Other guns: some more top choices in defensive handguns.

Author:Smith, Clint

I often write about 1911 pistols and revolvers as they are two of my personal favorite handgun platforms and, contrary to what might be popular belief, I do actually shoot some other kinds of handguns. I mostly shoot other guns to broaden my knowledge while trying to be a student of weapons craft. It isn't so much I would buy these guns for myself as I would like to know more about them. This is one of the better points about the gun writer gig.

I confirm to you all again I am not a writer. I simply get to shoot or test guns and/or watch them over periods of time in the hands of others and then simply document what I see. I find it isn't so much what I do or can do with the guns skill-wise as much as what others can do with a particular platform. Or maybe more importantly, what novice shooters can do since, as always, there are more novices around. I recently looked at two new guns (at least new to me) from two shooting industry icons and the guns are both sort of out of the realm of what I normally shoot.

Wilson Sentinel

I have known Bill Wilson since 1978 and hold him in very high regard for what he has done and created business-wise in the shooting industry. I was in his shop when it was in the back of his dad's jewelry store in downtown Berryville, Arkansas, where he hunkered over the bench building one pistol at a time. It is enough to say Bill has come a long ways since those days.

From the Wilson shop I was sent a Sentinel Model 1911 pistol chambered for 9mm, although the Sentinel is available in .45 and .38 Super as caliber options. Much good and bad has been said about the 9mm, but I'll leave it there as lots of new types of ammo and projectiles improve its performance standards and, no matter what caliber you shoot, it won't matter unless you hit the target.

The Sentinel sports a nominal 3-1/2" barrel creating a very compact package with an overall length of 7". From top to bottom the pistol measures a mere 5", making it a very concealable pistol. I can discuss fit and finish but as usual for the Wilson shop this pistol is put together very well and looks even better. A point of interest is the Sentinel worked every time I fired it and the magazines are very, very good.

If it sounds like I went gear-queer over the magazines, maybe so, then again I really look at magazines if a gun isn't working correctly. The first thing I change or fix is the magazine and--trust me--it cures lots of ills. Wilson's magazines are as close to bomb...

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