Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fitting The Gun

Some of the California sheriff’s departments have switched from the Beretta 92 to the S&WM&P

With three different size adjustments to the grip any shooter would have a better chance of getting a proper fit.

On the surface it appears to be largely a move to enable officers with smaller hands to customize their duty gun to fit better.  The M&P has an adaptable handgrip that can be swapped out for three different sizes.  Shooting scores have improved, especially for officers with smaller hands.  This includes many women.  About 18% of sheriff's deputies are women.  I couldn’t find any stats on smaller statured men.  The smaller frame gun has allowed the department to retain their standards, but increase the passing rate and decrease the number of cadets that need remedial pistol training.

I’m in total agreement.  Equipment should not be a Procrustean bed.

My first centerfire semi-auto was a Beretta 92.  It came with flat wood grips and I hated it.  I was actually wondering if I wasted my money.  Fortune smiled on me and I replaced the grips with plastic that had a slightly curved surface.  Suddenly the gun was a winner, I still find it one of my best shooting sidearms.

I can see how changing the grip width and curvature would make the gun easier to shoot accurately for different size hands.

I also replaced the hammer spring with a Wolff spring that gave me a consistent 10 lb double action pull and an equally defendable single action pull.

The problem California has is finger-on-trigger resulting in too many accidental discharges.

This too I understand.  I’m gearing up for a 1911 only single stack match.  So I’m practicing with my .45 acp.  My CCW gun is a Kahr, which is Glock-like.  When I carry the Beretta it’s carried decocked and off safe.  Mechanical safeties, wot are dese thing?  I use the one attached to my brain.

Now I have to remember to off safe.  Having a 10 pound revolver-like-trigger adds a margin of safety to moving the finger into the trigger guard.  A 4.5 pound, breaks-like-a-glass-rod trigger has little room for error.

Simply switching to a heavier trigger isn’t the answer. The NYPD specifies a heavy trigger pull (11 pounds!) to reduce the risk of accidents.  That hasn’t necessary worked. NYC Officer Liang apparently had his finger on his Glock trigger while pushing open a stairwell door on Nov 20 2014.  He shot and killed Akai Gurley, who was walking down the stairs.

The answer?  It’s training.  Hours of training.  How many hours did it take you to learn to safely drive a car?  10? 20? 50?  Don’t you think that 10 hours of training/shooting are needed when you transition between drastically different gun operating systems?  It’s cheap insurance.


Tactical content?  All skills are perishable and decay.  From a discharging the weapon perspective you would benefit from shooting/owning handguns with similar systems so the same skill set is used.  I’d group them by external controls and trigger pull.  For example:

One group would contain Glocks, revolvers and Kahrs.  (No safety, every shot is the same.)

Another might be Beretta, Walther P-38 or SW 3913. (Carried decocked-off safe, first shot is different from the rest.)

My last example would be 1911s and Browning High Powers. (Carried cocked and locked, every shot the same.)

I'm sure you can think of other examples.

I wouldn’t hesitate to swap my 1911 for a Browning High Power based on operating systems, but I’d need some practice swapping a Glock for a 1911.

Yes, loading can be very different but from a function view these groups hold together nicely.  Changing between groups requires a little extra time on the range.  A few more repetitions of holstering and drawing, shooting another handful of rounds down range are clearly required.


Frankly, in a competition a failure to take a safety off, or discharging the weapon before you’re perfectly on target causes poor score.  An oops like that off of the playing field could result in your death or incarceration.

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