Thursday, September 27, 2007

How much ammo is too much?

I'm not sure whether to call this humor or words of wisdom.

Somebody asked whether 15 rounds in a magazine was too much on the PA Firearm Owners Association forum and MarkS posts:

"The only time you can have too much ammo is when you're drowning or on fire."

That's a real gem right there!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Good, Inexpensive Kydex Mag Pouches

He doesn't have a website, or any classified ads running right now. I'm sure if you ask, he will send you pics. The pouches are pretty simple in design, made of a single piece of 0.06" thick Kydex with a tension adjustment. Pouches are IDPA legal.

Available for many popular pistols. I’ve got 4 pairs of these now, 2 pair for my G17s and 2 pair for my G21. They're great for competition and range use. They are a little bulky, but if you heat up the loops with a heat gun a bit and flatten them some, they'll work for concealment.

EDIT: I've started to use one of these for concealed carry. The pouches don't stick out any farther than my cell phone.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Kel-Tec P-3AT Pistol Review

I bought a P3AT shortly after they started selling hard chrome models. My experience was a bit of a disaster.

The Good:
The little Kel-Tecs are very easy to conceal, with very little weight or bulk. They are also very inexpensive.

The Bad and Ugly:
On the 2nd or 3rd round fired, the little bracket that the guide rod slides through fell out and disappeared. I’m told that Kel-Tec now makes slides without this piece, the bracket is a part of the slide, rather than a separate part.

I called Kel-Tec and explained the failure, and they sent me 3 of the brackets. The response I got was, “that doesn’t happen too often.” I superglued one of them into the niche on the slide, and it never happened again.

Within 250 rounds, I had two failures to feed. It’s been a while now, I don’t remember exactly what happened, but it wasn’t simply a matter of pushing the rear of the slide a bit.

When it was working, it was rather unpleasant to shoot. The trigger pull is long and heavy. The recoil of even the relatively mild .380 ammunition in a pistol so small and light is similar to shooting .357Mag ammo from a lightweight snubnose revolver. About the best accuracy I was able to get out of it was 5 or 6” groups at 7 yards, while I can shoot 3" offhand groups with a Glock 26 all day at 10 yards shooting controlled pairs.

At around the 250 round mark, the mainspring broke. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. The mainspring is made of very thin wire, and is constantly under tension. I felt that this was the Achilles heel of the pistol, and I’m not sure that there is any way to fix it without a major redesign.

I replaced the spring, and fired maybe 20 more rounds through it to make sure I had reassembled it properly (cough), and then I sold it to a moderator at the KTOG forums.

Besides all this, the metal frame inside the grip was getting peened at the assembly pin holes, and where the recoil spring guide rod seated. The barrel was peened where the assembly pin passed through it. I never even fired any +P ammunition through the pistol.

I put the little bit that I got from selling the Kel-Tec toward a Kahr PM9. Although some report having reliability problems with the PM9 and PM40s, I got a “good one.” The trigger pull is much better. It’s not hard to get 3” groups out at 10 yards and beyond. When stoked with 147 grain Winchester Ranger ammunition, it is quite potent, while still being very controllable. It is larger than the small Kel-Tec pistols, but I still pocket carry the PM9 all the time, and I trust the Kahr.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Stuff for Sale

Star PD - Officer-sized 1911, aluminum frame, blued finish, 2 mags, origional box and all the paperwork and cleaning kit, spare recoil buffers, spare recoil springs and I think a couple magazine springs too. This pistol in about 95% condition. I'll throw in a Gould & Goodrich belt holster.
Tarus .41Mag Revolver, stainless, 2 1/2" barrel, 3 ports on either side of front sight, 5-Shot cylinder, origional box and papers, both keys for built-in lock. I have some .41Mag ammo that I'll sell with it if you buy face-to-face. I have a leather pancake holster for this one somewhere. This pistol is not a bear to shoot, the ports tame some of the muzzle flip, and the rubber "ribber" grips soak up some of the kick. This one is practially new.

Sidearmor IWB for G26 x 2 - I have a shirt tucker attachment for one, both currently fitted for 1.5" belt, but I think I have a 1 3/4" belt slot, and a 1 1/4" belt slot for them. One I used a little, the other was Dad's and I'm not sure if it ever got used.
Sidearmor IWB for G19 - Never used. 1.5" belt slot

Wanted for trade:
Glock 19, 3rd gen, LCI extractor
Glock 34

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Miwall 115gr 9mm Luger Reloaded Ammunition Review

Reusable ammo can
All 1000 rounds functioned perfectly

Poor accuracy - 5" groups at 25 yards from a pistol easily capable of 2.5" at 25 yards, 1.5" on a good day.

I had 1 of 500 rounds of Miwall .45ACP jam in the chamber of my Glock 21, so I chamber checked all 1000 of this can of 9mm. I didn't have any loaded rounds jam, even in a KKM match barrel, although some had a bit of a bulge near the rim and fit tight. All 1000 rounds went bang and ejected properly.

The only downside to the low price, is less than great accuracy. If you were using it for a concealed carry class or rapid fire practice, it would probably not be a problem.

Some Glock Trigger Pull Weights

All pull weights were measured with a stoned and polished trigger bar in a Glock 17.

Stock parts with 5 lb. connector – right around 5 lb.

Stock trigger and firing pin spring, Lone Wolf Connector, trigger spring tab bent to 90 degrees, overtravel stop – around 3 lb., 11 oz.

8 lb. connector, stock firing pin spring, olive leaf spring without coil spring – 8 ¼ lb.

5 lb. connector, stock firing pin spring, olive leaf spring without coil spring – 6 ½ lb.

Scherer 3.5 lb. connector, stock firing pin spring, olive leaf spring without coil spring – 5 lb.

I tried the above with a Lone Wolf connector, but the firing pin didn’t release until allll the way at the end of the trigger travel. I couldn’t get a consistant pull weight.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Handgun Drills - This is Cool!

PDF file of handgun drills

Check this out! I downloaded it a few weeks ago, and just now got around to looking at it.

The drills are made up by many different people. Some of them you may know; Ken Hackathorn, Bill Wilson, Ron Leatham, Clint Smith, Sgt. Dennis Tueller, Lt. Dave Spaulding, Chuck Taylor, and Ernie Langdon, to name a few. These guys I've mentioned are pretty much the who's who of combat shooting.

I'm going to do what I can get away with at the indoor pistol range, and as many as I can at home with the airsoft pistol.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Australian Pink Floyd

I've been watching the Australian Pink Floyd concert on PBS. I gotta tell ya, it's just not the same. The guitarist seems to be struggling a bit now and then, he's no David Gilmour. "Money" wasn't bad, but I barely recognized "Shine On You Crazy Diamond."

To those who say Australian Pink Floyd sounds just like Pink Floyd if you close your eyes, I say, "Rubbish!"

Edit: The guitarist with the ponytail is pretty damn good. It's the bald guitarist that's not that great.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Inspirations of this Blog

Randy Mays' Website - Old School Blog, check out "First Impressions" pages
Archangel's Blog
Texican Tattler - A lot of computer geek pop culture, with a side of gun nut stuff

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Stoppage with ISMI captured guide rod in G17

I had a piece of brass get caught lengthwise between the breechface and the barrel hood. I've never seen that happen before, and I've never had a malfunction with the stock plastic guide rod.

In case anyone is wondering, the ammo was Remington UMC and the spring was an almost new ISMI 17 pound spring. There is no other aftermarket stuff in this G17.

I've run several thousand rounds through my other G17 with a Lightning Strike captured guide rod with no problems. That one came with a washer to keep the spring from crawling past the screw. The ISMI rod in question didn't have a washer. I don't know if that has anything to do with it or not.

I've put the stock rod and spring back in.

Smith & Wesson M&P Review

Okay, I finally got around to trying out a Smith and Wesson M&P at Targetmaster. I brought along my Glock 17 for a side-by-side comparison.

The M&P was a 9mm with the 4” barrel, I’m not sure if the 5” model is available yet. I polished up the trigger bar of my G17, plastic guide rod replaced with stainless steel, and I put on a set of Heinie Straight Eight sights with the race cut from Custom Glock Racing.

I’ll start with what I though stood out the most, that being the trigger. I think, maybe, the M&P had a trigger that was a little lighter than the polished, but stock, trigger in my G17. Don’t get too excited yet though, I found the M&P trigger to be really vague. The M&P trigger pull is a little like a double action revolver trigger pull, but lighter. By comparison, the Glock triggers have two distinct stages; there’s the slack, and then the trigger bar hits the connector, and the pull weight increases noticeably. The second stage of a Glock trigger, even with the 3.5 pound connector is quite short. I couldn’t really make out any stages with the M&P, it was just one long mushy stage. To make things worse, the trigger reset on the M&P was very indistinct, which will wreak havoc with anyone used to “riding the reset.”

While messing with the trigger, I came to the realization that I shouldn’t buy any pistols with magazine disconnects, if only because you need to have a magazine inserted to dry-fire, which makes me nervous. It’s not so bad with a Glock and the yellow plastic dry-fire barrel from Blade-Tech, but without a plastic barrel, I’d be constantly checking the magazine and chamber.

I had a hard time shooting groups with the M&P, although, to be fair, I’m intimately firmiliar with the Glock trigger, and the M&P was a rental gun that has been rode hard and put away wet, and might have been really dirty when I started the test.

I have heard from some that the grip of the M&P feels far better than that of the Glocks. This was not my experience. Although I think that Glock would sell more pistols if they started making frame with interchangeable backstraps, the G17 fits me about perfectly. I did not feel that the M&P grip was better, it’s just different. The big beavertail at the back of the gripframe, by the way, seems to be mostly superfluous. I’ve seen a couple pictures of M&Ps with the beavertail trimmed, and that’s what I’d do too.

I have also heard that the M&P transmits less felt recoil than Glocks. Again, I have to disagree. I loaded up both pistols to full capacity, and fired 5 shot strings, switching back and forth until both pistols were empty. I couldn’t really detect any difference in felt recoil or muzzle flip between the two.

M&P Pros:
Looks a little less menacing than the ugly black Glocks. . . unless you’re looking down the end that the bullets come out.
It will probably fit more shooters due to interchangeable backstraps.
Less aftermarket parts, trigger kits, etc., which means there’s less chance of junk making your defense pistol not work properly.
The stock sight set has a better sight picture than Glock plastic sights, and the front sight is probably not gonna get knocked off as easy as the plastic Glock front sight. I’d probably be happy with a tritium front sight and the dots on the rear sight blacked out.
Stock recoil spring guide is metal, not plastic. Although it’s rare, the Glock plastic guide rods can break.
If your experimentation with grip stippling goes bad, you can just chuck the grip insert and order another.
Ambi controls are a good thing, usually.

The vague trigger pull.
The indistinct and slightly longer trigger reset.
Less aftermarket parts, trigger kits, etc.
The grip may be a little too slippery when shooting hot 40 caliber loads, although the same is true of the Glock frame.
The magazines aren’t real cheap.

Well, that’s my story. Comparing a rental gun to my sort-of-racy and clean pistol may not be totally fair, but it’s the best I can do. Ultimately, there’s no way I’m gonna buy one until I can try one that’s had a trigger job, and even then, I’d have to be getting a deal. I’d probably be more likely to buy a Springfield XD.

EDIT: I ended up buying a M&P 9 Pro. The trigger was a lot better, although still not quite up there with a Glock that's had a trigger job.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Mechanical Engineering

Okay, I've posted quite a bit for the readers now, it's time for a little self-serving.

The plant I've been working for is closing sometime next year. I've decided that I'm pretty sick of working 46+ hour weeks, and still not making enough money. I'm thinking of going back to school for a Mechanical Engineering degree.

If you know of a good ME program in a state with mild winters, where I can carry, please post a comment.

Tokyo Marui Airsoft Blow-Back Glock 17 Review

My Review at AirsoftForum

My Review at Arnies Airsoft Forum

I've been trying to make the time to shoot a few magazines worth through it each week. True to form, it continues to chug along without problems.

Some Pet Loads

9mm Luger

Basic Practice Load
Bullet - 115 grain Zero jacketed*
Primer - Winchester, Wolf, or Federal Small Primers. Doesn't make much difference which. The Federals flatten more because they're softer, which makes judging pressure harder.
OAL - 1.11"
Powder - Hogdon TiteGroup. 4.4 grains is the charge I usually use. Federal primers start to flatten at 4.5 grains. I didn't see any signs of dangerous pressures when I loaded some to 4.6 grains.
Comments - The load should make minor with 4.5 or 4.6 grains, but I rarely need to make minor even. With my Glocks, the load shoots pretty much point of aim out to 40 yards.

EDIT: I think the load above worked fine in the Glock 17, but then I went and started loading longer to 1.15". This seems to have reduced pressures to the point that I got some stovepipe jams. I'm starting to load 4.6 grains of powder, with the bullets seated to the 1.15" length, and I'll see how that works. The Winchester primers still look round, with no signs of flattening at the longer length.  The load seems to run well in everything.

EDIT, 2/27/16:  Bought myself a Magnetospeed Chronograph a little while ago.
Glock 17, KKM Stainless threaded barrel.
115gr Zero FMJ, 4.6gr TiteGroup
10 round string
Min 1167fps
Max 1186fps
Avg 1176
Standard Deviation 6.4fps
ES 19fps
Power Factor 135.24
The Standard Deviation and Extreme Spread are quite low.  I did not go to any great lengths with handloading this batch.  I just grabbed a random box out of my 9mm ammo can.

NOTE: I don't shoot much .45 anymore, I've been sticking to 9mm and rimfire pistols.
Hardball Replica
Bullet - 230 grain Remington MC
Primer - Winchester Large Pistol Primers.
OAL - 1.165"
Powder - Hogdon TiteGroup, 5 grains should get you normal Hardball velocities.

I'm working on 124 grain FMJ loads, and a 9mm 124 grain +P Gold Dot load to replicate the Speer factory load. I'll post data for them later when I get the skyscreens for my Pact timer.

* - Remington bullets are good too, but harder to find cheap. Although Precision Delta bullets are cheaper, I couldn't exactly get what you'd call accuracy out of them. The same data will work for Berry's plated bullets, in my experience, with less than fantastic acucracy.

XD40 Service Model Review

Here's a review I wrote a couple years ago I guess. I've bought a couple G17s and a G21, but still not an XD.

EDIT, 11/27/09: Added a G19 to the mix, and an M&P, but still no XD.

I've owned a Glock 26 for a couple years now, fired over 2,000 rounds though it, and I'm very satisfied, but I like to try new guns. I have also rented most other Glock pistols at least once. I've been reading a lot of good things about these Springfield XD pistols, but until recently I've not been able to actually shoot one.

EDIT, 11/27/09: Over 7000 rounds between the G17s, over 4000 through the G26, and almost 1500 through the G19.

I tried out the XD40 service model at Targetmaster as soon as I could. I suppose I may be spoiling the review by saying this so early, but I'm not horribly impressed, and will be sticking to Glocks.

The trigger face does seem to be slightly closer to the backstrap. I have pretty large hands, but was able to make do, not a serious issue. The trigger pull is not noticably smoother or crisper than a standard Glock trigger. The pull weight is, however, heavier than the standard 5.5 pound Glock trigger. About half way though a box of UMC .40 S&W, I noticed that the trigger was heavy enough to cause some discomfort. I hear from others that they find XD triggers lighter than Glock triggers, but that was not my experience.

The Grip Safety
I've heard some moaning from Glockers about the grip safety. It didn't bother me at all. The spring is light; I didn't find it uncomfortable, and it slid into the grip as soon as I wrapped a hand around it. I do, however, find it somewhat unnecessary, and I suppose it could make the pistol useless should it become jammed or broken somehow.

Loaded Chamber/Cocked Indicators
The XD has a loaded chamber indicator that sticks up from just behind the barrel hood on the top of the slide, whereas the Glocks extractor serves as a loaded chamber indicator. The XDs have a little button that sticks out of the rear end of the slide when the pistol is ready to fire, or dry fire. What does all this mean? Not much. If you want to dry fire, you had better make sure the magazine is removed and/or a dummy magazine is in place, and that the chamber is definately empty. The XDs loaded chamber indicator is somewhat more convenient to check, big friggin' whoop.

I have read one report of a broken cocked pistol indicator, so you can't even trust that feature wholeheartidly.

I didn't notice much of an increase in recoil over a Glock, but then I didn't have a G23 at hand to do a side-to-side comparison. I'm not very recoil sensitive anyway. Unless I stagger 115 gr. and 124 gr. +P ammo in the same magazine, I don't notice any difference in recoil.

Controls and placements are very similar to those on a Glock. I had no problem wiping the slide stop lever. The mag release on the XD is ambidextrous, and no more difficult to push than the Glock button: one bonus point to the XD design.

What Would I buy
4"+ barrel autopistol - Glock 17/22/31, Glock 21/20, or a Practical/Tactical Glock. I actually have 2 G17s, a G21, and I'd buy a 34 if I could justify it.
4" barrel autopistol - G19, G23, or G32. I prefer the lighter trigger, and more modularity. Some G19s have feeding problems with certain followers and Klinton mags in general, but a call to a Glock service tech will solve almost all of these problems.
3.5" barrel autopistol - I'm definately keeping my G26, for the same reasons.

Overall I feel that the XD is not a bad pistol, it's just not a stellar one.

Fobus Roto Paddle Holster Review

When I first took it out of the bag, I was disappointed to find that it was so bulky, something like 3" thick in total. A concealment holster, it ain't, not even under a heavy winter coat. However, the grip is held out a good distance from your body, so it makes a quick and easy open carry/range holster. I'm glad I didn't order a shoulder harness with it.

The GL-2 model (look under the barrel end of the holster, between the rivets), is the one I am using. According to the packaging, it works with every Glock chambered for 9mm, .40 S&W, .380, and .357 Sig that is currently available from sub-compact to Practical/Tactical. There seems to be a lot of extra room in the slide area, and an odd little insert just forward of the ejection port which I can't figure out. (EDIT: this is an old review, the holes are for a retention strap)

The holster is held together with rivets, and the cant adjustments can be made with a Phillips screwdriver. According to the bag it came it, some may be adjusted with an included Allen wrench.

Retention is very good. In fact, too good. It takes a hard tug to get the pistol out. Luckily, the cut of the holster allows you to get a proper grip on the pistol. The low-cut front doesn't really serve any purpose, since the draw will probably leave the muzzle much higher anyway. "Speed Rock" shooting may be slightly slowed, but there's not much difference in speed for eye-level shooting, if any. I really wish it was adjustable. I am debating whether to drill out the rivets under the barrel, and replace them with screws and nuts. (EDIT: I did it, doesn't really help all that much)

It may hold the pistol pretty tight, but if you are worried about someone else pulling YOUR gun, it really should have a thumbsnap. I've seen an ad for a new Fobus holster with a push button release, but haven't tried it.

How does the paddle work? Like the retention, it actually works too good. It locks on so well, its actually a little harder to remove than some belt holsters. It also tends to slide along the belt as you draw, though I don't know how any other paddle holster would excel in this case. If you are going to have the holster in front of the hip, you'll probably want to trim the paddle, but otherwise it's quite comfortable. (EDIT: Further practice with the Fobus resulted in the holster coming out with the pistol. The Uncle Mike's kydex paddle stays on better, but is even harder to remove.)

Is the novel sounding adjustable cant a great feature? Well, I would probably be just as happy with a thinner stanard Fobus or Uncle Mike's holster, but the Roto does have a use, however limited.

So, in conclusion, it's okay if you want an open carry holster, or to try various different cants before you choose a concealment holster. If you NEED the holster to stay in one place, a concealable holster, or want adjustable retention out of the box (bag, in this case), keep looking. I have used mine only a little bit, I don't have much use for it anymore.

I have an Uncle Mike's injection molded paddle holster that I like much better, but I haven't written a review yet.

Carver Hunter Mount Review

I bought one of the Carver Hunter mounts for a 30mm tube scope about a year ago for my Model 17. With the proper recoil spring and some threadlocker on the screw that replaces the trigger pivot pin, the mount works great.

With the factory recoil spring, the brass was going straight up, bouncing off the scope, and sometimes getting stuck between the breechface and barrel resulting in what looks like a stovepipe failure. I found that a Wolff 14 pound recoil spring on an aftermarket guide rod solved this problem. With an SJ Custom 9mm Major compensator, a 10 lb ISMI spring for a 1911 (only use with reduced power firing pin spring), coupled with a Glock factory ejector for a .40 S&W pistol worked (EDIT: worked fairly well, not quite 100% reliable). These spring and ejector changes result in the ejected brass going out under the scope, without any jams (EDIT: not quite). My slide is not modified, no enlarged ejection port.

Without using threadlocker on the screw that replaces the trigger pivot pin, the point of impact slides to the right as the screw loosens under recoil.

Although not really a functional modification, I've found that the Mako slide racker, that replaces the slide cover plate, makes using the pistol a lot easier, and probably helps keep me from knocking the scope as I unload the pistol. The other screws seem to stay put.

Now that I've got the springs and threadlocker thing figured out, I don't have any problems with the mount, even without the ejection port modification. With the red dot scope, I'm shooting much faster and more accurately that I can shoot the same pistol with iron sights.

Carver Web Site

. . . and so it begins.

Thanks to MarkS and LorDiego01 of the Pennsylvania Firearms Owners Association Forum for the tip on where to start the Blog.

I'll be posting thing as I find them, or write them.