Friday, June 29, 2012

LC9 vs. G22 Update (6/27/12)

I was able to spend a little bit of time on the range Wednesday to get in a very light workout (less than 200 rounds) with both the G22 and LC9.

I started off running the Glock 22 with the latest Drill of the Week. Turned in an abysmal 3.42. Not sure what my deal was, I know I can get those hits faster. I followed that performance by continuing to work the 3x5 at 7 yards and got down to a 1.60 from a high compressed ready, so probably add another second for the draw. I guess I just started being way off my game.

I shot Dot Torture at 7 yards after that and scored 45/50. I had a killer malfunction during the Dot Torture drill. This is the 2nd time this has happened in the past couple hundred rounds. Happened at the IDPA match too. Almost the exact same malfunction. The initital tap - rack didn't fix it. I had to repeat with an exagerated cant to the right to get the brass to fall out of the ejection port. Kind of made me re-evaluate the way I would typically clear that sort of malfunction. More on that later. After Dot Torture I put away the G22 and pulled out the LC9 to put some rounds through it.

I have to say, there is a pretty significant adjustment curve going from the Glock trigger to the half DOA trigger on the LC9. More than I anticipated. It isn't bad shooting slowly, but once you try to crank the speed up it gets a little more difficult.

I wanted to try using the 10-8 target in live fire, so I taped it up and ran it out to 4 yards per the instructions on the target. I put 2 rounds in each circle going from largest to smallest. The circles are supposed to represent an 8" target at the distance indicated by the number inside the circle. So in theory I went from 7 yards to 25 yards without ever moving the target!! Actually, using scaled targets like this doesn't totally replicate shooting a target at the indicated distance but it was a good drill anyway.

I made hits on all the circles on the first two attempts accept the smallest (25 yard) circle. I pulled my rounds low and left, I am sure because of poor trigger control from switching between the Glock and LC9.

I chased it with Bill Drills on the largest circle (7 yards). This is where my unfamiliarity with the trigger really showed. My first shot was painfully slow, and my splits were just as bad. The trigger on the LC9 isn't bad. Compared to the Beretta 96D it is shorter, lighter, and smoother. Really the only fault in the trigger is the double click reset, and even that wasn't an issue. It was just I was not used to the trigger, and especially not used to working the trigger at speed. I got my splits down into the low 0.30 range after a few Bill Drills. I would like to have them in the 0.25 range, but for being such a new gun that I have less than 200 rounds through I am pleased at the moment. I am just going to have to spend some time behind the gun to get them down.

Total round count through the LC9 so far is 162. No malfunctions or any other issues, but that is an inconsequentially low number of rounds. We will see how it is doing around the 500 round mark.

Interesting note about the LC9. I have not been able to activate the slide release like I normally would. It is just an issue of getting the necessary leverage on it, but I guess because the gun is so small it doesn't allow me to get the same leverage I would normally be able to. I have never had trouble using the slide release on any pistol, even a Glock 27 I used to have which only marginally larger than the LC9. I guess it is a good thing I am brushing up on the "over the top slide rack" method to release the slide foward.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Importance of Dry-Fire

Dry fire is a critical component of any training program. There is no better way to learn how to properly manipulate the trigger because the shooter has visual feedback through the entire press. In live fire the recoil of the gun does not allow for that same level of visual feedback.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, here are a couple links to some very good information on dry fire. Anyone who is serious about skill building should utilize some type of dry fire practice. Dry Fire Routine
Handgun Accuracy Fundamentals: Trigger Control

Friday, June 22, 2012

When does practice become more important than training?

When I first started my blog I wrote a post about getting quality training before dedicating too many resources to practice on the front end of your skill development journey. The point of the post was that you cannot practice what you do not know. This post is about the reverse side of the coin. At what point are resources better spent on practice instead of additional training? It was inspired by a conversation at concerning "advanced" training.

I think that there comes a point where more training is actually not the most efficient use of resources in the context of skill development. A period of training needs to be followed by a period of practice where the shooter skill level can mature (Todd Green touched on this in one of his posts. If you haven't read it, you should) As the level of performance increases, this period of practice will become longer and longer because the improvement in skill will take longer to accomplish. It may take a shooter a few months to master the skills taught in a one day basic defensive handgun course if they shoot frequently enough, it may take a couple years to master the material in a technique focused 2 day course with a much higher performance demand. It all really just depends...but you get the idea.

Shooting courses generally are not cheap. The cheapest I have seen run about $100 per day and have round counts around 400-500. As the course material becomes more advanced, generally the price goes up too. Top tier shooting courses will cost around $200 a day and have round counts in the 1,000-2,000 range for a two day course. Depending on what caliber you are shooting and what kind of deal you can find on ammo, we are talking about nearly $1,000 for a two day course. It is generally always going to beneficial shooting with a skilled and knowledgeable instructor (read - teacher), it is just whether or not it would be more beneficial to spend those resources on mastering skills already learned.

I cannot answer the question for you, but if you find yourself searching for that next greatest thing in training, maybe it is time to take a step back and really buckle down on the skill development and get some solid practice in working the skills you already know. There is only so much development that can take place in a 2 or 3 day shooting course, real skill development is on the shoulders of the shooter after the course is long over. People don't become great shooters by taking "advanced" classes, they become great shooters by mastering the skills they have been taught.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yes, I am that cheap...

I know I will be burned at the stake for admitting this, but I have been using your run of the mill Uncle Mikes IWB with my LC9 so far. I have used them off and on with new guns when I am not ready to invest in a $50+ holster, I don't want to wait for the ordered holstered to show up or I am not sure what holster I want to order for full time use. The good thing about the Uncle Mikes IWB holsters and also the Blackhawk variant (which to me is the exact same thing with a different name) is that they are cheap and readily available pretty much everywhere. The bad thing about them is that they don't always work that well. In fact I would say more often than not they don't work that well.

To me the biggest mark against the Uncle Mikes style IWB is the plastic clip. They usually are not very good at holding the holster in place on the belt. If you do anything that requires repeated bending, sitting etc. (no matter how infrequent) you will generally have issues with the holster not staying in place. Even with a "gun belt", like a 5.11 Instructor belt you will still have issues. You can pretty much forget about any type of running or fast movement. The nail in the coffin is the holster not staying in the waistband when the pistol is drawn quickly. It may not come out every time, but often enough to be a big deal, especially if you are using  a shorter barreled gun (at least this has proven true for me)

I was having that exact problem with the Uncle Mikes I was using for the LC9 as a stand in until I can decide on something else. I tried a few tricks I have used in the past, and none of them really helped all that much. I was still having issues with the holster staying in place, especially on the draw. Then I got a brilliant idea...cut the plastic clip off!! And then of course replace it with a metal one. I just happened to have a metal clip and mounting hardware lying around, so it made sense.

Five minutes later, I had the job done and the added benefit of a "tuckable" holster along with the better clip. Total cost of the upgrade, $2.00.

I know that there are people out there using these holsters because you can find them at almost every sporting goods store I have been to. That tells me people buy them, and probably a lot of people. If you do use one, spend another couple bucks or scrounge around to find something to replace the plastic clip with. It solves what I think is the biggest problem with the holster.

Monday, June 18, 2012

IDPA - 6/16/12

I was able to shoot an IDPA match over the weekend and introduce a new shooter to the sport. Thanks to the guys at CASA for putting another great match. I did better than I expected to do, but had a couple mistakes that really hurt me. I had one PE where I forgot to move while engaging three targets in "tactical sequence" and one hit on a non-threat swinger. I would have felt much better about my match without those two mistakes.

I finished 5th overall (this was just a club level match), and beat a couple guys that normally smoke me. I am not sure if they were just having an off day or what the deal was. I saw a couple of them shoot and they definitely seemed to be on their game and shooting better than me. I think the stages might have played to my strengths a little more than they normally do as well.

I did drop more points than I wanted to. I ended up dropping 23, which isn't too bad I guess, but it means I have to run 23 miles before the next match (oh joy!). I started off really good, my first stage (#3) I dropped 0 points, and it was a WHO stage!! It went downhill from there. The highlight of the match for me were a couple of really slick tactical reloads on two of the stages. First time I have successfully used tactical reloads in a match.

10-8 Performance Dry-Fire Target

I have recently started tracking 10-8 Performance on the radar and wanted to pass along a gem of a target. They put together a dry-fire target that is intended to be used with the NLT SIRT pistol, but can also be used with any unloaded pistol for dry-fire practice. With the 10-8 target set at 4 yards, the circles represent an 8" target at the distance indicated by the number inside the circle. So the large circle with the 7 in it represents an 8" target at 7 yards, and the smallest circle with the 25 in it represents an 8" target at 25 yards. Most people can probably find 4 yards of space somewhere in there house where they can use this target for dry-fire practice.

This target can also be used by guys like me who often times shoot at an indoor range that isn't 25 yards long. I can set this target at 4 yards and get a target size representative of an 8" circle at 25 yards. It won't perfectly replicate a true 25 yard target, but it is better than nothing at all. I plan to use this target in both dry-fire and live-fire practice.

If you shoot a 1911 and don't already follow 10-8 Performance, you should. If you don't shoot a 1911 and don't follow 10-8 Performance you should probably too, but you won't lose "shooter points" if you don't like the 1911 guys would.

10-8 Facebook Page
10-8 Blog

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Apples to Oranges...or actually Fruit Bats

I posted a link to my pistol comparison idea on (great place, if you are local to Arkansas check it out) and a user over there (Ken) commented that I was comparing "apples to fruit bats" with my LC9 vs G22 test. I pretty much am, although keeping the comparison analogy inside the fruit realm would technically be more correct because I am after all comparing two pistols.

Here is why I am doing this test. The G22 is the quintessential duty pistol for American based law enforcement. There are of course other pistols used by law enforcement agencies, but the Glock is almost an "industry standard" type of pistol in that regard. The LC9 is basically the same for most conceal carry pistols, it is about the same size of what most people are carrying or want to carry these days (that is why the M&P Shield is such a big deal isn't it?).

The question is, how much performance difference is there between your typical fullsized duty pistol and your typical sub-compact carry pistol? I am going to go out on a limb and say that capacity issues aside it is not that significant. We will see though.

So far the tests that have been recommended and ones that I am adding myself are:

1) El Pres
2) "300"
3) Federal Air Marshal COF
4) Defoor Pistol Tests
5) Dot Torture @ 7yd
6) IDPA Classifier
7) Bill Drill
8) Arkansas State LE COF

For the tests that are pass/fail (like the Defoor tests) I will keep a record of actual time, not just pass or fail.

If you are only interested in "apples to apples" comparisons, check out this post on where ToddG talks about shooting his G26 compared to the G17 that he normally carries. That would be a true "apples to apples" comparison.

Monday, June 11, 2012

LC9 and G22... how much does size matter?

My Glock 22 is my go to gun...pretty much. It is the one that is always there. The Ruger LC9 is the newest member of the herd, and like any new member of anything it has to see how it stacks up to the "boss" in the group.

So here is the plan, shoot a series if drills with both pistols, average scores (either time, points or both) and see what it looks like. This is where you guys come in, what drills do you want me to shoot? You can post your suggestions in the comments section.

There are lots of good drills on and if you need help coming up with something.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Added to the Stable

I acquired a Ruger LC9 last week, mostly our of curiosity. My experience with sub-compact sized pistols is limited to a Glock 27 and I wanted to expand my experience set a little. I have never used a Ruger pistol before that wasn't a revolver, and I have never run a pistol with an external safety, so I am killing a bunch of birds with one stone on this one.

I took it to the range for the first time yesterday and just did some preliminary function testing. Nothing too extensive yet. I shot a couple 5 rounds groups on 3x5 index cards and 7 and 10 yards. Followed with a couple Bill Drills off the clock just getting a feel for the trigger at speed. Then shot Dot Torture at 5 yards. I think I was a bit over ambitious on the Dot Torture. Since it was a new pistol, I should have stuck with 3 yards.

I wrapped it up with a walk back drill on a 3x5 index card and made it back to 15 yards before running out of ammo. I had two misses at 8 yards before getting a hit (not sure what was up with that) and 1 miss at 10 yards. I made the shot at 15 yards, but doubt I could make it much further than 15.

As for my impressions of the pistol. It is OK. The trigger is kind of weird on the reset. It has two discernible clicks when you let the trigger back out. Not sure what the first one is, but you have to let the trigger out well past it to get to the 2nd click before you can start pulling it again. The size I think is good. Any smaller and shootability would start dropping off. It is on the ragged edge of small, but not too small.

The external safety doesn't bother me, and turns on and off easily enough for me with my gorilla hands.

The sights are actually real sights, unlike its smaller brother the LCP. They pop pretty good and are easy to pick up.

All in all, for a small gun I would say it is pretty decent as long as it holds together, which we will see. I will be putting more rounds through it as time goes on. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Wrap Up

So the Beretta has gone bye-bye, to be replaced by who knows what right now. Until further notice my G22 will be filling the gap, but something else will come along soon. When I first started this blog and explained why I was shooting a Beretta, I said I wanted to try all (or at least most) of the major brands of handguns so that I could have accurate opinions of each. That is still true, so I imagine something will come along soon that will get my attention enough for me to start shooting it.

I had right at 4,000 rounds through the Beretta. I was pretty pleased with how I was shooting it. There was some improvement taking place and feel like I was making progress. Probably the one thing that the Beretta taught me the most about was how to grip the gun. You would think that with a DAO pistol it would be trigger control, but not in my case. When I first started shooting the Beretta I found it difficult to control under recoil, and my support hand often times had to be readjusted on the grip after a handfull of rapid shots. The switch to Trausch grips helped this initially because it changed the shape of the gripping surface from something that was rounded to something that was very flat. But even then I wasn't very pleased with how much I had to fight the gun under recoil.

As I put more rounds through the gun I made some technique adjustments. I started rolling my elbows up slightly, which leveraged my hands together and squeezed the gun between them without an excessive amount of muscle tension. This also added a slight bend to my elbows. Visually the gun was much more predictable and more controlled.

We will see how the technique transfers over, but it works fine with my Glock. Hopefully it will work just as well with whatever I pick up next.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Zombie Max 12ga Shotgun Ammo

I dig zombies...I am a The Walking Dead when Hornady released their Zombie Max line of ammunition, (after I got up off the floor from laughing) I began wondering if it was anything special. I assumed that underneath that flashy package was a basic buckshot load with nothing noteworthy hidden inside.

When I saw a box at one of the big box sports stores in my area I thought it would be worth the $10 to see what was under all the flash. After I performed an impromptu autopsy on one of the shells I was delighted to find Hornady's Versa-Tite wad hiding under all the glam.

Now shotgun ammo is pretty straight forward, there isn't much you can do it to really make it shine above all the rest. There are only a couple loads on the market that stand above the rest, at least when talking about buckshot. Those are the Federal loads with the Flite-Control wad and the Hornady loads with the Versa-Tite wad. Both wads are essentially the same, and have the same function.

As noted in an earlier post, the Federal Flite-Control wad delivers tight patterns out of a bolts and nuts basic Mossberg 500 at 15 yards compared to the average 00 buck load. The Hornady rendition does the same.