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Ballistic December/January 2021 (Best Of)

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BALLISTIC is a magazine devoted to the modern firearms enthusiast.

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United States
Athlon Media Group
SPECIAL: Get 40% OFF with code: JOY40
6 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
here’s to the winners

Proudly, we bring you our third annual Ballistic’s Best awards issue. Our mission: Be the go-to source for those on a quest to build their firearms collection with superior hardware by showcasing an unprecedented number of best-in-class guns. There’s no better time to kick the tumultuous year of 2020 out of commission with a huge bang. In fact, 12,700 bangs. That’s the estimated number of total rounds our gun-test/evaluation teams let loose in order to determine the best firearm in the following eight categories: • Full-size semi-automatic handguns (non-1911)—nine contenders, 1,650 rounds;• Compact semi-automatic handguns (non-1911)—nine contenders, 1,650 rounds;• Model 1911—10 contenders, 2,000 rounds;• AR-15 pistols (5.56mm)—nine contenders, 2,800 rounds;• Revolvers (DA/SA .357 Magnum)—five contenders, 800 rounds;• Tactical pump-action shotguns—nine contenders, 1,000 rounds;• AR-15/AR-10 rifles—eight contenders, 1,800 rounds;• Bolt-action rifles (6.5 Creedmoor)—10…

13 min.
fully loaded

One of the great things about living in today’s world is the outstanding variety of products we have available to us as consumers in the firearms industry. Whether you’re looking for a race gun, an exotic caliber, something more customized or a tactically tricked out piece for home defense, the U.S. market has it all. Even when it comes to value-oriented firearms, today’s manufacturing techniques, along with computer-aided design, help ensure even budget-friendly firearms are reliable and can be counted on when it matters most. That fantastic variety and quality is definitely represented in this year’s roundup of full-size, semi-automatic pistols for our Ballistic’s Best 2020 edition. Despite the recent clamor for compact, concealed-carry pistols, there are still areas where full-size pistols excel and offer features that just aren’t possible with…

12 min.
concealed carry titans

Time flies…usually. The year 2020 has been an odd one, but it’s about to be put in the rearview mirror for better or worse. The days have cooled, the leaves are starting to turn and a hint of wood smoke now lingers in the evening air. These annual occurrences are how many of us mark the transition from one year to the next. Another way, for us at Ballistic, is by highlighting the hottest new firearms of the past year in our annual Ballistic’s Best edition. Having been asked to cover the compact pistol category once again, I reached out to a few folks in my area to assist with evaluating nine different pistols. They included a couple of my regular shooting buddies, Lincoln and John. I also got Brad and…

19 min.
model match

While most of the shooting community waits with bated breath for the newest high-capacity polymer defensive handgun to be released, there is a certain percentage of our group that could care less. They’ve already found what works for them and, like their first loves, remain loyal to the one they could always count on in hard times. Generally, you’ll find more gray in their hair and a quiet wisdom gained through years of hard knocks. If you’re lucky enough, and can manage to keep your mouth shut, you just might learn a thing or two from the guy with the well-worn 1911. MATCH PREP For 2020 we collected 1911s from 10 different manufacturers. Each gun was field stripped prior to shooting. I scrubbed both the frame rails and slide rails and also…

10 min.
battle of the braced beasts

America’s favorite rifle has definitely evolved over the years. That evolution has brought us better, smaller, lighter and nicer looking guns in the past few years. Because of the evolution of the AR platform, pistols are becoming the new normal. The AR pistol has shown up from nearly every manufacturer, and I personally love them. In fact, I don’t just love them, I am kind of obsessed with them—the look, the feel and the fireballs. Simply put, they are just awesome. When the Ballistic crew told me they wanted to create an AR pistol category in Ballistic’s Best of 2020, I was ecstatic to take on the task. One of the toughest parts of this project was limiting myself to nine guns. I honestly did hours of research to pick a…

10 min.
wheels of fury

As we close out 2020, I think readers will agree that it was a year unlike any other. Manufacturers struggled to keep up with demand, new products were put on hold and ammo shelves were empty. As a result, this year’s candidates are a mix of something old and something new. However, we have never had a more equally balanced group of revolvers to test. The lineup for this year includes the Colt Python, Chiappa Rhino, Kimber K6 Combat, Korth Silver Mongoose and the Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic. All five are double-action/single-action revolvers, they share the same caliber (.357 Magnum) and with the exception of the Rhino, all have a 4-inch (or so) barrel. The Python and Model 19 are reissues of classics, while the Kimber K6, Korth Mongoose…