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Small carry pistols prominent at 2014 SHOT Show

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The 2014 SHOT Show was notable for the many new offerings of small caliber, small frame pistols. While the ‘cognoscenti’ of the tactical community decry anything less than a 9mm as a carry pistol, the public has continued to ignore that advice in droves. The Ruger LCP has sold well over 1,000,000 copies since 2008, according to the BATF Annual Firearms Manufacturers And Export Report. Manufacturers have clearly noted this and jumped on the small caliber bandwagon.

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Smith & Wesson introduced a new variant of their .380 Bodyguard pistol. The new pistol is called the M&P Bodyguard 380. It does away with the integral laser of the original Bodyguard and includes some cosmetic changes in line with the rest of S&W’s M&P line of pistols.

For the fans of the 1911 pistol, Browning introduced several new variants to their 1911-22 product line. The “Black Label” variants feature a polymer frame, Picatinny accessory rail, flat mainspring housing, and great improved sights. It is available with either a 4.25" barrel or in a Compact version featuring 3.625" barrel. Several new frame and grip color options are also available.

Kimber had its Micro CDP .380 pistol on display. It is reminiscent of the old Colt Mustang and is a quite compact version of the 1911 platform, for those who favor it.

SIG SAUER introduced a .22 caliber version of their P938 pistol. The P938-22 is available in two different barrel lengths and is available in different color options. A .22 caliber version of the P232 was also shown.

Sig also introduced a .380 version of the P290 pistol, the P290-380. This apparently mimics Ruger’s introduction of the LC380 version of the LC9 pistol.

Beretta introduced their Pico .380 pistol. It is a very small .380 available either with or without an integral laser. The Beretta representative explained that the grip housing is a modular part. This will allow swapping of laser and non-laser grips on the same pistol.

Glock introduced their Glock 42 in .380. While many in the industry have expressed the wish that it was a single stack 9mm, it fills a definite market niche that Glock saw as open.

The most controversial introduction is the Taurus View revolver. The grip is very small and many opined that it will be very difficult to shoot a 9 ounce .38 revolver with such a small grip. The lack of any appreciable ejector rod stroke was also widely commented on. Given that most people who carry small revolvers don’t carry spare ammunition, that may be a moot point. The see-thru sideplate drew widespread derision among those who saw it, saying that it won’t last. Given the unlikelihood that these guns will ever fire more than a few rounds, that is also probably a moot point.

Taurus also offers their small autoloading pistols in a wide variety of colors. Their slogan for the color guns is: “Your carry gun doesn’t have to look like one.”

Venerable offerings from manufacturers such as Kahr, KelTec, Walther, and Bersa continued to be on display, as well. The .380 trend is not going away. Whether ammunition to feed the little pistols will be available remains to be seen.

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