I took my carbine down to Tennessee to have the guys at CCA dial the new-to-me Aimpoint in before class. Joe got both the glass and the backup irons sighted in at fifty yards. Without thinking about it, I demonstrated the quick-change barrel feature on the MGI upper to a friend right after that. "Gee and gosh!" I thought to myself, "I hope that didn't screw up my zero for class!" Nope. The barrel held zero through being removed and reinstalled, just as advertised. Love it!
The class is "carbine & pistol", which means doing transition drills from shoulder gun to sidearm and vice-versa. One drill today involved engaging the target directly in front of you with body shots from your sidearm, holstering, and taking a head shot on the target of the shooter to your immediate right on the firing line with your carbine.
Observe the ballet of errors:
I'm using the Para LTC9, right? And mixed in the ammo can I'm using are a couple hundred rounds of CorBon 115gr 9mm that uses a stubby little Sierra JHP bullet with a blunt nose. For some reason, due to its short OAL and blunt prow, this is a load that the Para absolutely hates, and I figure I'll just burn as much of it up in this class as possible. I engage the target in front of me with one shot and malf! The slide doesn't return to battery because the short little round has nosed firmly into the feed ramp. I give the slide a pro forma yank, which just jams the round in tighter. Crud.
Now, this is all happening a lot faster than I'm typing this, and guns are blazing away on either side as I lock the side to the rear and rip out the mag in the gun, flinging it to the deck. My hand drops down, at first to the carbine mag in my hip pocket, but I realize my error before doing something monumentally stupid, like trying to stuff a 30-round carbine stick into my pistol, and my hand gathers up the correct mag. I feed the gun, run the slide and put two more into my target.
Now, I'm holstering the pistol just as everybody is finishing with their carbines so, in a hurry, I bring up my heater, park the red dot smack between the eyes of the target to my right, and stroke the trigger twice...
While the red fiber optic front on the Para and the glowing red dot of the carbine's optic look a lot alike parked on the target, in all the excitement I'd forgotten something I damn well knew: At the range we were shooting, the carbine's dot needed to be placed just over 2" above where I wanted to hit. This wouldn't have been the end of the world if these had just been plain ol' straight-up silhouettes, but by this time, Louis has the targets tilted and turned every which way, and this target was tilted to my left about 45 degrees, like a dude leaning out from behind cover, and that red dot between the running lights translated into a pair of .223" holes in the blank paper just below his right ear.
So, a pretty good illustration of my brain fade under stress.
And this is why we go to gun school.