Sunday, October 16, 2016

Tips for competitions: Things I should not see

Two weeks ago was the monthly pistol match at the local range.  Good times as always.  It is a mix of experienced competitors and new comers.  All are welcome.  But there are several items of note during the match that concerned me.  I point these out not to shame anyone, but to highlight areas of safety concern so we may all be better and safer. 

Know how to operate you firearm:

It is a must to know how to operate your firearm correctly and safely.  Every new firearm comes with an instruction manual.  READ IT!  If you bought it used, go to YouTube University and learn about your new firearm. 

On the first occasion a gentleman came to the line with a 1911.  A great gun with a manual safety.  He loaded and chambered a round, then paused and said “I forgot it had a safety.”  This phrase should not be uttered.  Ever!

The second shooter came to the line with a SIG pistol, loaded and proceeded to holster his pistol without dropping the hammer with the de-cocker lever. SIG pistols do not have a manual safety.  It is a double action pistol with a de-cocker lever.  It is not designed to be carried with the hammer cocked.  That is the point of a double action pistol.  I should not hear excuses of why it is OK to start with a cocked pistol and no manual safety. 

Read your instruction manuals.  Know how to operate your firearm.  For your safety and for everyone else. 

Tuck in your shirt:

I know it is hot and uncomfortable and you want to be comfortable so you un-tuck your shirt to be confortable.  Often times your un-tucked shirt covers your holster.  This is a problem when re-holstering, you holster your shirt with your pistol.  Possibly causing your pistol to fall out of your holster.  Best to avoid dropping a loaded pistol.

Buy a proper belt and holster:

I understand shooting is not a cheap sport.  There is a lot of new equipment you need to buy.  But it is important to have a good belt and holster.  The belt must be sturdy enough to support the weight of your firearm.  The holster needs to securely hold your firearm in place. 
What I noticed at the match some shooters simply wrap the belt around their waist loosely with their $20 gun sock flapping in the breeze.  The problem with this setup is when you draw your pistol you tend to draw the holster and belt with it.  It slows you down and potentially leads to you crossing the muzzle of your pistol across your own body.  This is unsafe.  Your belt and holster must be secure. 
If using a single belt, feed it through the belt loops on your pants.  Don’t wrap it around your waist, it must go through the belt loops.  Then cinch the belt tight so the holster does not flop around.  This prevents things from moving and flopping around too much.  It also helps with re-holstering.  You are not trying to place your pistol into a moving holster. 

If you are using a separate gun belt to hold your holster instead of your pants belt, you want to use Belt Keepers to prevent your gun belt from flopping around.  Belt Keepers are simple straps that wrap around your gun belt and pants belt to hold everything in place securely.   They may be made of leather or other synthetic materials.  They are fastened with snaps or Velcro. 
Heck, buy some Velcro straps from the local hardware store and wrap secure your belt with them.  They will work in a pinch. 

One final comment on holsters.  Avoid the $20 gun socks if you can.  In general they suck.  They are loose, floppy and generally do not hold your pistol securely.  I understand you may not be able to afford better.  But do try to afford better. 
The same can be said about the cheap holster and magazine carrier many manufacturers ship with their pistols.  These work if you have nothing else, but should be thrown away as soon as you buy something better.  Do you really want to trust a $3 holster that came with the pistol?  These are mostly marketing tricks to give the illusion you are getting something more than you are.
You may spend $50 - $100 for a good holster.  It is worth it, better and safer. 
Kydex is a great choice.  So is old fashioned leather.  Nylon is generally undesireable as it is loose and floppy.  Make sure the holster is designed for your specific model. 


These are a few of the safety concerns I saw during the local match. 
The shooting sports are fun and challenging and you meet lots of interesting and friendly people. 
But do be safe.  Know your equipment and buy the right equipment so your shooting experience is safer and more enjoyable. 

By: Mez


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Son of a Son of a Submachinegun.

I once watched a review of the S&W MP15-22, by Colion Noir, as being a fun gun to shoot and own.   I must admit I have one and have always thought it one of the most fun rifles I own.   Every time I take that rifle out I get a big ole smile on my face and want to shout, “WWWWEEEEEEEEEEEE”.   I recommend this firearm at every turn, totally a fun gun to own and shoot.   In this same vein of gun ownership I write about the Sig Sauer MPX-P.   This is a totally fun, versatile pistol that has many of the same advantages as the M&P15-22.   It’s relatively inexpensive to shoot, points quickly, light, easy to operate with the same controls as the AR-15, and allows for the addition of accessories to make it very uniquely yours.

The MPX-P is classified as a pistol, utilizing the Sig arm brace at the end of a side folding tube.  With the side folder closed, the overall length of the 9mm pistol comes in at a respectable 17 inches (8.5” barrel), and fully extended gives it a length of 27 inches, making it a compact pistol with many applications.   The gun draws on its short history as a new entry into the submachine gun world, as competition to the venerable HK MP5 series of submachine guns.   The Attraction of the MPX in this field is most noticeably the manual of arms.   This gun’s controls look like an AR15/M4, and operate as an AR15/M4.  Adding to this familiarity, the gun comes from the factory ambidextrous in safety, magazine release, and  bolt release!   The charging handle, safety, left side bolt release, and trigger are AR15.   The charging handle is shortened to accommodate the shortened cartridge length, but the operation and shape are the same you know and love.  The safety is very plump and can easily be found with thumb, finger, or knuckle depending on how you train.   Lastly the trigger is reportedly an AR15 trigger, but a careful read of the manual indicates it really isn’t.  The trigger is “basically” a standard single stage AR 15 trigger with a crisp break, and proper reset.  The hand guard is equipped with Key Mod style front end and comes with a very simple fore arm stop to prevent the shooter from over reaching the muzzle.   The top receiver comes with  picatiny rail from muzzle to pistol brace, for your favorite red dot style site and other accessories.  The gun comes equipped with flip up sights front and rear.   Rounding out the list of factory features is a single point sling mount in the rear part of the receiver, the sling is included, and a left hand thread flash hider.  The gun comes with a single 30 round magazine made by Lancer for Sig.

 I see this firearm as being very versatile and fairly easy to feed and maintain.    I purchased the gun to run incognito in my laptop bag with the folding brace, the gun easily stores in a standard back pack used to cart around laptops, with room for your laptop.   My pack carries two 30 round magazines for the MPX-P, and 2 for the handgun I carry, as well as a suppressor (and laptop).   However, this gun could also handily serve as a home defense firearm for shooters concerned with over penetration from either 5.56, or buck shot.   My MPX took the place of an AR pistol that was tasked with the same job, but had to be stored in 2 pieces for the length of the backpack.   At close quarters the gun is very easy to utilize when wanting to put multiple shots on target quickly.  In my vehicle carry scenario, the MPX was much faster to put into service than the AR taking into account the time spent assembling the AR.   A secondary benefit is the space needed by the magazines and the weight savings of similar loads.

The gun is easy to control and put rounds where you want them.   I adorned mine with a Burris Fast Fire II red dot site and was able to sight in the gun with a group that was coverable by a nickle at 7 yards, 21 feet, typical distance used in self-defense training and shooting.  My zero consisted of 6 shots.  I shot 100 rounds total (suppressed and unsuppressed) and experience no failures to fire, feed or other malfunction.  My particular pistol is a 9mm, but the gun is also offered in S&W .40 and .357 Sig.    The gun is easy to control when firing rapidly, and accurate when targeting deliberately.
From an innovation standpoint, not much on this gun is totally new to the AR shooter, it’s all been around, and AR’s have been offered in 9mm for many years, which all makes this gun seem familiar to the AR enthusiast.   The gun does utilize a short stroke piston for activating the bolt, and the sub gun fires from a closed bolt.   The piston system keeps the bolt carrier group relatively clean after extended use.   What was new, to me, is the bolt carrier.   The recoil springs are mounted to the top of the bolt carrier group, with the fore end of it otherwise looks similar to the AR/M4 bold carrier.   The bolt installs into the upper in a very intuitive way.   The gun fits well together, no contortions, force, or extra pieces were experienced from take down to cleaning, to re-assembly.

Take down is also very AR like.   Remove the two pins and it comes apart as an AR15 does, however upon opening up the front hinge point, the handguard is easily removed over the front of the gun, and reveals the 2 screws that attach the barrel to the upper receiver.    My understanding is that a replacement barrel can be purchased and the caliber changed at this point.  

In case you can’t tell by now, I’ll shamelessly plug I’m a fan of this gun.  The gun is simple to use, small to store, allows me to use most of my AR accessories, and utilizes the same ammunition as my carry gun.  I get dual use from my 9mm suppressor, which allowed me to skip suppressing my AR….err for now anyway.

While I do like this gun, I am going to circle back around to the magazines.   One magazine included with a gun of this expense is a bit of a rip off.  Additional mags are advertised on their web site for about $70 a piece or 3 pak for $169, but if you register on their web site, and receive their emails, they do offer frequent discounts of 15-20% off, and stores north of the border carry them at less than retail price.   Sig does seemingly jab you on the cost of their magazines.  Magpul are you listening?

If you like Sig Sauer handguns, you’re going to love this one!  The gun has many features you’ll love and putting rounds down range will make you smile and sing out,”WWWWEEEEEEEEEEEEE”!!  Your face will break into smiles and this gun will make you want to play tunes on steel targets.  This gun is, dare I say it, sexy as all get out!

If you’re not a fan of Sig Sauer, you’ll probably note that 9mm AR’s are certainly available with many of the perks and capabilities they do offer, at maybe a similar or less price point.   If you are willing to Franken-gun a Glock 17 or 19 with a bunch of strap on kits and call it equivalent, please do not leave any comments, just walk away, and maybe sign up for a remedial art class at your local community college.

and check out Lina Miculek with the full auto version.

See you at the range!