Catching up on range time

I will say one thing for being involuntarily retired–you have time to catch up on things that you don’t have time to do when you’re busy being a wage slave, as long as they either don’t cost a lot of money or they use items or supplies previously purchased.  Today we made use of items in the later category.

A few weeks ago Son and I had ventured forth to the Greensboro Gun Show.  Son was looking for his first pistol to go with his shiny new Concealed Carry License.  He had been looking for some time and had his eye on the Sig P938 BRG while I was looking for nothing in particular.  He was able to find his pistol without too much trouble at one of my two go-to dealers for such things.  (Yes, that’s why they are my go-to dealers.)

In my case, as usual when you aren’t looking for anything in particular, things sort of follow you home.  (This is why I won’t be going to gun shows for a while.)  In this case it was a Ruger LC9S Pro with a Crimson Trace Laser Guard.  Mrs. Freeholder is both recoil sensitive and doesn’t care for heavy pistols, a recipe for difficult buying.  And yes, I perfectly aware that one shouldn’t buy a pistol for one’s spouse without their being around to handle it.  Not an issue here, as I figured I’d be perfectly happy to use it myself if she doesn’t care for it.

I also ran into a friend from my range who was selling off some guns.  He is recently retired and his wife has decreed that some of his collection must go.  So I picked up a nice unfired Smith and Wesson 642 CT.  This is the fully shrouded hammer lightweight J-frame .38 Special +P.  My fourth J-frame; the things are like potato chips to me.  I love ’em.

So today it was time to head to the range and try all of these guys out.  Son started with his P938.  I love the boy, but he has some serious bad habits to unlearn.  Between recoil anticipation and jerking/snatching the trigger, he shoots patterns, not groups.  The gun, however, can deliver groups, so we know the gun is OK.  We had one problem with a single magazine failing to feed Federal Hydra-shok ammo when filled to its 7 round capacity.  Other than that, the gun shot fine, not one problem.  I did not shoot it, so I can’t testify to it’s shooting characteristics.  I can say that while we are both not working, we are going to start spending some quality time at the range with .22s and work on those problems.  They have got to go.

I first tried the LC9S, and was rather pleasantly surprised.  I’ve read the reviews, and honestly, I really didn’t think a gun at this price point was going to be all that great.  I was wrong.  It is a very nice, relatively soft-shooting pistol when you consider it’s size and weight and the round it was firing (115 gr ball and 124 gr Federal Hydra Shoks).  At no time did it feel overly difficult to control.  I’ve shot a number of the small 9s, and some of them can be a little lively–not the sort of gun I would recommend for a newer shooter.  The little Ruger, on the other hand, I would feel comfortable putting in the hands of a shooter with less experience.  With a few tips on recoil control I believe a newish shooter would find themselves shooting accurately very quickly…

Assuming they can master those God-awful sights.  For crying out loud, couldn’t we pay an extra $25 or something and get some decent sights on this gun?  I understand that we want a low profile sight because this is meant to be a carry gun, but even with the laser, I want usable sights, and these ain’t them.  I’m looking for replacements, and I looks like I’m going to be at a minimum $100 for a decent set of sights and the necessary tools to install them.  Ruger, fix these sights.

My second gun was the Smith 642.  Loading it with some PMC brass-cased .38 Special, My first round was slightly to the right of the 2″ black dot I was aiming for and elicited shout of “Ho-lee shit!”  As the real gun writers would say, recoil is quite lively.  At slightly less than 1 pound, the 642 simply has no mass to suck up the recoil of even standard .38 Special.

This doesn’t mean the gun is uncontrollable.  You simply have to get a good grip, similar to the one you might use on a 14′ rattler that you were holding just behind the head while it was trying to get free to bite you.  I’m exaggerating, of course, but you do have to get a very good grip and put all your recoil control skills to work if you plan on shooting this gun quickly with any acceptable level of accuracy.  After 3 cylinders or so, I had it figured out and was shooting an acceptable group at 15 yards.  More practice would of course yield better results.

We had a wonderful Sunday afternoon.  Even though it was still quite warm, you can tell that autumn will be here soon.  Some of the trees are already starting to show the very first signs of their summer green fading a bit, and the hickories were dropping nuts already.  Someone at the range cleanup day had piled firewood at several of the burn barrels in preparation for the cooler months.

Autumn has always been my favorite time of year.  I love the colors and the smells and I enjoy the work that comes with it, putting gardens to bed, splitting and hauling firewood and all the rest.  I have to admit that as I enter my own personal autumn, it takes on a bit more bittersweet flavor than it had 20 years ago.  But still, it’s my favorite time of year, and being able to enjoy an early autumn afternoon at the range with my son is one of those things that will help me me warm when the inevitable winter comes.

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