Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gun School: Post #3. A weakness in my plan!

It is important to bring a whole lotta magazines to class, because nobody wants to be That Guy. You know, That Guy? That Guy who only has two or three eight-round mags and is constantly holding the class up to thumb rounds into them from his pockets between evolutions? Don't be That Guy.

I grabbed my eight best spares and tossed them in the range bag the morning of day one. I also threw my backup 1911 in the bag.

The gun on my hip was my Springfield Pro, which has a magwell. The magwell requires thicker bumper pads to firmly seat the mags. I have two Wilsons with low-profile pads on the bottom specifically for use with my Colt, which does not have the Smith & Alexander magwell.

Two of the magazines I picked up were those two magazines. Can you see where this is going?

Now I have six mags that work easily in the Springer and two that are delegated to my right hip pocket. Between strings, I'm thumbing rounds out of them to top off the mags in my left hand pockets. Luckily I stayed ahead of the pace and avoided That Guy-ness, but on day two, I was using the Colt, which can use all of the mags regardless of baseplate thickness.


pdb said...

Oh yeah. I saw That Guy at pistol school with 2 7 round GI mags for his brand new Kimber.

At least nobody showed up with a revolver! :D

Tango Juliet said...

:) There's always "That Guy" in each class it seems.

I don't think that anyone would confuse you with "That Guy". "That Girl" maybe, but not "That Guy." :)

Think of the mag manipulation skills you sharpened!

Ed Foster said...

While reasonably competent with a .45, I am essentially a rifleman.

Odd, since I got started in this business screwing 1911's together at the NMU shop in San Diego 40 years ago, and I'm now setting up an assembly line for .45's at Continental Machine/StagArms in New Britain.

Something to do with the zen of laying there, soaked in sweat and wrapped into a tight sling while controlling my pulse and concentration I guess. The whole world goes away for an hour, and I finish with a floaty endorphin rush that lasts all day.

But there is something to be said for the pistol. It's not only, as the master said, something to keep you alive until you get to your rifle. It's something you can carry far more often than a rifle, at least in our culture.

It requires more work to maintain competence with a handgun. I can walk away from riflery for a year, pick up a well zeroed weapon, and still break into the 400's. Decades of muscle memory come back as if they'd never left.

But that honest piece of machinery Mr. Browning gave us requires an honesty and commitment that is, or should be, part of every day. I'm getting seriously into the .45 lately, and much of it is due to Tam's enthusiasm and willingness to share her hard won experience.

Thank you Ma'am, and keep sending out the wise and witty missives.

Hunsdon said...

Ed, when you say "that honest piece of machinery Mr. Browning gave us" you really need to clarify. Yes, from the context of the post, I suppose it's obvious, but, uh . . .

Ed Foster said...

Cossack, I concede there have been more than a few "Honest Pieces Of Machinery" from St. John The Divine (understatement), but the contextual interpretation was the correct one.

Consider: double action. To quote Cooper, "A marvelous answer to a question never asked".

Open-topped slides and seperate lockblocks. Why? Lots of extra machining, ofter much weaker slides, more places for gunge to accumulate, and essentially untuneable for match shooting.

How many matches have you ever seen won by a Beretta, Luger, or WWII type Walther? Servicable weapons, but done through expensive/extensive type improvement, in spite of their comparative shortcomings, rather than any inherent virtues of design.

Add in a century's worth of tuning tricks and product improvement, plus the fastest trigger reset on the planet, and it becomes fairly obvious why most of the world's pistols are essentially knock-offs of Mr. Brownings initial design.

Look at the present sidearms of all the former carriers of Lugers, P-38's, Nambus, etc. Do they seem familiar?

There's an engineering term called elegance. It means the simplest functional answer to a problem. What a remarkably elegant man Browning was.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, I know a guy who went through a combat rifle class with a commercial bolt action with very simple sights and bag of stripper clips.

He got a lot of grief the first day from all the lads with tricked out AR-15's.

By the second day a lot of the crap was being removed from the AR-15's.

By the end of the week my pal with his boltie was 2nd in the class ranking and was the only guy who had not had a major, game-stopping, feed malfunction.

Also since he was firing a .308 , everything he hit "stayed dead" in the rankings.

The teachers and students all bought him several beers at the end of the class.

"It's not how many times your gun fires, it's how many times the bullets hit what their intended to hit." Aside fromthe class star, who was very very good, by pal used about 1/2 to a 1/3 the ammo the other's did.

Anonymous said...

I remember someone posted about going thru a class with a levergun, and loading between stages

Anonymous said...

If you would again indulge my curiosity, how much of a bumper does the springfield require?

Tam said...

"On the other hand, I know a guy who went through a combat rifle class with a commercial bolt action with very simple sights and bag of stripper clips."

"I remember someone posted about going thru a class with a levergun, and loading between stages"

This all depends on the course.

PDB sez:

"At least nobody showed up with a revolver!"

I'd rather have someone with a revolver than someone who constantly had to thumb loose rounds into the only two bottom-feeder magazines they'd remembered to bring. Stop and think about which one's quicker...

Hunsdon said...


(If I am being unduly familiar, please let me know, I'd be just as comfortable with Mr. Foster!)

I saw a couple of informal matches won by the dread M9 against (commercial, tricked out) Government Models . . . but that was entirely the shooter and not the pistol.

I entirely agree with the thrust of your comment! The Browning tilt barrel recoil operated system of semi-automatic handgun operation is far and away the dominant strain of handgunnery, and for good reason.

JMB (pbuh) was definitely a man who produced elegant designs. The fact that he did so across such a wide spectrum of platforms speaks more to his genius than any single performance (even the 1911).

I understood your point about which particular honest piece of machinery---it's just that there are whole rafts of such, from the 1878 to the 1886 to the 1892 to the Auto-5 to the .30s and .50s (let us not leave out the Winnie 94!) which would qualify. And I hear Tam digs on her little .32, to boot.

I fear I was snarking.

Na zdorovie!

Tam said...

Anon 9:36,
"If you would again indulge my curiosity, how much of a bumper does the springfield require?"

The standard floorplates on the bottom of a Wilson 47D or regular Les Baer mag are plenty thick enough; you don't need those giant 3/4" racing bumper pads.

Anonymous said...

I ran into a similar problem with a llama, USGI mags had just a little thinner bottom than the {trouble inducing} mags that came with it. You had to take care to seat the mags, pushing them up and in rather than flat plaming them. I tried the 3/4 bumpers, but found them a little annoying. I have been thinking about cutting a .125 shim to puton the bottom of the mags, but haven't got around to it.

Ed Foster said...

And Cossack, Ed works fine. Or Eddie, "Hey You", anything except late for dinner. I'll send my email and phone to your blog. Feel free to drop it as soon as you've copied it. Ed Foster.