Kimber EVO SP
If you’ve felt like asking more from a pistol for everyday carry, the Kimber EVO SP has answers. Based on size and Kimber’s description, it’s a sub-compact, but nonetheless, the new-for-’19 EVO series offers a little more heft and a little more useable grip than many subbies, including the Kimber Micro 9. Heavier than its stablemate (19 vs. 15.6 ounces) and marginally longer top-to-bottom thanks to an extended magazine, the EVO may lose the compactness battle, but is bound to be a whole lot more shootable.
The reason for the weight gain is that even though the EVO is another striker-fire 9 mm with a 7-round mag capacity, there’s no poly frame: This baby’s all metal. The black-finished stainless steel slides are paired with KimPro black, gray or silver aluminum frames, and the gun’s G-10 grips can be had in four different color combinations. So, yes, like all Kimbers, the EVOs are lookers. There’s also a Custom Shop variant that’s even more attractive.
Performance features include a checkered front strap, visual cocking indicator and TRUGLO Tritium Pro ledged night sights. But the real rub here is that many enthusiasts feel this model not only sharpens the company’s quest for producing 1911-inspired subcompacts, but is the closest any striker gun comes to matching 1911 ergonomics and trigger operation. MSRPs run $856 to $1,047. For more, visit: kimberamerica.com.
If a full-size 9 mm pistol meets your needs in home security, but your budget is tight, don’t overlook Stoeger’s surprising debut in the handgun market with the STR-9 imported from Turkey. On the surface it’s a curious move for this brand closely associated with shotguns that are as capable as they are affordable. But in leveraging its overseas manufacturing connections with pricing that’s tough to beat, this one merits closer scrutiny.
What we see is a durable polymer-framed, striker-fired guardian measuring 7.44 inches long with a 4.17-inch barrel, and a moderate weight at 24 ounces (unloaded). The magazine holds 15 rounds. All of which is pretty standard in this class, but what’s not always available here is an interchangeable backstrap system that allows easy modification to fit different hands. The base model comes with a medium-size backstrap, but small and large ‘straps can be obtained as accessory items.
Mechanically the STR-9 offers a nifty blade-in-trigger safety along with a user-reversible magazine release. Prominent serrations fore and aft promote sure-handed slide manipulation, and the sights follow the popular three-dot form. There’s even a shorter rail molded into the frame’s underside at the muzzle for attaching a laser or lighting unit.
Coming to market at a suggested price of just $349, what we see is good value for entry-level owners or anyone seeking the means to take responsibility for his or her own security. For further details visit stoegerindustries.com.
As the photo here clearly shows, the all-new Winchester Wildcat is a thoroughly high-tech take on how to build a reliable, cool-looking .22 LR rifle. What’s not new at all is the opportunity for responsible family fun that owners of the 21st-century Wildcat have in store.
Those who recall the old bolt-action Wildcat are likely wondering, What the heck?—and deservedly so. But this one’s a semi-auto with an ingenious integrated bolt/magazine/trigger unit freed by working twin release buttons. The only thing remotely like it is a highly engineered German big-game rifle selling for roughly 10 times more. This design, in fact, is considered an upper/lower configuration like those that form the basis of popular AR-style rifles.
Thanks to its factory-installed “ghost-ring” rear sight, combined with a button-rifled 18-inch barrel ending in a recessed target crown, the little Winchester promises to be an accurate small-game hunter and plinker. If scope mounting is desired, that’s easily accomplished via the molded top rail and there’s a front section of rail for equipping it with a bipod. You’ll also find a 10-round rotary magazine updated with a special spring-release lever (more ingenuity) that makes unloading fast and easy. Aftermarket 10/22-type magazines will fit the new Wildcat, too.
Tipping the scales at just 4 pounds, the Wildcat will be manageable for all but the youngest marksmen, though the 13.5-inch length of pull may be a little too much for users. Certainly you’re going to like the MSPR—an attractive $249. See more info at winchesterguns.com.