Let's look at some interesting developments in the gun industry from Surefire's new high capacity magazines to Bushmaster's variations on the ACR rifle. For pocket gun lovers, news from Kimber and Kahr will prove interesting. Those of us, who prefer less noise while shooting, will appreciate news from Wilson Combat and their entry into the sound and flash suppressor market. And, finally, a product recall from Federal and American Eagle that affects users of 45 ACP ammo.

Surefire News

Surefire is getting ready to release new high capacity magazines that will hold 60 and 100 rounds of 5.56mm / .223 Remington. The magazines utilize a new design that assures reliable operations, without the use of dry graphite lubrication. They are also not as large and bulky as one would expect. The Surefire high capacity magazines are reliable even in rapid, fully automatic fire, and I think that could translate to an advantage for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The ability to unleash significant suppressing fire, while negating the need to change magazines after 30 rounds is significant. It will save our troops time-and in combat even a few seconds can make a significant difference. I can also see the new Surefire high capacity magazines being especially helpful in scenarios where a force is hit by an enemy ambush or an IED. An immediate response with powerful and continues fire toward the enemy can save lives and limb.

The new, high capacity magazines from Surefire can turn a carbine into a 5.56mm MINIMI type weapon. That firepower can buy the force a bit of time to orientate itself, as the enemy is hit with fire and the soldiers get ready to charge and overrun the enemy in a classic fire and maneuver drill. Surefire released a video showing a Reserve US Marine testing the magazine in his select fire M-4. The end result is impressive since both types of high capacity magazines (the 60 and 100) worked flawlessly. The new Surefire magazines ought to be available to customers in April, and these high capacity magazines would be especially appreciated by anyone using magazine couplers.

Bushmaster News

Bushmaster released three new variations of the Bushmaster ACR (formally known as the Magpul Masada). The Bushmaster ACR ORC configuration is available in black or coyote and comes with a fixed stock and no sights. The ACR ORC is the entry level and least expensive version for this innovate rifle.

The second variation is called the Basic Folder configuration and it comes with a folding and six-position telescoping stock and a set of Magpul MBUS flip sights. For the same price tag, you can get this model in black or coyote.

The final variation of the new Bushmaster ACR is the A-TACS Basic Configuration. This version comes with a fixed stock and a set of Magpul MBUS flip sights. It has a very interesting A-TACS (Advanced Tactical Concealment System) which was developed by Digital Concealment Systems (DCS). To quote the folks who made it: "[A-TACS was made] to answer the call for better and more effective camouflage system integration for duty personnel in any service branch from military to law enforcement. A-TACS is designed as a universal pattern for a wide range of operational environments with additional supporting color and design variants to follow."

The new versions lower the entry mark into the Bushmaster ACR market. Unlike traditional firearms, the ACR is modular in design and a customer can upgrade it over time (as funds become available) and turn the entry level ACR into the top of the line model.

More choices in ACR configuration and colors translate to more goodness for consumers. Now we just need to wait for Bushmaster to release the 6.8 SPC module for the ACR-the driving force behind many purchasing decisions.

Kimber America News

Kimber America entered the fast growing pocket gun business. The Solo micro-compact handgun is chambered in 9mm Luger and takes several features from the Kimber 1911 line. The Solo has a manual ambidextrous thumb safety, checkered slide release and ambidextrous magazine release. It offers a feature which most people appreciate in the Springfield Armory XD and XD(m), and that's the shot-to-shot consistency of a single action striker-fired trigger pull.

The 9mm Solo comes with 3 dot sights, a barrel that's just 2.7 inches long, and the Solo is finished with Kimber's self-lubricating finish--the Kimpro II. The Solo's magazine holds six 9mm rounds, and when unloaded this pocket gun weights a mere 17 ounces. Given the ever growing passion for smaller handguns and Kimber's solid firearms, I think it's fair to expect big things of this small gun.

Kahr Arms News

Kahr Arms is introducing a new series called the CM. The series will be comprised of a sub-compact form factor with a short 3" barrel and a 3 dot sight system. Current plans call for a 9mm model to ship first (at the end of March, 2011), with .40 S&W and 45 ACP to be released at a later date.

The first 9mm Luger model, called CM9093, will have a black polymer frame with steel inserts molded into the frame. The Kahr CM9093 is hammerless and has a DAO trigger (Double Action Only), which is said to be smooth and consistent. Safety wise, the CM series is built with a firing pin block which offers passive safety and protection from accidental discharge if the gun is dropped.

The gun doesn't have a magazine disconnect (which I consider a plus) and comes with a single, 6 round magazine which has a Wolff spring. All in all, the new CM series will appeal to customers seeking a low cost pocket gun that has features that are not often found on this class of firearms. I'll add that anyone who likes the Kahr form factor but wants a more refined gun can get any of the CM series firearms and ship them to Robar for custom feature work.

Wilson Combat News

Wilson Combat entered the flash and sound suppressor market with the creation of the Whisper line. The Whisper is a high end suppressor made from titanium (most suppressor aren't), which adds only 4.5" to the weapon. Thorough testing of the Whisper by Wilson shows no significant negative zero-shift or impact on barrel harmonics (i.e. the gun remains accurate and stable and, as far as zero goes, it shoots the same with or without the Whisper).

In addition, the Whisper has a feature that can only be appreciated by folks who use or have used suppressors in the past-it has minimal back pressure for cleaner semi-auto function. Read that last sentence to mean that less gas and filth are sent back into the rifle and, consequently, the shooters face. Great feature!

As for calibers, Wilson Combat chose to start with 9mm, 5.56mm, 6.8mm and 7.62mm. As you'd expect from the folks at Wilson, the suppressors are functional and handsome. You can have your suppressor finished with one of the many different Armor-Tuff finishes, or leave it with a standard bead blast finish. There are many suppressors on the market today, but I think the Whisper will do well. Why? Because when you combine the Whisper's features with Wilson's reputation for superb quality and outstanding customer service, you get a winner.

Federal and American Eagle News

Federal and American Eagle released a product safety warning for some of their 45 ACP ammo. Federal tagged the warning with 'Immediate Action Required'. Certain lots of recently manufactured 45 Auto ammunition may contain an incorrect propellant charge. Use of product from these lots may result in firearm damage and possible serious injury.

Affected lots can be found in American Eagle, Champion, GoldMedal, Hi-Shok, Federal Personal Defense, Federal HST and Federal Premium. Please read the entire notice for lot numbers and instructions. I highly recommend you stop using any of these recently acquired ammo brands until you verify that they are safe to use.

Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!