Sunday, January 31, 2010


I got The Fever. Gun Fever. Just like the boss sang, I'm wanting on a new gun. I have several guns in mind, and I am certainly fond of buying used guns in excellent condition and saving big money.

It's been a few years since I've done the gun show runs and the pawn shop runs but I'm ready to start doing that again, looking for a bargain.

Right now, I'm looking for a thin, concealable semi-auto pistol in either .357 Sig or 9mm, preferably .357 Sig.

I've about narrowed it down to two guns: A used HK P-7 or a Sig Sauer Model 239 in .357 Sig, preferably the SAS version (which featurs some shaved edges and a dehorned but still single action cockable and functional hammer). As I recently mentioned, I shot a M239 of these in 9mm and was quite smitten with it.

THE SIG Model 239 SAS

It shot smooth and highly accurately, as accurate as my highly accurate first Glock M21 as purchased in 1992, which to-date is the most accurate shooting auto I've ever owned though.

I know .357 Sig is a very popular caliber right now for law enforcement, and lately I've been talking to some of my Texas Ranger friends to find out what they think about it. As I think I have mentioned, they are ga-ga over it. When the Rangers adopted the Sig in .45 caliber back in the 1990's, many Rangers felt although it was a fine gun, they still carried their 1911's.

But when the Rangers switched to the .357 Sig, after a few years, I began to see many Rangers carrying the 226 or the 229 in the .357 Sig. Until a few weeks ago, I never questioned it, it was their deal. I do know they can still carry a .45 Sig or a 1911 if they want, but many (although they still own fancy, worked on 1911's and many own the Commemorative Ranger model Sigs that were sold back in the 1990's to the Rangers on a special basis).

But the several Rangers I have spoken with are convinced it is a superior caliber for their uses. They also work many if not all of the police related shootings that occur, and they are seeing the stopping power of the .357 Sig as equal or better than the .45 auto, and they can carry more rounds in the gun of the .357 Sig.

I was surprised to hear this. I've never cared much for the .40 caliber round, and I have had some great shooting experiences with M&P's and Glocks chambered in these calibers and owned by friends. I briefly owned a Firestar in .40 Caliber some 15 years ago. I bought it from a then-secretary who didn't like it and used it for trade fodder for a nice Commander.

So the Model 239, although a bit heavy compared to other guns I'm thinking about, is definately a very safe gun to carry with one in the chamber next to your body in an IWB holster. I love the way my Glock 36 shoots, but I don't care much for carrying a Glock trigger next to my body. I wish it had an external safety.

The 239 has no safety but it has the heavier double action/single action trigger, which takes much more effort to shoot in DA mode than the Glock pistols. Glock pistols are basically "Cocked and Un-Locked", as they have no real safety.

Yes, I've read the Glock propaganda about the trigger but find it more suited to a larger, thicker holster that protects the trigger better, and is thus much less concealable. I also worry about an accidental discharge when reholstering in the Glock pistols, although I'm not familiar with any type of tendency for them to do that.


I have waxed nostalgiac for one of these in many prior posts, lauding the virtues of the squeeze-cocker design pistol. And the virtues are many.

My first one, an early model with the heel magazine release, had been previously owned by a longtime undercover HPD narc. He had taken the square edge off of the trigger guard with a file, leaving a good bit of bare metal. There was no rust on the bare metal.

No rust.

After he had carried this gun mostly "Mexican Carry" style (i.e. no holster, stuck in the pants under a belt with no holster) next to his body in humid Houston for about 6 years and his homemade elimination of the squared off trigger guard kept it from gouging him when carried this way. I modified some Commander holsters to fit this gun, but soon settled on the Askins Avenger and the Milt Sparks Summer Special for this gun.

The second P7 I owned had the thumb style mag release, and I remember this accidentally engaging during carry (unbeknownst to me) on several occasions, thus popping out the mag just enough so that it was disengaged.

So if I get another P7, it will be the earlier heel magazine release model.

The P7 weighs a bit less than the Sig M239, but does shoot 9mm, which I like better than .40 caliber. The P7 is a stout gun, and can handle some pretty stout ammunition, so loaded well, it's a viable defense weapon. CorBon comes to mind as the "it ammo" for self defense for the 9mm, but I think the Federal low velocity and high expansion personal defense ammo would be a very viable choice as well.

Even with stout, factory recommended ammo, the P7 recoils very little. Very little compared to other 9mm's, due to the particular gas operation system of the P7, which I absolutely can't explain. I just know the first time I shot the first P7 I owned, I was like "that's it? That's all it kicks? ".

The P7 has no external safety either, yet it features the innovative and highly safe squeeze cocking system. On the rare occasions I would carry this gun in my pants sans holster, I always felt safe.

So it is odd that the biggest gripe I have with the Glock 36 is that it has no external safety. But it's the trigger system that the Sig M239 and the squeeze cocking HK P7 offer that seem to me to be so safe. The 239 has a decocking lever, while the squeeze cocker serves the dual purposed of cocking and decocking the gun all in one motion.

Decocking can be dangerous with the wrong gun. You don't decock the Glock when you finish shooting it, you simply reholster. With that awfully wonderfully shooting but scary to carry Glock trigger.

What do you think?

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