Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Why a weapon mounted light?

 CZ P-09; Surefire X300U;

As I mentioned in my recent YouTube review, my preference is for each home defense firearm have a weapon mounted light.  In the absence of that, I insist on a good, reliable, BRIGHT yet compact flashlight be stored with a home defense firearm.  The reasons for this are self evident, we really shouldn't be using a firearm to engage an unknown target and MOST home invasions tend to occur in evening or nighttime hours.  But, WHY should the light be mounted on the weapon, instead of being handheld?

Firstly, the reasons to employ an independent, handheld light are numerous.  You have the ability to use the light WITHOUT drawing or muzzling your target.  That adds an element of safety and utility to the light, and would be my preference for a conceal carry firearm. Many firearms were built without any provision for a rail.  It adds weight to the muzzle end of the firearm.  Yes, correct on all counts.

But, mounting a weapon light also insures that every time that gun hits  your hand you have the ability to both illuminate and disorientate your potential opponent.  I'm not sure if any reader has had the displeasure of having 600 lumens rammed into your retinas, but the above picture gives you an idea of how little you can really see when a weapon light shines into your eyeballs.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, on top of an instant reflex to squint, and a wicked pain and big white blog in the center of your vision for a couple minutes (practice room clearing and shine your light into a mirror, no it isn't pleasant.)

Also note that I have the ability to free a hand while keeping a target illuminated and held at gunpoint.  Think about drawing down on a home intruder, he surrenders, you need to call the cops.  If you have gun in one hand and light in the other, exactly which one do you WANT TO PUT DOWN to call the police?  In my case, I have a small child, and the likelihood is I will have to pick her up and forcibly move her in the middle of the night.  Having the light on my gun, at my fingertips, let's me have a free hand to get my family to the fall back room in our home.

There are perfectly justifiable and defensible reasons to eschew a weapon mounted light.  There are perfectly justifiable reasons to mount one.  Consider your options, your pros and cons, your situation, and let us know what you think?

Friday, August 25, 2017

CZ P-09; Just the Facts

CZ P-09; 9mm double stack 18+1 capacity, DA/SA hammer fired. Weight 1 pound 11 ounces unloaded, 2 pounds 6 ounces loaded. 4.5" barrel. 

The CZ P-09 has been called many things. The Glock killer, the most underrated handgun for sale, and some truly hilarious mispronunciations of Ceska Zbrojovka. What I think the P-09 is is a nearly perfect (if not outright perfect) home defense pistol. The gun is reliable, accurate, low recoiling, high capacity, and with few if any flaws. 

Let's address the capacity. CZ claims 19+1 for the 9mm. I have yet to cram 19 rounds in any of my three CZ magazines (neither the two included with the gun, nor the extra.) 18 rounds fits comfortably and locks up in the gun with the slide closed, so call this an 18+1 in my book. Still, 18 9mm defensive rounds presents a convincing argument to a home intruder in my book. 

Most full size 9mm handguns can be expected to have very little recoil. Thank a long slide, more weight, and the inherently easy going 9mm Luger round for that quality. The P-09 seems to have taken this to a different level. Rapid shooting causes the front sight to become lost and found with slide movement very quickly, muzzle flip is very limited, and the front post comes back to target almost immediately and naturally. This gun allows someone with a novice level of training to put a lot of lead on target very quickly. 

I hate to use flippant gun writer terms like "laser accurate", but it fits. If you put the front dot on target and do your part, the P-09 can be expected to rain lead in that exact spot at reasonable ranges. And reliability is everything the brand's reputation would infer. My gun was unflappable shooting factory ammo or my reloads, never daring once to malfunction. 

If I have criticisms of the gun they are few. The DA/SA trigger will take getting used to (I know, I'm still getting used to it). If it bothers you, CZ includes the parts to swap from a safety to a decocker to suit your preference, and the SA trigger pull is excellent for a factory gun. The grips are slim for a double stack, but those with small hands may still not be comfortable. The slide is, in typical CZ fashion, very short and can present some difficulty grabbing.Also troubling is how hot the slide stop becomes after multiple magazines, something that can present trouble when running classes or during extended periods of firing.

All that said, this gun is my official zombie apocalypse, go to war, protect life and liberty handgun. In spite of its flaws, I warmed up to it quickly and my confidence grows with every range trip. If anyone is wanting a full size duty gun but wants to step off the well worn path of striker fired Glocks and M&P's, find a dealer that will order you a P-09 (or its little brother, the P-07) and get to know one of the most underrated handguns in the firearm world. - Phil Rabalais

Monday, August 7, 2017

Gun Handling 101; Don't suck, and don't buy into dogma

Chapter and verse has been written about firearm rules. Much of this is oft repeated and ubiquitous, but I enjoy challenging convention and stirring the pot, so I thought I'd take my own stab at firearm rules. Note I lump training, proficiency, and safety all in together. I don't separate these aspects of gun handling, and I don't think you should either.

1. Know the condition of your firearm at all times, and insure it is appropriate for the situation - Yes, everyone has heard "treat all guns like they're loaded", but that universal advice isn't as universal as you may think. If I'm dry-fire practicing at home, I don't WANT to treat my gun as if it is loaded because I wouldn't be discharging it all willynilly in my own home. Likewise, I don't want to realize my gun is cleared in a defensive situation. Know what condition your gun is in at all times, whether loaded and hot, slide locked on an empty mag, or completely clear. And always insure it is in the condition it should be. 

2. Always be aware of where your muzzle is pointing -  Pretty self explanatory, but really important. Whether drawing, storing, handling, or shooting ALWAYS know where your muzzle is pointing. Many a man has perforated his calf or buttcheek and decimated innocent pieces of furniture not paying attention to where their muzzle was pointing. 

3. Maintenance, maintenance, more maintenance - Every time a single round goes down my barrels, they are field stripped, cleaned, and oiled. If a gun sits for sixty days unfired, it is checked for corrosion, wiped down, oiled, and put back in storage. My conceal carry gun gets weekly cleanings. More or less maintenance may be advocated by others, but the point is to keep on top of your firearms maintenance. If a firearm can not be depended upon to go bang every time firing pin hits primer it is useless as a defensive firearm. 

4. Know your firearm by touch alone - If you train enough, you should be intimately familiar with your firearm so as to operate its controls by touch alone. Extra points if you can reload without looking. Now, I recommend you glance at your firearm while reloading (a bobbled reload costs valuable time), but you shouldn't have to hunt for a safety, slide release, or bolt catch. Know your gun by touch, and to that end train with gloves if you intend to wear them (things feel a lot different, trust me.)

5. Train with ALL of your gear, No I don't care if you feel like a dork - Now, please don't be that range nerd that shows up at his local public range in a plate carrier, III%er gear, LBE/military load bearing equipment, etc. Yes, I have seen all of the above, and it is ridiculous. BUT, if you plan to wear any gear while operating your firearm you owe it to yourself (damn Private Murphy) to make sure it all fits and works together. I have an armor vest and battle belt that were built to work together (and separately) and I only know because I did some dry firing with both on to figure out if anything interfered. I also practiced with both my carbine and sidearm, seeing how everything lay when I transitioned weapons, could I access my pistol reloads with my rifle laying across my chest, could I reach all of my gear, was anything in anything elses way?  Just please don't make a spectacle of yourself in public, the home with cleared weapons is the proper place to figure all of this out. 

6. Practice the hard shit - I suck shooting with my offhand. Not like can't hit the broad side of a barn, but MUCH more awkward and larger groups, so that's what I take time to practice. With my new home defense gun, I suck shooting double action on that first shot, then transitioning to single action, so THAT is what I practice. I am a much more proficient rifleman than a handgunner, so I practice accordingly. Going to the range to only practice the things you're good at is wasted time and effort. Do the things you aren't comfortable with, then circle back to two handed/strong side shooting. Also when dry firing, spend some time with your dominant hand out of commission. Practice drawing and shooting weak hand only (yes, you'll have a time drawing cross body when your holster isn't set up for it, that's the point.) It may just be an opportunity to look foolish, or a life saving skill in a gun fight. 

I'm sure my cohost will have his own additions to this list, and many of you may as well. I hope you'll all lend me your feedback here in comments or over at Facebook. I do believe this list is an excellent starting point for novices and a reminder for the more experienced among us. Phil Rabalais