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Returning to my roots or why did I buy that gun in the first place.

Long long ago in a land far far away I was looking for something slightly smaller than my crop of semi-automatics.

Well, maybe not all that long ago, more like the mid 70s and early eighties.

It was a interesting period with cities burning and the City of Brotherly Love doing some urban renewal and gentrification around the Osage Avenue neighborhood.

I ended up buying three very similar size and weight semi-automatic handguns that while pretty close to modern average size or even large size were pretty small and compact for the period.

The first was my Sig Sauer P225, a single stack 8 + 1 rounds of 9mm parabellum and a steel slide with alloy frame. I loved my Sig P226 but the P225 was significantly smaller and while I found it fairly accurate it somehow just never felt as comfortable as my larger Sig or the Hi-Power so it just never got carried that often. But I loved the concept and size.

Then, in the early 1980s S&W introduced the first factory Wonder 9 Compact, their 469.

My 469 actually shot better than my Sig P225 and was almost identical in size and weight but instead of 8 + 1 rounds it came with a double stack 12 round magazine so 12 + 1.

But wait, there's more.

The 15 round magazines for the S&W 59 also fit the 469 allowing a 15 + 1 configuration.

The downside to the S&W 469 was the same issue as with all the S&W Semi-automatics of the period; it could be a ***** to reassemble after field strip and cleaning.

Time passed and it was soon the early 90s and the first polymer framed guns were coming out and making inroads and I saw a Star UltraStar. It was only a single stack and the magazine only held 9 rounds but it was a couple ounces lighter than the other two and had a considerably lower bore axis. I found I shot it better than any of the other 9mm parabellum handguns I owned.

So how did the three compare. All three were conventional DA/SA but the Sig only had a decocker while the other two had a safety/decocker. All three fit perfectly in the holsters for the P225. All three were blued. The biggest difference though was in how well I could shoot each one. There, the Sig P225 came in dead last. While I loved all my other Sigs the P225 simply never felt right. The S&W 469 was the next most accurate and controllable but the Star UlstraStar simply felt and seemed as natural as pointing my finger.

The P225 went off to a Forever Home but the 469 and UltraStar are still with me and still get to go WalkAbout more often than any of my other 9mm parabellums.

225-&-STAR-UltraStar800.jpg


469-UltraStar-800.gif
Compact-Pistolsmall.jpg



Compacts then and now.
 
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OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
Long long ago in a land far far away I was looking for something slightly smaller than my crop of semi-automatics.

Well, maybe not all that long ago, more like the mid 70s and early eighties.

It was a interesting period with cities burning and the City of Brotherly Love doing some urban renewal and gentrification around the Osage Avenue neighborhood.

I ended up buying three very similar size and weight semi-automatic handguns that while pretty close to modern average size or even large size were pretty small and compact for the period.

The first was my Sig Sauer P225, a single stack 8 + 1 rounds of 9mm parabellum and a steel slide with alloy frame. I loved my Sig P226 but the P225 was significantly smaller and while I found it fairly accurate it somehow just never felt as comfortable as my larger Sig or the Hi-Power so it just never got carried that often. But I loved the concept and size.

Then, in the early 1980s S&W introduced the first factory Wonder 9 Compact, their 469.

My 469 actually shot better than my Sig P225 and was almost identical in size and weight but instead of 8 + 1 rounds it came with a double stack 12 round magazine so 12 + 1.

But wait, there's more.

The 15 round magazines for the S&W 59 also fit the 469 allowing a 15 + 1 configuration.

The downside to the S&W 469 was the same issue as with all the S&W Semi-automatics of the period; it could be a ***** to reassemble after field strip and cleaning.

Time passed and it was soon the early 90s and the first polymer framed guns were coming out and making inroads and I saw a Star UltraStar. It was only a single stack and the magazine only held 9 rounds but it was a couple ounces lighter than the other two and had a considerably lower bore axis. I found I shot it better than any of the other 9mm parabellum handguns I owned.

So how did the three compare. All three were conventional DA/SA but the Sig only had a decocker while the other two had a safety/decocker. All three fit perfectly in the holsters for the P225. All three were blued. The biggest difference though was in how well I could shoot each one. There, the Sig P225 came in dead last. While I loved all my other Sigs the P225 simply never felt right. The S&W 469 was the next most accurate and controllable but the Star UlstraStar simply felt and seemed as natural as pointing my finger.

The P225 went off to a Forever Home but the 469 and UltraStar are still with me and still get to go WalkAbout more often than any of my other 9mm parabellums.

View attachment 1465933

View attachment 1465928View attachment 1465930


Compacts then and now.

Great post. I could be mistaken, but didn't the Ultrastar have the ability to **** & lock? I seem to remember, an Ultrastar that was alloy framed and not a plastic frame? Not the full sized original star, but it was an alloy framed compact?
 
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Great post. I could be mistaken, but didn't the Ultrastar have the ability to **** & lock? I seem to remember, an Ultrastar that was alloy framed and not a plastic frame? Not the full sized original star, but it was an alloy framed compact?
That was most likely the FireStar (compact) or MegaStar (full size). They were SA and designed for c0cked & locked carry.
 
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oc_in_fw

Fridays are Fishtastic!
I do miss having a semi with a hammer. I never felt weird carrying them with a loaded chamber.
 

nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
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My Firestar that I bought right before Desert Storm. Mine is an all-steel frame and very heavy for its size. Perhaps there were alloy frame versions, I dunno. Very mushy trigger and the safety did not have a positive click when manipulated. Magazine cut off, 7 round magazines. Although I remember it being fairly reliable as far as functioning goes, IIRC it was not all that accurate, probably due to the mushy trigger. I also was not that enamored with the sights, which I think are proprietary and not easily replaced. I haven't shot it in many years. I may take it to the range in the near future and revisit it and report back.
 
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Took the 469 to the range when I dropped off a few handguns for consignment. It is still a joy to shoot and at SD range adequately accurate.
 

nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
So I took the Star Firestar to the range and it shot better than I recall. Perhaps I shoot better than I did back in the day when I shot it last. Still as heavy as a brick, mushy trigger and safety does not have a positive "click" to it. The first target was the reduced size B 34 at approximately 7 yds where I shot two seven round magazines slow deliberate fire. The two shots low in the 8 ring were the first shots from each of the two magazines. The second target, also a B 34 was shot at 10 yds, 7+1 rounds shot as rapid double taps of 8 rounds.


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OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
So I took the Star Firestar to the range and it shot better than I recall. Perhaps I shoot better than I did back in the day when I shot it last. Still as heavy as a brick, mushy trigger and safety does not have a positive "click" to it. The first target was the reduced size B 34 at approximately 7 yds where I shot two seven round magazines slow deliberate fire. The two shots low in the 8 ring were the first shots from each of the two magazines. The second target, also a B 34 was shot at 10 yds, 7+1 rounds shot as rapid double taps of 8 rounds.


View attachment 1469089View attachment 1469090

Dayuuuum! I think the .22 competition has sharpened you up like a razor! :)
 

nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
Well, the top target was shot at very close range, the bottom one is far less impressive. However, bullseye shooting really stresses the basics of marksmanship that we tend to gloss over with fast defensive shooting. And I would encourage others to try it even if they think they will suck at it or feel that they don't have the proper firearm to be competitive. It will hone your skills and point out your deficiencies!
 
Yup, the FireStar very nice and super reliable. In fact all of the guns I've owned or shot from the big three Spanish Eibar region, Star, Astra and Llama have been super reliable and it's a shame that all three finally disappeared in the 1990s.
 

oc_in_fw

Fridays are Fishtastic!
Yup, the FireStar very nice and super reliable. In fact all of the guns I've owned or shot from the big three Spanish Eibar region, Star, Astra and Llama have been super reliable and it's a shame that all three finally disappeared in the 1990s.
I had an Astra A100- I shot it better than my HK USP
 
The Astra A series was patterned after the Sig Sauer P series. IIRC the A100 was kind P226 while the A80 was kinda P225.
 
View attachment 1466479

My Firestar that I bought right before Desert Storm. Mine is an all-steel frame and very heavy for its size. Perhaps there were alloy frame versions, I dunno. Very mushy trigger and the safety did not have a positive click when manipulated. Magazine cut off, 7 round magazines. Although I remember it being fairly reliable as far as functioning goes, IIRC it was not all that accurate, probably due to the mushy trigger. I also was not that enamored with the sights, which I think are proprietary and not easily replaced. I haven't shot it in many years. I may take it to the range in the near future and revisit it and report back.
Oooh, those little guys could be made nice with some basic 'smithing! I never got one because I was too deep in other platforms & the Star parts are proprietary, but you could turn it into a nice little fist-hammer with some shims & trimming.
 

OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
Oooh, those little guys could be made nice with some basic 'smithing! I never got one because I was too deep in other platforms & the Star parts are proprietary, but you could turn it into a nice little fist-hammer with some shims & trimming.

I almost purchased a Firestar years ago. I really liked it’s size and looks, but I was looking for a discreet waist band pistol at the time, and the weight of the Firestar was a bit much.

I purchased a S&W 3913 Ladysmith instead. :)
 
As I think I mentioned somewhere around here I've been carrying and shooting my S&W 469 lately. Not as pretty as the Ladysmith but a relatively light soft shooting accurate pistol.

Compact-Pistolsmall.jpg


And 15 round 59 mags fit.
 

OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
As I think I mentioned somewhere around here I've been carrying and shooting my S&W 469 lately. Not as pretty as the Ladysmith but a relatively light soft shooting accurate pistol.

View attachment 1469386

And 15 round 59 mags fit.

Those thin & lightweight compact sized S&W's were the first of a breed in those days. I can't believe I didn't keep the Ladysmith. I was pretty stupid in those days. Still have my moments. The love of guns with no damn sense can get expensive. :)
 
So as I continue to explore my roots or why did I buy that gun in the first place this weekend it will be three somewhat similar handguns but this time all from the same maker. Since I have been using 45acp and 9mm parabellum I'll continue but with the traditional revolver .38/.357 family and 45acp. All three are handguns that hold a special place in my journey.

The three handguns for this series are all from S&W; the smaller Model 19, my Model 28 Highway Patrolman and one of my Brazilian Contract 1917s.
 
I bought a 469 a few years ago because I wanted a semi for carrying in a belly bag, and I always wanted a 469/669. The gun shoots great and carries really well. I also love having a safety and a hammer.
 
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