Thanks to Black Friday I completed the poor-man's PCC GLOCK 17, to go with my existing brace of pistols. From top to bottom:

GLOCK 17 Gen 2 with ENDO Tactical buffer tube adapter

7.5" Poverty Pony Pistol

Ruger Charger Takedown with Copper Custom buffer tube adapter

All of them are capped off with KAK pistol buffer tubes, and Shockwave Blade pistol braces. The GLOCK and the AR have translucent ETS magazines, which are OK. They look better than they feel. The Charger doesn't have a suppressor yet, but it might in about a year.

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.