Friday, November 12, 2010


I hit the range today. Took two pistols out with me: The old police veteran Beretta 92, and the relatively new young pup--the Ruger LCP.

The Beretta was out for testing after I replaced the springs. It was, shall we say, less than reliable when I got it, and I shudder to think of some New Orleans police officer carrying it on duty in the condition that I received it in. Lots of failures to completely chamber rounds, resulting in no sound at all where there should have been a second "bang" in the double-tap.

But now that it sports new Wolff springs and has been thoroughly cleaned and oiled, it shoots like a champ, icky double-action first shot notwithstanding.

The little Ruger, still fairly new to me, was just along for the ride, but since I had practice ammo for it in the bag, I downloaded the carry loads and set it up for some practice scenarios (which basically involved loading it with the target loads and stuffing it back into my front jeans pocket).

The course of fire consisted of two paper plates, one above the other at approximate chest & head level, but since my range has a bunch of sissy pacifists as members, we can't call them that or imply that it's what they represent. I also took another target stand back 15 yards and set it up as a barricade to shoot around. Firing was three-shot strings, two to the ches--uh...the lower plate, and one to the upper plate. I kept moving so that each string was fired from a different location on the range, and when the Beretta ran dry, instead of a tactical reload, I transitioned to the Ruger in my pocket.

I've found that the Ruger tends to shoot low, so that if I want a point-of-aim hit, I have to elevate the front sight so that it's wholly out of the rudimentary rear notch sight. If I remember to do that, I have no trouble double-tapping the paper plate, provided that I don't get too far back from it. But then it was never meant to be a stand-off weapon and I knew that when I bought it.

Close-in (under ten feet) the Ruger does great. I can pull it out of the pocket, index it, and fire twice into the plate in about two seconds. From farther back, give me the Beretta any day (or better yet, my 1911).

And of course it wouldn't be good practice without a couple magazines fired support-hand-only. (That means if you're left-handed, using only your right, and if you're cursed enough to be right-handed, using your left one.) It's only natural that we tend not to practice those things which aren't much fun--like support-hand shooting, but it's also fairly common in real gunfights to take a round in your primary gun hand since bad guys--like the rest of us--tend to instinctively shoot what they're looking at, and odds are that they'll be looking at your gun and, by extension, the hand holding it. And this theory has been borne out in my own simunition training numerous times, and I have rarely gone a day of force-on-force simunition shooting without taking at least one solid hit to my gun-hand fingers (and usually several). Consequently, as a proud southpaw, I always try to fire a few rounds each time out with my right hand only. It doesn't feel natural, and I can't shoot the nice, tight groups that I'm accustomed to, but I've gotten to where I can put consistent hits on the target fairly quickly, and that's really the point of combat shooting. Shoot fast, shoot straight, move to cover, and always have a back-up plan for when things untwist.

Now get out there with your own sidearms and start switching mitts. And don't forget to practice one-handed reloading as well. Your life may depend on it some day and trying to figure it out for the first time while under the stress of a real shooting situation probably isn't going to work out too well.


  1. I had a Kel-Tek .380 and even after one trip back home for warranty repairs is still gave grief. I just picked up a S&W Bodyguard .380 today, range with it tomorrow.

    Do you like the Ruger LCP so far?

  2. I do like the LCP. It's small, compact, always goes "bang!", and it points well.

    In fact my only gripe is that it doesn't hit point of aim if I line the sights up, but realistically, it'll still lay a torso hit on anyone even close to average size.

    I dislike .380's for their lack of stopping power, but this one's small size and reliability makes up for it. Get one.

  3. I just field stripped the S&W Bodyguard and so far I am pleased. I have not pulled a Colt Mustang .380 or the Kel-Tec out yet to compare size yet.

    I do like the S&W as it has a slide stop, thumb safety and real sights as opposed to the Ruger or Kel-Tec. I guess I am old school!

    Tomorrow on the range will tell the story.