Changing it Up – Production to Limited

Bruce, my Gen 2 G17

I recently shot my first USPSA match in about 18 months, and I must admit, my lack of practice in that time showed. To me the biggest hamper was that my magazine changes made me even slower that normal. As a result, I actually shot next to last in Production. I was not happy.

So, in order to speed things up a bit, I have decided to change from Production to Limited class for the next match. For those who don’t know, the main thing for me will be that my magazines can hold as many rounds as they can hold, instead of being limited to 10 rounds in Production. So now I can shoot twice as many shots before requiring a magazine change.

Now, I am still going to shoot Bruce, my G17, which means I will be shooting Minor power factor, which puts some lesser value on the C and D shots. So, this means I need to shoot all A’s, doesn’t it. Yes, I know this will automatically put me behind from the beginning. But, I don’t expect I would win if I shot Major, and right now I can’t afford a Major gun, nor the ammo.

So my plan is to compare how well I do in Limited, to my Production performance, and if I do well enough, then start saving for a Glock 35, in .40 caliber, which would be Major power factor.

I’m probably going to but new mag pouches as well.

So, please keep me in your thoughts on December 8. And, please feel free to share your thoughts about what I might do in order to maximize my scores. I know I can use the help.

Happy Anniversary

Gun Review - Glock 17Exactly twenty years ago today, on December 28, 1992, I went back to the pawn shop in a small town in Alabama, laid down four portraits of Benjamin Franklin, and left the proud owner of a Gen 2 Glock 17 pistol, which I named Bruce.

It took me a few weeks to decide what pistol to buy, then to find this one. Thanks to the Brady law, I had to wait at least five days to pick it up, after filling out the background check paperwork.

My next stop was the shooting range, where I got the break of a lifetime.

I’ve written about this purchase before, and I’ve reviewed it here, and told of its extended life here.

It’s on my hip right now.

Happy Anniversary, Bruce!

 

 

 

 

 

 

GSSF River Bend Ballistic Challenge V

Photo courtesy of Glocking Tall
On Sunday July 15, 2012, I traveled to the River Bend Gun Club in Dawsonville, Georgia, for the GSSF River Bend Ballistic Challenge V.  
As usual, I shot my Gen2 Glock 17 Bruce, and it performed perfectly, as expected. For those unfamiliar, you can refer to the GSSF course of fire here. 
MATCH PREMLINARIES
The GSSF course of fire consists of ten strings – 4 on Glock the Plates, and 3 each on 5 To Glock and Glock M. So, owning 11 magazines, I am able to pre-load my magazines and not have to do so at the range. That’s a nice thing.
One thing to remember is that we are allowed 11 rounds total per string, so if I load all my magazines with 11, and I don’t shoot the gun dry, I will need to strip one round off the next magazine before using it.
In fact, since 5 To Glock is exactly two shots per target, with no chance of make-ups as there are on the other two stages, I load my magazines 11 – 10 – 9. Then, I have one in the chamber after the first two strings, but the slide is closed. And, the slide locks back empty after the last shot, so showing clear is simple.
Before the match I did my usual pre-match checklist
Life has a way of throwing curve balls, though, and one thing I learned in baseball was never to sit on a pitch, that is, never assume you know what’s coming next.  This came to the forefront with a pre-match malfunction.
For dry firing I almost always install my plastic 5.11 training barrel. However, during the course of practice, the end of the recoil spring must have slipped off the notch in the barrel, because I couldn’t get the slide to slip off as I disassembled it, no matter how hard I tried. I tried everything I knew to get the slide off, to no avail. Finally, I had to resort to cutting the guide rod, and replacing it with a spare.
SHOOTING THE MATCH
When I arrived, it had been raining, sometimes hard, for about an hour. Footing was still good, but some stages had the cardboard NRA targets covered with plastic to protect them.
I elected to shoot Glock The Plates first, without a warm-up round, since the plates weren’t affected by the rain. Bad idea. I left 4 plates standing my first round, and I could tell from the paint missing from the support that I had been shooting low and a little left, meaning I was jerking the trigger. I know enough from golf not to try and diagnose and fix problems mid match, so I just aimed a little high and right, and I had no misses the rest of the day. My Plates runs were in the mid-7 second range, which was about a second longer than normal, but that was okay.
I had one other close call, when I flinched on one of the long 25 yard shots on 5 To Glock. I called the shot low, and I thought it might be a miss, but it was a D, low and left. Even the RO commented when we were scoring. Some of my other 5 To Glock shots were in the D range, and those 3 second penalties hurt.
Some time while I was waiting for the third stage, Glock M, it stopped raining and the sun came out, all in the space of about 2 minutes. The temperature climbed, but the humidity stayed the same – 100 percent.
All this meant good hydration was essential. I had already drunk about 300 ml of the 1L of sports drink I had brought, and I drank another 500 ml while I waited, and ate a couple of granola bars. Of course, none of this alleviated the temptation to walk across the way to the Holy Smoke barbecue stand operated by a local church. The wind was blowing that tempting smoke our way all day. But I resisted.
I shot the last stage in a decent time, with all Alphas and three Charlies. One thing I did now that the sun was out was step forward a foot or so, so that my fiber optic front sight was fully illuminated by the sun. This helped a lot.
All in all, my overall match score was 188.1, not a good time at all. Four Mikes and a bunch of Deltas, combined with subconsciously slow shooting in the rain, add up.
AFTER THE MATCH
There are usually a decent number of booths at the Dawsonville match, but a lot of them called it quits during the rain, before I arrived. So, I didn’t get to buy any cool Glock items.
I did pay a visit to the factory Armorer, even though Bruce had been given the once over just a couple of months ago to relieve the Gen2 frame. I also told him about my training barrel incident, and he gave me a new recoil spring, making this the third year in a row my recoil spring has been replaced. Everything else was fine, though, as I expected.
I was tweeting after the match, and found a new blog, Glocking Tall(@GlockingTall), whose author was at the match as well. I am looking forward to getting to know him, and I added him to the blog roll today. 
So now we wait for Glock to post the scores. I won’t win a gun for coming in first, but in a few weeks the final scores will be posted, including the random drawings. There’s hope for me yet.

Pistol Choices

I’ve recently read several posts from other bloggers about their choices of Every Day Carry (EDC) pistols, and how they arrived at those choices. This got me thinking about my own thought processes, what I’ve chosen, and why.


GLOCKS


Anyone who’s read this blog more than once knows that I own Glocks. While I sometimes play the devil’s advocate to others about their gun choices, I’m not going to fault anyone for choosing the guns they own.


I can, though, tell you why I own my Glocks.


G21, G17, G19



I bought my first Glock 17, Bruce, in 1992. At the time, Glock was about the only affordable “high capacity” handgun on the market. I picked 9mm for the same reason I have them now – availability and cost of ammo. It helps that modern 9mm defensive ammo is almost ballistically comparable to .45ACP. But that’s another posting.


I got my other two Glocks, a G21SF and a G19, by way of my membership in the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation. The G21SF I bought at the Law Enforcement price, and the G19 I won in a GSSF match. So my choices of gun came about as much by serendipity as it did by conscious choice. 


My next choice in a handgun will probably be a Glock, because I and my family already know how to run them, and I already have spare parts, magazines, holsters, and the like.


Now, if a similar circumstance arose for me to acquire a similar striker fired polymer gun, I wouldn’t hesitate to do so. With enough practice and training, I and my family would learn to run them just as well.


Having said that, I don’t think I would ever get a 1911 as a home defense or personal carry gun. There are several reasons for that.


In my home, besides me, are my wife, son , and daughter. Each of them has shot and trained with these guns. They know how they work, and they are comfortable shooting them. In an emergency, I would not hesitate to assign them each a Glock, and they would not hesitate to carry it and shoot it if need be.


However, the weight, reliability, and complexity of the 1911 precludes my family from ever being able to rely on them. This can best be illustrated by relating a story I heard from someone who is a frequent guest on a lot of the podcasts I listen to, who claimed that the 1911 was a superior gun precisely because it was so complicated that, if he lost it or it were taken away, an assailant would not be able to operate it. I thought that was one of the most ridiculous statements I had ever heard, especially since I am more likely to need to enlist someone’s assistance than I am to lose a gun to an assailant.


So, here is the current batting order, as it were:


Batting first, as EDC, is my Glock 21SF. About 90 percent of the time I carry it on a belt holster.


Batting second, in the top shelf of my pistol safe, is my Glock 17. It also doubles as my competition gun.


Batting third, on the bottom shelf of my pistol safe, is my Glock 19. 


Now, when the Glock 17 goes off to compete, the G19 pinch hits, and moves to the top shelf of the safe, with a G17 magazine installed. 


And, in the times when circumstances preclude my carrying the G21, the G19  goes in a IWB holster under a tee shirt or polo. The G21 goes on the bottom shelf of the safe.


Note how this is arranged: there’s always a 9mm Glock on the top shelf of the safe, and there are always loaded spare G17 magazines on top of the safe with a flashlight. There are also loaded G17 magazines in other places around the house.


In case of zombie apocalypse, I would take the G21, my wife would take the G17, and either my son or daughter would take the G19. In that event, I would also take the Mosssberg 500. We would also move the the lower half of the lineup, and break out the SKS, Ruger 10/22, and Browning Buck Mark. And, in the extreme case that the Mongols are coming over the hill and we need to go long, there is also a Mosin Nagant.


++++


COMING: How the guns we have figure into a matrix of preparedness – who is involved and what are we up against.

Frankenglock on the Rack – Again

As I’ve related before, my Gen2 Glock 17 Bruce has had just about all its internal parts replaced. It’s about 20 years old, and it still shoots great.

At the GSSF match last September, the Armorers told me of an issue they were aware of with the older, Gen2 frames, where they were prone to develop cracks just behind the locking block. The good news, they told me, was that if I would take it by the factory in Smyrna, they would be happy to do some work to the frame that would prevent the cracking.

So, yesterday, I had some free time, and made my way to Highlands Drive in Smyrna. After signing in, I went to a waiting room, where I was met by an Armorer who knew just what I was talking about.

After about 30 minutes, he came back with my frame, which was cut thus, and the plastic rail relieved some ahead of the cut.

Like a dummy, I didn’t think to take a “Before” picture, but here is a picture I found online for comparison:

Of course. in the process, the Armorer also replaced all the internal parts, so Frankenglock is all set for another 20 years or so, till I pass it down.

Gun Review – Glock 17

This is the first in a series of reviews of guns I own, have owned, or have shot enough to be sure of what I’m writing. Like everything here, this is based on my experience and research. Your mileage may vary.

The Glock 17 is the full size 9mm version of the famous Glock handgun, first introduced to the US market in 1986.

I bought Bruce, my Gen 2 Glock 17, in late 1992, from a pawn shop in a small town in Alabama. According to a serial number search I did through Glockmeister, it was made in March 1990. I don’t know anything more about it except the shop owner told me it was used.

I’ve written about it in the past, so I won’t go into a lot except to say that, because of the ease of maintenance and exceptional customer service, the only original parts left are the polymer frame, the slide, and the barrel. Over the years, through the graces of the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation, everything else has been replaced.

The performance of this pistol has been almost flawless. I estimate I’ve shot about 10,000 rounds through over the years, and in that time I have had exactly six failures, all of which were failures to extract. Three were due to a chipped extractor, which I was unaware of, thanks to a reluctance on my part to own up to the toll the ravages of time have taken on my close-in vision. Two were due to limp wristing (1 by me and 1 by my son), a failure of the shooter to support the gun to allow the cycling slide to completely extract the spent shell.

The remaining failure was caused by me shooting the pistol without a magazine in place, to see what it did. Now I know.

I have never had any light strikes on primers, no double feeds. In fact, for years, since I had no malfunctions of any kind, the only instruction I got on clearing malfunctions was watching fellow IDPA and USPSA competitors.

The only magazine problems I’ve had were from the older, non-fully metal lined magazines, which were since redesigned. I’ve replaced all those magazines.

As a Generation 2 frame, the gun has two pins (versus the 3 pins of later guns) and no finger grooves. Since about a year after I bought it, I’ve had a Hogue slip on grip installed. I did this more to provide repeatable indexing of my shooting hand, than as a grip aid. In fact, I find that the finger grooves on my Gen 3 Glock 19 are too close together, thanks to my unique hands – short, fat fingers, with a wide hand. (I also wear 4E shoes.) I also found that the Glock 26 I once owned was too small for my wide hands, even with an extended base plate installed on the magazines.

++++

In truth, there are four parts that I have replaced voluntarily, and not because they failed. I have installed Warren/Sevigny sights, an extended magazine release, an extended slide stop, and the (-) trigger connector, which some people call the 3.5 pound trigger connector.

Sights

About three years ago I installed Warren/Sevigny Competition Sights with the fiber optic front sights. For about 2 years I had the red fiber in the front sight, and then I changed it to the green, admittedly on a whim. I find now that I prefer the green.

I also like these sights a lot better than the Glock factory sights, especially the fiber optic front sight. They make the front sight really stand out, and they’ve made a big difference in my sight picture.

Extended Magazine Release

The first modification I ever did to the pistol was to install an extended magazine release, to compensate for my short thumbs. In fact, what I did was have a Glock Factory Armorer install the magazine release from a Glock 21, at the first GSSF match I ever shot, at Dallas in 1995. (That way it was factory installed and the gun qualified for Stock Service Pistol in IDPA. You see what I did there.)

Extended Magazine Catch

About that time, I also installed an extended magazine catch. This was during the time when I released the slide from slide lock with my strong hand thumb, as opposed to using the method I use now, of grasping the top of the slide with my support hand and releasing it that way. As such, since I don’t (and never will) have a grip plug installed, this now qualifies as The Most Useless Modification I’ve Ever Made.

Minus Connector

The purpose of the (-) connector is to reduce the trigger pull of the pistol from the approximately 5.5 pounds, to something less. I’ve never measured the trigger pull of my pistol, but I can say it definitely lowers the pull weight. Some Glock Factory Armorers call it the 2kg connector, and 2kg is about 4.5 pounds, so I will go with that if I have to.

I only install the (-) connector on the pistol for competition or for practice, and never when I plan to carry the gun or have it available for home defense.

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A few years after I bought the gun, I bought a video Armorer’s Course, on VHS no less. (That should give you an idea of how long ago this was.) It contained a good bit on detail stripping and cleaning and lubricating of the Glock, but the host said that about the only modification he made was to polish the barrel feed ramp. I gave that a try, and was content with it.

Until I discovered the famed $0.25 Trigger Job, so named because the cotton swabs and polishing compound required to accomplish it cost about a quarter.

Basically, what this involves is polishing all the metal parts of the Glock trigger system that contact each other, so that they are smooth, and slide easily past each other. The original method calls for cotton swabs; I used a polishing wheel on my Dremel tool. Much faster.

I’ve done this on all my Glocks now, and I would not own a Glock that I didn’t do this to. In fact, when I bought my Glock 21 a few years ago, I let my son dry fire it before I did the trigger work, and compare that to my Glock 17, and even he could tell the difference.

++++

The accuracy of my Glock 17 has never been an issue. I figure it is more accurate than I am capable of shooting. No, it will very likely not shoot one ragged hole at 50 yards. But it will put all its shots in the A zone of a USPSA target at 25 yards, and it will put all its shots in the center of mass of an armed attacker, as long as I hold the sights there while I smoothly press the trigger. And that’s all I require it to do.

++++

In the areas of reliability, durability, affordability, shootability, and customer support, the Gen 2 Glock 17 exceeds my expectations. I would recommend this gun, as well as the later Gen 3 and Gen 4 models, to shooters of all experience levels, for competition, recreation, or self-defense shooting.

A Day at the Range

There are trips to the range, and then there are Trips To The Range. Today’s trip was the latter.

My son Joey and I took my brother-in-law Mike to the range for his first shooting outing, and we met a fellow Twitter feller, Michael, a.k.a. @RKBArms.

It was a first for a lot of things: Mike’s first time shooting; Joey’s first time shooting an AR-15; the first time we shot the reincarnated version of my Ruger 10/22, Captain America; and my first time to meet and shoot with Michael. It would not be a boring day.

Captain America

What can I say? The gun is sweet. With the heavy barrel, there is almost no recoil. I was able to get the scope set on the side to side axis in my shop, so it was just a matter of dialing in the elevation at the range, and soon it was shooting just about spot on at 100 yards, or whatever distance it was to the dirt berm at the end of the range. There were several tin cans, pieces of cardboard, and clay pigeons on the berm, and we made them dance at will all day.

I wasn’t able to shoot it for a group measurement, since I found it hard to keep steady when I supported it by the foregrip. I need to add a bipod, or bring a chair and a sand bag.

Bucky

Complementing the 10/22, I brought the Buck Mark pistol, outfitted with my Tasco Red Dot sight. A couple of turns at it was spot on at the berm, too. My brother-in-law fell in love with Bucky, and I think he’s going to get one.

AR-15

Back when I went to the Blogger Shoot, I had borrowed a friend’s AR-15, which lasted all of 4 rounds before it TARFU’d on me. I finally bought the parts to fix it, and took it to the range with us.

I got to shoot about 10 rounds from it. My son then commandeered it and shot all the rest of the ammo. He wants one, bad. Okay, time for Project 3, I suppose.

Shotgun

I also took my newly refinished Mossberg 500 along, and shot about 10 rounds through it. I like the recoil pad that Hogue included with the overmolded stock. I’m going to try to go shoot some trap this week with it, so look for another report.

I also shot Michael’s shotgun, a Maverick 88 with an 18 inch barrel. Nice.

Here’s Michael with his shotgun.

Pistols

I also took Bruce my Glock 17 and the Duke, my Glock 21, and shot quite a bit through them. It was a good demonstration for my brother-in-law, to compare them to the .22LR of the Buck Mark.

My son shot a lot with the Glock 17, and I took the opportunity to try to talk him into his first competition, the GSSF Match at Conyers in September. We’ll see.

Michael also compared my Glock 17 to his Glock 19.

Other Stuff

In the middle of our shooting, up walks a small flock of 6 wild turkeys. They were completely -unfazed by all the shooting, but when my brother-in-law tried to call them over, the ran off into the woods.

We also saw a cheap semi-auto pistol whose slide completed cracked, all the way around, about an inch in front of the ejection port. The person shooting it said he had borrowed it from a friend, and that it was cheap, cheap. I guess so.

Ammo Test

Look for another blog post soon about this, with video.

All in all, a very nice trip to the range for us all.