9mm Heavy Metal: Scoring and Ranking 5 All-Metal

(L-R): Richard Cole, author Paul Scarlata, and Dick Jones Many of our younger readers will no doubt think I’m lying when I tell them that there were no polymer-framed pistols back in the day

Although the first polymer-framed pistols were introduced in the 1970s, it took another decade for “plastic” pistols to become popular

RELATED STORYPocket Battle: Scores and Rankings of Popular 380 Pistols in the 19th Century Since their introduction in the late 1900s, most semi-auto, center-fire, service-type pistols have used forged steel slides, frames, and internal components

In the 1950s, Colt, S&W, and Walther introduced aluminum alloy framed pistols

By the 1960s, more and more gun manufacturers were offering their products with aluminum While the Browning Hi-Power pistol introduced the 13-round magazine in 1935, the concept of high-capacity magazines slowed down

However, in the 1970s, attitudes changed, and high-capacity designs such as the S&W Model 59, Beretta 92, and CZ 75 became the primary choice of militaries and law enforcement agencies around the world The 1980s saw the introduction of the Glock 17 whose frame and internal components were made of polymer

Although initially viewed with suspicion, he became the driving force behind the “Polymer Revolution” Today, polymer holster pistols dominate the police and military markets

He readily accepted, and within a few weeks, I received a Beretta 92A1, CZ 75 BD, European American Armory (EAA) Witness Steel Full Size, Sig Sauer P226 Legion, and a Taurus PT-92

The Beretta 92 is the standard weapon of dozens of militaries and police forces around the world, including the US, Italy, South Africa, Brazil, France, Japan and Indonesia

Sig’s P226 is another worldwide favorite among soldiers, police and civilian shooters, and some current users include the US Coast Guard, US Navy SEALs, US Secret Service, US Department of Homeland Security and UK Royal Marine Commandos The Brazilian Taurus PT-92 is a modified version of the original Beretta 92 and has seen police and military service in various countries in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East

Although CZ pistols were late to the US market due to Cold War-era policies, they have been popular with police in Central Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa The EAA Witness Full Steel is made and produced in Italy by Tanfoglio A variant of the CZ 75

It is an all-stainless steel pistol with a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger system and a single-sided safety

These pistols have seen service with law enforcement agencies throughout the Middle East and are very popular among action pistol competitors around the world

RELATED STORY 10mm Handgun Comparison: Score and Ranking 4 Popular Models Features of Metal Handguns All of these guns have certain characteristics

The CZ and EAA are all steel (stainless in the case of the latter), which will please the hearts of traditionalists, while the Sig, Taurus, and Beretta have steel slides and aluminum alloy frames

Sig uses a lever on the left side of the frame to safely drop the hammer into a loaded chamber

The Beretta has ambidextrous levers on the slide that drop the hammer and, when lowered, act as a safety to prevent the gun from firing

On the Taurus, the frame thumb-mounted ambidextrous thumb safeties can be applied to bring the pistol into Good Condition, or can be pressed past the “fire” position to safely lower the hammer EAA’s security can be left to carry in Good Condition or the hammer can be manually lowered for a DA first shot

The CZ has a frame-mounted hammer drop lever that automatically moves from the hammer drop to the “fire” position As for the rest of the controls, all five guns have their magazine release and slide stop levers “right” positions, while the magazines on the Beretta and Taurus can be reversed for southpaws

The Beretta and Sig have chamber load indicators, and the Taurus was the only one with a key-operated internal safety lock

RingI rules required each gun to be fired for accuracy in three 5-shot groups 15 yards from the MTM K-Zone rest

All five shot to point and produced 2- to 3-inch groups, which I find more than adequate for service-type pistols

If one of those didn’t work, we’d try to correct the problem in the field and keep shooting It took little convincing to get friends Richard Cole and Dick Jones, both avid competitive shooters and CCW permit holders, to help out with the run these guns through their paces

As in previous “Battle Royales,” we evaluated the pistols in seven areas: ergonomics, recoil, sight, off-hand accuracy, ease of reloading, reliability and DA trigger control

We thought these categories would give each of us a good general feel for these “real steel” guns Drilling Metal Handguns After a bit of discussion (“hell, shooting cardboard targets is boring!”) we decided to run our five test guns Through a series of timed drills on steel targetsSteel Plate Drill On cue, the shooter picks up a rack of six plates 8 feet from the firing line

They then reload the gun and repeat the drill three more times

The score includes the total time for every four runs plus a five-second penalty for standing plate

PaulRichardDickBeretta471760915CZ514592562EAA470646590Sig463583745Taurus510703565Steel Target/Popper Drill In the signal, five steel plate woods fit into a box in the center of the shooters 6 meters, double tap each target before firing the popper to stop the clock

The gun is reloaded and the drill is repeated from 12 and 8 yards, respectively

The scoring included the total time for each of the three runs plus a five-second penalty for failure double shooter -hits two steel targets at 25 yards, reloads and reloads them

Then the drill is done three more times

Scoring includes the total time of each of the four runs plus a five second penalty for misses

PaulRichardDickBeretta105514031342CZ115314091090EAA95312291256Sig96212401170Taurus129113001171 In the end, 4 out of 8 shooters would have at least 9 shots per gun 45 shots from five guns

Runs with each gun would be averaged for the final score All initiatives began with the shooter holding the gun in a low ready position and the first shot in each chain of fire was of the DA type

We started firing at 11:00 and, with the exception of a short break for lunch, continued to send ammunition until 15:00, expending more than 1,400 rounds ergonomics1114141310Trigger Control11121289Recoil Control1315141311Sights111011147Off-Hand Accuracy121212129Ease of Reload111071010TOTAL8488858564Note: 15 is a perfect score in each category, and a total of 105 is a perfect score for our Becky total calculator has

I’ll offer some explanation here that should helpReliability All four of the test guns performed flawlessly, but with the Taurus we experienced two misfires and two double feeds

We couldn’t be sure if it was the result of a faulty magazine or notErgonomics This was a very subjective call, as one shooter had smaller hands and the frame-mounted unloader levers/safeties were difficult to manipulate, while another didn’t like the shape Beretta and Taurus grip frames

We all liked the ergonomics of the EAA and CZ, although one shooter found the EAA’s slide difficult and thought the more aggressive grip grooves would be a plus Trigger Control All three of us found DA trigger shocks on all five guns, especially the Sig , rather long, heavy and/or annoying

Recoil Control Here the EAA and CZ scored highly while the Sig’s textured grip panels and checkered front and rear straps allowed for a very secure purchase Sights We felt the sights on four of the five guns were quite small and/or low

About mid-shot, the white dot insert on the Taurus sight fell off, resulting in a low score Out-of-hand precision It was a four-way tie, which we all thought would be five-way tie, if the Taurus’s sight insert hadn’t fallen offEase of ReloadingAgreeably, the five-gun would have benefited from longer magazine release buttons

As the guns got dirty, the EAA’s magazines would sometimes fail to release and had to be manually removed from the grip

Picking a Favorite of the Metal Handguns As I usually do, I asked shooters about their favorite of our test pistols, and why

Dick Jones chose the CZ 75 DB, “I really liked this gun

It felt good in my hand, aimed very naturally and I liked the DA trigger pull “Richard Cole chose EAA as his favourite

He said: “It had better balance than the others with very controllable recoil and great grip” My choice was the Beretta 92A1

As our old high school math teacher used to tell us, “Numbers don’t lie!” Metal Guns: SpecsBeretta 92A1Caliber: 9mm Bore: 49 inchesOA Length: 85 inchesWeight: 333 ounces (empty) Grips: PolymerFires: Three-point /SAFfinish: Matte Black Capacity: 17+1 MSRP: $775CZ 75 BDCaliber : 9mm Barrel: 46 inches OA Length: 81 inches Weight: 353 ounces (empty) Grips: Polymer Sights: Three dot Action: DA 1 SAFin: Matte: 1 6 A CapCity: Matte Witness Steel Caliber: 9 mm Barrel: 45 inches OA Length: 81 inchesWeight: 33 ounces (empty) Grips: PolymerSights: Three-dotAction: DA/SAFFinish: Wonder Capacity: 17+1MSRP: $699Sig Sauer P226 8 inchesWeight: 34 ounces (empty)Grips: G10Sight: X-ray day/nightAction: DA/SAFinish: Legion gray PVDCCapacity: 15+1PVDC: $1,413Taurus PT-92Caliber: 9mmBarrel: 5 inchesOA Length: 8 ouncesG PolymerSights: Three-dotAction: DA/SAFfinish: Matte holster Capacity: 17+1 MSRP: $498 For more information on these metal pistols, visit berettacom, cz-usacom, eaacorpcom, sigsauercom and taurususacom

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