Monday, March 21, 2016

Neither Single Nor Double

There's just an irritating trend of calling guns what they're not. 

The M&P Shield has a "single-stack" magazine. Glocks have "double-action" triggers - along with Kahrs, etc., etc., etc. But it just ain't so.

I've known for a long time that there are striker-fired pistols that are labeled as "double action" (or not), but there is a major problem with that - along with many hammer fired guns. But I just can't overlook the Smith & Wesson Military & Police Shield's magazine. Look at it!


It's really a 1-1/2-stack magazine. You can definitely see it, when you load the magazine.

That's irritating, but in the end it is only about hair splitting. But "double"-action triggers? I like second-striker capability, and there is a plethora of guns out there that are marketed as "double action" that are not real double-action guns. They might have partially-cocked strikers, or a partially-cocked hammer, but that's one-and-a-half action - not double.

There are a few that bridge the gap and give you second-strike capability - like some Tauruses - but the majority are frauds, with help from the gun press and the U.S. government.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


I've done gone created a new blog. Don't know where I'm going with it.

But it starts with Ruger
The P95
It's end
Its predecessors
And its relevance now.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

Fortified Drinks

I like fortified drinks, such as port and boilermakers.

For a while, I've drinking port and making boilermakers. But the good port is expensive, and the less expensive port is always too sweet. Sandeman ports are a good alternative, but it still comes in a little bit more than I want to pay on a regular basis.

But I've just tried a marsala, and I liked it so much that I just started a second bottle ...

Friday, February 5, 2016

Recoil Reduction: Interlude At The Range, Epilogue

My recent adventures with my wife at the range have been mostly about finding her a carry gun.

The basic criteria are:

1. Comfortable to shoot.
2. Accurate.
3. Safe.  
4. Comfortable to carry.
5. Desirable color.

1. Comfortable to shoot. AND 2. Accurate.
After shooting seven new guns and two owned guns during four hours over two sessions, I think we have some more work to do to cover the first two items in our criteria. During our first range session with the S&W 637 and Ruger SR9c, we were definitely more accurate. During our second range session, our accuracy was certainly degraded by shooting double the amount of new guns.

So for our next range session, I plan to go back to two guns: the Ruger LCR .357 (that my wife loves so much) and a slim autoloader for her. The rub is which one. She wants me to pick for her, when we are at the range. For me, I want to try the S&W 637 again (and end up with the 442). I really liked that little gun.

3. Safe.
My wife has concerns about safety. She was question whether a gun with a safety is, well, safer. That is a very good question, and it brings out bezerkers on both sides of the argument.

4. Comfortable To Carry.
My wife  is thinking thin is best to carry on her hip, but she likes the little revolvers with the cylinder hump.

5. Desirable Color.
This left to the beholder, but my wife is looking primarily for some blue accents or at least pink, but she wants a defensive tool first.

So, the guns ranked:

1. Comfortable To Shoot.
6. S&W 637. The trigger wrapped my wife's finger while shooting. There are after markets grips and grip adapters like T-Grip that can make the gun more comfortable to shoot for my wife.
5., 4., 3. In no particular order, the M&P Shield, Kahr CW9, and Ruger LC9. 
2. In the first session, my wife indicated the Ruger SR9c was interchangeable with my Ruger P95. During the second session, she had forgotten about it.
1. The Ruger LCR .357. I think it gained extra points for its ease of use. My wife really like the fact that she could swing out the cylinder and see that it was loaded, and that she could load it without racking a slide.

2. Accurate.
6. M&P Shield 9mm. I was perplexed by the sights on this gun. My wife was shooting 1-1/2 feet low at 17 feet. Then I tried it, and I was hitting the target at about the same place. We both were focusing on the three-dot sights. Then I tried aligning the top of the sights - and I hit the center of the target, and so did my wife using the same alignment. Maybe the sights just didn't work for US, but I doubt it. If I really liked the gun, then I would just black out the three dots (I don't like three dots anyway). 
5., 4., 3.  In no particular order,  Ruger LC9, Kahr CW9, Ruger SR9c. There was just not enough range time per pistol to parse out the field.
2. Ruger LCR .357. Comfort equals accurate? Seems like every ranking needs a paradox ...
1. S&W 637. My wife just hit what she shot at, period. In the long term, she probably would have done better with a bigger gun, but not yet.

3. Safe.
6. Kahr CW9. Light double action.
5. Ruger LCR .357. Lighter double action.
4. S&W 637. Heavy double action.
3., 2., 1. In no particular order, Ruger LC9, Ruger SR9c, S&W M&P Shield 9mm. Small frame-mounted safeties.

4. Comfortable To Carry.
6. Ruger SR9c. The heaviest and consistently the widest.
5., 4. Ruger LCR, S&W 638. Cylinder width.
3. Kahr CW9. Thin, but heavy texturing on front and back of grip.
2. Ruger LC9. Flat.
1. S&W M&P Shield 9mm. Thin and nicely rounded.

5. Desirable Color.
6., 5., 4. S&W M&P Shield 9mm, Ruger SR9c, Kahr CW9. Limited to colored grip sleeves and grip tape.
3., 2. Ruger LCR, S&W 637. Limited to colored grips.
1. Ruger LC9. 5 feminine (or blue) options available.  

Take Away:
I definitely am an advisor in this whole process, though a more knowledgeable one at that. This is my wife's decision, so I want her to develop the experience and basic knowledge to make her own decision. Oh, and I forgot one of the most basic criterion: 4-1/2. Service Caliber. All guns from this session met that criterion.

Monday, February 1, 2016

"Senseless Violence," Not

I love this quote, as it appeared on Michael Bane's blog ("A Few Thoughts for the Deep Breath Before the Plunge..."):
Violence is misunderstood. There's no such thing as senseless violence. All violence makes sense to someone. Nor is violence ever entirely random. The perp chose to be where he was, when he was. Not random. We say the victim was "in the wrong place at the wrong time," meaning where and when the perp was. Bad luck, but not a random event. We can't know the "when" until it's too late, but we can recognize the "where" with some reliability. There are places it's wrong to be, at any time. The principle is simple: when violence occurs, be somewhere else...
-- The Woodpile Report

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Recoil Reduction: Interlude At The Range, Part II

A few days after we had tried the first lot of guns, my wife started asking when we'd go again. So we went back on a Tuesday - Ladies' Day, half off range time and rentals. 

Again, we took my Ruger P95 and Taurus 22PLY. And the first rental: the M&P Shield 9mm. It was assumed by the gun-store employee that I wanted her to try the Shield the last time we had been there, and I had denied the assumption. So this time, it was the first one for us on the range.
My wife was not impressed by the M&P Shield. I thought that it was neat that it was so rounded, but with such a small grip the rounded contours were actually a hinderance to maintaining grip, even for my smallish hands. The safety was annoying to engage but relatively easy to disengage. The slide was easy to rack, and an empty magazine dropped free. The "single-stack" magazine is actually partially staggered.

Next up, the Ruger LC9s. It worked. I felt that the grip was too slim, but I had no problem holding on. My wife was not impressed. The safety was annoying to engage, but relatively easy to disengage. The slide was easy to rack, and an empty magazine dropped free.
Next, the Kahr CW9. I was impressed. The grip was thin, but the texturing front and back really helped maintaining control easily. There is no safety, but I am relatively comfortable with the length of trigger travel to pretty much serve as a replacement. The slide was easy to rack, and an empty magazine dropped free. My wife was relatively impressed.
Finally, the LCR .357 shooting 130-grain Remington range .38 Specials. My wife loved it. She liked the ability to see that it was loaded, and she liked how it felt to shoot it. The double-action trigger was smooth and seemed lighter than the one on the S&W 442. The empty cases did not all drop out easily because of a short ejection rod. That problem could probably be mitigated with technique.
All firearms were 100% reliable, except for my Taurus 22PLY. It failed to fire with one round, but with a second strike from the DAO trigger the round ignited. My wife seemed to have difficulty extracting all the magazines. I especially noticed that she was not getting them to drop. She was having trouble reaching the mag releases, so she was holding the guns almost horizontally to do so. 

My wife confirmed that she wants a service-caliber firearm, and she has demonstrated to herself that she can handle it. She is concerned that a five-shot revolver might not offer enough rounds for a confrontation - and so and I.

A week later, she still says she liked shooting my Ruger P95 and the Ruger LCR .357. 

For myself at the time , I would choose the S&W 442 for my pocket and the Kahr CW9 for my hip. For my wife, it sounds like the LCR with a colored grip. Of course, this could all change with our next trip to the range.

PREVIOUS: Recoil Reduction: Interlude At The Range, Part I
NEXT:  Recoil Reduction: Interlude At The Range, Epilogue

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Recoil Reduction: Interlude At The Range, Part I

About a week ago, after picking out a desk for our daughters, I told my wife that I wanted to stop by a nearby pawn store. There selection of handguns had continued to grow, since I was last in there. And my wife is interested in getting a concealed-carry permit, so guns for her were our main focus.

We looked at a variety of semiautos that I thought might be appropriate for her - and some revolvers. Her favorite was a Smith & Wesson 642 442 in black with a pink grip.

And she said that she wanted an opportunity to shoot it, especially after the suggestion of the sales clerk. So as quick as we could (two days), we hightailed it over to a range and rented the closest thing they had. A S&W 637.
 In the mean time, I had quickly research lower-recoil loads for the little .38, and I came to the conclusion that 130-gr range ammo from multiple manufacturers would be perfect for this exercise. 

My wife shot the 637 very well for a first try. She all five rounds of the first cylinder within a 4x6" area on a silhouette target at about 12 feet. On the other hand, I kept all of the rounds from my first cylinder with the equivalent of a pie plate. I've come to realize that the glasses I wear for distance makes the sights quite difficult to make out.

But she didn't like the little gun. The trigger guard rapped her middle finger with every shot. On the other hand, I loved it. I could see carrying one of those little guns in my front pants pocket (642 442 without the external hammer, of course) everyday. But we were there to see what my wife wanted to get, so we moved on.

Next we tried a Ruger SR9c. I've always wanted to try one, but I had been suspicious that the full-size SR9 was a better fit for my hand. I was proven right.
My wife liked the compact Ruger SR, and she shot it well, too.

At the conclusion of our range session, she concluded that she liked shooting the Ruger SR9c and my Ruger P95. She was disappointed in the S&W 637, because she really liked the S&W 642 442. I wasn't sure that it was the best concealed-carry gun for her, because of the width of the cylinder (and her most-likely mode of carry) and the five-shot capacity.

I saw the Ruger SR9c as a non-starter, because she really wanted to get a slim gun. For me, I did not like how the slide felt when you pulled it back, but my wife was not phased by it.

We looked at some guns in the showroom before leaving, and she expressed further interest in Berettas (she had a Beretta 92 years ago) AND small, cute, colorful pistols.

The way my wife handle the recoil of the two guns that we tried gave me a moment of pause. Her desire to carry a gun with enough cartridge and her ability to handle what we shot (though with the .38 we used light recoiling rounds), has made me lean toward 9mm for my advice for her.

Once away from the range, I did further research into small, cute Berettas, grip solutions for the S&W 642 442, single-stack 9mms and .380s. I was intrigued by Tyler Manufacturings T-Grip Adapter, but I held my knowledge from my wife until a later date.
In the end, this is her choice. I can only advise. I later apologize for trying to steer her away from the truly diminutive guns, like the .380ACP Ruger LCP in Lady Lilac. 

Though from our range session, I have a feeling what her criteria really are:
1. Decent sights.
2. "Service" caliber.
3. Decent capacity.
4. Slim.
5. Girly color.
In that order.

PRIOR: Recoil Reduction, Cartridges .22 LR
NEXT: Recoil Reduction: Interlude At The Range, Part II

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Recoil Reduction: Cartridges, .22 LR

Recoil Reduction for the Sensitive

There has been much blogged, podcasted, journaled, and generally published about the necessity to accommodate recoil sensitivity and how to do it.

Well, I have a dog in the fight. My wife is recoil sensitive. We've gone around a few circles looking at defensive handguns for her. And people generally shoot better with less recoil.

So, where to begin?


From the halls of infinite wisdom, for self defense, one must carry a service cartridge such as 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .38 Special - and now, recently admitted into the pool of acceptable, we have TADA: .380 ACP.

But also from the halls of infinite wisdom we find: "The number one way to win a gunfight is to ... have a gun!" Well for the recoil sensitive, having, practicing, and using falls under the same stricture.

So, what cartridges are available for the recoil sensitive in a defense handgun? How how do the measure up, when minimizing recoil and distributing enough energy to stop an attack?

.22 LR (.22 Long Rifle)
.22 Long Rifle is everyone's favorite entry-level cartridge for new shooters. It's great for kids, it helps adults master the fundamentals without having to deal with significant recoil in a handgun, and it is traditionally cheap and available.

Low recoil.
Cheap (though in the recent ammo shortage, it did reach 9mm price levels).
Available in a wide-range of handguns, including pocket pistols, revolvers, full-size pistols, rifles, and replicas of centerfire handguns.

Low delivered energy.
Less-reliable rimfire ignition system.
Dirty powder.

The .22 LR works best in double-action revolvers for defense, because a faulty round ("experts" say about 1 in 100 for quality ammo) can be skipped if it doesn't ignite. In a semiauto, you would have to try to strike the primer or clear the faulty round. But double-action revolvers are usually about as expensive as their centerfire cousins.

Stats (sample averages, source Ballistics By The Inch):

Muzzle Velocity:
2.5" barrel, 851 fps.
5" barrel, 1052 fps.
Muzzle Energy:
2.5" barrel, approx 65 ft-lbs.
5" barrel, approx 95 ft-lbs. 
Available New-Production Handguns: Vast array of revolvers, pistols, pocket pistols, and derringers.

NEXT:  Recoil Reduction: Interlude At The Range

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