Bad Training Day

“Do as I say, not as I do!” Training is good. Unless it’s bad training. Pushing for speed is bad training, but sometimes you want to see what you can do. Sometimes it’s more fun. But it’s still not good training.

Edit: This what happens when I finish a blog post very late at night. I meant to mention a lot of stuff that got left out. First an foremost my way of training is not the only way, or even necessarily the right way; I’m no expert, and this is not received gospel. View it critically and compare with other sources and ideas and decide on your own what you need and what’s important.

Made in 1945, this old Colt has still got it where it counts!

Today was my bad training day. I was doing 5-yard Draw-and-Fires with my Colt Detective Special. Draw, get a sight picture, fire a shot, re-holster. Do so no faster than you can get good hits. Necessary? Yes. Boring? Definitely. I realized I was letting my speed creep up, so I decided to push it and see what happened.

OK, this is not awful, and it was fun. But it’s a great way to develop bad habits if you overdo it. While I was visiting the darkside I decided to do a few cylinders of rapid-fire at seven yards.

Also not bad… and you know it’s genuine because it’s me and there are flyers.

Look, it’s not always about deadly-serious training. Sometimes it’s OK just to have fun, push it and see what you can do. In that spirit I also played with the Astra 600. This is not a gun I ever intend to carry or employ for self-defense, so it’s OK to goof around with it *nods head earnestly.*

I dumped a couple of mags at seven yards, and was pleased enough with the results.

Next I decided to run a target out to 25 yards. I set my shot timer for 1 shot per second and had a go. Sloppy, but not tragically bad.

Shooting a serious business, and training needs to be taken seriously. But shooting is also a hobby, and all work and no play makes Mike a dull boy. We can’t all be deadly serious all the time. It’s fun to play around and see what you can do, and it also allows you to gauge your progress and isolate areas you need to improve. For example I tend to pull my shots to the left when I push it, so I know I need to work on that.

Edit: I meant to elaborate that pushing yourself is necessary to discover your limits, so you have a better concept of what you can and can’t do, and can incorporate that knowledge into your thinking when contemplating self-defense. Competition (USPSA, IDPA, ASI etc.) is a good way of doing so in a controlled environment; it’s safe, there are set standards for performance and a variety of ways to test yourself. It also isolates ‘test’ from ‘training’ in a way that shows areas where you need to improve without teaching bad habits if approached thoughtfully and in context.

Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself, but keep a firewall between that and your dedicated training time.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 17 April 2021

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One Gun To Rule Them All?

There’s an old adage among gun people, “Beware the man (person) with one gun, because odds are they knows how to use it.” It’s more true for rifles or shotguns than handguns, though. Most people I’ve met with only one handgun have it solely for self/home defense and practically never think about it, let alone train with it. For purposes of this discussion we’re going to restrict ourselves to carry guns, because that’s where it is used most often. My internet buddy Will just posted a Youtube video on the subject, and covers it pretty well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auy9yZTR0z8 He puts up some pretty good stuff; have a look and maybe subscribe.

Look, our lives aren’t all the same, and for a lot of us needs vary. Sometimes more or less discretion is necessary, which can mean having options in several different sizes. If you are a fairly new gun owner it’s not a bad idea to find a platform you like and stick with it, at least initially. By ‘platform’ I’m referring to Glocks, S&W M&Ps, 1911s or whatever. These platforms come in a variety of sizes and calibers, so each of your carry guns will have a common grip-angle, manual of arms and similar triggers. That’s just good sense. This doesn’t mean you can’t experiment; it’s a really good idea to find a range with gun rentals to try out different guns and find what you like before committing.

Three guns, three sizeds three different manufacturers, but all three guns have the same manual-of-arms, similar grips and similar triggers.

Oops, better explain one of my terms here- ‘Manual of Arms.’ This refers to the operation of the gun; what controls there are, where they are located, loading the weapon, clearing jams etc. These things will all be identical across a given platform. The idea is if they all work the same you can use them pretty much interchangeably under stress. To a certain limited extent training with one is training with all. Whether you choose a revolver or semi-auto getting a common platform can give you an advantage when changing guns.

For the big revolver makers pretty much all their guns of a given type will all have the same manual of arms. All S&W double-action revolvers are functionally a single platform, as DA Colts are a distinct platform, as DA Rugers are a distinct platform… you get the idea. All of them provide small, medium and large-frame guns.

Add a Glock 42 or 43 to this picture and you’d have a size for virtually any carry need.

Carrying a single platform simplifies training, and in semi-auto platforms you can usually use the largest magazine in all the guns; on the smaller ones you can probably use the magazine from the largest, which makes your life easier and cheaper.

For myself? I’m sort of ‘platform agnostic,’ but I’ve been at this a long time and have a broad base of experience. Stick a gun in my hand and as long as it works I’ll probably be fine. But developing this took decades, a deep fascination with handguns and a lot of training and practice. It’s not for everyone. So for me the choice of a concealed carry handgun boils down to ‘how well do I shoot it and how well does it fit the circumstances?’ But I’m the exception, not the rule.

Let’s talk about those circumstances. How much discretion is required? How warm is it? What is the perceived threat level? What clothing options are appropriate? These things factor into your choices, and for most of us if we adhere to a ‘one gun’ philosophy we’ll have to build our lives around the constraints of that gun, which will likely be very limiting. It will either limit what we can do and where we go, or we will need to settle for a smaller, likely less capable weapon… or worse yet choosing to go unarmed in some situations.

While a ‘one gun’ philosophy likely won’t work for most of us, the ‘one platform’ philosophy gives up the broadest range of options, and the greatest freedom in our lives.

Stay safe and have a great week.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 13 April 2021

“What? No, the Other Other Mauser.”

The Mauser bolt-action military rifles and the C96 ‘Broomhandle’ are icons in firearms history, but they are far from being the only really successful guns the company has produced. In the first decades of the 20th.C. their pocket-pistols were wildly popular.

Mauser had a concept for a family of pistols ranging from pocket-guns to service pistols, all with a common look and manual-of-arms. They started this new family with a full-size service pistol in 9mm, but there were issues with the design. Rather than getting bogged-down they proceeded with the smaller members of the line, perhaps figuring to sort the service pistol out later. They never did, but in a the process they gave the world a pair of excellent small pistols, the models 1910 in .25 ACP and the 1914 in .32 ACP.

Very similar in appearance, the 1910 .25 was a bit smaller and slimmer than the 1914.

Both the model 1910 and 1914 were straight-blowback, striker-fired pistols that fed from a removable box magazine located in the grip and holding eight rounds. Both use a heel magazine release and feature wrap-around wooden grips.

The Model 1914 was used extensively in Police service in Germany and across Europe. It was well made, reliable, accurate and comfortable to shoot. It saw service in both World Wars, and was updated in 1934 with a palm-swell at the back of the grip and other small tweaks.

These guns tend to be polarizing with their unusual safeties and other features, but at the time they sold like hotcakes. If history is any judge people liked them very well indeed regardless of what we might think today.

Odd but Good

At the time of their introduction the conventions of semi-automatic pistols were not firmly established, but even in their day they were a bit unusual. First off the slide locks back on an empty magazine. Not too unusual, but the slide locks back when you wrack it even if there’s no magazine inserted, and there’s no way to release it, except by inserting another magazine. Whether the magazine is loaded or not the slide will drop. This was to facilitate rapid reloads; no control to release, no need to ‘slingshot’ the slide. Pull the empty, insert a full one and the gun chambers the round. easy-peasy.

The slide locks back on empty, and the only way to drop it is to insert a new magazine.

Today people either love this or hate it, but it didn’t seem to bother buyers back in the day. I’m OK with it; it’s a little inconvenient at times, but not a big deal.

The other control that stands out is the safety. There is a lever just behind the trigger. Pushing this down activates the safety and locks the slide. You cannot push it up again to remove the safety. To do that you press the small button beneath the lever, which pops up and the gun is ready to shoot. The idea seems to have been to have to different, distinct motions to use the safety and there was no confusing them. It’s easy to operate and I think it’s pretty neat.

off-safe on the left, on-safe on the right.

Another oddity is, frankly, it’s looks. These days we’re used to a specific look with the slide overhanging the rear of the grip and these guns don’t so much. The slide is odd too. We’re used to an open-top slide or an ejection port. These guns, like the first Beretta’s, have both. It looks kinda’ weird. Well, it works so what the hell. I like it; it’s different but sort of Diesel Punk.

Not much overhang at the rear, and the slide and barrel…

Take down is unconventional but easy. There are video tutorials on Youtube, so I won’t repeat them here; it’s a lot easier to show than to explain.

So How Does it Shoot?

For test-firing I used Winchester White Box 71gr. FMC and a 78gr LFP handload which we’ll discuss later. The trigger is, stop me if you’ve heard this one, odd but good. There’s a fait bit of take-up but it’s light and smooth; you never feel the trigger break. Reset is fine, not particularly short or long. It’s very easy to use and lends itself to good control in rapid-fire. The sights are rather good for a pocket pistol of it’s era with a large, thick front sight and a good-sized U-notch rear. Recoil is mild, and the gun comes back on target quickly.

Seven yards, one shot per second.
5 rounds at 15 yards, one shot per second
Five shots, 25 yards, no timer. I believe the missed shot went off the top of the target.
Double-taps at five yards. I was running out of targets to this was shot at the back of a taped-up target, which is why it looks so messed up.

I didn’t do so hot at 25 yards, which I attribute to me, not the pistol. Double taps were not stellar, but I’m sure both those and my 25 yard targets will improve with practice.

About That Hand-Load…

OK, the usual. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this data. It is prudent to start 10% below the listed load and work up. Always ensure any gun, particularly an antique gun, is safe to operate before firing it. When in doubt don’t.

Here’s the load:

78gr. LFP, 1.9gr. Unique, CCI500 primer

3-12″ barrel, 709 fps. 87 ft/lbs ES: 9 fps.

This is a very mild load, well suited to shooting in antique guns. It fed fine from the magazine and cycled the action reliably; I experienced no misfires.

Conclusion

I love this gun. It’s a sweetheart; very comfortable in the hand at very easy to shoot well at defensive distances. Felt recoil is very mild. Did I mention that I love it? I’ll get a couple of more magazines, and if continues to be as reliable as it has been so far I’d have no issues with the idea of using it for discreet carry. Now I want a Model 1910. Because reasons.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 9 April 2021

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