Monday, April 27, 2009

Gunflight by Flashlight

I've been thinking a lot about fighting at night lately. Its certainly much different than fighting by day. I want to do some low light training. I'm going to see if I can get some other interested persons in my gunclub to join me in some extremely early morning IDPA style practice with a flashlight and a handgun. No score card, but just running through a stage or two with said flashlight and handgun in the inky black Tennessee darkness. Could be fun, too!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

20/20 needs a 30-30 to the face.

A few days ago, I heard that this week's 20-20 was going to be about guns. Specifically, the piece was titled "If I Only Had a Gun". Being the self-destructive masochist that I am, I went to ABC's website and found some of the segments from this show online. I've only watched two of them. However, I can only find that it is merely more of the yellow journalism that we have come to expect from the Media.

The clip I'll be bitching about was of an experiment about the folly of armed self-defense involving 6 college kids. ABC went out and selected 6 volunteers from colleges. Then they took them and gave them a course on handling and shooting handguns with a police instructor. They claimed that the course was more in-depth than most state CCW courses. The guns were modified to shoot paint cartridges. After receiving this training, they were set in a real life self-defense situation. They concealed their modified glock 17s in On-the-WaistBand holsters, and covered with a large bulky jersey type shirt. They also were armored against the paint rounds. Then one by one they sat in a classroom, not knowing when the SD situation would happen, but told it would happen later in the day. The other people in the classroom are 'cops or other people working for ABC to replicate the chaos of real people in real crisis'. Then at a random time, the shooter bursts into the room opening fire with his own paint firing handgun. In each case the CCW student fails miserably. Only one making any hit against the attacker. One of these students claims to have at least 100 hours of firearms experience. He fails to even unholster his pistol and is taken down 'execution style'. Oh, one thing I forgot the mention. The shooter is the very same instructor that trained these kids. A nicely stacked deck, ABC. Masterful work. Hamfist, smoked to perfection.

So how about they play a different game? How about the kids trade places with the cop? But wait, I don't think I could trust him not to throw it on purpose. How about, the kids go verses kids? Only on the absolute worst case scenarios would the shooter be a professional like a firearms instructor, or other similarly extremely proficient firearm user. In the best of circumstances you can't expect rookie kids to do well against such an opponent. We just aren't seeing any shooters with that level of skills and experience. A veteran cop is going react much differently than a scared guy with a few dozen hours at the range with a 9mm. Why not use just a random beat cop as the shooter? Or perhaps someone who is NOT a professional? You know. Like in most shootings. Why not use some folks that have had their CCW permits for some time too? Let them carry what and how they're most comfortable with. There's a reason while full sized handguns are less popular for CCW. Why not a babyglock? Thats much more reasonable and a very common choice for CCW. OWB might not work so well, but IWB might do better. With an open jacket, even seated, IWB can be easily accessed. Then there's pocket, cross draw, you name it!

ABC just stacked the deck to make the result that they wanted happen. It was expected, but it was just horrible to watch. Yellow bastards.

Just found an excellent(much better than mine) post on this very subject!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The .380 acp! 101 years old and going strong!

Since the rise of Concealed Carry laws in the 1990's, .380 acp has been enjoying an resurgence in popularity. Ruger just produced their Kel-tec look-a-like, the LCP this past year. Walther has redesigned their popular P22, in a larger size to accommodate this century old caliber dubbing the new polymer framed pistol the PK380. Even Sig has gotten into the swing of things. Pictures of new Sig p238, a virtual clone of the Colt Mustang, have been plastered all over forums and blogs since the last ShotShow.

The .380 acp or 9x17 Kurz(short) (as it is often known in Europe), was found in the magazines of many compact pistols favored by police and military in the early 1900's. It was to Europeans what the .38 Special was to the United States. It is not a powerful cartridge. It was designed to be used in blowback semiautomatic handguns. The blowback system uses a frame mounted barrel, and only uses springs to retard the effects of recoil on the slide and return the slide to the ready position. This system is very simple and cheap, but limits the power of cartridges that can be used. At its best is only roughly on the same power level as standard pressure .38 Special. The .380 is considered by most to be the dead minimum cartridge for serious defensive work. Despite this, a plethora of handguns were chambered in it. Its small size, low recoil, and ability to be chambered in the early 1900's smallest fighting handguns made for great success. Its position as a dominant military and police caliber was gradually encroached and supplanted by the more powerful 9x19 parabelum cartridge.

The .380 acp has enjoyed a lot of resurgence after the CCW laws started passing in the 90's. Both new and classic designs have done very well. New technology has worked to make .380s smaller and lighter to satiate the massive public demand for lightweight, easily concealable handguns. However, many of the same technological inroads have started to apply to more powerful calibers. 9x19mm started to gain serious ground with subcompact and compact designs like the Glock 36 and 19, Kahr's pm and pk lines, and even tiny allow 1911s from various companies. However, despite the power and cost advantage 9x19mm holds, the .380 isn't slowing down. Why choose a less powerful .380 when there are 9mm's in the same size factor? Cost, weight, and ergonomics.

Cost: .380 is definitely less powerful, even in +P versions. However, that lack of power is not a weakness in all areas. That lower pressure cartridge does not need the same level of structural strength in a pistol that a 9x19mm will. Aluminum alloy and plastic can be used more liberally, and are easy materials work with in comparison to steel. Also, the recoil operation need not be as complex. A 9mm in the same size may need much more complex operation.

Weight: Once again, less and lighter weaker materials can be used in your average .380. With the lower recoil, it can still be effective as a weapon at this lower weight.

Ergonomics: I can hold and use a full size pistol like a sig 226 without troubles, but my wife can barely use it in single action. Many CCW holders are women. Not all of the male holders have big man-hands. Double stack compacts and subcompacts are fine, if you can comfortably use it and conceal it. I can think of a few single stack compact and subcompact handguns of decent quality and modern manufacture in 9mm para off the top of my head. The Kahr 9 series(TP9. T9, CW9, K9,P9,MK9,PM9.), the Sig-Sauer p239, taurus PT709, Sky CXP-1, Kel-tec pPF-9. The Taurus hasn't even hit the shelves yet. I can name off only a few of double stack .380s. The Beretta Cheetah 84, cz-83, Taurus 138 millium, Taurus 58, Taurus 93, Bersa thunder 13rd, and the Glock 25 & 28(neither of which are sold to the American public). I can name a lot of single stack .380s. Their numbers seem to be growing. Also single stack designs tend to be flatter, and conceal a bit better. Especially in the butt. Heh.

The .380 is going to keep going strong until the big names in the 9mm business decide to make some handguns in similar sizes that work well. The .380 killer needs to be 20oz or less, single-stack, and at a $400 or less price point.