I have been searching for a solution to a need that I had identified for myself – and I am happy to report that I have succeeded in filling that need.
What I needed was a handgun that I would leave in my vehicle. It would spend its entire life in my vehicle. It would not be a “carry piece” – or a “field piece” – it would be part of my vehicle – just as much as a spare tire or “tire iron” (LOL!).
Here is the need: I already have a “trunk/truck” longarm – and this handgun’s role is NOT to replace the longarm. This handgun’s role is to provide me with a means of defending myself and anyone that travels with me from threats that occur while I am seated in the vehicle. I carry my primary handgun (either a M&Pc or a full sized M&P) in an IWB holster. Most of the time – I am “tucked” while wearing the IWB – meaning I have my dress shirt tucked over the handgun/holster so it is concealed without wearing a jacket or coat. So – when I am seated in my vehicle with my seatbelt on – it is next to impossible for me to get to my CCW handgun. So picture this scenario – I am stopped at a light in the bad part of town – with a vehicles in front and back – and on the sides. I know we try not to get boxed in – but life happens and sometimes we do get boxed in. A half dozen bangers from the local gang come up to my vehicle. “Uuuhhh…..Mr. Homey – would you please let me get out of my vehicle – and pull my shirt up so I can get my handgun – then sit back in my in my vehicle – BEFORE you start your assault??”
It should abundantly clear now what mission my “in vehicle” handgun will fill.
With this in mind the tool in question would have to have the following characteristics:
1. Be RELIABLE
2. Be somewhat durable – it would not see “hard use” – but it would see temperatures in the mid-hundreds (think hot 100 plus temps summer day parked in a black asphalt parking lot – so the interior could reach 140 or so) to below freezing (it gets down to single digits quite regularly in my AO in the winter). So it must be able to handle extreme temperatures and still function without breaking.
3. It MUST have an external safety. Since this won’t be on my body – I don’t want this to be a “grab and pull trigger” firearm – I want it to have an external safety. Last thing I want happening in a vehicle roll over or accident is a possibility of an AD.
4. It must be pretty much weather proof – I don’t want to worry about rust, corrosion, etc.
5. It must be INEXPENSIVE. If my vehicle gets broken into – I don’t want to lose a $3,000 Larry Vickers custom 1911 (not that I have one) – I want to lose a handgun that is not very expensive to replace.
6. Must be in 9mm NATO or .40 S&W – anything smaller and the rounds won’t penetrate a vehicle very well – and .45 ACP handguns don’t carry enough rounds for my tastes. If I need my handgun from my vehicle – odds are I will need more than 7 or 8 rounds – I want enough “on tap” to solve the problem.
When I first sat down and compiled my list – I made the following observation:
NONE of my current crop of handguns will work. They all lost out on at least one or two categories – and sometimes three. My Glocks/M&Ps lack an external safety – and they are not what I consider “inexpensive”. I put the “threshold” for inexpensive to be less than $300 – and they are both above that – even used.
My 1911 has an external safety – but it only holds 7+1 rounds (my experience with 8 round magazines is less than stellar) – and it way more than $300 too. My BHP holds 12 +1 – but it is worth more than $300 too.
So – I compiled a list of handguns – that when purchased used – would be less than $300 and still meet the rest of the criteria. The following handguns are all RELIABLE handguns that meet the “LIST”. Those handguns are:
1. Used S&W 5906 (stainless steel).
2. Used Ruger P89 and P95 handguns with stainless slides.
3. Used Taurus 24/7 handgun with stainless slide.
There are probably others – but those are the one’s I knew would work for my needs.
So I started “hunting” for one of the above handguns – and some were close to the $300 mark – but none were under – UNTIL I found a Taurus 24/7 in 9mm with stainless steel slide and barrel in the local classified section of an on-line newspaper. The guy originally had the handgun listed at $350 – but two weeks later he dropped the price to $300. In the add it mentioned that this handgun had only seen less than 100 rounds. I totally discount the round counts of used firearms and wait until I inspect it. If the bore is in good shape I don’t really care if a modern design has seen 1,000 or more rounds. I contacted him and offered him $270 – and he accepted.
So we met and I looked down the bore and it found it to be in excellent shape and then handed him the money. I brought it home and detail inspected it. It was BONE DRY. Not a hint of any lubrication at all. I function check all my fighting guns to see if they will function when dry – some will (Glocks and M&Ps) – and some wont (1911 and AR’s). I just wanted to know if this design could. Well - it can’t. Numerous failures in the only magazine I tried dry. I had pre-thought out what I would do in the event the handgun I chose wouldn’t function dry. I knew that oils would evaporate in high temperatures – and the gun would essentially be dry – so I chose to use some “Brownells Action Lube Plus” – which is a high tech grease that is very slippery. It won’t evaporate – and it will stay put (won’t run out like oil does if the firearm is stored vertically). If you get a little 2 oz. tub of this it will last your whole family a few generations worth of lubing things. A tiny little bit will go a LONG way.
Once properly lubed – the 24/7 runs like the proverbial top. I ran 500 rounds through it just to make sure – then ran 1 magazine of my carry load (Winchester Ranger T RATA 127 grain +P+) through it to make sure there were no issues with it and there wasn’t.
Now the "hows" - in the state in which I live - with a CCW I can have the firearm "off body" - loaded and ready to rock within arms reach in my vehicle and still be "OK". So I will keep this gun in the between seat console.
However - if I didn't have a console - I would attach a holster to the vehicle under the stearing column or that area kind of under the dash but still accessable.
I am also going to invest in a vehicle safe like this one here: http://www.center-of-mass.com/index.htm
There are other products like this - I haven't exactly decided which one I will end up with.
So depending upon the circumstances I would lock up the handgun in the onboard safe - but it would most likely reside in the center console.
Okay – now on the firearm review. I am impressed with the 24/7. It seems like a very well built firearm. The location of the thumb safety is exactly where it should be – UNLIKE the two other contenders (S&W 5906 and Ruger P series). The thumb safety has a very positive “on” and “off” position. Magazine release is a push button and positioned just behind the left side trigger guard – like on my M&P, Glocks, 1911, BHP et al.
Sights are Richard Heine designed – and are quite good. Trigger pull……well – it is….different. The 24/7 design is a striker fired true DA/SA affair. It has a “double strike” capability. All shots are fired from the SA – unless one experiences a failure to fire – then one has the option of pulling the trigger again to try and touch off the round. My Glocks, M&Ps, 1911s, BHPs, ARs and AKs all lack this feature. So – my SOP is when I have a FTF – I quickly eject the round and try a new one. My rounds never get a second chance – they either work the first time – or they get ejected. So I will never use the double action feature of the 24/7. The bad news is there is a LONG take up (pre-travel) before one gets to the SA portion of the trigger pull. Once there – the SA pull is VERY nice – better than my Glocks or M&Ps – but the long take up (pre-travel) does negate the wonderful SA pull somewhat.
The quality of the 24/7 is “good enough” – not in the same class as my other fighting handguns – but it cost me a lot less money too – and as I said – it is “good enough”.
The magazines are SIG 226 clones (they are interchangeable) so they work as advertised too.
The grip shape is pretty good – not as good as my M&P’s – but better than Glocks. Grip circumference is greater than M&P or Glocks.
Bottom line – I consider the Taurus 24/7 line to be a “best buy” in the handgun market. No – it won’t replace my M&Ps as it is superior in ergo’s to the Taurus – but for my stated need as a vehicle gun – it fills it perfectly.
Also – if I didn’t have the dough to drop on a M&P or Glock – the 24/7 will do very nicely as someone’s “go to” handgun.
Just keep some Brownells Action Lube Plus on it and it will run forever.
Here is the obligatory photo.