Thursday, April 05, 2007

Practical Shooting is the new Bowling Night

When you're good at the various drills and scenarios of practical shooting, you're like poetry in motion. When you're not so good, you're still pretty good. Tonight, I wasn't so good. Even though our match was shot without moving from one station to another, I think I could have done a bit better.

One of the things I enjoy with this sport is the timing aspect. You can compete with others around the country, or you can just try to break your own best time. I'm going for a personal best time before I even think of trying to compete with others.

You can tell who is shooting with a modified handgun and who isn't in most cases. You'll see things like magwells on their guns to enhance magazine loading, the guns will be weighted differently and the barrels will have ports cut into them to reduce recoil. They'll also have some kind of electronic sight system on it. Reducing the trigger pull is also a regular feature of their guns, making it easier to fire the guns. Those folks are the serious racers, but it's doubtful you'd see those people using their heavily-modified pistols in a defense situation. Still, though, if they're good shots with all those extra bits, there is a very good chance the racers are good shots with stock handguns, too.

Most other guys will shoot their weapons in stock configurations. We're either military, ex-military, or law enforcement types who just want to get really really good with the one or two guns we have. Modifications aren't as radical as the racers, with the usual modification being improved regular sights. A lot of us would to be able to afford the modifications to a handgun that would allow us to compete with the racers, but it's just nice sometimes to be able to know how good you are with a stock handgun.

We've got all ages and both sexes in the match. So, yes, you can meet just about anyone there. And the best conversation starter is "So, what are you shooting tonight?"

As for the XD40, it performed well enough. I made a common mistake when I kept my hand on the slide while chambering a round. I had a misfeed due to operator error, but instead of breaking, the slide just locked back until it was cleared. So remember, new shooters, let that slide go forward by itself. You don't need to help it. After that minor bungle, I shot normally. Once I got home, I used some copper solvent on the barrel to remove the build-up that could cause accuracy problems after a while. Copper is softer than steel, so when a jacketed bullet is traveling through the barrel, it will leave a trace of copper on the steel. After over 1000 rounds, I had enough build-up to where you could see it with a flashlight. That problem has now been fixed.

I also recently picked up a Hoppe's Boresnake for my handgun. I'm not sure if it works as advertised or not. I'll have to try it on its own instead of using it in addition to the standard patch-and-brush cleaning.

My shooting was average for me. But it was still more fun than I've had all week at work.

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