Product Review: Galloway Precision P3AT Sweet Spot Trigger

Even though I’m carry more firepower than normal these days, I still pocket-carry my P3AT every once in awhile because there a situations when a small gun is all I can have with me.

The thing is, the P3AT kinda sucks when compared to what’s out there now in ultra-small .380’s, but it was the only game in town back in 2006 when I first bought it. It’s not a pleasant gun to shoot: It doesn’t fit your hand well, the trigger on it is long and heavy, and tops all that off with a nasty trigger bite every time you fire it. As I still carry the gun from time to time, I wanted to see if I could turn the lowly little P3AT into something that I could enjoy shooting, so I popped for a Sweet Spot trigger, recoil spring and hammer spring from Galloway Precision.

Galloway P3AT Trigger

Not trusting myself to install such things, I turned over all the parts to our gunsmith at work*, and he took just a few minutes to install all three. I took my reworked gun out on the range, hoping I’d have something that was close to being as much fun to shoot as a Glock 42 or a Sig P238, which are two small .380’s that are easy to shoot and fun to practice with.

Sadly, that’s not the case. There’s no discernible difference between the gun the way it is now and the way it was before: The trigger is still long and heavy and bites me every time I shoot it. I really,  really wanted this trigger to work: Galloway Precision seems like a great company and I know the stuff they make for the Ruger LC9 makes a big difference in how that pistol feels in your hand when you shoot it, but I guess that getting a P3AT to shoot well is a turd that is just to smelly to polish.

Normally, I do product reviews in a “Advantages/Disadvantages/Rating” format, but for something like a new a trigger for your gun, it either does the job you want it to do, or it doesn’t. Sadly, I have to report that the Sweet Spot Trigger is a fail. Time for me to save up for a Glock 42.

* I wrote this and queued it up for publishing while I still worked at The Alamo Range.

There is no such thing as trigger jerk.

Or at least, not in my experience. The action that we talk about as “trigger jerk” might be better diagnosed as “sight picture impatience”, or not believing that your sights will remain on-target when the gun fires so you have to take the shot right this very instant, which leads to a quick, ragged pull on the trigger and a shot that hits low and left.

Ever jerk the trigger during shooting from retention or “point shooting”? I thought not.

This is why it’s so hard to diagnose during dry-fire, because we can wait for the sights to settle down and take our time pulling the trigger.

Personally, I’ve found that getting a good sight picture, then deciding to shoot but not actually pulling the trigger and waiting to see that yes, that shot is still there a second later (then pulling the trigger) is doing wonders for curing my jerk. The problem isn’t pulling the trigger, the problem is not believing the sight picture will be there when you need it, and you get impatient.

But that’s just me. Maybe your experience is different.

An Apple Store …. with bullets.

I am nothing if not a quote machine.

Inside, the sunlight streams through high windows. The employees are friendly. The 6,000-square-foot showroom is squeaky clean and equipped with video screens. There are no stuffed bears posed in the attack position, jaws agape. Every Monday, starting at 4PM, women don’t pay a dollar for their range time. In the back, you can have lunch at one of the high-top tables or pay to shoot holes in targets on any of the 19 lanes downstairs.

On the Presidential Lane, I shot an AR-15, a .22, a 9mm. Creighton explained each firearm carefully and coached me as I shot. The guns boomed; the smell of gun powder filled my nose.

“It’s like golf, only louder,” Creighton noted.

Read the whole thing.

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Forty minutes into this week’s Triangle Tactical podcast, Ben and Luke knock it out of the park and suggest that IDPA and USPSA should do more than just send out a new membership card when you move up the ranks and get a new classification.

Couldn’t. Agree. More.

The comparison Ben and Luke make is to the belt ceremonies in martial arts, and it’s a good one. Even if it’s not the formalized ritual of getting a new belt, it should be something more than a first-class stamp. A form letter from Phil/Joyce at the VERY least, and I love their idea of tossing in a few items that might help (books, shot timers, etc) from the online store of either organization as a way to get to the next level.

But that would mean that IDPA and/or USPSA has a robust email marketing and/or CRM program that can handle such things, and they obviously don’t. I haven’t shot an IDPA classifier in over a year, but did I get a email warning me of such a thing? Nope. All it would take make happen, though, is a saved search in the database, an email template and an email service provider like Mailchimp.

It’s called “customer service” guys. Ramp up your game, or watch as your customer base ages and goes away.

Spitballin’ here…

… but what would the modern-day equivalent of the NRA’s original raison d’être look like?

A refresher:

Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis,” according to a magazine editorial written by Church.

After being granted a charter by the state of New York on November 17, 1871, the NRA was founded. Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside, who was also the former governor of Rhode Island and a U.S. Senator, became the fledgling NRA’s first president.

The thing is, we’re not lining up troops into squares and fixing bayonets to repel cavalry charges anymore: Today’s battle lines go across countries and continents and can even show up on the homefront.

So what would an NRA program to help stem the tide of ISIS look like, and would that even be a good idea?

Match Report: IDPA at SWFLPS.

I like the Hansen range. It is, by far, the class act of the outdoor practical shooting clubs in the Ft. Myers/ Naples area. I need to shoot there more often, especially more 3 Gun. It’s also concealment-optional in the summer months, but I chose to shoot this match with my current carry gear, a CZ P07 in a Crossbreed, concealed by a untucked t-shirt. I let my gamer flag fly in USPSA, in IDPA, I’m more concerned about learning lessons I can apply to the real world.

As to the match, well, the good news is, I know what problems I need to work on. The bad news is, I’ve known what those problems are foe a while now, and I’m still unable to get past them.

The fact of the matter is, I suck at long shots with the P07. My Classifiers go great, right up until Stage Three when the wheels come FLYING off and I get stuff in Marksman yet again.

Evidence of this fact is to be found in Stages Two and Four of this video, where I go Down Six and an FTN on at least one target per stage, but on stage Three, I went Down Three.

The remedy? More dry-fire, and some range time specifically devoted to one-handed and long-range precision work with the P07. There’s a Classifier coming up in August, and it’d be good not to suck.

Mind the (age) gap

I shot an IDPA match up at Hansen last week (match video to follow) and noticed once again how OLD my fellow competitors were. I’m no spring chicken, and yet I was smack dab in the middle of the age demographic for the match.

This is NOT a sign of a vibrant, growing sport, which is why I’m such a HUGE fan of the Scholastic Pistol Program and other efforts out there to replenish the ranks of shooters in practical pistol. There are millions and millions of young people out there running around with (virtual) guns in their hands every day: It’d be nice to get just a few of them off of the couch and out to the range.

71.5 Million People Are The Market

Now, what are we going to do to reach them?

In 2013, it was estimated that approximately 71,500,000 people worldwide watched competitive gaming. The increasing availability of online streaming media platforms, particularly Twitch.tv, has become central to the growth and promotion of eSports competitions. Demographically, Major League Gaming has reported viewership that is approximately 85% male and 15% female, with 60% of viewers between the ages of 18 and 34.

That is seventy one and a half MILLION people who play video games and sit and watch other people play video games, . What if 10% of them shot? What if 1% of them shot practical pistol? Are we even capable of thinking what 70,000+ new, excited, MOTIVATED new shooters would do to USPSA/IDPA/3 Gun?

What’s your experience?

We’re in a post-scarity world when it comes to firearms: The panic-buying of the last seven years is over, so now people are looking to DO something with all those guns.

This is why I now work at a gun range versus working in a gun store. Duh.

In Gun Culture 1.0, doing something with a gun meant going out into the outdoors in pursuit of the best day of your life: You hiked through the beauty of the outdoors, spotted one of God’s magnificent creatures, and blasted it to smithereens.

Mission accomplished. Food is on the table, a trophy is on the wall, and a good time was had by all.

However, things are not the same for Gun Culture 2.0, because our best-case scenario is… nothing happens. Our training and situational awareness worked, and we didn’t go to dumb places to do dumb things with dumb people. If hunting is preparing for the best day of your life, Gun Culture 2.0 is about preparing for the WORST day of your life.

Practical shooting is somewhat similar, because as Steve Anderson says, the sport is speed-biased and negatively charged. The best, the absolute best we can do on a stage is NOT screw up our stage plan with a brain fart or a gun malfunction. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t scream “The human drama of athletic competition” to me.

This is even more of a problem for tv shows and magazines about Gun Culture 2.0, because there’s not a lot of excitement to be had talking about stuff that didn’t happen: After all, when a baseball game gets rained out, they show reruns of “Good Times”, not shots of a rainy ballpark.

So what DOES happen in Gun Culture 2.0 that is worth celebrating and enjoying and sharing? Good times on the range? Learning something new in a class? Something I’m missing?