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chill's Journal: New Gun, New Ammo 18

Journal by chill

One of my hobbies is pistol shooting. I punch various sized holes in paper targets at a distances of up to 25 yards. One day I hope to have enough free time to try actual bullseye competition and not look like a total noob.

As good guns are not cheap, for now I only keep one at a time. Since I also want the gun to be available for self-defense, if needed, it has to be practical for concealed-carry as well.

So, for the last several months I've been shooting a Springfield XD-S. That is a single-stack, small-frame, .45 ACP and a marvel of modern gunsmithing. I love the gun and was loathe to part with it, but sell it I did.

The XD-S has basically two flaws, depending on how you look at things. The first is the grip safety.

The grip safety is a small lever on the back of the grip that must be depressed for the gun to fire. Combined with the trigger safety, you must grip the gun just right or it won't fire. Once you get used to it, it works fine. But if you have to draw in a hurry, such as in a defense situation, it can present problems.

Also, if you have soft webbing between your thumb and forefinger, it won't always depress the safety -- as my daughter found out. Her hands are soft and she had no end of problems getting a tight enough grip to depress the safety. Nothing that a little duct tape can't fix, but I don't like disabling safety mechanisms.

As an aside, the safety configuration makes the gun physically impossible to fire for a small child. This is, of course, a benefit. I'm of the opinion that there should be almost no circumstance EVER that a small child should be trying, but in the case of the worst there is an extra layer of safety.

I say "almost" because in order to test the safety of the gun around my bigger-than-average, soon-to-be 5 year-old child, I unloaded it and had him try a couple of things.

Strong as he is for his age, he was physically unable to rack the slide and thus not load a round into the chamber. Once racked by me (but NOT loaded, duh), he was physically unable to grip it properly to get it to fire. Nothing he did could make it go "click". The wife was appeased.

The second drawback is really a matter of perspective. It is a .45, which is a damn hand cannon. It has a fairly large bullet, will make a very loud bang, and punch a damn big hole in whatever you're aiming at.

And if you run 250+ rounds through it at the range your wrist will need iced and feel like you were punching cement blocks for fun.

What most non-shooters don't understand is that it really isn't so much the size of the round that causes recoil, but the size of the gun. Physical size, that is.

So, while a .45 ACP has a kick, it is much lessened in the traditional 1911-format big pistol. The mass of the gun absorbs a great deal of the recoil and your wrist bears less of the brunt of it.

With the XD-S, that mass isn't there, as 609 grams empty. A stock 1911 is closer to 1,100 grams. As a result, unless you have wrists like Popeye, or are a duty officer who puts several hundred rounds a month through a big-bore pistol, you'll feel it.

This really comes into play with women looking for purse pistols. They gravitate straight to the little .380 ACP pocket guns because of the size, not realizing that even though the .380 is a smaller round that smaller gun (260 grams) is going to kick more than the same round in a full-sized model.

To make a long story short (too late!), it isn't a fun gun to shoot. If you're looking for a backup pistol where you don't have to worry about pesky things like windshields, car doors, or drywall deflecting your shots, this baby is it. If you're looking for something to squeeze off a few hundred at the range, it isn't.

So, off to my local FFL dealer to consign the gun. It lasted less than 24 hours. :-)

In choosing a replacement, besides everything above, I also considered the possibility of over-penetration. If, God forbid, I have to use the thing in a self-defense situation, I don't want the bullet blowing through my target and into some hapless bystander.

So, back down the caliber ladder to 9 mm I went, ending up with a Ruger LC9. The astute among you will notice I picked another single-stack. My hands are a little small and I don't feel comfortable with double-stack grips, which means I don't consider anything by Glock.

At about 500 grams, it is still a bit small, but with 9 mm ammo ranging in mass from 68 - 125 grains (4.5 - 8 grams) it is much more in the "fun" category to shoot. I just stay away from +P ammo, as I never saw the need for the extra kick.

So, new gun in hand, I wanted to go to the range and put it through its paces. Unfortunately, we're in the middle of a nationwide shortage of pistol ammunition and after TWO WEEKS of not being able to buy a single round, I was able to pick up a couple of boxes of TulAmmo at my local Walmart.

TulAmmo is as cheap (cost) as it gets. A box of 50 rounds is about $10. The main difference is the bullet casings are steel instead of brass. Oh, and it is made in Russia. Yes, all I could find were Russian-made bullets. Ronald Reagan must be spinning in his grave. :-)

Google that stuff and all you get is warnings about how dirty, corrosive and prone to misfire it is. Nothing but complains.

Well, it was all I could find and I wanted to play with my new toy, dammit! So, 150 rounds in hand, I went to my local range to see what would happen. I picked up an extra 100 rounds of Winchester USA 9 mm 115 gr FMJ at the range itself to compare.

Short answer, it performed flawlessly. In 150 rounds I had no misfires, jams or failures to eject. The brass-cased Winchester had 1 failure to eject and one jam loading, which is actually pretty good. I've had some other brands that have exceeded 15% misfire rates, which is totally unacceptable.

As soon as I can get it in, I'm going to try some various defense rounds to see what I like the feel of. I have both frangible and high-expansion JHPs from a variety of manufacturers on order. I'm really wanting to see the difference in kick between the 68 grain frangible and the 125 grain JHP.

Once done and home, I disassembled the pistol for cleaning. I did not find it any dirtier than my XD-S was after the same number of "Made in USA, brass-cased, name-brand, factory new" rounds. In fact, I think it was a little cleaner, but that may be because of the smaller load of the 9 mm vs the .45 ACP.

So, I'm off to Walmart to see if they have any more in stock. I want to run 1,000+ through the gun to break it in and get a feel for it and at $10 a box (half of most competitors), TulAmmo is what I'll be shooting. I re-evaluate after the first 1,000 rounds.

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New Gun, New Ammo

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  • Unfortunately, we're in the middle of a nationwide shortage of pistol ammunition...

    Not even a footnote that the federal govt. has recently been buying up massive quantities of this? Way to delay slightly the being added to additional watch lists.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Not just the feds, all the way down to local cops. The problem comes from hoarding. The Republicans scared all their members into believing that Obama was going to repeal the second amendment, and everybody with a gun panicked and bought lots of ammo, causing a small shortage. Everybody from the feds to the chief of police (not to mention all the armed civilians) squealed "eeek!" and ran out and bought up all the ammo they could find because it started getting scarce. Hence, the shortage.

      • by chill (34294)

        That's the best I can figure, too. The dealers I've talked to have all said they can't keep anything in stock, even when limiting purchases to 4-boxes at a time. Their shelves aren't being cleaned out by large purchase, but by lots of different people buying small but persistent amounts.

        Hell, even the local PD and Sheriff can't get ammo reliably. The officers are having to acquire target ammo themselves, where they can.

        My local Walmart has all the .410, .40 and .45 defense ammo you can want, now. But .22, .

      • The Republicans scared all their members into believing that Obama was going to repeal the second amendment

        No, noone worried that Obama was going to repeal the Second Amendment. 38 States won't agree to it, even with the current hysteria. And Obama wouldn't try, when it's easier to just get a law passed, knowing it would be long after he was gone before the Supremes ruled it unconstituttional.

        On the other hand, Feinstein's "assault weapon ban" bill does allow for the banning of virtually every semi-a

    • by chill (34294)

      I'm not sure they have. I've see the RFQs, but they haven't been awarded yet AND are for purchases over a 5-year period, not immediate delivery. Even if they were involved, the shortage of ammo is spread equally over all manufacturers -- Federal, Winchester, Remington, everyone.

      That and the ammo that is hardest to find is 9 mm and .22 LR. While some gov't uses 9 mm, most uses .40 cal, .45 cal or 10 mm. I have no earthly idea why there is a shortage of .22 caliber ammunition. That's squirrel gun, plinking or

      • by Bill Dog (726542)

        I don't know how much of the purpose of this is just back-door gun control, but I guess you're thinking that ammo mfrs are just going to wait until the announced mammoth orders actually come in before worrying about being able to fill them.

        • by chill (34294)

          Well, if they don't win the contract they're going to be sitting on a lot of surplus ammo that they'll need to unload cheap. (This would be a good thing. :-)

          And I still can't match up that with the .22 shortage. I don't know enough about bulk ammo manufacturing. Can you "retool" lines to switch between calibers quickly? Especially since the gov't RFQs are for JHP (jacketed hollow-points) whereas standard target ammo is FMJ (full-metal jacket).

          • by Bill Dog (726542)

            Certainly some of the shortage can be attributed to BHO's re-election and the Left's deciding (based on good crises that shouldn't be let go to waste) to try for big advances in gun control during this term. (Not that there won't be two more opportunities immediately following, in Hillary's two terms.)

  • I believe you have posted this on slashdot by mistake. Surely you intended to post it on a gun forum.
    • by chill (34294)

      No. This is the only place I post stuff, when I feel like blogging. Usually my posts are computer or technology related, though every now and then they wander into other subjects.

      I really don't give a damn if anyone reads anything, I'm just posting to get my thoughts down on "paper" and out of my head. Slashdot is just convenient.

    • by Bill Dog (726542)

      Surely you intended to post it on a gun nut forum.

      FTFY. (Afterall, is there any other kind?)

      p.s. I like your wife better when she sticks to Tea Party stuff and is not the running mate of or making excuses for Progressive Republicans.

      • She has been off her meds lately. She doesn't focus like she used to.
        • by Bill Dog (726542)

          Well keep looking out for her then. Definitely don't let her near this place; the Leftie 99% of Slashdot would love to rape her. They call women "cunts", so I guess they define them by their vaginas. Oh well, at least they don't put them in binders and wage a war against them.

  • single-stack

    I'm guessing that this refers to the way that the ammo is arranged in the clip? We don't have to worry about hand guns, being outside America, so no-one here apart from the few percent of police officers who actually elect for firearm training ever encounters this sort of terminology.

    A moderately interesting article, by gun-nut standards. It goes to remind me that while the whole idea of guns in the hands of private citizens is utterly insane, that doesn't mean that all people involved in the i

    • by chill (34294)

      Sorry, I should have defined terms. Yes, the stack is how the bullets are stored in the magazine. Single stack means the bullets are stored vertically, one directly atop another. Many manufacturers use a double stack configuration. They sudden the magazine and zig-zag the bullets. This allows for more ammunition in the same vertical space, but at the cost of fattening up the magazine. In semi-automatic pistols the magazine is in the grip, so that means a fatter grip.

      Semi-automatic pistols will list capacity

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        Single stack means the bullets are stored vertically, one directly atop another. [...] double stack configuration. They sudden [widen?] the magazine and zig-zag the bullets. [...] so that means a fatter grip.

        What I'd figured ; and the more complex pathway would possibly increase the frequency of magazine jams?

        I don't pass for a gun nut in America. :-)

        There's a fancy-dress party costume loitering behind that statement.

        and didn't GI thru withdrawal symptoms

        Gastro-Intestinal? General Infantry? Oh ; "Go Insa

        • by chill (34294)

          What I'd figured ; and the more complex pathway would possibly increase the frequency of magazine jams?

          Well, considering a magazine is nothing more than a rectangular box with a spring and bullets are cylindrical, not really. At least, not compared to possible ejection issues or jams while racking.

          Gastro-Intestinal? General Infantry? Oh ; "Go Insane". Someone is watching over your shoulder that you have to use such euphemisms? Someone like the spell checker that is mangling the rest of your text?

          Android auto-correct and me not paying attention to the small-tablet typing. :-)

          As for the pirates...my only concern is leaving my welfare solely in the hands of people willing to commit armed hijacking and kidnapping to begin with. Yes, it is a fairly complex problem and I'm inclined to agree with you.

          I'm surprise

          • by RockDoctor (15477)

            I'm surprised someone like Blackwater hasn't set up an armed-escort service for ships in that area. Escorts to/from the Red Sea/Djibouti to as far east as people are willing to pay.

            Escort?
            We're resident. For months, individually, and for years as an organisation (14 years in-country for the London-based company I was contracted to). Murder is not an option in a country where you want to carry out business next year and next decade and next generation.

            I'm also inclined to think hiring a couple of pros with

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