Match Report, Louland Pistol Match, March 19

I decided to try something different this time. Rather than shoot the match USPSA-style with my tuned CZ-75 and gamer rig, I shot it with my P-07 and my carry rig.

I had zero expectations about this match: The only reason I was shooting it was to get used to my carry rig again and to flex my IDPA muscles a bit. To be honest, I could have shot it better, but overall, I’m ok with my results as they reflect where I am as a shooter right now. I’ve not been dry-firing as much as of late, and it shows.

Ok, not that bad for a dead-stock gun. Memo to self: Next time, listen to the stage briefing, that way the RO doesn’t need to coach you halfway through your run.

Running on past promises

The rollout of the Glock 43 has highlighted something interesting in the gun world, the ongoing legend of Glock reliability.

First, a word about brand loyalty (or as some call it, being a fanboy).

I’m an unabashed Apple Fanboy. I don’t just drink the Apple Koolaid, I snort the raw powder (it’s faster that way). In 1988, the user interface of the Mac operating was a wonder to behold: Nothing else existed like that UI at the time, and it was another five years before Windows even approached the same ease of use with Windows 3.1.1. Today, though, to be honest, while the iOS interface is good, I’m really intrigued by the Windows Phone UI more than I am iOS.

In other words, over the last 35+ years, through innovation and experimentation, the other brands in the marketplace have caught up (and maybe even surpassed) the brand leader. Even more recently, Dell Computers absolutely dominated the market by creating a supply chain that allowed them to build premium computers for a discount price. However, once the other manufacturers out there figured out how to build a similar supply chain, Dell’s market advantage withered away, and they became just another computer manufacturer.

In 1988, the reliability of the Glock was a wonder to behold, it truly was earth-shattering/ground-breaking/insert metaphor here. But just like the Mac/Windows race, maybe it’s time to look at things with fresh eyes. Have the other companies out there figured out how to build a gun that is just as reliable as a Glock? I dunno.

Is it still true in 2015 that Glocks are head-and-shoulders reliable above everyone else, or has everybody and their dog caught up with Glock in the past 35+ years? That’s an entire generation of gun owners who have grown up with the Glock: Can truly say that NONE of those people have figured out a way to surpass the Glock on reliablity, or do we want to switch the dogma of the 1911 for the dogma of the Glock?

Now here’s where some might say “Ah-ha, you’re a known CZ fanboy!” and well, yes, I am. I also know the limits of CZ’s. I wouldn’t recommend one as a daily carry gun because they’re heavier and wider than similar guns. I still carry my P07 (it’s on my hip as I type this), but it’s not my “go-to” recommendation for most gun owners. Now, do CZ’s make a great competition gun? Oh yeah. Would I recommend my beloved Macs to someone setting up an enterprise-level retail environment? Oh no. I know the limitations of my manias of choice, and live within them.

Bottom line is, if your gun passes a 2000 round challenge, carry it with confidence. Anything else is just arguing Coke vs. Pepsi.

The Volcano Gun

220px-Joe_Versus_The_VolcanoThink of this as the opposite of the “If you had to choose only one gun to live with on a desert island” type of post. If you had to rid the world of only one gun by throwing every single one of them into a volcano to appease the angry volcano gods, what gun would it be?

I would gladly and gleefully rid the entire world of every  single Desert Eagle in existence.

I hate those guns. I don’t like them. I don’t like the people who buy them and then make ridiculous videos of their girlfriends hurting themselves while trying to shoot them. I don’t like them because they’re ugly, jam-omatics, and they come in colors and styles that make Saddam Hussein’s gold-plated AK look like the quintessence of restrained, tasteful design.

I hate Deagles.

For the good of humanity, I’d sacrifice every single one of them into a volcano, but I’m worried that the volcano gods would reject such an inferior offering and kill us all out of spite. If the volcano gods did such things, my backup plan is to offer them every single Mosin Nagant ever made, except for a few to keep as props if they ever want to do a re-make of “Enemy At The Gates“.

Now I know there are some people who will read this and say “MOLON LABE, BEATCHES!!!! NO GUNS DESTROYED EVER, cause, um, SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!!!!”, but look, every once in a while, we need to cull the herd. As an example, the lads on Top Gear are unequalled in their passion for cars, but even they know what to do with a stinker like the Morris Marina.

Tough love, baby, tough love.

Ok, so what other gun(s) needs to get tossed into Mauna Loa to save the planet and appease the gun gods?

What’s the next big thing?

So where are firearms (specifically pistols) going next? Let’s take a trip into the future.

It’s 2025, and the Army, fed up with a dwindling supply of parts for the M9A4E8 pistol, issues an RFP for a new service sidearm. The new sidearm must include the following items:

All of these technologies exist today, just like striker-fired actions and polymer guns existed before the Glock 17, and just like semi-automatic service rifles were around before the Garand. The trick was, in both cases, to build a gun that was useful to the military, usable on the field and reasonably economical to purchase in large numbers. The FG-42 didn’t change the work, the AK-47 did.

Seem crazy? Would you have said, back in 1996, that in ten years AR’s would be a cheap commodity that FLEW off the shelves in large numbers? Would you have said in 2005 that over the next ten years, a pocket .380 auto from Ruger would be one of the best-selling guns in the US?

There’s a change coming. The only questions are who, how and when, not if.

Gaston Glock, Steve Jobs

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So Glock is coming out with a gun that almost everyone else has had for at least three years now.

Pardon my yawn.

Glock reminds me of where Apple is right now. Did they do some tremendous work in UI, design and integration to give us things that we didn’t know we needed like the Glock 17/iPod?

Yes.

Have they built upon that success by expanding their product line into other areas of the market like the iPhone/iPad and the 26/34?

Yes.

Have they done anything recently that shows they’re willing to break some eggs and create new products that really shake up our lives?

Not really.

Glock is going to sell a metric buttload of these guns, just like Apple still sells a metric buttload of phones. Both are going to be blindsided by The Next Big Thing.

Update: Found this on the Facebook page for The Shooter’s Mindset.

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So yeah, this is happening, and with only a $580 MSRP. Wow, that’s only ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS MORE than the equivalent M&P. Wowza.

Look, I’m an unabashed Apple fanboy, so I get the idea of premium brands, but is there really $130 worth of difference between this and a Shield?

The Great Video Game Divide

If I were going to pick one that differentiates Gun Culture 2.0 from Gun Culture 1.0, it’d be their respective attitude towards video games. Gun Culture 1.0 doesn’t “get” it, and Gun Culture 2.0 either accepts them or gleefully blasts away at pixelated critters, human or not.

Which got me thinking.

pTRU1-18936296enh-z6_optMy sons spend their allowance on (in)action figures for the Disney Infinity video game. For a few dollars, they can buy a small statue that interacts with the video game to unlock new characters, more powers, etc. Every few weeks, we make a trip down to the local Gamestop to pick up something new that opens up new vistas for them within their virtual world.

it is, to be honest, a brilliant mashup of Pokémon and other collectable games and conventional video games and allows a game to be fresh, even after hours and hours (and hours…) of gameplay. While I spent my allowance on GI Joe figures that I had to move myself, my children spend their money on figures that move around on-screen and are therefore cheaper to make, yet offer almost as much play value.

As I said, brilliant.

So far, though, this model has been only applied to kid’s games like Disney Infinity and Skylanders. Those games make a lot of money, but they pale in comparison to what Call of Duty/Medal Of Honor/Battlefield has made.

So why not combine the money-making power of the (in)action figure franchises with the money-making power of the modern first-person shooter? Want an M240B for your virtual Tier One operator? That’ll be $8 for the “Fire Support Team” figure. Need an elite team leader? $15 gets you a small statue of Sgt. Rock to boost your pixeltruppen’s morale.

Now, what does this have to do with Gun Culture 2.0?

Magpul, Trijicon or Daniel Defense can’t outlay the $$$ needed to develop their own video game, but they can kick out enough dollars to sponsor a figurine or two. Want more hard-hitting firepower? Get that Ranger figurine with a FN SCAR 17! Need more long-distance accuracy? Drop $20 on a Marine Recon Sniper with a Barrett MRAD and Nightforce scope.

Reality check: Previous attempts at teaming up video games with the firearms industry crashed on the shoals of the post-Sandy Hook anti-gun hysteria, but I think the mania has been quieted enough for the two worlds to come together once again, especially if there’s a new revenue stream attached to it.

Ok guys, I thought of it. I’m copyrighting it. You do it, gun industry, and I’ll wait the $$$ roll in.

Choosing a good practice ammo

From a comment on an earlier post…

“I just bought my first pistol, a smith-Wesson 9mm sd9ve. I’m trying to get the right ammo for my abilities at shooting. I am a beginner. I went to the range an shot 50 rounds of 115 grain fmj hornaday an 16 rounds of 124 grain hollow point american eagle. I want ammo that will give me less recoil an more control. Is the 95 grain a good choice?”

Well, to be honest, IMO, no, it’s not.

I’m not an expert (nor do I play one on TV, and I did not sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night…) but it seems to me that the point of practice is to develop some consistent results, and that means a consistent supply of ammo and consistency between your defensive ammo and your carry ammo. The world will go to hell in a hand basket right quickly if (God forbid) you need to use your gun defensively, and the last thing you need is one more distraction like way more recoil and muzzle flip from your gun than what you’re used to from your practice rounds.

To quote Vince Lombardi, act like you’ve been there before.

The other thing is that 95 grain 9mm isn’t the most common 9mm round out there, and when it comes to learning to control recoil, more practice trumps lighter loads, so I think a more commonly available ammo that you’ll shoot more would be a better choice. Practice, not ammo, is the make or break item on your checklist.

9mm defensive ammo test

Some suggestions I’d have would be 115 grain Federal for practice and 115 grain Hornady XTP for defense, because based on a blind test from awhile ago, those two rounds feel about the same when you shoot it. If not that, try the Winchester W/T line, which ballistically matches a defensive round with a training round so there’s no surprises with your ammo on the worst day of your life. You can save a buck or two on that training ammo and get the regular White Box 147 grain instead, as it’s pretty much the same ammo.

If you’re worried about the recoil from those 147 grain Winchester rounds, don’t be. As Sir Isaac Newton once said, F=MA (Force=Mass x Acceleration), so the key to finding ammo that’s comfortable to shoot isn’t bullet weight, but rather muzzle energy, and you’ll find those rounds are right in-line with other rounds.

Also, please consider getting a good training class. You’ll find that having someone there to coach you and see things you don’t see will really help with EVERYTHING gun-related.

Enjoy the gun, Eugene, and thanks for writing.