Sunday, September 30, 2012

Caracal C: Glock Killer?

I've often posted here with high praise for the Caracal pistols so I figured I'd knock out a review of the guns with the Caracal C going first.   The C model seems to be the one people ask about the most and frequently the question is, "Is it better than a Glock 19?"   We'll get to that a little later but first I'll lay out some of the pros and cons of the gun.

-Reliable.  The gun has well over 1,000 rounds (not sure on the exact count, I've let many people borrow the pistol to try out) with only 1 malfunction which was a bad primer with Brown Bear ammo.  I put the same round in my G17 and it didn't fire with that gun either so I'm putting the blame solely on the ammo
-Price.  This gun is available online for $399 shipped with box and two mags.  In my opinion it's the best handgun deal on the market today (CZ 82 second).
-Accurate.  This gun is like a 1911 in that it tends to make average shooters shoot like good shooters
-Very low bore axis (see comparison pictures with my P229 below) resulting in the softest shooting 9mm (along with the F model) I've ever shot
-Excellent trigger.  It's smooth with no stacking.  It breaks extremely cleanly and has a positive reset
-Great finish.  The Plasox (with nitriding) finish is holding up very well thus far
-It has a loaded chamber indicator on the top of the slide allowing the user to check that it is loaded without having to conduct a press check
-Very good ergonomics.  Everyone that has shot the gun seems to comment on how good it feels in their hands
-15+1 capacity while only weighing 25oz
-Passed the WTD 91 (German armed forces) testing in 2006
-Has been adopted by several nations' standard military sidearm; many police agencies in Italy and Germany have adopted it as well
-It's classified as an IDPA production gun
-Easy to clean and maintain.   Requires very little lubrication as well
-Interior parts are coated with the Plasox finish as well
-Ambi controls (except for the slide lock)
-Spare parts including springs are available from Caracal-USA now (this is relatively new)
-The Caracal C can use F 18 round magazines

-Little aftermarket support
-Night sights are not available in the US currently.  I spoke with Caracal USA last week and they said they are working with several manufacturers currently but they don't have a date yet as to when they'll be released
-The rear sight is part of the firing pin assembly.  This will either make aftermarket sights more expensive or limit some to front sight only
-The guns are made in the UAE and Germany.   The UAE made guns are the only ones available in the US currently.  (I don't care about this but it's a common point brought up so I'm including it so people don't say "you didn't mention where it was made....")
-In order to detail strip the gun you have to deal with roll pins.  Not a big deal but I'd prefer not to if I didn't have to
-The slide lock protrudes to far.  I hit it with my thumb about 50% of the time if I'm not conscious of it and many people I've let shoot it have the exact same issue

Now, back to the original question---is it better than the G19?  In terms of familiarity, factory customer service support, sight availability, and aftermarket support---no, it's not.  In terms of factory trigger, cost (non-blue label program), and perceived recoil---yes it is.   I'll give them a tie for reliability, simplicity, and accuracy.

The best way I can answer the question is to say if I never fired a handgun and was given a Caracal C and a G19 to shoot for a day and asked to pick only 1 which would I pick?  I think I'd pick the Caracal C.  That said, I've been shooting Glocks for years and am very comfortable and relatively proficient with them so now I slightly prefer Glocks but I wouldn't have any reservations about trusting my life to a Caracal.

Here's a video of me shooting the gun, a tabletop review with some comparisons to other 15 round 9mm guns (G19 and SIG P229R), and a chronograph test with some popular defensive loads:

Chrono numbers:
Speer 124gr Gold Dot JHPs: 1127fps, 350 ft/lbs energy
Federal 124gr HST JHPs: 1092fps, 328 ft/lbs energy
Winchester 115gr Ranger JHPs: 1095fps, 306 ft/lbs energy

Caracal bore axis:
 SIG P229R bore axis:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Magpul 870 SGA FDE Stock And Forend Review

Well, I've always thought the Magpul 870 stocks were ugly (the forends look good IMO...) but the flat dark earth version is a little more aesthetically pleasing than the rest; at least to me.    Here's a run down of the pros and cons for the stock and forend:



-12.5''-14.5'' adjustable LOP
-Very easy to install

-I find the grip angle very ergonomic
-The fit with the receiver is great
-The grip area allows for better retention in the event of a gun grab attempt
-Adjustable cheek risers for use with optics availible
-A couple different options to attach slings
-Standard 870 recoil pads can be used with the stock (requires an additional Magpul adaptor)


-Cost (anywhere from $85-100)
-It's ugly looking
-Only available for Remington 870s at the moment; Magpul says the Mossberg versions are in the works



-Cost (between $25-35 most places)
-Ease of installation 
-Modularity (slots accept standard Magpul rails and accessories)
-Very solid fit; no wobble like some forends
-The built in handstop really helps you get a positive grip to run the gun hard even with sweaty hands
-Looks good


-Creates wear marks on the barrel/mag tube (doesn't bother me but it may bother some)

Here's a video of me shooting the gun below and discussing some of the pros and cons of the setup:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Gen 4 Glock 23 Review

The Glock 23 is a typical boring Glock.  It's utterly reliable, lightweight, soft shooting, more accurate than 99% of the people that shoot it, and extremely simple in design and function.   I've had this one for a few months now and have just over 500 rounds through it and here's what I've found.
-Reliable (0 malfunctions of any kind; with and without tac light attached) 
-Accurate (more accurate than I am) 
-Durable (I have a Gen2 23 with thousands of rounds through it and it's still going strong) 
-Easy to maintain 
-TONS of aftermarket support 
-Accepts 13, 15, and 22 round factory magazines 
-Small and light enough to carry but holds 13+1 
-Glock's customer service is second to none 
-Durable finish
-Cheap replacement parts, should you ever need them 
-Low Bore Axis resulting in a relatively soft shooting gun
-Easily modified to fit the shooters' preferences
-Requires very little cleaning/lubrication to run reliably 
-I like the Gen4 grip texture; especially in the 40S&W guns
-It's had consistent ejection with all ammo

-I'm not a fan of the factory plastic sights
-Comes with a serrated trigger due to import rules (easy swap)
-I'm not a fan of the Gen4 backstrap system.  It's never failed me but the system used by other manufactures integrates more seamlessly with the firearm than the Glock system
Here's a video with some shooting from the 12m line,  a table top review and discussion, and a chronograph test with some popular defensive loads.

Chrono numbers:

Winchester Ranger 135gr JHPs: 1124 fps, 379 ft/lbs energy
Federal HST 180gr JHPs: 997 fps, 397 ft/lbs energy
Federal HST 165gr JHPs: 1051 fps, 405 ft/lbs energy

In summary, it's tough to go wrong with a Glock 23.  It's adaptable to most uses (duty, HD, concealed carry, ect...), can be easily converted to 9mm for cheaper practice, it's adaptable to the shooters hands, and most importantly is utterly reliable.