A SHOT Show Retrospective And Thoughts On Gun Control


The 2019 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show is history, but there are a few things that need to be said.

First things first, and this one is aimed at people who have invested a lot of time in trying to find the perfect pocket pistol chambered for the .380 ACP. Despite the Insider’s affection for the Ruger LCP, the S&W M&P Bodyguard and similar-sized handguns with polymer frames, there’s good news for the nostalgic handgunner: The legendary Walther PPL/PPK/S is back in production, and we got the chance to run one of these pistols through its paces during Media Day at the Range.

The Walther PPK and PPK/S are back this year, and they’re manufactured by Walther, partly in Germany and then finished in the Walther facility in Arkansas. (Dave Workman) )

Stand in line if you have to, but if you want a reliable, well-designed, battlefield-tested look no further than these new-old Walthers. Yeah, the Germans used them in WWII, which proves nothing. They also used Lugers and Walther P38s and we don’t hear anyone complaining too much about their history with the “wrong” army.

We chatted with one of the Walther guys at the range. Walther is building these guns for the first time in a long time — they’ve been available through the years from other companies via licensing agreements — but this time around, they’re a combination of components from the Walther factory in Germany and the Walther factory in Arkansas. After running a bunch of ammunition downrange and hitting pretty much everything that was aimed at, suffice to say the newest incarnation of the gun made famous by a string of James Bond films is a keeper.

Do we want one? Did the fictional Bond drive a Bentley before he drove that Aston Martin?

Thanks also to the fact that ammunition development over the past several years has been good to the .380 ACP cartridge. New bullet designs and new propellants are getting everything possible out of the .380 ACP (a.k.a. “9mm Short”).

The PPK holds six rounds in the magazine while the slightly longer-framed PPK/S holds seven in the magazine.

We’ve always had a fondness for the PPK platform, and screen heroes from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig had nothing to do with it. It’s a slick, sleek double-action that hides flat against the body in an IWB rig, and it can tuck safely in the cargo pocket of a down vest or parka, or hide rather well in an ankle holster.

According to Walther’s website, the pistol in both PPK and PPK/S configurations is available in either “black” or stainless. We only ran ball ammunition through the pistol, but if this baby were stuffed with JHPs, somebody on the receiving end would be in a heap of trouble.

The slide-mounted safety on our test gun worked like a champ, and there are two magazine styles one with a flat floorplate or one with the trademark extension for the pinky.

The pistol has a 3.1-inch barrel, has a 13.4-pound DA trigger and 6.1-pound single-action letoff. The beavertail is ample enough to prevent a nasty pinch of the gun hand during cycling.

It’s got an OAL of 6.1 inches, but the PPK is 3.8 inches high while the PPK/S is a bit higher at 4.3 inches.

If you like pocket pistols, you’re going to love the newest series of Walther PPK/PPK/S pistols, or you just don’t know legendary handguns. By now, it should be shipping to retailers, and there was quite a bit of interest from dealers during the SHOT Show.

What’s your pleasure, black or stainless?

Or do you prefer shaken, but not stirred?

SR 1911 Competition ‘Koenig’

We chatted with Doug Koenig, the world champion competitor, at the Ruger display at the range, and then had the chance to put some rounds downrange with the new Custom Shop SR1911 competition pistol, and we were impressed.

Author Workman ran the Custom Shop SR1911 without a hitch during the SHOT Show’s Media Day at the Range.

Chambered for the 9mm cartridge, this M1911 platform pistol is no clunker. With a stainless steel slide and Black Nitrided stainless steel frame, the pistol weighs 41 ounces empty and when we rapid-fired rounds into the head area of a target, recoil was more than manageable and group results were impressive.

Koenig is properly proud of the gun he helped develop. It’s got a TechWell magwell, the magazine capacity is 10 rounds, it’s got a 5-inch barrel and fiber optic adjustable sights dovetailed into the slide front and rear.

Doug Koenig

It’s got a flat front match trigger, Hogue Piranha G10 grips and 25 lines-per-inch checkering on the front strap and flat mainspring housing. The trigger guard is undercut for a slightly higher hold, and the barrel is cut with six lands and grooves with a 1:16-inch right hand twist.

The SR1911 Custom Shop model has fine checkering on the front strap.

The finished product has a two-tone appearance that is irresistible, and according to the Ruger website, it’s got an MSRP of $2,499.

Gun Control Undercurrent

Whether cruising the SHOT Show aisles or visiting with gun writers in the press room, the conversations didn’t go very long without straying into the mud pit of gun control politics.

By no small coincidence, on the first day of the show, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted for review a challenge of a New York City handgun regulation that is simply Draconian. Essentially, after a Big Apple resident jumps through all the bureaucratic hoops to simply own a gun in the home, the law doesn’t allow them to take that pistol outside the city for any reason. Can’t take your gun to a range outside of town, can’t take it on a trip, to a competition, or on a hunting trip.

The city has argued that a gun owner can buy a second handgun and keep it out of town.

The high court, now with Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on board—both considered constitutional “originalists”—hasn’t touched a Second Amendment case in nine years.

Writing for the National Review, senior writer David French had this observation: “I sincerely doubt the court granted review to affirm the Second Circuit’s decision and uphold the New York City law.”