I did some shooting yesterday with the Pro Carry II, and while it wasn’t a great practice session by any means, I was able to come away with some useful data about the gun itself. I’ve mentioned that the gun feels tremendously oversprung, and when reviewing slow motion video of some shooting I see that the slide is actually traveling forward and hitting cases at times causing them to fly forward of the gun. One of the other side effects of being oversprung is how easy it is to induce a failure.
It is an accepted article of faith among people who carry guns for personal defense that there are bad people in this world, and sometimes the paths of those people intersect with ours. We also accept violence as a solution, and while we hope that we’re never placed in a position where violence is our only recourse, we all know it could happen. But one of the things that’s been on my mind lately is “shoot/no-shoot” situations, and how a lot of times we focus only on the gun as a tool of self-defense, often at the avoidance of other more useful skills.
It’s time to get busy. After a layoff of nearly two years, Sunday I headed out to Sioux Falls Practical Shooters to shoot a club level USPSA match. As it turns out, this was the best attended match that club has ever had, with 55 shooters, some driving up from as far as Sioux City to attend. How’d I shoot? Both better and worse than I expected.
Click bait title right? Obviously I don’t mean using a 9mm to hunt Mr. Buck; but, I recently had to dispatch a gravely wounded deer with my CCW and in doing so I came away with some insight worth sharing.
First a quick yarn about how the events unfolded.
I was on my way to work in pretty heavy fog, when out of nowhere a deer jumped in front of the car ahead of me and tried to wrestle. As expected the car won. Amazingly the driver didn’t stop, instead they kept going (how do I know they didn’t have insurance…) even though their headlight and portions of their bumper where now occupying the road. Normally I wouldn’t have stopped either, but the deer came to rest directly in front of the bus entrance to my son’s elementary school. It was early in the morning and the buses hadn’t started running, but I knew if I didn’t move the carcass no one would. I didn’t want school buses dodging a deer in morning school traffic, nor did I want small kids to start their school day witnessing bloody gore.
Time to test a new gun, while the Dan Wesson is off at NRA getting its photo taken for Rifleman. We’re starting with the Kimber Pro Carry II in 9mm, and like all of test guns it starts with the 10-8 Performance test.
I don’t care that you’ve already seen this 1,000 times on your Facebook feed. It’s Friday, it makes me laugh. FREEEEEDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
710 rounds in and no failures of any type. The most recent range session was a simple, 200 round USPSA warm-up session using the excellent Birchwood Casey reduced USPSA targets. I’ve been using these targets to train with because they’re almost exactly half the size of a regular USPSA target; plus when I’m training on a single lane indoor range I can hang two of them on the carrier and work on transitions. Like my friend Annette says, “splits are for show, transitions are for go.”
You bet I am. I know it seems silly, but I haven’t shot a match of any level in nearly 2 years. In fact, the last match I shot was the 2014 IDPA Nationals in September of that year, and then I put my guns down for a while. I had other things I needed to do and priorities on where to spend my money.
But this year, as I’ve previous mentioned, I’m back! And I’m excited, because I actually really do enjoy shooting matches. I’m hoping that having taken 18 months off will help remember the fun I had when shooting, because to be honest by the end of 2014 I was pretty burned out on travel and matches and all of that. But now I’ve had some considerable downtime, and I’m legitimately excited about shooting a club match. Which if I’m honest, feels pretty good.
Firearms are relatively simple machines to understand. You load them, you point them at something you want to put a hole in, and then you pull the trigger. Easy, right?
So why in the name of Zeus is it so bloody hard to get people to avoid pointing guns at things they don’t want to blow a hole in?
“Excuse me, sir, but would you like to put a bullet through your hand? No? THEN DON’T POINT THE GUN AT YOUR HAND!”
I see this kind of stuff far too often when I’m at the range. On more than one occasion I have actually laid hands on another person to redirect the muzzle of their weapon away from either an innocent person who did not deserve to get shot, or in a couple of cases their own anatomy.
On a trip to the NRA range when I was shooting a drill, out of the corner of my eye I saw Todd Green dive into the next lane. I immediately ceased fire, brought my gun to a ready position and moved. I looked over to see Todd shoving an 8mm Mauser rifle away from my direction. The woman handling the rifle had it pointed directly at me.
Todd got a few inches away from the woman’s face and very sternly said “Do not point guns at my friends.”
Was he being rude? Hell no. He was doing exactly what everybody should do when someone POINTS A LETHAL WEAPON AT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. Endangering the life of another person REQUIRES an immediate and stern rebuke.
You know what is rude? POINTING A LETHAL WEAPON AT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING.
In this video we have a clear example of where an immediate and unmistakable correction could have prevented gunshot wound. The victim here appears to be the person who is less familiar with firearms of the pair in the video. I’m all for taking people to the range, but when we do it is incumbent upon us to emphasize safe handling and correct any mistakes instantly and unmistakably.
When the shooter here put his hand in front of the muzzle the proper response would have been to IMMEDIATELY direct the gun away from his anatomy and very simply say “Don’t point guns at anything you don’t want to kill!”
If someone is unable to take that sort of correction, they don’t need to be handling a gun.
Of course, the shooter here did not mean to do any harm to himself or anyone else. He was simply being careless with a very dangerous object.
But tell me…did his lack of malice matter? Did he get any less shot because he didn’t mean to do it?
Bullets are stupid. They do the same amount of damage whether you intended to launch one or not. So it is not a trivial matter when someone puts the muzzle on human anatomy…be it yours or theirs.
Rule 1 is rule 1 for a reason. You can screw up every other rule of handling a firearm, but if you observe rule 1 then there is some embarrassment and perhaps some drywall to repair but that’s it. If you screw up Rule 1 then somebody bleeds. Someone is permanently injured. Someone dies.
One of the items brought up during the test of the Rock Island Armory was how well the gun would hold up under a round count that, quite frankly, is unusually for owners of this brand to put their guns through. To find out, I field stripped the RIA and checked several critical areas for signs of frame battering, barrel rollover, or any other critical issues.