Monday, April 20, 2015

Weapon Care

I just finished watching Pat Rogers’ Basic Carbine DVD.

I recommend it as a training supplement even if I can’t get into his kneeling positions.  I believe Pat would agree: you and I need to get out and do the activities he suggests.

In one scene he’s holding what looks like a petrified dog turd covered in mud.  It’s not.  It’s the bolt carrier for one of his ARs.  He wants to make the point that the gun will run dirty as long as it’s well oiled.

Don’t do that. 

I had recently removed my dot from one of my ARs and replaced it with a scope.  This required that I re-zero the weapon.  I was about half way finished when the gun started to jam.  Examination of the bolt showed the locking lugs at a 45 degree angle to the rifle axis. 

I had broken my bolt at the bolt cam pin.

AR Bolt crack at Key
If you can see it, there is a annotation saying Shiny Spot.  That should have been my first warning that the bold was wearing funny.  The forming crack changed the bolds dimensions causing wear.
So much for zeroing the rifle that day.

I ordered two new ones from Bravo Company  They weren’t cheap.  I may sport shoot and plink, but in the back of my mind I’m always remembering the fact, some terrible day it may become real and suddenly reliability will be as important as the lives of my loved ones.

Left to right: A new bolt from Bravo company, a cracked one I kept for some reason now incomprehensive reason and the field failure.
I looked through my stash of oddball parts and discovered it’s not the first time I cracked a bolt.  Close examination of the bolt cam pin showed some spalling on it as well.  

The arrow points to wear on the cam pin

A close up of the spaqlling and wear.  

So that got replaced too.  It’s not a bad idea to have a spare parts kit.  You can buy them or just make one by purchasing the assorted parts recommended in the kits.

There’s no question that excessive cleaning has the potential to wear and, if incorrectly done, damage your gun.  But take the time during cleaning to inspect parts for wear and cracking.  You may have to degrease the part to inspect, it but it’s worth it.  Aside from being out-of-town when the zombie apocalypse arrives, few thing are as satisfying as catching a problem before it bites you on the butt.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Glock Vs. Glock

By now most of you know Glock is releasing their model 43 and the owners of Glock 42s are pulling their hair out.  Maybe.

The Glock 43 is a 9mm about the same size as the Glock 42.  The big difference is of course, the difference between .380 and 9 mm.

Both cartridges were introduced shortly after the beginning of the 20 century (does that make me feel old!) to meet specific needs.  The 9mm was designed for the military in 1902 while the .380 found a home in the civilian market in 1908.

Both cartridges were terrifying not because of our current perceptions of stopping power, but because the level of medical technology available.  Simple blood transfusions were tried in 1818, but 50% of the patients died.  By 1901 Karl Lansteiner solved part of the problem with his discovery of blood types, but it wasn’t until 1914 that blood could be preserved and therefore banked.  I'll leave the history of infections and antibiotics to the reader. It's grim reading.

It’s sufficient that most gunshot injuries would result in massive bleeding, infection and a high incidence of death several days after the initial injury.  This was caliber independent, and a well established fact in society.  Thus, it didn’t take much to make anyone back off an aimed gun.

Advances in medical technology makes emergency room doctors bold enough to say if you arrive in the trauma room alive, there’s a better than 90% they can keep you alive.  Quite a change from the 1929’s

Today, according to some gun magazines and gun liars, you are unarmed if you carry anything less than a .44 mag autoloader.  It makes for good reading, but I’m not ready to drink that kool-aid.

Glock mod 42 .380 ACP
Glock mod 42

Let’s put these two Glocks head to head.  (Published stats)

Glock 42
Glock 43
.380 ACP
9 mm
Slide length
151 mm
159 mm
24 mm
26 mm
Sight radius
125 mm
132 mm
Trigger pull
5.5 lbs
5.5 lbs
Unloaded weight
13.7 oz
17.95 oz

Trigger pull?  Most Glocks are around 5.5 pounds, but the actual sensation of pulling the trigger is very individualized to each shooter.  I found the trigger on the Glock 42 to be mushy with too much creep.  This isn’t necessarily bad, especially for the untrained whose finger can’t decided if it wants to be on or off the trigger.  The little mush and travel gives the gun holder an small margin of error to recant if his finger brushes the trigger. 

Only a few have actually shot the new 9 mm Glock and so I have no information on its trigger pull.

Replacing/modifying the trigger is on my to-do list.  But I don’t think I’ll replace my Glock .380.  In the spirit of complete honesty, I replaced the factory Glock sights (which I like) with easier to see Truglo tritium/fiber optic sights for my tired old eyes.

Tritium optical fiber sights on glock .380 acp
Old eye's need a little help, so I had Truglo TFO sights installed.

 While part of any good marketing strategy is newer and better, the smart shooter needs to ask, “What is my anticipated or baseline event?”  In other words, what’s the worse that you think will happen to you and what is the next step up?

This is different for each of us.  A LEO patrolling route 41 in the Florida Everglades, where response time could be a half hour, might find it prudent to have 100 rounds of .357 Sig in magazines on their person.  The step up in need might be an AR with two extra magazines.  I don’t anticipate those problems so a .380 is sufficient.  My step up might be just a reload and flashlight.

This doesn’t say you shouldn’t change your tools as your needs change.  A week backpacking in bear country or that cabin you go to on the back acre of nowhere might call for a different weapon and options.