Range Report: New Rifle Choices

Back in July, I started rethinking my optics choices for a self-defense rifle (Rethinking My (Rifle) Optic Choices). The concern, was that a Low Powered Variable Optic (LPVO) while an exceptionally good choice for a combat weapon may not be the best choice for a home defense rifle. By nature a rifle used for home defense would be, almost without exception, used for close quarters encounters. and the optic should be optimized for that role.

By September I made the decision to not only change the optic but to change the rifle underneath it as well (Rifle Optic Choices – Rethought). For home defense, a short barreled rifle (actually a pistol by US law) would be better than a full length carbine (10.5″ barrel vs. 16″). I decided to stay with 5.56/.233 as the primary caliber. Reduced penetration through barriers and effectiveness at the ranges involved contributed to that decision. The optic is an open reflex sight with a large “dot in donut” reticle.

This thinking was all well and good but pretty worthless until tested out. So, off to the range I went.

The first step was to zero the new optic. I zeroed the optic at 25 yards which would be the longest shot possible on my suburban property. The zeroing process was smooth and trouble free (other than the tiny little holes this caliber makes. I needed a spotting scope even at that distance to get the job done. The range I went to was not equipped to allow me to test the zero at shorter distances than 25 yards but I was able to push it out to 50 and 100 yards. In both cases (and surprisingly) it hit a little high at both distances. Not enough to require me to compensate on center mass shots but for head shots I would have to adjust point of aim a bit.

The next step was function testing the new upper receiver (actually these happened simultaneously). I was initially surprised because although it was functional the bolt didn’t seem to be moving as it should. I pulled it apart and took a look and realized it was user error. The upper was not lubricated at the factory and I had not oiled it either. A few drops of oil from out of the range bag and everything was working perfectly. Several hundred rounds later, there were still no issues. I would always like to send more rounds downrange but I think we can call this one good to go.

In terms of performance for its intended purpose, yes, it is much faster for target acquisition at close quarters. Yes, it is easier to run the gun at those distances with both eyes open. So, for this specific use case, home defense, this is definitely a superior solution.

I did bring my 16″ carbine topped with a LPVO out to the range with me as well so I could run them side by side.

Guess what?

At longer distances the LPVO was definitely the superior choice. If I were in need of a “battle rifle” for use in “the field” I believe this would be my preferred configuration. The longer barrel of the carbine gives better performance. The LPVO would allow me to make reliable hits on chest sized targets out to 200 yards and minute of man hits out to 300 yards.

Fortunately, (current) US gun laws are such that I can keep both and grab the one that would be most useful depending on the situation.

Take care and God bless.

 

Rifle Optic Choices – Rethought

As I mentioned in my post about a month ago, Rethinking My (Rifle) Optic Choices, I have been a proponent of Low Power Variable Optic (LPVO) on rifles for quite a while. In fact I was a fan before it was “the latest thing.” But, after a training session last month I began to rethink my choice and after a month of thinking it over I have decided on my direction moving forward.

Note, this post is strictly related to rifles and carbines used for defensive purposes. It has no bearing on what I use when hunting or target shooting. My mission is to defend my home and loved ones from those who would do us serious harm or bodily injury. I am not a war-fighter tasked with seeking out and engaging the enemy in the mountains of Afghanistan. I live in a suburban neighborhood of single family homes. The terrain is flat but heavily wooded. The absolute longest shot possible (from the treeline at one end of the street to the houses at the opposite end) is about 300-325 yards. From the street in front of my house the longest shot possible in either direction is around 250 yards. The longest shot possible from my front porch is under 60 yards. In reality most engagements I can foresee would be well under 45 yards with a maximum of maybe 65. Basically, this is close quarters combat, or CQB.

In this environment, I think the speed and CQB advantages of the red dot or reflex sight is more important than the flexibility offered by the LPVO. Based on this I am changing up my home defense setup a bit (as soon as I can get to the range to sight everything in and test it out).

First, I will use my short barreled, 10.5 inch, AR for self-defense purposes in place of the 16 inch carbine. Yup, I will be giving up some velocity but will be gaining a shorter, lighter, and more maneuverable weapon more suited to close quarters. No it won’t have the range of the carbine but within the confines of a suburban home/neighborhood I see that as an acceptable trade off. As with my current carbine setup, it will be loaded with .223 hollow points from Hornady which should be pretty effective rounds against anything short of Level III plate armor.

Second, I will be topping it with a reflex sight from Holosun. Nope, it is not as solid as a Trijicon or Aimpoint but this isn’t a rifle that will be taking a beating. It will sit in the safe except for training sessions and should the need arise to defend those I love. For that I like the green reticle, long battery life and instant on technology.

Third, given the nature of the optic, the backup iron sights will be usable without removing the optic and a decent set has already been installed and will be zeroed in along with the reflex sight next trip to the range.

Since this is (for now) still the USA and I have the right to own as many firearms as I want the carbine is not going anywhere. It will remain as it is configured with the LPVO and ready should my needs change or as a backup for someone else’s use. It will actually remain my primary self defense long gun until I can get to the range to function check and zero the new setup.

(Note: Wonderful Wife has her own carbine. It is set up for her thee way she likes it and I won’t change anything on it unless she wants me to.)

So, that’s my rethought. As always I am open to suggestions and thoughts.

 

My Remodeled AK

I bought a cheap AK style rifle (WASR) way back when. I bought so long ago that AK-pattern rifles were cheaper than ARs. For years it has been relegated to the status of safe-queen/occasional range toy since I built my first AR. I have nothing against the AK, in fact I really enjoy shooting it but wanted the ability to mount an optic and a light on it and the cost and options for doing so were less than stellar at the time. So the old girl was pushed aside in favor of the much more modular AR.

With ammo costs going through the roof and the availability of some calibers as rare as bigfoot sightings I decided to take another look at the AK platform. Wow, have things changed. It is still not as easy to customize the AK as the AR but there is a whole lot more available than there was back in the day.

The two pieces of equipment I want on all defensive rifles is a white light and an optic. My eyes are getting too old for irons to be my primary option. I also want the ability to clearly identify a target at night and I am nowhere near coordinated enough to run a handheld flashlight and a long gun. After a bit of looking I decided that the Midwest Industries Universal AK-47 Handguard (Gen 2) looked like a pretty good option. A bit of picatinny rail on top would provide a perfect place to mound an optic and the KeyMod slots would allow for the flashlight mount. The fact that they were on sale for 40% off at Primary Arms and free shipping also helped me decide on this particular option.

With that I was set and would have everything I needed…

Yah, right.

The pistol grip on the AK has always annoyed me. Even for someone with short little fingers like mine this thing is tiny and doesn’t offer much purchase when things get hot and muggy (like coastal Texas almost all year). Since I was saving money on the handguard/optic mount, and being the Magpul fanboy that I am, I tossed an FDE pistol grip into the online shopping cart too.

All set, right?

Nah…

I mean I might as well change out the stock as well. I mean that way they will match and all. So in the basket goes the MOE stock in FDE as well.

So here is my newly remodeled AK:

Newly Remodeled AK

Purists while whine and complain but this is no collector’s item. It’s a WASR for goodness sake.

The bottom line though is that this is a much nicer and more effective rifle (for me) now than it was before. Much nicer feel, lower recoil due to the rubber buttpad (not that recoil is all that bad), quicker on target and quicker back on target, the ability to illuminate the night should I need to, and a pretty decent optic. All for under $200 (non including the optic since I already had it). And now I can take better advantage of all that 7.62×39 ammo I have.

I have a few items to finish up; apply some thread locker where needed and check the torque on some of the screws. Then I will need to find a time to go to the range where I can sight it in and reacquaint myself with the platform but I am pretty excited with the changes I made.

Take care and God bless.

Rethinking My (Rifle) Optic Choices

I have been a big proponent of Low Power Variable Optics (LPVOs) since before they became the darling of the industry. Since I was using the AR platform for hunting in conditions ranging from dense brush with visibility measured in feet instead of yards to open fields where 200 yard shots were possible this type of optic made a lot of sense. Based on that experience that became the “go to” optic for my self defense rifles as well.

I am rethinking (second guessing) whether or not that is really the best choice for me.

The primary purpose of my rifle is for self-defense. My mission is to defend my home and loved ones from those who would do us serious harm or bodily injury. I am not a war-fighter tasked with seeking out and engaging the enemy in the mountains of Afghanistan. I live in a suburban neighborhood of single family homes. The terrain is flat but heavily wooded. The absolute longest shot possible (from the treeline at one end of the street to the houses at the opposite end) is about 300-325 yards. From the street in front of my house the longest shot possible in either direction is around 250 yards. The longest shot possible from my front porch is under 60 yards. In reality most engagements I can foresee would be under 45 yards with a maximum of maybe 65.

Given the relatively short distances involved, I don’t know that I really a 1×8 scope for the rifle and could use a reflex sight instead. Here are my options and what I see as the pros and cons of each.

Classic red dot:

Classic Red Dot Optic

The classic red dot is simple, easy to use and fairly cheap. They are fine for the distances I would be dealing with. Most classic red dots offer a 20-22 mm objective lens which can make it tough to run with both eyes open and can lead to “tunnel vision” when running one. The eye relief is unlimited so head/eye placement is not critical.

Low Power Variable Optic:

Variable Low Power Optic

These are an excellent choice for intermediate or longer distances. And can be run reasonably well at shorter distances. Probably the least effective choice for close quarters due to the limited eye relief and “tunnel vision.” Although the ones I use have an reticle etched into the glass the only way to run backup iron sight would be with an offset mount for the sights or offset sights that would place the sights at an angle and not co-witness through the glass.

Open Reflex site:

Open Reflex Sight

Larger and more bulky that the classic red dot, they also offer a much larger objective lens (around 34×24 mm) which means a larger field of view. The larger field of view makes it easier to run with both eyes open and reduces the tendency to focus through the optic (tunnel vision). Eye relief is unlimited and most offer a reticle that combines a dot for precise shot placement and a larger circle for speed at closer quarters. With the wider field of view and the lack of a “tube” co-witnessing with iron sights is really easy.

What are your thoughts? Post in the comments below.

Take care and God bless.

Training Program: Update 7/15/20

Early last month I posted (link) that two of my sons in law, my son and I were all about to kickoff a training program to improve our self-defense and operational skills and I wanted to provide an update.

First off, we lost two of our number. For various reasons my son and one of my sons in law changed their minds and have decided they are not able to participate. One was not a surprise (actually, expected) but I was very disappointed my son backed out. The remaining member of our little band is the one I would count on the most in a dangerous situation so that is a good thing.

Before my son dropped out we met and agreed on the training plan and approach. We also discussed the gear selection and basic load outs we want to work towards:

Gear Selection/Load Out:

    • Glock 17 or 19 with three magazines. We will use Glock 17 magazines for interoperability. and we will both carry them outside the waistband on the strong side.
    • AR-15 in 5.56/.223 with three magazines.
    • Slings, optics, mag carriers and other basics will be up to the individual.

We decided on all this when we were still a band of three.

Training Session 1:

Our first training session went slightly differently than expected.

The batteries were dead in the rangefinder and I did not bring a tape measure as a backup so we were estimating on distances. I planned on using the shot time app on my phone but found that it did not work very well (hardware issue with the microphone on the device). I verified that the holster I was planning to use with the Glock 19 would work with the red dot. I did not verify that it would work with the suppressor height sights I installed to co-witness with the red dot so I worked the drills with the SIG P365 instead of the Glock 19. I also forgot to pack targets for sighting in our rifles. That didn’t turn out to be that big a deal as we spent a lot more time working with pistols instead of the rifles.

I worked with my son in law (Moose) on his grip. He has never taken any pistol training so this was all new to him. Once we had the grip down and ran through some drills to reinforce this skill we move on to the draw stroke. Again this was all new to him and we spent a lot of time practicing this as well. In fact this is what we spent most of our time on.

We did go over reloads and failure drills, but only briefly as it was getting late in the day and the heat was starting to get the better of us.

We did not have any time for any serious work with the rifles. We did review the manual of arms (basic operation) of both the AR and the AK. We will be training with and using the AR platform but I thought it would be useful to review both. You never know when you might need to use something that is not your primary platform. We also spent enough time working with the rifles that Moose realized some of the choices he mad with his rifle may have been sub-optimal. For example, a long, heavy barrel sounds good until you are lugging it around all day. He may well either reconfigure his existing upper or buy/build a shorter, lighter upper for this role. He purchased some ammo from a “friend” and discovered that his rifle did not run it well. There was some sort of corrosion on the (nickel-plated steel) cases that could have been the issue. It seemed to run fine with both the brass and steel cased ammo I brought along.

This is a perfect example of not betting your life on untested equipment and ammo. This would have been a very bad thing to find out in a life or death situation.

Overview:

All in all I am pleased with the progress we have made so far. We both learned a few things, sharpened our skill sets and had a lot of fun. Now that he knows some of the proper techniques Moose will, hopefully, continue to practice at home (with an empty firearm) and his times and accuracy will improve.

I am a little disappointed that my son did not make this a priority because I think he would have learned a lot and improved on some critical skills.

Next time out we will practice these skills some more and measure ourselves against the standards we decided on. Hopefully, we will be able to add in some additional skills such as shooting while moving and start working seriously with the rifles.

Take care and God bless

Range Report: Glock 44, Glock 19 MOS and Charter Arms Professional – Update

I wanted to provide a few quick updates based on a range trip I was able to sneak in…

The Glock 19 topped with a Vortex Venom Red Dot optic and TRUGLO Tritium Pro Night Sights has bene very reliable so far. Based on this range trip the sights and the optic are dead on.

Five rounds, 10 yards with iron sights

The groupings with both the irons (as seen above) and the red dot were very good (for me). With the reliability question out of the way (really? it’s a Glock, was that ever really a question?) and the backup irons in place and dead on the new G19 will now go into my bedside safe and pick up primary home defense duties.

The Glock 44 was every bit as accurate as I expected it to be based on my trip out to the country with it. You can see the evidence below in that all ten shots are in a two inch circle at 10 yards (ignore the one 9mm flyer from a previous string and the gaping hole from putting the target sticker over the previous one that was pretty shot out).

Ignore the 9mm flyer, that’s 10 .22 LR holes in a two inch circle

In my review earlier in the week (Range Report: Glock 44) I noted that this was pretty snappy for a hand gun chambered in .22 Long Rifle. For whatever reason, maybe because I shot the G19 first, it did not seem nearly as snappy as it did previously. Nevertheless, I am still impressed with this little blaster. On a diet of cheap Federal ammo it had no issues.

Another odd thing is that I was unable to replicate the “load 11 in the magazine and have a failure to feed” that I experienced out in the woods. I am wondering if the heat and direct sun (this is Texas, after all) cause some sort of expansion or loosening in the magazines that allowed this. The magazines were in the direct sun all day and it was a warm one with temperatures in the mid-90’s later in the day.

I finally got a chance to do some accuracy testing on the Charter Arms Professional (Range Report: Charter Arms Professional)…

Meh.

It is OK for a defensive handgun. It does seem to shoot a little low but once I was able to get a feel for the correct sight alignment I was able to do OK. For whatever reason, and I find this to be true on my .327 Magnum Ruger LCR as well, it seems to be a good bit more accurate shooting .32 S&W Long than full bore magnum loads. I might blame it on the flinch factor but there is really very little recoil with this gun. Not that the groups with the .32 H&R magnums were all that big but the .32 Long’s were all just about touching. Sorry, no pictures.

I did try and shoot .32 ACP out of the Professional. In my LCR these become stuck and have to be popped out with a pencil or rod. The start doesn’t seem to get enough grip to eject them properly. This is not the case with the Charter Arms Professional. They all ejected just fine. Unfortunately, about half of them didn’t go bang when pulling the trigger. They did ignite on the second trip around the cylinder (a nice advantage of wheel guns) with one exception. When I get around to cleaning it I will take a look at the firing pin and see if there is anything obviously off there. This little guy won’t become a regular carry gun anytime soon so I am not too worried about it.

That’s all for this update.

Take care and God bless.

New Training Program

We have been talking about this within the family for quite a while and have decided it is time (maybe past time) to make it happen.

We are about to ramp up our training and preparations for having to defend our own lives and family. We are planning for more and better training in communications, first aid, self-defense and even small team tactics. As a group we will be finalizing our gear choices. We have left each other alone to make and execute on those choices until now and, for the most part, we are in a good position already. Common calibers for handguns and magazine/parts interchangeability for most of us. Most of us are equipped with a common rifle in a common caliber. We will leave optics, sling and holster selections to the individual.

We will also make the time to ensure that each of these choices is not just on hand but that they configured, sighted in and able to be used to the baseline standards we are setting for ourselves.

No one has the budget right now for to pay for this type of training so we are getting creative. We will borrow as much as possible from existing curriculum, drills and standards. I will fill in where it makes sense, drawing from training classes I have taken so far. For some things, we will be our own instructors taking a peer to peer approach to working through some problems. In some cases we will bring in some “experts” who have either trained or lived through some of what we are trying to do. I hope to be posting some of this on the blog to get feedback from those of you with more experience and knowledge on the subject as well.

Will this approach be as good as if we each shelled out several thousand dollars for professional training? Nope, absolutely not.

Will we all come out of this as better shooters and better able to defend ourselves and our families? You betcha…or, at least we believe so.

We have no illusions about this. We won’t come out of this anywhere near as good at any of this as well trained military personnel or Police SWAT teams. But then again that’s not the point. The point is to ensure that each of us is better able to defend ourselves and our families. It will also help ensure that, should the need arise, we can operate as a cohesive team in a hostile environment. Once our core team reaches our initial goals we will roll out the basic standards to the rest of the family. We may even open this up to extended family members or others we trust and include them in our little training program.

Here is a high level outline of the first session of the program (as we currently see it):

Session 1 – Gear Discussion:

    • Decide on hand signals and verbal communications
    • Gear Selection/Load Out
      • Pistol selection
        • Caliber – 9mm
        • Magazines – 1+2
        • Holster – OWB
      • Rifle selection
        • Caliber – 5.56/.223
        • Sling
        • Sights/optic
        • Magazines – 1+2
      • Accessories
        • Chest rig, belt or other way to carry standard gear
        • First aid kit
        • Other TBD based on discussions?
      • Standards – agree on minimum standards and performance

This first meeting will mainly be focused on communications, deciding on our standards, plan next steps and brainstorm on anything we may have missed.

Our first field session will come next:

Session 2 – Basic Skills

    • Pistol
      • Sight in
      • Grip
      • Draw stroke
      • Draw and fire
      • Reloads
      • Malfunction drills
    • Rifle (if time allows otherwise will be broken out into a separate session)
      • Sight in
      • Grip
      • Shooting positions
      • Sling to fire (rifle from carry position to firing position)
      • Reloads
      • Malfunction Drills
    • Qualifications
      • Quals for each section will happen either after each session or at a later date and will include a speed/accuracy test and another test to measure speed from the draw of carry position to hitting a target.
      • Pistol
        • Test one is tentatively set to be 5 shots into a six inch target within 5 seconds from 21 feet
        • Test two is tentatively set up to be draw and hit a target in less than 1.5 seconds. Also from 21 feet.
      • Rifle
        • Test one is tentatively set to be 5 shots into a six inch target within 5 seconds from 50 yards
        • Test two is tentatively set to be to go from sling position and hit a target. Also from 50 yards.

That’s where we are right now any feedback or thoughts would be more than welcome, in fact they would be appreciated.

Thanks and God bless.

Range Report: Glock 44

Way back before the pandemic arrived (in the US) or some cities descending into chaos I was able to go to the range. A real range where I could run targets out to different distances and all sorts of cool stuff. On my last trip to one of those (now) mythical places I spent most of the time practicing with rimfire ammunition; specifically .22 Long Rifle (read the write up here). I thought it was such useful way to train and had enough benefits that I purchased a Glock 44 on my way out the door. We went into quarantine shortly after that and so the G44 sat on the desk in my office unfired…mocking me.

In case you have not seen them the Glock 44 is a .22 LR version of the Gen 5 Glock 19. It is the same size and uses similarly sized magazines. Disappointingly, the magazines only hold 10 rounds rather than the 15 of the G19 (more on that in a bit). It is also a lot lighter than the G19 (more on that too in a bit).

Gen 5 twins, the G44 and G19

A few weeks back we were able to head out to some property in the country and do some shooting. This was the same trip that I was able to put some rounds through the Charter Arms Professional (link). Unfortunately, I was not able to get a good feel for the accuracy of the Charter Arms on that trip. I had a good bit of gear packed and ready to go that was rated to handle .22 LR which means I was able to get a good feel for the accuracy of the G44 so this should be a little better and more comprehensive review.

Woohoo!

Initially, I had several feeding several issues with the G44. It was always chambering the first round. I am always a little nervous clearing jams with rimfire ammunition and these were pretty severe. the rounds were literally being bent as they entered the chamber with another round trying to feed in right behind it. This happened with several different shooters and with both magazines. I was pretty disturbed by this until I determined the cause. Although these are ten round magazines, eleven rounds would fit. They wouldn’t feed properly but they would fit in the magazine. Once I started counting rounds and making sure to only load ten rounds we encountered no more issues and it was 100% reliable. Semi-auto .22s can be a bit finicky when it comes to ammunition. I had a box of Federal bulk ammo, a mixed box of odds and ends from at least two and possibly three different manufacturers. All fed fine in my pistol. As with most .22s your mileage may likely vary. All in all we sent somewhere between 200 and 250 rounds downrange through the G44.

The slide of the G44 is mostly plastic. Some early purchasers of the G44 have reported issues with the slides cracking. At this point I have seen no indication of any cracks or issues with the slide or frame.

Being mostly plastic, the G44 is very light. Glock’s website says the G44 weighs in at 16.4 ounces when fully loaded. It seems lighter than that. Not flimsy, just really light. I think part of it is because of how much it resembles the standard compact Glocks like the G19. It seems lighter because you are expecting the extra weight of the more traditional Glocks, if that makes sense.

Now, one of the unexpected side effects of this lack of heft is the amount of felt recoil. It is surprisingly snappy for a .22 or this size. It is not overly so (it’s a .22) and there is still not as much recoil as with its 9mm sibling but it does have a surprising amount of snap. Personally, I think this is a good thing. As discussed in my previous post there are some serious advantages to training with .22 LR versions of your carry weapons but one drawback (to me) is the lighter recoil. Less recoil means that problems with your grip can creep in without being noticed, forming some bad habits for when you switch back more potent calibers. That is far less likely with the G44 than some other rimfire versions of carry guns.

The sights are the same plastic dot in a box sights as on all other Glocks. The rear is windage adjustable with set screws. I don’t know if that is standard on other G5s or just the G44. I do know the sights on my Gen 5 G19 MOS were not adjustable. The seemed dead on with no adjustment necessary. I was able to ring a three inch gong at 15-20 feet (depending on where I was standing at the time) pretty consistently. Any misses were the fault of the shooter and not the gun.

Glock 44

Overall, I am pretty enamored with the G44 and I feel it was money well spent. I will get a lot of trigger time (once we are out of quarantine) with it. Since it is, essentially, a duplicate of the G19 (although lighter) it will be a very good training tool. The rest of the family enjoyed shooting it and Wonderful Wife really liked it (bonus!).

Whether the cost/benefit of training with .22 rimfire ammunition makes sense for you is something you will have to work out since these are not super cheap. They have an MSRP of about $400 and a street price around $360. As for me, it is worth the money.

Take care and God bless.

Range Report: Charter Arms Professional

OK, so yeah, I’m supposed to be saving money.

OK, so I really don’t need anymore guns, especially revolvers in calibers that are somewhat hard to find.

But, it was a good deal…and I really like .32 caliber revolvers. The one I found has a brushed stainless finish instead of the black nitride of the new model but other than that it is the same. It is a seven shot revolver about the same size as a J-Frame chambered in .32 H&R Magnum. The front sight is a fiber optic with the traditional gutter sight rear of small revolvers. Weighing in at 22 ounces it is a little heavier than the Ruger LCR (13.5 ounces) and sports a 3 inch barrel.

For a more complete overview of features check out this post link.

With the restrictions in place (for us) going to a traditional range is not an option but we do have access to some property out in the country where we can get some shooting in. It allows us to form some initial impressions of the revolver. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to to get a really good measure of the accuracy of the revolver. We headed out of town at the last minute and I didn’t have time to put together the gear to do any real accuracy testing. So, that will have to wait for another day.

Already had a holster that fit

First Impressions:

This is definitely not the highest quality revolver I have ever purchased. The fit and finish is seriously lacking. There are machine marks in various places including the gutter sight.

Machine marks in the gutter sight

The trigger pull is definitely not smooth. Gritty is a pretty good description of the trigger pull although on the positive side it is pretty light. The grips feel good in the hand and overall the revolver feels really good in the hand. The weight is nicely balanced in the hand.

All the controls seemed a bit sticky and stiff. I think a good cleaning would help things out a bit.

Range Time:

I knew that .327 Magnum was pretty loud but I was a bit surprised at how loud .32 H&R Magnum out of a three inch barrel was. Of course I was outdoors and not wearing ear protection so…

The recoil even with magnum rounds is minimal. It is actually a very soft shooting revolver. Load it up with .32 Smith & Wesson Longs and it has no more recoil than a .22 LR.

The front sight (in daylight) is very bright and easy to pick up.

As the day went on and more rounds were sent down range the grittiness of the trigger and the stickiness of the controls got better. As a side note after a good cleaning they have improved even more.

I wish I could comment on the accuracy. The targets we were using were at unknown distances and the back drop didn’t lend itself to seeing where the misses impacted but what I can say is that this gun in a real pleasure to shoot. The balance, the lack of recoil the grips…it all adds up to a whole that is better than the parts.

I like it and can’t wait for the ability to go test out the accuracy. In the meantime I will be loading up some .32 H&R Magnum since it is nearly impossible to find around here.

Take care and God bless.

Training With .22 Long Rifle

Back before the “Great Ammo Shortage” I toyed with the idea of using .22 Long Rifle versions of my primary firearms for training purposes. Once .22 LR disappeared from the shelves this idea fell by the wayside. Well, the venerable .22 Long Rifle is back on store shelves and while it is not as cheap as it once was it is pretty reasonably priced once again.

So, why train with .22 LR?

The primary reason for training with .22 LR is cost. With lower priced ammunition the cost of training goes down which means more training for the same money. Bulk .22 LR costs about 2.8 cents per round and even premium rounds like the CCI MiniMags come in around 5.9 cents/round. Even premium rounds cost less than bulk 9mm (11.7 cents per round). For rifle cartridges the difference is even greater. Super cheap 7.62×39 comes in at 16.2 cents per round and 5.56 tops that at 26.7 cents per round.

Until recently, I carried a revolver for my every day carry (EDC). Specifically, I carried a Ruger LCR in .38 Special. Back before the Great Ammo Shortage I also purchased a version chambered in .22 LR. It is identical in almost every way to the .38 Special except the caliber, 8 vs. 5 shots and the trigger pull. Like most rimfire revolvers the trigger pull is significantly heavier than the centerfire counterpart. I am OK with that. Even though I now carry a semi-auto I still train much of the

Ruger LCR in .22 LR

time with small, lightweight revolvers. Why? For the same reason that batters take a few practice swings with a weight on their bat. Swinging the heavier bat makes it easier to swing the lighter. Maintaining a proper sight picture (especially with simple gutter sights) while managing a 6-8 pound trigger pull on an ultralight snubby is darned tough. It is even tougher with the heavier trigger pull on the rimfire version. A couple dozen rounds with a snubby and my speed an accuracy with the semi-auto are both noticeably improved.

The bottom line if that the key components of gun handling trigger control, sight alignment and sight picture can all be practiced as effectively with a rimfire as with centerfire…more cost effectively.

This doesn’t mean you should never train with centerfire rounds. No since.22 LR will give you any practice with recoil management.

Glock G44

One more caveat, it is important to train with rimfire weapons that are as similar as practical to the centerfire firearms you use for defense or hunting. As I mentioned I have a .22 LR version of the LCR I used to carry as my EDC. I also have a .22 LR version of my primary hunting rifle (Ruger American Predator). I just picked up a Glock 44 which is the .22 LR version of my bedside gun, the Glock 19 (range review to come). I may even pick up the new .22 LR version of the LCP II that I occasionally carry.

That’s where the analysis of your own budget needs to come into play. Do you shoot/train often enough for the ammo cost savings to make up for the purchase of the .22 LR version? If you invested in the rimfire version would you be able to train more. As a gun guy, I like guns and shooting so the cost/benefit works out. You need to do your own math.

Hope this gives some food for thought.

Take care and God bless.