Friday, March 31, 2017

Swapped Out My EDC!

So, I went to the range yesterday and still had issues with the Grand Power.

Well, to be honest, it was the ammo...the gun didn't like the ammo.  How do I know this?  Because the PX4 had the same issue with the exact same ammo.  Both guns exhibited the same problem and both had the same problem on the first round of ammo.

This choked the P11.  The side of the round is flat and if you look closely, you can see rifling marks.

Here's a different view.

The PX4 choked on this one (The pictures show two totally different rounds, each coming for a different box -- the boxes have the same lot number, though).

You can see the rifling marks on the gun...this is not typical of a chambered round that was extracted.



The ammo I was using was Winchester White Box 124-grain FMJ.  I've shot WWB from this gun many times, but this is the first time I've shot WWB 124-grain from it.

Now, it's the fault of the ammo, BUT the PX4 had no problems after the first round choked it...it shot the rest without issue.  The P11 had to be cleared or had to have it's slide smacked multiple times.

The P11 was cleaned and lubed well, so the problem isn't because it was dirty or needed lube.  It was due to the gun being tight.  It's a pro of the brand but in this case, it is also a con.  This is not the first time I've had to deal with the gun being plagued by out-of-spec ammo...it ruins a range session, especially if it's my carry gun and I'm trying to polish my trigger skills.  If I'm spending more time clearing the gun than shooting it, that's not fun nor does it give me confidence in the gun.  Now, I know this is practice ammo and I know that self defense ammo will not have such issues (far less likely than practice ammo, at least), but I can't practice with SD ammo.  Well, I could, but that would NOT be cost effective.

I'm tired of dealing with the P11's fickleness.  It is now retired from EDC duty.  I retired it early out of frustration.

I still need a good holster, though.  Right now I'm using one of my Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 holsters with a PX4 compact shell.  It works well, but I want something that I can easily take off and put back on, so I ordered one of N82 Tactical's Professional series holsters.

I also ordered 3 more magazines.  The mags are generally expensive (but cheaper than the $50 that P11 mags cost).  Beretta sells them for $40.  After searching far and wide, I found that Ammo Depot had them for $22 each!  The next cheapest was $33 at Tombstone Tactical.

I went to the range with the owner of a business that I'm transferring over to.  I brought my own ammo but he insisted that we use his...he brought a small ammo can of Tula ammo.  I shot about five mags of that from my gun.  It didn't choke at all (and the P11 didn't choke on it either when I shot Tula from it awhile back).  I was impressed with that ammo, so when I got home, I ordered 1000 rounds of Wolf from Ammo Depot.  The link shows a case of 500.  I ordered two of them.

I also traded guns with my new boss (he brought a Springfield XDM, the 4" model).  He shot well enough with my gun but he didn't shoot it like he did his XDM.  He said he loved the heft of the Storm.  Now, I loved his gun.  I haven't shot striker-fired in awhile (I've several of them).  I thought I would have issues with the trigger.  Nope.  My grouping was tight.  It was just as tight as when I shoot my DA/SA guns.  I might have to look into that gun.  The trigger was better than what's in my XD Mod 2.

Oh, and I also got a notice that a store now has a medium P320 subcompact grip module in stock, so I ordered that, especially since those are difficult to come by.

Lastly, I ordered stealth levers for the PX4 Storm.  I ordered both the stealth safety/decocker levers and the slide catch levers.  Those should arrive soon (it's coming from a shop in Italy...I ordered from them since Beretta USA didn't have those parts in stock).  Once it arrives, I'll convert to the G-type.

So, this next few weeks will be fun.  I've more info to share about a recent range visit, but I'll do that in a different blog entry (it involves the Bersa Thunder).

Friday, March 17, 2017

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact 9mm

It arrived yesterday.









I do have a tabletop video here:



I took it and the Grand Power P11 to the range this evening.  All I can say is, wow...

Pluses for the gun:

  1. It shoots almost as well as the P11.
  2. DA trigger is better.
  3. Shot 105 round of Magtech 115-gr FMJ and Browing BPT 147-grain ammo with only one round having an issue (light strike).  It loves 147-grain.
  4. It's sights are easier to work with than the P11's.

Minuses for the gun:

  1. Backstraps are extremely difficult to work with...well, not the backstraps themselves but the retention mechanism.
  2. Large backstrap is slightly warped (out of the box).
  3. The red paint that's on the extractor (acting like a loaded chamber indicator) looks to have come off.
  4. Plastic guide rod.

How does the PX4 compare to the P11?

  1. The gun is only slightly larger than the P11.
  2. The P11's mag holds 12 rounds.  The PX4's mag holds 15.  This isn't a huge deal, though...the P11 is sold as a sub-compact.
  3. The takedown of the PX4 is easy.  The takedown of the P11, while not exactly orthodox, is easy enough once you've done it a few times.
  4. The P11 is extremely finnicky about ammo.  The PX4 doesn't appear to be as finnicky.
  5. The P11 needs to be run wet.  I'm assuming the PX4 needs to be run wet as well...they both have rotating barrels and won't tolerate being dirty or dry.
  6. The PX4's controls are not conducive to carry duty...both the safety/decocker levers and the slide catch levers are too big and stick out well beyond the sides of the handgun.  Luckily, there are OEM "stealth" levers that make the gun more conducive to carrying.
  7. While the PX4's sights are better than the P11's the P11's sights are purposely small.  This means that while they're more difficult to use, they're more accurate when used properly.  Still, I wouldn't mind getting some night sights on the PX4.
Once I get "stealth" levers for the gun, I'll begin to start carrying it around the house.  I plan to get the N82 Tactical Professional holster to use with the PX4.

The particular gun is the F-type.  I plan to convert it to the G-type.  I will never use the safety and I'm used to decock-only guns (my P11 didn't come with a decocker and I manually decock it...it comes with a safety but I never use it because it's always in DA mode).

So, 105 rounds were shot through the gun tonight.  Here's the targets (shot from 7 yards with two types of ammo in two different weights and with two different noses).


These are the first 15 shots out of the gun.  The one in the red is the first shot (DA).  This is tighter than what I'm used to shooting from a new gun.  The shots are more vertically-aligned than that I've shot with my other new guns.


I started from left top to right top, left bottom to right bottom, then focused on the center target.  The first two targets' DA shots were very close to the red.  The lower left, not so much.  The lower right group was extremely tight (there are 3 holes).  the center shot was a bit wide.


All of these shots were DA mode.  I'd shoot, then decock back to DA mode, then shoot, then decock, and so on.  This is 15 rounds.  All but 3 are in the red.  Two of those are close.  One is a flyer.


The first grouping of 15 is at the red.  The second grouping is at the head.  At first, I was slowly shooting the red.  At the head, I tried some double-taps (slow double-taps).  Again, I'm vertically aligned but spread out...IMO, not bad for double-taps.  Also, note that the second group would all be in the blue if I were aiming for the body.

Similar to the target above this one, I shot two different magazines, one at the body and one at the head.  I also did double-taps.  The first shots of the magazines were DA shots and each landed center mass.  The first grouping is vertically aligned.  The second group is spread out...not sure if this was due to the ammo (was using the 147-grain BPT target ammo).

This is the P11's target.  These were rushed (45 rounds, combination of the BPT ammo and the Magtech).  I thought I'd be able to eat out the red from the target...nope.  But that's probably 35 shots that are very much center mass.  I was shooting relatively fast and some are double-taps.  This gun rewards the wielder when basic fundamentals are applied but punishes the wielder if those fundamentals aren't applied.  I've mixed results here...while the group is tight, I wanted them tighter.  Because I rushed, the gun punished me.  Remember what I said earlier about those small sights?  It applies to my aiming and shooting at this target.

All in all, this was a fun outing.  I plan to take the gun out again tomorrow and maybe spend more than an hour with both of them this time.  I may even take the Sig Pro to muddy up the comparison (since it is also a DA/SA polymer gun that I think I may carry).

Stay tuned!

UPDATE:  I got impatient in waiting for Beretta to stock up.  I did some research and found that there's a store in Italy that sells both the stealth slide catch and stealth safety.  The site is here.  The part is here.  I know I have the right part because I compared the part numbers between it and Beretta's USA site...they are the same (part no. E00348).  It costs 54,92 EU and 18 EU for shipping, for a total of 72,92 EU.  It's a few dollars less than if I ordered from Beretta USA, but as far as I know, this site has them in stock.

Monday, March 6, 2017

SP2022 - Testing Concealed Carry


I received the Alien Gear holster shell for the SP2022.  I used the compact backing from the Sig P320 holster that I have.  The gun carries well but is quite a big bulkier than my Grand Power P11.  I've adjusted the cant so that it's leaning forward, which helps a bit in hiding the longer grip.

I received the Alien Gear holster shell for the SP2022.  I used the compact backing from the Sig P320 holster that I have.  The gun carries well but is quite a big bulkier than my Grand Power P11.  I've adjusted the cant so that it's leaning forward, which helps a bit in hiding the longer grip.

I'm 5' 7" and 175-180 lb.  I tend to carry with a shirt over my firearm, usually a T-shirt or golf shirt that is untucked.  Today, I'm straight from work (have to be tucked in, but I usually wear something over my shirt (sweater or bigger shirt or sweater).  I think it's important to know how I carry so that you know my carry experience.  The belt is a Galco 1.5".  The holster is an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0.

Camera is at 3 o'clock position - holster is at 4 o'clock

Camera is at 4 o'clock position - holster is at 4 o'clock
Camera is at 5 o'clock position - holster is at 4 o'clock

Oh, and those pinky extension magazine base plates?  I ordered some flat ones but to be honest, it's a trivial concern...trust me, it's not going to make all that much of a difference if you're coming from a subcompact and are opting for a handgun of the size of the SP2022.  I kid you not.  I will more than likely return those mag base plates or sell them.

By the way, I ordered those flat mag base plates can be found at RoCo Firearms.  They are currently $12.50 each.  I'm not sure if I posted their origins, but if not...

I have not carried this gun outside of the house (yet).  It is more comfortable than I imagined (so far).  The magazine is empty, though, but I don't think a loaded mag will make much of a difference...it's not the weight that will bother me (I've a good holster and belt).  The bulkiness of the gun is probably all I need to get accustomed to.

I also received the Alien Gear holster shell for the Beretta I bought last night.  I'm curious on how that will carry.  In fact, I just might have an IWB bake-off between the Beretta and Sig.  It will be interesting, since they both have similar manual of arms, both are polymer guns, both are similar in width, height, and weight (the Beretta is shorter, though, I believe).

A video will come soon.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

New Gun On the Way!

This was the most agonizing decision I've made in quite awhile.

My birthday is approaching and I wanted to buy something nice but not too expensive.  I'd considered a Sig 1911 as my next nice gun, but my wife isn't going to sign off on a $800 purchase...maybe on my 50th birthday next year.

My choices were the Grand Power P1 or the Beretta PX4 Storm Compact.

I chose the Storm and bought it through Whittaker Guns for $429.



Why was this a difficult decision?  I'd need to talk about the Grand Power and why I was considering it (as well as the thing that I don't like about the company).

The pros:

  • As you well know, I currently conceal-carry a Grand Power P11 Mk12.  This particular gun did not come with a decocker.  New guns from Grand Power come with decockers and that includes the P1.
  • I currently use a P1 kydex holster when I carry my P11, so if I bought a P1, I'd already have a holster.
  • I currently use three P1 15-round mags with my P11 when I visit the range.  If I bought a P1, which includes two magazines, I'd have five mags for this gun.

I basically already have all the gear to immediately start carrrying a P1.

The con:

Grand Power stated in their forums that they will not sell the decocker parts to owners because they might be held liable if an owner did not install the part correctly and had an accidental (not negligent if there was an issue with the gun's internals) discharge where someone was injured or killed.

Why do I have a problem with that?  I'll list the reasons:

  • They sell 99% of the internals for all their guns on the Eagle Imports web site.  Most of those parts could cause an accidental discharge if installed incorrectly, and those have nothing to do with the safety/decocker.  Yet they've no problem selling those parts and letting owners install them on their own.
  • Their competition sells such parts and let owners install those parts.
  • The mentality that they're going to save us from ourselves...that's very much a liberal thought.  This is also what drives such "technology" as LCIs and magazine disconnects and both of those are band-aids for training.
  • I don't believe in any firearm being black-box-like (ie, don't allow consumers to open the product).  If they're selling internal parts, how else do you get them into the firearm?
  • In lieu of them providing you the decocker parts, they suggest you spend $500+ to get a new GP pistol that would already have a decocker.  Nope.  Not going to happen.

Some resources:

I was a stout advocate of the P11 and it's manufacturer up until this point.  In fact, a large part of my Youtube content relates to the P11 and my experiences with it.  I think it's time to move on.

The depressing part of this is that I've spend a large amount of my time and training with the P11, so I'll have to get familiar with another one of my handguns to replace my P11 as my EDC gun.  An option is to continue to carry it but I just can't swallow Grand Power's attitude that they'll allow us to replace any part but a safety/decocker (hell, they sell replacement safeties on their parts site!).

Currently, my options to replace the P11, if I want to stay with DA/SA, is with my Sig SP2022 or this new Beretta that will be shipped to me sometime this week.  I'm more ready to carry the SP2022 than I am the Storm at this point in time.  I'm just waiting for some replacement mag base plates and a SP2022 shell form my Alien Gear holster.  I have 4 mags for the SP2022.  I have not a damned thing for the Storm, although I can easily get a N82 Tactical holster from a local gun shop (those are nice).

I can also carry the Bersa Thunder Plus that I have, but I HATE it's decocker!  With a passion.  I can carry that with the safety off, if need be, and it's a smaller gun to carry.  Although it's a .380, it is double-stack and holds 15+1.  I have four mags for it and just got an N82 Tactical IWB holster for it.  I just need to test some carry ammo and begin practicing with it.

Either way, I'll be testing the carrying of the SP2022 and PX4 Storm.

Before I carry the Storm, though, I'm looking to replace the safeties with the stealth versions.  As well, I'll convert it to decocker-only.