Five Stars

I recently picked up a Star Model 30PK (center), so my collection of Stars is now complete. Or at least as complete as I want it. From left to right (in approximate order of development):

Model B Super - Outwardly a 9mm 1911 clone, but internally resembles a Hi-Power

M-43 Firestar - A compact, single stack 9mm, sort of a more modern version of Star's old compact 1911s

Model 30PK - Star's Wondernine. The Model 28 competed (and lost) in the US handgun trials against classics like the Beretta 92 and the Ruger P85

Ultrastar - A polymer framed single stack 9mm, double action/single action with a decocker. The pinnacle of Spanish self-defence

Megastar 45 - The Spanish Desert Eagle, an enormous double stack .45 Auto (also available in 10mm) that has no practical use I can see

Beretta 9000s - Designed by Nike, Built by Beretta

The 9000s was first produced in 2000, and was Beretta's first polymer framed handgun. Unlike the rotating barrel operation of the previous 8000 series (aka Cougar), the 9000s is a standard tilting barrel short recoil design. What makes it unique among Berettas is the reversed slide rails, which to my knowledge they never did before or since. This has the side effect of making the slide impossible to manipulate on the 9000s, since you can't get a purchase on the smooth rounded slide.

The 9000s has a frame mounted, ambidextrous safety decocker. Unlike the regular 92 series, you can put the gun on safe without decocking it, and removing the safety is very easy due to the the position of the lever. The lever can be pushed up past the safe position to decock the hammer to a safety notch, and it can be carried decocked with the safety on. While the safety is on, the trigger is totally dead.

In order to merge the Beretta open-slide design with the tilting barrel recoil system, the barrel of the 9000s has big flanges sticking off the side that mate into the frame. As a result, this gun is WIDE AS SHIT despite being nominally a compact carry piece. It also has an insanely long trigger reach, and a thick grip. One nice concession to shooters of different hand sizes is the movable finger extenstion tab on the baseplate of the magazine. It can be raised for small-handed shooters, or lowered to provide a pinky rest. It's a cool idea but not a practical one. The magazines with the standard baseplate are a better all around choice.

You could get the 9000s in 9mm, or .40 S&W, and in standard or DAO configurations. The magazines hold 12 rounds of 9mm or 10 rounds of .40 S&W. Beretta 92/96 series magazines can be used with a grip sleeve adapter, but those are hard to find and run for easily $100 or more today. Mine is in .40 which was the Smart Choice (TM) for the AWB era.

I don't think the 9000s sold very well, possibly because it looks like a running shoe, or possibly because it's a huge fat bastard. They definitely didn't get a lot of exposure. The only high profile media appearances I can think of are Tom Cruise in Minority Report, and Jada Pinkett Smith in Enter the Matrix (the Matrix Reloaded companion video game). The small overall size of the 9000s makes it a good movie gun for smaller statured actors, like women... or Tom Cruise.

Camo is Italian Veggie Tales pattern (Vegetato).

Star Firestar M-43 Video

One more time, with video.

Smith & Wesson 22A-1 w/ Bushnell TRS-25

Attaching a 4x rifle scope to my Smith 22A-1 was a resounding success (aside from the gunpowder in my eyes), so I decided to sack up and buy a real red dot.

The Bushnell TRS-25 is an inexpensive micro red dot that's about the perfect size for a handgun. You can get one for between $60 and $90 on Amazon, which places it in the low end of the price range. It's definitely higher quality than any other red dot in the same price range. The TRS-25 even punches above its weight class, and makes it hard to justify spending hundreds of dollars more on a nicer micro red dot.

Pistol no longer actually fits in that soft case. Nice backdrop though.

Smith & Wesson 22A-1 - Buckmark on a Budget

Smith & Wesson 22A-1

I know every shooter should have a .22 pistol for fun and practice, but I put off getting one for a long time. Most of them, like the Ruger Mark III/IV, Beretta Neos and friends look too weird. I'm a bit more on board with .22 imitations of centerfire handguns, like the Smith & Wesson M&P 22, Ruger SR22, or Walther P22.

I went to the gun store to put my grubby mitts on a few. The P22 and SR22 were so small they evaporated in my hand. It felt like my fingers were covering all the crucial operating components, which was just on the bad side of comfortable. The M&P 22 Compact felt better, but looked worse. I just think the M&P series looks goofy. I do like the look of the Browning Buckmark, but the inexpensive base models are hideous, and the nicer looking ones are way too expensive for what they are.

Around this time I went shooting with extended family, and got to try out a Smith & Wesson 22A-1. It jammed and misfired on about 4 out of 10 rounds, but it LOOKED good, and was just the right size.

A Different Definition of "GLOCK Perfection" (and the Ruger American Compact)

The newly announced Compact version of the Ruger American Pistol got me thinking about GLOCKs. A commentor on posted a response saying they hoped for a new Ruger pistol caliber carbine in the vein of the old Ruger PC9/40. Presumably they were hoping for one that would be compatible with the new RAP 17 round magazines.

And that got me thinking. The Ruger PC9 and PC40 were compatible with magazines for the P series pistols. A lot of gun guys (including me) have been hoping Ruger would make a new version of the PC9 compatible with the SR series magazines. Call it the Ruger SRC9. But if they were to release one now, they would have to choose between compatibility with SR series magazines, or American Pistol series magazines.

The discontinued Ruger Police Carbine. I desperately want one of these.
Because they keep changing the magazines. The last models of the P series were discontinued less than 10 years ago, so in a very short time Ruger has offered the P series, the SR series, and the new American series, all with different magazines. A Ruger American Carbine (RAC9?) would be awesome, but it would be much more awesome if it worked with the magazines you already have.

The more recently discontinued Ruger P95. I don't want one of these... because I already have one.
But it does need a carbine companion.
The same thing happened with Smith & Wesson. Their long running series of metal framed autoloaders (I call them the "Garbage Number" pistols) used one magazine design, the subsequent Sigma series used a different magazine design, and the new M&P series uses yet a third design.

Same with Beretta, who's new PX4 series pistols are not compatible with the 92 series magazines. Beretta offers two versions of their CX4 storm carbine, one compatible with 92 series mags and the other compatible with Storm series mags.

But if you buy a GLOCK Gen 4 magazine, it will work in your 30 year old Gen 1 pistol. Still have your old Gen 1 magazines? They'll work fine in your brand new Gen 4 (or 5) pistol. And that applies to a number of parts as well.

"GLOCK Perfection" is often derided because GLOCK keeps releasing new models. How can you improve on perfection? But the thing is, GLOCK only changes little ergonomic things while keeping the core of their pistols the same. The magazine design is perfection and doesn't have to change. The mechanism of the gun is perfection and doesn't have to change.

Of course the definition of "perfection" is also important. The GLOCK 19 is often compared to the Toyota Camry, and that is a perfect comparison. Ask a car guy what the best car is, and they'll tell you to buy a Camry. That doesn't mean the Camry is the fastest car, or the most fun to drive, but it is the perfect car for almost every normal person.

That's how a GLOCK 19 can be the best, even if it isn't the best. It also helps that GLOCKs are amazingly size efficient. The new RAP Compact is about GLOCK 19 size, but it holds 12 rounds of 9mm versus the GLOCK's 15. GLOCK pistols are just big enough to fit the operating components and have no added bulk. That's why the GLOCK 19 almost qualifies as compact, while the RAP has to lose 3 rounds to fit that descriptor.

GLOCK Perfection also gets brought up any time someone talks about modifying a GLOCK. Why would you have to modify perfection?

You don't have to modify GLOCKs. But gun guys like to modify their guns, and GLOCKs are easy to work on and have a strong aftermarket support. The fact that you can easily modify GLOCKs is part of the perfection.

Anyway, I guess my point is, if GLOCK made a carbine it would sell like heroin infused crack. Until then you could always get a Kel-Tec Sub 2000 and be confident in continued magazine support from GLOCK in perpetuity. If you can find a Sub 2000 that is. And if you get one that works.