They now sell guns and accessories and all kinds of gear via the net and phone, in quantities that keep them hopping every day. Jason Gilbert has inherited the store from his father and is running hard into the 21st century with it. Jason has a great deal of knowledge of the market and the products out there, and was working the NRA show in Louisville for Surefire.
I went in there recently to check to see what was new and came away with impressions of long guns and hand guns as well as some information about newly introduced AKs that's pretty exciting.
I handled the S&W M&P45 Compact a good bit more than I had the chance to at the NRA show and got some additional impressions of it. It's about the same size as the XD45 4-inch gun, but the butt is about 3/16-5/16ths shorter than the XD, and the shape of the grip frame is slightly more friendly to the hand, more ergonomic. It holds only ten rounds versus the XD's thirteen, but it ought to be a really good choice for a compact carry .45 once you get the trigger broken in due to it's overall size and fit in the hand. Like a lot of polymer guns, the trigger is okay if you just shoot it like a revolver, pull it straight through but if you try to press it and stage it like a 1911 it won't do, at least not out of the box.
I once again picked up the new Kimber SIS .45s that they designed in concert with the LAPD S.I.S. people and just I'd said previously, the cocking "grooves" in the slide, made in the shape of the initials SIS, in combination with the coating that Kimber uses are still too slick for efficient use, in my opinion. If your hands are slick with sweat, blood, oil or whatever you're going to have a hard time yanking back that slide. Ordinary serrations wouldn't be as sexy but they'd work better.
Mossberg once had a semi-auto shotgun called the Jungle Gun that had promise, but it didn't last long in production and we never learned much about it. The DEA used them in South America, supposedly, but no one else we know of had them in harness. Now they have a new shotgun in "tactical" format, the Model 930 SPX in their tactical line that shoulders well, has good balance, excellent LPA sights and if it's dependable should be a fine shotgun. It's less expensive than the Remington types and is gas operated, so recoil should be tolerable. Don't know how it would measure up to the FN SLP that I bought, based on the Winchester SX2, which is just about the best semi-auto that I've shot to date, but would love to find out. Maybe Mossberg will loan me one. I'll have to ask.
One of the sleeper guns on the market might be the Taurus 24/7 OSS .45 that they designed for the military pistol trials that went nowhere last year. I finally got to handle one and was very impressed with how it felt. The grip shape is excellent, the trigger is VERY light, better than the M&P's in my estimation, with a short reset and light let-off. The controls are pretty well-placed, though not quite large enough for me, being flat and not quite protuberant enough to be easily moved by my fingers. The sights are tall and readily visible, with a skinny front blade that allows plenty of light around it in the rear sight, and it holds 12 rounds in the magazine. The gun feels and looks long, since it has a 5-inch barrel, but it's not unbalanced. Now we have to ask, will it hold up to hard use? Will Taurus make it long enough for us to find out? If fit and feel in the hand were enough to sell guns it would make some money for them, but who knows what buyers will want, or trust?
I examined the FNP-45 pistol again and had the same impression of it. The gun is basically sound in execution, but the grip frame is large and it requires that you think about it when you hold it. You don't just pick it up and run with it, at least not with my hands, which aren't too dainty. I could make the gun work for me, but it doesn't just fall in and run for me like my daily carry gun, the XD45, does. I want to like this gun, but the grip is just large, like the Glock G21 is large. It's a funny thing. I had a G21 and liked the way that it shot, but I REALLY liked the feel of the G30 compact versus the G21. The FNP-45 is like that - nice gun, just doesn't quite click with the hand/gun interface.
There were some nice knives in the cases. I bought a Benchmade Snody neck knife with the Wharncliffe-style blade that they have made in China so the price is reasonable, and looked at the Blackhawk Tatang sheath knife that Mike Janich designed for them. That's a knife that would be something for serious users to consider, with good balance and an excellent edge both top and bottom which allows for the dread back cut. Ouch!
But the biggest news has to be the upgraded Saiga AKs that Gilbert's is coming out with. Based on the original Saiga AKs that are built in Russia at the plant where the legend of Kalashnikov was born, they're dolled up and modernized with all kinds of good things done to them. They've had upgraded triggers installed, new furniture installed including a modern pistol grip and modern CAR-style telescoping buttstock. They're covered with Duracoat in black and they look fine - up to date, modern and wicked. They make my ratty Romanian look like a mangy dog.
For a grand finale, Jason has added to his inventory US-made Saiga 30-round polymer 7.62x39mm magazines for the AK which have a follower that locks back the bolt after the last round. Since I grew up with American military firearms I really like that feature, and will be buying some of these for my AK.
I just LOVE going to gun stores, even more when they're good ones. Gilbert's is a GOOD gun store.