“Though defensive violence will always be 'a sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men.”
by Saint Augustine




"walls of the city" logo conceptualized by Oleg Volk and executed by Linoge. Logo is © "walls of the city".

20 comments to usfa zip – a follow-up

  • […] usfa zip – a follow-up | walls of the city on usfa zip – not a review […]

  • Volfram

    Wait… did he just THREATEN YOU over the fact that you gave his gun an honest review? Seriously!?

    Regardless of the gun’s performance with respect to ammunition quality, in my opinion, the fact that the firing pin is able to strike while the chamber is open is far beyond sufficient reason to never buy, use, or recommend this gun. I don’t care if the review was somehow magically flawed or not, the gun was tested against the kind of ammunition I would be likely to use with it, and the type of ammunition used does not excuse a glaring safety flaw inherent in the design itself.

    “Chamber open” is supposed to be the safest state a firearm can be in. That the pin can still drop in such a state takes it from being the safest to BY FAR the most dangerous state. I don’t care what other variables the non-review may have, this is a deal killer.

  • Roger

    I am an USAF Zip owner. Sr NR AAA8XX. I just got my Upgrade Ki Ver. 1.0.1 yesterday from UPS. 3/26/13. I will upgrade it soon and try to shoot it again. Perhaps It will function.
    I am a collector. I own and like unusual guns.
    All in all I find the firearm overly comples to take down. The Zip was not expensive. I have been a beta tester on most new guns that come out. Maybe the Zip will work after I re-build it.(Dread.)
    On the down side is that most companies would take the gun back and do an up grade themselves.
    Hopefully I can get it running. Got plenty of CCI Min-mag.
    I am predicting more upgrade kits will be coming.


  • @ Volfram: If I were to make a judgement call about that email – and I am not saying I am – that is probably the conclusion I would come to as well.

    @ Roger: You are the very first person I have heard of who actually received his “upgrade kit”.

  • David W.

    The simple fact that the striker can release when the chamber isn’t fully closed means I will not buy the Zip. That just sounds terrifying. It seems like the sort of thing that should not exist at all in any kind of gun whether it be just a funny new .22 or a 20 mm cannon, and then be shipped to any consumer.

    If it happened to me I would freak out and not touch the gun until my gunsmith looks at it and tells me that it will not happen again. Honestly Linoge you probably shouldn’t have kept using it after the first time it happened, I’m glad you’re not hurt…

    In other news, when is your range test of the Webley going to happen?? Old guns are cooler than new guns.

  • Mr. Donnelly’s responses so far are doing a pretty good job of convincing me to never buy a gun made by USFA, ever. The “performance” (or lack thereof) of the Zip in all of the independent videos I’ve found on YouTube so far are just icing on the cake, really.

  • @ David W.: Yup, I said as much in the footnotes for the post – after you have one ruptured case, no matter the reason, it is time to stop shooting.

    The ZiP was a .22 and literally cannot be gripped by one’s pinkie, so test-firing it was not really affected by my hand. Unfortunately, the Webley is of a slightly larger (though no more powerful) cartridge, and the grip does necessitate using one’s whole hand. It is going to have to wait.

    Plus it is getting some upgrades at the moment :).

  • Roger

    I have a Zip and not just reading the internet My Zip doesn’t scare me.
    BOOO!!! Accually you can use your pinkie…with the 10 round you grip on the butt and With a 30 rounder the mag works. A lot of concealable small guns I own can’t be gripped by ones pinkie….Zip can. And I have BIG hands. LOL
    I still have faith in the ZIP. USFA made some beautiful colt clones in the past that I own.Beter than COLT. (Same factory BTW)
    Maybe I am different because I like the new and inovative firearms and things. Some work and some don’t. The Kel Tec P32 had a butt load of issues. Ruger had so many re-calls. Then I have have a Rogak that is a POS back then and no matter how I try to smith it myself it won’t work. (I have 2.)
    All in all you don’t have to buy one. The writer did not have to buy one either. Come on $200. is a full tank of gas in my F150. Not a big expenditure now days.
    I have faith in Doug!!!

  • Let me tell you a story. In the midst of all of this mess with USFA and the ZiP, I ended up accidentally calling Davidson’s, since that is the only phone number ZiP Factory / USFA bothers to put on their webpage any more. The conversation went something like this:

    Davidson’s Operator: Hello, this is Davidson’s, how can I help you?

    Me: Oh, I’m sorry, I was trying to reach ZiP Factory.

    Davidson’s Operator: Yeah, we are the distributors for them…

    Me: Ah, that would explain why they have your phone number on their website.

    Davidson’s Operator: Is there anything we can help you with?

    Me: Well, to put it simply, I just had what appears to be an out-of-battery detonation with a ZiP pistol, and I was trying to get in touch with the company.

    Davidson’s Operator: Really? Wow! Take it back to the dealer you bought it from, and we will work out an exchange or return on it immediately!

    Me: That’s the thing; this is a test-and-evaluation gun that USFA sent me directly, so I probably need to talk to them.

    Davidson’s Operator: Oh, then the only thing you can really do is email them.

    Me: Yeah, that’s what I was afraid of. Thanks for your help.

    [Conversation concluded.]

    (Conversation is reproduced from memory, and may not be 100% accurate.)

    Now, I would invite you to compare that conversation against the conversation I had with Mr. Donnelly.

    That said, I am going to drop out of my objective viewpoint for a moment, because this is just too damned much to pass up.

    1. If you can grip the “butt” of a ZiP with your pinkie, you do not have large hands; you have anatomically impossible hands.

    2. You have “faith” in a semi-automatic firearm that is designed to and has a demonstrated capability of dropping its striker when the bolt is out of battery? I think that says everything.

    3. What the flying frak is a “Rogak”?

    4. I did not buy this firearm, which you might have realized if you had bothered to read the whole story. Instead, the firearm was provided to me by USFA for me to provide my honest opinion on it. Frankly, they should consider themselves lucky I declined to do so. Also, I am the writer, nitwit.

    5. For $200, I expect a firearm that does not attempt to blow up in my hand using fairly common ammunition. If you have different expectations, that is your problem, not mine.

  • Roger

    You must be a young pup. LOL $200 is a tank of gas in my F150. NO Big deal. I paid for mine and have no regerts. You are out nothing. I love to try out new guns and make them work. It is plane to see you really hate the gun.

    Calling people names you sound more like a dick than a writer.

    I have faith USAF will make it work. I’m not a cup half-full guy. Google Rogak pistol…firearms history.

  • *sigh* Frak it. I am dropping back out of my mostly-objective viewpoint to deal with this.

    Roger wrote:

    You must be a young pup.

    How, exactly, does my age have any bearing on the fact that the firearm is demonstrably capable of dropping its striker – and thus potentially setting off a round – when the bolt is not in-battery? Pray tell.

    LOL $200 is a tank of gas in my F150. NO Big deal.

    To you, maybe. To others, that is a month’s worth of food. At that price, the firearm should damned well work, not endanger the user’s extremities and fingers.

    I paid for mine and have no regerts.

    Nor a spellchecker, apparently.

    I love to try out new guns and make them work.

    New guns, fresh off the assembly line, should simply work. There is no “make them work”. There is no “tweak”. I will make a slight exception for a “break in period”, but aside from that, when I pull the trigger, I expect it to perform as advertised.

    The ZiP failed to do this.

    It is plane to see you really hate the gun.

    Screw you, mate. As I said in the previous post, and as I even told Mr. Donnelly himself when I organized this T&E, I had every intention of purchasing this firearm after my review period, assuming everything went well.

    Everything did not go well. The firearm blew up in my hands and has a demonstrable, repeatable design “feature” that numerous gunsmiths have labeled as “categorically unsafe” and a “legal liability”.

    If that is not a reason to stay away from a firearm, I have no idea what one would be.

    Calling people names you sound more like a dick than a writer.

    You say that like I care about the opinion of an anonymous nobody who can barely get through a single sentence using appropriate spelling or grammar.

    I do not.

    Furthermore, if you cannot put together that I am the writer and owner of this site, the word “nitwit” was kind and generous of me. A larger, dirtier, uglier shoe fit. Be happy I did not beat you over the head with it.

    I have faith USAF will make it work. I’m not a cup half-full guy.

    Bully for you. I do not (especially since the United States Air Force has nothing to do with this gun, thank God). In fact, when I told Mr. Donnelly that I could sit down, hold the bolt back, and release the striker, his exact words, and I quote, were, “Yeah, it is supposed to do that.”

    That is nice. I am not going to own any firearm that is supposed to be arguably unsafe.

    You have said your piece. It is obvious you are an irrational fanboy with no concept of safe firearm design or operation. Kindly do not bother coming back.

  • I apologize for not making myself explicitly clear in my last comment, Roger: You are banned here. None of your further rantings will see the light of day. Go find someone else’s weblog to pollute with your idiotic, irrational, and illogical nonsense.

  • Volfram

    @ Roger: “$200 is a tank of gas in my F150. NO Big deal.” $200 is between 3 and 6 months of gas in my car, a month’s worth in food, 2/3 of the household utility bill, 2/3 of my monthly rent, 200 rounds for any of my pistols, 4000 rounds of .22 ammo, or 800 rounds for my shotgun. That’s 4-8 games for my Playstation or Xbox(depending on the price of the individual game), which has historically been enough to last me more than 3 years, 120 DVD movies or 4 TV show boxed sets, or a trip for two to an all-weekend convention. It’s enough to by 40 large pizzas from Little Caesar’s or 200 tacos at Taco Bell. It’s enough to buy a .22 automatic which WON’T explode in your hands.(my brother has a rather nice one from Phoenix Arms that cost $250.) $200 is a large amount of money no matter how you look at it.

    Linoge paid nearly that much just to review the gun. He got nothing for his troubles except injured. He would have had to pay even more if he wanted to keep it.

  • I have an old American Arms .22LR camping rifle (disassembles with stock serving as an integrated case. Not exactly like AR7, but same idea).

    One day I was shooting it with rounds from a bulk pack of Remington Thunderbolts. One of the rounds failed to chamber all the way, the gun fired out of battery, rupturing my right eardrum (I’m lefty, it was closest to the chamber).

    It turned out the ammo was partially at fault. Virtually all the ammo in the lot was out of spec. and would refuse to chamber reliably in any of my semi-autos. The brass was the right diameter, the bullets were too fat.

    But the fact that the rifle fired out of battery was the real crime. I never used that rifle again. But I still have it. I can’t in good conscience sell it to someone in such a dangerous condition. It really just needs to be scrapped.

    I encountered a similar failure to chamber in my Ruger Mark II before I figure out the entire lot was bad, but the Mark II properly wouldn’t fire out of battery.

    Out of spec. ammo is always a possibility. Finding out about it by being physically injured is the hard way. The gunmaker should know that. A gunmaker should be falling all over itself to apologize to you for such a design flaw and correcting its design.

  • @ Cloudbuster: I will unquestionably grant that Remington Golden Bullets are pretty much the bottom of the barrel when it comes to .22 reliability, consistency, and cost; however, a firearm’s reaction to that low level of quality, if it cares at all, should be nothing more than a simple “no”, not, “hey, let us see if we can set it off anywise!” This is definitely a design “feature” I will be examining all future firearms for before purchasing them.

  • More to the point, $200 is enough to buy one of a number of revolvers and pistols that don’t share the ZiP’s foibles, especially used guns. From here it looks like USFA wants it both ways. When the thing Isn’t very accurate, it’s the ultimate Plinker and pack gun, but when it won’t feed mixed ammo and it EXPLODES, that’s just what you get for not treating it like a precision instrument.

  • Rellacor

    Feel free to watch my upgraded ZiP video under my name Rellacor on YouTube

  • […] remember me talking about Linoge’s experiences with the US Firearms’ ZiP Gun (now with response post!).  Long story short, Linoge was able to reliably pull the trigger and operate the firing pin […]

  • Ted N

    Thanks for testing this, and risking fingers and sanity for us. I’m gonna stick to my P22’s, to heck with USFA.

  • I wish I could be all noble and claim that was my intent all along, but I went into this review literally planning on purchasing the gun at the end of it, and then, well, this happened…