Industry Firsts and True Innovation—New Rifles and Handguns

Magnum Research Desert Eagle 1911U Undercover Semiautomatic Handgun with Wood Grips

These five new firearms differ completely in design and function. From the truly innovative DPMS .308 Winchester GII AP4 to the classic Winchester 1873 lever-action rifle—there is not one gun on this list in which I could say, “No. I have no good reason for this firearm.” Hunters, collectors, competitors and those who are simply just shopping for a dependable self-defense pistol will find one of these five firearms will meet their needs.

Shooter's Log

Arsenal, Inc. SLR-104FR AK-74 Semiautomatic Rifle, 5.45x39mm

Available in the U.S.A. for the very first time, Arsenal, Inc. introduces the Bulgarian-made AK-74 variant, the SLR-104FR—a semiautomatic rifle chambered in 5.45x39mm. The SLR-104FR has a MIL-SPEC Bulgarian-made 1mm stamped receiver and barrel. Steyr manufactures the 16-inch chrome-lined barrel—which some believe are the best barrels in the world.

Bulgarian-made AK-74 variant SLR-104FR with folding stock
Arsenal, Inc. introduces the Bulgarian-made AK-74 variant the SLR-104FR

To meet 922r compliance, Nevada-based Arsenal, Inc. uses its own U.S.-made double-stage trigger group, furniture, removable muzzle brake and side-folding polymer stock. The stock meets the exact specifications of the original AK-74 design. Fitted with a 4.5mm pin, the folding polymer stock is interchangeable with standard AK-47/74 aftermarket stocks. The trigger features a 7-pound pull.

The SLR-104FR also has a hard chrome-plated bore and chamber, accessory and bayonet lugs, lower handguard heat shield, side-mounted AK riflescope rail and accommodates 30-round Bulgarian MIL-SPEC double-stack magazines. Folded, the rifle is 27 inches; when extended the SLR-104FR is 36 inches long. It comes with an oil bottle, sling and cleaning kit.

Learn more about the AK-74 by reading “The AK-74 5.45×39 Rifle.”

Arsenal, Inc. SLR-104FR AK-74
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 16.3 inches
Caliber 5.45x39mm
Overall Length 27 inches to 36 inches
Weight Unloaded 7.3 pounds
Sights AK scope rail
Stock Side folding black polymer
Capacity 30 rounds

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DPMS GII AP4 Semiautomatic Rifle, .308 Winchester

Much to many hunters and 3-gunners delight, DPMS releases a true AR-15-style platform in .308 Winchester—smaller and lighter than standard AR-10 rifles. The GII AP4 is not another modified AR-10; it’s a completely new redesign. DPMS scaled down nearly every part of the GII AP4 to the size of a standard AR-15. In fact, everything from behind the mag well is standard AR-15 spec—including the fire control group. Surprisingly, even the handguards are interchangeable with many aftermarket AR-15 handguards. The lightweight GII AP4 uses a standard AR-15-sized bolt carrier. It is the first forged monolithic bolt carrier on the market and eliminates the need for a gas key. Also of the same diameter as the AR-15 is the 16-inch barrel, with the same thinner and lighter weight diameter of the original A1 “pencil barrels.”

AR-15 rifle in .308 caliber
The DPMS AR-15 in .308 Winchester

Another innovative feature on the DPMS GII AP4 is the dual ejector system, improved extractor and lengthened ejection port. The redesigned DPMS GII AP4 allows the rifle to reliably fire more rounds than any other AR-10. Further cutting down the weight on this .308 is the forged 7075 MIL-SPEC aluminum upper and lower receiver.

Weighing only 7.25 pounds, the GII AP4 is a recipient of the NRA Golden Bullseye Award.

If you are unsure about the .308 Winchester, let CTD Rob convince you in his article,”How the .308 Became so Great.”

Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 16 inches
Caliber .308 Winchester
Overall Length 34.25 inches fully extended
Weight Unloaded 7.25 pounds
Sights F-marked front sight base with MagPul BUIS
Stock M4 collapsible polymer stock
Capacity 20 rounds

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Magnum Research Desert Eagle 1911 Undercover Semiautomatic Handgun, .45 ACP

Magnum Research Desert Eagle 1911U Undercover Semiautomatic Handgun with Wood Grips
Magnum Research introduces the Desert Eagle 1911 U for those wanting to carry concealed cocked and locked without the bulk.

For those who prefer to carry cocked and locked, but find the full-sized 1911 a bit too much to conceal, Magnum Research introduces the Desert Eagle 1911 U (undercover) compact 1911 in a lightweight aluminum frame. Though smaller, its design does not sacrifice accuracy. The lack of bushings in the barrel means that the DE1911U is more accurate than most 3-inch-barreled 1911s on the market. As an added feature, Magnum Research milled in an 11-degree muzzle crown.

The DE1911U’s operating system is the Series 70 firing system. The Series 70 is a Colt classic 1911 design dating back prior to World War II. This original GI-model operating system does not include a firing pin safety.

The Magnum Research Desert Eagle 1911 U has one of the best 1911 triggers on the market with a light pull and minimal reset. After disassembling, you will find a dual recoil spring—one captive and a guide rod bushing and full-length stainless steel guide rod. The grip is double-diamond checkered wood, with checkered front and back straps. There is a high-rise beavertail and extended thumb safeties. It holds six rounds, has an overall length of 6.85 inches, an overall height of 5 inches and weighs 25.8 ounces.

Looking for the full-sized Magnum Research 1911? Read an extensive review here.

Magnum Research 1911 U
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 3 inches
Caliber .45 ACP
Overall Height 5 inches
Overall Length 6.85 inches
Weight Unloaded 25.8 ounces
Sights Adjustable rear sight
Grip Double diamond checkered wood grip
Capacity 6 rounds
Frame Aircraft grade aluminum alloy

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Grand Power K100 and P1 Mk7 Semiautomatic Handguns, 9mm

Eagle Imports recently announced its partnership with Grand Power of Slovakia to be the exclusive distributor of one of Europe’s most popular handguns. Hopefully, it will raise the competition pistols from being unknown to one of the firearm community’s best un-kept secrets.

Grand Power K100 Mk7 9mm Luger Semiautomatic Handgun
Grand Power in the Slovak Republic makes the modern, fully ambidextrous K100 Mk7 9mm semiautomatic pistol featuring an external hammer and interchangeable grip panels.

First imported by custom 1911 maker STI International in the mid-2000s and then imported through Century International, Grand Power pistols have flown relatively under the radar as a quality, affordable polymer pistol.

The Grand Power utilizes a short recoil, locked breech operating system with a rotating, not tilting barrel—similar to the Beretta Px4 Storm. This rotating barrel reduces muzzle rise and therefore lowers felt recoil.

Currently, Cheaper Than Dirt! carries two models of Grand Power pistols, the P1 Mk7 and the K100 Mk7, both chambered in 9mm. Considered as the full-sized model, the K100 sports a 4.25-inch barrel and 7.97-inch overall length, while the “compact” P1 model utilizes a 3.66-inch barrel with 7.38-inch overall length. Both hold 15 rounds.

Built on a 4140 steel-reinforced polymer frame, the Grand Power pistol is fully ambidextrous. It comes with interchangeable backstraps to fit ergonomically and comfortably in a variety of shooter’s hands.

There is nothing fancy on the Grand Powers—fixed 3-dot sights, an accessory rail and a standard blued finish; however, they are accurate, reliable and retail for less than $400. Eagle Imports plans to make many more Grand Power models available in the future.

If affordable and obscure European handguns are your thing, check out the Canik.

Grand Power K100 Mk7
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 4.25 inches
Caliber 9mm
Overall Length 7.97 inches
Weight Unloaded 1.8 pounds
Sights Fixed
Stock or Grip Black polymer, four interchangeable backstraps
Capacity 15 rounds
Frame Steel reinforced polymer frame

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Navy Arms 1873 Lever Action Rifle, .45 Long Colt and .357 Magnum

Navy Arms returns to the firearms market with a beautiful and custom replica unlike any other on the market. Collaborating with Winchester Repeating Arms and Turnbull Restoration, Navy Arms is selling one of the finest-looking Winchester 1873 lever-action rifle replicas you can buy. As the only firearm Navy Arms currently has available currently, the model 1873 is manufactured in Japan to Winchester Repeating Arms‘ and Navy Arms’ specifications, then finished at Turnbull Restoration with its true bone charcoal color case hardening.

Navy Arms 1973 Lever Action Rifle Replica with American Walnut wood stock
The new Navy Arms 1873 is the result of collaboration between Winchester Repeating Arms and Turnbull Restoration.

Turnbull finishes off the receiver, lever, hammer, buttplate and forend cap. The 1873 is available in two models—.45 Long Colt or .357 Magnum—with a 20-inch full octagonal barrel. Both lever-action rifles have a square, shotgun-style Winchester Model 71 buttplate and gold bead front and semi-buckhorn rear sight. Navy Arms handpicks the finest American Walnut wood for the stock. For SASS competition shooters, the rifle has an integrated short-stroke kit for quick shooting. Cowboy Action Shooters and collectors alike will appreciate this Navy Arms 1873 Winchester replica—The Gun That Won the West.

Click here to learn more about Cowboy Action Shooting.

Navy Arms 1873
Action Lever-action
Barrel Length 20 inches
Caliber .357 Magnum and .45 Long Colt
Overall Length 39.25 inches
Weight Unloaded 7.6 pounds
Sights Semi-buckhorn rear sight, gold bead front sight
Stock Deluxe American Walnut stock with full checkering
Capacity 10 rounds
Frame Turnbull color case hardened receiver and furniture

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Each of these five guns has a separate purpose. If you could only choose one of them, which one would it be and why? Tell us in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (2)

  1. I like the Winchester, all the old cowboy guns. have a ruger vacaro,.45lg. marlin lever action, .45lg. henry lever action,.22 cal. do not own ar. if I ever find a Winchester 1873 that I can afford I will own one.
    thank you

  2. I read an article by Joe Dupee ? not sure of the name but close enough.
    I wanted to contact him with a question unrelated to his article.

    I did not see his email nor any way to contact except here.

    Thank You


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