Shooting Illustrated kicks off 2014 with an issue filled with the latest in defensive carbines, competition-ready shotguns, concealed-carry pistols and helpful tips on the tactics needed to properly use such hardware.

Leading off the January issue, on sale now, is the new Paul Howe-inspired AR-15 from Wilson Combat. Much like the former SOF team leader and firearm instructor who helped develop it, the Paul Howe Tactical Carbine is a no-nonsense, all-business model that doesn’t take shortcuts or rely on questionable gimmicks.

“Built on Howe’s idea of what features a defensive long gun should—and shouldn’t—have, with the precision craftsmanship for which Wilson Combat is known, the Paul Howe Tactical Carbine offers straightforward utility that comes by way of practical refinements” writes Editor-in-Chief Adam Heggenstaller. “The carbine is a reflection of the warrior for whom it is named. It doesn’t offer frills, just serious, top-notch performance that comes from concentrating on the things that count.”

Speaking of performance, Patrick Kelley takes an off-the-shelf Stoeger M3000 semi-automatic shotgun and adds some home modifications to improve it for 3-gun competition. He torture-tests the value-priced Stoeger with a 1,500-round break-in, then tweaks and customizes it for competition. Find out if Stoeger’s M3000 is tough enough for 3-gun and get tips on turning an inexpensive scattergun into one ready for matches.

For concealed-carry permit holders, there’s Colt’s new Mustang XSP, a polymer-frame .380 ACP based on the original scaled-down, 1911-style Mustang platform. Handgun Editor Dick Williams considers whether the lightweight update is Colt’s best pocket pistol yet.

New hardware is great, but to be effective it must match the software—namely knowing how to properly use firearms in a defensive situation. Richard Mann discusses how to check and clear single and double corners, both solo and with a partner, in a vital primer for home defense.

Look for these articles and more in the January issue of Shooting Illustrated, The Definitive Source for the Modern Shooter, at a newsstand near you. You can also subscribe by calling (877) 223-3840.

Image courtesy Shooting Illustrated

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