Saturday, May 07, 2011

Is Bullseye Shooting or Shooting From a Rest Meaningless?

More and more often, I get the impression that there's a notion growing within the shooting community that the discipline of precise bullseye shooting is a useless discipline and that using a rest is even worse.

I remember when it was just exactly the opposite and the struggle was to get away from slow-fire shooting, adding power, speed, and much-reduced time-frames into the competition mix.

For what it is worth, I do continue to shoot pure, non-timed, slow-fire bullseye shooting at both the beginning and conclusion of each range session. The reason is that for me, it forces me to go by the basics of sight-picture and trigger-control better than anything else I've tried. I find that if I work solely on the fast and furious "practical" style shooting, I inevitably wind up "slapping" or "jerking" the trigger in order to get shots off quicker with sufficient (coarse) accuracy for the more-generously scored targets associated with this type shooting. Only by getting back on the boring and merciless bullseye work am I able to maintain being able to shoot a bit more precisely as well.

Speaking only for myself, I prefer to do both and see a purpose for both disciplines.

I shoot from a rest when seeking to eliminate as much human error as possible from the resulting group.  In other words, when trying to determine a particular firearm’s built-in potential accuracy, a rest serves better than free-hand, at least for me.  It is also part of the protocol when I’m trying to adjust sights, be they adjustable and especially if fixed.

We must not confuse what might be achieved from a rest in slow-fire to the results from shooting without a rest or in “practical” style exercises, but to simply assume or even proclaim that precision-shooting disciplines as worthless is a flawed view in my experience.


Friday, April 22, 2011

First Shots: FNX9 Pistol

Hello. I recently tried out two different FNX9 9mm pistols. FNX is the successor to Fabrique National's FNP-handgun series. This polymer-framed, double-action semiautomatic sports frame-mounted, ambidextrous thumb safety levers, which double as decockers, and the pistol does permit Condition One ("cocked-and-locked") Carry for those preferring that option. Unlike the Hi Power, the FNX-line is manufactured in the USA.

The FNX9 has a stainless-steel slide-and-barrel assembly. On one pistol both were left "in the white" for a two-tone appearance. The slide/barrel assembly had been somehow coated black on the pistol. (Other than "looks", these pistols performed equivalently.)

Here is the dark version of the FNX9 semiautomatic pistol. The thumb safety ("on safe" in this picture) can be applied whether the hammer is at full-cock, in the "hammer drop position" (as shown in the photo) or fully foward. The hammer can also be cocked with the thumb safety applied and the slide can be hand-cycled as well. The only time that the pistol must be off-safety is to fire it! Certainly, it can be carried with the hammer down for a DA first-shot and the safety off, but for those preferring to do so, the safety can be applied and disengaged during presentation as is done by practicioners of the single-action autoloader. Barrel length is 4".

FN advises that these pistols are sighted-in for a dead-on hold at 20 yards.

Primer strikes were positive and reasonably well-centered. There were no failures to fire whatsoever in over 1000 shots fired in 5 separate range visits, including this one.

Previous to todays shooting session, this particular FNX9 had digested roughly 700 shots of various commercial ammuntion. With today's 320 shots, that count is now over a thousand with no failures of any sort.

In my opinion, the pistol has the potential as a viable choice for those desiring a reliable and lightweight polymer-framed autoloader for either home defense, concealed carry or both. (The pistol is larger than some expressly intended for clandestine carrying, but this pistol can be concealed with little effort and appropriate clothes selection.)

There are features I really like with the FNX9, but it has some I find distasteful as well. For those interested in a more detail and lengthy report, follow the link below:

Best to all and good shooting.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Which Standard Pressure 9mm Loads for Self-Defense?

On nearly a daily basis, I receive at least one or two emails requesting recommendations on the "best" standard pressure 9mm factory load(s) for defensive use against human predators.

The truth of the matter is that I do not "know" which standard pressure load is best.  I am not sure that anyone truly can know...other than in very general terms.

I can relate what I've seen in my own informal "tests" as well as "anecdotal" reports I've received over the years from folks using various loads.

With respect to 115-gr. 9mm JHP's, Federal's "Classic" JHP garnered nice comments from two people contacting me in the two years or so.  Both were using service type 9mm handguns and both were able to hit their opponents in the "upper chest" and the shots were unobstructed by arms or other intermediate targets.  One required two shots; the other, one.  I was not able to get more specific locations on the hits.  None of the three shots exited on either adult male felon.  If memory serves, this load usually penetrates 10 to 11" of 10% ballistic gelatin and despite its not penetrating the 12" FBI protocol depth in 10% ballistic gelatin, it continues to enjoy a positive reputation as a defense load. 

A newer standard pressure load that I've gotten a couple of positive "user reports" on is Speer's 124-gr. Gold Dot Hollow Point.  I believe that it is used by the NYC Transit Police while NYPD uses the +P version. In my own informal expansion/penetration testing using super-saturated newsprint soaked for 24 hours and then drained 30 minutes before shooting, expansion has been consistent with penetration that should translate to between 12 and 13 inches in gelatin.

How well these loads would perform in shorter barreled 9mm's, I cannot say for sure simply because I do not shoot really small 9mm's very much.  I can say that the Federal 115-gr. JHP averages just over 1100 ft/sec from a Glock 26.  The Speer 124-gr. GDHP averaged 1061 ft/sec from the same pistol.  Both fed and functioned reliably with more than acceptable accuracy.  I have received one report from a fellow using the 124-gr. standard pressure Gold Dot in his Kahr P9. He hit his opponent in the "stomach area" at which time the bad guy ceased approaching with a knife and surrendered and sat (not "fell") down.  (I have no further information on this one.)

At this point, some will be considering 147-gr. loads and I think that newer designs such as Speer's Gold Dot, Remington's Golden Saber or Winchester's Ranger or premium defensive loads such as "Supreme Elite Bonded" would probably perform just fine, though I have not personally "tested" the latter one. Gold Dots and Golden Sabers have consistently been accurate and reliable expanders for me in not only 9x19mm, but .44 Special, .45 Colt and .45 ACP.

Were I considering any load, I would check the general consensus at various sites and perform my own "unscientific tests", but would place all considerations very secondary to reliability in my individual handgun(s).  After that would come individual expansion/penetration performance followed by accuracy.  If reliability, expansion/penetration and accuracy appeared equivalent in one or more loads, I would more than likely opt for the less costly, but if I was not "sure" or if I just had that "nagging feeling" that the most expensive truly was best, I'd buy it.  There are enough unknowns and uncertainty in the fear-filled time in the "dark place" without worrying about the quality of one's chosen ammunition.

Though standard pressure 9mm loads are not my usual first-choices for defensive 9mm ammo, I do have quite a bit of the Federal 115-gr. JHP on hand as well as the other mentioned loads in 124 and 147-gr. weights.  It really doesn't matter to me which wound up in my defensive 9mm pistol.

Our ability to place our shots well under pressure is at least as much of a deciding factor in a deadly force situation's outcome as our ammo choice and probably more.

Best to all and good shooting.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Providing Information or Just Needing to Win?

It appears to me that there is a growing number of forum participants refusing to accept any viewpoint other than their own. In some instances, problems arise when opinions are presented as facts and the players cannot (or will not) see the difference. Sometimes rude and boorish behavior begins when a poster uses an isolated incident to make an all-encompassing generalization about a particular brand of firearm, ammunition or other related product and is called on it, particularly if he then adds yet more opinions (presented as facts) to the increasingly volatile and vocal mix.

Then come the trolls, posters whose words are pre-calculated to stir the proverbial pot, but proclaimed merely to be in the interest of "spirited debate", which in my opinion, is a lie. I believe that the intent is to generate havoc and promote hard feelings to the degree that emotion overrides manners, logic and just being able to pass along the information asked by the original poster! Those poor souls frequently appear to be forgotten as their thread is hijacked into the netherworld of eternal "pissing matches".

"Thread drift" is to be expected when a topic runs to considerable length; it just seems to happen. However, when the focus of a thread is shifted to a "Can-to/Can-not" shouting match between two or more people, the person originating the thread just gives up, abandons his thread and is not heard from again in the very thread he or she started! I find this sad, needless and frankly rude in the extreme. I just see overbloated egos battling for some sort of supremacy.

My approach has been to present what I believe to be an objective telling of what I have personally witnessed or done with respect to firearms and shooting. That which is subjective or opinion is labeled as such; at least I have tried to do so, but perhaps some subjective prose has slipped out without me noticing. If so, I apologize.

I think that considerably more useful, first-hand information could and would be shared on-line if we could all collectively take a step back and not place "winning" arguments above all else. More than once, I've posted my opinion or observation on a topic only to have the next post offer exactly the opposite viewpoint, but I did not try to decimate that post's author. In most instances, I did nothing. I did not respond, retort or most of all, call names. I posted my opinion or related what I actually saw or did and the next person didn't agree with it. Ok, no big deal. Unless it was obvious that some sort of misinterpretation had taken place, I just leave it alone. The reason is that I believe that if I've written the truth (or at least what I believed to be correct at the time), sooner or later it will be recognized as such. I do not "fight" because my ego is not dependent upon "winning" any verbal fencing matches. I simply post what I've seen once, twice or repeatedly over the years and let the reader(s) decide its merit. In reality, I wonder if "shouting matches" between those who've diverted a thread from information to confrontation accomplish more or less? Do you think that these antics encourage the sharing of facts and experiences or just degenerate into useless blather?

It is my observation and long-held opinion that shooters are usually the "salt of the earth" in many situations, but it appears that some associate differing viewpoints or experiences as personal assaults and "winning" becomes everything.

I fear that we may be losing more than we realize and I find that sad.

How about you?

Just something to think about (or not) and the best to you and yours...

Thursday, February 03, 2011

FEG Hi Power Information Site

I am frequently asked about FEG-manufactured Hi Power "clones". My experience with these pistols is limited. I have seen a couple that were sold under the Mauser name, but they were actually manufactured by FEG, just as Browning Hi Powers are manufactured by FN. These pistols sported a polished bright blue finish and were as nice as any FN-manufactured Hi Power I've ever seen. I have seen some FEG Hi Powers that appeared finished with more utilitarian military/police type finishes. The few that I have shot over the years have been satisfactory with the exception of one of the so-called "Counterfeit Hi Powers" allegedly manufactured by FEG, but with FN-markings. Supposedly, these were sold in the Mid-East. The one I shot found its way into the US from S. Africa. It was a typical classic style fixed-sight "Vigilante" model. It was reliable, but groups were much larger than the 3" averages at 25 yards from most other Hi Powers. Other FEG Hi Powers I've shot (had FEG markings) shot as nicely has the FN-made Hi Powers.

For people interested in FEG's, I recommend this site:

It is the best I've seen in providing detailed FEG Hi Power information.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Hi Power Book is Out...

" The Shooter's Guide to the Browning Hi Power - REVISED EDITION" is now available. This book is expanded and covers much more than the original book. Total cost, including S&H inside the Continental US, is $30.95.

For those interested, ordering information and more details about the book are here: