Gauge Chimp signing off.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Guns and Gear Review #20: Lucky Dog Knife and Leather Glock 41 holster.

Hello folks, it's 12-Gauge Chimp again. Today I want to talk about a piece of gear that I recently purchased from a local custom shop.

I was browsing a local gun board awhile back and came across an ad for a custom holster maker named Chris Vargas. Chris is the owner and operator of Lucky Dog Knife and Leather in Lubbock Texas and I sent him a message asking him if he could make a holster for a Glock 41 with a Streamlight TLR-1s (this is a variant of the TLR-1 that has a strobe function. No difference in size, just the addition of a strobe function). Sadly, Chris couldn't make the holster for the gun with a light since he didn't own or have access to that particular light. Still, I commissioned him to make the holster anyway minus the light bearing option.

After a few minor hiccups, one involving Chris accidentally sending me the wrong holster and then having a family emergency, I received my holster a few weeks after the initial quoted time. To thank me for being so patient with him during the wait and as a sort of peace offering, Chris included a pair of magazine carriers with my order. I received the package a few days later after Chris called me personally to tell me about what had kept him from getting my holster out in the allotted time frame. Not many companies will do that in this day and age and I really appreciated that Chris took time out of his busy schedule to call me.

On to the holster itself now.

It's a standard Kydex holster, but with a left handed draw set up since I shoot handguns as a lefty. I can shoot them with my right hand just fine, but I prefer to use my left hand since it's my stronger hand. A lifetime of using my left hand to complete tasks and write will usually do that. I specifically asked for an OWB (outside the waistband) style with Tek-Lok mounting devices since I'm used to the style on my Blade-Tech holster. I just like the Tek-Lok mounts for some reason so I asked Chris to have those instead of belt loops.

Due to the small design of these particular Tek-Loks, I now have to purchase either a smaller width belt or larger Tek-Loks to accommodate my belts. It's not a big deal since Tek-Loks are around 10 bucks or so for the larger models.

The fit of the gun is perfect, though I may have to do some minor tweaking to make the draw and reholstering a little smoother. This is by no means any of Chris' fault, it's just a personal preference of mine.

The magazine carriers are set up for Tek-Loks as well and I plan to purchase some in the near future. I did have a minor complaint about one of the mag carriers, though. It's a little loose in retention of the magazine, but a little heating and reforming of the Kydex and it'll be as tight as I need it to be without having to worry about my magazine falling out.

I'll be using the holster a lot in the future in order to fully test it and I'll update this post with my findings, but until then I'm happy with the holster.

Big thanks goes out to Chris Vargas for making my holster and for doing a damn good job on it. It took a little longer than expected to reach me, but in the end the wait was worth it.

As always, this is 12-Gauge Chimp signing off.