I know I’ve been quiet here the past few days, and there is a good reason for that: I’ve picked up a new full-time job that I am not yet at liberty to discuss. A nice side benefit of that new job was a trip to the office on Thursday to meet my boss and co-workers for the first time (every one of them seems very nice), and then we went to a very posh upscale indoor shooting range on Friday as part of a company outing. One of the other new hires that started this week made the comment I was thinking, “can we do this every week?”
They divided us up into experienced shooters and inexperienced shooters, and sent those of us with some trigger time in a separate range. Inside, there were different firearms at each station, and to my delight, most were firearms I’ve never shot before, or were equipped in a configuration I’d not used.
In left-to-right order, they were (to the best I can recall):
- traditional semi AKM-pattern in wood (Century Arms import, maybe?)
- Springfield Armory SOCOM II, extended top-rail variant
- 12-gauge pump with slugs (didn’t catch the model, but looked like a Mossberg)
- Daniels Defense AR-15 carbine, with a low-power Trijicon scope and Mako handguard and foregrip
- no-name 1911 in .45 ACP
- HK USP in .45 ACP
- Glock 21 in .45 ACP
- CZ-75-type (didn’t catch manufacturer) in .40 S&W
- Springfield Armory EMP (compact 1911 in .40 S&W)
- Beretta 96 (basically, a Beretta 92 in .40 S&W)
Believe it or not, I’d never fired an AKM until yesterday, even though I’ve had some trigger time and have even hunted deer with an SKS. It was obviously designed for someone much smaller that me, but it was accurate enough, had negligible recoil, and I can see why folks would like it.
I skipped firing the SOCOM II. I picked it up and looked through the crude ghost ring sights, and simply didn’t see the point. Put some glass on it like it was designed to shoot, and I bet it would be fun.
I skipped firing the bead-sighted 12-gauge firing slugs. Been there, done that, and wouldn’t get any venison out of it. I was very impressed, however, that one of the ladies fired it, rubbed her shoulder, and went back to fire it again.
The DD AR carbine with the low-power Trijicon? Loved it. All of my shooting experience is as a paper-puncher, plinker, and deer hunter, so I have a very traditional rifleman’s skillset, honed to a pretty fair edge for that kind of shooting by Appleseed (which everyone really must do, in my opinion). One of the instructors/RSOs was a former Marine rifleman who had also been on President Bush’s personal security detail, and he showed me how to square up and run the carbine in a much more tactical way, which is more about speed and agility and logevity than tiny groups. It was an eye opener, and now I really want some good tactical training.
The no-name 1911 shot like a no-name well-used 1911. No surprises.
I now have an inkling of why the HK fanboys love their guns. I really liked the sights on the USP, it fit my hand well, and shot very accurately for me, more than any of the other full-size pistols. Very nice firearm.
This was my first time shooting a Glock 21. I don’t care for the Glock grip angle and tend to shoot low with it, but adjusted my grip and was doing fine by the end of the first magazine. Nothing fancy, but utterly reliable.
The CZ-75/Tangfolio-ish gun shot fine, but some how struck me overall as “meh.” I think I’m spoiled on safe-action and single-action triggers.
My first and for the longest time only handgun was a 1911, and I’ll always have a soft-spot in my heart for the platform, and so when I moved over to the nearly new EMP compact in .40 S&W I got really excited. Then I started shooting it, and got even more excited. I shot that better than any handgun on the line, and indeed, better than my personal pistols. I never shoot anything other than center mass with my XD (because that is what you aim for in a self-defense gun), but with the EMP, I felt confident enough to shoot headshots by the 3rd magazine, and kept them all center-lined (though there was some shooter-induced vertical stringing because I got excited). It and the DD with the Trijicon were the guns that gave me “the grin” you like to see at the range.
The less I say about the Beretta 96, the better. Horrible trigger, grip, and sights. I kept my rounds on the target, but had no confidence in the gun at all. I felt like I was running a dowsing rod.
Once I’d played with all the toys on our side, I wandered over to the range with the less-experienced shooters, where a few hadn’t fired at all by the time I’d made it there. Our office manager had never fired a gun and was shaking she was so nervous, but after a little confidence-building and coaching she did pretty well with an M&P 9. I then gave her an old-school 9mm AR with the carry-handle fixed sights, and she seemed to enjoy shooting that. She gave me a hug afterward, and kept her target to show her boyfriend, so maybe we managed to create a new shooter, which would make my day.
It was a nice trip, and it was a joy to shoot and learn for a change, instead of instructing.