Monday, July 27, 2009

XD Sub-Compact 3” (Springfield Armory)

Even though this is a sub-compact it feels like a big gun. It is a thick gun, both in width and profile appearance. The Springfield website says it is designed with its “Legendary Point and Shoot Ergonomics” and you definitely get that feel when you hold it in your hand. There is a thumb groove for your right hand and the slant of the entire grip is comfortable. Although their claim that the gun’s design “makes it feel more like a natural extension of your body” might be a little too enthusiastic on their part, it does bring up the sights nicely on a draw. Even though this is a called a “sub-compact”, it is basically the same size as my “compact” (S&W M&P 40c). SA also bills this gun as “The Shortest carry polymer pistol in the world that features the only light rail in its class.”

Presentation and accessories give the purchase of this gun a big +1. It comes in a standard plastic case but includes 2 magazines (9 and 12 count), a molded polymer belt holster, a dual magazine holder and a speed loader. Fully loaded, it weighs in at 30.6oz (9 round mag) which is much more than my M&P’s 25.9oz (10 round mag). You need a little extra “oomph” to pull the slide back but it is certainly manageable. The grip safety is a very nice touch that I wish I had on my gun although it was a bit annoying when I tried to lock the slide back. You have to depress the safety for the slide to move so I just had to position my hand a little differently for that to happen. There is also a safety on the trigger called the “Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) trigger system”. The rear of the gun has a cocking (Striker Status) indicator that you can see-and-feel (Visual/Tactile) and the loaded chamber indicator on top was also of see-and-feel design.

XDsc_safety_grip XDsc_safety_trigger XDsc_cocking_ind

Disassembly, in this case, meant you lock the slide back, rotate the disassembly lever UP then release the slide and pull the trigger as normal. Once broken down, it had the usual parts in a gun of this design (basically a Glock design). I noticed some wear on the end of the recoil spring assembly and a check on the internet showed this to be normal. A caution should be said to place the recoil assembly correctly during reassembly and not off to one side. This has happened and jams the barrel in the gun really bad. Cleaning is easy though you will need to pay attention to deep grooves on the slide that are hard to get to… if you like a really clean gun. The magazine feed ramp on this gun was already polished from the factory although I would probably buff it up to more of a shine. Reassembly is a simple reversal of procedures.
XDsc_guide_wear XDsc_polished_ramp

Shooting: Uh, oh. That ergonomic statement that SA made just doesn’t seem to match my ability or hand size or eyesight or SOMETHING. Now I am no expert gun owner, but I did earn marksman ribbons in the military, have shot everything from derringers to M16’s and shoot several hundred rounds of ammo a weekend. Given that… I set the first target up at 25 feet to get a “first use” sighting. I fired off a round and could not see any shot on the target. I fired a few more rounds but still had no holes on the target. It turns out that I was about 8 inches to the left with every shot. I changed finger positions, hand grips and everything else but the only way to get a shot on the target was to align the front sight against the right dot on the rear sight or just shoot way right. Even then it was a wild pattern. I interchanged between my M&P 40 (dead center) and my PPS 9mm (dead center) and back to the XD (waaaay off to the left).


I know, I know, it is the shooter and not the gun, but this shooter cannot shoot this gun. If I picked this gun up in a gun fight, I would do a great job of picking off the bystanders to the enemy’s right. I don’t even have a picture of a target to show for this blog, it was so bad. Fifty rounds and I could not figure out what I was doing wrong.

The bad: Well, the ergo thing doesn’t work for me at all. I felt the trigger safety was a bit sharp on my finger and the grip thumb groove was a little high for my hand, too.

Overall: The gun looks good, feels good, is as concealable as my M&P (which I do carry in public) and comes with all kinds of extras. I am sure that I could learn to use this gun accurately given time but it was a borrowed gun and I can’t very well ask to keep it for a month. I would never tell anyone NOT to get this gun because I believe it to be a good gun, but if asked how “I” like it… I don’t.


August 1, 2009 - Review supplement

Well, I had intended on returning this gun to its owner but it just didn't happen this week. As a result, we gave it another trial this morning at the range. After working on different grips for myself, I did manage to bring the target back into the center and managed some good groups, although not perfect. Basically, I had to bring my left index finger over the front of the trigger guard to achieve accurate shots. My oldest daughter shot this gun BETTER than she shot my M&P and likes the XD the best. She managed very centered groupings. So, once again, I have to admit that it is ME and not the GUN at fault.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bauer 25

Bauer 25 - Bauer Firearms Corp. Automatic .25 ACP pistol.

This little beauty has a stainless frame and slide, plastic pearl grips, 2 1/8" barrel, 6 round magazine capacity and fixed sights. It is 4” x 2 13/16” in size and weighs a mere 10.2 oz fully loaded. Some of these have sold at auctions recently for around $200. SMALL!! This is smaller than the 22 lr and .380 pistols we have reviewed. The slide does not lock open except for the small amount used for disassembly. There is a cocking indicator on the back where a small pin will stick out when cocked. Since pictures are worth a thousand words and its size is everything, here are a few thousand words

Bauer 25 under a standard sized Post-it notepad,

Walther PPS, Sig-Sauer P238, Bauer 25

A brief history:
This style of pistol (the Browning “Baby” 25) started out life in Belgium in 1931 as a joint venture with “Fabrique Nationale” (FN) and Browning. Then came U.S. Gun Control Act of 1968 (passed in the emotion-charged atmosphere resulting from the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and the Reverend Martin Luther King). The law made it illegal to import small, personal handguns which could not meet a point system imposed by the Treasury Department. Shortly after the legislation there appeared on the American market, an exact “copy” of the FN BABY made by Bauer Firearms of Fraser, Michigan. Nothing in the 1968 law prohibited U.S. manufacture of the same kind of handgun which was prohibited from import. Essentially, the Bauer was a stainless-steel copy of the Browning/FN "Baby" pistol, and most parts will interchange. After the Bauer Company closed, the actual manufacturer of the pistol located in Fraser, Michigan, continued production as the "Fraser" for a few years. Around 1983, Precision Small Parts of Charlottesville, Virginia made the pistol under an agreement with FN when it shut down the European production plant. The pistol was briefly marketed as the PSP-25 by KBI, Inc. of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. More recently, it has been sold by Precision Small Arms of California, and called the PSA-25. Guns like these can still be purchased from


Disassembly: Being relatively new at handguns, I just never cease to become surprised at how various ones come apart. In this case, you lock the slide slightly back using the combination safety/slide lock lever. Then you turn the barrel a quarter turn clockwise (as you look at the muzzle). This turns the notches of the barrel away from the frame and you can now remove the slide by releasing the safety/slide lock lever. Once the slide is off the body, you can rotate the barrel again to remove it from the slide. The firing pin and spring can be removed from the back. Reassemble in the reverse order.

Bauer_25_barrel_turn1 Bauer_25_barrel_turn2


Shooting the Bauer 25 is quite a challenge. Gripping this is in your hand gives you one finger on the trigger and one finger on the grip… no more. Although the tolerance is close, there were no problems keeping our hands below the slide travel. The sights are a standard 3 point system although it was impossible to see the sights when aiming at a dark background. I lined up the sight against the white backdrop and then moved over to our target for scoring. That might account for some of the poor results. Although there is very little kick in the .25 caliber round, there is still a noticeable jump against the bottom of your trigger finger with each shot.


The bad: I did have several FTL (failure to load) where the next round would be stuck at an angle and jam the gun. It might have been a bit of limp-wristing because you just can’t get a grip on the gun. I also felt uncomfortable handling this gun as it seemed so much more like a toy than a weapon. I was constantly guarding my movements to ensure safety. Similar to the difference between holding a knife with a razor blade IN it and holding a razor blade by itself. That feeling would probably go away if I actually owned and handled one of these regularly.


Overall impression is good. Carrying a gun like this is certainly as a LAST line of defense, but it can be concealed anywhere. It would travel well while jogging and give you six chances to place a good shot on a mugger. I would consider this mostly a grown-up toy to get oooh’s and aaaah’s from my fellow shooters. “Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” It just so happens to be a GUN.