Practice, practice, practice…

The Wife (J) and I gathered up a couple of friends (Mr. P and Mrs. D) and went to the deer lease to do some pistol practice yesterday evening. Since I traded my Jeep and wound up driving a Dodge minivan for the time being, it was sort of interesting getting there. P&D live about 1/4 mile down an impossible dirt road – we drug bottom once, getting in to pick them up. Then, it turns out that nobody has bush-hogged the trail into the lease that goes to the cabin where we do our shooting. Imagine a minivan with grass around the mirrors, surrounded by scrub growth taller than the car, following a poorly visible track. We drug bottom once on the trail, too. There are small saplings growing in the trail that we had to go over. I’ll be checking the van for missing pieces a little later in the morning.

Anyhow, once we got to the cabin, which has a bit of a clearing about it, we set up our targets on some old real-estate signs someone had used for this previously, and got to it. Mosquitos weren’t bad, but there were a lot of flies for some reason.

J and Mrs. D both have Bursa .380’s while P has a Springfield Armory XD 9mm. I have an XD .45 and a Glock 39 .45 GAP, but I only practiced with my XD on this trip.

The ladies went first. I have to brag a bit, J can reliably hit what she’s aiming at, at a reasonable range. At around 25 feet, she was grouping around 4″. Mrs. D didn’t do so well, but this was the first time she’d fired her new Bursa, and she is still learning to run the gun. Once she figured out where it’s shooting, she tightened right up, though. Both Bursa’s have a tendency to jam if you don’t rack it just right. We haven’t figured out exactly why yet, but I suspect holding the gun left-side down and not racking it sharply may have something to do with it. Each gun did this once during our session.

I can still hit what I’m aiming at with my XD. I practiced drawing from concealment and putting two rounds into the target – somewhat cautiously, as this is only the second time I’ve tried this with live ammo. It is critical when you do this to get it right, first, then work on speed later. I intend for this to be the summer I achieve proficiency with this. I did OK, but I can improve my speed with practice.

Mr. P ran a few clips of his 9mm and he, too can still hit what he’s aiming at. He can actually group tighter groups than I do, but he takes his time. When I practice, it is to sharpen my self-defense skills; that is, my goal isn’t to precisely hit the bulls-eye – my goal is to get my first two or three bullets in a space the size of my hand in the center of the target, as quickly as possible. The others haven’t begun practicing for that type of situation yet.

Mr. P cut down two pine saplings behind the target while shooting. Wish I had it on video, it was funny. Anyhow, we all had a good time; we picked up our brass when we were finished, loaded up, and returned home.

Discussion of the various pistols, relating to self-defense: The Bursa’s are less expensive guns than the XD’s, and they have de-cockers on them that act like safeties. They are good guns, but the XD’s (and the Glock for that matter) are better suited for self defense.

The reason is that there are several different things that have to be right on the Bursa before it will fire. If you are carrying with one in the chamber, and the gun is de-cocked, you have to turn the safety off, and the gun will fire, but the trigger pull is hard for the first shot, because the hammer isn’t back already.

On the XD or the Glock, if there is a bullet in the chamber, and if you pick it up and pull the trigger, it will shoot. Nothing to fool with while somebody else is coming at you. The XD has a back-strap safety on it which the Glock does not. On these guns, which have no external safety, you are perfectly safe carrying with one in the chamber, as long as you realize that the holster is part of the system. The correct holster protects you from anything getting inside the trigger guard, including your finger, until you have drawn the gun. So in a life or death situation, you draw the gun and shoot – no worries about the state of the gun and whether it will actually shoot when you pull the trigger. This makes these guns, and others of similar design, better self-defense weapons, in my view.

Let’s face it, if you are attacked by someone, that person will be picking the time and place to give you as little warning as possible. You don’t have time to wonder about the state of your weapon, and I personally want the confidence that it’s going to do what I want it to do, on the first try, every time.

Anyhow, a good time was had by all, and we will probably do it again soon.


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