Two Guns at the Range

By David B. Freeman

I took my two newest guns to the range during lunch yesterday to start with their break-in and just to put a few rounds down range. I shot a box of ball ammo with each of the guns – an FNP 40 and a Sig Pro 2022 9mm. I also shot a couple of magazines of JHP through each gun.

The 40 caliber FNP felt a little hotter in my hand than either of my 45’s. I think it’s the size of the grip. I had the rounded backstrap on it, which provides a slightly larger grip than the flat backstrap that also comes with the pistol, but still it seems a there’s not much there to absorb the recoil from shooting 155 grain or 185 grain cartridges in 40 caliber. Accuracy was pleasing. I had my target out around 10 yards and was pleased to see most of the holes going into the middle of the target. I need to get used to the trigger a bit more because I cooked off a couple of SA rounds a little quicker than I expected. Shooting the gun some more will help me avoid that in the future.

I put several hundred rounds down range with my previous SP2022, every one of them with a double-action trigger pull of around 10 pounds. My newest SP2022 with its DA/SA trigger is a little more fun to shoot. I don’t like the sight, though. My other SIG had Trijicon 3 dot sights on it. This one has the two dots in align top to bottom type of sight. My eyes can’t tell where the front sight ends and the rear one begins. They’re both a little blurry. I can hit the target in line with the bullseye, but most of my shots were going low, even when I brought my sight picture up to the dead center of the target, rather than hold it under the bullseye.

Next trip to the range with the SIG I’m going to get a lane with brighter lighting, and take some more time to get used to the sights. Or, I may spend the $80 or $90 to get a set of Trijicon’s. Hm-m-m, it seems CDNN in Abilene was running a special on SP2022 Trijicon sights a while back. Guess I’d better check on that. Out here.

Too Many Guns? How Else are You Going to be the Expert?

By David B. Freeman

I  look for opportunities to buy new guns at the right price, either on sale or deeply discounted. To me that’s like putting money into hard assets rather than a low-interest savings account. It seems that no matter how bad the economy gets, you can always turn a good gun into cash..

I’ve now reached a comfortable level of handguns to have on hand, with the exception that I’d still like to get a good 22 caliber revolver. My preference would be a High Standard Double Nine, but I’ve not been successful in locating one of those yet.

Not counting the Bersa Thunder .380, which I have as a pocket gun or easily carried BUG (back-up gun), I’ve settled on two each in 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP. This gives me a great variety of shooting experience, guns to loan when appropriate, and guns to have on hand “just in case.”

The two 9mms are a Beretta PX-4 Storm, which is my sweetest shooting pistol, and a SIG Sauer SP2022. It’s the second SP2022 I’ve owned. The first was DAO, which was a very safe and reliable carry gun, but not much fun at the range for just playing around. It did come with Trijicon night sights, which I really liked, and my newest one doesn’t have those. But it is a DA/SA and Academy Sports was running a sale that provided another opportunity to get a SIG and a very decent price. Both of my 9mm pistols perform consistently and reliably and are accurate and both are fun to shoot. The PX-4 is a little easier on the hand and I sometimes loan it to one of my CHL students who doesn’t have his or her own gun.

 

9mmsI took advantage of two excellent buys for my 40s. The first was a Taurus 24/7 Pro. I already have a Taurus 24/7 Pro in 45 caliber and I’ve owned a 9mm previously. The Taurus Semi-Automatics sometimes get a bad rap, I guess because they’re reasonably priced and apparently a few years back Taurus had some customer service issues. I’ve owned a number of Taurus firearms and I’ve found them to be better shooters than some much higher priced guns and have had no reliability issues. I did have some ammo feeding problems early on with my .45 but that was resolved with a little ramp polishing and a better choice of ammo. No problems at all in the last 400-500 rounds. 

Cheaper Than Dirt (not the website, but the store here in Fort Worth) ran a $299 special on the Taurus 24/7s and I picked up one in 40 caliber just to put on the shelf. It will hold its value at that price better than money in the bank.

40 Caliber Handguns

I bought the FNP direct from FN Herstal under their NRA Instructor special purchase program. It came at a nice discount, with no tax or shipping and the model I got was a little better than the model they promised. It arrived at my FFL less than two weeks after ordering it, also, which is also a plus.

As far as the 45s go, I’ve already written a bunch about the Taurus 24/7, so let’s go to the XD. I wrote some about it in an previous blog entry, so won’t go into detail here, except to say it continues to make me look good. I’ve never shot a more accurate pistol at distances of 15 yards or less, and never a blip as far as reliability goes, even with some cheap ammo. Now that Hornady makes it’s Critical Defense ammo in 45 caliber, that’s what I’m using. Here are the pictures:

45 ACP Hanguns

Update April 15, 2011

The nice thing about having a gun collection (singular) as opposed to guns (plural) is that with a gun collection there is no reason to explain why guns go in and out of a collection. There have been some changes since this article was written.  The two 40s are gone, replaced by a Sig Sauer P226 Elite. The P226 alternates with my XDm 45 as my daily carry gun. Jerry now has the 45 caliber Taurus 24/7. A new 9mm has been added to the collection–a Taurus 24/7 Compact.

The Ideal Life?

By David Freeman 

I grew up living most of my life in the country. My grandfather, uncles and cousins owned most of the land around the small community in Mississippi where we lived (See Oxpatch and the Hill for details). So much of that lifestyle I took for granted, including the ability to walk out back and shoot any time I wanted.

This photo came to me in an email titled “Men who lack female supervision.” Where some of the other photos in the bunch showed an obvious lack of intelligence, I see nothing wrong with this one, except perhaps the beer. As a firearms Instructor, I’m quick to announce that alcohol and firearms don’t mix. Apart from that, I envy this guy.

Hot Tub Shooter

Two Small Guns for Concealed Carry – Taurus 709 and Bersa Thunder 380

By David Freeman

Taurus 709 SlimI recently traded a revolver for a Taurus 709 Slim. I thought maybe the 709 would make a good carry gun for my wife Joyce. It does fit her hand well and she likes the fact it’s a 9mm instead of a 380, but she hasn’t shot it yet. More on that in a minute.

When I got the 709 home I discovered I couldn’t rack the slide consistently. In fact it would sometimes hang to where the only way I could get it to open the action was to lift up on the slide, then pull it back. My good friend and fellow instructor, Jerry Colliver, took it to his shop, did a little grinding and polishing and now it racks reliably every time.

The previous owner told me it didn’t like Winchester White Box ammo. He had settled on Winchester SXZ-9, which he said worked well in the gun.

I took it to the range with some Federal FMJ, the Winchester SXZ and some Hornady Critical Defense, I also had a few rounds of WWB. After Jerry’s work on the gun it handled all of the ammo without a problem.

How did it shoot? It’s accurate, surprisingly accurate. But it’s not going to be a gun Joyce will like. There’s just not enough room to get enough grip on it to hold it down when it fires. In my hands, the recoil seemed stronger than either of my 45s. It’s just a lot to hold onto. And to think they make this gun in a 40 caliber, too. It’s not a fun gun to shoot, but it is an easy gun to conceal and if you’re using it for defense because you can’t conceal a bigger gun, I can see where it would have it’s advantages.

The second gun I want to tell you about is the Bersa Thunder 380. Jerry is a fan of this gun and he’s told me on numerous occasions it would be a gun Joyce could handle and would probably enjoy shooting. Two CHL classes ago we had two of the little Bersa’s in the line-up. Academy Sports has very reasonable prices on them, so I decided to add a .380 to my collection.

 If it looks like a James Bond gun, that’s because its design is based on the PPK Bond used to carry. It’s all steel and the one I got is in DuoTone colors as shown here. The external dimensions of Bersa Thunder and the Taurus 709 very similar. Though they’re shaped differently, they fit in the same space. The Bersa is slightly heavier and shooting .380 as opposed to 9mm it has less recoil. Whereas I found the 709 uncomfortable to shoot, I could plink with the Bersa all day.

It turns out that neither of these guns was right for Joyce. In fact she can handle a Glock 19 better and enjoys shooting it more. But that doesn’t detract from either of these pistols as a small concealed carry option for me or anyone who can rack the slide.

Sometimes Peer Pressure is a Good Thing

By David Freeman

Springfield XDm 45I’m an instructor, right? But the gun I’ve been carrying  everyday isn’t one of the big three:  Glock, SIG, or Springfield. It’s a Taurus! A sweet shooting, accurate, easy to carry Taurus, reliable enough when I feed it the right ammo. I like the Taurus.

Since it was a concealed carry firearm, so there was no real opportunity for eyebrows to raise or for the small nods that seem to say, “Well, if that’s all you can afford, it’s a good gun.” The fact is nobody put any peer pressure on me. I put it on myself. I don’t care for Glocks. I’ve got a SIG, but it’s a 9mm, but I’ve wanted a Springfield XDm they first came out. I didn’t get a 9mm, passed on the 40, but when it came out in .45 I begain drooling over the ads again. All the time, I’ve watched students in our CHL and NRA classes blow the center out of their targets with an XD time and again.

A little insurance money came my way from my Dad’s passing and yes, there were a lot of projects that have been put off for a while, but I took a little of the money and bought a Springfield XDm 45.

First time I took it to the range, I was actually instructing a Basic Pistol student. At the end of the lesson I asked if she minded if I put up a new target and fired a few rounds from my new pistol. “No problem,” she said. I fired 20 rounds of Winchester Silver Tip Hollow Point. The center of the target disappeared and there were no shots outside the center ring. Impressive.

When I tore it down to clean it later, I was impressed with how strongly the XDm is made. The return spring is so strong it’s almost more than I can compress by hand when putting it back together. Teardown was simple, cleaning straight forward.

Subsequent trips to the range have shown that the Springfield will digest whatever I feed it and put the rounds where I point the gun. It’s a little bigger than my Taurus 24/7 and it weights 3 ounces more–not enough to notice. The Taurus has become the upstairs house gun, loaed with the 185 grain Winchester Silver Tip it likes. The XDm is on my hip loaded with whichever personal defense rounds are readily available. If anybody ever asks there instructor what I carry, I can smile and say, “a Springfield.”

Three Things You Must Know if You’re Going to Carry a Concealed Handgun

By David Freeman

Texas law requires a curriculum for potential Concealed Handgun License holders that covers much of what you need to know to carry a firearm safely and legally, and the Texas CHL curriculum goes into more detail than the programs in many other states. Within the limited time we have available, we at Texas Gun Pros try to add more in the area of practical aspects of carrying a concealed handgun than the law requires. In reality, it’s an area that requires an ongoing focus of attention.

I like to break down the things you need to know into three major areas:

  1. You must know the law where you are carrying. This may or may not be your home state. When traveling, you need to familiarize yourself with the laws in the states you’ll be passing through or spending time in. As a minimum you need to know:
    • When and where you can carry
    • The use of force and deadly force
    • What’s expected of a CHL holder during a traffic stop
  2. You must know you can stop an assailant without harming innocent people. This involves being observent and careful, being proficient with your handgun and having the right ammunition as a minimum.
  3. You must know what to do after a shooting incident. This includes calling 911, what to say and what not to say, when to tell your story and to who, and dealing with the emotional aftermath, especially if it’s a fatal shooting.

You learn the basics of these things in an initial CHL class, but walking it out in daily life requires a commitment to read, study, practice and stay mentally alert. That’s one reason we offer additional programs such as the NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home and Personal Protecton Outside the Home classes. If you don’t see these on our current class schedule and are interested, let us know.

Personal Security for Ordinary People

By David Freeman

Guns are great equalizers. You don’t have to be big, physically fit or trained in the Marshall Arts to defend yourself  when you have a gun.

So much of the training I see about personal defense features young, physically fit, police or personal security-type individuals. You know what I mean, the ones with the ripped abs that run 10 miles before breakfast, rappel off the side of mountains and eat rattlesnakes for breakfast.

I’m not like that, but I can defend myself. I legally carry a concealed handgun and I’m relatively proficient with it. So while I’m not looking for a fight, if one comes my way I have a good chance of prevailing.

With a gun, a small woman can defend herself against a man the size of a defensive linebacker. An old guy like me can defend himself against a young, agressive street thug. A person in a wheelchair with a gun is no longer the easy victim an assailant might plan to rob.

While carrying a gun doesn’t require Olympic-like training, there are some things  you should do to insure you’re prepared to use one effectively to defend yourself:

  1. Be mentally prepared. This involves always being aware of your surroundings and recognizing potential threats early enough to do something about it should the potential threat become an actual threat.
  2. Have the right gun. The gun should fit you, it should be reliable and comfortable for you to shoot. It should also be of a large enough caliber to actually stop an attacker.
  3. Have your gun accessible. It must be concealed, but if it’s hidden away where you can’t get to it quickly, it’s of no use.
  4. Be proficient with your gun.
  5. Practice, practice, practice!
  6. Mentally rehearse possible scenarios, including how you would react.
  7. Get involved in the gun community – read the magazines, participate in shooting sports, train when you can.

Bottom line:  guns are great equalizers, but only if you know how to use them