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.

Taurus 24/7 DS – 45 ACP

By David Freeman

Taurus 24/7 45 ACPI grew up shooting revolvers. The first semi-automatic hangun I owned was a Stoeger Cougar 8000 in 9mm. It was a sweet handling and shooting gun. My son liked it and I had been eyeing a Taurus 24/7, so I sold him the Cougar (at least it’s still in the family) and picked up a 9mm Taurus 24/7 at Academy Sports.

The gun was winner from day one. No jams, no misfires and right on target. Plus the trigger was nice and smooth and easy. Since I was getting the gun bug, I soon bought a Sig Sauer SP2022 (it’s a Sig, right?) on sale at Cheaper Than Dirt for a really great price. You can read about that gun elsewhere in my blog, as well as the Beretta PX-4 Storm. Here I was with three 9mm semi-automatics (one to carry, one for the truck and one for the upstairs bedroom was my argument). I carried the Storm, kept the Taurus in the truck and the Sig upstairs. But on range day, I carried all three. Even though the Taurus was the least expensive of the three and the one from the company that has to fight against a bad rap from years gone by, it was the most fun to shoot and at least as accurate as the other, two, if not more so.

Because I had so much invested in 9mm pistols and had good supply of ammunition, I tended to resist the magazine articles and instructor admonitions that for defensive carry, a 45 is better. It was while attending the NRA Handgun Instructor Course that it finally dawned on me. It wasn’t that I couldn’t effectively stop a bad guy with my 9mm. It was more about who else I might endanger while doing so. The instructor explained quite graphically, that even with hollow point ammunition, because of it’s muzzle velocity, a 9mm will shoot through things, including people and possibly hit innocents, even if they’re behind a wall.

I sold the 9mm Taurus 24/7 and bought the 45 ACP version of what I thought was the same gun. It looks the same. It feels the same, even weighs about the same. It carries well. I loaded it up with some 230 grain hollow point ammunition and felt safe. Until I went to the range. Bang – jam. Bang – jam. Over and over.  I took the gun home, cleaned it really well and tried it again. I got as much as a bang, bang jam out of it this time. I tried different ammo and discovered I could shoot FMJ (full metal jacket, also known as “ball”) ammo through it without jamming.

It seemed at first it was a magazine problem. Taurus offered to send me a new one if I sent in the bad one, but I felt a little more testing was in order. I tried three different brands of 225-230 grain hollow point ammo:  Winchester Supreme Elite, MagTech Gold and Remington Golden Sabre. None of them fed without jamming. They did what gun people call “nosediving” where the nose of the cartridge doesn’t slide up the ramp into the chamber like it’s supposed to.

Most gun guys caution that it takes from 300 to 500 rounds to “break in” a new semi-automatic handgun. That wasn’t true with my 9mm Taurus. It was perfect right out of the box. But I after shooting 300 or so expensive rounds through the Taurus 45, it wasn’t getting any better.

I made another stop at Cheaper Than Dirt and picked up two types of 185 grain JHP (jacketed hollow point) — Black Hills and Speer Gold Dot. Problem solved. I may try some other brands later, but for now, I’m satisified that my 45 will perform when and if called upon in a defensive situation.

Oh, and it is pretty accurate. What misses is my fault, not the gun’s. Here’s an example:

Targets 04172010

UPDATE MAY 2016:

One of my mentors suggested trying Winchester Silvertip 185 Grain jacketed hollow points in the Taurus 45. After shooting two boxes of that ammunition with no failures I discovered that for this particular gun the break-in rule appeared to be real. It shoots anything and everything I feed it now with no problems whatsoever. Now that I’ve discovered the Ruger/Polycase ARX rounds, this .45 ACP Taurus 24/7 makes a nice addition to my carry gun rotation. I know many people opt for carrying the same gun all the time, but I like to vary my carry guns to justify having a “collection of them” (just kidding). The real reason is so that I have a broad experience from which to provide advice and guidance to the many students that come through our classes.