Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1751-1850.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1751-1850.

I took the gun up to Shoot Center to do some indoor range work with the Crimson Trace green laser I have on the gun. I can see the dot during the day, but it’s indoors where it really shines.

Yes, I meant to write that.

The MagTech and Fiocchi ammo I had been using in this test caused this gun no end of troubles, so I loaded up my mags with Federal Premium .380 from Lucky Gunner, and I headed off to the range, where something interesting happened: I couldn’t hit crap with the laser, but did ok with the minimal iron sights on that little gun. Here’s the same target, shot at 10 yards with irons vs. laser.

While neither target is a shining example of marksmanship, something happened when I saw that green dot show up on the target, and BLAMMO, I jerked the trigger. However, when I lined up the sights, I took my time and pressed the trigger and managed to deliver acceptable results for a .380 pistol that’s slightly bigger than an index card. I’m *used* to the lousy sights on this gun, what I’m not used to is the green dot. More work on this is needed, but at a later date because I’m calling an end to the test.

Yep, that’s right, the 2000 round test of the LCP2 is ending 250 rounds short of the goal. On the 87th shot of my session, the pistol threw a Failure To Eject malfunction at me, and I’ve had enough. The gun was reasonably reliable through the first 500 rounds, but boy howdy did things go downhill from there.

Ammunition-wise, this was the tale of the tape. From what I’ve seen, if you get a change to shoot MagTech in an LCP2, don’t.

RoundQuan. ShotFTEFTF
Hornady Critical Defense 90 Grain JHP24
Tula Ammo 91 Grain FMJ12
Speer Gold Dot 90 Grain JHP6
Winchester White Box 95 Grain FMJ5062
Hornady Custom XTP 90 Grain JHP2
PMC Bronze 90 Grain FMJ85021
Magtech 95 Grain FMJ1004
Fiocchi 95 Grain FMJ1002
Federal American Eagle 95 Grain FMJ1001
Blazer Brass FMJ95 Grain 50

The LCP2 is a pocket pistol, not a service pistol. It’s not built to the same standards as, say, an S&W M+P or a Glock, and it turns out there’s a reason why they’re called “service” pistols… they’re meant to stay in service and not barf up ammo after 500 rounds.

Now, does this mean that the LCP2 is a bad choice for a defensive gun? No, not at all. Pocket guns just are not designed to take the same abuse as a service pistol and are rarely have even 500 rounds put through them over the course of their lifetime (although I was kinda hoping this one would go further into the test than it did).

Bottom line is if you have an LCP2 is that unless you’re as dumb as I was and took things to the extreme, you little gun will serve you well. Put 100 or so rounds through it a year to maintain competency, and save the torture tests for the guns that can take the abuse.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge Results

Rounds Fired
100 Rounds Federal Premium FMJ 

Total Rounds Fired: 1750
One possible failure to eject on round 116
Failures to eject: Rounds 400, 489, 974, 993, 1277, 1323, 1359, 1737
Failure to feed: Round 873, 1526, 1534, 1556, 1583

Upcoming Training: Florida Firearms Training Hog Hunting School.

Upcoming Training: Florida Firearms Training Hog Hunting School.

As I said before, I’m going on my first-ever hunt this weekend, a two-day hog hunt with Florida Firearms Training, and I’m really looking forward to it, as it sounds like something I’ve been searching for, namely, an on-ramp into hunting for fat, middle-aged white guys.

Plus (if I’m lucky) I’ll be ridding central Florida of an invasive species and harvesting some free-range, organically-grown, antibiotic-free bacon for my family to enjoy.

Win-win-win!

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.

Slide, Hammer, Holster.

Slide, Hammer, Holster.

One thing I like about Step By Step Gun Training’s Shoot N Scoot events is that they give the average gun owner an opportunity to safely draw a loaded gun from a holster, shoot it, then re-holster. The gun industry assumes that such things are common skills that everybody knows how to do, but the reality is quite different, both inside the industry and with regular gun owners as well. Not everybody does gun games or has access to a pistol bay or backyard range, and very few indoor ranges allow for drawing from a holster. As a result, the only opportunity a student receives to draw and shoot a loaded gun from a holster is at a training class.

This is not a good thing.

A couple of observations from TacCon this year:

  1. There was a shooter in Lee Weems’ class shooting a SIG Sauer 938 from a wildly inappropriate holster, a Nate Squared tuckable hybrid holster carried at the appendix position. We can debate the utility of hybrid holsters at a later date, but the holster this student was using was definitely NOT set up for AIWB and they were struggling. A few minutes on a range with an instructor could have solved a bunch of problems there.
  2. I shot almost all the pistol classes at TacCon with my CZ P07 in a Comp-Tac CTAC carried on my strong-side hip. One thing I learned in MAG40 was to side-step left and push my right hip out towards the holster, giving me a clear path to the holster which didn’t put any body parts in mortal danger as I was re-holstering. And, as best I could tell, I was the only one doing that. AIWB carriers at TacCon were, for the most part, leaning forward and making sure their wedding tackle wasn’t in the way of their muzzle, but I didn’t see any extra-special care with re-holstering done by strong side hip carriers. This is not good.

I can’t help but wonder if practical shooting has an influence on this somehow. Don’t get me wrong, I think competition is fantastic and every serious shooter needs to do it, but the “…and holster” command is done with an empty gun in USPSA and IDPA. This gets people used to holstering quickly and moving on to scoring, and that’s not a good habit to have if you’re doing it on a hot range. 

Bottom line is, the more venues we have to normalize the idea of carrying a gun on your hip, the faster the culture of concealed carry AND practical pistol will grow.

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.

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.

Welcome To The Party, Pal.

Welcome To The Party, Pal.

Me, in 2011:

“If Gun Culture 1.0 is to survive, it needs fresh blood, and that means bringing in urban professionals like myself and the thousands of other people who look at firearms as a defensive tool first and a sporting tool second.” 

Outdoor Life, in 2018:

Baby boomers make up our nation’s largest cohort of hunters, and they’ve already begun to age out of the sport. Within 15 years, most will stop buying licenses entirely. And when they do, our ranks could plunge by 30 percent—along with critical funding for wildlife management, advocacy for hunting, and a tradition that’s probably pretty important to you. In other words, the clock is ticking. And unless we act now, we might not recover from the fallout. 

Fortunately, the outdoor industry is starting to catch on.

“Hipsters want to hunt. But they don’t want to hunt the way a rural farm boy from Illinois wants to hunt,” Dunfee says. “They don’t want to dress the same way, they don’t like focusing on antlers, they don’t like taking pictures of their animals. But they want local, sustainable, ecologically conscious meat. And within our efforts, there are few places to realize those values.” 

Speaking as an aging punk rocker (I was into shunning the mainstream before shunning the mainstream was cool) who’s going on his first hunt in just over a month, more of this, please. Much, much more. Localvore foodies are one of our passive allies, and we’ll need them (and people like them) if we’re going to survive and thrive as a hunting culture and a gun culture.

TacCon 2018 AAR

TacCon 2018 AAR

I’m still trying to sort out all that happened… did I *really* get four hours of DA/SA instruction from Ernest Langdon? Did I *really* get the skinny on tactical trauma care from Lone Star Medics? Did I *actually* get to listen to Karl Rehn hold forth on the history of handgun training? Did Lee Weems lay out some drills on staying sharp and reacting to threats while we’re less-than-attentitive? Did I, in fact, get to meet a bunch of cool people from all over the country and train with them and break bread with them?

I must have, because that’s what these pictures say I did.

A few thoughts…

Ernie Langdon‘s Double Action course was *amazing*. Not only did he correct some basic flaws in my grip and stance, he taught me more about how to pull the trigger correctly since I took a class with Rob Leatham.

One of the nice things about Chuck‘s class was that he had us shoot the Georgia Backup Weapons Atlanta PD Secondary Weapons Qualifier, giving me yet another chance to establish my credibility in the courtroom. The stuff he taught adapted the techniques that we know work with a bigger gun and plopped them down onto the pocket rockets, with great success. Really want to take more pocket-gun classes now.

Karl Rehn spoke for two hours on how handgun training has evolved in the past 100 years, and it was interesting to see how much influence Jelly Bryce had on things (and probably not for the better). In Jelly’s defense, the sights on the guns of the 20’s and 30’s were at best marginal (and at worst, non-existent) so yeah, point shooting did make some sense.

Caleb Causey‘s medical class was a hoot. He can make the gruesome topic of dealing with blowed-up people and loose body parts a lot of fun, and it made us really WANT to listen to what he had to say.

I shot a 199 out of a possible 200 on the course of fire for the shooting match, and right now, I will take that walking away. Gabe White won the match, and Chris from Lucky Gunner has some slo-mo video of the winning relay that is just INCREDIBLE to watch. Gabe’s draw and presentation were absolutely flawless, and I hope Chris publishes it someplace where it can be linked to because it shows an absolutely textbook draw from AIWB. Update: Chris’s video is here. Skip to 1:10 if you want to see how to draw from AIWB.

TacCon left me with a LOT to work on, especially grip and trigger techniques from Ernie’s class, and based on what I learned in Caleb’s class. I’m also going thru and updating my trauma kits and replacing the SWAT-T tourniquets that are in there now with SOFT-T tourniquets.

All in all, it was the most intensive training experience I’ve had in my life, and yes, I want to go back.