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Lethal Lethal force Best Bets For Best Sellers In New Handguns Massad Ayoob T he 2011 SHOT Show may not have been a “stop the presses” year for new designs, but there were some handguns introduced that will definitely spark the interest of your customers. Let’s look at the ones most likely to “create buzz” and sell particularly well for you. The SIG 9mm P290, in double-action-only, has a snag-resistant, sleek design for concealed carry or L.E. backup. The slim, flat 9mm pistol, intended for extremely discreet concealment, has become a staple of concealed carry during the past several years. This year sees still more in this genre, three of which I predict are going to be huge. One is the Ruger LC9. For the last couple of years, all those customers who waited patiently for your backorder to come in for the little LCP .380s were muttering, “I only wish it was a 9mm.” A lot more folks were admiring the LCP’s wafer-like thinness and super light weight and thinking, “When they come out with one of those in Slim Nines 9mm Luger, I’m gonna buy one.” Well, that gun is here. The LC9 (Light, Compact 9mm) physically resembles a slightly scaled-up LCP. And it’s going to be up against some other new competition in the niche. SIG SAUER beat other companies to market by introducing their P290 pistol at the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) conference and show in Orlando in October 2010. Double-action-only and taking advantage of the slimness and lightness the polymer frame affords, the P290 has a very nice trigger pull. This little 9mm is reasonably priced, if not economy priced, feels nice in the hand and has the SIG prestige behind it. I think its sales potential is high. Finally, Kimber’s Solo, marketed as a single-action pistol to be carried cocked-and-locked, comes with an ambidextrous thumb safety. It’s small enough for pocket carry with the proper pocket holster. While some are leery of a gun in a pocket, even when it has a long, heavy, double-action trigger, they might find the manual safety more reassuring. For those in the market for something this size and caliber, but who are averse to polymer for reasons of taste and tradition, the Solo 9mm has an all-metal frame to recommend it. A s has been discussed in this space and elsewhere in Shooting Industry, this centennial year of the 1911 pistol has predictably brought out many variations. There are too many models to cover, but briefly, here are some standouts. Ed Brown Custom has a Centennial out with the most gorgeous blue you can imagine, and Bill Laughridge at Cylinder & Slide Shop has crafted an exact duplicate of the first commercial 1911 with absolute authenticity, right down to “fire blue” by the incomparable Doug Turnbull. These are carriage-trade pistols, obviously, in the $5,000-$8,000 range. At under a grand, Springfield Armory’s Range Officer pistol comes with BoMar-like sights and a very nice trigger. It will remind your customers of super-custom 1911 .45s of the ’70s, while delivering impressive performance at a very fair price. Another 1911 (well, sort of) to look at is Colt’s reintroduced Mustang PocketLite .380. These well-made, reliable little guns are wonderfully slim and compact for those who are happy with its cartridge. The Colts are coming through very well made, and if the brand has been absent from your showcase, the little PocketLite is an excellent way to reintroduce it. Of all the 1911s that came out this year, though, my money is on the Browning .22 to set the sales pace. A 1911 scaled down to seven-eighths the size of the real deal, if it feeds the .22 Long Rifle cartridge as well as hoped, it’s gonna be huge. APRIL 2011 Colt has returned the .380 Mustang PocketLite to production. Slim and compact, the pistol has a 2 3/4" barrel. There is the novelty factor. There is the cheap, fun, affordable shooting factor. And there is, of course, the never-to-beunderestimated “cool factor.” 20 Read SI DIGITAL www.shootingindustry.com Roy Huntington Celebrating The Year Of 1911s