I went to the range with some MORE work-buddies. Lunchbox, Frozen, Drake and me. OnTarget was kinda crowded on a Saturday night. There were people there of all shapes and sizes, but I don't think Denise of the Ten Ring showed. I kept a weather eye out for her.
OnTarget is right by an army base, Fort Meade, so there was young people. Including a couple VERY attractive young women. With their boyfriends. Ah, Amore. Nothing says love like the trust you have when you KNOW your beloved knows how to shoot.
Anyway. It was my first time at OnTarget, and it is a decent short range. There is the standard number of holes in the booths that always makes me nervous. The range is very cool and well ventilated it seems and is about 50 yards long. Not too loud, for some reason. I have no idea how they did THAT.
A big purpose for this trip, for me and the other guys, was to function test new acquisitions. This was nice as we could try out each OTHERS guns and get a good mix of models to play with. For me the 1911 I had made all those mods to was my priority. I tried several magazine types in is. A borrowed RIA mag, my factory mags from Springfield, and a couple of Chip McCormick mags I got just to see. The mags and the gun worked flawlessly, and here is a target I saved before they got all munged up with just play shots:
The top two targets are the careful, aimed shots. The bottom two are more speedy. But the flaw is similar. As you can see, I still generally hit low and right. The shots are hitting at "minute of bad guy" accuracy, generally, at 25 feet, but I'd rather those groups were more centered. What causes low and the right flaws? According to various shooter error analysis charts, I am jerking the trigger. I believe that. But how to train myself to STOP DOING THAT?!!! If I correct that specific thing for now and all time, I will be a much happier shooter.
Where was I? Oh yes. I got to try a Rock Island Armory 1911. Tiny little retro-sights on it make it harder to get the initial sight-on, but once lined up it fires as well as the Springfield. I thought it's classic grip safety and hammer would give me the dreaded Hammer Bite! but it didn't. Maybe my grip is such that I am not as susceptible? It was only 20 rounds or so tested with the RIA, if I shot 200 maybe THEN I'd experience the bite. It never bit me on the hundreds of rounds I shot with one in the NAVY. Lucky, I guess.
Lunchbox also had this 1911 called Llama. He said it was cheap, but it is stainless and had nice cocobolo aftermarket grips that made it quite handsome. It shot fine as well. My only complaint on that one was the trigger was rougher. It actually scratched up my trigger fingertip. Apart from that, it was a decent functional 1911. The sights weren't much better than the RIA.
Lunchbox had JUST gotten a S&W M&P only hours before. 9mm. I had always been dubious of this plastic gun. If I wanted a plastic gun I was going to shop somewhere else because all the M&Ps I had handled seemed cheap, and I didn't like the way the trigger felt. Well, when I shot a magazine through it I was more impressed than I thought I'd be. It feels better than I had guessed. I still don't know if I'd ever get one for myself in 9mm or any other caliber, but at least now I don't think it's crap. I think the .45 version of the M&P won "Gun of the Year" in 2007, beating a Kimber .45 and the Springfield EMP. Not shabby.
Frozen's new gun, and the only gun he owns right now, is a Springfield XD in .45. I shot THIS one better than my 1911. All holes touching, 3 inches LEFT of Center. Great. And when he shot my 1911 he shot IT better than he had been shooting his XD. We should trade.
Ok, that's crazy talk. But it makes me respect another plastic gun. I shot it better than I shot MBtGE's Glock 21, for certain. In both cases the pistol was practically right out of the box.
What else. I brought some expensive hollow point ammo to test through my Springfield 1911 to see if it shot any different. Boy am I glad I did that. They were horrible, compared to FMJ Ball ammo. the edge of the target circle and made a half moon around the bottom of that circle. There was no way to account for it. Perhaps I was 'breaking my wrist,' in other words anticipating the shot, but why ONLY on the hollow point? I saved a few rounds to test next time, and I will try them out early in the session in case it was wrist break. If I do tend to that flaw it is usually later in the shoot, when I am getting fatigued.
So, I have trigger jerk and anticipation. Same flaws I always have. My shots would get the job done, but I want to be better. As always, I need more practice.
One more thing I got to try... I brought my .22 conversion kit out. Oh. My. Goodness. What great fun that is. That little tiny pop coming out of a big honking 1911. It fed ok. Frozen had the most trouble with ejections/feed failures, so maybe he needs to work on his wrist grip to make a steadier platform. Of maybe he needs to loosen it.... Anyway. I experience about on failure for every 15 shots. Not too bad and about what I experience with a Ruger MkII or III. But what a joyous little plinker. I'm very happy with it. MBtGE frowns on it, as the much lessened recoil is nothing you want to get used to for when you NEED to be firing .45 through. He's right about that. It's not a PERFECT training aid. But I can certainly improve my trigger work, and breath control. I'll just have to be sure that for every 5000 rounds of .22 I shoot, that I shoot 1000 rounds of .45.
Everyone that tried the .22 conversion wanted to get one for themselves, it was THAT fun.
This range we went to is by work, so I may be taking more lunch breaks there, just for the convenience. And it isn't that expensive. You don't HAVE to be a member to shoot there. If I don't go there at least once a month, I am slipping.
Oh, and I forgot about Drake. He tagged along with Frozen but didn't have a pistol of his own. He's from New Jersey and it blew his mind that he could walk in, fill out some papers, and leave less than an hour later with an AR-15 rifle. And a pistol after the 1 week waiting period (we already know he has a clean record and there is no reason to deny him a weapon via NICS). "What about permits and licenses?" Nope. He had a lot of fun trying everybody's guns and now WANTS and AR like he shot at Basic Training. But this time he wants to get GOOD with it. So we recruited another gun-nut-whacko last night. My quota for March is already met. The NRA can send me my wheelbarrow full of cash now instead of waiting.