Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Range Visit with Bersa and Tristar

Yesterday was my birthday and I decided that I would go to the range after work.

There was a 40-minute waiting list and I almost ended up leaving.  That's the first time I've ever been to Elite Shooting Sports where there was a backlog during the week day.  What's cool is that they had  tablet kiosks to allow you to add yourself to the wait list and you'd be texted (to your phone) when a slot was available.

The staff was cordial and I know they were really busy, but none of the register attendants acted like they wanted to be there.  When you're buying merchandise, service, or just space/time, the worst thing is to interact with employees that act like they don't like what they're doing.  This is the second time I've noticed this...was hoping it wouldn't turn into a trend.

Anyways...

I decided to shoot the Bersa Thunder 380 Plus first, since it was something different for me (blow-back design and .380 caliber).  Man, is that thing accurate!  Recoil is next to nothing, too.  I dumped 3 rounds into each target, 7 yards away, semi-rapid fire, from upper right to upper left, lower right to lower left, then center.  The first shot was dead on the red (as well as being a DA shot), but the following two flew a bit upward.  Then next target was a bit wide, but I still touched the red at least once.  The rest of the groups tightened up significantly as I navigated the targets.


I shot a total of thirty-four rounds before I put the Bersa away.  Since I only had one magazine, I stopped shooting it.  I've ordered 3 new OEM magazines from MidwayUSA.com (was marked down at $27 each but has since been up-priced at $49)

I then focused on the Tristar T-100 9mm for the rest of the range session.  One thing I neglected to do was manually decock the gun for a DA shot.  I've a feeling I wouldn't have hit red in DA like I did with the Thunder, as the DA trigger is long and strong (much longer and stronger than what I'm used to).  But I did a mag dump in the center target as a first date:


I started off fine but as I sped up my follow-on shots, my group began to lose composure.  That's not the gun's fault...it's mine.  I was treating it like the Bersa since the Bersa was the gun I was shooting prior to picking up the T-100.  Recoil was significantly more than the Bersa, but I was all over the target center before I upped the pace.  This gun is just as easy to shoot as the Bersa, because of it's low bore axis and it's non-traditional rail setup (it's using the CZ design).

I then tried to focus on small groups (using the same target):


The groups are very tight, especially upper left.  The lower right had a flyer, but the two that landed were almost on top of each other and near center-mass.

For the T-100, I used the same Remington 147-grain flat-nosed FMJ that choked my Grand Power P11.  It ate 150 of that make/model without one failure.  One round had a slightly crinkled lip but I wanted to see if the round would still chamber and fire without issue...it did.  I expected nothing less, as I know that CZs aren't designed to be as tight as GP's products.  The gun frame was warm to the touch when I was done with it (it's a metal-framed gun), but not uncomfortably so.  For the Bersa, I used Federal 95-grain FMJ, and there were no failures.

I also fired some spare ammo from my GP P11 (8 rounds of Winchester Personal Protection JHP that had been chambered several times...they needed to be used or disposed of, so I used them).  There were no issues whatsoever.  I neglected to bring non-Remington 9mm so I couldn't fire the P11 any more than that.  Plus, I only had the lane for an hour and I was out of time after firing 8 rounds from the P11.  I need more range time with the P11 since it is my carry gun.  Of those 8 rounds, only half hit the target.  I found I was slapping the trigger, but as soon as I figured that out, the rest were all in the red.  The P11 doesn't seem to be as forgiving with heavy-handedness, and it's SA trigger is very light.  I'd have done better if I'd have had more time to adjust to the switch-up of handguns.

I had fun with the two new guns, especially the Tristar.  I'll probably shoot it again the next range visit.

Monday, March 14, 2016

How A Hammer-fired Semi-Automatic Handgun Works

http://grownews.info/?p=196/

Although the depicted handgun is a 1911 .45ACP, the animation applies to all hammer-fired semi-automatic handguns and somewhat to striker-fired guns.  It is very interesting and worthy of sharing with my kids, as they've always wondered about the inner workings (the mechanics) of such things.

Here's a taste of one of the animations.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Found My Bersa!




I've found my Bersa, although it wasn't in matte black like I originally wanted.

I bought a Bersa Thunder 380 Plus in Nickel Satin from Hinterland Outfitters for $361 (now $391).

Immediate pre-firing impressions:
  • There are lots of tooling marks, scrapes and nicks, even as a new product.
  • It has a stiff safety/decocker, but it might wear in (I put oil on the safety lever and it's not so stiff anymore).
  • The safety/decocker is in an awkward place.  My hands aren't large but they aren't the smallest in the world, either, so I'm thinking this isn't just an issue with my hands...it's a safety/decocker placement issue.  
  • The rubber grips work great...shouldn't need to be replaced, even though Plus model grip options are scarce.
  • Take-down is relatively easy, but re-installing the slide is a bit difficult.
  • The handgun is slim but wide at the grip.
  • The rear sights don't appear to be durable...looks like it won't take too many slide racks when using a hard substance.
About the second bullet (Safety/decocker is in an awkward place), here are some additional notes:  There's no way in hell I'm going to be able to use the safety with my strong hand, not even with lots of training, as it's just flat-out in the wrong position for my hands.  When I read Bersa Chat posts on the issue, there are lots of people that have the same experience.  It's good that this is a DA/SA gun, otherwise that safety would be an even more serious detriment.

Range time will come shortly.  Also, expect a quick video...I'll post the link to the video when it's ready.

UPDATE:  The after-range report is here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Ruger Has Arrived!

Ruger AR-556 in FDE

420 rounds of 5.56 x 45

I picked up the Ruger today on my lunch break.

My immediate impressions:  I'm actually surprised at the fit and finish of the Ruger AR-556.  It looks and feels great.  The pieces fit together without issue, with no large gaps between pieces or segments.  Looks GOOD in FDE, too!  That grip feels great - it has a rubber coating...very tactile.  The trigger is good.  The take-down pins are way too stiff (should loosen up with oil and use, hopefully).  They got rid of the D-ring, too...you twist to get the barrel covers off.  Oh, and there's like 10 Ruger badges and logos on the rifle...like you're going to forget that you own a Ruger.

Needed three forms of ID just to pick it up (not two as with handguns in VA).  Still, it only took 5 min to get the background check results back.  I have no background...LOL.

For now, 3 mags are enough (at 30 rounds capacity, each, that's 90 rounds right there).  I also have a Bushnell First Strike Red Dot Sight, but I plan to use the non-aid sights for a bit, while getting used to the rifle.

I'll post more as I become more accustomed to the firearm.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Ruger AR-556 Inbound!

I've my first long gun on the way, a Ruger AR-556 cerakoted in FDE and with a Davidson's lifetime warranty.  It was this or the S&W M&P 15 Sport II, but I've heard that this one is the more refined of the two.


I also have a rail riser and a cheap RDS (red dot sight) inbound, not that either are needed, as the rifle comes with front and rear sights already.

Time to find a rifle safe now, and stock up on 5.56/.223 ammo.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I Present the Tristar T-100 9mm!







More to come as I get familiar with the handgun.

My immediate impressions of the gun:

  • Sturdy and solid (hefty)
  • Very long and strong DA trigger (not gritty but a bit notchy-like)
  • Very nice SA trigger
  • Slide feels like it's riding on glass
  • Stock grips are plastic (not the rubber that it looks to be)...will have to see how well they grip when firing rounds
  • Cerakote is good...not a blimish in sight
  • Slide serrations are very aggressive, allowing a good grip on a small area
  • Takes down well
  • Magazines are high quality
  • No decocker (I knew this when I bought it)...will require manual decocking...half cock allows DA without dropping hammer fully when decocking (a good thing for carry, IMO).

I'm thinking I should've focused on getting one of these a long time ago...the handgun feels that good in my hand.  I've no doubt that I'll love it at the range.  I'm not sure about carrying it, though, as it is heavy (1.5 lb) and I've heard that it's difficult to find a holster that'll hold it that has a retention strap.

I'm not sure I'll do a table-top review...there are several very good reviews on this handgun already.

More T-100 stats at Tristar.com

UPDATE (7/28/2016):  The after-range impressions are here.  As well, below is an image of the VZ Grips that I bought for the gun, since I wanted grips that were a bit more aggressive.

Tristar T-100 with VZ Grips for CZ75 Compact