On a casual Sunday morning Teya said, "Let's go to the range". Aside from yet another obvious reason why I love that woman, my next thought was a panicked, "what do we bring?". It was an odd moment weekend that didn't have another new pistol to review. The previous day we had just reorganized the armory a bit and in the shuffle taken a moment to admire some of our collection. I ran upstairs and snatched up three hammer-fired pistols that I felt all had a good reason to be in the armory. I also grabbed the cameras and we headed off to the range.
So why these three? What's so great about them? To me they each serve a purpose.
S.P.S. Pantera: This is a pistol that eliminates any excuse. Quicker, smoother, and more accurate than I'll ever be, this pistol serves to demonstrate a shooter's potential. As I understand it, only a few of these are built each year and only by the best smiths at Metro Arms in the Philippines. They aren't inexpensive, but their foreign manufacture keeps their price below comparable US-made guns. The slide is steel, frame aluminum, and grip module polymer like a 2011 or the beautiful single-stack Cosaint Arms COS-11 we've reviewed. This combination makes for a front-heavy feel that points wonderfully with the 1911 grip angle. Bull barrel, 21+1 9mm capacity, and a crisp trigger that breaks like a single sheet of sugar wafer. The trigger pull is soft, fragile, and a crisp break. Such a treat to shoot! These guns are hard to come by, but if you're looking for something to redefine your 1911 experience you can check the Guns.com listing here. It was Teya's first time with the Pantera and her reaction after grouping it captures exactly why I treasure the Pantera so much.
Langdon Tactical 92 Elite LTT: Back in 2018 I had the chance to shoot this pistol and at first declined. My experience in the Army had instilled a distaste for the M9, Beretta 92, and all things related. It was Ernest Langdon himself trying to talk me into it and eventually I gave in. Wow was I wrong for resisting. Everything the Beretta 92 could be and should be is embodied in this amazing pistol. The smoothest double action I've experienced combined with enhanced ergonomics (in part coming from some smartly-thin grip panels), and smarter controls make for a completely different shooting experience. This pistol makes the Beretta 92 platform truly viable for competition or carry without requiring monster hands or nearly as much training as the original 92s did. Since then Langdon Tactical has expanded to include several other models, all with the same attention to detail and special touches that make the 92 Elite LTT a click-and-order custom gun. You can find some listings here, or order directly from Langdon Tactical.
Tisas Regent BR9: A classy Browning High Power clone at an affordable price. I learned the significance of the Browning High power too late in the game to buy a reasonably-priced real one without more searching (or money) than my interest warranted. Fortunately LKCI, LLC began importing a beautiful clone by Tisas in early 2018. I was able to get my hands on one of those before it appeared that Brownell's took over import and today they appear to be gone completely. Never fear, as with most Turkish imports I expect these guns to reappear under another importer. EAA has recently announced their own Turkish High Power clone, but it's made by Girsan and does not appear to be as nicely made as this our Tisas. SDS Imports is currently working with Tisas so perhaps we'll see them bring it in. Listings are here in case one pops up on the used market or the import begins again.
The significance of this design is two-fold. It was John Moses Browning's last project (he died before it was completed) and the first practical double-stack service gun. The design was in response to a French request for a new service pistol, everything down to the annoying magazine disconnect safety is included on the Tisas. This pistol pains me to shoot as my hands are a bit too large for it, but for the sake of appreciating the design we hold on to it. Teya noted how it slipped in her hands with the smooth front and back strap, but she doesn't get bit by the hammer like I do. I know there are solutions to this, but we keep the gun the way it came as a reference. It's nice to have a historical piece that isn't truly historical. It's fun to shoot and have in remembrance of just how far handguns have come since the High power broke into the double-stack world.
What Would You Like to See Again? Let us know in the comment section what guns you'd like to see revisited. I've got a few others in mind, unfortunately the list includes a few guns that are out of production or hard to find. It's fun to have guns like those, but I also know the frustration when you learn of a cool thing that you can't find for yourself.