Now, I don’t mind admitting that I am pontificating somewhat about the Auto Mag pistol, having never pulled the trigger on one or even held one in my hands (complicating this further for me is the inner battle raging in my mind, where Elmer Keith is pistol whipping me with his ivory-gripped Smith & Wesson, and the blows are painful indeed). But, I’ve also never handled an authentic 1903 Springfield topped with an USMC-marked Unertl scope, either. Maybe my distance from these things is bolstering an unrealistic fantasy, but I’m fairly certain that, should the occasion ever arise, getting my mukluks on either would result in truly happy feelings — like the afterglow one experiences the moment you realize the IRS audit letter in your mailbox was intended for your neighbor, not you.
Introduced in the early 1960s by Harry Sanford, the .44 Auto Mag just never found wide enough market appeal to maintain a viable business, and I don’t know why. There are reports of the pistols not feeding reliably. However, I’m not so sure about those reports — at least I don’t want to believe them; they sure don’t support my Auto Mag fantasy — and yet still for the life of me, I can’t figure out why the .44 Auto Mag went extinct. But just like Spielberg’s movie Jurassic Park, where dinosaur DNA becomes the catalyst for scientists to hatch an island of prehistoric monsters into a nightmarish theme park, the Auto Mag people have resurrected the big bore creation (hopefully with a more cheerful end result) and they did so up in Kodiak, Alaska, a place that is both hellish and beautiful. And thank God it’s Made in the USA, might I add.
It’s also an appropriate headquarters for a semi-auto .44-caliber magnum, a place where a defensive gun use might be foisted upon you by thugs or big brown bears. Down in the lower 48, where people have less menacing critters to deal with, there is a silly debate over whether the 9mm is a smart concealed carry caliber for criminal work. I don’t hear any sounds on that issue coming from Kodiak. As AMT says proudly on their site, “The Auto Mag has never been a production autoloader for punching paper. The Kodiak is no different. The Kodiak is a Bear Killer.”