And for the first post of the new year…

Let’s talk about guns and shooting. I would like to say that we started out the New Year with a bang, but that would be untrue. New Year’s Day was a chilly 37o and sunny, which is a bit much for my Dad to be out in at his tender age. Instead, after looking at the weather forecast, we went Tuesday, which was 67o and sunny (Yes, I know those of you in the cooler climes are swearing at me right now. I can hear you.) Since the trip was actually an “interruption” of my Christmas Vacation Home Remodeling Marathon, it’s just taken me a few days to get around to blogging it.

This was a pistol trip. We (me, Son, Dad and Old Friend) took my new-to-me Smith & Wesson Model 65, my Dad’s new Charter Arms Undercover in .38 Special with the trick Crimson Trace Lasergrips and Leroy the Pimp Gun. Our stated purpose was to familiarize ourselves with the new toys. This was especially important for my Dad, who is going to be using the Undercover as his new self-defense gun. (Eventually. More on that in a bit.)

Out of the box, the Charter Arms Undercover is a very nice gun. The trigger pull is longish but not overly heavy, and accuracy with the iron sights at typical self-defense ranges is quite acceptable. While the gun isn’t heavy, recoil is easily manageable, even for an 85 year old man who grip is getting weaker.

The Crimson Trace Lasergrips, once dialed in, offer an extra level of aiming confidence. There are two caveats. First, the activation button is centered at the top of the grip facing forward, and all 4 of us found it awkward to use. I finally was able to come up with a grip that allowed me to control the gun during recoil while still getting my middle finger on the button in such a way as to activate it. This grip takes conscious thought, and I’m not fond of that in a self-defense gun.

For my Dad, with his weakened grip (arthritis is a bitch), it’s even worse. Eventually he was able to work it out, but I’m not sure that the grips were money well-spent for him. We’re planning another trip for him to work on it some more. His lack of strength in his hands makes shooting a revolver something of a chore, and he can’t run though round after round like I can.

However, after a few cylinders, he was putting 5 of 5 into a torso size target at 10 yards by dint of simply ignoring the laser or lack thereof. Bad guys, beware. This Old Guy is not going to be a pushover if you try to rob him.

The second issue with the Crimson Trace grips is the location of the laser. For a right-handed shooter, when laying your trigger finger along the side of the frame, you will cover the laser. You have to modify your grip so that your trigger finger is held at a sharp downward angle, but still off the trigger. Why they didn’t put the laser emitter on the left side of the frame is beyond me.

So, the short version is that we all loved the gun, but no one was very thrilled with the laser. I’d like to try one on another gun by way of further testing, but I’m not going to be putting my hard-earned into it for the test. I’ll wait until I can borrow a gun with Lasergrips from someone.

Next up was the Smith. A relatively large and heavy gun, recoil with .38 Specials is negligible. The trigger, while lo-o-ng (by my inexperienced with revolver standards), is very smooth. Accuracy is also quite good.

Shooting .357 Magnum loads is a different experience. The gun recoils considerably harder, (I know–“Well, duh!”) to the point where the stock wood grips didn’t cut it either for me or Old Friend. We could both feel the gun torquing in our grip, no matter how firmly it was grasped. Before the next trip, the Hogues go on.

Even with that issue, accuracy was still good, as this video of Old Friend shooting from 15 yards shows:

The observant among you are probably wondering where Son and Leroy were during all this. Trust me, neither was left out of the fun. Son tried both wheel guns with .38s, but wisely declined to try the .357s. Between rounds with the revolvers, he and Leroy were out shooting up the steel.

I wish I had pictures (or video), but the Bane of the Christmas Season (dead batteries) struck down my camera right after the above video was shot. Since Mr. Scott wasn’t available to rig a connection between the car battery and the camera, we had to spend the extra time shooting.

We tried the Smith at 50 and 100 yard targets. Of 5 rounds at the 50, I got one hit and 4 close misses, and scored 5 misses at 100. Gotta work on that before the Shade of Keith comes for a visit.

At any rate, we all had fun, and that’s the real name of the game, isn’t it.

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