After getting some solid life lessons at my first night vision shoot, I bought some gear and went back to another event. Would you believe I found out some more?Continue reading More Lessons I Learned In the Dark
All posts by David Zakar
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.Continue reading Meprolight Mepro 4X-CHV Day Scope Review
Lessons I Learned In the Dark
I had the opportunity to go out to my first “night shoot with night vision” on Sunday night, and as you may expect, it was quite the learning experience. I’ve done a fair amount of white light shooting, but this was the first time I took my RNVG with Omni VIII tubes out for a spin. Here’s some essential lessons I learned.Continue reading Lessons I Learned In the Dark
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. 🙂
2022 in Review, and Plans for 2023
I have to admit, with some shame, that I didn’t spend a whole lot of time on the blog this year. I had a nice run of SHOT posts, but real life was so busy that it was hard to find time to finish a couple of bigger articles I had going. I had a great shooting season anyways.Continue reading 2022 in Review, and Plans for 2023
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.Continue reading FPF Training Practical Revolver Class AAR
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.
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
An Ode to the P320, and a Journey of Pistols
My first centerfire handgun was a 9mm Sig P226R with the DAK trigger system. The DAK trigger is not really as horrible as some people make it out to be – for a bedroom safe gun, it provides some margin for sleepy bump in the night wake-ups – but I will say that it’s also not the trigger I’d want to be shooting USPSA with. It’s a long pull, with a heavy (albeit shorter) reset.
I bought a whole bunch of Israeli handguns after that. They were cheap surplus, they functioned pretty well (after a spring change, sometimes), and they did have a cool factor associated with them. I even bought a S&W SW9VE, which was my first ever striker-fired handgun. The SW9VE isn’t the garbage everyone thinks it is, especially after you get a trigger job done to it, but I have to admit that it was average at best, and would be mediocre by any of today’s standards.
But just before MD’s AWB came into effect, I bought a Glock 17 gen 3. I had no intention whatsoever of using this pistol as a pistol – I actually paid the FFL at the time to register it as an SBR so I could mess around with pistol chassises. Frankly, I am still looking for one that I think measures up. But what I also discovered was that the Glock 17 was not a terrible gun. It was simple, reliable, had a much better trigger than my SW9VE, and magazines were not as wallet-busting as the SW9VE magazines. This, along with a bit of Blade-Tech gear, was my entry into the world of training and action shooting. I took a holster draw class, and I was hooked from then on.
After that, I got heavily into Glocks and Polymer80 pistols. Doubly so when I took a class with Modern Samurai Project and found out how much more I enjoyed shooting optics-equipped pistols. I procured a couple of Glock 34s and shot them in Production and SSP, while a pair of optics-equipped slides kept me going in Carry Optics. It worked out well!
However, I found myself starting to wonder if there was more I could do with striker-fired guns. The Glock platform just seemed to have a performance ceiling, and while more skill always beats better gear, better gear can help you better use what skill you have. This was happening about when Sig released the P320 X5 Legion. Looking at it, it checked all the boxes – heavier, better trigger, modular, and with a very substantial aftermarket. When a local person advertised theirs at a reasonable price, I went for it. It was everything I was hoping it would be, right out of the box. I bought a second one a few months later, and then recently a third (AXG Scorpion) and fourth (FCU build on a TXG grip and full-sized slide with threaded barrel).
What I love about the P320s is that they give me options without much compromise. AXG grip with threaded barrel upper? No problem. Threaded barrel upper on an X5 polymer grip? Just an FCU swap away. If I decide I really want to go with a compact-style or even subcompact-style grip, it’s $50-$60 to make that happen if I don’t already have one. All of them are optics-ready. All of them take the same magazines (size limitations not withstanding). Sig is only the manufacturer that seems to be doing modular pistols “right”, despite any number of them (Ruger American, IWI Masada, etc.) being nominally available. This is the sort of thing that makes me gravitate towards the P365 now that Maryland has opened the gates to concealed carry by normal folk – one gun could be like four different ones with slide and frame swaps.
I’m not making a play that the P320X5L is the end-all be-all of Carry Optics and Production division handguns. It’s not. It has a lot of really good competition from the Shadow 2 OR, Walther Q5 Match SF, Beretta 92X Performance, and so on. I shoot (Bul) 2011s from time to time when I can get away with SAO guns. But, from the perspective of “here is a handgun that I cannot hit the limits of, yet”, the P320 X5 Legion has been very good to me. If Sig ever brought back modular hammer-fired guns ala the P250, but with fantastic DA/SA triggers, I’d certainly love to add a couple of those FCUs and slides to my inventory.