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
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.
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.
IWI, the Israeli company behind the Tavor and Galil rifles, has released a new 9mm striker fired pistol in the US market; the Masada.
It has received some very good reviews online but, for the most part, it is another “me too” entry in the 9mm pistol market; polymer frame, striker fired, interchangeable backstraps, and standard three dot sights. Nothing particularly special except that it comes optics ready straight from the factory and has an MSRP of $480.
At least one online gun seller is bundling them with a Vortex red dot sight and selling them for $568.99 (link) which is about what a Glock 19 MOS is running without the optic.
A buddy (who is a bit of an Israeli-phile) noticed the price an immediately ordered one. He was kind enough to let me run a few magazines through it and I thought I would share a few of my thoughts and observations.
This is a nice little pistol.
What do you mean little pistol? Isn’t it a duty sized pistol with a 17 round magazine capacity?
Yup. But it doesn’t feel that way.
The shape and contour of the grip makes this feel smaller in the hand. Unlike the similarly sized Glock 17 it does not feel like you are holding a 2×4 in your hand. It compares favorably to Wonderful Wife’s M&P 9c and feels better (and smaller) than my own Glock 19s. My stubby little thumb can reach the magazine release without completely shifting my grip. I don’t know which backstrap was installed but it was extremely comfortable for myself with my stubby little finger and for my buddy and his ape hands. It is an amazing feat of ergonomic engineering.
The trigger is unremarkable. It is there. It works and it doesn’t stand out in either a good or bad way. It is not a crisp as the P320 but seems a bit better than the Glock triggers. So, standard middle of the road striker fired pistol trigger.
The three dot sights are basic and cheap. Better than standard Glock sights but not as good as the X-ray sights on the SIG.
For the price this little pistol is an excellent value. I recommend it highly and if I were not already invested in other platforms it would be high on my “I want” list.
So how about the red dot on a pistol?
Glad you asked.
Red Dot Sight
Like the Masada the Vortex Venom is not a top of the line red dot, but it is an excellent sight for the money. If you will be carrying into battle an Aimpoint will probably be tougher and more durable. For a night stand gun this is a great little optic for the money. I had one previously and loved it until my grandson wanted it and now I don’t have one anymore. I will be getting another (or several).
I have heard good and bad about this type of configuration but this was my first time shooting a pistol with a red dot and I was anxious to see how well they would work for me. First magazine I was able to ring the steel target from around 7-10 yards most of the time. I had no problem picking up the dot when I brought the gun on target (this is a complaint many people have).
Oddly, I was more accurate with the SIG 320 with its excellent sights and I was shooting about the same level of accuracy as I did with my Ruger LCR.
No, I didn’t see a dramatic increase in accuracy using a red dot in this case which is a common justification for pistols in this configuration.
A few reasons:
1. The red dot was not perfectly sighted in. It was shooting several inches low at that distance. I didn’t realize that at first and my accuracy improved as I figured out the “hold under.”
2. I ran a grand total of (maybe) 50 rounds through the Masada with the Venom while I a lot more rounds on the P320 and even more rounds with the same sight setup (they are the same sights as on my P365 and P250. In fact everything about the P320 (except the trigger) is identical to the P250 and I have several thousand rounds through that pistol including dozens of IDPA competitions. The Ruger LCR is another platform that I put thousands of rounds through.
3. We were shooting at a pretty short range and I think that a red dot would start to make a real difference at longer distances.
So are iron sights better at these closer distances?
There were two key differences in shooting with the red dot versus the iron sights:
1. I was able to achieve comparable accuracy with the red dot while shooting faster. Even while compensating for the improper zero on the dot I could “ring the gong” with comparable accuracy but about 30% more quickly. This would translate into more hits on target in less time. I think that is a definite plus in a self-defense situation.
2. With my eye issues I have to close my left eye when shooting iron sights. On the other hand, with the red dot, I could hit the target reliably with both eyes open. In fact with the red dot it was easy to focus on the target and what was around it. I didn’t have to concentrate on the dot like I do with standard sights. Not only does this increase my field of view but it dramatically helps in being aware of what it going on around you. I think improved situational awareness would also be a big plus in a self defense situation.
While I was initially interesting in red dots on pistols for myself I think the person who would benefit the most from this set up is Wonderful Wife. I do not practice and train as much as I should but I do practice and train a lot. Wonderful Wife is a little better about practicing and training than the average bear but she doesn’t practice nearly as much as I do. I believe her consistency, accuracy and speed would improve dramatically with this configuration. This still needs to be tested out but it is consistent with what I am hearing from other sources. I also think that if I put in anywhere near the same amount of time with this set up as I do my iron sights my shooting would improve as well.
So, there you have it. My initial experiences with the Masada and a red dot optic on a pistol. I hope to get more time on the Masada soon to further test out the concept. I may even break down and buy something for myself and not mooch off friends.
While doing a little research on the old InterWebz I ran across a number of posts and video explaining that the Ruger PC Carbine would exhibit the same extraction issues I have been encountering under two conditions:
1. They like to be run somewhat dry. Clean them, oil them and then wipe off all excess. Given the heat, humidity and (depending on wind direction) salt in the air around here I tend to run my guns, including the PC Carbine pretty wet.
2. The manual say the barrel adjustment knob should be adjusted when the barrel is mounted. many suggested tightening the adjustment knob while the barrel is off because you can get a bit tighter fit. The tighter fit means better pressure on the blow back mechanism and more accurate cycling. So, I did this as well.
The good news is that the gun does run better now. Previously, the gun would malfunction at least once on just about every magazine, sometimes more. Now it only does so once every two or three magazine loads. Much better but still nowhere near reliable enough for anything but plinking (it is a wonderful plinker).
I guess I will have to break down and ship it back to Ruger and see if they can make it work. Otherwise it may just go into the “sell it at the next gun show” list…
The basic requirements I had for a Pistol Caliber (PC) Carbine were pretty simple:
1) Chambered in 9mm to match the primary caliber I use in my semi-automatic pistols.
2) Reasonably lightweight
3) Able to take Glock magazines
4) Able to mount an optic.
That is it. Pretty simple and straightforward. Oh, except one other thing:
5) It needs to be reliable enough that I would be comfortable betting my life and (more importantly) the lives of my loved ones on it.
There are a lot of options out there. Many AR manufacturers have a PCC version of their wares out there. SIG has a whole line up of different models to choose from. High Point, KelTec, the list goes on an one.
I initially decided just to go with the Ruger PC carbine as it met all my requirements and I had a high trust level in Ruger LCR revolvers. For a variety of reasons I added the CZ Scorpion to my inventory and so decided to test them out head to head.
Ruger PC Carbine
My first impression of the Ruger PC Carbine was that, like me, it needed to go on a diet. It feels chunky in the hand and feels heavier than I would have expected (it is 6.8 lbs). The adjustable peep sights work very well for me at self defense ranges (out to 25 yards). The fact that this little carbine is a take down model that can easily slip into a back pack nice bonus.
At the range, that heft translated into an incredibly soft shooting carbine. Seriously shooting this thing is like shooting a 10/22 with an oversized stock on it. With an optic the range is extended and the speed to engage and hit targets out to 25 yards is amazing. I absolutely love shooting this rifle, except for one thing…
…it seems to jam about every thirty rounds. Very disappointing, to say the least.
My buddy bought one at the same time and he hasn’t had a single issue with his and seemed convinced that it was because he had changed out the magwell adapater and was running Glock magazines. So I did the same…
It does this with several different types of ammunition from different manufacturers. I cleaned the rifle before I started the test and cleaned it again when changing out the magwell. No help.
The problem seems to be with ejection. Rounds don’t eject fully before the action closed. I even had one instance with two spent casings still in the receiver. This was very disappointing although I had heard a few rumors about this being the case from various sources.
I am very disappointed, not only because this is the only one of the two to meet all four of my core criteria but also because this is such a nice and easy gun to shoot and shoot well. I haven’t sent it back to Ruger yet but plan to soon.
The CZ feels like a lightweight compared to the Ruger even though it is only a few ounces lighter (6.38 lbs). I think a lot of this has to do with the slimness of the carbine. It feels good in the hands (very subjective I know). The stock is adjustable for length of pull without the use of spaces like the PC carbine uses. While the CZ is not a take down the stock does fold making it easier to stow away although not as easily as the Ruger.
I was shocked how easy it is to disassemble this rifle. Push one (captured) pin and the trigger group drops out. Then the bolt assembly can be dropped out. 1, 2, 3 bing bang boom all done!
As good as the sights are on the Ruger, the included iron sights on the CZ are even better. You have multiple apertures for varying levels of precision. They are also serrated on the back side to cut down on glare. At home defense distances (25 yards) they were very accurate and I was able to hit man sized targets at 50 yards with ease. With a red dot optic mounted it was even easier and faster to hit targets. I was even able to make shots out to100 yards and get reliable hits on man sized targets. Not too shabby for a 9mm.
From a reliability perspective, the CZ is amazing and had zero issues through over 500 rounds. I did not clean the rifle at all during the testing but I did clean the two included magazines at about the halfway point. They were running reliably but they were getting harder to load and I wanted to see if they would feed as reliably after being disassembled. They were. An additional 20 round magazine and a 30 rounder also proved reliable in the testing. Magazines are pretty cheap with factory magazines running right around $20 each.
Recoil is not a problem but it does recoil noticeably more than the Ruger PC Carbine. To be honest there is little difference between the recoil of the CZ Scorpion and an AR15 firing 5.56 ammunition. I think that’s where the extra bulk of the Ruger comes into play making it an incredibly light and easy shooter.
The ergonomics of the CZ took a little getting used to and there are areas for improvement. As many have noted the safety lever is in a very bad location on the gun and tends to dig into the hand if you keep a high grip. I will definitely be changing that out. Fortunately there are plenty of options available on the market. There are also plenty of options for upgrading the charging handle, trigger and magazine release. I might change out the magazine release at some point as well but don’t see a reason to change anything else.
Honestly, I really like both of these carbines…a lot.
The Ruger is an incredibly light shooter and easy to handle. It meets all my criteria except for the reliability issue. If it wasn’t for that this would be a 100% recommendation. We will be sending it back to Ruger and see if they can correct the issue. Until then this is just an incredibly fun plinker.
The CZ (in my mind) looks really cool although I wish I had spent the extra few bucks for the one in FDE because after having seen one it looks even better. The Scoropion handles and shoots very well. I could plink away with it all day. With the reliability it showed I would not have an issue betting my life on it either. It doesn’t meet one of my criteria (Glock mags) but it nails every other one into the dirt. I like this little carbine so much I find myself wanting to purchase the pistol version and add a brace or SBR it.
Still To Come…
One test I haven’t had a chance to do on the CZ Scorpion is to feed it self-defense ammo and see how she runs. Until then she is still a plinker and range toy.
I have a decent red dot optic mounted (Vortex Venom) but would like a little larger one with longer battery life. I will probably buy a Primary Arms SLxZ Advanced Red Dot. I have had incredibly good luck with PA red dots and the SLxZ offers 50,000 hours of battery life. With battery lifer like that I will leave it on all the time and just replace the better once a year or so.
As I mentioned I will be sending the Ruger in to see if they can correct the issues. I’ll post an update here when I do.
I hope you found this informative. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below.
It does not take much for most parts of the Texas Gulf Coast to flood. Even sixty or so miles from the actual coast we are only a few feet above sea level here. For the last twenty years or so we felt pretty safe in our neighborhood. Even during the worst floods during that time we were high and dry…until Hurricane Harvey in 2017. That changed everything for us and as a result it is a separate and dedicated post in this series.
There is no way to stop or stem the floodwaters once they start rising. We have to trust and pray that those managing the local waterways take the appropriate action. The three different government agencies managing the lakes and flood control systems failed to do so in 2017. Even basic coordination and communication failed. So when one agency (literally) opened the flood gates upstream and the agency managing the lake downstream failed to take the appropriate corresponding action our house became a part of the river that runs a mile or two from our house…
From a preparedness perspective there is not much (short of moving several hundred miles away) to do to prevent damage. It is just a matter of minimizing the impact.
De clutter – We have a two story house and anything able to be moved up to the second floor was (and should be) safe. The problem was all the junk we had accumulated over time left little space to move things into. Most of it was our junk we had accumulated but didn’t want to part with but a lot belonged to my kids and their spouses. We let them view their old rooms as their own storage areas. That has changed (and still needs to change some more). We are actively working to decrease the upstairs clutter so we can save more of what is downstairs.
Critical Supplies and Gear – All of this has been moved upstairs permanently. We have some frequent use items that might still need to be moved like items in our pantry but for the most part critical gear and supplies reside on the second floor.
Better Inventory – For the most part, I was able to save everything of significant sentimental and monetary value that could be move but it was a lot of work and took a lot of time and energy that could have been used doing other things. This also means having a good spreadsheet of other documentation (storing in multiple locations) of what we own and what we paid for it.
Insurance – The reason for the documentation? Flood insurance, which we now have. At least around here a normal homeowners policy will cover water damage if it comes through the roof or the plumbing. It does not cover flooding from natural disasters like Harvey. Although insurance is a great thing it has its downsides as well. Both of my neighbors who did have flood insurance are still trying to get reimbursed for their losses…
Savings – So we can continue to live, rebuild and cover what insurance doesn’t we need to make sure we have enough in the bank. In addition to donations from work, money from FEMA and home repair loans we were at least $10,000 out of pocket for repairs/replacement. How many people have that much to carry them over? A lot of folks in our neighborhood did not and many had to “walk away” from their homes allowing the banks to foreclose on them.
Tools – Wrecking bars and utility knives/box cutters were worth their weight in gold for a few days after Harvey. These are cheap and we will have plenty extras on hand if there is a next time. We will also have a ton of replacement blades on hand. Saws (power and hand operated), shovels, wheelbarrows, dollies, and hammers were also critical during the tear-out after the waters receded. We will also have a few cases of contractor grade trash bags.
Gear – Masks to keep dust, debris and mold out of our respiratory tract are important. We will have a ready supply of them along with gloves. Work gloves are important but so are surgical gloves to keep your hands free from the nasty stuff flood waters carry with them.
A small lightweight revolver (Ruger LCR in my case) was a constant companion during and immediately after the flood. The first chamber in the cylinder was loaded with “rat shot” for any unwanted four legged or no legged critters that decide to make your home theirs. The remaining four rounds were traditional self-defense rounds for any two legged varmints. At some points in time a shotgun was kept close at hand.
Bugout/Get Home Bag
Tropical storms are a common enough occurrence around here that most businesses don’t close. We go to work and hope for the best. Sometimes that best isn’t so good. On a couple of occasions I have been trapped away from hope by rising flood waters from tropical storms or even winter weather. The side of the road, a gas station or even a customer’s office is not a great place to spend the night. Having a few essentials along can make a world of difference.
With Harvey we had plenty of warning to pack what we needed to evacuate. We may not always be so lucky. I have historically kept a bag in my car with enough supplies to sustain me for a couple of days. I even put one together for Wonderful Wife. However, we lived out of those bags for quite a while and haven’t really restocked or verified what was still inside. This is a big goal of mine over the next few months.
So, that’s our flood strategy. What are we missing? Any other suggestions?
For as long as I can remember I have liked the idea of carbines chambered in pistol calibers. It worked pretty well in the American West when folks frequently carried a long gun and hand gun that used the same cartridge. It simplifies logistics (one round for two weapons) when you have to travel light. The recoil and muzzle blast from a Pistol Caliber (PC) carbine within the home is significantly less than from a similar weapon chambered in a rifle cartridge. They are also cheap to shoot and practice with. Around here 9mm is about half the price per round of even the cheapest rifle ammo.
I like this idea so much I have two lever action carbines chambered in .38/.357 to match the majority of my revolvers. I also have a nice Winchester Trapper in .44 Special/.44 Magnum as well to go with my Smith & Wesson model 69. What I have not had (until recently) is a long gun to partner with my 9mm semi-automatics.
My requirements list wasn’t particularly long. I wanted it to be reliable, reasonably light weight, able to take Glock magazines and mount an optic.
The Ruger PC Carbine seemed to fit the bill perfectly. It also had the added bonus of being a take down. When I first handled the Ruger I was shocked at the weight and thickness of the receiver. It looks so much like a 10/22 and had been compared so often to the 10/22 that I had it in my mind that it would feel like just like a 10/22 and weigh about the same. After resetting my expectations and handling one a few more times I shot to the top of my wish list. I whined for one for long enough that Wonderful Wife bought me one for Christmas.
The CZ Scorpion Evo 3 did not meet one of my core requirements (it doesn’t use Glock magazines) but it was still on my wish list.
First, I think it is drop dead sexy, especially in FDE.
Second, I would grab one at every gun show I went to and shoulder it. It just felt right in my hands and when I shouldered it. While it is only a few ounces light than the Ruger it feels significantly lighter. This is probably because of how slim it is overall.
When the Demonrats now in charge of the House proposed their new Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) I went ahead and bought the Scorpion. Partially, I did this out of protest. Partially, I did this because although the White House and Senate should prevent any bills passed by the House from making into law you never know in what will happen in Washington. The other reason I did this is because I have been wanting one for a long time and it was time to take it off the wish list.
So…now that I have the two PC Carbines that were on my wish list, what else is there to do besides do a side by side comparison?
I should be able to post an initial overview next week after that the posts will be a little slower in coming to give me more time with these rifles.
Ruger has gone and done it again. They seem to be really good at waiting until I purchase something that is close to what I want and then releasing the exact thing I was wanting. On the flip side, maybe I am just not patient enough…
In this case I just purchased a short barreled LCRx in .357 Magnum after deciding that Ruger wouldn’t release a three inch version. Well, yesterday I received an email that they did indeed release a three inch .357 Magnum LCRx…Doh!
I probably won’t run out and drop the cash on this model immediately, since I just bought the snubbie version, but one may make it into the safe at some point in time. Now that Ruger has taken the plunge on a three inch .357 Magnum LCRx it is very possible that a 9mm or .327 Magnum version could follow at some point. Both of which would also be very high on my “I want” list!
I have a crazy fascination with the .327 Federal Magnum cartridge and, to be honest, with .32 caliber revolver cartridges in general. The .327 Magnum was designed specifically to provide similar ballistics as a .357 Magnum and do so with less recoil and out of short barreled revolvers (snubbies). Another advantage of the .327 Magnum is that, out of the same sized cylinder, you can get extra round. For example, my .327 Ruger LCR is a six shot revolver that is the same size and weight as a five shot .357 Magnum LCR. The five shot .38 Special LCR also the same size although a few ounces lighter.
I also love single action (cowboy) guns so when Ruger released the Single Seven chambered in .327 Federal Magnum it immediately rocketed to the top of my wish list…and stayed there.
A single action revolver is not terribly practical in the modern world. As a result, although this little revolver was at the top of the wish list other, more practical firearms were purchased instead of the Single Seven. Then last week something happened to change all that. I was passing time between meetings but browsing a local gun shop and asked about .32 caliber revolvers. They just happened to have received this one the day before. As soon as I held it the die was cast and it was just a matter of how much it would cost me…
I didn’t get a great deal on it but I didn’t get a horrible one either but in any case, Merry Christmas to me!
Needless to say I couldn’t wait to get it to the range.
Unfortunately, all is not roses and unicorns with the little Single Seven. The base pin that the cylinder rides on backs itself out under recoil binding up the gun. It started exhibiting this behavior after a few rounds of .327 Magnum but by the end of the range session it was even doing it with light .32 Smith & Wesson long rounds as well.
A quick call to Ruger an a replacement base pin is on the way. If that doesn’t resolve the issue it will have to be sent back to them for repairs. To say that I am a little disappointed would be bit of an understatement.
This aspect of my preparedness has become a bit routine; teaching Sunday School and then Church on Sundays, praying for my neighbors daily, Wednesday night Bible study (which I have missed twice this month due to work). I think it is good that these things have become routine but I think it might be time to shake things up a bit. I don’t know what that might be yet but I have a few ideas.
I don’t want this to become a routine without thought and contemplation…that’s too easy a trap to fall into.
I like having a backup for my primary carry gun. That is currently a Ruger LCR in .38 Special so I have been keeping my eye out for one at a good price. A few weeks ago I found one in a pawn shop for a good price. It was perfectly clean and looked to have never been out to the range (that is no longer the case). So, just as I begin to contemplate switching to the P365 I have a backup for my LCR…
Speaking of the SIG P365, with the direction the country seems to be headed I wanted an option that packed a few more rounds than the LCR or the Glock 43. The P365 seems to be a pretty good choice for that and I found a decent deal on one locally so I added it to the safe. I will need to dump a lot more rounds through it before I am willing to bet my life on it.
As we head into the 2020 election cycle, I expect that the cycle of violence will continue to escalate but I also expect that gun and ammunition prices will start to head back up as well. So, while supply still exceeds demand and prices are low I plan to stock up a bit more aggressively on ammunition. I looked over my ammo inventory spreadsheet and upped the stock levels I want to maintain for certain ammunition types that I feel are most at risk and that I use the most of.
Based on that I took advantage of the Black Friday sales and picked up 500 rounds of 9mm practice ammunition and another 20 rounds of .308 hunting ammo. I will be looking for additional sales prices and opportunities to stock up a little more than I had previously planned on doing.
We continued restocking the emergency pantry and we are essentially done with just a few minor items to pick up in the next month or so.
While we were discussing ideas for Christmas gifts I mentioned to Wonderful Wife that I would like a vacuum sealer. I told her why I thought one would be a good idea and she got that look in her eye, the one that says “you idiot” without actually saying it out loud and then she told me to go buy one. I mumbled something about Christmas presents and she gave me another look and said that she liked the idea. They would be practical, helpful and save us money and times so we should have one and we should not wait for Christmas. I love this woman. Now, why didn’t I suggest it sooner?
Nothing new here.
No real activity here. We just continued the usual investments in 401K and our Employee Stock Purchase Plan.
Once again a big old nothing in this section despite it being critically important for both of us to get serious about getting in shape…
That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week. How about you? What did you Prep this week?