As a professional police officer for three decades one of my main concerns after choosing a weapon for my various duty assignments was to ensure I chose the best leather gear I could possibly find. After you choose your weapon the leather choice will be your next item to purchase but no less important than the weapon you’ve decided to carry.
Over the years I’ve used leather gear from Bianchi in the form of the old Askins Avenger which is no longer made but is now available from many leather makers. I’ve also used custom leather from most of the well known leather artisans over the years. To make this perfectly clear your leather gear is as important as the gun you choose to carry make no mistake about it.
The importance of your gear is not only limited to your holster design but choice of material, craftsmanship, attention to detail, comfort in wearing it for many hours and the dedication of the custom leather artisan to giving the owner the best gear possible knowing your life can depend on the best holster, belt and mag pouches as well as other accessories.
In the 1970’s we started with revolvers and switched to semi autos in the 1980’s. Of course some of us were allowed to carry semi autos back in the 1970’s as primary guns or as backup weapons. My choice was the Browning Hi Power, 1911’s and the S&W model 39. The Askins Avenger was usually my choice for these models. I also used a cross draw holster when working plain clothes when I spent a lot of time sitting in a car doing surveillance.
As a firearms instructor I always tried to instill a sense of importance to my students of picking out the best leather possible that fit the weapon they carried and worked well for the intended purpose. Most instructors I knew didn’t place the same importance on leather as I did but in order to do a thorough job and to make my students as well prepared as possible very good gear was an important part of my instruction. You’ll note in my blog I refer to reviews on several holster makers who make fine products. What follows is not meant to put these fine makers down by any means but when I find something better I want everyone who reads this blog to know about it so they can enjoy the benefits as much as I do.
About two months ago I started a search for a new holster rig for my Hi Power with the idea of adding another rig at a later date for my Para 1911. Now I know good leather when I see it as well as very good workmanship and a dedicated artisan who cares about his customers, especially those who go in harms way. I found such a person in Erik Little of Buffalo, Wyoming. Erik has a one man shop and is committed to creating the ultimate in quality leather goods for law enforcement as well as those in the military.
Here is a short biography written by Erik:
My name is Erik Little. I am a retired Deputy Sheriff from a medium sized Sheriff’s Department in the southwestern part of the United States. I served eight years on the SWAT Team, five years as a helicopter pilot, three years on the K9 Unit, and everything else was patrol. I served eight years in the Marine Corps with 2nd Recon Bn and 4th Recon Bn. I was an operational recon team leader during Desert Shield/Storm.
I grew up on a family owned ranch doing leather work. While working for the Sheriff’s Department, I continued to do leather work as a hobby and to fix my wife’s clients’ saddles. I did quite a few floral carved and stamped belts for people as well. Then, some fellow SWAT Team members convinced me to make them holsters. The late holster maker and firearms instructor Bruce Nelson was very instrumental and influenced my holster making progress and philosophies. Whenever he was in town, we would discuss leatherwork. I kind of lost interest for several years because of work schedules, I was tied to a pager. After I got off the adrenaline and had two kids, I resumed my leatherwork. As word spread and my product greatly improved, it became a second job. In 2005, I had my time in for retirement and decided to do the holster thing fulltime. That is pretty much my background in a nut shell.
I read Erik’s entire website and was convinced that this is a man who knows his craft and is totally dedicated to giving his customers the best product he possibly can produce. I contacted Erik about crafting a holster for my Hi Power as well as a matching gun belt and single mag pouch in light tan. Within a little over two weeks I received a package in the mail that had the most beautiful rig I’ve ever seen. The tan color was uniform in all three pieces. The stitching is medium heavy and very straight not to mention being stitched in a way that supports the body of the holster, belt and mag pouch. The belt buckle is brass but is available in silver as well. The buckle can also be changed out by removing as screw in the back of the belt. You can attach a buckle like the Gunsite buckle or about any buckle you would want as long as the belt fits with the new buckle attached. The fit of the belt is perfect. Erik request you send exact waist measurements so the belt is custom to fit you and is not a stock 34, 36 etc. The stitching on the belt and the mag pouch are also very exact. One thing you find on many custom rigs is a tendency for the top of the gun to hang out to the side a bit. Erik makes his holster similar to the Askins Avenger but does ride a little lower so that the pistol and holster are held very close to the body. The mag pouch is constructed in the same manner and fits very close to the body as well. The belt is stiff enough to hold any accessory close to the body. The whole rig is very comfortable. I’ve been wearing it on the range and just around the house and it’s very comfortable to wear all day. The fit of the pistol in the holster is also snug but is easy to draw your weapon from. The real unique feature is that somehow Erik creates a holster that the bad guys are not going to get out of one of his holsters. It’s not a problem for you to draw though. The same applies to the mag pouch. I wrapped my pistol in a piece of plastic wrap for a couple of days to obtain the best fit. Breaking a holster in this way works very well. The top of the holster is also reinforced to keep the holster open and easily reholstered. The edges of all the gear is smooth and slightly rounded not only for aesthetic purposes but to make it smooth and comfortable and will not snag.
Let me assure you this is an honest assessment of the best rig I have ever used! Not only is it beautiful but functional and very well thought out. Craftsmanship is second to none!
Normally I don’t use as many pictures as I am on this review but in this case all these pictures just serve to verify what I’ve said in the review. I hope you enjoy the pictures and will consider Erik for your next holster or other accessory. They are wonderful products with a very reasonable turnaround time.
Eriks advice on leather care:
Materials & Maintenance
Examples I only use hand selected, premium grade, full-grain, US grown, vegetable-tanned steer hides, which come from Thoroughbred Leather in Louisville, Kentucky. Vegetable tanning involves only non-hazardous organic materials, unlike other methods that use heavy metals. Thoroughbred Leather is the finest I have found here in the US for making gun gear.
For holsters, mag pouches, and other items that require hand bone forming, I use the shoulder area of the hide. The shoulder leather is more pliable and accepts forming much better than the other parts of the hide. For belts, I use the back and butt area of the hide. This area is the strongest part of the hide and is more resistant to stretch than the shoulder.
I only use #346 polyester bonded thread in all my products. Polyester thread does not stretch like nylon. I use bonded polyester because of its strength and resistance to UV light, sweat, chemicals, and rot.
Before the final finish is applied, it’s rubbed with a light coat of oil. All of my products are finished with a water based satin acrylic compound to completely seal the leather.
Do not submerge or saturate your leather gear in water or any other liquid.
Do not dry your leather product with heat from a hair dryer, oven, radiator, direct sunlight, etc. if for some reason you are on an armed swimming operation.
Do not use oils such as Neat’s-foot, Mink oil, or any other oil as they will saturate and soften the leather too much. I have oiled and sealed the leather prior to the final finish.
Do not leave your leather gear on the dashboard of your car in summer, or leave it otherwise exposed to the elements.
A tight new holster is much preferred over a loose one. If your draw is stiff at first, I recommend you work with it to see if it doesn’t loosen up with a bit of use. Anywhere from 30 to 50 presentations will tell you whether the holster will break in on its own or if may need a little assistance. There are many reasons why a holster would be excessively tight, variances in manufacturer’s tolerances, the pistol’s finish, humidity, etc. Not to worry, you can easily remedy an excessively tight holster. Get a Zip-lock freezer bag, insert the unloaded gun in the bag, carefully insert the bagged gun all the way into the holster, and allow it to sit overnight. All this is doing is stretching the leather a very slight amount.
Holster Fit and Weapon Retention
A good holster should retain the pistol during reasonable physical activity. Of course, if a holster would retain the pistol during any activity, it would also prevent drawing. If draw speed were not an important component of the pistol/holster system, the solution would be relatively simple—multiple positive closure devices. When the “utilization at upper performance levels” comes into play, functional clarity and design precision are critical. Experience in practical shooting has shown that absent some special purpose, the unfastening of a retaining device is best avoided. As well as being generally time consuming, retaining straps in many cases interfere with proper firing grip to some degree even when well designed. The fit of the holster therefore is important. In all cases holsters should be precisely fitted to the pistol they are intended to carry and should be used for only that pistol, or a pistol with identical dimensions. The practice of selling holsters marked “Medium Auto” or “Large Revolver” is common but unacceptable if serious use of the holster is intended. A holster which fits many pistols is not likely to fit yours very well. In fact, a new holster should fit like a new pair of shoes. When broken in, it should then be just right. Heavily oiled holsters should also be avoided since the good fit they initially may have will last only a short time, after which they will become soft and pliable. Other traditional retention devices such as thump-snap straps and adjustable tension devices are called for or even required under certain conditions and will be more fully discussed in the model description section.
Holster Balance/Pistol Weight Distribution
Often when a holster style or design is created, the manufacturer proceeds to create conceptually identical patterns for all pistols for which it is made. This practice, while useful for marketing or production simplicity, does not account for important differences in pistols. The exact wearing relationship between pistol, holster, and person is influenced, sometimes significantly, by pistol weight distribution. Consider the simple case of the comparison between semi-auto pistols and revolvers. While a revolver centers its weight in the cylinder area and sometimes forward depending on barrel weight, a semi-auto’s center of balance is often in the grip area with very little weight forward. The effect of this can be seen, for instance, in the notion of making a so-called “high-ride” holster. Particularly in the case of the semi-auto pistol placing the trigger guard any higher than belt level places up to 80% of the weight of the pistol from one to three inches above the belt. The only way to conceal a top heavy holstered pistol of this type is to uncomfortably tighten the belt and even this may not work. In general each design must be made with the individual pistol, not the style or visual look of the holster, as the central factor.
Consistent presentation of the pistol from the holster demands that holster and belt fit snugly to avoid any wobble or shifting of holster location. It is probably best to purchase both holster and belt from the same maker and to specify belt loop size to match your belt, since there are variations from one maker to the next. The same principle, of course, applies to magazine pouches.
When you buy good leather gear, you want and expect it to last. How long it will serve you depends on several factors, namely, the quality of design, the work and materials used, the frequency and conditions under which it is used, and the type and degree of care you give it. The truth about leather gear, any leather gear, is that it is not going to last a lifetime, unless it is not used or used very little. It is made of natural materials, not stainless steel. However, it can last many years if it is well made and receives care and maintenance.
I could fill a book attempting to describe all of the design and material choices which must be made. It should suffice to say that factory produced holsters must and do make compromises in their designs. Even if the designer of the mass produced holster has any firearms background, he is usually required to design for one factor that has nothing to do with what the holster’s function—this factor is ease of production. A holster factory is made up primarily of people who have no interest in shooting. They usually are trained on the job with no previous background in leather work. The holster then can be no better than the least skilled people who build it. This is a prime restriction on the functional sophistication of most holsters produced in a factory environment.
The second restriction on quality is that the very best materials are expensive and in some cases hard to obtain in quantity. When a mass produced holster is discounted up to 50% for the dealer, costs have to be cut somewhere to make a profit. The same goes for finishes, hardware, etc.
I hope you enjoyed this review and find it useful.
After a couple of weeks of wearing this rig around the house and using it more on the range it’s broken in very well. A lot of holsters and belts arrive holding the gun and mag very close to the body but after you break them in they tend to allow the mag and holster to hang out to the side or the pistol is held rather loosely. Nope not this setup. It’s holding the mag pouch,holster and any other accessory as close to my body as it did the first day it arrived and that’s a very good thing. It just goes back to the quality of the leather Erik uses and his craftsmanship.
I used a piece of thin plastic at first to wrap the pistol in to break in the holster and now that I’ve removed it the fit is perfect and the draw is excellent holding the HP snug but allowing a very clean draw. The mag pouch is the same way. I took the whole rig and put it on a hanger upside down with the pistol and mag pouch loaded (no bullet in the chamber though) and left it that way for a day and nothing fell out of the holster or mag pouch. That may sound like a strange way of testing for weapon retention but it works. If there had been any stretching of the leather or a poor fit after use one of the two would have fallen out onto the pillow I layed underneath it.
The final conclusion is in! If you want a very high quality belt, holster, mag pouch or any other accessory this is the man to buy it from! Looks are great and so is function. I can recommend to anyone reading the blog that if they need a great holster and don’t want to wait forever to get it contact Erik—I certainly am!
Rafter L Pocket Holster for the Kel-Tec
June 28, 2008
Todd Jarrett shooting the SSP “Tactical Duty” Para 1911
Para Ordnance 7.45 1911
There are 1911’s then there are outstanding 1911’s and this Para is an outstanding one to say the least. Most 1911’s I have purchased have a feature or two I would like to add or a change to be made. This Para needs no changes or additions at all. The trigger is certified from the factory at 4 pounds.Mine measured 3pounds 14 ounces–perfect! It has an arched mainspring housing which is unusual from the factory these days but something I now have actually found preferable to the flat version. This Para comes with two magazines which I’m unsure as to who makes them but they look a lot like Wilson mags although they aren’t. They are 8 rounders. The barrel is a match type which Para claims is the most accurate barrel in the world. It also has a full ramped barrel. I’ve not owned a full size 1911 with a full ramped barrel before. This is a first for me but I’m sold. It’s works flawlessly. It’s very smoothly finished and shines like a new coin. The barrel is also crowned and forged. Something normally seen only on a custom 1911. The sights are very nice and easily aligned. This model comes with a rear sight with deep lateral serrations to cut down glare. They have two white dots with the front sight having a fiber optic insert. The factory installs the front sight with a green insert and supplies a yellow and red one should you prefer one of the other colors. A polymer takedown tool is also provided in the box. They really stand out and for those of us who have passed 50 years old they are very nice indeed! Another feature I like is the lack of front slide serrations. I’ve always hated the addition of this feature ever since everyone started using them. They just don’t look right on a 1911 and for my use don’t serve any useful purpose.
Fiber Optic Front Sight
Side View Fiber Optic
The fit and finish is perfect. The slide to frame fit is very snug (Para claims .0004 tolerances and that’s snug) which in this case is a good thing. Why? Because after 200 rounds there were no malfunctions of any type with any ammo I used in it. This means in spite of the very close tolerances this pistol is very reliable. I used ball as well as 4 types and brands of hollowpoints. I have trouble with many 1911’s when I try to keep my thumb on the safety when depressed and still manage to depress the grip safety enough to fire the pistol. There was no problem with this pistol. It was very easy to keep my thumb in position on the safety and still pull the trigger. The gunsmith I spoke with at Para tells me they had this in mind when the grip safety was designed and had the radius made a bit wider. The factory recoil spring is an 18.5 pound one where most factory springs are in the 16.5 to 17 pound range. This saved me some money in not having to order the 18.5 I normally use. The barrel bushing is also very snug put does not require a bushing wrench. If you look at the picture above you can see how snug the slide to frame fit is.
Barrel Bushing and Front Sight
Left Side View With Wilson 47D Magazine
The thumb safety is the tactical type left side only. I did change the grips to the Mil-Tac G10 grips with the 1* logo. This model Para also uses the GI recoil spring and plug rather than the full length guide rod which is a good thing in my opinion. I’ve never been that fond of the full length guide rod and have never seen any increase in accuracy from using one. I also like the Power Extractor and I do believe it contributes to the reliability of the pistol. Para says that this extractor will rip the rim off a case rather than break the extractor or let the case rim slip under it.
10 Yard 2 1/2 inch Birchwood Casey Target
Accuracy with this pistol is outstanding! Of course most quality 1911’s these days show good accuracy. You can tell Para did their homework on this pistol. The accuracy is above average for any factory 1911. The picture above is a small Birchwood Casey target placed on a bad guy target. I did need to adjust the sights a small amount to move the point of aim a hair to the right. This target show the hits before I adjusted the rear sight. The target shows the hits I made from 10 yards at fairly rapid fire for a total of six magazines. Pretty darn good accuracy for 42 rounds at 10 yards!!! I did throw one round low as you can see by the target. I just can’t say enough about the fiber optic front sight!!! It just makes the front sight just jump out at you making it effortless to focus on the front sight. I didn’t take a picture of the second target but the number of rounds was the same with the group being 1/3 smaller than this group after adjusting the rear sight and getting used to this gun. The above group is the first group I fired from this pistol.
I’ve been trying to locate a Para for some time and found them pretty hard to come by so when I found this one I didn’t hesitate to purchase it at Bass Pro Shop. The price was $729. Price wise it’s considerably less than a Kimber or Springfield. I’m very glad I found it. It’s an outstanding 1911that I can recommend to anyone looking for one of the very best 1911’s on the market today. I just can’t say enough about the fit, finish,well thought out features, reliability and accuracy of this pistol. This Para is right up there with the very best 1911’s I’ve ever owned. I have traded other 1911’s I’ve owned but this won’t be one of them this is a keeper!!! For more information check Todd Jarrett’s torture test of the Para. He shoots 1000 rounds in ten minutes with no malfunctions. Video Link
From DOWN RANGE TV
Todd Jarrett Sets New World Record With PXT 1911 SSP Pistol
By Press Release
Jan 16, 2008 – 10:56:51 AM
Moyock, NC — In an unbelievable display of speed shooting and reliability, Todd Jarrett set a world record shooting 1,000 rounds of .45ACP through a Para USA PXT™ 1911 SSP model pistol. The record was set during a torture test conducted on the secure ranges at Blackwater USA’s Moyock, North Carolina, facility.
Jarrett, who holds several world and national pistol titles, used the stock, out-of-the-box Para USA pistol to shoot 1,000 rounds in just 10 minutes and 44 seconds — a rate equivalent to one shot every 0.644 seconds. The entire torture test was documented by DownRange TV and video of the shoot is available for viewing online.
Despite being supported by a team of loaders and a pile of 10-round Chip McCormick and 8-round Para PXT magazines for the single-stack 1911, Jarrett outpaced the loaders and found himself waiting for loaded mags.
“Once I got into a shooting rhythm I quickly shot through the pre-loaded magazines and the loaders had problems keeping up. Add to that the natural difficulty of reloading a single-stack 1911, the reloads I bobbled and the mix of 10-round and 8-round magazines and I could have easily broken 10 minutes,” said Todd Jarrett.
However it was heat that was the biggest obstacle and the true test of both shooter and gun. Shooting 93 rounds a minute, Jarrett estimates the pistol’s match-grade ramped barrel reached temperatures in excess of 550 degrees.
“Even though the outside temperature was under 50 degrees, the gun’s temperature quickly rose to a point where it became hard to hold. I ended up with first-degree burns on the pad of my trigger finger which forced me to shoot even faster towards the end of the test,” explained Jarrett.
“If the gun had gotten 50 degrees hotter I wouldn’t have been able to make it through the full 1,000 rounds. This is a fabulous test but one that has to be conducted during the winter months.”
The reliability story of the PXT doesn’t end there either. Jarrett and other shooters put a combined 5,000 rounds through the pistol in a 24-hour period without any failures. Jarrett attributed this solid performance under stress to Para USA’s focus on constant improvement and the development of the Power Extractor™.
“We put 1,000 rounds through the pistol on Friday and cleaned the gun in preparation for the torture test. Then after completing the 1,000 round high-speed torture test we shot an additional 3,000 rounds. This is where having the more durable design of the Power Extractor really shines,” said Jarrett.
The Para Power Extractor was specifically designed by Para’s engineers to address the one weakness in the original 1911 design. The PXT technology of the massive Power Extractor delivers improved feeding and positive extraction round after round – even through 5,000 in a day.
“A test like this will expose any weakness in a gun’s design and there’s no doubt in my mind that the Power Extractor was a key part of the pistol’s reliability. Should someone break my time, I’ll be ready with another PXT to reclaim the record,” declared Jarrett.
© Copyright 2008 by DOWN RANGE TV
June 25, 2008
Marlin Model 7000 Semi-Auto Target Rifle
As with most shooters these days buying ammo is a real pain in the budget. Having that on my mind led me to buy a rifle I haven’t owned in years and that’s a 22 rifle. Saving money and shooting more isn’t the only reason to have a 22 rifle. A Marlin like this one is accurate at a greater distance than one might think. This model 7000 isn’t made anymore but can be pretty easily found. It has a heavy target barrel 18″ in length. The magazine holds 10 rounds of 22 long rifle. If you need extra magazines you can pick them up at WalMart which is convenient. The rifle comes with a black synthetic stock of the Monte Carlo type with a length of draw made for an adult. It also has sling rings which can be used to mount a bipod instead or you can add another sling ring to the rear of the stock front one for a bipod. The rifle weighs in at just over 5 pounds making it very handy to carry around the woods or range.
Right side view with a 4×32 scope Simmons.
Something you don’t see very often on a 22 rifle is a bolt hold open after the last round is fired. It also has a bolt hold open lever at the front of the trigger guard. The safety is the usual button that pushes right to left to take the safety off and is located just behind the trigger. The scope that came with the rifle was a Simmons 4×32. After going to the range I decided I needed a bit more magnification and replaced this scope with a new Bushnell 3x9x32. This scope is brighter and has a cleaner view than the Simmons and came with heavy duty scope mounts. At the rear of the scope is a ring to set the scope from 3 to 9 power. Scope covers come with this scope.
Bushnell 3×9 replacement scope
At the range I set the scope up for 100 yards. I know that may seem like that’s pushing the limits of a 22 long rifle but actually once the scope was calibrated the groups were around 2 to 2 1/2 inches using Federal hollowpoints. My best group was 2 inches firing 10 round strings. The balance of this rifle is very good. Comfortable to shoot and very easy to hold on target off hand. The groups I mentioned above were fired using a table with elbows resting on the surface. Not as stable as a rest but good enough for the groups I shot today. All total I shot 300 rounds without any problems at all even though it has been some time since the rifle has been cleaned. After cleaning I took the rifle back to the range and improved my 10 round groups by 1/4 to 1/2 inches. I used Lanigan products to clean the receiver as well as KG 2 bore polish which makes the inside of the barrel shine like a new penny. A lot of shooters buy a 22 rifle or pistol and never clean them. Sorry but I can’t do that and never have been able to. I want my guns clean inside and out no matter if it’s a 22 or whatever. I used Lanigan KG1 to remove powder residue and KG 12 Bore Cleaner to remove copper. If you can’t get your rifle clean with these products you can’t get it clean with anything. I followed up with Wilson Combat’s Ultima Lube gun grease which really slicks up the bolt and a touch of Wilson gun oil for other moving parts. Now you have a clean and very smooth action. The Wilson Gun Grease is especially noteworthy in that it is the slickest gun grease I have ever used and stays where you put it and last for a very long time.
I was able to purchase this little used rifle with Simmons scope for $130 then traded in the Simmons scope for the Bushnell for a total cost of $145. Not bad at all for a Marlin like this with the heavy target barrel. In short this is a very nice rifle at a good price that has some nice features with much better than average accuracy at distance which I’m sure is due to the heavy match barrel. Of course your wallet feels much better after you purchase a brick of 22 long rifles rather than .223’s. That and they are just as much fun to shoot now as when you were 12 years old!
I found our something interesting concerning ammo I thought I would pass along. The small groups I got were with Remington Copper coated hollowpoints. Yesterday I went out to the range and used some Winchester lead hollowpoints. The difference in accuracy was astounding to say the least. My groups opened up to 4 to 4 1/2 inches! The ammo wasn’t that old and there were no other factors to account for this difference in accuracy with the exception of brand and the lead bullet. I can only conclude that the Micro Groove rifling Marlin uses doesn’t like lead bullets at all. Just a little info for those who want max accuracy should stick with the copper bullet and leave the lead ones alone.
June 25, 2008
Taurus Millennium Pro 9MM
This Taurus is an excellent example of a very useful pocket pistol. It has undergone some changes namely the pistol is slightly larger than it’s predecessor as well as having a double stack magazine as opposed to a single stack. I like this version better since the magazine holds 12+1 rounds of 9mm and has a grip profile that accommodates a full grip without your little finger hanging underneath the magazine. The previous version has been discontinued in favor of this model. The calibers available are 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 acp. Since this is a small pistol I decided on the 9mm for the benefit of less recoil and faster follow up shots as well as the number of rounds it holds.
Another version of this pistol has a rail for attaching lights etc however on a pocket pistol I prefer a smooth underside so that it doesn’t snag when drawing from a holster on the belt or from an inside the front pocket holster. The grip itself is pure Taurus with the standard lateral cuts on the grip front and back to provide the user with a very secure no slip grip.
This photo will give you an idea of the small size of this pistol
The PT111 comes standard with Heinie “Straight Eight” sights which have one dot over the other for fast sight alignment. The pistol weighs 20oz which puts it in a category of lighter pistols for deep concealment. It is certainly smaller than the Glock 19. The trigger pull is approx. 3.5 pounds which doesn’t bother me since it has the manual safety. If you look at the above picture you will see the rear most control under the slide as the manual safety which operates the same as the 1911 and is very easy to manipulate(the red dot on the slide indicates the safety is off). The next control forward is the slide release with the final control being the takedown lever which rotates then pulls out allowing you to remove the slide. Another handy feature is the indentation on the frame allowing you to index your thumb when firing. The right side has the same indentation for placing your trigger finger in when not resting on the trigger. Takedown is simple. As mentioned before the forward lever is rotated then removed with the slide back and locked. Then pull the trigger all the way to the rear and the slide comes right off. One reason for the light recoil for this small gun is it has dual recoil springs on the full length guide rod. Another reason is your hand rides high on the grip bringing your hand closer to the bore axis. This gives more of a straight push back instead of the flip experienced on pistols with single spring recoil systems and a lower grip. The trigger is smooth and well rounded making it very comfortable with good feel. The barrel is 3.2 inches in length. Another advantage is the double strike capability. Should you have a misfire you simply pull the trigger again to fire the round. As far as I know this is the only pistol of this type that has this feature.
In this picture the safety is on
I’ve tried carrying this pistol in my front pocket and found that it does not print at all and is comfortable carrying in this way. Don Hume also makes a holster for front pocket carry that has a small hook on the holster to keep it from being pulled out with the gun when drawing. The Don Hume holster is only $32 at Gunners Alley.
Note the hook at the rear of the holster
The small circle is the key lock safety system. Note also the large extractor common on Taurus pistols
The extractor also serves as a loaded round indicator.
Shooting the PT111. I fired a total of 200 rounds of assorted 9mm in standard loads as well as +P and had no malfunctions of any type. As I said before the recoil is surprisingly light for a gun of this size and weight. I fired from the 10 yard line as well as at 15 yards. This is really about the maximum distance for a defensive pistol of this type. At ten yards firing slowly I had groups of 2 inches at first until I got used to the trigger. After 100 or so rounds I got the groups at 10 yards to between 1 1/2 inches to just under 2 inches. At 15 yards groups were what you would expect from a defensive pistol of this size ranging from 2 to 2 1/2 inches firing a bit faster. After first using these sights on the Taurus 1911 I’ve come to really like them and the smaller size sights on this pistol work just as well.
Heinie Straight Eight sights
To sum things up this is a nice summer carry pistol with very good features and well thought out design. Accuracy is good for a small pistol with such a short sight radius. At just under $300 you would be hard pressed to find another pistol of this quality at such a low price. The more I shoot this little jewel the more I enjoy it. I can recommend this pistol without reservation to anyone looking for a well made pocket pistol. Whether you carry it on the belt in a pocket or a purse this Taurus is a fine choice that packs a lot of firepower into a small package using an effective defensive round!