Let’s be honest — sorting through the barrage of new products churned out for display at SHOT Show every year can get kind of tedious. But this year, there have been several new releases that fall squarely in the middle of the Lucky Gunner content wheelhouse — revolvers, shotguns, DA/SA pistols, and things that start with “32.” Today we’re sharing a few highlights that caught our attention and we’re asking you to help us decide which ones to review later this year.
Hey everybody, I am Chris Baker from LuckyGunner.com and no, this is not part 2 of our series on 5.7x28mm. Some winter weather made our range inaccessible for a while, which delayed our ballistic gelatin testing. But we were able to resume that this week, so that video should be out very soon.
In the meantime, I wanted to share my take on some of the new products that have been announced this week at SHOT Show. I don’t normally do this, but this year in particular, several of the new releases happen to be related to the not-quite-mainstream topics we often get into here. A few of you guys have already been asking me if I plan to review some of them. We don’t do a ton of new product reviews, so I probably won’t get to all of them. If you guys let me know which ones you want to hear more about, I’ll try to prioritize those.
Smith & Wesson Ultimate Carry J-Frame
First up is the Smith & Wesson Ultimate Carry J-Frame. This is a distributor exclusive from Lipsey’s. This is the only gun on the list I can tell you for sure I’ll be reviewing later this year. It’s an Airweight J-frame with an XS front sight, U-notch dovetailed rear, a trigger job, chamfered chambers, a nice set of hand-filling grips from VZ, no internal lock, and increased durability. It comes in matte stainless or black, and .38 Special or, my favorite, the criminally underrated .32 H&R Magnum.
If Smith & Wesson had called me and said “Chris, we want to make the perfect J-frame carry gun. What should we do?” I would send them a list of specs that looks very close to this. The MSRP is $759. Look out for our review some time in the first half of this year.
Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Carry 2 & PX4 G-SD
Next, we have some updates to the Beretta PX4, both the compact carry and the full size versions. The changes to the compact are fairly minor. I’m a lot more curious about what they’ve done with the full size. It now has a heavier profile barrel. That’s a big deal because if you’ve ever shot a PX4 full size and compact side by side, you might have noticed that the compact actually recoils less. Not that the full size is a hard-kicking gun or anything, it’s just that the compact is freakishly soft-shooting. The heavier barrel profile is supposed to bring the full size on par with the compact in that regard.
Langdon Tactical is already on board with full custom versions of these new guns. That includes options for an optic cut, compensator, and mag well if you want to go full race gun. The PX4 is already the most shootable DA/SA gun on the market, and I’m glad to see them getting more attention from both Beretta and Langdon.
Beretta 30X Tomcat
Also from Beretta, we have the new 30X in .32 ACP. This is an updated version of the tip-up barrel 3032 Tomcat. Beretta announced recently that they are discontinuing the Tomcat as well as its older and smaller sibling, the 21A Bobcat in .22 LR. I have really wanted to like these guns, but they both have… issues.
It looks like the 30X has addressed at least some of those issues. The controls are a little different with a mag release in a more conventional position. Straight trigger with an improved double action pull. The flush-fitting 7-round mag has been replaced with a slightly extended 8-round mag with longer 10-round extended mags also available. Durability has always been the biggest weak point of these guns, and that has supposedly been improved as well.
They’re starting off with two versions. The one here is the 30X Get Home Bag with a threaded barrel and suppressor height sights. The 30X Just In Case has standard sights and a non- threaded barrel. Both have dovetail cuts for the front and rear sights, which is a welcome change over the tiny integrated front sight of the original. There’s also apparently an optic adapter that will fit in the rear sight dovetail.
Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of an updated version of the 21A Bobcat. I would love to see the .22 get this treatment, since it was always the more fun and carry-friendly of the two anyway. But I’m not going to complain about a new pistol chambered for .32 ACP. We could always use more of those.
Taurus 327 Defender TORO
Speaking of underrated .32s, Taurus announced the 327 Defender TORO chambered for, of course, .327 Federal Magnum. This is similar to the 856 TORO in .38 Special that we reviewed last year. It’s a six-shot, small-frame optics-ready three-inch revolver. Lots of value with a modest price tag.
.327 is more than a handful out of a 2-inch lightweight gun like the LCR. I do not recommend it. But with a three-inch steel frame like the Taurus, it might be just right. And the ballistics of this cartridge really benefit from that extra inch of barrel. With Speer Gold Dot, we’re looking at performance at least on par with a full size 9mm. And you can still shoot the shorter .32 cartridges if you want to minimize recoil.
The 327 Defender comes with a few upgrades like a bobbed hammer, a trigger job, and a tritium front sight in case you choose not to use an optic. The actual retail price is expected to be around 350, which is absolutely nuts for a wheel gun with these features.
In the world of shotguns, Palmetto State Armory is showing off the PSA 570. It’s a 12 gauge pump that kind of combines the best features of the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500 along with some modern upgrades.
It takes 870 furniture. You can direct-mount an RMR-pattern optic to the top of the receiver. That latch there above the trigger guard is the action release. The 570 is designed so that the end user will be able to replace the barrel and the mag tube with basic tools. The idea is that PSA will offer complete guns as well as receivers, barrels, and mag tubes sold separately so you can configure your own shotgun however you want.
There are a lot of promising features here, but no set release date yet. PSA has 13 new products on display this year and they’re letting the public vote for which ones they want to go into production first. If I had to guess, I’d say the winner will be their little MP7 knock-off PDW in 5.7×28. That looks like a lot of fun, but I’m hoping the 570 won’t be too far down the list.
20 Gauge Flite Control
In other shotgun news, it looks like Federal is finally going to make a 20 gauge Flite Control Personal Defense Buckshot load. I don’t have a ton of information on this yet. It’s not something they’re pushing really hard at SHOT. I’m told it will be 10 pellets of #2 buck at 1325 feet per second. 12 to 15 inches of penetration in ballistic gel and a 10-inch pattern at 25 yards.
It’s almost impossible to find 20 gauge buckshot that patterns well at all. You’re pretty much stuck with slugs if you want to stay accountable for where your hits are going. If it works as advertised, 20 gauge Flite Control will be a game-changer. Now we just need Beretta to make a fun-sized 1301 in 20 gauge. No release date on this yet, but I’m sure we will test it eventually.
There’s a lot of other interesting new stuff out this year, but that’s what’s caught my attention so far. Again, let me know in the comments if you want to see a full review of any of these guns, or anything else I didn’t mention. In the meantime, if you need some ammo, be sure to get it from us with lightning-fast shipping at LuckyGunner.com.