The personal-defense industry is a huge and important one as thousands of new shooters are embracing the knowledge that, with proper training and implementation, a concealed carry weapon user can literally save lives. I’m always curious about the latest developments in the handgun market, so I took a walk around the SHOT Show floor to see what new offerings would tickle my fancy. As Day No. 3 of this year’s show comes to a close, here are three I’d recommend making time for on your Friday schedule if you haven’t taken them in already:
Kimber EVO SP (CS) Kimber is one of a handful of companies that can deliver a handgun and long gun with equal aptitude. New for 2019, the Kimber EVO SP (CS) is among the finer Kimber handgun designs. Produced in its custom shop, the EVO (CS) is a handy little striker-fired 9mm Luger, with an aluminum frame in the Kimber KimPro Gray finish. A 3.16-inch stainless steel match-grade barrel is topped by a set of Tritium night sights, all in a package that is very well balanced. Equipped with a seven-round magazine, the Kimber EVO SP (CS) is big enough to fit comfortably in my hand — I’m an average-sized adult male with long fingers on the thin side — yet small enough to be easily concealed and carry well. I especially like the feel of Kimber’s G10 grips; I could get a good grip on them without feeling like I’d have sore hands at the end of a shooting session, and that kind of confidence in a grip translates well to daily carry needs should the need to draw and present arise.
SIG Sauer P320 X-Series X-Compact — I have an admitted soft spot for SIG handguns. Among my favorite is a sweet STX 1911 that fits like an extension of my arm. It is, of course, sometimes difficult to conceal the bigger guns, and that’s when a smaller frame comes in handy. For 2019, SIG Sauer introduces the P320 X-Compact, a neat little 9mm Luger. I really like the flat trigger and grip angle of this compact little gem, and the 3.6-inch barrel is long enough to allow for accurate shooting while aiding concealability. A generous double-stack magazine holds 15 rounds. The XRAY3 sights align naturally, and the beavertail feels completely comfortable in the hand. As with all the SIG pistols I've had the pleasure of shooting, the slide movement feels as smooth as you could ask for, and the overall geometry of the handgun feels better than you'd expect for a compact gun. My hands don’t normally get along with the compact designs, but I could carry this little P320 with no issues at all.
Mossberg MC1 sc — Mossberg jumped into the pistol market this year with a splash, announcing its first pistol at SHOT Show, the MC1 sc. The sub-compact 9mm has many highly functional features — just as you’d expect from the folks at Mossberg — and a profile that won’t get hung up on the draw. From the serrations on the slide to the configuration of the sights, Mossberg has made it a point to see that this pistol has a smooth exterior; all too often I've seen shooters using sidearms with under-rails and bulky square sights having issues clearing a shirt or jacket when the right-angle bits of metal snag on fabric, so this “dehorning” on the MC1 is to be much appreciated. The MC1 sc features a 3.4-inch barrel, an extended trigger guard (a feature I really like on a compact pistol) and the option of using either a six-round flush-mount magazine or seven-round extended magazine. For my larger hand, the seven-round magazine fit my hand much better, but either way the pistol gave a reliable hold. Additionally, both magazines use the Mossberg Clear Count design, which features a see-through polymer design topped by a high-visibility follower which combined allow the operator to quickly identify the number of rounds in the magazine. A flat trigger with an integrated blade-style safety in the center feels good under the finger, and the palm swell at the rear of the grip makes the gun fit the natural contour of the hand. I like the Safe Takedown System, which allows the user to disassemble the firearm without pulling the trigger. The MC1 sc weighs only 22 ounces when fully loaded, keeping your pants on your waist instead on around your ankles. All in all, I was very impressed with the Mossberg pistol, especially as it is the company’s first entry into a saturated market. It fit well in my hands, as well as my wife’s much smaller hands, and I think it makes a wise choice for a concealed carry gun.