Yesterday we taught an NRA Basic Pistol class and upon completion of the class shooting exercise, my son Phillip and I decided to hang around and shoot some of our guns just for fun. We both had new guns that we had not yet shot and we had some other toys we just wanted to play with. I started my shooting session by shooting a couple of magazines of my chosen defensive carry ammo (Hornady Critical Defense) in the gun I’ve been carrying as my concealed carry gun for a while. When I started shooting the S&W .45 ACP Commander-Sized 1911, I realized it hurt my hands to shoot. I’ve heard people talk about certain guns or caliber of guns being painful to shoot, but this is the first time I experienced it for myself. I’ve got both arthritis and bursitis, but the arthritis is concentrated more in my knees while the bursitis is in my shoulders. My hands have some symptoms of arthritis, but in general they don’t prohibit me from doing much. But now I know what some of my clients are talking about. I believe it was primarily the texture of the grip, which on this gun has a fish scale pattern, that hurt, but it may also have been a function of recoil.
One of the guns I’d brought along to shoot was a new Sig-Sauer Texas Edition 1911. I might carry that gun sometime, so I wanted to know for sure it would work with Hornady Critical Defense ammo and the new Sig Sauer personal defense ammo, so I loaded up a couple of magazines and started shooting. The gun did fine and was accurate, but this gun, too, was painful to shoot. The grips on this gun also have a somewhat aggressive texture.
Next I pulled out a Remington 1911 R1 Carry with a suppressor. Things got quiet all around me as shooters in the other lanes wondered what that sound was that sounded more like a carpenter’s hammer than live .45 ACP rounds. That gun didn’t hurt to shoot and surprised me with how easy it was to aim with the suppressor on it and how the suppressor didn’t affect it’s accuracy. There was oil in the can, so there was a lot of smoke.
That was so much fun I pulled out the S&W M&P .22 with suppressor and put 10 little holes in a small circle with little more than a “pssst, pssst” for sound (well, that’s what you hear when you have on ear protection). In the lane next to me, Phillip was banging away with his PMR-30. Both of us were attracting the attention of shooters in adjoining lanes, me because of my silencers and Phillip because that gun holds 30 rounds of LOUD .22 magnum and it seems to like you can keep shooting forever.
We invited nearby shooters to shoot our toys and they quickly took us up on it. To me, part of the joy of being able to own some cool guns, is being able to share them with others. We had invited some friends and family members to come shoot with us, but the scheduling didn’t work out. So we got to put smiles on the faces of some newfound friends.
We shot some other guns and after shooting a while, I felt I needed to breathe something besides gun smoke, so packed up as much as I could and moved out to the lobby. Phillip stayed behind and talked with some of the other shooters, eventually passing out business cards. For both of us it was an enjoyable day. I know Phillip saw his shooting improve as he worked on the fundamentals we teach in every class, and I came away thinking I might need to re-evaluate my approach to carrying a gun.
Though I have grown to love the 1911 Commanders, I’m thinking the M&P 45 or maybe even the M&P 9mm may be a better choice for me on days when I’m experiencing a little more pain than usual or when I know it’s going to be a very long day. Rainy days especially affect my joints, so perhaps on rainy days, all of the 1911s stay in the safe and I venture forth with an M&P instead. It’s something I’m still pondering, but I know that as I age there are other areas in which I’ve had to make adjustments in my lifestyle, so I promised myself not to be resistant to change when it seems the logical thing to do.