Yes, You DO Need To Worry About That Little Guy.

Yes, You DO Need To Worry About That Little Guy.

NRA Instructor QualAs I mentioned earlier, I shot the NRA Instructor Qual with the Colt Competition 1911 that I’m running through a 2000 Round Challenge.

I had (*had*) been doing dry fire up to the day of the test with one of my tricked-out CZ75’s, in anticipation that shooting the qual with a gamer gun that has a wonderful single action trigger would give me a little edge, but seeing how I had a bunch of ammo left over after the Louland match, I went with the 1911 instead to shoot up the extra ammo. I did ok, right up to the point where I had five shots outside of the eight-inch circle at 15 yards, over the maximum of four that the test requires. To make matters worse, that one shot I pulled low and left not only DQ’d me because it was the fifth shot outside the circle, it was outside the six-inch max group size required by the test.

Whoops.

Look, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the 1911 platform itself: It’s a gun that wins bullseye matches year after year after year, and it wins them because it’s stupid accurate. However, my experience with the 1911 is pretty much limited to the 1000 rounds I have through my test gun, while on the other hand, I passed the 1000 round mark with a CZ75 long before we had smartphones.

Lesson learned.

I’ll shoot the qual again, (probably next week) because I want to get my certs re-upped and start teaching CCW (more on that later) so I’ll shoot it with something I already know how to use accurately, not something I’m learning to shoot.

Flash Site Pictures

Flash Site Pictures

Are Race Holsters really worth the $$$$?

The Liberator pistol and Sten SMG were designed to be functional firearms that can be built in a garage, and this is further proof of that fact.

I did the writeup on the Ruger PC Carbine for Shooting Illustrated. Spoiler alert: I liked it. But then again, I’ve been a fan of pistol-caliber carbines for quite awhile.

Five easy upgrades for your AR-15. If you bought an AR but don’t know what to do with it, this is where I’d start.

Both the NRA and the Huffington Post agree: Justice Kennedy’s retirement is bad news for gun control.

Not sure I agree with the Sheriff here about carrying a reload. I carry one for my Shield, but with 9+1 in it now, I’m not certain I need one.

My CZ75s are proof that I was into TA/DA guns before they were cool (/gunhipster).

Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 801 – 1000

Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 801 – 1000

Halfway there! I shot the weekly practical pistol match at Louland last week with the Colt 1911, giving it a chance to show its stuff in its natural environment, a practical pistol match. The match there is lightweight and easy to shoot, with the stages being all-steel and shot from designated shooting boxes.

It’s not really friendly to 1911’s, though, and there was one stage where there was ten, (count ’em) ten shots to be had from one shooting box.

Standing reloads suck.

The good news is, aside from my reloads, I’m really starting to get a handle on how this gun shoots. I had a great Stage One, where my split times were pretty much identical to my CZ times, although my reloads continue to be a dumpster fire.

That used up about 120 rounds, and I shot the remaining 50 or so rounds qualifying for the NRA Basic Pistol Instructor training, and the rest after that was over.

But that’s another story.

Colt Competition 2000 Round Challenge

Rounds Fired:
200 Rounds Remington UMC 230gr FMJ .45ACP

Results:

No issues.

Thanks again to Lucky Gunner for providing the ammo for this test.

Upcoming Training: Long Range Rifle Immersion Level One

Upcoming Training: Long Range Rifle Immersion Level One

I’ve had my Savage 116 for years now, but I’ve never taken the time to really learn how to use it. It’s an MOA or better gun, but I’m not an MOA or better shooter.

Time for that to change, which is why I’m enrolled in Florida Firearms Training’s Long Range Rifle Immersion class in August.

The class is designed to give students a grounding in the long range game that can be built upon to push things out to 500 yards and beyond. If it’s anywhere near as fun and informative as the hog hunting class I had with them, it’s sure to be a blast.

 

I Am A Expert (Ex-Spurt?) Pistol Shooter.

I Am A Expert (Ex-Spurt?) Pistol Shooter.

I decided to put my money where my memes are, and shoot the Marine Corps Combat Pistol Program Qualifier with my carry gear, from concealment.

Now, as I shoot a 9mm Shield with a max magazine capacity of 8 rounds* and not an M9A1 with 15 rounds, I had to alter the ready magazine routine a bit and shoot from multiple mags. Also, I didn’t score, paste and repair in-between strings because I wanted to see my results all at once.

And what were those results? First, a review of what the levels of Qualification actually are.

Expert: 364/400
Sharpshooter: 324/400
Marksman: 264/400

I shot a 376, and qualified as Expert.

Now Kevin, I hear you say, there are only two holes outside of the 10 point scoring zone on that target. How could you have scored only 376 and not 396? Well, the truth is, on the last string of fire on Stage One, the one with the Tactical Emergency Reload, I got my cover garment (a loose t-shirt) stuck on my tourniquet pouch and it took me 14 seconds to make the reload which resulted in two shots that were on-target but outside of the par time and therefore count as misses.

Whoops.

Other than that, I found the par times were ridiculously long for each course of fire. I didn’t quite shoot each string in half the required time, but I was shooting them in 2/3rds the time or less. I also learned a valuable lesson about practicing with your carry gear: Practice with ALL of it, rather than just the shootey bits. My t-shirt got hung up on something (my tourniquet) that I’ve never had on me in a class or at a match.

Lesson learned.

Knowing that I qualified at the Expert level is an ego boost, and it’s potentially a boost in the courtroom as well if I shoot it under supervision. It also gives me another baseline to measure my progress on my ability to defend myself with a pistol, and gives me a platform to reach up even higher.

 

* 9 rounds if I’m using the magazine with the MagGuts +1 follower.

Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 701-800

Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 701-800

I made a trip last week up to the local public range (the official name for it is the “Cecil M. Webb Shooting Range,” but I like to call it the “Dunning-Krueger Exhibition and Fairgrounds”) to sight in a new rifle scope (more on that next week) and to put some more rounds through the Colt Competition 1911.

I decided to up the workout I was putting on this gun and shot 100 rounds of Federal Aluminum-cased 230gr .45ACP FMJ through it, and because the range bans “rapid fire” (and with good reason, I might add…) I worked on one-handed shooting and accurate shot placement.

All 100 rounds of ammo fed into and out of the pistol with no issues, except that my arms wound up covered in bits and flakes of charred paint or something similar. How much of this is inside the gun and how it will affect performance is anybody’s guess.

Colt Competition 2000 Round Challenge

Rounds Fired:
100 Rounds Federal Aluminium 230gr FMJ .45ACP

Results:

No issues.

Thanks again to Lucky Gunner for providing the ammo for this test.

“My Dad Was A Cop. He Taught Me How To Shoot.”

“My Dad Was A Cop. He Taught Me How To Shoot.”

Oh really?

Cops have a lot of jobs to do, and shooting people is only one (very small) job among many. I’m ridiculously happy that the cops are around and they should be celebrated for what they do, but chances are “firearms instructor” is not one of the jobs they perform on a regular basis.

Speaking of trust icons, let’s talk about the “I know how to shoot, I was in the military” canard. Yes, you may know how to lay down suppressive fire with an M240 Bravo, but that skill (thankfully) doesn’t have a whole lot of application in the civilian world.

Pistols? Pistols have a LOT of application in the civilian world, and the standards for excellence in the military for pistols is not so excellent.

The new Marine Combat Pistol Program Qualifier is designed to be a more “real world” qualifier than their previous one which was pretty much just a bullseye match in olive drab.

Here’s the course of fire for the new qualifier.

Yes, you have FIVE SECONDS to draw and shoot two rounds into center-mass of a target that’s seven yards away, and the rest of the par times are equally ridiculous. If you’re any kind of competition shooter (like D Class or better) or have taken a decent two-day pistol course, you should have no trouble qualifying as Expert on this course of fire.

And it’s not like the target they use is extra-small, either. The 10 Zone, the highest-scoring part of the target is bigger than the already generous scoring area of a USPSA target, and compared its a veritable broad side of a barn compared to the IDPA target in the photo to the right. Heck, I’d bet that 3/4ths of my friends on social media could qualify as Expert using half the allotted time for the drill, and more than a few of them could easily do it in half the time and at double the required distance.

Are their good, nay, great military and law enforcement shooters? Of course there are. Does being in the military or law enforcement automatically make you a great shooter? Probably not.

 

 

 

Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 601-700

Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 601-700

I started this test with the intent to prove that a budget (sub-$1000) 1911 in .45ACP could stand up to a 2000 Round Challenge, and so far, so good. Something I didn’t know before I started, though, is that Greg Ellifritz has a list of the best 1911’s out there, and Colt is on the list.

This gives me hope.

One of the things that’s probably helping the reliability of my test gun is that I’m using nothing but Wilson Combat magazines in the test 1911. It’s fairly well-known that magazines are the Achille’s heel of the 1911, and I made the decision early on to use top-quality mags, and so far, so good.

I went shooting with Jeff Street last week and put 100 rounds of Remington UMC .45 ACP through the Colt Competition. Nothing happened except a big, ragged hole appeared in the target. This is getting boring. Boring is good.

Colt Competition 2000 Round Challenge

Rounds Fired:
100 Rounds Remington UMC .45ACP FMJ

Results:

No issues.

Thanks to Lucky Gunner for providing the ammo for this test.

Optimizing A Walther PPS For Concealed Carry

Optimizing A Walther PPS For Concealed Carry

The Walther PPS is a popular defensive pistol because it’s thin, compact and easy to shoot. The new M2 model is an updated, improved version, but the original PPS is still a terrific little 9mm gun for concealed carry.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t get better, and here’s some suggestions for getting the most out of your PPS.

  1. Spare Magazines. The PPS ships with two seven round magazines, one with flush-fitting baseplate and one with an extended baseplate to give you a better grip on the gun. This is good, but if you’re going to do any training at all with your PPS, you’ll soon find out that you need more magazines. Also, because they wind up getting dropped on the ground and smashed into things, a pistol magazine is, in truth, a semi-disposable item. Get more than what ships with your gun. You’ll need them.
  2. Sights. Three dot sights are common on defensive pistols, and the PPS has a decent set of them. Three dot sights have a downside, though. It’s not unusual for your eyes to dart between the front sight and rear sight, and the sights on the PPS aren’t night sights. That’s easily changed, though, and several manufacturers make sights for the PPS. I myself am a huge fan of Trijicon’s HD sights because they have an easy-to-post dot on the front sight but still have a night sight capability that shows up when it gets dark.
  3. Holster. There are essentially two options for holsters for concealed carry: Inside the waistband (IWB) and outside the waistband (OWB). Me, I’m a fan of IWB holsters because in general, they’re easier to conceal than OWB holsters but is just as fast to draw from. For first-time gun owners, though, I recommend an OWB holster because they don’t require you to wear pants that are an inch (or more) wider than what you you wore before you carried a gun. Galco makes a terrific leather OWB holster for the PPS that I can heartily recommend for everyday carry.
  4. Ammo. Modern bonded jacketed hollow point ammunition is what turned 9mm into round known for punching holes in people to one that millions of people rely on to protect their lives. Lucky Gunner did a very exhaustive comparison of the modern defensive rounds for 9mm pistols like the PPS, and the 150 grain Federal Micro HST round did very, very well in that test.
Getting The Precision Rifle Bug, And Getting It Bad.

Getting The Precision Rifle Bug, And Getting It Bad.

Shooting an accurate, left-handed .22 bolt gun these past few weeks has given me a mighty big desire to start up a .22 Precision Rifle match in my zip code.

The problem is location: The bays at Louland max out at 45 yards or so, and the dance card at Hansen is full pretty much all the time. The Deep Lake range at Altair would be perfect for this, but that’s been shut down since Hurricane Irma.

Okochobee Shooting Sports or Manatee would work great, but those are both a two hour drive for me, which turns the match into a two-day affair. This means I either invest a significant amount of time and gas driving out to the range twice each weekend, or I do an overnight stay in a hotel near the range.

Sigh.

Sucks living out in the boonies.