Steve Comus' Blog

    Steve Comus is a former Guns and Hunting Editor at WON. Before joining the staff at Western Outdoors more than a quarter-century ago he had a complete career as a frontline journalist with the L.A. afternoon daily Herald-Examiner, including quite a bit of foreign correspondence and years of investigative assignments.

    Since he took a break from WON, he has written articles for most of the major publications in the shooting sports industry, authored a couple of books and published a couple of others, spent a while as editor of Gun World magazine and is currently director of publications for Safari Club International.

     His writings focus on guns and shooting and all of the things that affect them, as well. 
Pistols in 10mm
What about the 10mm? The what?

Thinking about trying a new caliber handgun, but want something a little different? What about the 10mm auto?

Cartridge popularity can rise and fall, as evinced by the 10mm auto. It made some waves in the ’80s when it was introduced, faded off, only to come back bigger and better than ever these last couple of years.

THE 10MM COMPARES with other pistol cartridges. Here, the 10mm auto, center, is flanked by the .40 S&W, left, and .45 ACP.

The history of the 10mm is somewhat star crossed in that originally there was a pretty good supply of ammo for guns that either did not exist, or guns that existed but lacked magazines.

That part involved Dornaus & Dickson’s Bren 10 semi-auto pistol. The magazine snafu pretty much put an end to the Bren 10’s future. Norma, meanwhile, had made a whole bunch of beautiful 10mm ammo. As the Bren 10 faded away, the Colt Delta Elite 10mm came onto the scene. That was in 1987. I was there to shoot some of the first game animals ever taken with the DE.

For a number of years, the most prolific maker of pistols to shoot the 10mm auto was Glock. Within the past couple of years, other companies have discovered the 10mm auto and now, most companies that offer 1911 pistols have at least one model chambered for the 10mm auto.

Probably the biggest factor keeping the 10mm auto from enjoying more popularity in the early years was the development of the .40 S&W cartridge. The .40 S&W essentially is a short version of the 10mm auto. The same diameter bullets can be used, but the shorter overall cartridge length allows the .40 S&W to be chambered in pistol frame sizes that were designed for the 9mmP.

COLT DELTA ELITE in 10mm auto is one of many 1911 platforms that shoot that cartridge. Magazine holds eight rounds.

The whole idea behind the 10mm auto was to have a cartridge for a semi-auto pistol that delivered performance close to that of a .41 Magnum from a revolver. It comes close.

Ironically, I also happened to be on hand when the first animal ever shot with the .40 S&W was taken. It was on a hunt with Mike Jordan from Winchester ammo, and it was a wild hog. Went down hard.

To compare, nominal velocity of a 180-grain bullet out of a .40 S&W is 1,015 feet per second while the nominal velocity of a 180-grain bullet out of a 10mm auto is 1,030 (interestingly, the nominal velocity of a 200-grain bullet out of a 10mm auto is 1,050).

A lot of the hype lately for the 10mm auto imagines it to be a hunting cartridge. Certainly it works for hunting, but probably more appropriately as a backup/coups de grace proposition than a primary hunting rig.

One thing is certain. The 10mm auto is a heck of a lot of fun to shoot, and among semi-auto pistol cartridges, it ranks really well – right up there with the .45 ACP, offering a tiny edge over the .40 S&W. Which means it is something to think about for those who want something different, something fun and something that works well in a variety of settings.

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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a former WON Guns and Hunting Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at

Revolver updates
Evolving revolver development a big chunk of handgun sales

Things keep happening in the revolver world despite the fact that most handgun sales and use in recent times involve semi-autos. Statistics indicate that somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 to 25 percent of handgun sales/use involves revolvers.

CLAUDE GERALD USES the Lyman Eye Pal in conjunction with his Colt Officers Model Match revolver in .38 Special.

Although the 20 to 25 percent is a minority, given the huge numbers of handguns extant, it still represents a big chunk of the action.

I was corresponding some time ago with old friend Carl Cupp, who many in Southern California remember as “Mr. Pad” at Pachmayr and also as a really avid duck hunter. Among other things, Carl is General Manager, Pachmayr Division with Lyman – the company that happens to make a shooting aid called the Eye Pal.

The Eye Pal is a small disk with a tiny hole in the middle that goes on shooting glasses. It helps when shooting open sights in the same way that an aperture in a peep sight helps make the front sight appear sharper (the smaller the aperture hole, the more pronounced the effect).

Shooting buddy Claude Gerald does a lot of handgun shooting. He volunteered to check out the Eye Pal and found that it works fine. However, it takes a little moving around of the disk on the glasses to get it in exactly the right spot. Once in the right spot on the lens of shooting glasses, the Eye Pal does its job. Front sight appears sharper, which means more precise bullet placement.

LYMAN EYE PAL affixes to shooting glasses, providing a small aperture to help see open sights better.

This can aid shooters of all ages, but is particularly helpful for some of us who are long in the tooth (if we have any teeth left at all). There is something special when fine old firearms can keep shooting tight groups. Check out the Eye Pal if the front sight is getting fuzzy.

On the ammo front, Remington recently announced the introduction of their Performance Wheelgun line of ammo for revolvers. It’s nice to see that some of the old favorites are included in the line. Cartridges in Remington’s Wheelgun line include .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .357 Mag., .38 S&W, .38 Special, .38 Short Colt, .44 S&W Special and .45 Colt.

Although it is handy to have .357 Mag, .38 Special, .44 S&W Special and .45 Colt in this Remington lineup, those cartridges are not as difficult to find in some stores as are the others.

I get good responses from readers whenever I mention .32s, and so both the .32 S&W and .32 S&W Long are interesting to have as standard offerings in this line. Those two cartridges fit into a huge number of old, fun guns to shoot. Recoil and noise are low, enjoyment high. And, there also are a lot of revolvers out there chambered for the .38 S&W and a fair number marked to shoot the .38 Short Colt.

So, a big “Thank You” goes out to Remington for remembering revolver shooters during this era of semi-autos. There is room in the gun world for all – the more the merrier.

Pacific Sporting Arms open house
Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 22. That’s the day Pacific Sporting Arms in Azusa will be holding its Open House. Plan to be there.

PACIFIC SPORTING ARMS open house offers opportunities to see some of the world’s finest firearms and talk with representatives from many of the prestigious makers. Plan to attend the open house Saturday, April 22.

One of the advantages of Southern California is that some of the finest and most comprehensive retailers on earth are located here. Pacific Sporting Arms is among the best – some further qualify it as THE best. No argument there.

There are relative few retail establishments around the country that have the inventory and expertise to cater to all levels of customer – from the beginner to the most accomplished shooters and collectors. Pacific Sporting Arms is among that elite group.

Top-level shooters frequent Pacific Sporting Arms because there they can find the kinds of shotguns it takes to win at the highest levels. There is no doubt they will be there for the open house. Heck, they’d be there anyway.

Beginning shooters and others who are becoming top shooters should consider the open house a “must do” item on their lists, simply because it is a superb opportunity to check out every level of gun on the market – from solid, everyday working hunting guns to the finest functional works of art on the planet.

There is something special about being able to see some of the world’s finest firearms, up-close and personal, so to speak. At the Open House, you’ll be able to see dream guns “in the flesh.”

Attend the open house, and get a free hat and raffle ticket for a free Browning Maxus Shotgun. The gun will be given away to a lucky winner.

Also during the open house, Pacific Sporting Arms is offering 25 percent off all clothing and accessories in the store and five percent off all used and new guns (excluding consignment guns) in the store.

And, there will be special pricing on select guns, too low to publish.

Representatives from Perazzi, Krieghoff, Beretta, Zoli, Dickinson, Guerini, Blaser, etc. will be here to answer your questions. Being able to meet with these industry experts in person is worth the trip, all by itself.

The folks at Pacific Sporting Arms are dealers of high-grade, new and previously owned competition and field shotguns and accessories.

Pacific Sporting Arms is owned and operated by shooters who have a vast knowledge of the shotgun sports world.

It is a full service “Shotgun Sports Store,” and its specialty is service to its customers. Their professionals are experts in the latest trends in competition shooting and equipment.

“Our staff is second to none in the area of gun selection and gun fitting,” the store reported. “Whether you are a top competitive shooter, a weekend recreational shooter or an avid hunter or collector, we will have the right shotgun for you. We have the lowest everyday prices on all of our guns and our full line of top name accessories and clothing.”

Plan to attend the open house Saturday, April 22 at Pacific Sporting Arms, 912 W. 10th St., Azusa, CA 91702.

Karhr 9mm: Take this new Kahr for a test drive!
Whenever a gun company announces that any new model of handgun has been designated legal to sell in California, it is newsworthy. Kahr Arms is announcing three models recently have been designated as okay to sell in the Golden State.

That’s why I was particularly interested when Sheryl Gallup sent me the info and images about these three new models being available. Sheryl and I have been bouncing around the industry probably longer than she might want to admit. Heck, we worked for the same outfit years back. Now she puts out the word for Kahr, and does it well.


THE KAHR CW9093N features a stainless steel slide and a black polymer frame.

“Kahr Arms is happy to announce that three of their popular CW9 9mm models are now California legal,” the company reported. “These models include the CW9 in a Black Carbon Fiber frame, standard CW9 with front night sight and the very popular Cerakote Burnt Bronze.”

The three CW9 models all feature a 3.6-inch barrel with conventional rifling, an overall length of 5.9 inches, and a height of 4.5 inches and each pistol weighs just 15.8 ounces. All three models offer a trigger cocking DAO, lock-breach, “Browning-type” recoil lug, and a passive striker block with no magazine disconnect. Capacity is 7+1.

The CW9093BCF is one of Kahr’s newest finishes in a classic Black Carbon Fiber print. This textured weave provides a 3-D dimensional appearance to the 9mm while also providing a textured grip that has a tacky feel in the hand. MSRP on the CW9093BCF is $495.


THE KAHR CW9093BCF is one of Kahr’s newest finishes in a classic Black Carbon Fiber print.

The CW9093N features a stainless steel slide and a black polymer frame. It also has a drift adjustable white bar-dot combat rear sight and a pinned-in polymer front night sight. MSRP on this model is $495.

Last is the CW9093BB. The Cerakote® Burnt Bronze has been a popular finish for Kahr Firearms Group in both the Kahr and Magnum Research product lines. The MSRP on this model is $482 and is now available for California gun dealers to buy from authorized Kahr Firearms Group wholesalers.

One interesting thing about all three of the models now available in California is that they are sized for concealed carry. This doesn’t mean that only concealed carry makes sense for that size of handgun, but in this instance, rather seems to indicate that the market in California prefers such size pistols.


THE KAHR CW9093BB in Cerakote® Burnt Bronze – a finish that has been a popular finish for Kahr Firearms Group in both the Kahr and Magnum Research product lines.

With their polymer frames and other features, these definitely fall into the MP (Modern Pistol) category. And it is hard to go wrong with the 9mmP.

Overall, what this means to me is that these are pistols that will fit a wide variety of hand sizes, while shooting a cartridge that can be handled by a wide variety of shooters with a wide range of experience. Generally, whenever a particular handgun answers all of those considerations, it does well.

The Kahr Firearms Group continues to expand its presence in the marketplace. They also make a number of other brands like Auto-Ordnance (Tommy gun) and Magnum Research.

For more information about these three models, go to or check a local gun shop.

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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a former WON Guns and Hunting Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at

Right measure: The full scoop on powder
When I first started reloading ammo in the mid-1950s, a friend who was the local guru of handloading helped me make, from scratch, the press, dies and everything that went with them.

He even ground down an empty .35 Remington case to hold the proper powder charge. I used that rig for years and still have it as a reminder of what it was like back in those days.

Recently, I was reminded of the old powder scoop days when I set out to load some ammo for a S&W Hand Ejector chambered for the .32/20 Win. cartridge.

great for loading some cartridges. Here, the scoop from the Lee die set is shown with that die set, as well as a Lyman M die, powder, primers, cases and bullets for the Smith & Wesson hand ejector chambered for the .32/20 Winchester cartridge.

Coincidentally, I also had recently been discussing reloading with a young prepper who was interested in having at least the minimal amount of gear needed to keep his guns going. Flippantly, I told that young guy that so long as he used certain powders, that he could dispense with a powder scale and just use a scoop to ration out powder.

Anyway, when I set out to load some .32/20s, I grabbed my dies, which happen to be from Lee, and which happen to include a small, yellow plastic scoop. Although I already had set up my powder measure and adjusted it in conjunction with my powder scale, I chuckled to myself and decided to see how dead-on the scoop would be and how it would stack up, load to load, with the powder measure.

Bear in mind that through the years, I had used the Lee scoops for different cartridges, and had found them to be quite accurate.

Much to my pleasure, I found that the powder charge from the scoop was precisely the same as that from the powder measure. And, the scoop was as accurate from load to load as was the measure. Makes sense, because both are volume measuring propositions.

My point in all of this is that if a person sticks to the relatively few powders listed in the data that come with the Lee dies, using only the powder scoop can work fine.

Overall, I like Lee dies for pistol and revolver cartridges. I recommend use of Lee’s carbide factory crimp dies for handgun cartridges — they should be considered mandatory for ammo to be used in semi-autos, because it puts the finished round totally in spec. I use those Lee dies in an RCBS Rock Chucker press.

For the larger centerfire rifle cartridges, I use the Redding Big Boss press, generally with either Redding or RCBS dies — that is when I am not using my Bonanza press with Forster dies.

When it comes to straight wall cases, consider the Lyman M die to be a must. It opens the mouth just right, without over-flaring as can happen with other expander dies.

One thing is certain: there is always room for more loading equipment, whether a shooter is just beginning or has been at it for over 60 years. Too much is not enough. Shoot straight and shoot often.

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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a former WON Guns and Hunting Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at

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