Category Archives: Glocks

Heresy, Heresy!

Heresy in ancient Greek meant choice. The idea here is that a person chooses a belief or a course of action without reference to what some authority decides is correct. Readers of this weblog will know that in many senses, I’m a heretic. But many of you probably didn’t imagine that I’d stray from one true faith, namely the right and holy doctrine of St. Jeff of the Corps. (Jeff Cooper, for those of you not in the know.)

Hold on one minute, I hear some saying. Didn’t you already wander outside the pale by accepting a pocket 9mm as a worthy sidearm?

Well, yes, but, um, all right. I told you I’m a heretic.

Today’s heresy involves a handgun whose caliber, at least, would please Cooper. It’s a Sig Sauer P-250, chambered in .45 ACP. It’s also available in 9mm Luger, .357 Sig, and .40 Short & Weak, but more on that later.

If it shoots the sacred round, what’s the problem? It’s double-action only. There are no safeties, just about six long pounds of pressure to squeeze off a round. The trigger breaks right at the end of the line with no overtravel, and it goes all the way back to reset. If you imagine the smoothest double-action revolver, you’ll get the idea. The long reset does make a second shot slower than what a single-action trigger can give, but it’s fine for what I can do.

And what’s that? As I’ve said in other articles, I don’t care much for bull’s eye shooting. If pieces of paper take a notion to attacking me, I’ll use scissors. My practice enemy of preference is soda bottles, and those evil containers of death (or so says Mayor Bloomberg, but I drink diet) are in mortal danger if they’re within twenty yards of me while I’m armed. That’s true even with the long double-action of the Sig. Well, when I’m shooting using both hands. One-handed, I’d pull the muzzle off target a lot, but that’s a matter for more practice, not the gun’s fault. The sights are the three-dot variety, and since mine’s relatively new, they still glow in the dark.

The recoil is stiffer than my other .45s. That’s because the Sig has an all-polymer frame with a steel slide. The guts are just a light metal rectangle with some springs and other parts. In fact, those guts are the gun. That’s where the serial number is. Take out one set of guts (done by removing a single pin) and insert a different set with the matching magazine and slide, and you have a new pistol in whichever of the four calibers you want. One of these days, I’ll get myself the .357 Sig guts, since I’ve been itching to try that round for a while now.

The frame is also easy to change. I may do that sooner. I bought this gun in a pawn shop, so I didn’t have a choice in frames, but after wearing the beast for a litte bit, I realized that the sandpaper texture of the grip wasn’t going to cut it. (Scrape it, yes, but not cut.) I got after it with my own piece of sandpaper and smoothed down the surface, but I’ll leave abrasive grips to those who need them.

So what’s my heresy? I’ve been an M1911 man ever since I got into guns. My 1911 was my first self-loading pistol, and that design’s the gold standard for all others. But now, at times, I’m carrying a Sig Sauer DAO P-250 instead. It’s a bit fatter than Browning’s slim model, but it holds the same 8 + 1 rounds and slides nicely into an inside-the-waistband holster. As I told you, heresy is about choice, and I like choice.

I still don’t have a Glock, though.

With Friends Like These. . .

I’ve had occasion to mention Joan Peterson’s weblog, Common Gunsense, before, but today, it’s time to have some fun at her expense. Her article of 2 November 2011 is in praise of Plaxico Burress’s joining the Brady Bunch (Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence). Have a look at the video that she includes in the post.

Clearly, public speaking isn’t his strength. That being said, note that he lets us know that he no longer owns a firearm. Was that a message to his parole officer? As a convicted felon, Burress is no longer allowed to own guns. I’m no fan of the gun laws in New York City, but they aren’t hard to understand. To summarize, NYC gun law is, “You have Second Amendment rights only if you can afford to bribe a politician.” I do have to wonder why Burress didn’t play the game, since he does have the money. Perhaps his riche is too nouveau to have learned how to act. Burress illegally carried a handgun into the city, and he suffered the penalty of an unjust law.

He did act stupidly with his handgun, so it may be a good thing that he no longer owns firearms. From the news accounts (which are generally woefully lacking in details on these matters), I understand that he carried a .40 Glock in his pants without a holster. Had his aim been a little better, either to the left or to the right, he would have earned himself a Darwin award or would at least have removed his material from the gene pool.

The lesson that he learned is that firearms don’t provide security. I’d say that he’s a bad student. The lessons that Jeff Cooper tried to teach us for years is keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot and don’t let the muzzle cover anything that you’re unwilling to destroy. Those aren’t so hard.

In the future, if Burress feels his own life or that of his family to be in jeopardy, he’ll be able to hire a security company to provide him bodyguards. Those guards will carry firearms. But that’s the lesson that the wealthy have to learn: Do nothing for yourself that you can pay someone else to do.

Peterson finishes her article with this tissue of foolishness:

“People just don’t like to see others carrying loaded guns around in public places. Plaxico Burress now understands how badly that can work out. His message is important to young people who look up to sports figures. Role models like Burress can better deliver the message that guns don’t make you safer. . . .”

I find the whole idea of role models to be wrongheaded to begin with. I don’t have to be told by some famous person what I’m capable of doing. But if we must have role models, surely we can pick better ones than this idiot.

And surely we can understand that our rights aren’t determined by what some people like to see.

Keep trying, Joan Peterson. Your message is an encouragement to those of us who support gun rights. If you and Burress are the best that the Brady Bunch can offer, the future looks bright for us.

And Joan, if you want to get depressed, look at this page. Hint: Blue and green are good colors.

Is That a Gun in Your Pocket, or Oops–It Is!

I must confess to breaking the laws of Jeff Cooper.  As you know if you’re well-versed in the Colonel’s writings (and you are, aren’t you?), the standard for judging handguns is the 1911 in .45 ACP.  (Look for a celebration of the same on the 29th of this month.)  He consistently referred to the 9mm cartridge as a minor caliber and had no use for double-action pistols.  As someone who has learned much from what Cooper taught, what am I doing with a double action nine?

Have a look at what I’m talking about:

The weapon featured is the Kel-Tec P-11.  Its trigger requires a long and somewhat heavy pull for each shot (double action only), and it spits out a bullet of .36 of an inch in diameter.

Let’s deal with the 9mm bullet first.  On a discussion board, I read that Cooper opposed the 9mm because he only dealt with the full metal jacket rounds that the military is required to use.  (The United States isn’t a signatory to the Hague Convention, but we abide by it.)  A 9mm bullet that doesn’t expand tends to zip through the target without doing much.  A hollowpoint round, on the other hand, is generally much more effective.  I don’t know what the Colonel knew about expanding bullets, having not seen him discuss the subject in his writings, but he did say that a .22 revolver could be a good self-defense handgun if shooters can put their rounds into the tear ducts of their attackers.  The conclusion that I’ve reached about caliber effectiveness is that bullets have to be placed where they will do something useful and have to be heavy enough to get in deep enough to do good work.  Expansion keeps a higher velocity or greater mass bullet from punching through.  The power of the cartridge affects how well a given shooter can control the weapon.  But the bullet has to go in deep enough where it needs to go, and if it does, it likely will do the job.  (Remember that for self defense, we’re talking about stopping an attacker, not killing someone.)

So I’ve accepted a 9mm pistol as a carry weapon.  What about its double-action trigger?  The P-11 is a pocket gun with no safety.  That being the case, it needs a trigger that is like a double-action revolver–long, weighty, but smooth–and that’s what the P-11 has.  It won’t fire when I put it in my pocket.  My complaint against Glocks is that they have a light trigger with no safety (Plaxico Burress, anyone?).  The Kel-Tec doesn’t have that problem.

Despite its weight, I can control the trigger well enough to hit targets in rapid fire within self-defense distances.  While dry-firing, I was concerned about the trigger reset–the trigger moves a long way back and has to go all the way forward again–but that wasn’t a problem at the range.  I did have one or two cases when my finger didn’t let it reset, but most of the time, the recoil is enough to take care of that.  My question with any self-defense handgun is whether I can use it to place multiple hits into a soda bottle at ten yards, and the answer for me is yes with the P-11.

So how does it shoot?  I put about two hundred rounds through it–hollowpoints, hardball rounds, American-made quality, and cheap Russian steelcased cartridges–and nothing made it stop.  The manufacturer recommends against using +P ammunition too often (higher pressure cartridges), so I haven’t those yet, but my P-11 wasn’t picky about regular rounds.  I could hit bottles rapidly, and even scored on a clay bird that Sharie, the love of my life, tossed across my field of fire for me.  (I missed two other clays, so I need to practice more.)  The sights are good, especially for a pocket gun, three white dots that are easy to pick up.

The recoil was interesting, and I say that as someone who shoots a Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum with one hand for fun.  The P-11 kicks hard.  It weighs under a pound unloaded, and even with eleven rounds on board, it’s about as light as a cellphone.  After emptying a magazine, my left hand was sore for a bit.  The temperature was in the thirties, but I’ve shot many times in that kind of weather without a similar feeling.  The closest that any other gun has come to this is my Radom P-64, about which I’ve written in the past (see the Categories column to the right).

The P-64 is a good weapon to compare to the P-11.  The Kel-Tec holds eleven rounds of 9mm Parabellum, while the Polish gun has only seven rounds of 9mm Makarov.  The P-11 is much lighter, but nearly the same size–slightly shorter (front to back), slightly fatter.  The American gun’s trigger weight is 8.5 pounds as opposed to the P-64’s factory twenty-seven pounds (seventeen, now that I put a new spring in it), and its better sights make aiming much easier.  It’s also cheap, under $300, tax included.  The one advantage that the P-64 has is a loaded chamber indicator.  It’s hard to do a brass check with the P-11, and I like being able to see that there’s a round ready to fire.

The P-11 isn’t a target gun, and it’s not nearly as easy to shoot as a service-size, single-action pistol, but it’s ideal as a pocket rocket.  I can conceal a full-sized .45 when I can wear a shirt outside my pants, but when wearing business casual, I needed something smaller, without giving up rounds or power.  (My .38 snubby is a five-shot, after all.)

Now I have to restrain myself, or I may run out an buy a PF-9. . .