Altor’s Single Shot Savvy


I honestly, really, completely wanted to dislike this gun. I mean, just look at it. It’s everything silly you can think up. It looks like a hose nozzle for crying out loud. It’s single shot (but not a target gun), the barrel comes off to load it (!), the sights are crude, the grip is funny, and — you don’t pull the trigger to fire the gun — you “let it go.” Huh? What?

I know, I know, I needed to calm down too. When I first saw it in videos I thought, “Well then, that’s silly. Looks like part of a Monty Python skit.

“I say there, take your silly gun and silly yourself off somewhere with it!

“What silly gun? This isn’t a silly gun. This is a real gun and I’ll silly you with it if you’re not careful, you silly nincompoop.”
That sort of thing. Monty Python, after all.

So I had to try one.

Twist the barrel off and insert a cartridge. Twist the barrel back on and you’re good to go.

Two main parts (barrel and frame) make up the Altor. Simple is as simple does.

Available in 9mm or .380, the Altor also handles CCI 9mm shot cartridges perfectly.

Altor is Latin, meaning “Protector” which might ring true in a genuine pinch. It weighs about 10 oz., which is, surprisingly, about what an empty Ruger LCPII .380 weighs. It’s about 6″ stem to stern, 3.5″ top to bottom and about 1.2″ wide, give-or-take a tad. It was developed by the company’s owner, Alex Malcolm (scientist and inventor) to be an American-made handgun, affordable, reliable and rugged — able to be purchased on anyone’s budget. And, I have to say, the Altor shows excellent workmanship, using high quality reinforced nylon polymer and 416RS stainless for the barrel and metal bits. Thanks to CNC machining it all fits together perfectly and works as-designed. All for about $129 MSRP.

This is where it gets weird, though. To load it you “pull” the trigger slightly to move the firing pin back, then twist the barrel to the right, unlocking it from the breech. The lock-up looks like the lugs on a rifle bolt. Once the barrel is off you slide a cartridge onto the breech face and it holds it while you click the barrel back into place. The forward edge of the trigger snaps into an indent on the bottom of the barrel, allowing the firing pin to reach the primer. So to carry it safely, you need to twist the barrel to cam the trigger back. Putting the cross-bolt safety on locks trigger travel and you’re good to go.

To fire, push the cross-bolt safety off, twist the barrel counter-clockwise into the “Fire” position (marked on both sides of the frame), and grip the gun firmly. This is another spot where things enter the Twilight Zone. You should grip the gun with your middle finger just below the ledge at what you might call the “bottom” of the trigger guard (even though there isn’t an enclosed guard). Also keep your thumb high, sort of pressing against the upper-back of the grip frame. You “pull” the trigger back until it stops, then, when you’re ready to fire, you let the trigger “slip” off your finger. An internal spring, compressing as you pulled, now flings the trigger (and firing pin) into the primer, firing the gun.

Five rounds of DoubleTap 9mm gave Roy this group at seven yards. The Altor shoots once you learn how to do it.

CCI 9mm shot at three yards — tractor seat to ground range and deadly on field rats.


I’ll confess it takes some dry-firing to get the routine down. Keeping your thumb high (even almost hiding the rear sight) really helps to stabilize things. Much — very much — to my surprise I could hit an aluminum can at about 10 yards pretty easily. The group in the photo was at seven yards off-hand, but that was after about 30 rounds to get things down pat. Hold onto your hats too, because I was able to hit my steel torso-sized gong at 80 yards now and again. No, really.

A couple of surprises. The shallow rifling means it handles CCI 9mm shot great and it is now my official tractor “field rat” gun. But the same shallow rifling also means I could see some keyholing or yaw in some bullets, even at seven yards. Some loads seemed to punch clean round holes though. You’d just have to experiment with yours to see what it likes. I found 147-gr. loads shot well, while light, higher velocity stuff tended to be unstable. They might be skidding along the rifling?

Once you stop laughing at it, you begin to think of reasons to have one. Would I recommend it for a primary defense gun? Of course not. But for your tractor, hiking pack, farm truck glove box, veterinarian’s med kit (to put down animals), the proverbial tackle box, or if you just need a new hose nozzle — just kidding there — the Altor is a good option.

Available in 9mm (my test gun) or .380, I’m thinking a .22 Magnum would be dandy too since those shot cartridges are pretty good. I’m betting you’re seeing this for about $115 in the real world, so maybe treat yourself to a fun gun, which may end up as a useful tool for you too. Heck, I “drilled” a hole I needed in my chicken coop with mine! For more info:

Outdoor Edge JaegerPair Knives

After a lifetime of cleaning game, I like to get it done easily and fast, with a minimal investment in tools. This duo from Outdoor Edge checks off all of those boxes. The set only weighs 8.5 oz. and the sheath makes toting them easy. The 3.9" drop-point skinner takes care of the skinning/de-boning chores, while the 3.7" gutting knife makes opening things up neat and tidy.

Both are heat-treated 420J2 stainless to help keep things easy to maintain. They sharpen easily, yet still offer good edge retention. I really liked the full tang, and the blaze orange handles make sure you can find them in a leaf-littered forest floor! I never understood camo-handled knives. The best thing is the MSRP is only $33.95 for the kit. Real working tools.

Teeny Tiny Mini-Gun

Hampton Weaver’s miniatures come out regularly and this latest is one of my favorites — a perfect early S&W J-Frame complete with flat cylinder latch. S&W really wrote a new chapter in small-frame revolvers with the Chief’s Special and it created a new genre of pocket-carry round-guns. Even those who liked the D-Frame Colts were attracted to the even smaller stature of the J-Frames. This one goes for $21.95. They are cast zinc, silver-electroplated then antiqued to bring out the details. That’s a .38 round in the pic for size.

Bullet In A Tree Mystery

This one comes from friend Marc Morganti of Gemini Customs. Marc does a lot of logging on his property and he sent me this pic not long ago. “Thought you’d get a kick out of this. I cut an old tree down and sure enough, the saw went right through a big bore lead bullet lodged deep inside.” If you look carefully, you can see the path the bullet took originally, which has since sort of been pushed around so is “S-shaped” now. I told Marc he was sure lucky and to go buy a lottery ticket!

Patriotic Ruger

I don’t know why but this one caught my eye. It’s just a simple Ruger LCP .380 but it happens to be flying a certain flag. I’m biased, I admit, as I carry a similar model daily — which has never malfunctioned, ever, not once, honest. So to me they represent a sort of reliable pocket pal protecting my family even if I happen to be arm’s distance from a “real” gun. The addition of the Cerakote American flag on the slide simply makes things even more personal. At only about 9 oz. you honestly don’t know you have it in your pocket and the $289 MSRP means you can afford it. Indulge yourself.

Tussey Teaser

If the sort of thing you see in the pic floats your boat, tune into the Nov/Dec issue for a feature on Terry Tussey’s favorite thing — building retro-1911s. Terry (of Tussey Custom) is certainly no stranger to our pages. He’s a dear, old friend of mine and without a doubt one of the icons of the 1911 world. There is literally nothing Terry doesn’t know about the platform, and his expertise shows in his custom guns and in some features he developed in use today by various factory makers. But close to his heart is making dead-nuts original looking honest-to-gosh 1911 models fooling the eye of even collectors — if the frames didn’t ultimately say Caspian! Ha! And, they are match-grade so like a resto-mod, look stock outside but shoot 1″ groups. More later!

Benchmade Bailout & Vector

Most “knife” people reach a stage where they’re no longer content with cheapo $20 knives. That’s when they reach for the likes of Benchmade. These two really typify Benchmade’s drive for quality and innovation.

The Bailout (black scales) is a sort of minimalist design, with a serrated or plain tanto style blade. An “Axis Lock” design, even with the pocket clip it’s a feathery two ounces. Look for other options and colors. MSRP is $175.

The Model 496 Vector sits in a “best” category, offering the assisted opening “flipper” feature and Axis Lock. The blade is a sort of modified drop-point, featuring Benchmade’s first-ever compound grind blade (of CPM-20CV steel). The knife is full of eye-appealing “angles” and the pocket clip delivers low-rise carry. MSRP is $335 — and worth every penny! That’s a .308 cartridge in the picture for size.

Two Tough Lighting Tools

I’m here to tell you these latest from Streamlight have rapidly risen to the top of my go-to pile of luscious lighting lumen-makers. The Strion Switchblade (red one) delivers 500 lumens of either cool white, color-correct light or UV LED light for up to five hours. The swivel light bar is handy and it lives on my bench in the shop. I reach for it constantly to help me with shop tool set-up, repairs, etc. I’m seeing it for less than $100 online.

The tiny but tough Sidewinder Boot is an issue light for recruit trainees in military boot camp. It’s got a spring clip for helmet or MOLLE mounting and is waterproof — and idiot-proof. Using two AA batteries, it gives you 55 lumens and eight hours light on high, or seven lumens and 90 hours on low. It’s also got a sliding red lens filter. Mine now lives in the saddle bag of my ’73 BMW R75/5. This is made to replace the classic angle-head D-size light we’re all familiar with. I’m seeing these for $25 online. I love simple.

Remora Low Profile Holster

Remora’s “Low Profile No-Clip IWB Holster” is made with a sort of “grabby” outer skin. This is both a sweat shield and a way for this clip-less holster to stay in place when tucked behind the belt. My test sample fit small frame revolvers like S&W’s J-Frame or the various small frame Taurus, Charter Arms or Ruger wheelguns.

Remora’s holsters are all hand-made here in the U.S.A. by a small company devoted to customer service and high quality at affordable prices. I especially like the fact this holster can be placed virtually anywhere on your waist and does equal double-duty as a very secure pocket holster. The grabby outside helps the holster stay in the pocket when you draw the gun. MSRP is around the $26 point, and they offer many styles and fits.

Proud Daddy Department

Okay, so I was on the back porch shooting a sort of weird set-up. I had an Aimtech grip scope mount on a custom 1911 with a red dot sight on top. I was checking zero and learning if this would help accuracy testing — it did. I now have a Leupold 2x crosshair pistol scope on it. Stay tuned for a feature on what I learned. It happens my daughter Madison was visiting, heard the shooting and stepped outside to check things out. “Can I try it, Daddy?” she asked. “Of course you can,” I say. Proud daddy bit: Those three shots are her first three out of this set-up, at 25 yards. The only reason there’s just three is that was what was left in the mag. About 100 rounds later she said, “Thanks, Daddy, that was fun.” Indeed it was. It seems some millennials understand trigger control?

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