Product Review: Mag Guts +1 Magazine Springs And SSA MagFix Baseplates

Product Review: Mag Guts +1 Magazine Springs And SSA MagFix Baseplates

I’ve pretty much settled on the Smith&Wesson Shield in 9mm as my “go-to” carry gun for more-casual occasions.

I can hear the teeth gnashing as I type this, but the fact is, I’ve trained with this gun, I know what it is capable of, and I am absolutely confident in my ability to perform with it on-demand. However, with 8+1 rounds it’s not the highest capacity gun on the market right now, and it means that carrying a spare magazine is usually a good idea.

Enter the MagGuts +1 Follower. At $22.95, it costs around what eight round Shield mags are going for these days, but it works as advertised. I popped the baseplate off of a S&W 9mm +1 mag, dropped out the existing spring and follower, and slid the new base plate right back on. I did have to do some spring-wrangling to get the follower to line up, and unlike the stock spring, the edges on the MagGuts spring are sharp and pointy. No blood was shed in the alteration of the magazine interior, but I did get the point, and I got it often.

I also received a couple of MagFix baseplates for the 8 round Shield magazine, and these are terrific. I had been using pre-production aluminum MagFixs on my Shield mags, and I was curious to see how the plastic ones would compare. The good news is, they’re easy to install and work well with the MagGuts +1 follower. The only change I had to make was to use the standard S&W baseplate instead of the thinner MagGuts plate, but it was an easy fix to make.

The MagFix is a great addition to the Shield: Besides solving the sliding insert problem, there’s a little lip on the bottom of the sucker that adds stability to my firing grip and makes the gun feel more secure in my hand. Also, it’s a low-profile solution to the 8 round mag baseplate issue. Other magazine baseplates for this gun, like the ones from ProMag or Taran Tactical, add bulk to the butt of your gun, making them harder to conceal. The MagFix, though, is essentially the same size as the S&W magazine and prints much less than other options.

All of this is moot, however, if the combination doesn’t work, so I shot 50 rounds through the MagGuts / MagFix combo over the weekend, and there were no issues to report. I would have liked to do more, and I will, but my initial impression is that this is a great way to get one more round out of your Smith and Wesson Shield, and if Nigel Tufnel taught us anything, it’s that one more is ALWAYS better.

The bottom line is, if you have a 9mm Shield, these would definitely be two additions I’d add to your gun to make it a more effective fighting tool

Colt Competition 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 226 – 350

Colt Competition 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 226 – 350

I brought the Colt out to one of Step By Step’s Shoot N Scoot events last week to work on shooting in a match without the pressure of placement and to re-shoot stages where I screw up. I’ve written before about how the Shoot N Scoot is a good on-ramp for new gun owners,  but it’s also a great way for more advanced shooters to learn from their mistakes in a short period of time.

The stages are all-steel, easy to shoot and the longest stage was 22 rounds, making them easy to shoot with an eight-round mag. I concentrated on muzzle control with two hands and one-handed shooting with the 1911, and while much more work is needed, at last I understand the scope of the problem now.

Colt Competition 2000 Round Challenge

Rounds Fired:

250 Rounds Remington UMC 230 Grain FMJ
100 Rounds Sig Sauer 230 Grain FMJ

Results:

No issues.

I also put my first 100 rounds through the Beretta APX I have on loan, and it’s a nice little service pistol. While it’s about the same size as a Glock, it’s got better sights (3 dot night sights*) and a better trigger. Looking forward to putting this gun to more use.

 

* Note that I said “better,” not “optimal.” I’m not that big of a fan of three dot sights, but they are better than what Glocks ship with.

Why R. Lee Ermey Matters.

Why R. Lee Ermey Matters.

I don’t think gun owners fully understand the debt we owe to R. Lee Ermey. With “Mail Call” and a host of other shows, he talked about guns as fun, while being funny.

We need more people like him today who are engaged in the culture and are having FUN while shooting a gun. No matter how much it might make you feel good, yelling at the gun control crowd and threatening Democrats are not fun actions. Gunny Ermey spoke up on politics and paid a price for his words, but he was known mostly for being a tremendous advocate for the military, firearms and an honorable way of life, and he had FUN while doing so.

Rest easy, Gunny. We’ll do our best to pick up the task you left behind.

Flash Site Pictures – Monday Edition

Flash Site Pictures – Monday Edition

Some of this is my stuff, some is not.

Six terrible reasons not to carry concealed.

Getting ready for your first practical pistol match.

LCP vs. J-Frame, and the winner is

We are losing the cultural war against guns, and that needs to change. (I wrote this based on an email conversation I had with Michael Bane, and he talks about that conversation on his podcast this week.

This is how we’ll win, with more of this (and other stuff too).

Building an urban bug out bag. I like the idea of prepping for dust and smoke… we forget that fires tend to happen in a social unrest situation.

Tamara Has a Patreon Page. It’d be a good idea to chip In. I did.

Speaking of Gunblogging, if you’re not reading Grant Cunningham’s Hump Day Reading List and Greg Ellifritz’s Weekend Knowledge Dump, you really should.

If You’re Not Growing, You’re Shrinking.

If You’re Not Growing, You’re Shrinking.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;

Epistle of St. James, Chapter 2, Verses 14-22, NIV

Attention, Gun Culture 2.0. If we want to survive and thrive, we need to grow, and that means taking new gun owners to the range. Nothing else is going to work. Not rallies, not donating to the NRA, none of that means ANYTHING if we are not adding people to our cause.

Gun Culture 1.0 is dying because they didn’t spend the time to create entry points beyond “Take your kids hunting,” and the concealed carry / competition community is going to die out as well if we are not constantly bringing new people out to the range.

In a few months, we’ve gone from counting votes in the Senate trying to get CCW reciprocity passed nationwide to fighting for our Second Amendment lives. We’re losing the culture war, and if we think that relying on the same pro-gun messengers and messaging of the past is suddenly somehow going to turn things around for us, we are delusional, and deserve to lose.

Go to a rally. Make yourself feel good about your Second Amendment rights. Then go out share that good news with others.

Otherwise your good feelings don’t mean a damned thing.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says they believe in the 2nd Amendment but does not take someone to the range? Can that belief save their guns? If a brother or sister wants to defend their family, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay safe,” without helping them learn to shoot, what good is that? So also belief in the 2nd Amendment by itself, if it does not include others, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have the 2nd Amendment and I go shoot.” Show me your faith in the right to keep and bear arms apart from going to the range, and I will show you my faith by taking someone shooting. You believe that there is a right to self-defense; you do well. Even the Shannon Watts believes that — and shudders! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith in the right to keep and bear arms apart by itself is useless? Didn’t Jeff Cooper start up Gunsite to train more people as well create The Modern Technique Of The Pistol? You see that faith in the 2nd Amendment was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; *


* I may be spending a few weeks in Purgatory for that last bit, but it’s ok, I like Colorado!

Colt Competition 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1 – 225

Colt Competition 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1 – 225

Let me state upfront that I do not have a zillion rounds through a 1911. I grew up in Western Canada, so pistol shooting was completely unknown to me before I moved to the U.S. Before getting in this gun, I had maybe a hundred rounds or so through a 1911 in my entire life, so I am not comparing this gun to other 1911s, I am comparing it to what I know, namely DA/SA guns both metal and plastic, and striker-fired service pistols

So here are my initial thoughts on the 1911, and this Colt Competition in particular.

The trigger is fantastic: A surprise trigger break is easy to achieve even with this entry—level gun, and I can see why people like the 1911 so much. Recoil is more than with my all-metal CZ75, but it easy to manage in a  full-size 45 like the Colt, and it was super easy to punch out the center of a target 7 yards away, even under rapid fire. Coming from the CZ, with its skinnier slide, I’m used to riding my thumbs up high on the frame because there’s room there to do so. This is not going to work with a 1911.

The front sight on the Colt Competition is a little thicker than what I’m used to, but that larger front sight definitely helps me acquire it faster at speed. The ergonomics on the gun are terrific… seriously, why did gun designers see a need to screw around with this design? The slide stop is right where it should be, the safety is super easy to activate or deactivate, and everything just FITS.

I picked up the pistol from my FFL, and lubed it with some Tetra gun grease on the slide and some Brownell’s gun oil everywhere else, then headed out the range to break it in. I fired off 100 rounds of Remington UMC 230 grain FMJ from Lucky Gunner just to get used to the gun and how it handled, and also to practice with my new holster for the gun, a Red Hill Tactical Kydex holster in a nice rich shade of brown.

One thing I have to consider in this test is that I’ll be shooting USPSA matches quite often with this gun, and that means dropping magazines into the fine sugar sand we call soil here in SW Florida. Add in the fact that the reliability of the 1911 is closely tied to the magazines than just about any other pistol out there, and you can see the quandary I’m in. The point of the 2000 Round Challenge is to test the reliability of the gun under average conditions, and I’m not sure that dropping mags into sand, reloading them and then using them again is “average” conditions. As such, when I shoot a match, I’ll let you know, and I’ll be cleaning the magazines (but not the gun) after every match.

Speaking of which, I shot a match last week, the Thursday night USPSA match at Hansen Gun Club, and I used the Colt to shoot it. And I sucked, of course. I was slow, but the interesting thing was, because I was dealing with a lot of eight shots per port shooting locations, I was paying a LOT more attention to accuracy than if I was shooting it with my ten rounds per magazine Production gun.

An example.

Yes, my splits are glacially slow, and yes, you can time my movement on the stage with an hourglass, but I was in the top third on total stage points on every stage in the match.

I’ll take it.

In the mean time, here’s where we stand after the first 250 rounds through the entry-level Colt Competition 1911:

Colt Competition 2000 Round Challenge

Rounds Fired:

125 Rounds Remington UMC 230 Grain FMJ
100 Rounds Sig Sauer 230 Grain FMJ

Results:

No issues.

The Safety Fallacy

The Safety Fallacy

I’ll be honest: When John and Melody talked about how there is really no such thing as “safe” firearms training, I had some issues with what they were talking about. Not safe? What do you mean? Of course firearms training is safe! If it wasn’t safe, I wouldn’t do it!

However, as I was writing this post, I realized that the list of activities I enjoy which start with a five minute medical briefing are firearms training classes, and that’s about it. This got me thinking that yeah, maybe there is no such thing as “safe” firearms training.

And no, that doesn’t give us license to go full Pulkasis and send people downrange while we’re shooting.

An example:

In a skydive, even in a tandem jump, if I don’t do some essential things correctly like stance and exit position, I’m potentially in a world of hurt and may even die. Jumping out of a plane is inherently an unsafe action, (duh), so whether or not I get hurt while doing so up to me, my gear, my training, my instructor’s guidelines and the decisions I have made. For me, though, the risk is worth the reward (Memo to self: Go jump again, and soon.).

Shooting a gun at something is also inherently an unsafe action: A large, potentially life-threatening hole is going to appear in SOMETHING when you pull the trigger on a loaded gun. Where and when that hole appears is (literally) in your hands. Therefore, shooting a gun is not safe, it is the actions of the the shooter that determine whether it’s a positive experience or not. I can mitigate the risks, but I cannot eliminate them completely.

Is firearms training safe? No.

But it doesn’t mean it needs to be dangerous, either.

Deadly Serious.

Deadly Serious.

Tam talks about the importance of a medical/safety briefing before the start of a firearms class. To be honest, I’m to the point now that if a class doesn’t start with a medical brief, I seriously consider leaving right then and there, because it’s a good test of whether the instructor takes what’s about to happen seriously or not.  If they’re serious, they take safety seriously, and that means a safety AND medical briefing, including dumb stupid stuff that we’ve all heard before like the four rules. This is a great idea, if for no other reason that when someone pops a cap in their ass, the instructor can testify that yes, he/she DID do a safety briefing and YES, keeping finger off trigger why reholstering WAS covered, so as you can see, Your Honor, the plaintiff’s claim that he was not advised that such actions are stupid is clearly full of crap.

I digress.

The best med briefings I’ve witnessed go something like “The medkit is over there. It has these type of tourniquets, a chest seal, and other stuff. The backup med kit is over there. This dood makes the phone call, and if they can’t do it, this dood does. The address and GPS coordinates are written down over there. This dood is the primary care giver, this dood is secondary. This dood (usually somebody with a pickup) is primary transport, this dood is secondary. This dood is to go to the entrance to the range and wave in the ambulance, this dood is to go to the entrance to the bay and do the same. If you’re not one of the people I just mentioned, get out of the way and let things happen. If we need help, we’ll ask for it. Got it? Ok, let’s begin.”

Easy, simple and gives everybody a job to do.

Gimme The Roots, The Radicals

Gimme The Roots, The Radicals

Colt CompetitionGimme the roots, you know I’m a radical.

I’ve wanted a 1911 for a long time, and so I reached out to Colt for one of their Colt Competition 1911’s in .45ACP. I’m writing a story for the NRA about trying to get back to the roots of IPSC/USPSA, so that means shooting a 1911, because that’s where it all began. It was also important to me to get a *Colt* 1911, because while “Colt 45” might be associated with Billy Dee Williams, the name Colt has also been associated with the 1911 since, well, 1911.

In conjunction with this, I’m also going to try a 2000 Round Challenge with this pistol. The late Todd Green showed us that yes, a 1911 can be REALLY reliable, but the gun he used in his test was a higher-end 1911 in 9mm. I want to see how reliable a plain-Jane, entry-level 1911 is actually is, so it’s 2000 rounds or bust for this gun.

Let’s see what happens.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1501 – 1650.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1501 – 1650.

This report covers both the 50 rounds I shot in Chuck Haggard‘s class at TacCon and 100 rounds I shot this weekend.

It’s also the most failures I’ve had with this gun so far, but I blame that on the fact I was shooting MagTech and Fiocchi ammo, neither of which this gun particularly likes.

Shooting Chuck’s class really brought out what a little gun like this was capable of, and what it’s not. Unless your last name is “Miculek” you are not going to shoot this gun beyond 15 yards, and even 7 yards can get iffy. But at most civilian gun fight distances, yeah, it’s plenty accurate enough, even to perform Mozambique/Failure To Stop drills at speed.

With four feeding issues in 150 rounds, we’re starting to see what happens when the round count on a little gun rises up into four digits. I’ve got 250 rounds of Federal Premium .380ACP from Lucky Gunner sitting in my ammo box, and how well that ammo performs in this gun will determine if I go the full 2000 rounds or not.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge Results

Rounds Fired
50 Rounds Magtech .380 ACP FMJ
50 Rounds Winchester .380 ACP FMJ
50 Rounds Fiocci .380 ACP FMJ

Total Rounds Fired: 1600
One possible failure to eject on round 116
Failures to eject: Rounds 400, 489, 974, 993, 1277, 1323, 1359
Failure to feed: Round 873, 1526, 1534, 1556, 1583