Saturday, May 16, 2015

Glocks and My Novice Shooter

Good News -- I finally broke down and bought a new 9mm Glock 43 yesterday.
Remember how I didn't buy it last month because I had to pay for my youngest daughter's prom dress? 

Well, it's a new month. And I just had to withdraw from two, and now probably three major matches, because of this upcoming surgery. (Which now I have a mid-June date for, thank goodness).
So I did the math. Turns out that match fees, plus hotel rooms, plus food, plus gas, plus ammo not used, equals one Glock 43 and holster - at least. Or that's how it works in my reckoning LOL. I can rationalize ANYTHING! But I know there will be insurance co-pays coming too, so I'm holding myself to just this one consolation prize.

It was a beautiful Tuesday off, so I went to the range. My oldest daughter, who is 23, and a 2013 Babes With Bullets Camp Alum, came along to help me break in the new gun.

She actually did most of the shooting. I took the first 12 shots (2 mags' worth) with the new Glock 43, and after that, I set her loose with all 4 of my semi-auto pistols. I figured the day was for her, and I can shoot any time I want. So you might get "my" G43 review later.

Since we hadn't been out shooting together since October, I started her off with my only full size semi-auto - my M&P 9 - which is also the gun model that she used at Babes Camp. Once she got her shooting sea-legs back, we moved her down to the Gen 3 Glock 19, and thence to the New Glock 43, and finally to the Glock 42.

Once she got a feel for each of the guns with random FMJ rounds, then we decided to start over with defensive rounds in just the Glocks, and record the results to see if she could shoot "better" with any particular gun. We had her shoot from 7-8 yards (Tueller distance), from behind the bench/shelf at the pistol range, because swapping holsters back and forth was going to be a pain, and I don't even have a holster for the G43 yet.

      Loading up the new Glock 43

She did very well - I was proud of her. And I got to watch how the guns responded in someone else's hands, which I don't ever get to do when I'm shooting alone. She handled all of the Glocks very well (and the M&P too), and she did notice the trigger pull differences and differences in muzzle flip, which I wasn't sure if she would or not. I noticed that there was significantly more muzzle flip when she shot the G43 vs the 42. But there didn't seem to be much difference in flip between the 43 and the 19, which surprised me. Nonetheless, she said she didn't find it uncontrollable.

My daughter has smaller hands than I do, so she really noticed the grip difference when going from the Gen 3 G19 to the single stacks. She liked the feel of the single stacks better. That shouldn't really have been a surprise, but it was still interesting to hear, coming from an unbiased and novice source.

So, here are the comparison targets. The G42 with 95 gr JHP, the G43 with 119 gr Speer Gold Dots, and what was left of the Gold Dots with the Gen3 G19.

       Glock 42 with 95 gr JHP

       Glock 43 with 115 gr Speer Gold Dots

      Gen3 Glock 19 with 115 gr Gold Dot leftovers

When all was said and done, she shot the best with the G42 - all shots completely on target, and nice groups. No surprise that this was also the gun she liked the best of the three. She didn't do badly with the 9mm guns either, including the new G43, and with more practice, that would probably improve. But her hands-down favorite was the .380  Glock 42 - she reported that it felt the best in her hand, and she got consistent hits with it.

I think that this might be used as a bit of a metaphor for the hordes of women out there who carry guns, but who only practice twice a year. Isn't the true measure of performance what you can manage "cold"? We can argue all day about how .380 isn't a "proper" defensive caliber, but when you get to the bottom line, isn't it all about getting your hits on target? If, like my daughter, a .380 is the gun that you get consistent hits with, even when you're rusty and haven't been to the range in 6 months, then isn't that "better" than a .40 or .45 that your husband insists is "proper", but you can't hit anything with? 

Things that make you go "hmmmmm". But what do I know? I'm neither a defensive expert nor a ballistics authority. Neither am I an instructor or a gunsmith. I'm just Jane Q. Public with an interesting observation.

When we finished up with the comparisons, we had a few minutes left before I had to get to quartet practice, so we set up one more target and let my daughter shoot whatever she wanted. She chose the G42 and a zombie target, and a fun time was had by all ... except maybe by the zombie :-)

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