Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Woke Up & It Was Wednesday!

This week is slipping away from me. I had to run about 6 hours of errands, so it seems like I have driven back and forth from Seattle. The puppy peed on the couch. We can't have Tequila Thursday because we've got to take said puppy to Puppy Obedience Class, which she is clearly flunking. I can't find any of the many scope rails I have for 10/22s. Woe is me!

Well, maybe not woe woe...

Gonna spend tomorrow AM on the range with the Ruger American Rimfire I plan to shoot in the NSSF Rimfire Challenge. I wanted to use a Burris 2-7x scope that mimics the scope on my hunting rifle, the Ruger Guide Gun in .300 Win Mag, but sans Weaver scope mounts, I'm SOL. The America has good fixed sights, including a green fiber optic front, so I'll be A-Okay-ish.

Having been having a blast with the Apex Tactical S&W 617! Great little gun to shoot.

More tomorrow...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Weekend of Catching Up

I'm "bachelor-ing" this weekend while my Sweetie is off at an Appleseed. I've got hammer-and-nails stuff and gun stuff to do, including the final dialing in of the Mini Race-Gun .22. Call me crazy, but I think I'll do the gun stuff first...after I finish watching "King Arthur" for about the umpteenth time. Of course, I'm only watching it because there are no Godzilla movies on.


I'm going to shoot the Mini Race-Gun revolver and, heaven help us all, a bolt-action rifle at the NSSF Rimfire Challenge match we're filming for SHOOTING GALLERY. The reason I decided to do and film the Rimfire Challenge this way (especially given that NSSF is eliminating the "Mechanically Operated" category for the matches this year) is that I want people to consider using competition in different, more personal ways as opposed to an end in itself.

As I've mentioned (repeatedly), I have 2 goals for the next 12 months — working on improving my rifle skills, especially with bolt guns n anticipation of another African trip after I win the lottery or something, and getting a grip on my abilities with a DA revolver. Might as well take every opportunity I can get to move toward those goals.

While we're on the subject of competitions, there's an interesting article over on the Sensible Self-Defense blog on training to get off the "X:"
One of the challenges many long-time IDPA shooters face is the tendency to start the draw and then move. When I first began practicing the skills I learned in Close Range Gunfighting, I genuinely believed that I was moving and then drawing my pistol; however, the video proved I was not. This is a common training scar associated with those who regularly shoot IDPA and one that takes some effort to overcome. Based upon our experiment, the time I was taking in subconscious IDPA-mode to begin my draw before I started moving would have likely resulted in me taking a bullet. 
"Training scars" are interesting beasties, and they're the logical consequences of all competition (and all training, for that matter). The training "doctrine" we've tried to evolve on THE BEST DEFENSE is one that constantly challenges its presuppositions. It's hard, and occasionally anger-inducing, but it's important.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Back to the Big Iron

I've spent most of the summer bopping around the Secret Hidden Ranch with my SR-22 for plinking. I like plinking. However, as we're creeping toward autumn the neighbors are all riled up by a big mountain lion that's moved into the neighborhood. One of the neighbors has already run him off with a couple of warning shots, but Front Range lions haven't been hunted in decades and they have absolutely no fear of people or occupied dwellings. Plus, it's grumpy black bear season as they start fattening up for the Big Winter Sleep.

Accordingly, I've sucked it up and gone back to the Big Iron for hiking. For quick bathroom jaunts out with Newt,  I'm carrying the Taurus Public Defender with Federal 4-pellet #000 buckshot, which has impressed me with it's penetration and grouping, backed up with .45 Colt Silver-Tips. Not a bear load by any means, but should be a medicine gun for lions/coyotes up close.

For longer hikes, right now I'm carrying my old Ruger Alaskan in .454 with Winchester Platinum Tip 280-grainers, which are slightly less bone-rattling than the Corbon 335-grain tyrannosaurus killers. After I get a few more round though it, I'll probably go to this little guy...


...the TALO Kodiak, a.44 Magnum Redhawk with a round butt and a 2.75 inch barrel. Here's my pal Jeff Quinn's report. Yeah, it recoils, but not like the .454!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mini Race-Gun Revolver!


From my good friends Randy Lee and Scott Folk at Apex Tactical Specialties, a .22 LR "race-gun" on an S&W 617...isn't it just cute as a button?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Getting On the Range with the LC9s

Started working with the Ruger LC9s (here's Ed Head's review on DRTV), the little striker-fired 9mm, yesterday, and I am impressed (and, yes, Ruger is a long-time show sponsor). If you recall, several years back I did an evaluation of all the mini-9s on the markets...since then I've tried to keep up with what's been added to the market.

I did come to several painfully obvious conclusions:

  • All mini-9s bark, some harder than others.
  • The delimiting factor in shooting the little 9mms is how you handle that bark.

For me, the best-shooting of the little guns was hands-down the Sig P938, which I sort of expected since the 938 is a shrunken single action 1911. I have more rounds through 1911s than any other gun, short or long. I also liked the handling of the striker-fired single action Kimber Solo for the same reasons, but the Solo, with the ammunition it preferred...ne, demanded...was the biggest handful of the bunch.

However, when it came to holes in the target, the winners were the long DA triggers of the original LC9 and the Old Skol Kahr PM-9 (and, later, the Glock-ish trigger on the striker-fired Beretta Nano, which was crazy accurate). The Taurus Slim — I believe the first of the new generation of min-9s, allowing for the Kahrs, which has been around for a long time — fell pretty much in the middle, and the S&W Shield had yet to come out...since then, I've shot a couple of Shields, and I'd put it with the Nano on trigger pull. If I was going to carry a Shield, I would hie thee hence to Apex Tactical for a trigger job quick like bunny.


Galloway Precision Ruger LC9 with first generation "Red" trigger
 and Crimson Trace LaserGuard, plus a selection of holsters

I was intrigued enough by the LC9's skinny profile and excellent ergonomics to make a run at "perfecting" the little 9mm. Someone had mentioned that Eric Galloway of Galloway Precision was becoming the gunsmith of choice for the new breed of polymer-framed mini-psitols, so I sent him the LC9 for his first generation "red" trigger. The gun came back looking profoundly weird, but with a great trigger pull (a really super smooth 6 pounds on my Lyman gauge) and sans magazine "safety." The new generation "Red" short-stroke triggers aren't nearly as strange looking, BTW, and for $99 a screaming good deal).


Current generation Galloway Precision "Red" trigger kit for LC9

I've never been as hysterical about the magazine safety as some other gunny fools. I'd prefer not to have it, but it's just not that big a deal for me. I would also like to point out here that I am a FAN of the redundant manual safety, as I occasionally off-body carry my guns, say in a SafePacker or some other sort of bag. In fact, when I bicycle, the SafePacker is mounted on the left side of my handlebars, making for a convenient draw stroke. I feel pretty strongly about having and using that redundant safety  for such situation.

My original Galloway LC9 is equipped, as you can see, with a Crimson Trace red laser, and I've got a number of IWB and OWB holsters for it that I use interchangeably. I tried an appendix holster, and yes it was fast, but at least for me it wasn't significantly faster than a "underneath sweater/sweatshirt" crossdraw holster in the 11 o'clock position and canted in such a way that when you reholster, you don't point the gun at Mr. Femoral Artery. I know the Michaels, Seeklander and Janich, don't agree with me on this, but you pays your money and you takes your chances. You can check out the discussion in the Comments to the last post.

If you're going to A-IWB, I would agree that DA only would be the way to go. And dry practice a whole bunch!


Upper LC9 is original; bottom is the new LC9s striker-fired gun.

The LC9s trigger pull clocks in at 6 pounds as well, but because it is shorter than the Galloway LC9 it feels lighter. In fact — I said this after handling Marshall Halloway's early LC9s — it may be the best striker-fired trigger I've ever felt. In fact, it's approaching Apex Tactical territory, and that's right out of the box. I started shooting it yesterday with a box of 9mm ARMSCOR ball, what I consider a break-in process before putting the gun into duty. I'll get a hundred or so rounds of ball, mostly on steel plates, through it before I got to the dedicated carry ammo, Corbon DPX or, alternately, Hornady Critical Duty.


Note the loaded chamber indicator, required for California, on the top of the original LC9. The new LC9s does not have one, as it will not be sold in Cali...

Interestingly enough, when firing the guns against each other, I'm more comfortable with the Galloway LC9, but I'm assuming that's because I have a lot of rounds in the Galloway gun.

I think overall the mini-9mm market is absolutely fascinating. Most people date the current generation of mini-9s from the mid 2000s, when the Kel-Tec PF-9/P-11, the Walther PPS and a couple of years later, the Taurus Slim appeared on the market. Arguably one of the best single stack mini-9s ever made, the S&W Chief's Special with its aluminum, rather than polymer, frame came out in the later 1990s. None of those guns made a particular dent in the market.

It took the .380 "explosion" as the flood of new shooters from the concealed carry movement entered the market, to change that dynamic. Quite literally, new concealed carry permit holders bought the little .380s by the hundreds of thousands, and within a couple of years a substantial portion of those shooters wanted a more powerful carry gun. The industry responded.

UPDATE: It's be a while since I put a lot of rounds through the mini-9s...they really are little monsters to shoot!

The Kimber Solo is a sweet little gun, but it is hard to hold onto and VERY finicky about ammo choice...it's full power or go home. It is easily the best finished of the little guns, and with the CT LaserGrips it is just about perfect. Be prepared to put a lot of work into it on the range, though!

Sorry I forgot the itty-bitty 9mm Springfield XD-S...nice little gun, although I've only shot one. SHOOTING GALLERY awarded Springfield top handgun of the year honors for their little single stack XDs.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Back From Oregon!

Got back from Crimson Trace M3G yesterday, and -- as always -- had a super time! I didn't shoot the whole match...instead, I parachuted into the cool stages with the exotic hardware. It's always big fun, and if you get a chance to go, it should definitely be on your list!

I put a bunch of rounds through the new S&W M&P .22 Compact. Liked it a bunch. Details on Wednesday's podcast. Ditto on the S&W 929 8-shot Performance Center revolver and the Kimber .380 (Sweet, BTW! Expensive, too).

I've got several guns in house I'll be shooting next week, too, including the super cool Ruger Redhawk KODIAK .44 Magnum 2.75-inch, another TALO exclusive. You guys know I have a thing for, and collect, big bore snubs, and the round-butt Redhawk to me is just about perfect. I love my .454 Alaskan, but I've sorta kicked myself in the butt for not getting the .44 Magnum version. 

I've always liked the Redhawk...if you have a long enough memory, Kem Jorgensen and I took a revolver class with 4-inch .44 Redhawks running .44 Specials, which we featured on SG. People laughed at the big hoglegs at first, but less so when we ran the heavy .44 Specials faster than the .357s.

I've also got one of the first TALO Ruger SP-101 Wiley Clapp versions, with Novaks...too cool! And the JP 9mm GMR-13 carbine.

I'll be a busy boy!

Also, if I can pat myself on the back just a little, last weekend I finished 2nd overall in the local cowboy match. Today I dragged my butt out of bed at zero-dark-thirty to shoot another cowboy match...the scores just came out and I was lucky enough to grab another 2nd overall. It was fun, too...



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Crimson Trace Midnight 3-Gun

Cool and rainy here in Bend, OR. Not shooting this year, but focusing on filming some of the unique aspects of CT's iconic event...