All posts by David Zakar

Sometimes you do beat those odds

As mentioned in passing in other posts, I bought a Smith & Wesson R8 revolver about a year ago that I have basically been using for messing around with OSR and low-light shooting. Reloading 357 Magnum (at 38 Special pressures) is a good excuse to use leftover powder that I am uninterested in stocking longterm (Bullseye, Unique, etc.). Nothing wrong with that, but as any reloader can tell you, swapping out calibers on a progressive press is typically an annoying affair. I also find that 9mm moonclips typically work much better than 357/38 moonclips due to cartridge length. You can see where this is going: I like the R8 in 357 Magnum, but I’d like it a lot better if it were in 9mm.

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Meprolight Mepro 4X-CHV Day Scope Review

An optic that has always interested me was the Meprolight Mepro 4x Day Scope. This is the ACOG competitor that Meprolight released a few years back, and discontinued recently. This had led them to becoming a little cheaper, and thus now within the realm of “things I can buy without it being a major financial decision”.

I’ve got mine mounted on a Tavor SAR… read on for what I thought of it.

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What is a 2011 vs a double-stack 1911?

Words have meanings, and the 2011 vs double-stack 1911 terminology is extremely confusing to many people… hence a lot of misuse. With a number of new entries coming into the market, I thought a refresher would be in order.

A double-stack 1911 is literally just that: a 1911 with a wider grip, and no other structural changes. Examples of these include the Para P18, BUL M-5, and RIA TAC HC. This necessitates certain parts differences (trigger bow being a big one), but the parts differences may vary from model to model; for example, Para P18s use different grip panels to hide the trigger box near the grip safety, vs the BUL M-5 which has a very specific grip safety with wings.

2011 is a registered trademark of Staccato (nee STI), but it is the generally accepted term for a 1911-like pistol that has a steel module with rails and a pair of grip bushing as its serialized part. The key word here is modular; the grip can be changed out separately, and is often polymer. Examples of these include the Staccato P, BUL SAS II, and Springfield Armory Prodigy. There may be certain parts incompatibilities (BULs use different grips and magazines) between them, but they usually use about the same parts you’d see in double-stack 1911s. One key thing to understand is that not all 2011s are double-stack. The Cosaint COS11 and Staccato R are 2011s that use single-stack 1911 magazines.

So… now you know. Don’t say 2011 when you’re look at that RIA, and don’t say double-stack 1911 when you’re looking at a Staccato P. 🙂

FPF Training Practical Revolver Class AAR

When I got my bonus last year, I decided that my “splurge” would be some quality revolvers. My only experience with revolvers before that was a Taurus 94, and let me say, the Taurus 94 is not a great revolver. I knew there was better stuff on the market, and I wanted to get some guns to scratch some various competitive (and tactical?) itches.

The problem with guns is that buying them does not give you proficiency. You’ve got to earn that through hard work. Given my lack of experience with the revolver platform, I really wanted some good hands-on mentoring. When I saw that FPF Training was offering a revolver class, I jumped on it. Did I like it? Read on.

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BUL trigger pull measurements from my own personal collection

During a reddit thread discussion, I took the time to measure the trigger pull weights of various BUL pistols in my collection, which I felt like I should repost on the blog. All measurements were taken with a Wheeler trigger pull gauge, and they were repeatable across multiple pulls:

  • Bullesteros (9mm, gen1 with steel grip): 1.6lbs
  • SAS II TAC SC (9mm, 2021): 3.5lbs (PGW tuned)
  • SAS II TAC Commander (9mm, 2021): 3lbs (Atlas trigger installed, probably some trigger work by someone)
  • SAS II TAC 5 (9mm, 2022): 3lbs
  • SAS II TAC Government Carry (45 Auto, 2020 or 2021): 3.25lbs
  • M-5 Government (45 Auto, gen1): 4lbs
  • M-5 Ultra-X (45 Auto) #1: 3lbs (!)
  • M-5 Ultra-X (45 Auto) #2: 3lbs (!)
  • M-5 SC (9mm, gen1): 3.5lbs (PGW tuned)
  • M-5 Commander (45 Auto, gen1, full compensator): 2.6lbs
  • BUL Storm: SA: 4.5lbs; DA: > 8lbs
  • BUL Storm Compact: – SA: 4lbs; DA: > 8lbs
  • Cherokee (gen1): SA: 4.5lbs; DA: – > 8lbs
  • Cherokee Compact (gen2): SA: 6.1lbs; DA: – > 8lbs
  • BUL Impact (9mm): SA: 4.5lbs; DA: – > 8lbs

As you can see, the SAS II guns are uniformly pretty good. The M-5s vary a lot more due to what I assume is tinkering by their former owners and/or worn in parts. For what it’s worth, my personal favorite trigger is in the Ultra-X (short, light, smooth) followed by the TAC 5. The Bullesteros has a fantastic trigger that is way too light – I need more practice with it.

The Tanfoglio-derived pistols (Impact, Cherokee, Storm) have uniformly average triggers, with the Cherokee gen2 having an oddly bad single-action pull. I almost wrote that they all had bad triggers, but years of shooting the P320 X5 Legion, SAS II, and even tuned up revolvers have made me forget these pull weights are roughly on par with a factory CZ-75. The trigger pulls tended to be smooth, so they didn’t feel awful, but they were certainly heavier than I was used to.

The reality is that a (single action) trigger pull weight under 4lbs is fine for competition use, albeit I prefer something in the 2.5lb-3lb range when practical.

New “Stage Builder” tool by Target Barn

A contact of mine at Target Barn hit me up about a new Stage Builder tool that they have recently released. Stage Builder is a web-based tool for building competitive shooting stages for sports like IDPA, USPSA, and so on.

I’m not a stage designer, but I have to admit I had been giving it some thought recently, so I did play around with it.

Forgive the lack of fault lines in this screenshot

The good news is, it’s easy and intuitive to use. The stage above was put together in about five minutes. You can create simple stages without a lot of hassle. If I was building IDPA or multigun stages, this tool would work quite well. The stage description feature is also appreciated, not to mention that you can save your stages.

The bad news is that it doesn’t necessarily have all the features you may expect. I was a little surprised I couldn’t easily label props/targets (had to make separate labels), or that there wasn’t a simple way to show distance marks for scale. I also felt that walls and shooting areas probably could have had their own native functions instead of being props and squares. A list of total props used would also be good, given the constraints many ranges have on equipment. Perhaps later versions of the tool will have these features?

Overall, I think this is a very convenient alternative to some other stage design software, and if I were designing a match with less complex stages, I’d be using it. The killer app here very well might be sharing stages with friends, perhaps even as some sort of community of stage builders.

Gorospe x Wampler Collaboration Advanced Practical Shooting Class AAR

While hanging out on Discord awaiting primer notifications and checking out the dankest memes, I heard some chatter about a new advanced class that was being put on by David Wampler in collaboration with Kevin Gorospe, and that it was amazing. Honestly, I had no idea who these guys were, but some Internet research showed they were legitimately top-level shooters with a lot of good knowledge to share. Plus, it was a one-day Sunday class on a free Sunday, and not a ton of money… things were lining up such that it seemed like a great idea to go. I signed up on @gw_collab Instagram and this past Sunday, I saw what it was all about.

Was it good? Read on.

Continue reading Gorospe x Wampler Collaboration Advanced Practical Shooting Class AAR