Sunday, November 29, 2015

Coal In His Stocking...

Is what he's going to get.  Somebody has spent most of the afternoon in time out, shut in a bedroom...

Now I'm afraid to go to bed tonight...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thankgiving!

From an old bird who just got back from being stuffed in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Comparison: Baretta 92 and Fabrique Nationale Hi-Power

Somewhere along the way it morphed from self-defense shooting to an interest in accuracy.  A desire to group tightly and punch the center right out of the target.  Well, OK, wanting to look at others on the range and think "Nah nah na nah na I shoot better than you!".  But let that go...  I work with my carry piece virtually every week trying to get as close to that as I can.  But, of course, there's only so much you can ask of a short-barreled self defense carry gun.  It's made for more close up shooting.  I'll keep working on it, but the chances of my punching the center out of a target at 25 yards with a gun that has a 3.5 inch barrel is probably not real good.  I just figure the more I practice and use that as my goal the more likely that in a SHTF moment my muscles will know what to do when the rest of me is going "WHAT THE HELL?!"

I sold the Glock 19 on because I realized that I was never going to shoot well with it.  The grip, the trigger, and my small hands meant that I always felt like I was squishing things around after every shot, trying to get a better grip.  Not as bad as the day I was sweating like crazy and my first gun sort of popped out of my hands like I was trying to grab a fish, but once I started shooting other guns I realized that it just didn't feel right.

Anyway.  Murphy's Law is not one to not stoke a burgeoning gun addiction, so he's been good enough to lend me some guns to try.  Which is good - again, small hands, short arms, need to find right fit, which means handle the gun and stores don't tend to let you take their merchandise out for a trial at the range.  So he lent me two 9 mm guns to compare:  a Beretta 92 and a Fabrique Nationale/Browning Hi-Power.

First discovery was not so much a discovery so I knew to just keep at it - dadgum slides on unfamiliar guns.  It's not just hand strength, but also just getting the feel of how you need to hold and pull in order to rack the slide.  And I have at least learned to drop the magazine out if it's fighting back.  Seems a simple thing, but each gun is different and I have to work for a bit to find just the right grip and stress point to make it lock back.  It made life much easier once I realized I might have to mess around a bit to get the feel of each gun.

First up was last week - the Beretta 92.   Originally designed in 1972, a version of it is now the official military side arm.  A search on the serial number turned up a manufacture date of 1988 for this one, which formally lived with the New Orleans PD.  According to the ever useful Wikipedia:
In the 1970s every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces except the U. S. Air Force carried the .45 ACP M1911 pistol. USAF opted to use .38 special revolvers, which were also carried by some criminal investigation/military police organizations, USAF strategic missile (ICBM) officer crews, and by military flight crew members across all the services when serving in combat zones or when engaged in nuclear weapons duties.
The Department of Defense then decided to synchronize the weapons of all five branches of U.S. forces. The ground combat branches of the services found this decision highly contentious, but was meant to eliminate the need to buy replacements for worn out M1911 frames and to establish a common NATO pistol round to simplify logistics in case of war with the Soviet Union in Europe. In 1979 the Joint Service Small Arms Program began searching for a replacement for the venerable M1911, and the 9×19mm Parabellum round was selected for compliance with the NATO Standardization Agreement(STANAG). In 1980, the Beretta 92S-1 design was chosen over entries from Colt, Smith & Weson, Walther, the Star M28, and various Fabrique Nationale and Heckler & Koch models.
It's a real gun.  Not polymer - steel.  Heavy and very solid feeling.  One thing I found interesting is the open slide design:

 We got along very, very well, even with the large grips.

That was at maybe 15 to 18 yards - I was about 3/4 of the way back on the 25 yard range at 340 Defense for those that know that range.

Then I had to wait a while because the stars weren't aligning for pistol work.

But they matched up today for a short run to the range with the Baretta and another in tow - a Fabrique National (or Browning)  Hi-Power.  It's wiki entry says it started production in 1935 and:

The Browning Hi-Power was designed in response to a French military requirement for a new service pistol, the Grand Rendement (French for "High Yield"), or alternatively Grande Puissance (literally "high power"). The French military's requirements were that the arm should be compact, have a capacity of at least 10 rounds, a magazine disconnect device, an external hammer, a positive safety, be robust and simple to disassemble and re-assemble, and be capable of killing a man at 50 meters; this last criterion was seen to demand a caliber of 9 mm or larger, a bullet mass of around 8 grams (123.5 grains), and a muzzle velocity of 350 m/s (1148 ft/s). It was to accomplish all of this at a weight not exceeding 1 kg (2.2 lb).
FN commissioned John Browning to design a new military sidearm conforming to this specification. Browning had previously sold the rights to his successful M1911 U.S. Army automatic pistol to Colt's Patent Firearms, and was therefore forced to design an entirely new pistol while working around the M1911 patents. Browning built two different prototypes for the project in Utah and filed the patent for this pistol in the United States on June 28, 1923, granted on February 22, 1927.   One was a simple blowback design, while the other was operated with a locked-breech recoil system. Both prototypes utilized the new staggered magazine design (by designer Dieudonn√© Saive) to increase capacity without unduly increasing the pistol's grip size or magazine length.
Interesting note:  "Hi-Power" doesn't mean high power.  It refers to the ability to carry more ammo in the magazine.

This one's serial number says it was made in 1989.  Not as big as the 92, it's still a substantial pre-polymer gun.  I noticed one thing in particular - more muzzle flip than the 92.  I need to do more digging, because the stats I find for both guns right now are for current models, but I'd be interested in the weight difference.

92 top, Hi-Power bottom
And I don't have any pics from today.  For one, it was unpleasantly crowded.  I suppose people are off for Thanksgiving.  I did well to get a target out, let alone run down and get a picture.  For the other, ya know the John Denver song that says some days are diamond and some days are rust?  Today was rust.  There was an impermeable dome over the plate a good deal of the time.  I shot the daylights out of an area starting about where you see the tops of my fingers in the first pic all the way around the bottom at about that same hand width.  Yeah, I killed the bad guy but yeesh.  And because it was crowded I couldn't start closer and work back - I had to shoot the full 25 yards.  Ah well, another day.  Everybody please go back to work and let me practice in peace.  Although I was somewhat entertained by the guys next to me who had some sort of sooper dooper whizbangy laser sight on their pistol.  "It's the gun it's the gun the sights are off."  Partner takes gun and knocks the plates down one by one.  "The sights are not off.  I hit dead center every time I shoot it."  First guy tries again and doesn't shoot dooky.  "It's the gun it's the gun the sights are off."

The verdict right now - I like the 92 a bit better than the the Hi-Power.  On these specific examples I like the trigger on the 92 better than the one on the Hi-Power, but I realize triggers are changeable.  I liked the 92 well enough that when Someone-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named forwarded me a link for a heckofa price on one I grabbed it.  I didn't get more than 30 rounds through the Hi-Power today though.  It deserves further contemplation.

And now I have to go back to trusty Google and find out how to strip and clean these guys.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Just When You Think... might be OK that we made sure that the French don't have to speak German...

I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure that on December 8, 1941, we didn't give a rat's rear end about any agreement we may have had about Japanese immigration.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


(*Disclaimer - All photos from here on are stolen from the Project Appleseed West Virginia Facebook page.  I was way too busy to take photos.)

Some of us local folks were signed up to go last month, but the heavens opened and it bucketed and bucketed and bucketed.  We could have fished in the Izzak Walton League pond and shot on the rifle range at the same time.  I laid my gear out in preparation, but was not unhappy when the cancellation e-mail came through.

Yesterday was a better.  Colder, and blustery, but nothing layering couldn't deal with.  Although I lost contact with my nose periodically, depending on what the clouds were doing.

I have rifles.  I have shot them.  But not with a great deal of knowledge of what I was doing or of the proper hows.  As a consequence, I haven't been able to shoot worth dooky.  So I needed training.

An aside here.  I'm older.  Murphy's Law has teased me with the title "Granny Oakley."  I kinda like that - I've thought of changing my blog name to that.  But I did start this hobby late in life, and because of that, my muscles are new to shooting positions.  I didn't realize that regular yoga was a prerequisite for proper rifle form.  I'm only sort of kidding.   I suspect I'm not the only one of the older participants who is sore and tired today.  On the other hand, half the class was under 18, and considerably more flexible.  Gumby-girl in the blue and white jacket below is firing while bracing her elbows on the ground instead of on her knees.

It took just one of the position change drills to make it clear that I needed to stay on the ground if I actually wanted time to fire...

Lots of demonstrations -

And personal assistance when needed -

And in between, we were given the story of April 19, 1775, the date when we began to truly fight for our freedom, and the date that American marksmen sent the finest army in the world running with their tails tucked between their legs.

Ironically, this training came the day after the horror of Paris.  The completely expected and predictable horror that occurred in a disarmed country whose citizens have placed "diversity" above the lives and well being of of their children.  As have many in the US.  But there is hope here.  This was half the firing line yesterday.

 And some of those kids are doggone good.